Introduction: The Aluminum Company
The Aluminum Company of America seems to have started an entirely new page in the history of entrepreneurship and management by adopting a unique strategy of assessing its performance. Although the concept of performance management was shaped well before the company appeared in the world market and started the exploration of its possibilities, it was only with the advent of the Alcoa that the necessity to embrace the quantitative and the qualitative elements of the assessment became obvious. In his paper Quantitative exposure assessment strategies and data in the Aluminum Company of America, Damiano (1995) makes it clear that the Alcoa Company has defined the way to conduct both the exposure assessment, i.e., the assessment of the staff, and the evaluation of the existing health hazards, therefore, creating an ultimate way of assessing the organizational performance and making sure that the company’s standards are kept high.
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Discussion of the Article
In conducting his research, Damiano seems to follow the principles introduced by the Alcoa Company pretty close. Not only does he manage to embrace every single process that takes place in Alcoa as a part of its evaluation program, but also to incorporate the elements of qualitative and quantitative analysis as well.
The significance of a qualitative assessment
According to what Damiano says, the qualitative and the quantitative approaches are inseparable; whenever one of these methods is used in research, the other one must accompany it, thus, making the research complete. To illustrate his point, Damiano uses the example of Alcoa, the organization in which both types of evaluation are used to address the goals of the organization and the needs of its employees at the same time.
Data management as part of the program
Coordinating the distribution of the information within an organization is extremely important for all its processes to run smoothly. Coordinating the work of several employees, not to mention several departments, is only possible when the principle of knowledge sharing is applied. Thus, efficient data management is especially important for Alcoa, seeing how the company attempts at satisfying the needs of both clients and employees.
The author’s conclusion: creating exposure histories
Damiano seems to have grounded his theory well and proved his suppositions well enough. By discussing the strategies used by Alcoa for information acquisition, processing and distribution, Damiano has managed to push the envelope in exploiting various research strategies.
Evaluation of the Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Analyses
As it has been stressed above, the key specifics of the Alcoa Company concerns its reasonable use of both the qualitative and the quantitative approach. Likewise, Damiano also uses several methods to research the given phenomenon. It is quite peculiar, though, that Damiano does not state the methods of his research anywhere in the article; on the contrary, he goes straight into analyzing the specifics of the company’s approach towards its employees, the company’s mission and how the organization envisions its future course of actions. It can be argued, though, that Damiano adopts a mixture of a qualitative and a quantitative approach in his paper, too. The given assumption is partially supported by the fact that, on the one hand, Damiano resorts to the analysis of the company’s statistical data, whereas, on the other hand, he tries to conduct a qualitative research by providing detailed characteristics of the assessment processes carried out in the Alcoa Company. The elements of the quantitative assessment can be traced in the way that the author of the research handles the numerical and statistical data: “.Criteria as low as 10 percent of the OEL and as high as 50 percent of the OEL were considered” (Damian, 1995, 292). The given example shows that Damiano not merely provides numbers of certain value, but also compares their value and draws conclusions concerning the meaning of the given numbers:
There is value in estimating and recording the frequency of the task (e.g., days per year) for both the hygienist who will need to interpret sampling data and others in the future who may need to assess the risk associated with past exposures. (Damiano, 1995, 293)
With that being said, it must be admitted that Damian also uses a mixture of a qualitative and quantitative analysis so that the specifics of the Alcoa Company assessment could be defined and considered as a possible means to address similar issues in modern health organizations.
Conclusion: An Important Step in Defining the Success of an Organization
Even though the given research might be considered as somewhat dated, especially seeing how several other researches in the given sphere has been conducted since the article was published, it must be admitted that Damiano has done a very impressive job by incorporating two opposite techniques of research and, therefore, creating a unique approach. While the use of both qualitative and quantitative analyses makes the research somewhat bulky and might seem like an unnecessary attempt to make the paper overly complicated, when considering the methods chosen by Damiano closer, one must admit that they are the only reasonable choice. With that being said, it is clear that Damiano’s paper offers its reader a unique experience of nixing the two basic approaches into a powerful tool for researching the specifics of the Aluminum Company of America.
Damiano, J. (1995). Quantitative exposure assessment strategies and data in the Aluminum Company of America. Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 10(4), 289–298.