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Work is basic to the individual condition. It establishes what we accomplish during much of our active lives. It encourages human interaction and it enables people to establish their sense of uniqueness. It enables people to fulfill their material needs and to benefit from modern inventions and achievements of civilization.
“Our views towards work and its management have undergone significant changes over the past couple of decades, with much of it being the product of national contexts being increasingly subject to global economic influence” (Hakim 1995, pp. 430-437). As a result, Administrators should try to devise better organizational strategies that can enable them evaluate workers’ abilities.
A skill refers to the studied capability to execute predetermined outcomes usually with least expending of time, force, or both. In simple terms, aptitude may mean an individual’s unique abilities. Skills can be clustered into domain- common and domain-definite skills. For instance, in the sphere of vocation, some common abilities may include keeping time, collaboration, and management.
On the other hand, domain-particular abilities would be useful only for a given profession. Ability normally needs some environmental stimulus and circumstances to evaluate the scale of skill being demonstrated and utilized. Work aptitude is a vital conception in the codes administering sick leave and premature retirement annuity.
“Skill is also necessary in the assessment of the need for, and the right to, treatment, further education, and skills development” (Seal & Doherty 2011, pp. 19-22). Moreover, the idea of vocation aptitude can be a tool for occupational preparation, or for examining the suitability of a job candidate, and for setting scales of earning.
In this case, there is need to be able to evaluate, or gauge, the degree to which persons possess or lack labor capacity, and it is thus significant to build well-designed tools that gauge it. There are three measurements of ability – ability of the employee, skill needed for the occupation and the social structure of proficiency. This paper examines these approaches of evaluating skill at work.
Phil Taylor in his survey of task subdivision in call centers observed that the employment of women workers in this sector gives them better skill advancement opportunities regardless of their qualifications. He concludes that since call centers are presumed to be less bureaucratic, they have not been able to end gender gaps as envisaged by modern economy optimists.
The study reveals that a call center does not necessarily serve as a ghetto for all female job seekers, especially to those who may desire MC roles. “Nevertheless, women do experience a relative disadvantage compared with men; this cannot be explained by the conventional wisdom that women in call centers prefer to prioritize domestic commitments over career progression” (Taylor & Scholarios 2011, p. 1292).
Although the call center is probably not a model of scheduled vocations in the current service segment, the reality is that it attracts many women workers, imperfect shift archetype, role division, and female drawback, this analysis could probably have a significant implication.
In the case of continuous sector development, women workers are still experiencing the uncertainty of opportunity. Inexorably, some women workers have gotten ‘better’ employments; but evenly, women’s development has been hampered by the multifaceted interaction of little individual capital, family household tasks and difficulties in gaining social capital.
According to Hochchild, companies are increasingly keen to direct and manage how workers relate with clients. In simple terms, the images workers create for clients and the kind of relations between workers and clients have become very important to managers. Consequently, a primary constituent of the job executed by several employees has become the presentation of feelings recommended by their companies.
Previous investigations propose that women workers demonstrate better emotional expression than their male colleagues do. Women are likely to smile more frequently in various situations than men do.
“The study proposed that women might show more emotion because they are socialized to act in a friendlier manner and may show more positive emotions because of a greater need for social approval” (Morris & Feldman 1996, p. 989).
Humphrey further proposed that emotional work has the ability to make relations more unsurprising and help employees to evade awkward interpersonal problems. This consideration, should assist reduce tension and enhance satisfaction. In addition, Humphrey noted that carrying out emotional labor might assist workers to separate themselves psychologically from awkward situations.
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Many critics presume that constructive discrimination is merely about imposing quotas, with the outcome being that individuals with low qualifications or persons from marginalized social categories will be given special treatment or consideration over a more competent individual from empowered social categories (Noon 2010, pp. 728-732).
For instance, in Norway state corporations are required by law to have gender sensitive managerial boards that have not less than 40 percent women. Some individuals argue that such regulations have led to promotion of women based on their gender and not competencies.
Therefore, it can be proposed that constructive discrimination makes a good environment for transformative change to infuse organizations quickly and broadly. Under these circumstances, substitute models of labor organization and occupation processes can materialize, and various values, standards, workplace traditions, and practices can flourish.
“This leads to the proposition that positive discrimination is a necessary precondition of transformative change, not simply an additional strategy in a multi-dimensional approach to mainstreaming” (Noon 2010, pp. 737-739).
Sealy and Doherty carried out a survey to determine the extent to which women participate in the financial management cadres and they observed that over the years, men have dominated senior financial management positions (Sealy & Doherty 2011, pp. 19-25).
However, contemporary trends in management appointments reveal that there is considerable increase in the number of appointed women in top management positions in various companies in Europe.
They suggest that the appointment of women with good academic qualifications in financial matters has validated the fact that women are no longer promoted based on gender considerations since many organizations are keen on working with highly skilled workers.
These contemporary changes in the board appointments have therefore dispelled the conventional myth that financial management activities are masculine and a preserve for male workers.
Payne avers that several analysts contend that a number of forefront service careers, usually considered as poorly skilled technically, may indeed comprise a type of skilled labor, given that they need their employees to carry out skilled emotional work in their transactions with clients.
“Such assertions hold out the likelihood of development in academic terms but also with regard to ameliorating the conditions and remuneration of several low-paid service employees (Payne 2009, pp. 349-356).
The above literature review reveals that skill has forever been the fundamental feature of Work Procedure theory. Essential to the correlation between resources and labor at the place of work is how employees are recruited and managed. Ability does not necessarily reflect administration requirements.
It is domain of disagreement within and away from workstation, over the arrangement of work, management, and remunerations. Analysis of job markets indicates that future professions will employ highly qualified professionals and routine vocations will vanish due to increase in demand for creative abilities. This has been measured by assessing the changes in economic activities.
For example, over the past few years the manufacturing sector has reduced considerably while the service segment has attracted workers that are more skilled. Proof of an expansion in the statistics working in specialized and administrative professions, and the increasing requirement levels of the labor force have been recurrently positioned to support the concept of a widespread increasing shift in ability.
The ever-increasing number of careers that need superior education credentials and the heftiness of salary returns have been applied as additional corroboration of a common growing shift in the proficiency needs of sophisticated developed economies. However, critics who contend that up-skilling theory does not take into consideration the shortcomings of assessments based on occupational categories disapproved it.
The disquiet is that the quality of occupations has not witnessed any serious improvement since many managers have simply raised the requirement bar because of the credential inflation. It is against this background that Brown and Hesketh contend that job seekers are looking for superior credentials in order to gain positional advantage due to the serious competition for the limited job vacancies.
Skills survey can also serve as an alternative tool for examining skill development in various occupations. The surveys employ a number of standardized pointers such as perceptions of ability, requirements, preparation durations, and the scales of discretion. These kinds of tendency statistics provide a nuanced image of abilities than is obtainable merely from work-related and requirement proxies.
Survey outcomes in UK indicate that when workers are interrogated about their insights of the abilities they apply at work, most of them admit that they improved their skills after working for a couple of years (Grugulis & Lloyd 2010, pp. 97-102).
The study further showed that broad abilities – as assessed through academic credential prerequisites, education, and training durations-were established to have improved considerably during the survey period.
The effort to separate discretion from ability has often been debated within work procedure literature. For instance, “both Noon and Blytoon consider ‘skill as discretion’, as an alternative to ‘skill as complexity’ as a way of assessing skill” (Grugulis & Lloyd 2010, p. 108).
They are against the application of discretion as a gauge of ability contending that it centers on the observable and fails to recognize the importance of the assignment and the penalties of errors. It brings to mind a view of skilled personnel, they assert, which does not take into account the interdependency of various occupations. Brown avers that logically it is more acceptable to consider ability and judgment as one thing.
Another remarkable development that has emerged in the work process is the significant widening in the lexicon of abilities and the rising stress on social and soft abilities. Therefore, “self-confidence, communications, problem solving and customer service, among many others, are now commonly referred to as skills” (Morris & Feldman 1996, pp. 993).
The proof on the manner in which soft abilities influence the job environment is varied. Wharton noted higher levels of work satisfaction in employee who were expected to apply their emotions in the work environment than the employees who were not. While emotional links to clients, workmates, and managers may certainly make work significant for some employees it would be impractical to widen this to all.
Many questions have been raised as to whether soft skills are bound to favor women employees since most of them face myriad challenges ranging from poor remuneration to low prospects of promotion. This problem has been witnessed for quite long because of the failure of many employers to evaluate soft abilities.
Soft skills involve a wide range of traits, actions, good qualities, and abilities that are mostly subjective. In practice, “these can all too easily slide into gendered norms with rather counterproductive effects, since the norms women are judged against are often more demanding than those set for men” (Payne 2009, pp. 349-357).
In most cases, women employees are required to express a range of abilities and actions not needed from their male counterparts; however, these abilities do not attract good returns in terms of earnings. Emphasizing soft abilities creates a new range of performance pointers for employees with persons evaluated on how healthy, how psychologically, how persuasively they do something and on the emotions incite in others.
These characters have of late been recognized as skills. Nevertheless, treating these qualities as proficiencies shoves the blame for their configuration and application onto given employee and learning and instruction system. The position of organization in creating favorable working atmosphere is ignored, as personnel are required to demonstrate their own motivation or cooperation abilities regardless of context.
Broadening the definition of skill obscures the existence several careers that are routine, recurring, highly supervised and are studied within a short duration. Braver man contended that advancement of free enterprise led to the degradation of the notion of skill.
Payne has noted that one possible victim is the idea of ability itself, which becomes so generally described that it no longer possesses a rational meaning or importance.
“This not only makes it much harder to talk about job quality, or what we mean by a skilled job, but there is a danger that it may leave unchallenged the dull, highly scheduled and monotonous nature of many front-line service jobs” (Payne 2009, pp. 355-359).
The ‘undervaluing’ of the idea of ability, thus, creates a grave challenge to individuals trying to explore the real character of the work process and, especially, the material nature of labor.
From this discussion, it can be concluded that various employees are increasingly demanding for employees with superior academic credentials. This is occurs due to the inflation of job candidates with high academic credentials.
However, this does not necessarily mean that jobs have become more sophisticated. The meaning of skill has also been broadened and soft skills are increasingly becoming more relevant especially in emotional work. Therefore, better analytical tools should be devised to facilitate skill analysis.
For example, extensive surveys on the growth trends of skill should be conducted in various job markets so that proper conclusion can be drawn on the up skilling trends. This is because the current job market is very dynamic and requires employees to demonstrate a wide arrange of competencies.
Grugulis, I & Lloyd, C 2010, “Skill and the Labour Process: The Conditions and Consequences of Change”, in P, Thompson & C, Smith, Working Life: Renewing Labour Process Analysis, Palgrave: New York, pp. 97-109.
Hakim, C 1995, ‘Five femenist myths about women’s employmnet’, London School of Economics, vol. 46 no. 3, pp. 430- 437.
Morris, A & Feldman, D 1996, ‘The Dimensions, Antecedents, and Consequences of Emotional Labour’, The Academy of Management Review, vol. 2 no. 4, pp. 986-1010.
Noon, M 2010, ‘The shackled runner: time to rethink positive discrimination?’, Work, Employment and Society, vol. 24 no. 4, pp. 728–739.
Payne, J 2009, ‘Emotional Labour and Skill: A Reappraisal’, Gender, Work and Organization, vol. 16 no. 3, pp. 351- 365.
Sealy, R & Doherty, N 2011, ‘Women in finance: a springboard to corporate board positions?’, The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, vol. 2 no. 6, pp.18-25.
Taylor, P & Scholarios, D 2011, ‘Beneath the glass ceiling: Explaining gendered role segmentation in call centres’, Human Relations, vol. 64 no.10, pp. 1291–1319.