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Management. Seniority in the Workplace Annotated Bibliography

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Updated: Sep 2nd, 2021

There are a number of issues that needs to be addressed in the workplace. There are issues that sometimes only the top management can handle, and there are issues that are managed by employees of the same ranks. But whatever kind of issue may arise, there is always one common denominator when it comes to solving it – and that is the fact that effective management of the people and good leadership style will never fail to manage whatever workplace issue there is.

Indeed, the success of a company or of a business depends highly on the leaders and managers who run it – strong leadership, that is. Model leaders are oftentimes impacting the lives and future of everyone. Leadership is defined as a process where individual influences a certain number of people to reach the top level of success and to reach the common goal (Bolden 2004). On the other hand, management is a managerial process of forming a strategic vision, setting objectives, crafting a strategy and then implementing and executing the strategy. It focuses both from short term to long term perspective.

Reh (2006) defined management as the art and science; art because they make people effective even without the supervisors, and it is a science because it oversees how it is being implemented. There are four basic pillars (Reh 2006) that contribute to the management guides: plan, organize, direct, and monitor. Planning is very important since this will be the start off of a certain project. Without planning, the project may cause delays and eventually will reach the goal which is envisioned by the company. Having an activity or an event, planning is always needed. This plan will be the record of the goals and objectives the company wanted to achieve. In this way, there will be a check and balance if the projects were pursued or were they done.

It is a process. Planning comes with organizing, directing people who will be involved heavily in projects and ensure that there are changes, impacts that happened through the course of implementation through monitoring. According to Reh (2006), managing people has never been easy, especially when there are large numbers of staff involved. But once the plan is done properly, in sync with organizing, directing and monitoring, then this will not be a heavy load after all. Later, it will be realized that the challenging project is rewarding once it came out successfully.

Seniority in the workplace is one of the long-running issues that always take place in the job. This is an issue that is both seen as positive and negative. According to Atty, Lira (2006)

“…seniority is according a high level of importance in employment law. For example, if there is a conflict between a bona fide seniority system and an agreement to settle a discrimination claim, in all likelihood, the seniority system will take precedence.”

It should also be noted that seniority in the workplace normally happens if there is no union or labour unions. It has been customary that if the union and the employer have both agreed that seniority will be followed in the workplace, there that is the only time that the concept of union and seniority in the workplace will both occur.

However, unlike unions, seniority in the workplace is not binding.

Even if an employer sets up a seniority system without a union being involved, you need to remember that employee manuals aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Seniority systems set up by employers in employee manuals probably aren’t binding on the theory, under the employment at-will doctrine, can always change the policy unilaterally” (Atty. Lira, 2006).

Employers or top management can sometimes use seniority as the basis for some decision making for the company. Because most often than not, when seniority is used as the basis for decisions, employees perceived the decision as ‘good, quick, non-discriminatory and objective’; hence it helps avoid confusion and ill feelings from the employees concerned.

But the disadvantage of using seniority in the workplace is the fact that it is inflexible. It is very rigid in a way that once seniority has been the custom, employees would always expect it to be the sole basis for every decision. Another interconnected disadvantage is the fact that the “seniority system may also prevent an employer from placing its best people in slots where they would be most effective” because employers or top management would always have to consider the seniors or those who came in first in the company (Atty. Lira, 2006).

Whatever issues that management needs to take into account – such as the issue of seniority in the workplace – it should always be taken into account that the needs of organizations feature strongly in the successful management of the workplace; however, individual, subjective issues such as attitudes, commitment, motivation and self-image, have been included as these are particularly important to any workplace. Workers will only adopt new ideas, knowledge or skills if they are interested in it or find some benefit for themselves in doing so. Understanding the relationship between inputs, outputs and outcomes will assist in harnessing the involvement of individuals while working.

Clearly addressing the needs of the workers – seniors or unions alike – can address many of the current and future needs of managers and leaders and can take many forms – both formal and informal. However, it is not something that can be done overnight; but a long-term commitment by both the organization and the individual. As organizations begin to see the benefits of addressing the issue, they will become increasingly committed to developing more focused programs to meet their specific organizational needs, which will help to maintain the momentum (Kaydo, 2000).


Atty. Lira, David (2006) “Seniority in the Workplace. Web.

Bolden, R 2004. What is leadership? Leadership SouthWest Research Report 1, University of Exter Center for Leadership Studies. Web.

Kaydo, C.2000. “The new skills of top managers”, Sales and marketing management, Vol. 152, (5), 16.

Kotter, J. 1998. Winning at change. Leader to Leader. Web.

Kegan, R. and Lahey, L. 2001. The real reason people won’t change. Harvard Business Review. Nov, 84-92.

LaClair, J. and Rao, R. 2002. Helping employees embrace change. The McKinsey Quarterly. No. 4.

Marshall, J. and Conner, D. 2000. Another reason why companies resist change. Strategy and Business.

Mathews, P.2005, “The role of mentoring in promoting organisational competitiveness”, Competitiveness Review 2005.

Mayer, E., Putting general education to work: The key competencies report, Australian Education Council and Ministers for Vocational Education, Employment and Training, Australian Government Publishing Services, Canberra, 1992.

Reh, F. John 2006, Management 101: Your Guide to Management., The New York Times Company. Web.

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