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According to Heerwagen (2010), the work environment of most organizations in the world has undergone tremendous changes over the last three decades. Globalization is one of the main factors that has played a critical role in this development. As a result of globalization, firms are now capable of operating effectively on a global scale. Consequently, the level of competition has greatly increased over the last several decades.
The availability of capital coupled with presence of effective manufacturing, marketing, selling, and distributing markets has increased the level of production giving consumers a wide range of alternative goods and services to choose from. Most importantly, firms have modified the manner in which they operate as a result of the advancements that are being experienced in the field of information, communication, and technology (ICT).
Managers all around the world have realized that ICT is an important component in increasing the effectiveness and efficiency in which their firms operate at. Thus, to incorporate these and many more advancements, organizations have greatly modified the manner in which they operate (Riggio, 2007). This paper will therefore focus on the factors that have resulted to the massive changes that are being experienced in the workplace and means through which firms can modify their operations to support these changes.
In the contemporary world, the manner in which organizations operate has greatly changed. Several decades ago, firms operated to achieve their set goals and objectives.
While these are still the same factors that determine the level of operations of firms in the contemporary world, other factors play a critical role in determining the strategies and policies that a firm will put in place to ensure that it realizes its mission, vision, goals, and objectives. Thus, in modern day firms, the structure and content of operations have greatly changed.
The operations within a given entity are now more complex. Furthermore, the operations of most firms in the world revolve around the concepts of teamwork, social interaction, and technological skills of the workforce (Heldrich, 2000). At the same time, due to the globalization and the incorporation of IT and ICT, the geographic location of firms is not as important as it used to be. With the advancement in the field of IT, firms have become more mobile.
For instance, most of the firms that were based in the United States of America and Europe in the 1980s have either moved their operations or expanded their market base in the Middle East and Asia (especially China), due to reduced costs of operations and ready market for their products in these new destinations (Heldrich, 2000). This move has greatly improved the economy of many developing nations in Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
According to the lean theory, firms in the modern day strive to achieve excellence in their operations by becoming more agile and working to meet the needs and desires of their consumers (Heerwagen, 2010).
Thus, to achieve these goals, Kirsh (2000) in his study suggested that firms should come up with dynamic policies and strategies that will not only ensure that their organizations stand on a competitive edge over their rivals but they will also guarantee their sustainability in the short run and in the long run. To achieve this requirement, modern day firms have adopted a decentralized form of organization structure where leadership and decision making is spread all through an organization (Kirsh, 2000).
With this form of leadership, communication within a firm becomes effective, employees of all levels are involved in the decision-making process, and most importantly, employees develop a team spirit and a strong organization culture. With all these factors in place, it will be easier for a firm to meet the needs and desires of its customers as well as achieving their short term and long-term goals and objectives.
From this analysis therefore, it is evident that the application of lean strategies by firms has resulted in massive changes in the manner in which firms operate. Due to the dynamic nature of the contemporary market, firms now strive to respond rapidly to the changes that are being experienced in the market place.
Thus, firms have put in place effective value chain strategies that increase the efficiency and effectiveness of internal operations to ensure that the outcome adds value to their consumers by meeting their requirements and expectations. Therefore, to keep up with this change, firms are expected to operate within cycles of reflections where they modify their operations and activities to reflect on the changes and trends within the market (Heerwagen, 2010).
Other than having an effect on the manner in which organizations operate as a whole, changes in the work environment also have an impact on individuals and groups as well. Therefore, to increase the productivity of individuals and groups under these new conditions, managers all across the world have come up with model that incorporate new technology and organization tools.
According to the cognitive competence model, employees are expected to be cognitively fluid thus being able to work in the different work contexts that have been brought about by the new technology and organizational practices (Kirsh, 2000).
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Therefore, to meet these demands, individual employees need to improve on their knowledge and skills for them to be able to work effectively as individuals and as a group. It is only through training and development that employees can meet this requirement.
This trend can thus be used to explain why many individual employees attend various academic courses since in the contemporary world, knowledge is not a requirement of a few within a given organization but for all. However, with the help of ICT, especially the internet, individual employees can easily access all the information that they require to improve their knowledge and skills (such as distance learning programs and online tutorials).
However, it has been noted that employees find it difficult to effectively utilize this information due to a lot of pressure from work and anxiety to progress professionally. Therefore, due to overload of information, such individuals end up suffering from cognitive overload syndrome, a condition that has a negative impact on the overall performance of an employee at the workplace.
According Maxmin (2002), the success of an organization in the 21st century highly relies on teamwork and collective activities from employees. In conclusion, Maxmin (2002) recommended that employees should improve their social skills for them to be able to work effectively within an organization hence achieving their personal in addition to the organizational goals and objectives. Thus, there is a need for employees to develop effective conflict resolution skills and mechanisms.
Employees also need to respect one another and to develop mechanisms of sharing critical information among themselves. With these mechanisms in place, it will be easier for employees to work together and achieve mutual goals and objectives. Such a relationship also provides a conducive learning environment where employees share their ideas and learn from new skills and ideas from one another hence improving the overall efficiency and output of an organization.
All the factors that have been discussed play a significant role in determining the changes that are being experienced in modern organizations. Thus, with the opportunities and pressures that accrue from new technology and market trends, firms have developed new models that reflect on these changes hence affecting their organizational practices, culture, policies, strategies, goals, and objectives. As a result, employees have to adjust to these changes to ensure that they are productive, effective, and efficient.
To keep up with the pace at which the world is advancing, it is imminent for the nature and the role of the workplace to change as well. Through change management, an organization will be able to adjust to the rapid changes that it is experiencing in the course of its operations.
This will ensure that it is operating in an effective and efficient manner in the short run and in the long run. To achieve this, I have designed a method that will strengthen the relationship between the goals and objectives of an organization with the changes that it is experiencing. This will result in minimal interruptions in the workplace, low employee turnover rates, increment in job satisfaction among employees and the attainment of personal as well as corporate goals and objectives in the short run and in the long run.
The first step of this program is to create a shared need within the organization. To achieve this, the manager is expected to identify the factors that are changing within the organization, the effects that they might have on the organization and most importantly, the manner in which the organization can cope to this change.
With this information, the manager should then communicate these findings to his staff. It is at this point that the manager will develop different teams. Through the group process, employees learn to work together as a team to collectively achieve the set goals and objectives, an essential requirement in the modern day organizations. Thus, each team will have a specific role such as the management of the project, mobilization of other units/departments, and creation of an action plan and a communication strategy.
Shaping the vision of the organization will be the second step of this program that will be achieved by selecting a leader for each team. According to the behavioral theory, the selected leaders have to be task oriented by being able to initiate and organize information as well as the employees under them to achieve the desired results.
At the same time, the leaders are expected to motivate, encourage, listen, coach, and mentor the employees under them. With effective leadership, employees at all levels of management will feel involved in the decision-making process resulting in high levels of employee engagement. Through their effort and support, it will be much easier for an organization to adapt to change and operate more effectively hence achieving its goals and objectives.
The third step of this program will be to mobilize the commitment of the workforce. With the aid of a quantitative research, the current approaches and strategies that are used by employees can be compared to the benchmark of the industry.
With this information therefore, a firm will be in a better position of exactly implementing specific changes by selecting the strategies that guarantee the achievement of the set goals and objectives. To achieve this, statistical tests will be undertaken where the effect of independent variables such as job satisfaction and stress levels at work will be compared to work performance that is the dependent variable.
With the help of tests such as chi square and Pearson correlation tests, the relationship between the independent and dependent variables will be analyzed and the results will be used to support to reject to set hypothesis. From these results, effective training and development strategies such as seminars and workshops will be proposed as measures of reducing stress and improving job satisfaction among employees.
Evaluation of the program will be the fourth step of this exercise. A scorecard for all the metrics involved in this exercised will be used to compare the actual results with the expected data. In addition to the supervisor appraisals that are filled by the team leaders, employees are expected to fill self-appraisal forms every month. From this data, the management will be able to determine whether the program is effective or not. Consequently, amendments can be made to ensure that the overall goals and objectives are achieved in the long run.
Monitoring is the last step of this program. The performance of every employee and group will be monitored constantly. This is an essential requirement, as it will provide information with regards to the effectiveness of the program in assisting the employees and the organization to cope with change.
It is expected that the needs of employees might change as they adapt to the changing work environment. However, with constant monitoring and evaluation, the performance of employees will always be checked to ensure that the goals and objectives of the program are achieved with the help of the strategies that have been put in place.
Heerwagen, J. (2010). The Changing Nature of Organizations, Work, and Workplace. Retrieved from http://www.wbdg.org/resources/changing-nature-organizations-work-and-workplace
Heldrich, J. (2000). Nothing but Net: American Workers and the Information Economy. Connecticut: University of Connecticut.
Kirsh, D. (2000). A Few Thoughts on Cognitive Overload. Intellectia, 1(30): 19-51
Maxmin, J. (2002). The Support Economy. New York: Viking Press, 2002.
Riggio, R. E. (2007). Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.