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It comes as no surprise that in the last 50 years a lot has changed around the world, and with that a lot has changed in the workplaces within organisations around the world. Without these changes, growth wouldn’t have happen and on the more negative side, the market crashes wouldn’t had happened.
Yet through the thick and thin, change is important within the world and organisations. It is needed to keep us thinking, keep us on our toes and keep us growing.
In this article, the first for the My Organisational Behaviour Blog, we will explore the eight main workforce trends which are affecting businesses all over the first world. These examples are mainly taken from the British workforce, but when looking at countries such as the United States of America, Canada and Germany, the trends are much the same.
An Ageing Workforce
The birth rate in Britain has decreased with last year “just 698,512 babies were born, down from 729,674 the year before”. Although this doesn’t seem like a massive problem, the effect of decreasing birth rates means that workers have to continue working for longer to support themselves and the economy. This in turn leads it to being harder for the younger generation to get jobs, as people are not retiring at the standard age set by the government.
This article from the Telegraph paints a good picture of why this is a challenge for organisations;
An ageing workforce creates significant challenges for employers, especially around how to control the cost of benefit provision for this group of workers. Employers need to recognise that the benefits they offer need to be adapted to deliver to the needs of the whole workforce, regardless of age,” said Mr Ball.
A lot is said of older worker being less productive and less inclined to learn new skills. I can’t say I believe this, as it is dependent on the person and culture they are in, rather than the age they are labelled with.
Female Participation in High-Status Jobs
One of the best changes which is happening in organisations is the participation of females in higher roles. After years of women struggling in the workplace, we are finally in a position to see men and women both at the top of the bill.
In fact an article which was published a few years ago on The Telegraph’s website goes as far as saying that there are more women in higher positions than men now, however the pay is still not equal.
I’m a firm believer in that this shouldn’t affect an organisation too much, as men and women should be treated equal anyway, so the way an organisation is run hopefully already takes this into account…
Increasing Participation of Historically Disadvantaged Groups
Another change which is fantastic, is that disadvantaged groups have started to appear more in organisations. From racial problems to people with physical disabilities, there doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem anymore with everyone having equal treatment in the workplace.
With the higher participation of these groups, it translate into even better places, with David Cameron strengthening his business advisory group with three women and first black FTSE 100 CEO.
More use of Various Flexible Working Practices
Part-time, temporary contracts and zero hour contracts have all become massive in the last couple of years, with people preferring to try and fit work around their life, to be happier and more content. This changes the workplace in many good and bad ways.
Communication can be badly affected as part-time workers and temporary contract workers won’t be around as often, and as they aren’t there as often, they may not care as much, leading to communication problems around all of the company. As well as this it may be harder to keep track of which employees are in when, hence why most companies with flexitime still make it a requirement for workers to come into the office in-between at least 2 to 4 hours when everyone else is there. This allows any important meetings etc. to take place.
On the other hand, flexible working is said to drastically improve motivation as it allows people to have their own lives away from work.
Working flexibly has allowed Karina to be there for her children while also running a start-up business. It has also enabled her to keep costs down and save money during the first few months of setting up a business by not having to rent expensive office space and pay for the associated overheads such as gas, electricity or travel costs. Instead, Karina can work from home, a cafe or wherever she needs to be.
In many ways it depends on the organisation. But the research suggests that flexible working, works.
Read More on this Subject
Culture Definition: The human-generated part of the environment that is transmitted across time and generations and leads to people within that culture developing shared meanings; culture gives people ‘standard operating procedures’ or ways of doing things. Often said to be ‘the ways things are done around here’ culture is a major point within an organisation as it can lead to success or failure. It is important to manage culture and try and install one which works well for the type of organisation, the objectives and goals the business has set and the recruitment practices in place.
Organisational Culture Definition: The distinctive norms, beliefs, principles and ways of behaving that combine to give each organisation its distinctive character.
- Norms: How things are done, people are treated and the normal goings on in a business day to day. This is influenced highly by the employees in the company, as these are the ones which spend the most time interacting with each other.
- Beliefs: These are the thoughts employees have, they can either be installed by the employer, for example the belief that all work should be done to the highest standard despite the amount of time it may take. However, employees have beliefs which they learn themselves, such as the fact that everything may have to be done to the highest standard despite the time taken, yet as they have targets to meet in terms of when tasks should be achieved, this isn’t true and the belief isn’t there.
- Principles: Principles are what the company sets out to do, for example Google’s ‘Don’t Be Evil’.
Taken from our sister site which delves more into Culture is the following;
Cultures in organisation is defined by how the organisation is run, how the personalities within the organisation interact with each other and also how the structure of the company is set out. We can see this when we look at how different counties operate, for example the French are very self-righteous and therefore stick up for what they believe in, hence why they have blocked motorways when fuel prices have risen and chopped of their leaders head when they didn’t agree.
Key Learning Points
- What is the Definition of Culture?
- What is the Definition of Organisational Culture?
- How can a Culture be Created Within a Company?
Image from Flickr by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
Group Definition: In the setting of an organisation, a group is the collection of people who are located, grouped or gathered together, either by classification or in a more general sense. People are often put in groups, such as a department, or groups are created by the same culture or objectives within an organisation.
Team Definition: A team in an organisation is defined to be more competitive than a group, with the intention of this grouping of people to be able to achieve a common goal, reach the same objectives.
Below are the slightly expanded definitions which have been created by scholars in the field of Organisational Behaviour.
What is a Group?
A group is a number of people who;
- interact with each other;
- are psychologically aware of each other;
- perceive themselves aware of each other;
- or perceive themselves to be a group.
What is a Team?
A team is a group of people, each of whom possesses particular expertise; each of whom is responsible for making individual decisions; who together hold a common purpose; who meet together to communicate, collaborate and consolidate knowledge, from which plans are made, actions determined and future decisions influenced.
Key Learning Points?
- What is the Definition of a Group?
- What is the Definition of a Team?
- Why should groups and teams be used within organisations?
Image from Flickr by woodleywonderworks
Job Design Definition: Job Design, which can also be called Work Design or Task Design, is the process of assigning tasks to a job, including the interdependency of those tasks with other jobs. It is to help improve the employees relationship with the job in hand and increase the quality of the product or service at the same time. Job Design has an importance within keeping an organisation at the right standard of work and employee ethics.
The following are some definitions by scholars in the field, this may help as they are a good way to start off an essay question within an exam.
Job redesign: collective name given to techniques designed to increase one or more of the variety, autonomy and completeness of a person’s work tasks
Arnold (2010: 704)
Job characteristics model: a job design model that relates the motivational properties of jobs to specific personal and organizational consequences of those properties
Bratton (2010: 498)
Learn More About Job Design
The following theories could be linked up to Job Design in a number of ways;
- Common-sense Theory: Motivation
- Expectancy Theory: Motivation
- Fundamental Attribution Error
- Goal-setting Theory: Motivation
- Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory: Motivation
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Motivation
Key Learning Points
- What is Job Design?
- How Do You Define Job Design?
- Which Theories link with Job Design?