How Biographical Characteristics Affect Productivity Essay

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Productivity

Increasing productivity is a challenge for most in the management profession. Managers essentially must get more output from the same inputs, including human resources. One tool that can help to explain productivity is biographical characteristics. Each of the major types of biographical characteristics can contribute to managerial understanding of the constraints on increasing worker productivity. The major biographical characteristics considered are age, gender and tenure (Management Guidebook, 2010). There are other biographical considerations that have been subject to study as well, for example the family history of the employee.

Age

Age is an increasingly touchy issue in the working world. There are two mutually exclusive perceptions about age that are widespread. The first is that as age increases, productivity decreases. This view is common among professions that involve physical labor, because as the body ages it is capable of less (Management Guidebook, 2010). In more intellectual vocations, the opposite is true. Experience is to some degree valued, because it makes the worker more productive. In the middle, white collar workers of age might be viewed more as being inflexible and therefore less productive, even though the issue is not considered to be physical.

Tenure

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Related to age is tenure. While in physical jobs, age is negatively correlated with productivity, in mental jobs tenure is positively correlated with productivity. Tenure is a good predictor of productivity (Management Guidebook, 2010). Not only is somebody with high tenure less likely to quit, but somebody with high tenure is also able to deal with the rigors of the job more easily, is less likely to panic or make a poor decision under pressure, and such individuals generally know the most productive way of performing a task or solving a problem. As such, tenure is positively correlated with productivity, even when age is not considered to have a positive correlation (Ibid).

Gender

Essay on How Biographical Characteristics Affect Productivity Assignment

Gender is not generally correlated with productivity. While there is some superstition with respect to gender and productivity, it is not borne out in practice (Management Guidebook, 2010). Indeed, in some cultures and professions women are far more productive than men, lending credence to the argument that gender is irrelevant in discussions of productivity, once the other aspects of a culture have been eliminated.

Among the key issues that are proposed with respect to gender and productivity are those concerning absenteeism and turnover rates, presumably referencing the traditional role of the female as the caretaker of the family. Evidence shows, however, that turnover rates for women are equivalent to those for men. Women have higher rates of absenteeism, but this is likely to decline in the future. In many countries, such as Sweden, social norms and economic incentives will erase the last remaining gender issue with respect to productivity. Males are increasingly participating in child-rearing, including taking paternity leave, so not only will productivity rates even out over time but the notion that family leave reduces one's productivity will also erode. As well, it is worth mentioning that childless females do not lag with respect to productivity -- the gap is strictly related to time off for child-rearing and even then the evidence is tenuous and many workers can overcome this gap easily -- the gap only emerges after multiple years away from the workplace.

Family History

Soethout, Heymans and Cate (2008) argued that workers who have a family history in an industry have a preference for that industry as a career choice. The worker in this scenario is likely to be more committed to the career, having more of a personal sense of purpose, and therefore this will be correlated with positive outcomes with respect to academic achievement and professional success.

Personality Traits

One's biographical background tends to impact on one's personality traits. Certainly, there is a view that confidence derives from status and that other traits can be taught by parents who value the traits. In particular, Tay, Ang and van Dyne (2006) identified three charactertistics that… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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