Problems Facing Management Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2860 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 9  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management

Management Problems

Dealing With Current Human Relations Problems

Leadership failures occur most frequently because of ineptness, the inability to catch up with development requirements or simply because of a wrong diagnosis or handling of problems (Heisler 1989). Newer and more unprecedented changes and forces keep coming and, in many cases, they do not get addressed adequately because of a company's adherence to old ways. Managers and leaders get accustomed to old laws of doing things and, with the ingress of new developments, old programs prove ineffective, cash-draining and result in employee restiveness. There is urgent need to change the American business culture from a fast-buck and short-change format to a long-term and employee-oriented action as the only way to build or remain competitive. And there is greater need to adopt a system or a new vision in making a correct diagnosis and implementing correct responses to new problems within or affecting the human resources department.

Foremost among these new problems and issues are on health care, information technology and the management system (Heisler).

Findings and Conclusion


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In the past, health care costs were considered a problem to management and have always been an issue on the bargaining table between labor and management (Jordhal 1992), as these costs are part of the worker's compensation package. With rising health costs, this issue has gone into deeper levels for both sides of the table. Rather than take an adversarial position, labor and management can agree to cooperate in the shared goal of adequately responding to increasing health and dependence care costs as well as on-the-job pressures. A number of businesses have opted for innovative programs to promote partnership between management and a labor union and, as experience shows, these programs have conduced to employee productiveness.

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One such business was Nynex Corporation, which embarked into a labor/management partnership to provide funding assistance for child or elderly care in places where its employees live and work (Jordhal 1992). Another was General Motors, which adopted a system to help its employees who meet on-the-job accidents and to provide counseling to enable them to reduce or contain stress, thus save on mental health benefits that raise costs. A third example is MRC Bearings Company, which keeps a labor/management health care committee that determines alternatives to health care coverage before signing work contracts. And Truck-Lite Company operates a wellness program jointly with management.

MRC Bearings President Mike Piazza noted employees' favorable response to the effort and assumed that they appreciate the connection between wellness and the health care cost effort expended by management (Jordhal 1992). He admitted, though, that his company had not measured short-term cost impact, but expected their efforts to modify employee behavior to create positive impact on the costs. Truck-Life Company, Inc. human resources manager Jose Zeman would suggest companies to encourage teamwork in order to sustain such partnership and to focus closely on the membership dynamics of those responsible for its implementation. Truck-Life produces vehicular lighting with 500 workers, approximately 300 of whom are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Its partnership is being implemented by an Employee Involvement and Betterment Team, which also oversees the operation of smaller teams in areas such as nutrition, testing, fitness and health education (Jordhal).

Another problem area in human resources is the introduction of increasingly new information technology and its role in industrial failure and loss (Thorp 1999). The experiences of Hershey, Whirlpool, Starbucks and Bang & Olufsen are sound lessons to learn. Hershey's biggest travail was a new computer system, Starbucks' internet start-ups expenses hurt its earnings, while Bang & Olufsen confronts financial shortage because of the SAP software and Whirpool faced shipping problems in an attempt to go live and blamed the same SAP for it. These disasters tell businesses that management must drop the "silver bullet" approach of simply plugging new technology in and waiting for benefits and profits to come in. Empirical evidence says something else and points to that kind of thinking as a major cause of failure.

New technology hurdles are not technology problems, but a business management problem that confronts and upsets both labor and management (Thorp 1999). Automating industrial processes and benefits was relatively easy to learn and adopt when first getting acquainted with information technology or it within the main office or immediate environs. But supply chain and electronic commerce and knowledge management are more complicated and much more is at stake in them.

The fact is that technology handles or comprises only 5-15% of the business required to attain full benefits (Thorp 1999). The rest of the function is the evaluating or re-thinking of the overall business system from the details of processes all the way up to the very nature of the business or industry. Organizations now implement change, not technology, and the proverbial plugging of technology to operate and realize benefits has become inadequate. The need of the hour is to come up with a new approach that would realize the benefits and profits of investments in the realm of it-enabled change or changes. This means refocusing beyond merely managing technology projects separately from business programs. It raises technology problems to the business level, from the local or basic business level to the overall industrial viewpoint. It requires the evaluation of business programs, through which only the best are sifted and managed s a portfolio of programs. This major or radical shift in management approach also makes decision-making, not a single-time event, but a proactively managed occurrence that should carry through the full delivery of the product or service.

The it section of the human resource department may be held answerable for the delivery of technical capabilities, the business itself is answerable for those it capabilities along with other capabilities in providing or delivering the final product or service to its market (Thorp 1999). The business and its it department must cooperate in deciding what they want to achieve or produce, who will be accountable for what, how achievement will be measured and how program should be managed. The new approach to benefits realization demands a new environment wherein labor and management must really work together in order to succeed. No less than a long-term, sustained and combined change effort between them is necessitated on how organizations should now think, manage and act. It is a decision that will not change everything overnight but must be started soon enough if not now. It will benefit every business program, whether still evolving, current or encountering trouble with the lessons it teaches in responding to the challenge of "reinventing" itself as an industrial competitor (Thorp).

This century and oncoming ones require and will require a business to invest heavily but wisely on its human resource (Tellier 1999). The organization cannot function without it. And for employees to function well, they must be trained for their function.

Technology continues to evolve and become more and more sophisticated and complicated. In response, employees who will operate technology should be more intensely trained in keeping abreast with continuously expanding technology. Each employee needs to better understand how his or her individual performance will affect the business that invests on his or her performance. This investment includes listening to his or her comments and acting on these comments, aptly recognizing their contributions to the organization and, best of all, respecting them as fellow workers who possess dignity as human beings.

An employee's pay must be commensurate to his or her performance and contribution to the overall success of the company. In turn, company success must be equated with industrial performance and prompt delivery of service or product to the market (Thorp 1999). Chronically poor performance is a bane and something that management must know how to tackle well.

The traditional options towards chronically poor performers have been limited to firing, bearing with their lack of productivity but continuing to compensate them, and moving them to another position or location within the company (Yandrick 1995). These options have remained un-appealing to both sides and put the supervisor while displacing the poor performers. The World Bank came up with a formula that human resource managers can integrate into their performance-management training in dealing with stubborn manpower problems. Problem employees will continue to emerge in an organization and afflict management, no matter how extensive a supervisor's training has been in labor-management relations, the disciplinary process and employee relations (Yandrick). A supervisor is usually trained to evaluate employee skills without reference to their individual personal problems and environmental factors that bring the poor performance about. Yet the supervisor should be able to spot the cause behind the poor performance or conduct, which can be an improper work attitude, emotional problems, substance abuse, or other family concerns. The World Bank's formula is intended to complement the standard model of performance management and consists of goal setting, continuous performance monitoring, feedback and adjustment between supervisor and employee. This suggested formula grew out of the failure of many organizations to provide their supervisors… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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