Human Resource Management: Efficiency and Equity

Micro essays

Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971)

The above case was argued before the Supreme Court of the United States of America in December 1970. Discrimination in the employment sector was the major conflict. In this case, the Duke Power Company was accused of discriminating their employees who were of African-American origin. This case was as a result of the introduction of the requirements of a high school diploma and an IQ test as part of the qualification tests for higher positions by the company’ s Dan River Plant. Because most of the African-American employers lacked high school diplomas and scored low on IQ tests, this introduction openly locked them out of the high positions.

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The Supreme Court’s ruling indicated that the company was actually discriminating its African-American employees. This ruling was supported by the fact that there were some white employees who lacked high school diplomas yet they held high positions in the company. In its ruling, the court posited that the use of high school diplomas and IQ tests as rigid measures to test employees’ capability was inappropriate hence discriminative in nature. This is because there are unqualified people who can perform a particular job in the same manner as those who are qualified.

The above discussed case caused a major transformation in the human resource management. First and foremost, most employers learnt that all employees should be treated in an equal and just manner irrespective of their cultural or racial background. The employers should uniformly offer employment and promotion opportunities to all employees.

Secondly, the case was significant in human resource management because it heralded the need to place emphasis on the capabilities of employees as opposed to their educational qualifications. The ruling by the court enlightened employers on the need to pay attention on the abilities of the employees rather than their educational papers and intellectual capacities. This revelation also led to an increase in the number of African-American employees who were employed in high positions irrespective of their educational qualifications and IQ test scores.

At-Will Public Employment

The At-will public employment principle is a doctrine in the law of the United States of America that states the kind of relationship between the employer and the employee as far as the termination of the employee’s contract is concerned. In this principle, the employer or the employee can freely terminate his contractual obligation. This renders the contract null and void. The doctrine dictates that provided there was an absence of any form of a contract of service, none of the parties holds any liabilities under such circumstances.

The doctrine of at-will public management is significant to human resource management because it enables employees to quit their career positions which may be exploiting them. The employees can also quit in cases where they find the management to be defective or the working environment to be unfriendly. The doctrine therefore empowers the employees to have a free will to choose the kind of management or working environment under which they would like to carry out their duties.

In addition, the principle of at-will public employment is significant to human resource management because it enable employees to terminate the employment of undesirable employees. Through this doctrine, the employer has all the rights to terminate the services of employees who are deemed incompetent or whose services are no longer needed in the company due to one reason or another. This right is beneficial to the human resource management because it makes it possible for the management of the company to maintain a highly skilled workforce and only those employees whose services are needed in the company. This will go a long way in improving the efficiency of the work force.

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Scientific Management

Scientific management is a management theory that was developed by Frederick Taylor in the year 1890. The theory suggests that instead of looking for extraordinary employees to take up high positions in companies, the management should instead train the employees in order to attain the highest level of productivity (Drury, 1915). The theory argues that efficient training of employees will go a long way to boost the productivity of the company as opposed to looking for certain experts.

This not only saves a lot of money but time as well. Furthermore, the theory posits that the management should take an active role to fulfil the tasks in the company. Instead of leaving all the work to the workmen, the management should handle those tasks which it has the capability to handle. Furthermore, the theory recommends that the company should formulate measures to save time in its operation.

The theory of scientific management is significant to human resource management because it promotes the training of employees. The employees are therefore in a position to develop and acquire additional knowledge and skills in their line of duty. The acquisition of such knowledge and skills also contributes to the job security of the employees. It is unlikely that a company would terminate the services of its employees after training them.

Moreover, the scientific management theory enables the company to increase its productivity (Beissinger, 1988). This is because by training the employers, the management taps their full potential into the production process. The increased production efforts in turn translate into improved production by the company. In addition, the active involvement of the management in the production process is likely to boost the morale of the workmen. This also leads to increased efforts by the employees and consequently, improved production.

Trait-Based Evaluation Systems

Trait-based evaluation systems are criteria formulated to appraise employees based on their performance behaviour at work. The systems look at the employees’ personal traits as well as their conduct while in their line of duty. Eventually, the employees are rewarded according to their traits. The employees that exhibit the best personal traits and professionalism are awarded the best prizes. Unlike other systems, this system is not concerned with the productivity of an individual. However, since the most productive employees are mostly those who have good personal and professional traits, the rewards generally go to such employees.

Trait-based evaluation systems are advantageous to human resource management because they give room to identify and reward the employees with desirable traits. This process is significant because it boosts the morale of those who receive the rewards and encourages them to behave in a better manner (Hartness, 1912). The appreciation of their good conduct also makes them feel their efforts and good work have not gone unnoticed.

Furthermore, trait-based evaluation systems are significant to human resource management because they stir up the spirit in other employees who have not been rewarded. The employees are challenged to be more dedicated to their work and improve on their personal as well as professional conduct. They will do this in the hope of receiving the same reward that they have witnessed being given to others. The competition among the employees for the rewards consequently leads to increased efficiency of the workforce.

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Interview As A Selection Method

Interviews are face to face assessments of prospective employers by the management. The purpose of interviews is to gauge the suitability of individuals for the job on offer. Interviews focus on educational qualifications as well as the personality of the interviewees. Every detail about the prospective employers is taken in by the management. Interviews are normally employed as the last stage of the job selection process. They are the most effective way of arriving at competent employees.

Interview as a selection method is significant to human resource management as it gives the management an opportunity to get an insight into the personality and educational qualification of the candidate (Budd, 2004). It gives a chance to the management to assess the characters of the prospective employees in a bid to come up with the best people for the job. The management is aware of the weight that the outcomes of the interviews bear and therefore conduct the process in a stringent manner.

Secondly, an interview gives individuals the chance to express their qualifications, personality and the reasons for applying the job. This is a chance that the interviewees must make good use of to secure a place as an employee in the company. The interview also gives the interviewee an opportunity to learn about what will be expected out of her or him.

Case Study Analyses

Employee Benefits: No More Nittany Lions

Question One

The lack of an appropriate approach and strategy of preparing the Penn State employees for the Penn State-Geisenger merger was a major shortcoming of the program. An effective method of preparing the Penn State employees for the merger would be to discuss with them the reasons and necessity of the merging in the first place. This discussion would have yielded an understanding on their side and no employee would have ended up disappointed by the merging. Furthermore, a step by step update on the progress of the merging plans to the employees would have helped to prepare them psychologically for what was coming.

Question Two

Although Abner Hamm has fallen victim to the merger, there is still hope for him and his co-workers. The employees can form a bargaining front that will then present their grievances to the Board Of Directors of the Penn State-Geisenger merger. The formed unit can then seek to be recognised as a body fighting for the retention of a majority of the privileges enjoyed by Penn State employees before the merger. Furthermore, the union can demand to enter into an agreement with the Board Of Directors that will guarantee them the retention of the said rights.

Question Three

One of the advantages of the new Penn State GHS compensation was that they annually acquired sick and vacation time during each hour in the pay period. The overall sick and vacation time that the employees acquired every year were far more than the time offered for the same at Penn State. However, the new compensation also had some disadvantages. One such disadvantage was that the employees were now required to make contributions towards the costs of their health care. This was not the case in the Penn State. The measure significantly reduced the income of the employers. Another disadvantage of the new compensation package was the reduced privileges that the employees were entitled to. For instance, they were no longer part of a prestigious institution. Furthermore, their favourite football team, the Nittany Lions, was no more.

Conflict Resolution and Grievance Handling: Too Many Christmas Carols In The Winter Festival

Question One

The resolution arrived at in this case was not fair to all parties. This is because the school compromised its stance on its religious neutrality. The resolution was also unfair as it obliged the school board to clear Rotelli’s personnel record of all disciplinary record. This agreement forced the school board to act in dishonesty. In fact, the school district should have taken this as an opportunity to emphasize its stance on its religious neutrality.

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Question Two

The dispute witnessed in this case could have been possibly avoided by barring Fred Rotelli from holding the winter festival in the first place. Rotelli’s past record was enough evidence to show that nothing would stop him from inducing religious aspects in the festival. The school board should have therefore used this to deny him an opportunity to hold the festival. On the other hand, the principal would have helped had he stood by the school’s religious neutrality. Fred Rotelli would have helped in the conflict resolution by admitting to his mistakes and promising a change of conduct. Lastly, the superintendent would have helped a lot in the conflict resolution had he shown an unwavering stand on the school district’s religious neutrality.

Question Three

Mediation would have helped in this situation by prompting each of the parties to compromise their stances and beliefs in order to arrive at a more amicable solution. A neutral party who is not part of the conflict would have been the most appropriate person to perform the role of a mediator. This is because the judgement of such a person would be free from bias.

Major Essay

The principle of equal employment opportunity requires all employers to put in place reasonable practices that give equal chances to the employment of all manners of people. Creating equal employment opportunity includes giving room to people with disabilities such as the lame and other minorities groups to participate in building the nation. Equal employment opportunity is more in-depth than the superficial equal treatment of people.

It involves accommodating differences at places of work and holding all employees under the same regard irrespective of their differences. This principle also prompts employers to get rid of barriers that are disadvantageous to members of minority groups as far as their employment is concerned.

Affirmative action refers to a policy that aims at empowering the minorities in society. The policy gives attention to people who have had a long history of discrimination. Affirmative action is similar to the principle of equal employment in that they are both directed at protecting the employment rights of the minorities. However, affirmative action is mainly concerned with individuals who have had a history of discrimination while equal employment opportunity majorly focuses on the present employment status of the people in question (Anderson, 2004).

Affirmative action also focuses on many aspects such as gender, national, religion, race, sexual orientation and colour. On the other hand, the principle of equal employment opportunity only takes into account visible minorities such as people with disabilities, women and aboriginal peoples.

Workforce diversity emphasizes on the need for the presence of employees from different cultural background, religious beliefs, language, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and age in the same company. Such diversity leads to competitive management practices, increased innovation and the amelioration of the company’s service to clients. There are several values or reasons that propel companies to diversify their workforce.

Some of these reasons are social responsibilities, legal requirements, the need to build the capacity of the company, the use of the diversity as a marketing strategy and as a business communications strategy (Norma, 2002). Unlike the previous two cases, workplace diversity is not enforced to defend the interests of minorities. Instead, it is implemented for the good of the company. A diversified workforce is likely to be more efficient and effective compared to one that is made up of one type of individuals.

Of the three principles discussed above, workplace diversity is most likely to be predominant in this century. This is because with increased civilisation and modernisation, cases of racism and other forms of discrimination have substantially reduced (Katz, 1978). Less emphasis is therefore placed on equal employment opportunity and affirmative action because there are little or no cases of discrimination in the employment sector.

Reference List

Anderson, H. (2004). The pursuit of fairness: A history of affirmative action. London: Oxford University Press.

Beissinger, R. (1988). Scientific management, socialist discipline, and soviet power. London: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd.

Budd, J. (2004). Employment with a human face: Balancing efficiency, equity, and voice. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Drury, H. (1915). Scientific management: A history and criticism. New York: Columbia University.

Hartness, J. (1912). The human factor in works management. New York: McGraw- Hill.

Katz, H. (1978). White awareness: A handbook for anti-racism. Norman, Okla: University of Oklahoma Press.

Norma M. (2002). Managing diversity in public sector workforces. London: Westview Press.

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