Establishing a Human Resources Program
Managing Human Resources: Exercises, Experiments, and
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Managing Human Resources: Exercises, Experiments, and
Alan B. Clardy
I p Psychology Press A Taylor &. Francis Group
NEW YORK AND LO NDON
First Published 1996 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Published 2014 by Psychology Press 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017
and by Psychology Press 27 Church Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 2FA
Psychology Press is an imprint o f the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business
Copyright © 1996 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.
Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe.
Cover design by Gail Silverman
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Clardy, Alan B. Managing human resources : exercises, experiments, and
applications / by Alan B. Clardy. p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Personnel management—Problems, exercises, etc. I. Title.
HF5549.C473 1995 658.3—dc20 95-18235
ISBN 13: 978-0-805-81748-5 (hbk) ISBN 13: 978-0-805-81749-2 (pbk)
Publisher’s Note The publisher has gone to great lengths to ensure the quality of this reprint but points out that some imperfections in the original may be apparent.
To Allison, who mastered the art o f managing the human resources o f our life spectacularly.
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1 Human Resources Management: Orientations and Issues 1 Establishing a Human Resources Program 5 Sexual Harassment: Yes or No? 7 The Republic for Which Who Stands 10 This Bud’s for You 17 But Why? 19
2 Human Resources Planning 20 Getting It Together 23 Holloway Looks Ahead 25
3 Job Analysis 29 Job Analysis 32 Job Evaluation 34 Something’s Just Not Right 39
4 Staffing, Recruitment, and Selection 41 Employee or Independent Contractor? 44 Interviewing Two Applicants for the Job 46 Staffing a “Greenfield” Automobile Plant 50 Affirmative Action at Developmental Systems Corporation 52
5 Appraising Employee Performance 58 Experiences With Performance Appraisals Interview Guide 63 Performance Appraisal Form 65 Cracking the Books 66
Another Day on the Front Line 70 Self-Appraisal: Your Performance in This Course 74
6 Compensation and Benefits 79 Say When: Establishing Salary Levels 83 What Would It Take? 88 You Get What You Pay For—Or Do You? 90 Compensation Plan Design 92 Designing a Benefits Plan 95
7 Training and Career Development 102 Learning on Your Own: Vocationally Oriented Self-Directed 106
Learning Projects Identifying Training Needs 109 Plotting the Learning Curve 113 Employee Assistance Program Training Design 115 Where Is Everybody? 120
8 Improving Organizational Performance and Quality of Worklife 123 Supervisory Training: Violence in the Workplace 126 Back on Safety 129 Taking One for the Team 131 Survey Feedback 136
9 Labor and Employee Relations 137 Your Orientation to Unionized Employees 140 Not in My Shop, You Don’t 142 Statewide Air Tries to Fly 145 Here Come the Judges 151
Author Index 163
Subject Index 166
Students taking a personnel or human resources management course often do not enter the course bursting with curiosity or unbridled enthusiasm. If economics is the dismal science, surely, student thinking goes, human resources must be the dreary discipline. After all, what kind of excitement can there be in studying how to process payroll, check employment references, or learn about some arcane government regulation?
It is unfortunate, and ultimately self-defeating, if such a mindset about human resources persists. For increasingly in today’s business world, organizational success and competitive advantage come from the ‘‘people” side of the business. Traditionally, competitive ad vantage came from one of three sources: financial strength, technology, or product unique ness. This is not so any longer. Capital is widely available, technology can be easily purchased, and products can be copied. One remaining source of sustainable competitive advantage is better because it is not as easily obtained, purchased, or duplicated. That source of competitive advantage is a workforce that is highly competent and committed to the success of the organization. This source of advantage is built, in large part, through the policies, programs, and practices used by the organization to manage its human resources.
Human resources management should be seen less as a stepchild and more as a midwife of the management process. The key for students of the field is to learn how human resources management can be used to achieve a competitive advantage for the organization. If human resources management is a “black box” used to produce certain desired employee outcomes, then the study of human resources becomes an exercise of learning which buttons to push and which levers to pull. In this sense, human resources management is the development and manipulation of policies and programs to produce desired outcomes among employees.
For the student unfamiliar with human resources management, it is important to identify what these buttons and levers are that can be used to establish policies and programs. For example, students should be aware of the different kinds of compensation systems and how those systems channel motivation, how hiring systems can be designed for the best effect, and the various ways that employees can be evaluated and appraised. For the
student who may be a working adult with experience in dealing with a personnel office, it is important to look behind the scenes and understand why certain procedures exist. It is important to realize that there can be more to managing human resources than file clerks, endless forms, and retirement parties. The study of human resources management should empower the student to know the range of policy, program, and practice choices available in any human resources function to produce the desired results. Many of the assignments in this volume are devoted to helping students see the available choices and experience their implications in managing the organization.
Students must also realize that there are constraints and limits on what human resources can do. Just because a policy choice is possible does not mean that it is legal or advisable. Indeed, the art of human resources management lies in balancing the goal of installing the best practices with the need to comply with legal and ethical strictures. Again, many of the assignments offer examples of how the human resources management function must operate in a framework of rules and regulations.
This volume was developed over the course of several years during which I taught human resources management and other related courses to graduate and undergraduate students. The exercises are designed to expose critical experiences across the full range of human resources management practices and responsibilities. I have used these exercises in my classes many times. The students invariably appreciated the challenges presented by the assignments. They consistently found that the exercises helped them comprehend and apply the ideas and concepts developed in the course and the texts. They also found many rewards in working and learning together. It has been my experience that these exercises provide a window for viewing the human resources management process that is not always possible with extended case studies or textbook presentations.
Most of the cases and exercises used in this volume are based on real events reported in the popular press, in academic and specialized journals, or from my own case study research. Unless otherwise indicated, the names of the people, products, and organizations are pseudonyms. A note on terminology—throughout, I have tried to use the term or ganization rather than business, firm, or company. The reason is a reminder that most of the issues involved in human resources management apply to public firms as much as they do to private ones; to nonprofit as well as to profit ones. The concept of the organization is a more generic one that covers all these possibilities.
It is my hope that the exercises, experiments, and applications in this volume can be a meaningful source of discovery and learning to guide the journey through the human resources management field. The payoff from studying here may be 5, 10, or more years in the future, when you are in a position to influence the human resources policies of your organization. If you help guide those policies in such a way as to better support the achievement of organizational success while contributing to a better quality of worklife, your investment of time and effort in learning this material will be worthwhile.
This is the point at which the author absolves anyone ever associated with him of any errors while simultaneously making them responsible for any incremental value generated by the publication. It is a worthy if overstated tradition that I honor here.
First, the Johns Hopkins University School of Continuing Studies allowed me to teach Human Resources Management, Staffing and Selection, and Organizational Behavior courses on a regular basis over the past several years. The challenge of developing materials to meet the instructional needs of these classes created the spark for this book. Teaching these and other classes at Towson State University and Hood College extended this challenge and spurred me onto additional material.
Second, in using these exercises with the students in the various classes, I have learned from them how to use this material to the best advantage. All of the students in my classes need to be recognized for this role in streamlining and refining the assignments in this volume.
Third, none of this would be possible were it not for the support and encouragement of my wife Allison. Without her, I would have been just another struggling hack.
Finally, I would like to thank Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers for all the help and assistance provided in bringing this volume to fruition.
It is certainly true that none of these people should be held responsible for whatever shortcomings this volume may contain.
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1 Human Resources Management:
Orientations and Issues
Human resources management (HRM) involves the establishment and execution of poli cies, programs, and procedures that influence the performance, capabilities, and loyalty of the employees of an organization. Through these policies and procedures, individuals are attracted, retained, motivated, and developed to perform the work of the organization. It is through these policies and procedures that the organization seeks to mold and shape the actions of its employees to operate successfully, comply with various public policies, provide satisfactory quality of employment, and improve its position in the marketplace through strengthened ability to compete and serve.
The HRM function is of particular importance in the postindustrial economy (Bell, 1972; Schneider & Bowen, 1993). In this emerging system, the critical factor in production has shifted from machines and equipment to the “knowledge” worker (McGregor, 1991). That is, service has replaced production as the driving force in the economy, and the prominent way value is added is through the expertise of knowledge workers and the ministrations of service providers. In systems like this, it becomes even more important to obtain and use the full talents of all employees in the organization. Thus, the skillful adoption and use of HRM policies becomes a significant lever through which to move and direct the performance of the organization.
As Beer, Spector, Lawrence, Mills, and Walton (1984) noted, HRM is really a series of policy choices about how employees are to be treated, paid, and worked. These policies will in turn impact and condition the nature of the employment relationship. Different policies lead to different outcomes in employee commitment, competence, and congruence with organizational goals. Likewise, each policy choice presents the decision maker with a distinctive cost and benefit alternative. For example, compensation policy choices to pay either at the low, average, or high end of the labor market have rather dramatic implications for employee commitment to the organization and for costs to the employer. The fundamen tal rationale for effective management of human resources should be to identify and implement those policies, programs, and procedures that will yield the desired levels of loyalty, skill, and direction in the most cost-effective manner possible. In this sense, HRM offers to organizational decision makers a set of people investment opportunities.
2 CHAPTER ONE
However, as Schlesinger (1983) noted, the application of HRM to decision making by the organization is often reduced from review of human resources investment options to technique. For example, rather than focusing on how to build desired levels of trust through employment security arrangements, practitioners elaborate on the steps involved in a job analysis program. Or, rather than examine the impact of selection and development systems on competence levels, practitioners debate the agenda for a training program. In short, a tactical and operational view too often replaces a strategic view.
For Schlesinger (1983), there are several different kinds of value orientations that lie behind different kinds of HRM policy choices. Values in regard to human resources management are defined in terms of two fundamental questions: Who is to be considered a full “employee” of the organization? What rewards should be distributed to those employ ees? From these foundations, several different value positions can be erected, including: strict equality, where every member of the organization is entitled to fully share in all rewards; effort and performance, which allocates rewards to employees in terms of their contribution to the performance of the organization; and birthright, by which rewards should only go to those with certain inherited characteristics (such as ownership or gender).
The value orientation operating in an organization may not be consciously chosen or explicitly acknowledged, yet can pervasively shape the kinds of HRM policies adopted. These policies may or may not be appropriate for the longer term success of the organization.
In the Establishing a Human Resources Program case, you are asked to establish a human resources program for Widd-Jays, a manufacturing and service company. In this assignment, you put together human resources programs based on your values as the owner. As a result of this assignment, you have the opportunity to examine how value positions shape and define the kinds of HRM policies and programs adopted by the organization. From this analysis, you can consider the question of whether there is one universal set of HRM policies and programs that can be applied to any organization.
ISSUES AND CONTEXT
The nature of the employment relationship is something that affects virtually all adults and their families. Job opportunities and conditions influence the kinds of education people acquire, their income, and their ability to contribute to and participate in the well-being of society. What happens in and around the workplace is not simply an isolated, private experience for each individual but rather part of the common life of us all. Thus, there is an arguable public interest in what happens at the workplace (Bailyn, 1993; Edwards, 1993; Weller, 1990).
However, the historical foundation of the employment relationship in the United States—a doctrine called employment-at-will—has been one in which the nature of the employment experience was something between the employee and employer, with the state in a hands-off posture. The employment-at-will doctrine holds that the creation and continuation of an employment relationship is at the choice of both the employer and employee. Each is able to begin or stop the relationship at any time for any reason, and the
ORIENTATIONS AND ISSUES 3
state should not interfere in what was seen as a purely private matter between worker and employer. Beginning essentially in the Great Depression of the 1930s, the passage of various laws began to put limits on the pure and untrammeled exercise of the employment-at-will doctrine. In effect, the state adopted a view that there is a public interest in private employment matters.
The question remains to this day: What is the proper relationship between the public interest and the private nature of employment? Under the traditional employment-at-will doctrine, the employer was able to treat employees virtually any way (short of criminal conduct) he or she wanted. Historically, the results of this doctrine in areas such as labor conflict, employment discrimination, and unsafe working conditions often produced con ditions judged unacceptable from the vantage point of the public interest. The limitations placed on the employment-at-will doctrine have given employees rights in the employment relationship. Employers do not have an unrestrained free hand in treating their employees in any way they see fit.
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