What were the various phases in the use of employee surveys at Sears over the years?
Sears first commissioned a survey of its employees to determine their feelings and attitudes about their work and the company, this was called human relations research n the 1940’s. However, the responses gained from the survey was not very useful as it consisted of disparate responses which had very little meaning for the company as whole, the application of social anthropology to interpret the results led to a revised employee survey which was diagnostic and was meant to identify sources of conflict. Then, further revisions and analysis of the surveys yielded the employee morale survey which later on became organizational surveys.
What findings emerged at Sears through the use of concepts from social anthropology?
Through the use of social anthropology, researchers at Sears found that the employee responses to the attitude survey became more meaningful when it was analyzed alongside the sex, age, gender, length of service, type of work, geographical location and type of store. Sears found that employee morale could not be identified and defined apart from the organizational culture and relationships within the company. They found that internal factors like job status, work pressures, tensions from job goals and interests and the hierarchical relationships, management changes, company policies, job methods and reward systems affected employee morale. Likewise external factors like social roles, expectations and demands, ethnicity, ideological agreement between workers and management and unit size also influenced employee morale.
In your opinion what role, if any, should a human resources director play in technological change in a company?
A human resources director should be part of any organization’s team that seeks to implement technological changes in the company because they have a better grasp and understanding of human nature in relation to their attitudes and feelings towards work and change. HR directors are trained to gather information about employee attitudes and feelings and to develop ways in which employees will be receptive and open to change. Technological advancements will affect the employees because it may replace some of their functions, or it may need new training and education which the HR could facilitate and monitor.
The inefficient overhead conveyor at HiPowr Diesels was in keeping with what historical developments in human resources management and out of phase with what other developments?
The overhead conveyor was reminiscent of the automation of the assembly line wherein it was supposed to increase productivity and performance of individual employees or the pay for performance concept.
However, it is an outdated concept since it has been found that piece by piece productivity quota reduced employee morale and job satisfaction and motivation. Hygiene theory of motivation says that employees may not be dissatisfied in this kind of working environment but it is not satisfying either.