SP 30054: Contemporary Management is not about control it is much more about gaining the commitment of the workforce. To what extent do you agree with this statement? Modern Human Resource Management is a highly controversial topic with issues on whether it is effective in motivating employees to higher productivity. It is evident that when compared to the predominating bureaucratic control system derived from Taylor’s ideologies, human resource management approaches employees from a softer perspective of commitment. Nevertheless, research has shown that control is not lost within the process, as it is already imposed in the employees themselves rather than the system. Ultimately, human resource management promises freedom and autonomy based on the commitment of employees, but it unconsciously practicing control within self-made consensus norms. Peter Drucker first used the term Human Resource Management in the 1950’s as another term for personnel management. However, it was not until the 1980’s when Human Resource Management meant a new philosophy in the management of employees (Henderson 2011). By the 1970’s, Taylor’s scientific method dominated the organization of work. Taylor’s industrial practices utilized the developments of technology and pushed for maximum output from workers. Jobs were divided into small fixed tasks with fixed discipline. Moreover, simplifying and standardizing procedures maximized the productivity. Due to the simplifying of jobs, knowledge and skills were not necessary required. His reward system of “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” was believed to be the main motivation to work. Additionally, as workers were naturally assumed to slack off, managers were to decide and plan job duties with precise details, also known as, “task ideas”, which eliminated unnecessary actions and prevented the soldiering of workers. Control, order, and efficiency were ultimately the main concepts to scientific management. The most notable case that was closely associated with Taylor was Ford motors which operated using mass production. However, scientific management became controversial in the later years (Walton 1985). As technology developed and markets were more competitive, the traditional system of work organizations was unable to produce quality outputs necessary to compete in the global market. Of the time, the rise of the Japanese manufactures and their successes in the electronic and motor sectors brought the lost of faith to the use of Fordism and Taylor’s industrial practices. Japanization was the vanguard of a movement that developed fundamental changes of the capitalist industrial world (Storey 1992). The reorganization of organizational and job structures post-Taylorism increased employee’s control over the production process, allowing employees to take responsibility over their work. The unitarist perspective of Japanization had a purpose common to all members, of which it included workers. Everyone shared the same interest in a high level of efficiency, ultimately generating a rewarding profit (Henderson 2011). Moreover, work attitudes were positive and more rewarding to employees. In addition, the provision of job security, welfare services, and training programs integrated members of the organizations in an inclusive enterprise community that supports employees and provides security (Storey 1992). In return, commitment and loyalty were expected. Employees were reluctant in taking holidays, as they were very committed to their jobs and penchant for after hour socializing with co-workers. The effects of Japanisations were successful: there were low strikes, absenteeism, and turnover rates (Lincoln and Kalleberg 1992). Workers were committed to their work with high productivity and production quality giving Japanese corporations success in expanding outside their country. In 1975, three out of the ten largest banks were Japanese, and by 1987 the number had increased to seven banks. Japanese...
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