management 247

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Part 1 — reply to this discussion with 150 words

Organizations continue to evolve as more generations enter the workforce and approach performing work in different ways. Classical organization theory must adapt to the changing business world and the widening age range of the generations working in the same organization. According to Kruse (2015), each generational group in an organization possesses different workplace traits when it comes to work style preferences, use of technology and communication methods. Today’s organizations are populated by multiple generations, each with their own technology and communication comfort zone.

Each generation has different expectations of the organization where they work and of the people they are working with. Today’s organizations require employees with the ability to work with and communicate with people from four or possibly five different generations. According to Lapoint & Liprie-Spence (2017), “In a working setting many of the workers attitudes toward work may be quite different from earlier generations of workers and, as a consequence, managers may need to take these generational differences into consideration if they are effectively managing their workforce” (p.120).

As a young Baby Boomer, I have watched people’s view of the organization change dramatically over my working life. The organization’s view of its people has also changed, but more slowly. Organizations need to change how they acquire and manage their people based upon on the generations they are hiring to do the work and the generations that are being promoted into management roles. When I got my first job after graduating from college, my grandparents and parents expected that I would work for that single company across my whole career, just as they did. Their generational view of the employer-employee relationship was very different from my view. My older family members were genuinely shocked the first time I switched jobs and went to work for another company. My employment pattern over the years coincided with my husband’s Air Force career. Our family moved to a different place every four years and as a result, I found a new job. Typically, my new job was a promotion or an increase in responsibility.

My Millennial daughter changes jobs every 12 to 18 months. Schmidt (2104) points out that “Understanding and respecting generational signposts is vital to move corporations forward (p. 24)”. These generational signposts impact the classic organizational theories as a more dynamic organizational structure and approach is required to deal with four concurrent generations working together. For many younger people like my daughter, frequent job switching is the new normal and organizations are challenged to deal with staff retention in this age of younger employee turnover. Employee turnover does not happen because younger employees are unhappy; turnover happens because working for an organization is viewed by many younger people as a short-term commitment. The younger, technology-savvy generations do not have the same employer loyalty possessed by their parents and grandparents. This temporary attitude regarding full-time employment is not accounted for in the classical view of organizations.

The generational traits will continue to impact the contemporary workplace. Čič & Žižek (2017) point out that each generation brings its own needs, values and attitudes to work each day. In order to make use of the generational experience and knowledge or employees from different generations, an organizational strategy targeting multi-generational “care and feeding” will be required. Cooperation across the generations offers evolving organizations significant productivity, communication and efficiency improvements if the people are encouraged and taught to cooperate with and learn from one another regardless of their generation. To me, maximizing the value of the generations and managing all generations well is where classic organizational theories require revisions and changes.

Part 2- reply to this discussion with 150 words

One of the phrases I’ve heard countless times in my career, and even mocked from time to time is “Well that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Well, if that’s the way we’ve always done it and it worked, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. Maybe the way we’ve always done it just doesn’t cut it anymore, and we’re forced into this position because we’ve always done it that way. Maybe it’s time for change. The classics are the classics and I get that, but they’re classics for a reason. However, some things, and quite a few of them, have changed and we’ve moved away from these classical ways of thinking and doing.

The classical perspectives of management were founded during the industrial revolution and strictly focus on improving the efficiency and productivity of employees with the idea of then improving the company as a whole. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t any focus on how employee satisfaction could actually be one of the key components to increasing productivity and efficiency, reducing costs, and reducing employee turnover rates. Today, I see countless “climate” surveys done about twice a year. These climate surveys attempt to measure employee satisfaction. Once completed, survey results are then compared to productivity levels to determine the course of action moving forward. In my years with my current company I’ve seen multiple attempts to increase employee satisfaction in the workplace. Several examples include Beers with Bosses, company outings to Colorado Rockies baseball games, chargeable time for town hall meetings, and complementary food (donuts in the mornings, cupcakes at town hall meetings, etc). While these things to help bring attendance up during these town hall meetings, and increase everyone’s waistline, I personally don’t think they do much for employee satisfaction. While I don’t see these results, I can’t say for sure, but my personal opinion is that before we build satisfaction from an organizational level, why don’t we try these methods at a team level? Bring in lunch during a staff meeting, work from home one day a week. While our lives become more hectic outside of the office with school, kids, various appointments, etc, having additional flexibility (even if it’s only a little) can make a drastic change in the office environment. Other classical perspectives like The Hawthorne studies found that employees were less motivated by financial or economic incentives, and more motivated by psychosocial factors. Things before like working a 9am to 5pm job in an office no longer are the norm, and for good reason.

While I still hear “Well that’s the way we’ve always done it” more often than I would like, there has been major progress in terms of moving away from these classical perspectives. Modern organization is growing in size and complexity at an amazingly fast rate. People are people, and an organization is an organization. If we treat one the way we treat another, we risk remaining in this classical mindset. The onus of enabling efficiency, therefore, shifts from workers to managers (Lumen, n.d.).

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