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QUESTIONS

1. How have the external environments influenced the human resource policies and practices in OA?
The human resource policies and practices in AO are a lot based on the external environmental influences. This is primary due to the fact that first of all it has to deal with the socio-cultural background of the employees, their education, experience and character of social relations in the region. This is a vital external factor as it becomes the forerunner of the potential technological learning capability of the human resources and has impact on their performance and productivity. The economic, legal and political factors are essential to take into consideration as they can cause certain difficulties in the company’s functioning as well as the team functioning. This is primary due to the fact that AO management concentrates on the household (economic issues) of its employees as well as many other aspects like safety (the legal issues) which are somehow related to their work. The international character of the AO team management sets high requirements and provides it with a global nature. The proper implementation of the Star concept is what makes AO management competitive in any sphere.
2. What internal environmental factors have been most relevant in influencing OA’s human resource system?
OA’s human resource system is also greatly influenced by the internal factors. The first position is given to the management style, because it is what determines the success of the team, corresponding team members and the ability of these team members to fulfill necessary tasks. Personnel training peer appraisals and compensations and other make this management style and philosophy so appealing. OA takes the necessary time to make sure the employee is well trained and ready to operate. The organizational structure with the board of directors and the president on top and the plant manager, the HR manager ,the controller, the training manager and the MIS manager – make up the solid base for the successful team functioning. Production technology is learnt by the employees through training and through the team leaders and is mainly controlled by the planning system. Therefore it is another important internal relevant in influencing the OA human resource system. As the corporate culture of the OA HR has a solid character. OA’s physical facility is also one important internal factor as it helps the HR in a way that it is an automated facility and its manufacturing capability is great.
3. What are the unique issues in human resource planning that team management organizations must address?
HR is vital for the team management. The team management organization in terms of human resource planning in the first place needs to take into consideration the necessity to have employees that would fit in the OA Team Concept. As team management is concentrated on team work it is obvious that the team members need to show interaction with other team members in order to be a team that has one task and is responsible for it. So the human resource planning should address the “fit in” issues, which are obtained not only through the social, cultural and education background, but also through training which the employee can eventually realize in a well structured team and have his concrete responsibilities that are a part of greater team responsibilities. The planning concentrates on treating the operation personnel and trusting the same way the managerial personal is treated and trusted.
4. What role should teams and team members play in human resource planning?
When a new team member comes into the system, the OA Team concept is what makes him eventually competent as the team teaches him and “upgrades” him to the team level. Therefore the teams and team members, with their practical experience should participate in human resource planning in a way that they need to mention their recommendations: those HR characteristics that make their job more effective and does not make it harder. As the OA teams are paid for what “they know, not for what they do”, the teams may give recommendation on what future team members need to potentially know. As the OA Team concept is concentrated on the positive team member treatment, therefore here the team opinion may become an essential component as it may lead to new level of productivity and the higher dedication of the team in general and team members in particular. The OA’s” fundamental concern” about people is in the first place to the revealed through the participation of teams and team members in human resource planning.
5. How does job design in self-managing teams differ from traditional job design?
The job design of self-managing teams strongly differs from the traditional job design. The OA job design calls for equality between the team leaders and team members. In OA’s job design there is no place for reserved parking, executive dining rooms and it actually implies an all-salaried workforce. Every team member is important for the team, correspondingly there are no more or less important team members. Therefore the self-managing tem job design is observed in the daily work of the team. As opposed to the traditional job design, the self-managing job design implies defines team as the basic unit of the organization which performs work. The traditional approach gives tasks given to individuals repeatedly. When an OA tem gets a task the whole team works on learning all the necessary skills to cope with it in.
6. How would you evaluate the effectiveness of OA’s initial recruitment efforts?
It is necessary to say, OA revealed a strong position in its initial recruitment efforts. In order to recruit potential employees OA invited HR and training experts. While the building was under the construction, this group of people formed a recruitment system which corresponded to OA’s demands. The recruitment of the employees for the mill was absolutely based on the notion that each and every employee has to be able to survive in a team management environment. The initial effort identified potential employees as effective “team players”. They went through a half-day orientation session. This session explained the main directions the organization is aimed to follow, analyzed the importance of the team concept in terms of the organization and what are the potential employees expected to do. This session sifted out those individuals that were not interested. The rest completed applications and passed a variety of tests in the assessment center. It is necessary to say that this step was rather effective as objective observers rate the participants and the tests revealed differed sides of the employee. This sifted out a group of people who went through several interviews and only after this the training for the actual job began and people were hired. Such comprehensive approach is rather difficult, but the result is very impressive and provided exactly what OA wanted – good team members.
7. Would you recommend any changes in the way the organization should recruit for future openings?
The OA’s recruitment system is progressive and effective. It perfectly corresponds to the goal which OA put as the priorities of the organization. A thorough selection of the potential employees, their orientation and further training and development of skills results in effective team work – the primary goal of the organization. OA’s work is impressive and it is very hard to give any kind of recommendations to its improvement. The only recommendation would be the suggestion to initially sort out those individuals who come to the orientation session, because it would facilitate the following laborious and expensive testing work.
8. OA used a comprehensive approach to employee selection, especially through the use of an assessment center. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?
The comprehensive approach allows maximizing the probability of choosing a good employee for the organization. It allows analyzing the capability of the potential employee to fit in the Team concept and ability to interact within such specific corporative culture. The main problem is that many people are not ready for such approach and they expect concrete individual repeated tasks, the OA introduced a new system in which the team is responsible for the task and not the individual. The main disadvantage is that some employees may find it difficult to be “paid for what they know”, because people are ordinarily paid for “what they do”. Additional skills result into addition compensation within seven levels of development. The comprehensive pay and progression plan has a concrete view of what the necessary skills are to be and in what measure they must be demonstrated. So, it may be said that both the advantage and the disadvantage of the comprehensive approach to employee selection is the innovative character of this selection which changes the mentality of the workers.
9. How would you describe the role of training in OA?
It is very hard to underestimate the role of training in OA as it is what makes the employee “suitable” for their places. Training is vital for OA as it is comprehensive, it possess a systematic character in a way that the team member constantly progress. The training always has to deal with concrete tasks the employee may face and therefore it is always related to it. The evaluation of the training skills is always very objective and the whole training program uses the individual approach to each employee. OA training gives both the theoretical and the practical aspects of the required skill. Evidently, OA’s training leads the employees to the “no-fail” motivation which is priceless in terms of HR. Such training unites the team members and the makes inter-team relations better.
10. How do you think the role of training and development will change at the organization?
The only possible direction of changing training and development at the organization is the full implementation of the Star Concept which would eventually result into making all teams at an equal level of development. Therefore this would extremely raise the productivity of the organization. The training and development may change is such a way that would allow all the team adapt to the conditions at the same rate and correspond to the organization’s highest expectations. OA’s training and development is an essential aspect for the team concept, therefore its role is expected only to grow in direct progression to the amount of training class and their members with special attention to the pre-hire and post-hire orientations. From all perspectives, the role of training and development within the OA’s team concept is to rise and become the dominant one within the Star concept.
11. OA has developed a peer appraisal approach system that is used within the teams. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?
Each team uses peer appraisal forms learnt from the classes that teach employees how to actually do appraisals, avoid pitfalls and how to help in order to assure consistency in the process of appraisal. The main advantage of this system of appraisals is that it helps to monitor the product quality through performance appraisal and statistical process system. Nevertheless, the appraisal still includes the subjectivity factor of every individual and this becomes its main disadvantage. This factor is very hard to eliminate, nevertheless OA’s appraisal classes do their best in teaching the team members how to avoid subjectivity and make the appraisals basing on objective factors and criteria.

12. What are some of the issues related to the compensation plan OA had to resolve?
As it has been mentioned before, the OA compensation plan deals with the notion that the employees get paid for “what they know”. When they come to mastering additional skills they get addition compensation. The compensation plan is basically a reward plan, which stimulates the employees to develop more and more new skills required for effective completion of the organization’s tasks. For instance, in order to assure that team members attend team meetings – they are paid for this one-half hour meeting. This both respects their time and makes sure the team members interact and share their difficulties in order to solve them. Therefore these meeting provide the required communication between the team members and correspond to the OA team concept. Any overtime work – is compensated as well as team building activities. The compensation plan helps to maintain the cross-training model and makes the team more prepared for further problem-solving.
13. Identify some of the strategies that OA has used to enhance employee relations?
OA is very interested in enhancing employee relations. According to OA team concept it is necessary to focus on employee relations and development activities as they establish positive relations not only between team members but also between team members and top-level managers. Fine communications between upper and lower units creates the “we” attitude, which is very important in terms of OA’s management. Basically, the main strategy used to enhance employee is aimed at the prevention of adversarial relationships and may be called the “non-adversarial strategy”. Another aspect of the strategy is enhancing employee relations through the process of training. Plant wide meeting, team visits to the president and quarterly communications meetings are also the realizations of this strategy. By means of these activities the pressure is taken away and the team concept actually starts working.

14. Most discipline was handled within the team structure in OA. List the advantages and disadvantages of this approach.
As the majority of discipline was handled within the team structure as any other aspect is has both advantages and disadvantages. The discipline is based on the accountability system and is a vital element of any organization. Owing to this system the inter-team control is maintained and as the result the quality of product raises. The advantages are the next: the team approach allows maintaining disciple at every stage of production, team work and team building activities. At the same time it puts the president away from all the disciplinary sanctions; it creates the perception of individual accountability and therefore may undermine the top-level management authority. This converts the team into an organization inside another organization in which they are only interdependent.
15. Show how the following are interrelated and integrated in OA: Employment Environment, Human Resource Planning, Recruitment, Selection, Training and Development, Performance Appraisal, Compensation, Employee Relations and Discipline.

OA started it work with the analysis of the employment environment which semed suitable for the peculiarities of their offered jobs. The process of recruitment consisted of several phases and on each of the phases the process of selection took place at the end resulting in a number of individuals that “fit” the organization’s team concept. At these stage training and development starts with the post-hire orientation. The further development and training is stimulated by the system of compensations. According to the system each new skills is rewarded. The evaluation of the skills is conducted with the help of performance appraisals when the individual passes written and performance tests. In case the skill’s level corresponds to the demands of the organization, the employee get compensation. Also team meeting and team-building activities may provide compensation too. Evidently, the OA’s team concept implies that the team plays the role of the discipline controller of the individuals. This is how the teams are self-managed.


 

 
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