Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
- Definition and Overview
- Theories of Leadership
- Styles of Leadership
- Characteristic of Successful Leaders
- Women in Management
Definition and Overview
- Many people today are seeking to understand – and many people are writing about – the concept and practices of leadership.
- There are a great many reasons for the popularity of the topic, including that organizations are faced with changes like never before.
- The concept of leadership is relevant to any aspect of ensuring effectiveness in organizations and in managing change.
- There has been an explosion of literature about leadership lately. Leading is a very human activity – we’re all human – so there are many people who consider themselves experts on leadership.
- Unfortunately, many people make strong assertions about leadership without ever really understanding a great deal about leadership.
- Understanding the concept of leadership requires more than reading a few articles or fantasizing about what great leaders should be.
- Many people believe that leadership is simply being the first, biggest or most powerful.
- Leadership in organizations has a different and more meaningful definition.
- Very simply put, a leader is interpreted as someone who sets direction in an effort and influences people to follow that direction.
- How they set that direction and influence people depends on a variety of factors that we’ll consider later on below.
- To really comprehend the “territory” of leadership, you should briefly scan some of the major theories, notice various styles of leadership and review some of the suggested traits and characteristics that leaders should have.
- Leadership, as defined by most dictionaries, means “to go before, or with, to show the way; to induce.” Every organization needs a leader (and preferably several leaders) to “show the way” to others as the organization strives to define and achieve its goals.
- Whether these goals are entrepreneurial or humanitarian – or both – the leader’s work is to instill a sense of purpose and passion to take the work that the organization undertakes.
- Identifying, developing and sustaining leadership in your organization must be one of your strategic objectives. Without leaders at every level of your organization, your organization may well under-perform.
- It may miss strategic opportunities, stifle innovation, underutilize your employees, and fall short of its goals in customer service, quality, productivity, and profitability.
- Effective managers are not necessarily true leaders. Many administrators, supervisors, and even top executives execute their responsibilities successfully without being great leaders.
- But these positions afford opportunity for leadership. The ability to lead effectively, then, will set the excellent managers apart from the average ones.
- Where as management must deal with the ongoing, day-to-day complexities of organizations, true leadership includes effectively orchestrating important change.
- While managing requires planning and budgeting routines, leading includes setting the direction (creating a vision) for the firm Management requires structuring the organization, staffing it with capable people, and monitoring activities; leadership goes beyond these functions by inspiring people to attain the vision.
- Great leaders keep people focused on moving the organization toward its ideal future, motivating them to overcome whatever obstacles lie in the way.
- Organizations succeed or fail not only because of how well they are led but also because of how well followers follow.
- Just as managers are not necessarily good leaders, people are not always good followers.
- The most effective followers are capable of independent thinking and at the same time are actively committed to organizational goals.
- As a manager, you will be asked to play the roles of both leader and follower. As you lead the people who report to you, you will report to your boss. You will be a member of some teams and committees, and you may chair others.
- Effective followers are distinguished from ineffective ones by their enthusiasm and commitment to the organization and to a person or purpose other than themselves or their own interests. They master skills that are useful to their organizations, and they hold to performance standards that are higher than required. To be a good leader you must become a good follower first.
- There are also numerous theories about leadership, or about carrying out the role of leader, e.g. servant leader, democratic leader, principle-centered leader, group-man theory, great-man theory, traits theory, visionary leader, total leader, situational leader, etc.
- The leader’s ability to lead is contingent upon various situational factors, including the leader’s preferred style, the capabilities and behaviors of followers and also various other situational factors.
- Contingency theories are a class of behavioral theory that contend that there is no one best way of leading and that a leadership style that is effective in some situations may not be successful in others.
- An effect of this is that leaders who are very effective at one place and time may become unsuccessful either when transplanted to another situation or when the factors around them change.
- This helps to explain how some leaders who seem for a while to have the ‘Midas touch’ suddenly appear to go off the boil and make very unsuccessful decisions.
- Contingency theory is similar to situational theory in that there is an assumption of no simple one right way.
- The main differences is that situational theory tends to focus more on the behaviors that the leader should adopt, given situational factors (often about follower behavior), whereas contingency theory takes a broader view that includes contingent factors about leader capability and other variables within the situation.
Path-Goal Theory of Leadership
·- The Path-Goal Theory of Leadership was developed to describe the way that leaders encourage and support their followers in achieving the goals they have been set by making the path that they should take clear and easy.
- In particular, leaders:
Ø Clarify the path so subordinates know which way to go.
Ø Remove roadblocks that are stopping them going there.
Ø Increasing the rewards along the route.
- Leaders can take a strong or limited approach in these. In clarifying the path, they may be directive or give vague hints. In removing roadblocks, they may scour the path or help the follower move the bigger blocks. In increasing rewards, they may give occasional encouragement or pave the way with gold.
- Leaders who show the way and help followers along a path are effectively ‘leading’.
- This approach assumes that there is one right way of achieving a goal and that the leader can see it and the follower cannot. This casts the leader as the knowing person and the follower as dependent.
- It also assumes that the follower is completely rational and that the appropriate methods can be deterministically selected depending on the situation.
Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory
- Leader-Member Exchange Theory, also called LMX or Vertical Dyad Linkage Theory, describes how leaders in groups maintain their position through a series of tacit exchange agreements with their members.
- In-group and out-group
- In particular, leaders often have a special relationship with an inner circle of trusted lieutenants, assistants and advisors, to whom they give high levels of responsibility, decision influence, and access to resources.
- This in-group pays for their position. They work harder, are more committed to task objectives, and share more administrative duties. They are also expected to be fully committed and loyal to their leader. The out-group, on the other hand, is given low levels of choice or influence.
- This also puts constraints upon the leader. They have to nurture the relationship with their inner circle whilst balancing giving them power with ensuring they do not have enough to strike out on their own.
- Using it
- When you join a team, work hard to also join the inner circle. Take on more than your share of administrative and other tasks. Demonstrate unswerving loyalty. See your leader’s point of view. Be reasonable and supportive in your challenges to them, and pick your moments carefully.
- As a leader, pick your inner circle with care. Reward them for their loyalty and hard work, whilst being careful about maintaining commitment of other people.
- If you want to be an ‘ordinary’ member of a team, play your part carefully. There will be others with more power. If you want to lead an equal team, beware of those who curry favor.
Styles of Leadership
- Autocratic Leadership
- Autocratic leadership is an extreme form of transactional leadership, where leader has absolute power over his or her employees or team. Employees and team members have little opportunity for making suggestions, even if these would be in the team or organization’s interest.
- Most people tend to resent being treated like this. Because of this, autocratic leadership usually leads to high levels of absenteeism and staff turnover. For some routine and unskilled jobs, the style can remain effective where the advantages of control outweigh the disadvantages.
- Bureaucratic Leadership
- Bureaucratic leaders work “by the book”, ensuring that their staff follow procedures exactly. This is a very appropriate style for work involving serious safety risks (such as working with machinery, with toxic substances or at height) or where large sums of money are involved (such as cash-handling).
- Charismatic Leadership
- A charismatic leadership style can appear similar to a transformational leadership style, in that the leader injects huge doses of enthusiasm into his or her team, and is very energetic in driving others forward.
- However, a charismatic leader tends to believe more in him- or herself than in their team. This can create a risk that a project, or even an entire organization, might collapse if the leader were to leave: In the eyes of their followers, success is tied up with the presence of the charismatic leader. As such, charismatic leadership carries great responsibility, and needs long-term commitment from the leader.
- Democratic Leadership or Participative Leadership
- Although a democratic leader will make the final decision, he or she invites other members of the team to contribute to the decision-making process. This not only increases job satisfaction by involving employees or team members in what’s going on, but it also helps to develop people’s skills.
- Employees and team members feel in control of their own destiny, such as the promotion they desire, and so are motivated to work hard by more than just a financial reward.
- As participation takes time, this approach can lead to things happening more slowly, but often the end result is better. The approach can be most suitable where team working is essential, and quality is more important than speed to market or productivity.
- Transactional Leadership
- This style of leadership starts with the idea that team members agree to obey their leader totally when they take on a job: the “transaction” is (usually) that the organization pays the team members in return for their effort and compliance. You have a right to “punish” the team members if their work doesn’t meet the pre-determined standard.
- Team members can do little to improve their job satisfaction under transactional leadership. The leader could give team members some control of their income/reward by using incentives that encourage even higher standards or greater productivity.
- Alternatively a transactional leader could practice “management by exception”, whereby, rather than rewarding better work, he or she would take corrective action if the required standards were not met.
- Transactional leadership is really just a way of managing rather than a true leadership style as the focus is on short-term tasks. It has serious limitations for knowledge-based or creative work, but remains a common style in many organizations.
- Transformational Leadership
- A person with this leadership style is a true leader who inspires his or her team constantly with a shared vision of the future. Transformational leaders are highly visible, and spend a lot of time communicating. They don’t necessarily lead from the front, as they tend to delegate responsibility amongst their team.
- While their enthusiasm is often infectious, they generally need to be supported by “details people”.
- In many organizations, both transactional and transformational leadership are needed. The transactional leaders (or managers) ensure that routine work is done reliably, while the transformational leaders look after initiatives that add value.
Characteristic of Successful Leaders
- OK as a person!
- These characteristics apply to everyone of course, but a leader has a greater advantage if the carries these characteristics in his ‘luggage’: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- A positive attitude
- From the preceding point it is evident that a good person, and especially a leader, radiates a positive attitude in a very natural and obvious manner. He is optimistic, has ideas, always sees a way out and will not give up easily.
- Leading people and being followed by people has a lot to do with trust. You don’t just receive trust from others, you have to earn it. You earn it by being honest; by doing what you say, by being trustworthy.
- A leader not only has a clear picture of the goals he wishes to achieve; the manner in which he strives for those goals must also be clear to him. The ‘clarity’ becomes a framework for decision-making.
- Being consistent and able to say ‘no’ becomes much easier when the goal and the procedure are crystal-clear. Living, working, and acting consistently create a predictable behavior which gives the co-workers a sense of security.
- Leading a group of people to reach a goal can be very tough road. Mountains needs to be conquered and valleys crossed. It’s not simple. Only when someone is able to “put their teeth into it” can they reach the finish line.
- Love for people
- That sounds a bit ‘soft’, but it works. Everyone likes to be appreciated and respected, including your co-workers. A good leader sympathizes with his people and is available to help them in fulfilling their task.
- A leader doesn’t have to be a specialist, but he must be capable of guiding and judging his people through his professional skill and insight.
When the Boss is a Woman
- Since women began to climb the management ladder, pundits have asked if they have what it takes to lead groups and organizations.
- The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no. According to the research, while men and women are equally effective in some settings, more often effectiveness depends on the fit between the setting and management gender.
- For example, women’s typically more mentoring, coaching style is more favorably received in female-dominated professions; men’s more typically “command and control” style is well received in male-dominated professions.
- Thus, all things being equal, men and women are equally effective.
- But given varied work settings and a workplace whose top managers are still more likely to be male, all things rarely are equal.
- For example, women are slightly more likely to be “transformational” leaders, serving as role models, helping employees develop their skills, and motivating them to be dedicated and creative.
- That approach may actually be more effective in today’s less hierarchical organizations.
- But not all workplaces are alike: the participatory style may backfire in traditional male settings such as the military or organized sports.
- Conversely, the command-and-control style more typical of men may backfire in a social-service agency or retail outlet.
- Studies published during the past decade underscore these complexities.
- A 1995 review by Alice Eagly, PhD, Steven Karau, PhD and Mona Makhijani, PhD, of more than 80 different studies found that when aggregated over the organizational and laboratory experimental studies in the sample, male and female leaders were equally effective.
- The leaders or managers assessed in the studies were typically first-level or first-line supervisors, with a strong minority of studies looking at mid-level managers or managers of mixed or unknown levels.
- At the same time, the analysis revealed that women were more effective leaders in female-dominated or female-oriented settings, and that men were more effective leaders in male-dominated or male-oriented settings. Thus working in a leadership role congruent with one’s gender appears to make one more effective – or at least perceived as being more effective.
- To address the question of whether men and women have different management styles, Eagly and Johnson conducted a 1990 review of leadership studies.
- Interestingly, although lab studies of management styles showed women to be both interpersonally oriented and democratic and men to be both task-oriented and autocratic, field studies found a difference on only one of those dimensions: The women were more democratic, encouraging participation, and the men me autocratic, directing performance.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
- Measuring Job Satisfaction
- Relationships and Practical Implications
- Importance to Worker and Organization
- Creating Job Satisfaction
- Workers’ Roles in Job Satisfaction
- Job satisfaction, a worker’s sense of achievement and success, is generally perceived to be directly linked to productivity as well as to personal wellbeing.
- Job satisfaction implies doing a job one enjoys, doing it well, and being suitably rewarded for one’s efforts. Job satisfaction further implies enthusiasm and happiness with one’s work.
- There are a variety of factors that can influence a person’s level of job satisfaction; some of these factors include the level of pay and benefits, the perceived fairness of the promotion system within a company, the quality of the working conditions, leadership and social relationships, and the job itself (the variety of tasks involved, the interest and challenge the job generates, and the clarity of the job description/requirements).
- The happier people are with in their job, the more satisfied they are said to be.
- Job satisfaction is not the same as motivation, although it is clearly linked.
- Job design aims to enhance job satisfaction and performance; methods include job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment.
- Other influences on satisfaction include the management style and culture, employee involvement, empowerment and autonomous work groups.
- Job satisfaction is a very important attribute which is frequently measured by organizations.
Measuring Job Satisfaction
- There are many methods for measuring job satisfaction. By far, the most common method for collecting data regarding job satisfaction is the Likert scale (named after Rensis Likert).
- Other less common methods of for gauging job satisfaction include: Yes/No questions, True/False questions, point systems, checklists, and forced choice answers.
- The Job Descriptive Index (JDI), created by Smith, Kendall, & Hulin (1969), is a specific questionnaire of job satisfaction that has been widely used. It measures one’s satisfaction in five facets: pay, promotions and promotion opportunities, coworkers, supervision, and the work itself.
- The scale is simple, participants answer either yes, no, or can’t decide (indicated by ‘?’) in response to whether given statements accurately describe one’s job.
- The Job in General Index is an overall measurement of job satisfaction. It was an improvement to the Job Descriptive Index because the JDI focused too much on individual facets and not enough on work satisfaction in general.
- Other job satisfaction questionnaires include: the (MSQ), the Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS), and the Faces Scale. The MSQ measures job satisfaction in 20 facets and has a long form with 100 questions (5 items from each facet) and a short form with 20 questions (1 item from each facet).
- The JSS is a 36 items questionnaire that measures nine facets of job satisfaction. Finally, the Faces Scale of job satisfaction, one of the first scales used widely, measured overall job satisfaction with just one item which participants respond to by choosing a face.
Relationships and Practical Implications
- Job Satisfaction can be an important indicator of how employees feel about their jobs and a predictor of work behaviors such as organizational citizenship, absenteeism, and turnover. Further, job satisfaction can partially mediate the relationship of personality variables and deviant work behaviors.
- One common research findings is that job satisfaction is correlated with life satisfaction (Rain, 1991). This correlation is reciprocal, meaning people who are satisfied with life tend to be satisfied with their job and people who are satisfied with their job tend to be satisfied with life.
- However, some research has found that job satisfaction is not significantly related to life satisfaction when other variables such as non-work satisfaction and core self-evaluations are taken into account (Rode, 2004).
- In short, the relationship of satisfaction to productivity is not necessarily straightforward and can be influenced by a number of other work-related constructs, and the notion that “a happy worker is a productive worker” should not be the foundation of organizational decision-making.
Importance to Worker and Organization
- Frequently, work underlies self-esteem and identity while unemployment lowers self-worth and produces anxiety. At the same time, monotonous jobs can erode a worker’s initiative and enthusiasm and can lead to absenteeism and unnecessary turnover.
- Job satisfaction and occupational success are major factors in personal satisfaction, self-respect, self-esteem, and self-development. To the worker, job satisfaction brings a pleasurable emotional state that often leads to a positive work attitude. A satisfied worker is more likely to be creative, flexible, innovative, and loyal.
- For the organization, job satisfaction of its workers means a work force that is motivated and committed to high quality performance. Increased productivity – the quantity and quality of output per hour worked – seems to be a byproduct of improved quality of working life.
- It is important to note that the literature on the relationship between job satisfaction and productivity is neither conclusive nor consistent. However, studies dating back to Herzberg’s (1957) have shown at least low correlation between high morale and high productivity, and it does seem logical that more satisfied workers will tend to add more value to an organization.
- Unhappy employees, who are motivated by fear of job loss, will not give 100 percent of their effort for very long. Though fear is a powerful motivator, it is also a temporary one, and as soon as the threat is lifted performance will decline.
- And although only little correlation has been found between job satisfaction and productivity, Brown (1996) notes that some employers have found that satisfying or delighting employees is a prerequisite to satisfying or delighting customers, thus protecting the “bottom line”.
- Tangible ways in which job satisfaction benefits the organization include reduction in complaints and grievances, absenteeism, turnover, and termination; as well as improved punctuality and worker morale. Job satisfaction is also linked to a healthier work force and has been found to be a good indicator of longevity.
Creating Job Satisfaction
- So, how is job satisfaction created? What are the elements of a job that create job satisfaction? Organizations can help to create job satisfaction by putting systems in place that will ensure that workers are challenged and then rewarded for being successful.
- Flexible work arrangements, possibly including telecommuting.
- Training and other professional growth opportunities.
- Interesting work that offers variety and challenge and allows the worker opportunities to “put his or her signature” on the finished product.
- Opportunities to use one’s talents and to be creative.
- Opportunities to take responsibility and direct one’s own work.
- A stable, secure work environment that includes job security/continuity.
- An environment in which workers are supported by an accessible supervisor who provides timely feedback as well as congenial team members.
- Flexible benefits, such as child-care and exercise facilities.
- Up-to-date technology.
- Competitive salary and opportunities for promotion.
- Probably the most important point to bear in mind when considering job satisfaction is that there are many factors that affect job satisfaction and that what makes workers happy with their jobs varies from one worker to another and from day to day.
- Apart from the factors mentioned above, job satisfaction is also influenced by the employee’s personal characteristics, the manager’s personal characteristics and management style, and the nature of the work itself. Managers who want to maintain a high level of job satisfaction in the work force must try to understand the needs of each member of the work force.
- For example, when creating work teams managers can enhance worker satisfaction by placing people with similar backgrounds, experiences, or needs in the same workgroup.
- Also, managers can enhance job satisfaction by carefully matching workers with the type of work. For example, a person who does not pay attention to detail would hardly make a good inspector, and a shy worker is unlikely to be a good salesperson. As much as possible, managers should match job tasks to employees’ personalities.
- Managers who are serious about the job satisfaction of workers can also take other deliberate steps to create a stimulating work environment. One such step is job enrichment. Job enrichment is deliberate upgrading of responsibility, scope, and challenge in the work itself.
- Job enrichment usually includes increased responsibility, recognition, and opportunities for growth, learning, and achievement. Large companies that have used job-enrichment programs to increase employee motivation and job satisfaction include AT&T, IBM, and General Motors (Daft, 1997).
- Good management has the potential for creating high morale high productivity, and a sense of purpose and meaning for the organization and its employees. Empirical findings by Ting (1997) show that job characteristics such as pay, promotional opportunity, task clarity and significance, and skills utilization, as well as organizational characteristics such as commitment and relationship with supervisors and co-workers, have significant effects on job satisfaction. These job characteristics can be carefully managed to enhance job satisfaction.
Workers’ Roles in Job Satisfaction
- If job satisfaction is a worker benefit surely the worker must be able to contribute to his or her own satisfaction and well-being on the job. The following suggestions can help a worker find personal job satisfaction:
- Seek opportunities to demonstrate skills and talents. This often leads to more challenging work and greater responsibilities, with attendant increases in pay and other recognition.
- Develop excellent communication skills. Employers’ value and reward excellent reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills.
- Know more. Acquire new job-related knowledge that helps you to perform tasks more efficiently and effectively. This will relieve boredom and often gets one noticed.
- Demonstrate creativity and initiative. Qualities like these are valued by most organizations and often result in recognition as well as in increased responsibilities and rewards.
- Develop teamwork and people skills. A large part of job success is the ability to work well with others to get the job done.
- Accept the diversity in people. Accept people with their differences and their imperfections and learn how to give and receive criticism constructively.
- See the value in your work. Appreciating the significance of what one does can lead to satisfaction with the work itself. This helps to give meaning to one’s existence, thus playing a vital role in job satisfaction.Learn to de-stress. Plan to avoid burnout by developing healthy stress-management techniques.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
- Understanding employee motivation
- Theories of motivation
Introduction to Work Motivation
- At one time, employees were considered just another input into the production of goods and services.
- What perhaps changed this way of thinking about employees was research, referred to as the Hawthorne Studies, conducted by Elton Mayo from 1924 to 1932 (Dickson, 1973).
- This study found employees are not motivated solely by money and employee behavior is linked to their attitudes (Dickson, 1973).
- The Hawthorne Studies began the human relations approach to management, whereby the needs and motivation of employees become the primary focus of managers (Bedeian, 1993).
- Every person has different reasons for working.
- The reasons for working as individual as the person.
- But, we all work because we obtain something that we need from work.
- The something we obtain from work impacts our morale and motivation and the quality of our lives. Here is the most recent thinking about what people want from work.
- The great majority of employees are quite enthusiastic when they start a new job. But in about 85 percent of companies, our research finds, employees’ morale sharply declines after their first six months – and continues to deteriorate for years afterward.
- That finding is based on surveys of about 1.2 million employees at 52 primarily Fortune 1000 companies from 2001 through 2004, conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence (Purchase, New York).
- The fault lies squarely at the feet of management – both the policies and procedures companies employ in managing their workforces and in the relationships that individual managers establish with their direct reports.
- To maintain the enthusiasm employees bring to their jobs initially, management must understand the three sets of goals that the great majority of workers seek from their work – and then satisfy those goals:
- Equity: To be respected and to be treated fairly in areas such as pay, benefits, and job security.
- Achievement: To be proud of one’s job, accomplishments, and employer.
- Camaraderie: To have good, productive relationships with fellow employees.
- To maintain an enthusiastic workforce, management must meet all three goals. Indeed, employees who work for companies where just one of these factors is missing are three times less enthusiastic than workers at companies where all elements are present.
- One goal cannot be substituted for another. Improved recognition cannot replace better pay, money cannot substitute for taking pride in a job well done, and pride alone will not pay the mortgage.
- Many contemporary authors have also defined the concept of motivation. Motivation has been defined as: the psychological process that gives behavior purpose and direction (Kreitner, 1995).
- A predisposition to behave in a purposive manner to achieve specific, unmet needs (Buford, Bedeian, & Lindner, 1995).
- An internal drive to satisfy an unsatisfied need (Higgins, 1994); and the will to achieve (Bedeian, 1993).
Theories of Motivation
- Understanding what motivated employees and how they were motivated was the focus of many researchers following the publication of the Hawthorne Study results (Terpstra, 1979).
- Five major approaches that have led to our understanding of motivation are Maslow’s need-hierarchy theory, Herzberg’s two-factor theory, Vroom’s expectancy theory, Adam’s equity theory, and Skinner’s reinforcement theory.
- According to Maslow, employees have five levels of needs (Maslow, 1943): physiological, safety, social, ego, and self-actualizing. Maslow argued that lower level needs had to be satisfied before the next higher level need would motivate employees.
- Herzberg’s work categorized motivation into two factors: motivators and hygienes (Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 1959). Motivators or intrinsic factors, such as achievement and recognition, produce job satisfaction. Hygiene or extrinsic factors, such as pay and job security, produce job dissatisfaction.
- Vroom’s theory is based on the belief that employee effort will lead to performance and performance will lead to rewards (Vroom, 1964). Rewards may be either positive or negative. The more positive the reward the more likely the employee will be highly motivated. Conversely, the more negative the reward the less likely the employee will be motivated.
- Adam’s theory states that employees strive for equity between themselves and other workers. Equity is achieved when the ratio of employee outcomes over inputs is equal to other employee outcomes over inputs (Adams, 1965).
- Skinner’s theory simply states those employees’ behaviors that lead to positive outcomes will be repeated and behaviors that lead to negative outcomes will not be repeated (Skinner, 1953).
- Managers should positively reinforce employee behaviors that lead to positive outcomes. Managers should negatively reinforce employee behavior that leads to negative outcomes.
- Goal setting is a powerful way of motivating people. The value of goal setting is so well recognized that entire management systems, like Management by Objectives, have goal setting basics incorporated within them.
- Locke’s research showed that there was a relationship between how difficult and specific a goal was and people’s performance of a task. He found that specific and difficult goals led to better task performance than vague or easy goals.
- To motivate, goals must take into consideration the degree to which each of the following exists:
Ø Clear goals are measurable, unambiguous, and behavioral. When a goal is clear and specific, with a definite time set for completion, there is less misunderstanding about what behaviors will be rewarded.
Ø You know what’s expected, and you can use the specific result as a source of motivation. When a goal is vague – or when it’s expressed as a general instruction, like “Take initiative” – it has limited motivational value.
Ø One of the most important characteristics of goals is the level of challenge. People are often motivated by achievement, and they’ll judge a goal based on the significance of the anticipated accomplishment. When you know that what you do will be well received, there’s a natural motivation to do a good job.
Ø Rewards typically increase for more difficult goals. If you believe you’ll be well compensated or otherwise rewarded for achieving a challenging goal, that will boost your enthusiasm and your drive to get it done.
Ø Goals must be understood and agreed upon if they are to be effective. Employees are more likely to “buy into” a goal if they feel they were part of creating that goal. The notion of participative management rests on this idea of involving employees in setting goals and making decisions.
Ø In addition to selecting the right type of goal, an effective goal program must also include feedback. Feedback provides opportunities to clarify expectations, adjust goal difficulty, and gain recognition. It’s important to provide benchmark opportunities or targets, so individuals can determine for themselves how they’re doing.
- Task complexity
Ø The last factor in goal setting theory introduces two more requirements for success. For goals or assignments that are highly complex, take special care to ensure that the work doesn’t become too overwhelming.People who work in complicated and demanding roles probably have a higher level of motivation already. However, they can often push themselves too hard if measures aren’t built into the goal expectations to account for the complexity of the task.
Friday, March 14, 2008
- What is training?
- Typical reasons for employee training and development
- Typical topics of employee training
- Benefits of training
- Needs assessment in training
- Training methods
What is training?
- In organizational development, the related field of training and development (T&D) deals with the design and delivery of learning to improve performance, skills, or knowledge within organizations.
- In some organizations the term Learning & Development is used instead of Training and Development in order to emphasize the importance of learning for the individual and the organization. In other organizations, the term Human Resource Development is used.
- As a brief review of terms training involves an expert working with learners to transfer to them certain areas of knowledge or skills to improve in their current jobs.
- Development is a broad, ongoing multi-faceted set of activities (training activities among them) to bring someone or an organization up to another threshold of performance, often to perform some job or new role in the future.
Typical Reasons for Employee Training and Development
- Training and development can be initiated for a variety of reasons for an employee or group of employees, e.g.:
- - When a performance appraisal indicates performance improvement is needed.
- To “benchmark” the status of improvement so far in a performance improvement effort.
- As part of an overall professional development program.
- As part of succession planning to help an employee be eligible for a planned change in role in the organization.
- To “pilot”, or test, the operation of a new performance management system.
Typical Topics of Employee Training
- Communications: The increasing diversity of today’s workforce brings a wide variety of languages and customs.
- Computer skills: Computer skills are becoming a necessity for conducting administrative and office tasks.
- Customer service: Increased competition in today’s global marketplace makes it critical that employees understand and meet the needs of customers.
- Diversity: Diversity training usually includes explanation about how people have different perspectives and views, and includes techniques to value diversity.
- Ethics: Today’s society has increasing expectations about corporate social responsibility. Also, today’s diverse workforce brings a wide variety of values and morals to the workplace.
- Human relations: The increased stresses of today’s workplace can include misunderstandings and conflict. Training can people to get along in the workplace.
- Quality initiatives: Initiatives such as Total Quality Management, Quality Circles, benchmarking, etc., require basic training about quality concepts, guidelines and standards for quality, etc.
- Safety: Safety training is critical where working with heavy equipment, hazardous chemicals, repetitive activities, etc., but can also be useful with practical advice for avoiding assaults, etc.
- Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment training usually includes careful description of the organization’s policies about sexual harassment, especially about what are inappropriate behaviors.
Benefits of Training
- Training is more than just building the skills and knowledge of each individual of your team for their own personal benefit. Companies that have invested in training report the following benefits:
- - Improved recruiting: Today job applicant is looking for an environment that fosters personal growth and development. For many job hunters, training is every bit as important as the compensation package. Plus, an effective training program allows you to cast a wider net by hiring people with the right attitude. Developing the skills can come later.
- Increased Profitability: As the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) study demonstrates, there is a clear correlation between providing your employees with the training they need to become more productive and an increase in the company’s overall profitability.
- Consistent Quality: Providing employees with up to date training ensures that they will be able to complete their tasks in the most efficient manner possible while providing consistency and quality for the organization.
- Customer Satisfaction: Increased productivity and higher quality results in a greater level of customer satisfaction.
- Employee Development: Providing employees with training allows them to develop their individual skills making them better able to contribute to the overall success of the organization.
- Employee Retention: Making training available to your employees provides them with the tools to increase their skills and makes them feel more valued by the organization resulting in greater employee retention.
Training Needs Assessment
- What is a training needs assessment?
- - A tool utilized to identify what educational courses or activities should be provided to employees to improve their work productivity. Focus should be places on needs as opposed to desires.
- For example, training dollars would be better spent on a new employee in the accounting department who needs to learn Microsoft Excel for their job duties as opposed to learning Microsoft Publisher which the employees wants but does not need.
- Why conduct a training needs assessment?
- - To pinpoint if training will make a difference in productivity and the bottom line.
- To decide what specific training each employee needs and what will improve their job performance.
- To differentiate between the need for training and organizational issues.
- How is a training needs assessment performed?
- There are several techniques that can be utilized individually or in combination with each other. More than one tool should be considered to get a better view of the big picture, however, which tools are used should be left up to company.
1. Meet with management
Ø Since most supervisors are involved with the planning of projects and the future of the company they know what will be needed. They shold be able to communicate where their employee’s current abilities lie and what is needed to get them to the next level for new projects on the horizon.
2. Meet with employees
Ø Discuss what struggles they may be facing from day-to-day and what would make their job easier and more efficient. Remember to keep them focused on what they need rather than what they want.
3. Conduct surveys
Ø Surveys are beneficial because many people can be polled in a short period of time. Additionally, surveys provide employees with the opportunity to confess a need on paper that they may be too embarrassed to admit needing in a face-to-face meeting.
4. Conduct focus groups
Ø Focus groups allow for small group interaction, allowing the assessor to uncover details about their target audience. Brainstorming is encouraged allowing for an exchange of new ideas and a revelation of what training may be needed.
5. Review company goals and mission statement
Ø A brief review of the company’s past and where they are headed for the future may reveal valuable information for training. A comparison should be made of what employees are currently doing and what will be expected of them as the company continues to grow and change.
- On-the-job training takes place in a normal working situation, using the actual tools, equipment, documents or materials that trainees will use when fully trained. On-the-job training has a general reputation as most effective for vocational work.
- Vestibule training is a particular type of on-the-job training that does not interfere with actual production. It can be expensive to set up, so make sure there are a large enough number of trainees to justify its full use.
- In vestibule training you set up a training area that simulates the work space, with equipment and operating procedures like those found in the actual work situation, and employ full-time instructors. For example, a vestibule training facility might simulate the work situation of the cabin crew of an airliner, hotel kitchen workers, or high-tension-wire workers.
- Apprenticeship is a system of training a new generation of skilled crafts practitioners. Apprentices (or in early modern usage “prentices”) build their careers from apprenticeships. Most of their training is done on the job while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade. An informal, theoretical education may also be involved.
- Computer-based training is any training that uses a computer as the focal point for instructional delivery. With CBT, training is provided through the use of a computer and software, which guides a learner through an instructional program.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
- What is performance appraisal?
- Aims of performance appraisal
- Importance of performance appraisal
- Overview of performance appraisal
- Performance criteria
- Methods for assessing job performance
- Legal issues in performance appraisal
What is Performance Appraisal?
- Performance appraisal, also known as employee appraisal, is a method by which the performance of an employee is evaluated (generally in terms of quality, quantity, cost and time).
- There is, says Dulewicz (1989), “… a basic human tendency to make judgments about those one is working with, as well as about oneself.”
- Appraisal, it seems, is both inevitable and universal. In the absence of a carefully structured system of appraisal, people will tend to judge the work performance of others, including subordinates, naturally, informally and arbitrarily.
- The human inclination to judge can create serious motivational, ethical and legal problems in the workplace. Without a structured appraisal system, there is little chance of ensuring that the judgments made will be lawful, fair, defensible and accurate.
- Performance appraisal may be defined as a structured formal interaction between a subordinate and supervisor, that usually takes the form of a periodic interview (annual or semi-annual).In which the work performance of the subordinate is examined and discussed, with a view to identifying weaknesses and strengths as well as opportunities for improvement and skills development.
Aims of Performance Appraisal
Performance appraisals are regular review of employee performance within organizations. Generally, the aims of a scheme are:
- Give feedback on performance to employees.
- Identify employee training needs.
- Document criteria used to allocate organizational rewards.
- Form a basis for personnel decisions: salary increases, promotions, disciplinary actions, etc.
- Provide the opportunity for organizational diagnosis and development.
- Facilitate communication between employee and administrator.Validate selection techniques and human resource policies to meet federal Equal Employment Opportunity requirements.
Importance of Performance Appraisal
- In many organizations – but not all – appraisal results are used, either directly or indirectly, to help determine reward outcomes.
- That is, the appraisal results are used to identify the better performing employees who should get the majority of available merit pay increases, bonuses, and promotions.
- By the same token, appraisal results are used to identify the poorer performers who may require some form of counseling, or in extreme cases, demotion, dismissal or decreases in pay.
- (Organizations need to be aware of laws in their country that might restrict their capacity to dismiss employees or decrease pay.)Whether this is an appropriate use of performance appraisal – the assignment and justification of rewards and penalties – is a very uncertain and contentious matter.
Overview of Performance Appraisal
- Ideally PA allows management to specify what employee must do; combines feedback and goal setting.
- Everyone involved needs to recognize that performance appraisal involves human judgment and information processing; can never be totally objective or infallible.
- System should aim to be easy to operate, easy to explain, easy to maintain, easy to administer.
- System should be job related, relevant, sensitive, reliable, acceptable, practical, open, fair, and useful.
- Ratee should participate in the development.Need to take legal issues into account.
- Actual vs theoretical criteria
- Theoretical criterion
Ø The theoretical construct
Ø The idea of what good performance is.
- Actual criterion
Ø The way in which the theoretical criterion is assessed and operationalized.
Ø Insurance salesperson
Ø TC: sell
Ø AC: count of the sales the person made.
- Criterion contamination
- Refers to the part of the actual criterion that reflects something other than what it was designed to measure.
- Contamination can arise from biases in the criterion and from unreliability.
- Criterion deficiency
- The actual criterion does not adequately cover the entire theoretical criterion.
- On the other words, the actual criterion is an incomplete representation of what we are trying to assess.
- Criterion relevance
- The extent to which the actual criterion assesses the theoretical criterion it is designed to measure, or its construct validity.
- The closer actual and theoretical criterion, the greater relevance.
- Eight job performance criteria
- Tenure or turnover
- Counterproductive workplace behavior
- Customer service behavior
Methods of Assessing Job Performance
- Objective measures of job performance
- A set of factors used to assess job performances that are (relatively) objective or factual in character.
- Such data are usually found in organization records, for example: accidents, incidents at work, lateness, productivity, etc.
- Subjective measures of job performance
- A set of factors used to assess job performances that are the product of someone’s (e.g. supervisor, peer, customer, etc) subjective rating of these factors.
- It is a judgmental evaluation of a person’s performance.
- Most organizations require that supervisors complete annual performance appraisal rating forms on each of their subordinates.
Legal Issues of Performance Appraisal
- Performance appraisal should not be used in a merely punitive or retaliatory fashion. It is grossly unprofessional for a manager or supervisor to use the appraisal process to ‘get even’ with an employee who has displeased or upset them in some way.
- Appraisals should not be used to discriminate against employees on the basis of race, religion, age, gender, disability, marital status, pregnancy, or sexual preference.
- Performance appraisal results should be fair, accurate and supported by evidence and example. For instance, if an employee has poor interpersonal skills and is harming morale and group performance, the supervisor might keep a log of incidents. Co-workers may be interviewed and their views and reactions recorded. The nature and effects of the employee’s behavior should be documented.
- An employee should have the opportunity to comment on their appraisal result, to express their agreement or otherwise, and to appeal the result or at least request a review by up line supervisors.
- Appraisals should be balanced, recording information on both the good and the bad aspects of an employee’s performance (as far as possible).
- Appraisals results should not be used the sole basis for promotion, remuneration or termination decisions. A broad range of information should be considered, in which the employee’s appraisal results may be significant but not necessarily conclusive.
- Employees who receive a poor performance appraisal result should be given a reasonable chance to improve. Generally speaking, it is a bad idea to dismiss, demote of otherwise penalize an employee because of a single adverse appraisal result (depending of course on the nature and seriousness of the conduct that underlies the poor result).
- Provide timely feedback, especially to marginal or poor performers. It is not fair to offer zero feedback to a poor performer for twelve months and then present them with a bad appraisal. Be willing, especially with employees who are having trouble, to offer more frequent feedback and guidance. Tell them if something is wrong and give them a chance to correct the problem in a timely manner.
- Retain records. If an employee believes they have been dealt with unfairly, they may have rights to instigate legal action years later. In the case of poor performers, or persons dismissed or demoted, or those who resign or leave in less than happy circumstances, we suggest that their appraisal records, together with critical incidents logs and other relevant documents, be archived indefinitely.
- Check with local legal specialists as to required periods of record retention and time limits on the right of potential litigants, as these vary from one jurisdiction to the next.
- If an appraisal results is poor (or in any way likely to be controversial or provocative), ask an objective third party for their views on whether the appraisal result seems fair and reasonable. Be prepared to modify your position if the second opinion is not supportive of the result.
- Appraisals should avoid inflammatory and emotive language. As far as possible, aim for a detached and dispassionate style. Ensure that criticisms relate to actual job requirements and are not based on mere personal or other irrelevant issues that have little or no connection with actual job requirements.
- Managers and supervisors required to conduct staff appraisals should be trained in appraisal principles and techniques. Conducting performance appraisals is one of the most demanding of all supervisory activities. It is a sensitive and sometimes controversial task which, if mishandled, can cause serious damage to employee relations and morale.
- Appraisal results should be treated as private and confidential information. Record storage should be secure and controlled. Only people with an approved need to know should have access to an employee’s performance appraisal information.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
UAPP 2053 Organizational Psychology
Lecture 4 Psychological Testing
- What is psychological testing?
- Principles of psychological testing.
- Administering psychological test.
- Types of psychological test.
- Limitations of psychological testing.
What is Psychological Testing?
- Psychological testing is a field characterized by the use of samples of behavior in order to infer generalizations about a given individual.
- The technical term for the science behind psychological testing is psychometrics.
- By samples of behavior, one means observations over time of individual performing tasks that have usually been prescribed beforehand.
- These responses are often compiled into statistical tables that allow the evaluator to compare the behavior of the individual being tested to the responses of a norm group.
- Psychological testing is not the same as psychological assessment.
- Psychological assessment is a process that involves the integration of information from multiple sources, such as psychological tests, and other information such as personal and medical history, description of current symptoms and problems by either self or others, and collateral information (interviews with other persons about the person being assessed).
- Psychological test is one of the sources of data used within the process of assessment; usually more than one test is used.
- All psychologists do some levels of assessment when providing services to clients or patients.
- For example, simple checklists to assess some traits or symptoms, but psychological assessment are a more complex, detailed, in-depth process.
- Typical types of focus for psychological assessment are to provided a diagnosis, assess level of function or disability, help direct treatment, and assess treatment outcome.
- A tool used to assist with the recruitment and selection of candidates.
- Psychological tests do not, and should not stand alone as the only selection method.
- They are used in combination with a number of selection tools, such as interviews, work experience, resume, assessment centers or job application.
- Psychological tests are carefully developed for specific purposes and are designed to help fit your talents, personality and attributes to a job that suits you.
- They are not designed to reveal your innermost secrets or uncover confidential information about you.
- Reputable tests have undergone rigorous research before being released, and published technical manuals provide research evidence of their reliability and validity for specific purposes.
- Although psychological testing is on the increase, due to cost, testing may not be implemented until late in the selection process.
Principles of Psychological Testing
- Reliability is the extent to which a test is repeatable and yields consistent scores.
- Note: In order to be valid, a test must be reliable; but reliability does not guarantee validity.
- All measurement procedures have the potential for error, so the aim is to minimize it. An observed test score is made up of the true score plus measurement error.
- The goal of estimating reliability (consistency) is to determine how much of the variability in test scores is due to measurement error and how much is due to variability in true scores.
- Measurement errors are essentially random: a person’s test score might not reflect the true score because they were sick, hung over, anxious, in a noisy room, etc.
- Reliability can be improved by:
· Getting repeated measurements using the same test.
· Getting many different measures using slightly different techniques and methods.
· E.g. consider university assessment for grades involve several sources. You would not consider one multiple-choice exam question to be a reliable basis for testing your knowledge of “individual differences”. Many questions are asked in many different formats (e.g. exam, essay, presentation) to help provide a more reliable score.
- Validity is the extent to which a test measures what is it supposed to measure.
- Validity is a subjective judgment made on the basis of experience and empirical indicators.
- Validity asks “Is the test measuring what you think it’s measuring?”
- For example, we might define “aggression” as an act intended to cause harm to anther person (a conceptual definition) but the operational definition might be seeing:
· How many times a child hits a doll.
· How often a child pushes to the front of the queue.
· How many physical scraps he/she gets into in the playground.
- Are these valid measures of aggression? i.e. how well does the operational definition match the conceptual definition?
- Remember: In order to be valid, a test must be reliable; but reliability does not guarantee validity, i.e. it is possible to have a highly reliable test which is meaningless (invalid).
- Just a brief word on generalizability. Reliability and validity are often discussed separately but sometimes you will see them both referred to as aspects of generalizability. Often we want to know whether the results of a measure or a test used with a particular group can be generalized to other tests or other groups.
- So, is the result you get with one test, lets say the WISC III, equivalent to the result you would get using the Stanford-Binet? Do both these test give a similar IQ score? And do the results you get from the people you assessed apply to other kinds of people? Are the results generalizable?
- However, I/O psychologists have concluded that tests valid in one situation may also be valid in another situation.
- In other words, once established, the validity of the test can be generalized.
- Standardization: Standardized tests are:
· Administered under uniform conditions. i.e. no matter where, when, by whom or to whom it is given, the test is administered in a similar way.
· Scored objectively, i.e. the procedures for scoring the test are specified in detail so that any number of trained scores will arrive at the same score for the same set of responses.
· So for example, questions that need subjective evaluation (e.g. essay questions) are generally not included in standardized tests.
· Designed to measure relative performance, i.e. they are not designed to measure ABSOLUTE ability on a task. In order to measure relative performance, standardized tests are interpreted with reference to a comparable group of people, the standardization, or normative sample.
· E.g. highest possible grade in test is 100. Child scores 60 on a standardized achievement test. You may feel that the child has not demonstrated mastery of the material covered in the test (absolute ability) BUT if the average of the standardization sample was 55 the child has done quite well (RELATIVE performance).
Administering Psychological Test
- Individual and group test
· Group test – can be given to 20,200, or 2,200 applicants simultaneously.
· Individual test – administered to one person at a time.
- Computerized adaptive test
· Take a test using computer.
- Speed and power test
· Speed test – has fix time limit.
· Power test – has no time limit – more difficult items.
Types of Psychological Test
- Achievement and aptitude tests
· Are usually seen in educational or employment settings and they attempt to measure either how much you know about a certain topic (i.e. your achieved knowledge), such as mathematics or spelling, or how much of a capacity you have (i.e. your aptitude) to master material in a particular area, such as mechanical relationships.
- Intelligence tests
· Intelligence tests attempt to measure your intelligence, or your basic ability to understand the world around you, assimilate its functioning, and apply this knowledge to enhance the quality of your life.
· Or, as Alfred Whitehead said about intelligence, “it enables the individual to profit by error without being slaughtered by it.”
· Intelligence, therefore, is a measure of a potential, not a measure of what you’ve learned (as in an achievement test), and so it is supposed to be independent of culture.
· The trick is to design a test that can actually be culture-free; most intelligence tests fail in this area to some extent for one reason or another.
- Personality tests
· Attempt to measure your basic personality style and are most used in research or forensic settings to help with clinical diagnoses.
· Two of the most well-known personality tests are the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), or the revised MMPI-2, composed of several hundred “yes or no” questions, and the Rorschach (the “inkblot test”), composed of several cards of inkblots – you simply give a description of the images and feelings you experience in looking at the blots.
- Interest test
· Interest test is used to identity what you might be passionate about occupationally and is said to be the most powerful test in finding your perfect career. It is also recommended to be the first step in your career planning.
- The Situational Judgment Test (SJT)
· Assesses judgment required for solving problems in work-related situations. The SJT presents you with hypothetical and challenging situations that one might encounter at work, and that involve working with others as part of a team, interacting with others, and dealing with workplace dilemmas.
· In response to each situation, you are presented with five possible actions that one might take in dealing with the problem described. Your task on the test will be to select the one response alternative that is the most effective and the one response alternative that is the least effective in dealing with the problem described.