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Era of the Disposable Worker Essay

Today we find ourselves in a world of turmoil where employment is concerned. Many people find themselves forced to take part time positions at multiple establishments to “make ends meet”. In years past, loyalty and respect led the decisions of organizations and corporations. Today stock prices, profits and competition are the main consideration when managers and leaders make changes within a company. Is this the best way to guide the decision making process? What affects do small decisions have on a company as a whole?

Individual Business Decisions

In a weak economy many businesses find themselves struggling to stay competitively priced and still make a profit. In order to “keep the doors open” managers are faced with many tough decisions that sometimes lead to deterioration in working conditions for many employees. Managers must then implement planning, “a process that includes defining goals, establishing strategies, and developing plans to coordinate activities” (Robbins & Judge, 2013, p. 6). Many decisions they make affect conditions and attitudes of the employees of the organization. Reduction of work force causes employees to be on edge and many times make poor decisions for fear of losing their job.

This can cause conflicts among workers and lead to less production for the company. Often times the business will choose to cut hours, making full time employees lose benefit eligibility. These decisions made by management can cause working conditions to deteriorate very quickly. Lack of hours, benefits, and conflict among workers causes stress and disturbances in the work place, leading to less than favorable conditions.

Responsibility Based Decisions

Organizations have a responsibility not only to employees but also to shareholders to be as profitable as possible in all economic conditions. These organizations are responsible for ensuring a safe work place for all employees. According to OSHA regulation a general business is responsible for maintaining conditions and implementing actions that are necessary to produce a safe working environment for workers (Education Portal, 2003). The organization is not responsible for ensuring job security, full time hours or working conditions although these are considered ethical concerns for a company. The responsibility of an organization is to its shareholders, creditors and customers to offer the best price possible while still making an acceptable profit margin. Managers must ensure the ability to repay its debts as well as the ability to pay the employees to “keep the doors open” and the organization growing. This is why managements decisions are so prone to conflict and deteroration of working conditions.

Alternate Decision Basis

There are other factors that drive the decision making process of management other than stock price. The reputation of an organization and the foundational concept on which the business was built can affect the business decisions of a company and its management team. According to (Robbins & Judge) 2013, evidence-based management make managerial decisions based on the most current scientific evidence available. In a particular situation where a manager is faced with a decision, said manager would then research to find relavent evidence and apply that knowledge to make a decision. Intuition, or “a gut feeling not necessarily supported by research” (Robbins & Judge, 2013) is also a factor that drives the decisions made by organizational managers. Many times intuition is used to make decisions when time is a factor or when faced with an immediate need.

Decision Impacts

All decisions have an impact whether they be small or large depends on the situation. The economical slump or individual decision to increase the number of temporary employees rather than full time loyal employees has its affects. These temporary employees have no loyalty to the organization because they have no guarantee that they will continue to have a position. The concept of being loyal to your employer and taking pride in your job is being pushed farther into the distance with the new heavy usage of temporary workers. The work environment and profitabilty of many companies suffer due to the lack of concern and permanancy felt by the employees. “An organization’s employees can be the impetus for innovation and change, or they can be a major stumbling block” (Robbins & Judge, 2013).

The ability to measure this change in attitude and impact on employees from corporate decisions to downsize, impliment temporary workers, and make changes can be difficult. Managers and field supervisors should be aware of employee behavior and sudden changes in atmosphere during and after these changes have been made. Noticable changes or gaps in production, customer satisfaction and profits should also be a “red flag” to management that employees are being affected by recent decisions. Organizations must be aware of the decisions and the impacts that “the era of the disposable worker” can have on profits, work conditions, share prices, and employees.

Education Portal. (2003). Ensuring Workplace Safety. Retrieved from http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/osha-ensuring-workplace-safety.html#lesson

Robbins, S., & Judge, T. (2013). Organizational behavior. (15th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall Publishing.

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