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Workplace Skills, Recruiting, and Performance Methods

1. What skills will you need to work effectively in a 1. network organization, 2. a learning organization, and 3. a high-involvement organization. Be specific, generating long lists.

1B. What can you do to prepare yourself for these eventualities?


3. What are the various methods of recruiting employees? Why are some better than others? In what sense are they better?


4. What purpose does performance appraisals serve? Why are there so many different methods of appraisals?


5. What are some of the key ideas to remember when conducting a performance interview?


Solution Preview

Interesting set of short-essay type questions! Let's take a closer look through discussion and research from various resources, which you can draw on for your final responses. I also attached three articles (the first two articles are saved in 10% size, so you will have to expand to full page or 100% to read), which are three highly informative resources as well.


1. What skills will you need to work effectively in a: 1) Network organization, 2) a learning organization, and 3) a high-involvement organization. Be specific, generating long lists. BOTH QUESTIONS TOGETHER ANSWERED IN 150 WORDS OR MORE.

This question is straightforward. Let's look at research information from various sources, which you can draw on for your final 150-word response. I also provided the links for further expansion if necessary.

a. Network organization

A network organization is a company or group of companies that has a minimum of formal structures and relies instead on the formation and dissolution of teams to meet specific objectives. A network organization utilizes information and communications technologies extensively, and makes use of know-how across and within companies along the value chain (http://dictionary.bnet.com/definition/network+organization.html).

Thus, essential skills are team/group skills, flexibility, technological know-hows, broad sharing of knowledge and effective communication skills. An organization must be flexible in order to adapt to changes. For example, the CJ Net is a backbone communications network for Florida's criminal justice agencies. This network builds on the foundation of the Florida Crime Information Center (FCIC) telecommunications network (http://jobfunctions.bnet.com/whitepaper.aspx?docid=125205). The three T's of Technology, Terrorism, and (world) Trade are the drivers that create waves in the supply chain network. Observations suggest that whenever new technology, new terrorist threats, or new world trade economics occur, supply chain networks must be flexible (while balanced with stability) to meet and adapt to these changes (Van Alstyne, 1997, attached for convenience).

See attached article on the network organizations, which is an extensive overview and very help to understand the nature of a network organization.

b. Learning Organization

A Learning Organization reflects systems thinking. And, "systems thinking needs the disciplines of building shared vision, mental models, team learning, and personal mastery to realize its potential" (Larsen, 1996). According to Faerman (1996) and others, building a shared vision fosters commitment to the long-term. Mental models focus on the openness needed to unearth shortcomings in our present ways of seeing the world. Team learning develops the skills of groups of people to look for the larger picture that lies beyond individual perspectives. And personal mastery fosters the personal motivation to continually learn how our actions affect our world (Faerman, 1996).

But systems thinking make understandable the subtlest aspect of the learning organization --the new way individuals perceive themselves and their world. According to Faerman (1996) and others, at the heart of a learning organization is a shift of mind --from seeing ourselves as separate from the world to connected to the world, from seeing problems as caused by someone or something "out there" to seeing how our own actions create the problems we experience. A learning organization is a place where people are continually discovering how they create their reality. And how they can change it.
In fact, Larson and LaFasto (1996, as cited in Faerman, 1996) (attached as learning Organizations.doc) found eight characteristics of high-performance organizations, which operate through the employees:

1. A clear, elevating goal
2. A results driven structure
3. Competent team members
4. Unified commitment
5. A collaborative climate
6. Standards of excellence
7. External support and recognition
8. Principled leadership (Larson and LaFasto, 1989, in French and Bell, 1995, p. 98, as cited in Faerman, 1996) (attached as learning Organizations.doc)

Also see attached article for other considerations.

(c) High Involvement Organization

Recent research suggests that high-involvement organizations engage in work practices that can develop the positive beliefs and attitudes associated with employee engagement, and that these practices can generate the kinds of discretionary behaviors that lead to enhanced performance. It is to involve people as much as possible in all aspects of work decisions and planning. This involvement increases ownership and commitment, retains your best employees, and fosters an environment in which people choose to be motivated and contributing. Different strategies are used to involve employees in decision-making and continuous improvement activities. It is the strategic aspect of involvement and can include such methods as suggestion systems, manufacturing cells, work teams, continuous improvement meetings, Kaizen (continuous improvement) events, corrective action processes, and periodic discussions with the supervisor. Intrinsic to most employee involvement processes is training in team effectiveness, communication, and problem solving; the development of reward and recognition systems; and frequently, the sharing of gains made through employee involvement efforts (http://humanresources.about.com/od/glossarye/a/employee_inv.htm). .

Thus, the main skills are involvement or engaging behaviors for employees (e.g., empathy, cooperation, decision-making, problem-solving, team building skills, group effectiveness, communication skills, to name a few). Simply put, employees who conceive, design and implement workplace and process changes are engaged employees.

For an article that focuses on what employee involvement strategies click http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/14/a7/07.pdf.

(1B) What can you do to prepare yourself for these eventualities?

According to Van Alstyne, as a response to volatile environments, working in a network organization would mean skills to balance stability against flexibility, specialization against generalization, and centralization against decentralization. The network organization, and thus, the employees, also attempts to make increasingly sophisticated use of information technology. Therefore, the person needs to consider these characteristics in all decisions, and the have (or learn) the above skills in order to effectively network using the to work team approach( such as group/team skills, effective communication skills, technology know-hows, etc.) effectively in a network organization (e.g., it might include training, personal development, career development, etc.).

Similarly, in the learning environment, you would need to develop the team skills mentioned above and develop systems thinking and mindset (e.g., building shared vision, mental models, team learning, personal mastery, self-directed learning, to name a few mentioned above. For example, team learning is an individual skill that starts with "dialogue," the capacity of members of a team to suspend assumptions and enter into a genuine "thinking together." Team learning is vital because teams, not individuals, are the fundamental learning unit in modern organizations (see other ideas at http://home.nycap.rr.com/klarsen/learnorg/index.html#tea).

If this question is referring to you as a manager: it is to prepare for the team approach and engagement work practice necessary in a high involvement ...

Solution Summary

This solution addresses the questions in detail regarding workplace issues such as skills needed to work effectively, methods for recruiting employees; purpose and methods of performance appraisals; and performance interviews. Supplemented with three highly informative article on learning, network and high-involvment organizations.