1. Key Elements Of Flexible Work Patterns (Week 1) Flashcards Preview

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List the 3 management approaches

1. Fordism - task specialisation, full time permanent jobs filled mainly by men
2. Post Fordism - era of a more flexible labour market demanding a broader range of skills; work organisation is a new focus; no boundaries
3. Neo-Fordism - traditional role of management remains unchallenged


Describe the impact of reform since the 1980s on the organisation of work in Australia

- from the 1980s, microeconomic reform shifted responsibility for the management of the employer / employee relationship to the level of the firm
- Reform has increased the range of tasks and abilities of employees; developed more direct communication between employers and employees; created variation in the time periods of employment and less contractual restrictions; allowed redeployment as and when required.
- use of flexibility opens has increased


What are the 4 types of labour flexibility?

- Functional flexibility
- Numerical flexibility
- Financial flexibility
- Procedural flexibility


What is functional flexibility?

- Post-Fordist : qualitative being the ability to deploy and redeploy particular employees to a wide range of tasks in response to market demands
- Requires a skilled workforce / minimal demarcations and is a reversal of the scientific management approach


What is numerical flexibility?

Neo-Fordist quantitative
The ability to adjust the size of the workforce easily at short notice to respond to economic activity.
External - change size of the workforce
Internal - change hours of work
Requires less restrictive contractual obligations and increased use of casual and part-time employees.


What is financial flexibility?

A compensation system designed to facilitate the development of flexible patterns of work.
Requires functional flexibility (skill rates) and numerical flexibility (market rates)


What is procedural flexibility?

Concerned with the establishment of mechanisms for introducing change or negotiating variations in work practices, primarily through both legal and traditional practices covering employment. In Australia examples include Award restricting, enterprise bargaining and ongoing changes to IR legislation


Describe Atkinson's flexible firm

Attempts to promote cost effectiveness, overcome market uncertainty and volatility, avoid costs of large scale redundancy payouts, respond to rapid changes to technology and reorganise the internal labour market
1. Core - perform essential tasks within the firm, permanent employees, internal career paths, characterised by functional flexibility
2. Periphery - perform routine activities important but not vital, characterised by numerical flexibility
3. External - perform essential and routine work, sub-contractors, agency workers and self-employed


What have been the HR responses to flexible work patterns?

- widespread use of performance appraisal
- pay for performance schemes have become more common
- communication methods with more direct communication expected between employers and employees
- Hard HRM focuses on managing and controlling employees to achieve goals
- Soft HRM gives more recognition of the need of employees and the importance of their commitment to the organisation


What are the effects of labour flexibility?

- impact on both employers and employees
- from the employer perspective:
ADV are a close match between the organisation resources and utilisation; a more efficient use of resources and reduced fixed costs
DISADV are increased costs of TandD, more complex administration, communication difficulties, workplace tension between workgroups
From the employee perspective:
ADV are combining work with outside interests, greater job satisfaction, improved motivation commitment DISADV are unequal terms and conditions, reduced training and career opportunities, increased job insecurity, increased stress


Describe the context for the changing nature of work?

- globalisation has required Australian businesses to adapt
- Drive for productivity and quality
- Workforces need to be highly skilled and innovative
- HR has had to adapt with innovative HR practices and a key element has been workforce flexibility


Describe the labour market trends

1. growth in female participation
2. shift from manufacturing to services
3. increased part time and non-standard employment
4. demand for skilled employees
5. Wage inequalities have increased
6. workplace changes - delayering, downsizing, outsourcing
7. increased job mobility


Describe Hard HRM (5)

1. Fit with policies, systems and strategy
2. Resources are seen as a cost to production
3. Low cost - maximum productivity
4. Quatitative approach
5. Tightly controlled through rules and monitoring - strong focus on quality


Describe Soft HRM (6)

1. Fit with polices, systems and strateg
2. Resources are seen as valuable assets contributing to growth and productivity
3. Long term focus on development
4. Climate of commitment based on trust and empowerment
5. Qualitative approach
6. Strong focus on innovation and quality


What are the key tensions of flexibility (4)?

1. Trade-offs with outsourcing
2. Cost vs. quality
3. Both impact the bottom line
4. Workforce morale - different classed of employees, security etc.