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Humanising work

The main objective of any management is to create and develop an environment conductive to the work, harmonising organisational goal with individual goals.

Such a work environment comprises two factors: one, concerned with the actual physical environment in which the work is performed; the other, concerned with the mental or conceptual environment in which the employees operate.

The physical environment is concerned with all the physical aspects such as temperature, noise, light, ventilation, the tools which are used, the methods of work, the material employed, the sequence in which work is performed. The mental or conceptual environment deals with the attitude of an employee how he perceives his environment. The manager aims at creating a positive attitude or frame of mind for each employee which will encourage him to participate in the affairs of organisation. Employees must be made to understand why the company needs them, why they should participate in work and how their personal goals or objectives can be achieved through mutual co-operative endeavour.
These two environments do not and cannot exist independently. Nothing could be more satisfying than a job content according to one’s own choice.

It is a simple fact that the intrinsic satisfaction offered by work is a powerful motivator and that a dull and dreary job tends to be demotivating regardless of compensation. Initially it was thought that the scientific management theory invented by Frederick Taylor was the most efficient concept of management. But within a period 30-40 years, it was realised that it cannot continue to motivate people to give optimum results and money is not the only motivator. Taylor’s theory was further refined by Gantt who wanted to emphasis the human aspect. However, Frant Gilbert concentrated primarily on work process. The objective was loud and clear improving organisational part in such a way that they function efficiently. It was German sociologist Max Weber who wanted to discover law of social behaviour in a work environment which led to the Bureaucratic

Theory of Management.

However, this theory also ultimately did not prove quite successful inspite of being in existence for a pretty long time and the search for secret regarding impact of human behaviour on work continued to bother social scientists and management experts all over the world. The breakthrough was achieved by Hawthome experiment conducted by Elton Mayo and his associates on the workers of Western Electric Company, Texas, while studying the impact of human behaviour in the work situation. The work group was the essence of this experiment wherein influence of various formal and informal groups and various physical environment factors was studied on the performance of the employees. The objectives of this study was to find out how the performance of the employees can be improved through the study of human behaviour.

Performance by self-discipline and self control was the basis of formulation of theory ‘y’ by renowned management scientist McGregor. Initially Gregor came out with the theory ‘X’, the presumption of which was just opposite of theory ‘Y’. He noticed in various organisations that the performance by close supervision and through fear of punishment can only give short term results but if the management has to get long term results, it has to consider the human aspects of work. Despite the fact that these theories are known to most of the managers, they are unable to make their best use because of their own style of management. Confusion, misunderstanding and lack of contribution where everything is left to the discretion of top management, can be symbolised as ‘management by crisis’. A predominant feature of Indian Industry is ‘management by drive’ where top most priority is given to a problem over a time bound programme and results are tried to be achieved.

The often leads to a situation where the management does not take a total view of the whole situation and other objectives are often compromised in order to show achievement of results in one particular sphere within a short time. The first practice should be to build responsibility and achievement into job and work force. The work itself has to be made productive so that the employee can work at making himself highly achieving. The employee needs to meet the demand of the discipline and the incentive of responsibility. The Manager must treat the people with whom he works as resource to himself. He has to look to them for guidance regarding his own job. He has to convince them that it is their responsibility to enable their manager to do a better and more effective job. Perhaps, the most important element in humanising work and managing people is to place them where their strength can become productive. Placement, however, is left largely to chance. Yet no two people have the same configuration of strength and weakness.

Job rotation within same department not only motivates employees but also helps management to have well groomed employees who are capable of managing senior position in future. Job enlargement and job enrichment are very effective tools for motivating employees in large companies where promotion avenues are few and it takes longer for employee to get promotion. Involvement of employees in day-to-day working, decision making, getting feed back, brings a sense of participation. Establishing a positive rapport through emphathetic supervision is most important for humanisation of work. Principle of individualisation by having a sincere concern and respect for competence, recognising the individual identity and a genuine concern for career progression of employees, motivate them to give their best to the organisation. Man being a social animal by nature equally needs group identity. Fostering a feeling of pride through appreciation and attaching himself to what other employees do and through positive team work help managers to enhance the image of the company. Beyond involvement in the work lies involvement in the organisation. Every manager should act as a salesman for the organisation not only in terms of promotion of sales of its product but also by building up its corporate image by visualising the distinct role of the organisation in the total system.

Managing Resources
India’s largest export is manpower and the country is considered the second largest market in the world, thus making it the centre of attraction for the leading multinational companies. There is hardly any natural resource which is not available in the country and the agricultural production has increased steadily over the years not only enabling us to be self sufficient in food production but also helping us to export to different parts of the world. However, the harsh reality is that employment among uneducated as well as educated people is becoming alarming. The disparity among those in the organised and the unorganised sector is also reaching alarming proportions giving rise to social crimes, frustration and political instability in different parts of the country. The problem of unemployment apart, under employment in the organised sector is giving vent to multiplicity of trade unions, inter-union rivalry, low production and productivity compelling more and more industries to restore to voluntary retirement schemes, closure and need for financial help.

All these factors individually and collectively prevent the industry, trade and commerce to grow and develop to its optimum level, thus restricting the job and career opportunities for young aspirants. The latest HRD policy of the government has further aggravated the problem to a great extent as it has limited the access to higher professional education by restricting 50 percent of the unreserved seats in professional institutions as “payment seats” for which a very high fee is being charged.

In other words, education is virtually reserved for those who have substantial financial resources to pay very high fee which is commonly known in most of our professional institutions as capitation fee. The All India Council of Technical Education, which confers recognition on private professional institutions and the University Grants Commission, which lays down policies for government aided colleges and universities under the education policy, has covered business management, personnel management, labour welfare, public relations, journalism, medicine, engineering and computer courses. The way these agencies have worked after the verdict of the Supreme Court in 1993 in the case of Unni Krishnan Vs State of Andhra Pradesh and the other on capitation fee is astonishing and leaves much to be desired as it has added only fuel to the fire of unemployment.

The employment scenario is grim as there are two to nine million educated unemployed, according to different projections. While the Planning Commission estimates are on the lower side at about two millions in the waiting list, the Institute of Applied Manpower Research (IAMR), estimates that 8.72 million are in the queue.

DATA 1997
There is a constant rise in the educated unemployed which is primarily due to increase in population, lack of education and counseling services and lack of professional education. According to another study of IAMR, India at present needs nearly 2.5 lakh trained managers whereas the combined output capacity of management graduates and diploma holders of different universities and professional institutes is less than 40,000 per year.

DATA 1997
Thus, there is a wide gap between the demand and supply of trained managers and hence need for many more professional management education institutes. The greatest problem lies in ‘managing’ be it our natural resources, population or illiteracy. In spite of experimenting for the last 50 years, we are still trying to seek westernised solutions to purely Indian problems or situations and this is nothing more than putting a round peg in a square hole. Our universities and colleges are full of such faculties which have obtained foreign degrees in management and started their career in academics. As a result they are unaware of Indian work conditions and culture. Similarly, there are large numbers of working managers who never interact with professional management institutes. Until and unless, there is a constant and continuous interaction between industry and educational institutes, both will continue to suffer. Many people take ‘job’ and ‘career’ as two synonymous terms. A job means letting out your services on hire for a fixed period; a purely contractual relationship to earn one’s livelihood. There is no element of growth advancement and zeal to excel.

There is no emotional involvement either with the job or with surroundings.
But a career is a conscious gradual process of growth and development of self in predetermined direction with high degree of satisfaction and reward. In a career, the emphasis of individual is on learning and reward and satisfaction are natural outflow of the same. In a job the emphasis is on reward alone and the element of learning is secondary if not totally missing. The choice of career by an individual should be undertaken between 12-16 years of age depending upon one’s maturity level, educational background of family and intelligence. It is advisable that before one takes a final decision on the matter one should carry out SWOT analysis of self, that is, an analytic study of strength, weakness, opportunities and threats.