The paper "Flexible Workplaces: the New Trend" is an outstanding example of a management case study. The workplace in the 21st century has shifted its focus to the performance of employees as the primary asset of any organisation. Different flexible working models continue to evolve in tandem with the dynamics of the market requirements from the wishes of Baby Boomers to the predilections of Generation Y. New techniques must be developed to improve and measure performance which means that skills in problem solving and creativity will achieve greater prominence (Nicolson and Nairn, 2006). A powerful tool to maximise both individual and organisational efficiency in the contemporary workplace is flexibility.
There are several changes in the demands of the working environment that take their toll on employees’ lives. In order to adapt to these changes and better manage the development strategies of organisations, it behoves workers to improve their efficiency and output via smart ways of working and living. This is advantageous for the company, as well as the employees (Clark, 2009). Acquisition of new management tools in the new dynamic workplace will be mandatory for every business executive in order to devise more flexible working places in order to encompass the needs of diverse staff, many of whom will be increasingly part-time. In order to achieve this improvement in output and efficiency, human resource managers have given a great deal of thought to the motivation of workers.
The average worker is said to spend half their waking hours in the office and therefore in order to maximise their motivation, material rewards need to be augmented by other ‘ perks’ such as challenging or interesting tasks to perform and a healthy work/life balance.
The effective manager, therefore, comes up with job designs that take all these aspects into account (Kreitner, 1986). This essay will seek to examine how flexibility works in the workplace; whether it has led to increased efficiency in work output, motivated workers more or benefited the organisation in any way. This will be done by answering a series of questions within our discussion by which we will hope to obtain the answers we seek. DISCUSSION The Sydney Morning Herald (2009) in its executive-style section featured an article on the flexible workplace as a new trend.
The article featured Olympic silver medallist James Marburg and how he manages to combine rowing practise with working as a communications adviser for a bank. The article stated that almost 2.5 million Australian employees take their work home with them for various reasons with 8% of the population apparently working more from home than anywhere else. The reasons for this will be discussed below. MECHANISTIC VS. ORGANIC ORGANISATIONS. The concept of structural organisation has been laid out in several ways and reveals a systems view of organisations as made up of elements which are interrelated and amalgamate to form a unit that still reflects individual characteristics (Checkland, 1999). The Mechanistic structure is adopted by organisations that operate under the premise that a) organisations are rational bodies.
b) Designing an organisation is scientific in nature. c) Individuals are economic entities (Burnes, 2000). This implies that there is a four-dimensional element to the structure of the organisation; clarity within the hierarchy (Wright & McMahm, 1992); Decision is a bureaucratic process that follows a chain of command and is finally revealed to the workforce (Ahmed, 1998a); departmental integrity is maintained at all time with no intermingling of work designations (Ahmed, 1998a); All power and decision making concentrated at the top of the management chain (Hankinson, 1999); the structure is very formal with little room for individual initiative (Ahmed, 19998a); communication is not free-flowing – knowledge is restricted.
Ahmed, P. K. (1998). Culture and climate for innovation European Journal of Innovation Management 1(1) pp. 30-43
Burnes, B. (2000). Managing change: a strategic approach to organisational dynamics 3rd Edition (Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall).
Burns, T., Stalker, O. M. (1968). The Management of Innovation, Tavistock.
Checkland, P. (1999). Systems thinking, systems practice: includes a 30-year retrospective (New York: John Wiley and Sons).
Clark, N. (2009). Building a Flexible Workplace. Women’s Media Newsletter. 19th July.
Cross, R. (2000). Looking before you leap: assessing the jump to teams in knowledge-based work Business Horizons 43(5) pp. 29-36.
Hankinson, P. (1999). An empirical study which compares the organisational structures of companies managing the world’s top 100 brands with those managing outsider brands Journal of Product & Brand Management 8(5) pp. 402-414.
Hedlund, G. & Rolander, D. (1990). Action in heterarchies: new approaches to managing the MNC, In: C. A. Bartlett, Y. Doz & G. Hedlund (Ed) Managing global firm (London: Routledge).
Kreitner R. (1986). ‘Motivating Job Performance’. In Kreitner R. ‘Management’, (3rd edition), Houghton Mifflin Company: USA
Moorhead G & Griffin R. (1998). ‘Need-Based Perspectives on Motivation’. Houghton Mifflin Company, USA.
Nicholson, J. & Nairn, A. (2006). The Manager of the 21st Century. The Boston Consulting Group. Innovation and Business Skills, Australia Ltd.
Piercy, N. & Cravens, D. (1994). The network paradigm and the marketing organisation European Journal of Marketing 29(3) pp. 7-34.
Sydney Morning Herald. (2009). Flexible workplaces the new trend. Retrieved 11th October, 2011 fromhttp://www.smh.com.au/news/executive-style/management/flexible-workplaces-the-new-trend/2009/05/08/1241893896200.html
Wright, P. M. & McMahan, G. C. (1992). Theoretical perspectives for strategic human resource management: new directions in theory and practice Journal of Management 18(2) pp. 295-320.