August 18, 2009

Human Resource Management Lesson 4 Exercise

For this exercise I would like to compare the employee involvement styles and procedures of two organizations that I was working for.

First one is the governmental organization - Tax Ministry of Russia. Actually I was working for one of the regional Inspections of the Tax Ministry as a Federal Inspector.

As the second example I would like to look at IBM.

Talking about the first example I would say that the style of management and employee involvement is similar to other governmental organizations. Using the Purcell's classification (Purcell, 1986) it is Traditional management style. Labor is viewed as a factor of production and employee subordination is assumed to be part of the ‘natural order’ of the employment relationship. Labor Unions exist, but they are very limited in their actions as this is a federal services organization. For example, any strikes are forbidden.

From the perspective of employee involvement I can classify it as a Task-oriented and Indirect. The involvement is mediated by the Union leaders so the involvement is indirect. The actions of the Unions are mostly targeted at the operations level and are related to the day-to-day activities.

The other example is the opposite.

Management style in IBM Russia/CIS I can classify as mix of sophisticated human relations and Consultative according to the Purcell's (Purcell, 1986) classification. The concrete style depends on the department and certain tasks of the teams. Nevertheless, employees are viewed as the company’s most valuable resource.

The involvement of the employees is direct. It is done through the many different tools like:

- Employee Surveys;

- Management Feedback systems;

- Regular department and "all-employees" meetings


From the other dimension it is quite difficult to classify the involvement as it exists on both task- and power-centered levels.

Discussing the effectiveness of the employees' involvement systems described above I can say that there is no "True in an ultimate authority". At first sight it seems that the fist system (Tax Inspection) is not efficient. But thinking deeper you have to take into consideration the specifics of the job. It is federal services (the structure is close to military or police). There is a certain hierarchy that supports the order and effectiveness of the concrete tasks performance. There are number of the instructions and procedures and employees should strictly follow them.

In IBM we have a totally different situation. IBM is a private business that requires the creativity and broad thinking at the work. You can not just follow the instructions to be successful. So all this creative and innovative solutions that are invented by the employees should be properly communicated to the management to implement the best practices widely in the corporation.

From my point of view both systems are effective for each concrete case and environment.

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Kim White

    Hi Alexander,

    You have obviously put a lot of thought into this. It is always good to apply BOTH Purcell and Storey. This question absolutely cries out for their application. You have used Purcell well but not so Storey. If you wish to rework this a little it would be good to compare and contrast these two companies using those models.

    You have also highlighted a key cultural issue which underpins both models. In some organisations you see a fairly classical ‘pluralist’ principle i.e. workforce and management see each other as ‘the other side’ with different end objectives. In others, in contrast, there is a ‘unitarist’ principle in that the two ‘sides’ see each other as sharing the same goals. There is hence a bargaining paradigm in one and a partnership one in the other. You will find this has a profound effect on the interpretation of position in both the Storey and Purcell models.

    Finally, don’t forget those references for the final submission.


    23 Aug 2009, 20:24

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  • Hi Alexander, I don't think you need too much further feedback from me. You need to add in the theor… by Kim White on this entry
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