November 01, 2008

Human Resource Management Lesson 9 Exercise

Human Resource Management Lesson 8 Exercise


IBM has been applying family friends working practices for long time, some of them are listed below:

  • Flexible timetable

  • Tele-workers

  • Part time workers

  • IT facilities to work at home or in client location

  • Diversity police

The application of this practices impacts on key aspects of human resources management such as the recruitment, retention, employee motivation, absenteeism, labor utilization or employee satisfaction. For instance IBM could look more attractive because these polices than other company offering a higher pay for a person who is searching work.

How much cost family friendly working practices? It’s difficult to quantify it….but it’s a practice applied by IBM for many years, so I tend to say that the benefits for the company are higher than the cost, in other words there is a positive business case, there are positive financial results compensating the investments (for instance in the technology needed to implement the practices, internet at home and others) .I personally think that for example the possibility of working at home sometimes results in employees working hard both at the office and also at home in the same day, therefore the IBM family friend working practices generates money for IBM. On top of this, the application of family friend working practices is in line with the IBM corporate social responsibility.

My conclusion is that the application of IBM & family friendly working practices brings benefits for both parties, employees can face changes in their personal life adapting “how” to work without loosing their career paths and IBM can retain employees and in most cases obtain the same of higher productivity obtained via family friendly working practices


  • Study notes. Warwick University. Human Resource Management.

  • Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2005) Human Resource Management at Work (3rd edn). London: CIPD

Human Resource Management Lesson 7 Exercise


The implicit expectations that I have from IBM are basically related with job security, pay and career development:

  • Job security. Managing the insecurity IBM in Spain uses an ameliorative strategy, aimed to minimize the pain experienced by the employees who are separated and the survivors. I tend to think that this strategy is not applied in the same way across the world; it will probably depend to what extent is the labor market flexible.

  • Pay. Expectation of pay, salary increase, bonus and other compensations.

  • Expectations about career perspectives and personal development plan including education.

  • Other expectations:

  • Good climate within the organizations.

  • Respect, diversity.

  • Voice of the employee


I compare the expectations at IBM with the expectations of a teacher in a public school in Spain. Probably the main interest of someone who decides to prepare the exams to get a job as school teacher is to have a job for all his life because in managing the insecurity the government of Spain applies a preventive strategy. The expectation of having a much higher pay or a bonus are not present in this example because all the teachers have the same pay and increases. About career development is also very different because most of the teachers start their career in the same role that they finish.


I find the concept of psychological contract quite convincing. The employment relationship is understood in terms of exchange, the employees are willing to contribute to the company in a lower of higher degree depending on the valuable things received from the employer. Personally I have to say that feel the psychological contract in my employment relationship with IBM.

Each person has different expectations from the employer, that could have an influence in the employee in the job searching and when the expectation are not reached can motivate voluntary attrition. Sometimes if the expectations are not met the employee remains in the company, this could happen when there is not a feasible and better choice in the market.


  • Study notes. Warwick University. Human Resource Management.

  • Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2005) Human Resource Management at Work (3rd edn). London: CIPD

Human Resource Management Lesson 6 Exercise


There is not a clear definition about what learning organization is, but there are two underlying ideas: responding to the change and a way of being more competitive. LO model is not very developed in most organizations as stated by Keep and Railbird (2000).

Looking at INSA that is an affiliate of IBM in Spain for IT services, does it conforms with the LO model?

This company was created around 10 years ago to provide flexibility in the workforce and lower cost to IBM. On one hand this company has a cost reduction business strategy, INSA do not pursue most the goals of learning organization model. INSA operates in a very volatile market, with continuous changes and variations in technology and change in the client demands, for that reason the education is a way of achieving competitiveness. INSA is an organization that invest in education but does not conforms with a LO organization as defined by Rowden (2001) “a model of strategic change in which everyone is engaged in identifying and solving problems so that the organisation is continuously changing, experimenting and improving, thus increasing its capacity to grow and achieve its purpose.”


To transform INSA in a LO organization I would say that the following changes are needed:

  • Change in the strategic view of learning; see Learning by management and employees as the purpose of the organization.

  • Agreement within the organization about what to learn. Consensus with the employees.

  • Mechanism to integrate the knowledge of the workers

  • Personal Development plans for employees

  • Communicate and ensure understanding of the organization view of employees.


I tend to think that based on cost reduction business strategy they changes are not very feasible and taking into account that the company is running well with the current practice I would not recommend to implement the changes.


  • Study notes. Warwick University. Human Resource Management.

  • Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2005) Human Resource Management at Work (3rd edn). London: CIPD

  • Torrington D. Hall L. Teylor S. (2002) Human Resource Management London Prentice Hall

Human Resource Management Lesson 5 Exercise


There are legitimate differences of interest and priorities between the employers and employee, in other words the parties have competing interest in some aspects. These differences should be identified and respected, so the employment relationship is necessarily based on some degree of conflict between employers and employees.

The typical goal of the employer is maximize the profit, the employees look for security, compensation, balance between personal and professional life, education and so on, obviously the motivators of employees means expense for the employer. Although employees and employer have differences a win-win situation is possible.


The mutual gains of the parties are behind the partnership, on one hand the employer is more competitive with employees more flexible and on the other hand employees enhanced education, employment security, and career development. Some of the factors that can contribute to have a harmonious employment relationship are listed below:

  • Recognition and respect the differences between the parts.

  • Company culture of cooperation between the parties.

  • Alignment of goals of the parties through compensation or other programs.

  • Personal development plans for employees.

  • Education to ensure transferability of skills and qualifications

  • Plans oriented to increase of employee motivation


  • Study notes. Warwick University. Human Resource Management.

  • Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2005) Human Resource Management at Work (3rd edn). London: CIPD

Human Resource Management Lesson 4 Exercise


I have selected the sales division of Telefónica in Spain to answer the questions about what mechanisms and procedures are used for employee involvement and to give employees voice. I know this company because one of my best friends works for this company. Telefónica operates in the global telecommunications market, with headquarters in Spain. With a presence in 24 countries employs an average of 249,000 persons.

Attached the mechanisms and procedures used:

Direct methods:

·        Surveys:

o       Once per year employee satisfaction

o       Once per year Manager Feedback Survey 360º

·        Meetings with the manager :

o       Weekly meeting, manager and team members the focus is the week plan and the employees can express ideas, complaints or whatever though about the company.

o       1:1 yearly meeting between manager and employees, open discussion plus evaluation and development plan.

·        Involvement of the employees in the reengineering of some processes:

o       “Operative excellence program,à Sales tools design & feedback to marketing plan.

o       “Impulsa program” à Employees approach for selling new products and gain the competence (e.i: Vodafone).

·        Annual Convention. Offsite meeting

Indirect methods:

·        Unions representing employees. Negotiations of conditions of employment between Telefónica and employee representatives.



Are these Telefónica mechanisms effective in giving employees an effective voice at work and adding value to the organization? My opinion is that is positive to have formal mechanisms to have the opinion of the employees in such big company as Telefónica, for instance:

·        Through the results of employee surveys some issues are usually identified, the management is able to put in place actions plans to fix the issues affecting for instance the performance.

·        Enhance quality in sales, for instance the involvement of the employees in the reengineering of some processes are usually efficient because the employees’ know-how is used.

·        The productivity increases because most employees are more committed having voice in Telefónica.

The positive impact describe above is quite in line with the results of Dundon and Wilkinson research, they say that employee voice could have positive impact in three aspects: employee contribution, improved performance and improved managerial styles.

At first sight ‘employee voice’ is a nice sounding term that is not as clear or unproblematic as it might at first appear. There are some barriers to employee voice identified by CIPD research (Marchington et al 2001; Ackers et al 2005): a partial lack of employee enthusiasm, an absence of necessary skills and issues related to line managers. Looking at Telefónica example I would say that there are some issues concerning managers, for instance most of them look at HR issues not as a priority or the different understanding of term between managers and employees.


  • Study notes. Warwick University. Human Resource Management.

  • Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2005) Human Resource Management at Work (3rd edn). London: CIPD

Human Resource Management Lesson 3 Exercise


My work experience is mainly limited to IBM although before starting at IBM I worked short periods of time as a trainee in Solvay (chemical company) and Caja Cantabria (building society). I joined IBM 9 years ago and I have just been moved to a middle management position.

I think the pay in general is not a motivation factor but it can be easily a source of disincentive, so I tend to agree with Herzberg’s theory (1966). Pay could mean so many different things to each individual, the same level of money can provide security for one individual and not for other . Reviewing my personal experience is that when I had been working for IBM about 5 years the salary was an element of demotivation for me, I had much more responsibilities than some of my peers and my salary was rather lower, later my salary was increased and I stop thinking so much about my pay and others aspects became much relevant for me such as the career path and the degree of self-accomplishment. This is quite close to the hierarchy of needs in Maslow’s theory, the salary is no a motivational factor anymore when it is satisfied. However I have to say that the level of safety of the pay is a variable that I personally feel that change with the time and the personal circumstances.


I have just experienced one pay system that is the one that IBM applies for support functions (in my case finance). The pay system is based on an annual salary paid in monthly basis plus on-top bonus paid yearly; both are dependant on the employee yearly evaluation by the first line manager that is called PBC (Personal Business Commitments ), the evaluation rates:





Among the top contributors

this year

Achieves exceptional results; as a 1 performer clearly stands out from the rest; is a role model for the IBM Values.

PBC 2+

Above average contributor

Goes above and beyond job responsibilities;

outperforms most peers; finds ways to grow scope and impact.


Solid contributor

Consistently meets job responsibilities; is reliable in doing job; demonstrates appropriate level of knowledge, skill, effectiveness and initiative.


Among the lowest contributors this year, needs to improve

When compared to others:

•         Does not fully execute all job responsibilities, OR executes responsibilities, but with lower degree of results; and /or

•         Does not demonstrate as high a level of knowledge, skill, effectiveness, or initiative



•         Does not demonstrate or utilize knowledge and skill required;

•         Does not execute against job responsibilities; and/or

•         Shows no improvement after consecutive PBC 3 ratings

The pay system differentiates top performers and low ones, the amount of GDP is related to the evaluation but the amount is not very significant so I would say that employees are much more interested in the percentage of salary increase for the following year that is impacted somehow by the evaluation , however there is not a direct and quantified relation between PBC and salary increase , so for instance one person with PBC 2+ can have a salary increase of 5% and another one can have 0%, in my opinion this lack of clarity does not contribute in a positive way to employee performance.

Sales force have a different pay system, the base salary is lower than the one that have the non-sales employees and a percentage of variable pay is much higher, it is directly related to sales they achieved in comparison with the objectives that are set twice per year (called quota, including both revenue and profit objectives), I think this is a suitable scheme when the goal is to maximize the turnover and the profit.


  • Study notes. Warwick University. Human Resource Management. 
  • Maslow A, (1987), Motivation and Personality (3rd edition) New York: Harper and Row
  • Herzberg F (1966) Work and the Nature of Man Cleveland: World Publishing Company 

  • Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2005) Human Resource Management at Work (3rd edn). London: CIPD  

Human Resource Management Lesson 2 Exercise



The role of the HR function at Telefónica. Telefónica operates in the global telecommunications market, with headquarters in Spain. With a presence in 24 countries employs an average of 249,000 persons.

The external factors comprising political and economic context, legal content, labour markets, industry and location tend to shape management approaches. Looking at location using Trompenaars (1993) dimensions and considering Telefónica business is concentrated mainly in Spain and Latin America the management practices takes into consideration the culture that is quite emotional, collectivist and achievement oriented (for example pay for performance) however the expansion to Central/East Europe is much more difficult in this aspect.

Considering Storey’s (1992) typology of HR functions, I would characterize the HR role function at Telefónica mainly as ‘advisers’ although due to its recent past as public company in some aspects HR is still operating as regulator. 

The ‘advisor’ role of HR operates in an internal context of a ‘consultative’ management style for most employees; unions have strong influence (Purcell and Ahlstrand 1994). Encouraging its staff to improve by acknowledging their contribution, inculcating employee loyalty, commitment and dependency. However considering the huge workforce of Telefónica I have to say Telefónica adopt different management styles depending on each group, for instance consultative for sales force (view as company most valuable resource) and constitutional for less skilled workers such as operators.


The HR role is influenced by its history. The Compañia Telefónica Nacional de España was incorporated on 19 April 1924 as a public limited company, Telefónica was privatized in 1997. The public company was a bureaucracy with some inefficiency, the employees salaries were determined by the government.

After the privatization the company dramatically changes not only in HR but also its structure , principles and strategy, now Telefónica is a competitive Telefónica in a deregulated market, its goal is maximize earnings, HR have expanded its role and the employees are primarily results-oriented.

Telefónica is a complex organization operating in many countries across the world, due to a a diverse context the HR range of operations is not exactly the same across all of them adopting different roles depending the different factors operating there such as political and economic environment, legal context and labor markets. For instance the labor market in America is more flexible than labor market in most of European countries.


The shift towards the ‘advisor’ role fits much better than “regular” role in the telecommunication industry. The unions have a strong present nowadays so the flexibility of Telefónica is quite imitated. There is resistance of some employees and managers to the change. Telefónica have to face the challenge of globalization, the HR role have to deal with different cultures across the world, so HR role should move towards change-makers.

Telefonica structure


  • Study notes. Warwick University. Human Resource Managemet.

  • Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2005) Human Resource Management at Work (3rd edn). London: CIPD

  • Purcell, J. (1986) ‘Employee Relations Autonomy Within a Corporate Culture’ . Personnel Management, February

  • Purcell, J. and Alhstrand, B. (1994) Human Resource Management in the Multi-Divisional Company. Oxford: Oxford University Press

  • Storey, J. (1992).Developments in the Management of Human Resources, Oxford: Blackwell

  • Trompenaars, F. (1993).Riding The Waves of Culture: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business.London: Nicholas Brearly Publishing

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