HR M1_A2

| January 31, 2017

HR Oops!

Jobs That Literally Make People Sick

While effective human resource manage ment aims to create motivating jobs, poor leadership coupled with difficult circumstances can result in jobs that are so unpleasant that workers’ mental health begins to suffer. Researchers at the Australian National University analyzed data about working conditions and mental health in more than 7,000 adults over a seven-year period. They found that the mental health of workers in the worst of these jobs was no better than—and sometimes worse than—the mental health of unemployed adults.

The job characteristics that were mostly strongly associated with mental health were the job’s complexity and demands, job security, the perceived fairness of pay, and control over the job (for example, ability to decide how to perform tasks). In highly demanding jobs with low security, unfair pay, and little control, workers experienced declining mental health. Unemployment also had an impact on mental health, but it was not as severe.

People differ in what kinds of work they consider unbearable, but many would have that attitude toward working in an Alabama fish-processing plant. The rooms have to be kept cold, and they are wet as well. Some people would likely object to smelling fish all day long. Workers stand for at least 10 hours a day, making repetitive cuts. For all this, they earn minimum wage and limited benefits. In spite of these conditions, employers were able until recently to fill these positions with immigrant workers. But after Alabama passed a law requiring police to question individuals who they believe could be in the United States illegally, many of those workers left the state. Employers report difficulty filling jobs such as these with U.S. workers.

Questions

1. What would be the consequences to an employer of having highly demanding jobs with low security, unfair pay, and little control?

2. How could fish-processing plants like the one described here improve jobs so they can fill vacant positions profitably?

SOURCES: Elizabeth Dwoskin, “Do You Want This Job?” Bloomberg Businessweek, November 14, 2011, pp. 70–78; Stephen Long, “Bad Job Worse for Your Mental State than No Job at All,” PM, June 9, 2011, http://www.abc.net.au/pm/; “When a Job Is So Bad It Hurts,” The Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2011, http://blogs.wsj.com; Matt McMillen, “For Mental Health, Bad Job Worse than No Job,” Health, March 14, 2011, http://www.cnn.com.

Job Enrichment The idea of job enrichment, or empowering workers by adding more decision-making authority to their jobs, comes from the work of Frederick Herzberg. According to Herzberg’s two-factor theory, individuals are motivated more by the intrinsic aspects of work (for example, the meaningfulness of a job) than by extrinsic rewards, such as pay. Herzberg identified five factors he associated with motivating jobs: achievement, recognition, growth, responsibility, and performance of the entire job. Thus, ways to enrich a manufacturing job might include giving employees authority to stop production when quality standards are not being met and having each employee perform several tasks to complete a particular stage of the process, rather than dividing up the tasks among the employees. For a salesperson in a store, job enrichment might involve the authority to resolve customer problems, including the authority to decide whether to issue refunds or replace merchandise.

Job Enrichment

Empowering workers by adding more decision-making authority to jobs.

In practice, however, it is important to note that not every worker responds positively to enriched jobs. These jobs are best suited to workers who are flexible and responsive to others; for these workers, enriched jobs can dramatically improve motivation.19

(Noe 115)

Noe, Raymond, John Hollenbeck, Barry Gerhart, Patrick Wright. Fundamentals of Human Resource Management, 5th Edition. McGraw-Hill Learning Solutions, 01/2013. VitalBook file.

The citation provided is a guideline. Please check each citation for accuracy before use.

In 1–2 paragraphs, summarize the case and your research that relates to the case.

In 2–3 pages, answer the following:

What would be the consequences to an employer of having highly demanding jobs with low security, unfair pay, and little control? Explain and justify your answer.

How could fish-processing plants like the one described here improve jobs so they can fill vacant positions profitably? Explain and justify your answer.

Based on your research, explain at least three HR trends and practices that might help the organization analyze work, design jobs, and job flow. Explain and justify your answer.

Clearly and concisely summarized the case and research that relates to the case in 1–2 paragraphs.
10

Identified, explained, and justified the consequences to an employer of having highly demanding jobs with low security, unfair pay and little control.

25
Identified, explained, and justified iow fish-processing plants like the one described here could improve jobs so they can fill vacant positions profitably.
25
Identified and explained at least three HR trends and practices that might help the plant improve jobs so they can fill vacant positions profitably.
25
Applied current APA standards for editorial style, expression of ideas, and format of text, citations, and references. Supported assertions with examination of evidence by using appropriate sources (at least 3). Demonstrated a thorough and complete understanding of the concepts.
15
Total:
100

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