Work design for the competent organization

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Quorum Books, 1993 - Business & Economics - 338 pages
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The vital importance of the improved utilization and development of employee competence as part of a comprehensive strategy to improve the competitiveness of American business and industry is undisputed. In this book, European and American scholar/practitioners present a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspective on how to reorganize and re-design work activities aimed at developing workforce quality. Based on the premise that work itself is an important source of learning and competence development, the authors combine a sound conceptual framework with a practice-oriented guide to participatory processes that enhance both individual skill and competence and collective learning and organizational change. Placing the challenge of work and organization re-design within the macro context of the economic and industrial relations environment, the forces that foster or inhibit successful employee participation are brought into focus. Following the introduction of a conceptual model of competence development through work activity, a succinct historical overview of the evolution of different work design concepts in this century is presented. The relationship between work design for competence development and the challenges faced by today's enterprise become evident in the discussion of examples of currently emerging work design alternatives. Three case studies from the manufacturing and service sector illustrate the practical application of a framework for how to think about and approach work and organizational change. A variety of analytical tools and exercises are offered, among them a step-by-step procedure for initiating a participatory change process that avoids the pitfalls of many short-lived employee involvement programs. Issues of how to gain supervisor support and the role of unions in employee competence and skill development and implications for traditional compensation practices are addressed. Both a conceptual and a practical tool, this book is an important resource for executives, consultants, union leaders and human resource development scholars in search of ways to create competent organizations while protecting and enhancing employees' standard of living and quality of work life.

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The Process of Developing Competence
of Human Life

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About the author (1993)

FELIX FREI is co-owner and Director of AOC, Zurich, an international consulting firm working with companies and labor unions on leadership, organization redesign and competence development projects.

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