Sunday, March 12, 2006

HRM and the Quality of Work-Life

Coercion in the workplace can certainly get things done. It can even yield more productivity in some cases. This type of ‘direct action management’, i.e. ‘kicking’ people to do what is required of them. Such an approach to motivation would be like kicking a dog each time you want it to move. Likewise, you can charge an individual’s battery, and keep on charging and recharging it to get things done, but it is only when that individual has his own generator that we can talk about ‘self-motivation’, the internal generator that automatically recharges employees batteries.

Through good Human Resource Management and practices this self-motivation chip can be instilled in the organizational behavior leading to excelling performance. The HR department can develop a bundle of systems that can together create a highly motivational culture such as:

Reducing Time Spent at Work: The goal here is to help employees work smarter rather than harder, and establish a life-work balance for more job satisfaction. It is a marvelous way of motivating people to work by getting them off their jobs before they become some kind of punishment. An interesting variant of this approach is development of an off-hour recreation programs for employees to relax in the workplace. The Japanese are far advanced in this than any other country. Gymnasiums which are nowadays part of any organization’s premises, allow employees to even take a nap or just sniff pure oxygen during their lunch breaks. This approach encourages informal team activities and spirit to spread at the workplace. The paradox here is that the more motivated people become, the more work and working hours they would seek!

Fringe Benefits: Businesses have probably outdone the most welfare-minded of welfare states in dispensing cradle-to-grave adoption of their employees. The cost of fringe benefits has reached approximately 30-35% in average of the total wages nowadays. People spend less time working for more money and more security than ever before despite the economic turbulence. The problem is that these benefits are no longer considered rewards, but are now taken as granted as part of compensation packages.

Human Relations Training: Thirty years ago one ‘please’ was enough when requesting the employees not to infringe the regulations. Today, the same admonition requires three ‘pleases’ before the employee feels that his superior has demonstrated the psychologically proper attitudes towards him. An advanced form of human relations, sensitivity training, teamwork, diversity management training is more needed than ever in order to harmonize human interaction in the workplace. If done correctly, this kind of training will be translated into positive, constructive employees’ attitudes towards their organizations, their jobs, and their supervisors.

Sensitivity Training: A more serious attempt to help the individual understand himself and others, trust and cooperate more effectively with others. A lot of this training success and effectiveness and applicability depend on transparency and open communication channels that encourage efficient flow of information throughout the whole organization. Briefing sessions, group meetings, follow-up and progress reports, and organizational events and celebrations are proper venues to accomplish this objective.

Job Participation: What I mean here is giving employees an opportunity to design their own jobs and become accountable for doing them. Job participation also means ‘getting the big picture’ and thus escalating the role of the individual in the organization, i.e. if the employee is tightening 10,000 nuts a day on the assembly line, tell him he is building a Chevrolet. Another approach aims at giving the employee a ‘feeling’ that he is determining, in some measure, what he does on his job, i.e. provide a ‘sense’ of achievement in his task.

Employees Counseling: Back in the early thirties, when Hawthorn experimented with Western Electric Company, it was found that employees harbored irrational feelings that were interfering with the rational operation of the factory. Therefore, counseling was used as means of letting the employees unburden themselves by talking to someone about their problems. Traditional techniques since then have improved tremendously and the prime responsibility of direct supervisors rather than outside counselors, except when there are major psychological problems that requires specialized professional expert help.

To conclude, Herzberg when conducting a research on job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction on a sample of 1,685 employees, had found out that that their satisfaction is derived from ‘a job related’ factors that are directly influencing their feelings (81%) and only (69%) of their job dissatisfaction is caused by ‘job context’ factors such as the style of management, policies and procedures, the workplace, and the members of the team.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Old New Ways to Motivate Emploees

Over the last quarter century, I have studied and taught the theories on motivation of Taylor, Maslow, Herzberg, McGregor, Argyris, and McLland. Although each of those management and behavioral scientists has tackled the topic from a different point of view, defending his opinion with both theoretical research, observation, I find Herzberg’s theory the most practical and easy to implement in the workplace. Naturally, the work of all those scientists complements the whole approach to the very important topic of motivation, but herzberg’s points more clearly at the satisfiers and dissatisfiers in the workplace. His focus on the job content as a lasting motivator qualifies for more analysis and serious consideration.

Although Abraham Maslow had discussed the highly complicated task of reaching a concrete definition of the basic human needs, it naturally follows that there are no easy assumptions concerning what employees really want from their organizations. In fact, the various types of their human needs will be eventually converted into specific ‘wants.’ Consequently, an in-depth look at typical employees wants and how organizations may satisfy them, will reveal some relatedness to Maslow’s ‘Pyramid of Needs’ as follows:

A Meaningful Job:
A very difficult want to supply in today’s world of constant change and demands, particularly in large organizations with division of work culture. A meaningful job is the core to job satisfaction. It has got to do with the job content and how challenging it is. We are talking here about not only the employee’s skills and ability to do his/her job, but his talents to apply creative and innovative ways to do it. Individual’s need for both recognition and drive for self-actualization can be integrated in job enrichment to comply with individual wants. Therefore, the ability of the organization to maintain a good caliber of loyal employees who believe in the value of their jobs in the success of the organization is considered crucial in enhancing organizational competitiveness.

Fair Pay: could be considered the most important of all the basic needs as it should be secured in order for the individual to be able to satisfy any of his basic needs. In other words, a fair pay helps satisfying multiple physiological, security, and egoistic needs, even if it cannot alone motivate the whole person. The problem lies in how an organization ensures that their pay will be perceived by its employees as fair and competitive. From experience, I can safely say that pay is the most argued aspect of any organization.

Job Security: A want which is high on the list due to the constant internal and external environmental threats such as the fast pace technological change, fierce competition, unstable economies, mergers, and downsizing. They all result in escalating sense of insecurity on the part of employees. In fact, unless any pay level is paired with job security employees will still feel insecure of losing their jobs any time and with them the pay they were getting. Organizational ruthlessness in this area poses the toughest challenge to business leaders to formulate plans and strategies that ensure a good market share and growth in order to be able to at least maintain their organizations existing employment levels.

Congenial Associates:
The want emanates from the social need of gregariousness and social acceptance. Here, management can assist the process through careful planning of orientation programs and socialization through rest periods and recreational activities, as well as promoting the formation of work teams. Human related work procedures can also be designed in such a way to make all this possible. Teamwork and team spirit can only be nurtured if the work place becomes a place of functional, interrelated homogeneous teams working together.

Credit for Excelling:
This want stems from the individuals egoistic needs and can be supplied by management through verbal praise of excellent work, monetary rewards for suggestions, as well as public recognition through awards or interviews in employees’ magazines, newsletters and bulletin boards. Recharging employees’ batteries is key to loyalty, increased productivity, and superior quality. It is a sure ticket to escalating net profit.

Opportunity to Advance:
Not all employees want primarily to advance their careers. A strange discovery but true though. Some feel the social needs more strongly than the egoistic ones, but most employees certainly want to be assured that the opportunity is there. They are reluctant to take new responsibility and feel more comfortable with a stable job that requires a ‘good doer’. Such a feeling is influenced by a complicated cultural tradition mix of freedom and opportunity. As a general rule career advancement and development pose a great challenge to the organizations of today.

Attractive Work Conditions:
Working in a safe, comfortable work environment is a strong want. It is driven by multiple needs. People spend at work more than they spend at home with their families, relatives, and friends. A good quality of work life is therefore very important to their well being at the workplace. It also helps in reducing the medication bill, and reduces personal conflicts, and condition employees to tolerate more work pressures.

Competent Leadership:
The want for competent, fair leadership who are human needs oriented and are qualified to inspire and lead by example is becoming a strong demand in the modern workplace scene. Competent leaders satisfy both psychological and physiological needs of the employees. They ensure organizational competitiveness and growth which mean both status and job security for the employees. They also set directions, transparency, and inject new ideas and vision into the organization culture and the workplace dynamics.

A Socially Relevant Organization
This want ensues from a self-esteem need, and levies a highly challenging responsibility upon organizational leaders. Sensitivity to the social responsibility of today’s organizations is an important factor in gaining social acceptance for both the organization and its employees. It could be considered as a ‘social investment’ that yields a high return for the shareholders and stakeholders alike. Helping the community develop is in fact helping employees have a sense of ‘belonging’ to the organization as part of their community and not an alienated body with a dominating goal of making money. This kind of interaction between the organization and the community would eventually develop into a customer driven win/win organizational culture.

Friday, March 10, 2006

How About Our Internal Customers?

Sam Walton of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been quoted as having said it takes just seven days for new employees to start treating customers the way they are treated at work. All the customer service skills and training in the world can be undone in only one week if an employee is treated poorly by his or her co-workers or boss. Similarly, an employee placed in an environment of mutual respect, trust and accountability could quickly move from a so-so performer to an extraordinary service provider in the customer's mind.

Companies spend countless amounts of time and resources on developing quality customer service techniques. Employees are taught that the customer is always right. They are taught to do whatever it takes to get and keep a customer's business. What is often overlooked is internal customer service. Companies talk the talk to the outside world, but don't walk the walk with their own people. The following questions illustrate indicators of whether these companies really value their employees as internal customers or not. This simple set of questions also clarifies if you do give your internal customers a positive or negative service message? Ask yourself these questions:
  • How do managers react when there's an external customer service problem? A manager's job is to be sure his team is providing good service externally, but does he support them when there's a problem? Some managers place blame, become angry and step in with the customer, making it obvious to everyone that the person on the line did a poor job. Better managers support their people and provide whatever backing the employee needs to make the customer happy. Instead of finding fault, they help find solutions. In the end, the customer is happy, the employee maintains his dignity and, ideally, the employee learns how to do better the next time.
  • Is your staff empowered to make decisions? The classic scenario of no empowerment is a car salesperson constantly checking with the sales manager to obtain approval during negotiations. This type of environment teaches employees that they have little or no say in the decision and it sends a message to the customer that he is dealing with the wrong person. As a customer, don't you wish you could just talk directly to the sales manager and save the hassle? If employees are empowered to make decisions and solve problems on the spot, the customer will go away satisfied most of the time.
  • Do co-workers support each other? Most people don't work alone; they rely on others to help them get the job done. When someone needs information from a co-worker, is it delivered on time? If people don't deliver on deadline internally, the end product will be late to the customer. When that happens, co-workers start the process of covering their own skins and placing the blame on others -- nobody takes accountability for the missed deadline.
  • Do your employees have the tools to do the job? Perhaps that car salesperson had to keep running to his manager because he didn't know enough about the dealership's negotiation policies to make the deal on the spot. While you're training the staff on how to satisfy customers, also consider training on team-building, time management and other techniques to help the staff work as a cohesive unit.
  • How do you match up against your competitors? Is your competition using your weaknesses against you in a sales pitch? If your staff feels like they're getting beat up by the competition, their attitudes can slip quickly. Poor morale around the office leads to lower incentives to do a good job for the customer, making the situation spiral downward. Don't just sit back and let the competition tell your story, work on problems internally so your employees feel confident out on the street.
  • Do your employees think service is important? Top management needs to send the message that service is a priority, both internal and external service. People must be accountable for their actions and must be motivated to do their best work. Some companies think tactics such as "Employee of the Month" recognitions are corny; but for many employees, that internal recognition goes a long way in goodwill -- goodwill that is passed on to the customer.
  • How are customers treated behind the scenes? If your top customer was a fly on the wall in your office, would he or she still be a customer? Companies that allow employees to bad mouth customers are breeding an environment of mistrust. If a junior employee hears a top executive trashing a customer, he is going to lose sight of the fact that the customer is your company's livelihood. Employees in that environment are more likely to talk bad about their co-workers and engage in back-stabbing behavior.

A company's culture is set by top management; employees learn what's acceptable by watching what those at the top say and do. Therefore, if you set a tone for support and service, it will pay off in satisfied customers, inside the company and out.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Grievances:An Opportunity to Enhance Employees Loyalty

Employees grievances is an indicator of any organizations effeciency in managing its people. The more strained the work relations are, the more costly performance quality and loyality become. Therefore, I believe that efficient handling of grievances is a critical competency all management levels should develop. In addition to saving a lot of lost time, bad feelings, and strained relationships, this competence can contribute greatly to the enhancement of employees loyalty to the organization when they feel that thier fair demands do not fall on deaf organizational ears.
Proactive organizations do not wait for problems to happen in order to react and develop the essential policies to address their employees concerns and greivances. through involving employees in the development of rules and procedures, good employers can predict thier employees' needs and use these needs both to motivate the employess and to develop their policies. The following approach, though untraditional is suggested through a successful personal experience:
To effectively deal with work-related concerns or grievances, an organizational needs to develop and implement a policy based on the following principles:
• staff are consulted in the development of the organizational policy and procedure;
• fair, impartial, just and confidential handling of concerns and grievances;
• action is taken promptly within agreed timeframes and procedures;
• parties are protected from victimisation; and
• the system provides employees with a choice of procedures. For example resolution at the workplace level through an informal procedure or a formal procedure.

Impact of grievances
Employee work-related concerns and grievances which are not promptly and effectively resolved can lead to:
• lost productivity;
• lower quality work, products and customer services;
• distraction from corporate goals;
• loss of confidence and communication between employees, managers and supervisors;
• low morale and job satisfaction which can lead to industrial problems, increased absenteeism and increased staff turnover;
• loss of reputation as an employer and service provider;
• loss of reputation to the employee;
• lost working time of everyone involved in dealing with a complaint; and
• the potential for legal action and damages.

Disciplinary procedures
In some cases the use of grievance procedures can result in a recommendation that the employer take action through the disciplinary process.
Disciplinary processes are not part of the system to deal with employees concerns and grievances. Grievance procedures are to deal with matters raised by an individual employee. Disciplinary processes deal with performance or conduct matters identified by the employer.
If criminal charges have been laid or a complaint made to a body such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption or the Anti-Discrimination Board, management also has a responsibility to consider whether the matter should be pursued through the disciplinary process within the agency. If a grievance is raised during a discipline process, the grievance needs to be finalised but the disciplinary process should continue independently.
Dispute resolution
A dispute is a clear statement by an individual or a group of employees on a question, difficulty or conflict with the interpretation, application or operation of an award or agreement. If such a matter is not resolved at the local level, procedures in the relevant act, award or agreement should be used.

External support in dealing with grievances
The right of employees to seek appropriate external support and assistance to deal with their work-related concerns and grievances should be respected and incorporated into organizational procedures.

The role of unions
Employees should be informed of their entitlement to seek the advice and support of their union and be represented by the union.

Accountabilities and Responsibilities
Accountability for people management, including the effective management of employee work-related concerns and grievances should be an explicit part of the responsibilities in the job descriptions and performance agreements of chief executives, senior executives, managers and supervisors.

Chief Executive
The Chief Executive has:
• a leadership role in demonstrating a commitment to the resolution of employees workplace concerns and grievances; and
• accountability for ensuring there is an effective, timely, impartial and just system for dealing with employees work-related concerns and grievances.

Grievance Manager
A senior manager, preferably a member of the executive team or the chief executive, should have responsibility for the management of the system. This person should also be responsible for decisions concerning the course of action to be taken in dealing with serious grievances, which may include issues covered by the Protected Disclosures Act and disciplinary matters.

Senior Executives
Senior executives are accountable for:
• ensuring access to grievance procedures is open and fair for all employees;
• ensuring people who deal with employee work-related concerns and grievances are adequately trained and supported;
• monitoring to ensure that:
- employees understand and have confidence in the system to deal with their concerns and grievances;
- concerns and grievances are dealt with promptly impartially, justly and confidentially;
- follow-up occurs to ensure the outcomes of the resolution are achieved;
- people who raise concerns and grievances are not victimised; and
- statistical records are kept to enable the effectiveness of the system to be assessed.

Managers and Supervisors
Managers and supervisors are accountable for:
• encouraging employees to understand the agency’s procedures for resolving work-related concerns and grievances;
• providing timely and confidential assistance to employees, including:
- advice on available options,
- where practicable and appropriate, attempting to resolve the issue at the local level through an informal procedure,
- advice on further action if a local resolution is not achieved,
- follow-up and monitoring when issues have been resolved,
- ensuring the parties are not victimised, and
- keeping records in accordance with agency procedures.

Employees are encouraged to take prompt action on work-related concerns or grievances in accordance with the agency’s procedures.

Suggested Procedures
An agency policy signed by the Chief Executive is an explicit statement of the organization’s commitment to dealing with employee work-related concerns and grievances.
It is suggested the policy include:
• a commitment by the Chief Executive to a workplace environment that values people and that employee work-related concerns and grievances will be dealt with promptly, impartially, justly and confidentially;
• what is meant by a grievance;
• the responsibilities of executives, managers and supervisors; and
• the responsibility of all employees in preventing victimisation.

Developing a system
Consultation is important in developing a system to manage employee work-related concerns and grievances. It can help to gain employee commitment, and assists in tailoring the system and procedures to the agency’s and employees' needs.
Agencies are advised to consult with members of EEO groups so that any special needs can be identified and included.

Features of a system
The features of an effective system to manage employee concerns and grievances include:
• clear objectives for the system and procedures;
• clear identification of the member of the executive team with accountability for the system;
• options to provide a choice for employees that include:
- an informal procedure where assistance will be given to resolve an issue at the local level through such processes as negotiation or mediation; and
- a formal procedure;
• an employee’s manager or supervisor as the first point of contact to:
- provide access to confidential advice and support,
- receive grievances,
- monitor grievances to ensure serious issues such as assault, or allegations of corrupt practices are referred to the grievance manager for consideration through a formal procedure,
- attempting to resolve issues at the local level by an informal procedure, advice and referral when appropriate;
• when it would be inappropriate for the immediate supervisor or manager to deal with the issue identified, alternative points of contact such as a more senior manager, personnel, EEO practitioner or other suitable officers should be provided. Such circumstances include:
- when the issue involves the supervisor or manager, and
- when the person concerned does not feel comfortable about approaching their own supervisor or manager. An example could be a complaint of sexual harassment;
• identified time-frames for attempted resolution;
• protection for the parties from victimisation;
• clear guidance on record keeping;
• a process that ensures confidentiality;
• rights of access to information;
• a mechanism for the review or appeal of the outcome of the formal process. In some cases these may be external to the agency for example the Industrial Relations Commission;
• training and guidance for all people who have responsibilities in the system;
• a strategy to market the system to ensure it is well known and accessible to all employees;
• periodic review of the system to ensure it continues to meet agency and employee needs.

Reporting requirements
Within the organization the executive should receive regular reports on:
• the issues being raised and the location within the agency of any emerging issue; and
• the effectiveness and timeliness of the resolution of grievances.

Review and appeal of the decisions of formal procedures
A procedure for the review of the outcomes of a formal grievance demonstrate that the
organization is serious about ensuring its procedures are fair, impartial and just.
A review procedure when adopted should have:
• a time-frame;
• the Chief Executive to retain responsibility for making the final decision; and
• where appropriate the parties should be informed that at any time they have the right to take the matter to an external agency such as the Industrial Relations Commission, the Anti-Discrimination Board or the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Communicating the Policy and Procedures
Agencies must ensure open and fair access to the procedures. Employees should be encouraged to understand and use the procedures. The following suggestions for communicating the policy within agencies have proven to be useful:
• publicity materials - brochures, posters, stickers, and agency-specific video or audio tapes to provide information to people in remote locations;
• the integration of the topic of dealing with complaints and grievances into existing training;
• training or information sessions specifically about the policy and procedures;
• discussion of the policy and procedures at staff meetings;
• articles published in agency newsletters;
• reminders attached to pay advice slips;
• in response to the diversity of the workforce:
- the publication of material in community languages;
- the development of audio tapes for people with visual impairment, and
- the use of language interpreters and sign language interpreters for people with hearing impairments.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

TQM And Organizational Development

While Total Quality Management has proven to be an effective process for improving organizational functioning, its value can only be assured through a comprehensive and well­thought­out implementation process. The purpose of this chapter is to outline key aspects of implementation of large­scale organizational change which may enable a practitioner to more thoughtfully and successfully implement TQM. First, the context will be set. TQM is, in fact, a large­scale systems change, and guiding principles and considerations regarding this scale of change will be presented. Without attention to contextual factors, well­intended changes may not be adequately designed. As another aspect of context, the expectations and perceptions of employees (workers and managers) will be assessed, so that the implementation plan can address them. Specifically, sources of resistance to change and ways of dealing with them will be discussed. This is important to allow a change agent to anticipate resistances and design for them, so that the process does not bog down or stall. Next, a model of implementation will be presented, including a discussion of key principles. Visionary leadership will be offered as an overriding perspective for someone instituting TQM. In recent years the literature on change management and leadership has grown steadily, and applications based on research findings will be more likely to succeed. Use of tested principles will also enable the change agent to avoid reinventing the proverbial wheel. Implementation principles will be followed by a review of steps in managing the transition to the new system and ways of helping institutionalize the process as part of the organization's culture. This section, too, will be informed by current writing in transition management and institutionalization of change. Finally, some miscellaneous do's and don't's will be offered.
Members of any organization have stories to tell of the introduction of new programs, techniques, systems, or even, in current terminology, paradigms. Usually the employee, who can be anywhere from the line worker to the executive level, describes such an incident with a combination of cynicism and disappointment: some manager went to a conference or in some other way got a "great idea" (or did it based on threat or desperation such as an urgent need to cut costs) and came back to work to enthusiastically present it, usually mandating its implementation. The "program" probably raised people's expectations that this time things would improve, that management would listen to their ideas. Such a program usually is introduced with fanfare, plans are made, and things slowly return to normal. The manager blames unresponsive employees, line workers blame executives interested only in looking good, and all complain about the resistant middle managers. Unfortunately, the program itself is usually seen as worthless: "we tried team building (or organization development or quality circles or what have you) and it didn't work; neither will TQM". Planned change processes often work, if conceptualized and implemented properly; but, unfortunately, every organization is different, and the processes are often adopted "off the shelf" ­ "the 'appliance model of organizational change': buy a complete program, like a 'quality circle package,' from a dealer, plug it in, and hope that it runs by itself" (Kanter, 1983, 249). Alternatively, especially in the under­funded public and not­for­profit sectors, partial applications are tried, and in spite of management and employee commitment do not bear fruit. This chapter will focus on ways of preventing some of these disappointments.
In summary, the purpose here is to review principles of effective planned change implementation and suggest specific TQM applications. Several assumptions are proposed: 1. TQM is a viable and effective planned change method, when properly installed; 2. not all organizations are appropriate or ready for TQM; 3. preconditions (appropriateness, readiness) for successful TQM can sometimes be created; and 4. leadership commitment to a large­scale, long­term, cultural change is necessary. While problems in adapting TQM in government and social service organizations have been identified, TQM can be useful in such organizations if properly modified (Milakovich, 1991; Swiss, 1992).

TQM as Large­Sale Systems Change
TQM is at first glance seen primarily as a change in an organization's technology ­ its way of doing work. In the human services, this means the way clients are processed ­ the service delivery methods applied to them ­ and ancillary organizational processes such as paperwork, procurement processes, and other procedures. But TQM is also a change in an organization's culture ­ its norms, values, and belief systems about how organizations function. And finally, it is a change in an organization's political system: decision making processes and power bases. For substantive change to occur, changes in these three dimensions must be aligned: TQM as a technological change will not be successful unless cultural and political dimensions are attended to as well (Tichey, 1983).
Many (e.g., Hyde, 1992; Chaudron, 1992) have noted that TQM results in a radical change in the culture and the way of work in an organization. A fundamental factor is leadership, including philosophy, style, and behavior. These must be congruent as they are presented by a leader. Many so­called enlightened leaders of today espouse a participative style which is not, in fact, practiced to any appreciable degree. Any manager serious about embarking on a culture change such as TQM should reflect seriously on how she or he feels and behaves regarding these factors. For many managers, a personal program of leadership development (e.g., Bennis, 1989) may be a prerequisite to effective functioning as an internal change agent advocating TQM.
Other key considerations have to do with alignment among various organizational systems (Chaudron, 1992; Hyde, 1992). For example, human resource systems, including job design, selection processes, compensation and rewards, performance appraisal, and training and development must align with and support the new TQM culture. Less obvious but no less important will be changes required in other systems. Information systems will need to be redesigned to measure and track new things such as service quality. Financial management processes may also need attention through the realignment of budgeting and resource allocation systems. Organizational structure and design will be different under TQM: layers of management may be reduced and organizational roles will certainly change. In particular, middle management and first line supervisors will be operating in new ways. Instead of acting as monitors, order­givers, and agents of control they will serve as boundary managers, coordinators, and leaders who assist line workers in getting their jobs done. To deal with fears of layoffs, all employees should be assured that no one will lose employment as a result of TQM changes: jobs may change, perhaps radically, but no one will be laid off. Hyde (1992) has recommended that we "disperse and transform, not replace, mid­level managers." This no layoff principle has been a common one in joint labor­management change processes such as quality of working life projects for many years.
Another systems consideration is that TQM should evolve from the organization's strategic plan and be based on stakeholder expectations. This type of planning and stance regarding environmental relations is receiving more attention but still is not common in the human services. As will be discussed below, TQM is often proposed based on environmental conditions such as the need to cut costs or demands for increased responsiveness to stakeholders. A manager may also adopt TQM as a way of being seen at the proverbial cutting edge, because it is currently popular. This is not a good motivation to use TQM and will be likely to lead to a cosmetic or superficial application, resulting in failure and disappointment. TQM should be purpose­oriented: it should be used because an organization's leaders feel a need to make the organization more effective. It should be driven by results and not be seen as an end in itself. If TQM is introduced without consideration of real organizational needs and conditions, it will be met by skepticism on the part of both managers and workers. We will now move to a discussion of the ways in which people may react to TQM.

People's Expectations and Perceptions
Many employees may see TQM as a fad, remembering past "fads" such as quality circles, management by objectives, and zero­based budgeting. As was noted above, TQM must be used not just as a fad or new program, but must be related to key organizational problems, needs, and outcomes. Fortunately, Martin (1993) has noted that TQM as a "managerial wave" has more in common with social work than have some past ones such as MBO or ZBB, and its adaptations may therefore be easier.
In another vein, workers may see management as only concerned about the product, not staff needs. Management initiatives focused on concerns such as budget or cost will not resonate with beleaguered line workers. Furthermore, staff may see quality as not needing attention: they may believe that their services are already excellent or that quality is a peripheral concern in these days of cutbacks and multi problem clients. For a child protective service worker, just getting through the day and perhaps mitigating the most severe cases of abuse may be all that one expects. Partly because of heavy service demands, and partly because of professional training of human service workers, which places heavy value on direct service activities with clients, there may be a lack of interest on the part of many line workers in efficiency or even effectiveness and outcomes (Pruger & Miller, 1991; Ezell, Menefee, & Patti, 1989). This challenge should be addressed by all administrators (Rapp & Poertner, 1992), and in particular any interested in TQM.
Workers may have needs and concerns, such as lower caseloads and less bureaucracy, which are different from those of administration. For TQM to work, employees must see a need (e.g., for improved quality from their perspective) and how TQM may help. Fortunately, there are win­win ways to present this. TQM is focused on quality, presumably a concern of both management and workers, and methods improvements should eliminate wasteful bureaucratic activities, save money, and make more human resources available for core activities, specifically client service.
Sources of Resistance
Implementation of large­scale change such as TQM will inevitably face resistance, which should be addressed directly by change agents. A key element of TQM is working with customers, and the notion of soliciting feedback/expectations from customers/clients and collaborating with them, perhaps with customers defining quality, is a radical one in many agencies, particularly those serving involuntary clients (e.g., protective services). Historical worker antipathy to the use of statistics and data in the human services may carry over into views of TQM, which encourages the gathering and analysis of data on service quality. At another level, management resistance to employee empowerment is likely. They may see decision making authority in zero­sum terms: if employees have more involvement in decision making, managers will have less. In fact, one principle in employee involvement is that each level will be more empowered, and managers lose none of their fundamental authority. There will undoubtedly be changes in their roles, however. As was noted above, they will spend less time on control and more on facilitation. For many traditional managers, this transition will require teaching/training, self reflection, and time as well as assurances from upper management that they are not in danger of being displaced.
Resistance in other parts of the organization will show up if TQM is introduced on a pilot basis or only in particular programs (Hyde, 1992). Kanter (1983) has referred to this perspective as segmentalism: each unit or program sees itself as separate and unique, with nothing to learn from others and no need to collaborate with them. This shows up in the "not invented here" syndrome: those not involved in the initial development of an idea feel no ownership for it. On a broader level, there may be employee resistance to industry examples used in TQM ­ terms like inventory or order backlog (Cohen and Brand, 1993, 122).
Dealing with Resistance
There are several tactics which can be helpful in dealing with resistance to TQM implementation. Generally, they have to do with acknowledging legitimate resistance and changing tactics based on it, using effective leadership to enroll people in the vision of TQM, and using employee participation.
A useful technique to systematically identify areas of resistance is a force field analysis (Brager & Holloway, 1992). This technique was originally developed by Kurt Lewin as an assessment tool for organizational change. It involves creating a force field of driving forces, which aid the change or make it more likely to occur, and restraining forces, which are points of resistance or things getting in the way of change. Start by identifying the change goal, in this case, implementation of TQM. Represent this by drawing a line down the middle of a piece of paper. Slightly to its left, draw a parallel line which represents the current state of the organization. The change process involves moving from the current state to the ideal future state, an organization effectively using TQM. To the left of the second line (the current state), list all forces (individuals, key groups, or conditions) which may assist in the implementation of TQM. These may include environmental pressures leading to reduced funds, staff who may like to be more involved in agency decision making, and the successful applications of TQM elsewhere. On the other side, list restraining forces which will make the change implementation more difficult. Examples may be middle management fear of loss of control, lack of time for line workers to take for TQM meetings, and skepticism based on the organization's poor track record regarding change. Arrows from both sides touching the "current state" line represent the constellation of forces. Each force is then assessed in two ways: its potency or strength, and its amenability to change. More potent forces, especially restraining ones, will need greater attention. Those not amenable to change will have to be counteracted by driving forces.
  • Environmental pressures leading to reduced funds.
  • Middle management fear of loss of control.
  • Staff who may like to be more involved in agency decision making.
  • Lack of time for line workers to take time for TQM meetings.
  • Successful applications of TQM elsewhere.
  • Skepticism based on the organization's poor performance regarding change.

The analysis of the force field involves looking at which driving forces may be strengthened and which restraining forces may be eliminated, mitigated, or counteracted. If it appears that, overall, driving forces are strong enough to move back restraining forces, adoption of TQM would be worth pursuing. The change plan would include tactics designed to move the relevant forces.
It is also important to note and validate any points of resistance which are, in fact, legitimate, such as the limited amount of staff time available for TQM meetings. Klein (cited in Bennis, Benne, & Chin, 1985) encouraged change agents to validate the role of the "defender" of the status quo and respond to legitimate concerns raised. This will allow appropriate adaptations of the TQM process to account for unique organizational circumstances. Sell TQM based on the organization's real needs, note legitimate risks and negatives, and allow improvements in your own procedures. This should enhance your credibility and show your openness to critically looking at the process.
Another way to address resistance is to get all employees on the same side, in alignment towards the same goal. Leadership is the mechanism for this, and specific models known as transformational or visionary leadership (Bennis & Nanus, 1985) are most effective. Research on change implementation (Nutt, cited in Robey, 1991) has identified four methods. The first, "intervention," involves a key executive justifying the need for change, monitoring the process, defining acceptable performance, and demonstrating how improvements can be made. This was found to be more successful than "participation," in which representatives of different interest groups determine the features of the change. Participation was found to be more successful than "persuasion" (experts attempting to sell changes they have devised) or "edict," the least successful. Transformational or visionary leadership, the approach suggested here, is an example of the intervention approach. This would involve a leader articulating a compelling vision of an ideal organization and how TQM would help the vision be actualized. These principles will be discussed in more detail in a later section, as a framework for the change strategy.
A powerful way to decrease resistance to change is to increase the participation of employees in making decisions about various aspects of the process. There are actually two rationales for employee participation (Packard, 1989). The more common reason is to increase employee commitment to the resultant outcomes, as they will feel a greater stake or sense of ownership in what is decided. A second rationale is that employees have a great deal of knowledge and skill relevant to the issue at hand (in this case, increasing quality, identifying problems, and improving work processes), and their input should lead to higher quality decisions. A manager should consider any decision area as a possibility for employee participation, with the understanding that participation is not always appropriate (Vroom and Yetton, 1973). Employees or their representatives may be involved in decision areas ranging from the scope and overall approach of the TQM process to teams engaging in quality analysis and suggestions for improvements. They may also be involved in ancillary areas such as redesign of the organization's structure, information system, or reward system. Involvement of formal employee groups such as unions is a special consideration which may also greatly aid TQM implementation.
A change agent should understand that, overall, change will occur when three factors (dissatisfaction with the status quo, desirability of the proposed change, the practicality of the change) added together are greater than the "cost" of changing (time spent in learning, adapting new roles and procedures, etc.) (Beckhard and Harris, 1987). This is represented in the formula in Exhibit II. Any key group or individual will need a level of dissatisfaction with the status quo, must see a desired improved state, and must believe that the change will have minimal disruption. In other words, the change (TQM) must be seen as responding to real problems and worth the effort or cost in getting there. Conditions favoring change may be created by modifying these variables. The change agent may try to demonstrate how bad things are, or amplify others' feelings of dissatisfaction; and then present a picture of how TQM could solve current problems. The final step of modifying the equation is to convince people that the change process, while it will take time and effort, will not be prohibitively onerous. The organization as a whole and each person will be judging the prospect of TQM from this perspective. A variation of this is the WIIFM principle: "What's in it for me?" To embrace TQM, individuals must be shown how it will be worth it for them.

A final possible area of resistance, the "not invented here" syndrome may be seen after TQM is successfully adopted in one part of the organization and attempts are made to diffuse it, or spread it to other areas. Such resistance may be prevented or reduced in three ways. First, the general techniques mentioned above should be helpful. Second, each new area (program, division, department) should have a new assessment and contracting process: different circumstances should be expected in each part of the organization (Chaudron, 19). Finally, a general principle of TQM implementation mentioned below is relevant here: every TQM application should be uniquely adapted: don't use "off the shelf" models or try to standardize all aspects of the process.

Implementation Principles and Processes
Specifics of TQM implementation will be discussed in two ways. First, a model for organizational transformation through visionary leadership will be presented. A full implementation of TQM does, as was emphasized earlier, represent a significant change in the culture and political economy of an organization, and a comprehensive change strategy is therefore required. After discussion of a change model, several do's and don't's culled from the literature on TQM in the public sector and the human services will be reviewed.
Current Reality and Preconditions
A preliminary step in TQM implementation is to assess the organization's current reality: relevant preconditions have to do with the organization's history, its current needs, precipitating events leading to TQM, and the existing employee quality of working life. If the current reality does not include important preconditions, TQM implementation should be delayed until the organization is in a state in which TQM is likely to succeed. The force field analysis discussed above is one useful tool in reviewing the current situation.
If an organization has a track record of effective responsiveness to the environment, and if it has been able to successfully change the way it operates when needed, TQM will be easier to implement. If an organization has been historically reactive and has no skill at improving its operating systems, there will be both employee skepticism and a lack of skilled change agents. If this condition prevails, a comprehensive program of management and leadership development may be instituted. A management audit (Sugarman, 1988) is a good assessment tool to identify current levels of organizational functioning and areas in need of change. An organization should be basically healthy before beginning TQM. If it has significant problems such as a very unstable funding base, weak administrative systems, lack of managerial skill, or poor employee morale, TQM would not be appropriate.
However, a certain level of stress is probably desirable to initiate TQM: people need to feel a need for a change. Kanter (1983) addresses this phenomenon be describing building blocks which are present in effective organizational change. These forces include departures from tradition, a crisis or galvanizing event, strategic decisions, individual "prime movers," and action vehicles. Departures from tradition are activities, usually at lower levels of the organization, which occur when entrepreneurs move outside the normal ways of operating to solve a problem. A crisis, if it is not too disabling, can also help create a sense of urgency which can mobilize people to act. In the case of TQM, this may be a funding cut or threat, or demands from consumers or other stakeholders for improved quality of service. After a crisis, a leader may intervene strategically by articulating a new vision of the future to help the organization deal with it. A plan to implement TQM may be such a strategic decision. Such a leader may then become a prime mover, who takes charge in championing the new idea and showing others how it will help them get where they want to go. Finally, action vehicles are needed: mechanisms or structures to enable the change to occur and become institutionalized. TQM processes and models of employee participation are such mechanisms.
Essential or desirable preconditions may be identified in two areas: macro and micro. Macro factors include those which are concerned with issues such as leadership, resources, and the surrounding infrastructure. Micro issues have to do with internal issues such as employee training and empowerment and organizational processes such as quality assurance. These are:

  1. Top management support
  2. Leaders championing new ideas
  3. Customer focus
  4. Continuity of political leadership
  5. Long-term strategic plan
  6. Healthy civic infrastructure
  7. Employee recognitions and training
  8. Key leaders having shared vision and goals
  9. Employee empowerment and teamwork
  10. Trust among those in power
  11. Measurement and analysis of products and processes
  12. Outside resources
  13. Quality assurance

Models to follow

At the macro level, Osborne and Gaebler (1992, 326­7) have listed several "factors supportive of fundamental change" which showed up in their research on reinventing government. These factors, are consistent with research cited earlier about effective organizational change. It should be noted that Osborne and Gaebler researched governmental organizations only; but several factors, including leadership and a long­term perspective, are relevant in not­for­profit settings as well. The first factor, a crisis, was also identified by Kanter as a driving force for change. Next, Osborne and Gaebler noted the importance of leadership. Such leaders are usually at the executive level of the organization, where they can champion new ideas and protect risk takers. At the political level, a continuity of leadership is desirable: a long­term commitment is necessary, and politicians are often not willing to adopt this perspective. A healthy civic infrastructure is also valuable: an organization in a community with citizens, community organizations, and businesses committed to the public welfare is more likely to be able to engage in large­scale change. Furthermore, key leaders in the community having a shared vision and goals, and a level of trust among those in power (e.g., executives and union leadership), are valuable. Outside resources, in the form of help from foundations, consultants, civic organizations, or other governments, will usually be necessary. Finally, while there is no one best way to implement particular change efforts, it does help to have models to follow: other organizations who have implemented change can offer useful guidance and reassurance that change is possible. At least half of these factors were present when "wholesale reinvention" occurred. Many of these factors are present in successful case studies of TQM and other large­scale change.
On the micro level, the US Federal Quality Institute identified several key factors related to successful TQM. First, as many researchers have noted,top management support is necessary. This is typically represented partly through strategic planning regarding TQM. Second, a customer focus is an important precondition, since TQM often involves improving quality from a customer's point of view. Employees or their representatives (i.e., unions) must be involved early, particularly in addressing employee training and recognition and employee empowerment and teamwork issues. Attention to these issues is important in changing the organization's culture in the direction of teamwork and a customer and quality focus. The measurement and analysis of products and processes and quality assurance are final elements which need attention (cited in Hyde, 1992). Assessing these factors and private sector applications, Hyde (1992) listed the following implications regarding TQM implementation in the public sector. First, basic quality measurement systems have to be developed. These need to be accessible to all levels, and, in fact, must be designed and implemented with employee involvement. More specifically, any unions in the organization must be substantively involved. Consistent with a systems perspective, budgeting and resource allocation systems will need to be realigned to fit with the TQM culture: TQM cannot be used as a mechanism to simply cut costs or rationalize cutbacks. The same is true of human resource management systems: work may be redesigned to implement self­directed work teams; performance appraisal and compensation systems may be change to reward team­based performance; and massive training for managers, supervisors, and workers will be necessary. Finally, thoughtful attention needs to be paid to the ways in which customer feedback is used.
Visionary Leadership
With these principles and preconditions in mind, the following implementation steps will be discussed: using leadership to articulate a vision of the future for the organization and how TQM fits into it, designing a comprehensive change process, implementing TQM & related new systems, and ensuring institutionalization.
As was emphasized earlier, leadership is a key element in successful implementation of large­scale change (Norman & Keys, 1992): the leader shows the need and sets the vision, defining the basic purpose, goals, and parameters or requirements of TQM. The leader needs to take a long­term perspective, and must be able to motivate others to stick with the process during early stages when resistance and obstacles may seem insurmountable. The preferred leadership style would be a participative one, so that staff may be involved in the design of the specific system elements. This may seem in contradiction to the earlier stated preference for an "intervention" approach as opposed to traditional participative decision making. In the former, the leader is, in fact directive regarding the big picture and overall goals, i.e., establishing PDM. Once that strategic direction has been determined, a participative style may be used on implementation details. Prior to this decision, of course, the manger should study TQM, talk to others who have used it, and perhaps attend a preliminary training session. This is important in order for the manager to accurately assess the fit between TQM and her/his style. This will be necessary in establishing an organizational culture which is compatible with TQM, nurturing and reinforcing continuous quality improvement (Cohen and Brand, 1993, 118).
In designing a comprehensive change process, the leader must acknowledge the existing organizational culture (norms and values, managers' leadership philosophies and styles at all levels) to ensure a good fit. TQM also needs to be congruent with or aligned with other organizational processes, including reward systems, financial & information systems, and training systems.
Implementing TQM essentially involves organizational transformation: beginning to operate in new ways, developing a new culture. This also includes redesigning other systems, as has been described above. Such change, while difficult, is possible in the public sector, in spite of Swiss's (1992) reservations (Packard and Reid, 1990).
Steps in Managing the Transition
Beckhard and Pritchard (1992) have outlined the basic steps in managing a transition to a new system such as TQM: identifying tasks to be done, creating necessary management structures, developing strategies for building commitment, designing mechanisms to communicate the change, and assigning resources.
Task identification would include a study of present conditions (assessing current reality, as described above); assessing readiness, such as through a force field analysis; creating a model of the desired state, in this case, implementation of TQM; announcing the change goals to the organization; and assigning responsibilities and resources. This final step would include securing outside consultation and training and assigning someone within the organization to oversee the effort. This should be a responsibility of top management. In fact, the next step, designing transition management structures, is also a responsibility of top management. In fact, Cohen and Brand (1993) and Hyde (1992) assert that management must be heavily involved as leaders rather than relying on a separate staff person or function to shepherd the effort. An organization­wide steering committee to oversee the effort may be appropriate. Developing commitment strategies was discussed above in the sections on resistance and on visionary leadership.
To communicate the change, mechanisms beyond existing processes will need to be developed. Special all­staff meetings attended by executives, sometimes designed as input or dialog sessions, may be used to kick off the process, and TQM newsletters may be an effective ongoing communication tool to keep employees aware of activities and accomplishments.
Management of resources for the change effort is important with TQM, because outside consultants will almost always be required. Choose consultants based on their prior relevant experience and their commitment to adapting the process to fit unique organizational needs. While consultants will be invaluable with initial training of staff and TQM system design, employees (management and others) should be actively involved in TQM implementation, perhaps after receiving training in change management which they can then pass on to other employees. A collaborative relationship with consultants and clear role definitions and specification of activities must be established.
Institutionalization of TQM
Ledford (cited in Packard & Reid, 1990) has proposed a model including four processes which are forces which determine whether a change will persist through the phases of institutionalization. These processes are concerned with congruence among these variables: the change (TQM) with the organization, the change with other changes initiated at the time, the change with environmental demands, and with the level of slack resources in the organization. TQM needs to be congruent with the organization's current culture, and with other changes occurring in the organization. In this period of diminishing resources, organizations are likely to be trying to cope, by downsizing or other methods. In some organizations there are increasing demands for quality or client service improvements. Many such changes are likely to be driven by environmental demands, and TQM may be more likely to be successful than at times of less environmental pressure. Unfortunately, the fourth element, slack resources, is less likely to be present: under current conditions, extra resources (money and staff time) are less likely to be easily available. The challenge is to find a way to make the initial investment outlay to start a process which will pay off in the long term.
Institutionalization may also be enhanced by overlaying another, but compatible, change model: the learning organization (Senge, 1990). This involves, at both the micro and systems levels, staff always learning how to do better and management learning how to be more responsive to staff and the community. Leaders help staff develop their own visions and align these with the organization's vision of quality.
Beckhard and Pritchard (1992) emphasized top management commitment to the change, and Cohen and Brand (1993) apply this specifically to TQM by recommending finding and nurturing a core group which is interested in organizational change. They also emphasize the importance of personal leadership and example: managers need to apply TQM in their daily work and to get people to think about and use the concepts and tools. Ongoing monitoring, and action research to make changes as needed, will be required. And, once again, the systems perspective must be noted: TQM must be built into other systems, particularly those involving planning and rewards. Leaders should expect a long term process, including a transition period. They will need to be persistent, using constant reinforcement, for example, through continuous training. Cohen and Brand suggest that TQM should eventually be made an "invisible" part of the organization, permeating all areas and the responsibility of everyone. TQM may be instituted organization­wide or started in one unit or program and then expanded. Diffusion occurs as TQM is spread from its initial application to other units. Dynamics of resistance mentioned earlier will have to be addressed at this stage.
Some Do's and Don'ts
Following are some miscellaneous do's and don'ts which are based on experiences with TQM in the public sector and the human services. Many are drawn from Cohen and Brand (1993), Hyde (1992), and Chaudron (1992).
First, don't "do TQM": a canned approach is likely to be met with skepticism and ultimately fail because it is not adapted to the uniqueness of a particular organization. TQM is particularly susceptible to this phenomenon, because some adherents adopt almost a religious fervor, (they have been described by one observer as "Deming lemmings" (Reid, 1992). "Deming as demigod" is another way this phenomenon has been described: a statement takes on an added aura when prefaced by "Dr. Deming said..." (Chaudron, 1993). Don't copy any particular model but use relevant basic principles such as an emphasis on quality, continuous analysis of tasks to improve performance, and work with suppliers to enable the organization to start with high quality supplies. TQM should be seen as a process, not a program. It should be integrated into ongoing agency operations, and the focus should be on how an organization can better accomplish its goals and objectives. At the tactical level, don't overemphasize techniques such as statistical process control and the use of charts. Focus instead on the systems ­ the analysis and improvement of processes ­ not on statistics or individual variations.
Whereas some large­scale organizational change efforts are often driven by a centralized steering committee or group of executives, in TQM it may be best to not centralize the effort and establish a separate quality management bureaucracy ("qualiticrats", according to Hyde). Don't believe that top management support is necessary at first, as is axiomatic in organization development. While an organization needn't start TQM at the top, successes in particular units or programs should set the stage for diffusion in other directions. Change from below may be appropriate for those at lower levels who want to initiate TQM. It may work best to start TQM with a temporary task force and then hire trainers, expose staff, and hope that managers will be motivated to learn more. People responsible for leading shouldn't devote full time to TQM; they should maintain their regular work as well. Cohen and Brand believe that TQM is best taught by people doing it day to day in their work. Implement it gradually to ensure meaningful culture change, and use frequent feedback to ensure that change isn't just superficial. There is no need for a "grand plan" (a quality council, etc.); just start where the organization is.
Perhaps the most important "do" worth repeating is to involve employees in the decision making process, at whatever stages and levels possible. As a specific aspect of this, advance negotiations and discussions with any unions present should occur. Create "atmosphere of amnesty" (Cohen & Brand, 1993, 202) so workers and managers feel free to share improvement needs. Tell people what the quality standards are so that inspection and review isn't necessary. Emphasize client feedback and both quantitative and qualitative performance tracking. Make sure quality teams have the necessary tools and resources, such as training, facilitation, and time to meet. In large organizations, regional offices in particular will need lots of support in order to keep the process alive and thriving.
Several suggestions may be offered to managers. First, understand the direct service work of your organization. "Management by walking around" is a useful way to stay in touch with direct service workers and their needs. Practice what you preach: use TQM on your own processes. Meet frequently with middle managers regarding their personal efforts to use TQM. Focus on the nature of the work and try to establish in employees' minds excitement about a new way of working. TQM training will be needed for all involved work groups. Also, horizontal and vertical communication training may be useful to get groups communicating with each other. Team building is a core element of the process, to ensure employee involvement and effective problem solving. Build analysis into the culture: "stop and think about how we work," according to Cohen and Brand. Insist on objective measures of results. Look for visible improvement, but not optimization; and try to generate some quick results in terms of time or money saved. Constantly check with employees to assess their comfort with the process. If people are feeling threatened, slow down. Human resources aspects such as team functioning and analysis must be kept in balance. Prevent or watch for schisms between TQM and human resources functions or other parts of the organization.
In summary, first assess preconditions and the current state of the organization to make sure the need for change is clear and that TQM is an appropriate strategy. Leadership styles and organizational culture must be congruent with TQM. If they are not, this should be worked on or TQM implementation should be avoided or delayed until favorable conditions exist.
Remember that this will be a difficult, comprehensive, and long­term process. Leaders will need to maintain their commitment, keep the process visible, provide necessary support, and hold people accountable for results. Use input from stakeholder (clients, referring agencies, funding sources, etc.) as possible; and, of course, maximize employee involvement in design of the system.
Always keep in mind that TQM should be purpose­driven. Be clear on the organization's vision for the future and stay focused on it. TQM can be a powerful technique for unleashing employee creativity and potential, reducing bureaucracy and costs, and improving service to clients and the community.

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Managing Diversity

Workforce diversity is a reality at San Francisco. We already reflect the national demographic trends predicted for the year 2000 by the Hudson Institute in its 1987 report, Workforce 2000. Accommodation issues for our diverse workforce, such as childcare, elder care, flexible work arrangements, disability accommodation, and literacy are being addressed in the workplace. Managing diversity is defined as "planning and implementing organizational systems and practices to manage people so that the potential advantages of diversity are maximized while its potential disadvantages are minimized," according to Taylor Cox in "Cultural Diversity in Organizations." Managing diversity well provides a distinct advantage in an era when flexibility and creativity are keys to competitiveness. An organization needs to be flexible and adaptable to meet new customer needs.
Heterogeneity promotes creativity and heterogeneous groups have been shown to produce better solutions to problems and a higher level of critical analysis. This can be a vital asset at a time when the campus is undergoing tremendous change and self-examination to find new and more effective ways to operate.
With effective management of diversity, the campus develops a reputation as an employer of choice. Not only will you have the ability to attract the best talent from a shrinking labor pool, you can save time and money in recruitment and turnover costs.
How Well Do You Manage Diversity?
There are indicators that help managers in any organization 'feel the pulse' on how well diversity is managed. Each manager can do a self-assessement by asking himself/herself the following questions:
  • Do you test your assumptions before acting on them?
  • Do you believe there is only one right way of doing things, or that there are a number of valid ways that accomplish the same goal? Do you convey that to staff?
  • Do you have honest relationships with each staff member you supervise? Are you comfortable with each of them? Do you know what motivates them, what their goals are, how they like to be recognized?
  • Are you able to give negative feedback to someone who is culturally different from you?
    When you have open positions, do you insist on a diverse screening committee and make additional outreach efforts to ensure that a diverse pool of candidates has applied?
  • When you hire a new employee, do you not only explain job responsibilities and expectations clearly, but orient the person to the campus and department culture and unwritten rules?
  • Do you rigorously examine your unit's existing policies, practices, and procedures to ensure that they do not differentially impact different groups? When they do, do you change them?
  • Are you willing to listen to constructive feedback from your staff about ways to improve the work environment? Do you implement staff suggestions and acknowledge their contribution?
  • Do you take immediate action with people you supervise when they behave in ways that show disrespect for others in the workplace, such as inappropriate jokes and offensive terms?
  • Do you make good faith efforts to meet your affirmative action goals?
  • Do you have a good understanding of institutional isms such as racism and sexism and how they manifest themselves in the workplace?
  • Do you ensure that assignments and opportunities for advancement are accessible to everyone?
  • If you were able to answer yes to more than half the questions, you are on the right track to managing diversity well.

Managing Diversity
To address diversity issues, consider these questions: what policies, practices, and ways of thinking and within our organizational culture have differential impact on different groups? What organizational changes should be made to meet the needs of a diverse workforce as well as to maximize the potential of all workers, so that San Francisco can be well positioned for the demands of the 21st century?
Most people believe in the golden rule: treat others as you want to be treated. The implicit assumption is that how you want to be treated is how others want to be treated. But when you look at this proverb through a diversity perspective, you begin to ask the question: what does respect look like; does it look the same for everyone? Does it mean saying hello in the morning, or leaving someone alone, or making eye contact when you speak?
It depends on the individual. We may share similar values, such as respect or need for recognition, but how we show those values through behavior may be different for different groups or individuals. How do we know what different groups or individuals need? Perhaps instead of using the golden rule, we could use the platinum rule which states: "treat others as they want to be treated." Moving our frame of reference from what may be our default view ("our way is the best way") to a diversity-sensitive perspective ("let's take the best of a variety of ways") will help us to manage more effectively in a diverse work environment.

Managers' Role
Managers have a key role in transforming the organizational culture so that it more closely reflects the values of our diverse workforce. Some of the skills needed are:

  1. an understanding and acceptance of managing diversity concepts.
  2. recognition that diversity is threaded through every aspect of management.
  3. self-awareness, in terms of understanding your own culture, identity, biases, prejudices, and stereotypes.
  4. willingness to challenge and change institutional practices that present barriers to different groups.

It's natural to want a cookbook approach to diversity issues so that one knows exactly what to do. Unfortunately, given the many dimensions of diversity, there is no easy recipe to follow. Advice and strategies given for one situation may not work given the same situation in another context.
Managing diversity means acknowledging people's differences and recognizing these differences as valuable; it enhances good management practices by preventing discrimination and promoting inclusiveness. Good management alone will not necessarily help you work effectively with a diverse workforce. It is often difficult to see what part diversity plays in a specific area of management.
To illustrate, the following two examples show how diversity is an integral part of management. The first example focuses on the area of selection, the second example looks at communication:

  • How do you make the job sound appealing to different types of workers?
  • How can recruitment be effectively targeted to diverse groups?
  • How do you overcome bias in the interviewing process, questions, and your response?
  • Specify the need for skills to work effectively in a diverse environment in the job, for example: "demonstrated ability to work effectively in a diverse work environment."
    Make sure that good faith efforts are made to recruit a diverse applicant pool.
  • Focus on the job requirements in the interview, and assess experience but also consider transferable skills and demonstrated competencies, such as analytical, organizational, communication, coordination. Prior experience has not necessarily mean effectiveness or success on the job.
  • Use a panel interview format. Ensure that the committee is diverse, unit affiliation, job classification, length of service, variety of life experiences, etc. to represent different perspectives and to eliminate bias from the selection process. Run questions and process by them to ensure there is no unintentional bias.
  • Ensure that appropriate accommodations are made for disabled applicants.
    Know your own biases. What stereotypes do you have of people from different groups and how well they may perform on the job? What communication styles do you prefer? Sometimes what we consider to be appropriate or desirable qualities in a candidate may reflect more about our personal preferences than about the skills needed to perform the job.

Fair vs. Same Treatment
Many people think that "fairness" means "treating everyone the same." How well does treating everyone the same work for a diverse staff? For example, when employees have limited English language skills or reading proficiency, even though that limit might not affect their ability to do their jobs, transmitting important information through complicated memos might not be an effective way of communicating with them. While distributing such memos to all staff is "treating everyone the same," this approach may not communicate essential information to everyone. A staff member who missed out on essential information might feel that the communication process was "unfair." A process that takes account of the diverse levels of English language and reading proficiency among the staff might include taking extra time to be sure that information in an important memorandum is understood. Such efforts on the part of supervisors and managers should be supported and rewarded as good management practices for working with a diverse staff.

Managing Diversity is Different from Affirmative Action
Managing diversity focuses on maximizing the ability of all employees to contribute to organizational goals. Affirmative action focuses on specific groups because of historical discrimination, such as people of color and women. Affirmative action emphasizes legal necessity and social responsibility; managing diversity emphasizes business necessity. In short, while managing diversity is also concerned with underrepresentation of women and people of color in the workforce, it is much more inclusive and acknowledges that diversity must work for everyone.

Consequences of Ignoring Diversity
Ignoring diversity issues costs time, money, and efficiency. Some of the consequences can include unhealthy tensions; loss of productivity because of increased conflict; inability to attract and retain talented people of all kinds; complaints and legal actions; and inability to retain valuable employees, resulting in lost investments in recruitment and training.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

الفجوة التدريبية بين التطور التكنولوجى والقدرة على الاستيعاب

لايمكن بحال أن تتقدم التكنولوجيا إلا إذا واكب تقدمها تدريب مستمر للناس الذين سوف يتعاملون مع تلك التكنولوجيا المتطورة المتسارعة الإيقاع. لذلك لاأستطيع أن أتصور أن نظل نتحدث فى كل مكان فى العالم عن التطور التكنولوجى فى مجال الاتصالات ونعطيه حقه من التحليل والمناقشة ، ولا نعطى نفس القدر من الأهمية والتركيز على أهمية تطوير العنصر البشرى الذى " سيدير" كل تغيير يطرأ على المستخدم حاليا من وسائل تكنولوجية . أقول ذلك لأنى لاحظت عمليا الفجوة الكبيرة بين التطور التكنولوجى السريع كما قلت وبين استعداد الناس لتقبل التغيير ، وإعداد الكوادر المؤسسية اللازمة لملاحقته والتعامل معه بكفاءة وفعالية.

والذى يعمل فى مجال تطوير الموارد البشرية مثلى يرى ذلك ويلمسه فى كل احتكاك له فى مجال العمل مع القيادات التى يتولى تدريبها والتخطيط لرفع جداراتها ومهاراتها لكى لايصيبها مايسمى " بالصدمة الحضارية " أو إن شيئت " الصدمة التكنولوجية ". ولعلى حين أشارك القارئ بعض التجارب العملية فإن ذلك يسهم فى توضيح المعنى بصورة عملية لاتقبل الاختلاف. لاحظت مثلا أنه فى بعض المؤسسات التى تعنى بدوام تحديث قاعدة معلوماتها أنها تجعل تلك المعلومات متاحة لمن يريدها على شبكة المعلومات التى تنشأها لهذا الغرض للربط بين إداراتها المختلفة وفروعها فى جميع أنحاء العالم أو مايعرف باسم Intranet / Internet ولكنى حين أتناقش مع المديرين فى أمور تهم إداراتهم أجدهم فى بعض الأحيان يجهلونها بحجة عدم توافر المعلومات ، وحين أذكرهم بأن المعلومات التى أتحدث عنها متاحة على شبكة المعلومات الداخلية للمؤسسة التى يعملون بها إفاجأ بالدهشة الشديدة تعلو الوجوه بينما يظهر على وجوه البعض الآخر تعبير ينم عن تذكرهم فجأة أن ذلك صحيح ولكنهم لايملكون "جواز المرور" اللازم للحصول على المعلومات التى يريدونها. فى بعض الأحيان يكون تبريرهم صحيحا ، وفى كثير من الأحيان لايكون كذلك حين يتعللون بأن"كل" المعلومات ليست متاحة ومن ثم فما فائدة سعيهم للحصول عليها إلكترونيا ؟ واضح هنا أن هذا الموقف ينبع من أحد أمرين : إما أنهم يتعللون بهذا لأنهم لايعرفون ، وإما أنهم يريدون "كل" المعلومات ويسعون وراء ماليس لهم حق فى معرفته ، وإما فلا داعى أصلا لأن يشغلوا أنفسهم بالتعامل مع التكنولوجيا ومشاكلها.

رفع القدرة على الاستيعاب مسئولية مشتركة

ولكن الحقيقة المؤكدة هى أنهم لايعترفون بالحق فى تقسيم الحق فى الحصول على المعلومات طبقا لما يسمى فى علم الإدارة " بالحق فى المعرفة " أى المعلومات التى ترتبط بنوع العمل والتى لايمكن للموظفين على اختلاف درجاتهم الوظيفية تحقيق الأهداف المطلوبة منهم ، أو أداء مهامهم الوظيفية بالمستوى المطلوب مالم يحصلوا عليها . الناس تسعى إلى مناطق لايمكن أن تكون بطبيعتها متاحة للجميع داخل المؤسسة مثل مرتبات الموظفين مثلا أو الدرجات الحاصلين عليها فى تقارير قياس الكفاءة أو الجزاءات التى وقعت عليهم بسبب الإهمال . تلك جميعها معلومات تأخذ طابع الخصوصية ولايحق لأحد الاطلاع عليها إلا الموظف نفسه ورؤسائه المباشرين والقائمين على شئون العاملين الذين يتولون تنفيذ السياسات والنظم والتنسيق فى الشئون المتعلقة بتنمية الموارد البشرية، ولايجوز استخدام تلك المعلومات إلا داخل الشركة لأغراض تتعلق بتحسين أداء الموظف ورفع كفاءته ومعالجة المشاكل المتعلقة بأسلوب الإداء. إذن الناس هنا يجهلون " حدود حقهم فى المعرفة " لأن أحدا لم يهتم بأن يشرح ذلك ويتأكد من فهم المستخدمين لمعنى مستويات الحصول على المعلومات وأسباب حظر بعض المعلومات على مستويات معينة لأنها لاتهم عملهم.

فى حالات أخرى لاحظت أن المديرين ينكرون توافر تعليمات العمل ، وتعليمات التشغيل ، والإجراءات النمطية للنشاطات المختلفة التى يشرفون عليها داخل المؤسسة على الرغم من توافرها كذلك بنفس الطريقة التى تحدثنا عنها. بل أن كثيرا منهم يجهل المعنى الدقيق للتعريفات التى تحكم بعض النشاطات الهامة مثل " تقييم الأداء " للموظفين حيث يخلط بعضهم بين تعريف " الممتاز " وتعريف " الجيد جدا " وهما تقديرات لايمنحان إلا للموظفين الذين يتجاوزون الأهداف المطلوب منهم تحقيقها "كل أو معظم الوقت". والذى أدهشنى أكثر أنه على الرغم من الشعبية الكاسحة للبريد الإلكترونى فى داخل مؤسسات اليوم ، واستخدامه بصفة دائمة ومستمرة فى " التواصل " بين فرق العمل المختلفة ، إلا أن كثيرا من المديرين لايستغلون تلك الوسيلة إلا على نطاق محدود لإرسال وتوزيع المعلومات التى تطلب منهم فقط ، وليس بغرض متابعة الأعمال مع موظفيهم داخل الإدارة الواحدة – لاسيما إن كان هناك فروع متعددة للمؤسسة – أو مع الإدارات الأخرى داخل المؤسسة التى تربطها بإداراتهم مهام مشتركة. بعضهم يحس بالإهانة من تلقى رسالة ألكترونية لمتابعة موضوع تأخر أو للسؤال عن مهمة لم تتم ، ويفضلون دائما إما الحديث بالتليفون أو الزيارة الشخصية التى قد لاتكون متاحة فى كثير من الأحيان. وعلى الرغم من كل ذلك ، أصبح الحصول على جهاز كمبيوتر شخصى مطلبا ملحا لكل مديرى المؤسسة : ربما لأن ذلك يعد من قبيل التميز وإضفاء نوع من الأهمية على من تقرر الشركة منحه جهازا شخصيا أكثر منه لمواجهة الحاجة إلى المعلومات بصفة شبه دائمة وأهمية ذلك بالنسبة لأداء العمل. ولعلى هنا أؤكد أن ذلك لاينفى مسئولية الموظف عن السعى الدائم إلى تحسين قدراته الشخصية عن طريق المحاولة الذاتية والاطلاع والاستفادة من الفرص التى تتيحها له المؤسسة عن طريق التدريب.

السباحة فى مياه صعبة مع سمك القرش

المؤسسات ايضا – ربما خوفا من سوء الاستغلال – تضع قيودا صارمة على دخول موظفيها على الإنترنت ، على الرغم من أهمية أن تنتشر ثقافة " السعى للحصول على المعلومات " من مصادرها بين الموظفين ، والمديرين منهم على وجه الخصوص ، ومدى إسهام ذلك فى تنمية وعى الموظف بالسوق العالمى وآفاقه، وتوسيع مداركه، وتشجيعه على التفكير والابتكار. وكأننا هنا قصرنا استخدام التكنولوجيا المتقدمة فى نطاق محلى بحت ، وأغلقنا باقى نوافذ المعرفة فى وجه من يريدها من موظفينا بسبب عدم الثقة التى تفترض دوما أن الموظف سوف يسيئ استخدام الحق الممنوح له مما يكبد المؤسسات خسائر فادحة ، فى حين أن المؤسسات لو اعتمدت جزءا من ميزانيات التدريب لديها لهذا الغرض لحصلت فى مقابله على عائد عال ينعكس على أداء الموظف من حيث الجودة والإنتاجية ، أى كما وكيفا معا. وفى أحوال أخرى لاحظت أن إيمان الموظفين بمبدأ " تبادل المعلومات " بين فرقاء العمل ضعيف ، وأن بعضهم – أحيانا من نفس فريق العمل أو المستوى الوظيفى الواحد - يعرف ولكنه لايشارك الآخرين فيما حصل عليه من معلومات ، أو حتى فى مصادر المعلومات، وأنه ليس هناك التزام بذلك تجاهه ، بل إنهم يعتبرون ذلك اجتهادا شخصيا من قبلهم على الآخرين أن يحذو حذوهم فيه.

إن المؤسسات حين تتجاهل أهمية التدريب فى تعريف تعويد الناس على استبدال الطرق التقليدية فى أداء الأعمال بتسخير التكنولوجيا ، ومزايا الاستفادة من ذلك من حيث السرعة والكفاءة والفعالية ، إنما ترسخ لديهم الشعور التقليدى بالخوف من إمكانية الاستخدام السليم ، أو الفشل فى التأقلم مع التغيير ، أو تفاديا للانتقاد نتيجة للمقارنة بينهم وبين الآخرين فى مستوى الاستخدام وكفاءته . ولكن الخطأ الأكبر فى نظرى هو أن المؤسسات – حين لاتعنى برصد الموارد اللازمة لتدريب موظفيها فى هذا المجال – إنما ترفع بذلك من سقف خسارتها للوقت ومستوى الجودة فى الأداء والسرعة فى تبادل المعلومات الخاصة بالأسواق التى يعملون بها مما يقلل كثيرا من فرصها فى المنافسة وفى فتح أسواق جديدة . لابد أن تعى المؤسسات أن توسيع قدرة موظفيها على استيعاب التكنولوجيا المتطورة عن طريق التدريب المستمر والتوعية الدائمة أصبح سبيلا لايمكن لها تجاهله إذا أرادت أن " تسبح مع أسماك القرش " فى عالم الأعمال القاسى بمقاييس هذا الزمان

صناعة الاتصالات والتنافس العالمى بين العمالقة

لعل أهم مايلفت النظر بشدة فى موجة الاستثمارات التى تتدفق إلى بلدان جديدة هو أن هذه البلدان لم تتريث حتى تكتمل الإصلاحات الاقتصادية والقانونية الواجبة فى البلدان المعنية، واستطاعت الهند أن تصبح أحد الاقتصادات الأسرع نموا فى القرن الحادى والعشرين بعد أن كان ينظر إليها فى الماضى على أنها قلعة من قلاع اللوائح التنظيمية المنفرة. وكما قلنا قبلا فإن الدول الافتراضية الثلاثة هونج كونج وسنغافورة وتايوان تمثل معا اتجاها جديدا للصناعات التحويلية على مستوى العالم ، وتدشينا لمسار متفرد يجتذب إليه يوما بعد يوم مريدين جددا من بلدان العالم المتقدم. ولايمكن ببساطة النظر إلى انتقال المصانع إلى الخارج على أنه أحد تأثيرات العولمة بل إنه تعبير عن حدوث تغيير تدريجى فى القيمة النسبية لعوامل الإنتاج بين رأس المال المادى والمعلومات حيث تزيد قيمة الأصول غير المادية بمرور الزمن على قيمة الأصول المادية (الماكينات والمرافق الإنتاجية المادية).
إن اليابان التى تبنى مجدها الاقتصادى وتفوقها الكاسح فى المنافسة الاقتصدية على جدارتها الصناعية ، عليها الآن أن تراجع وبسرعة سياساتها حيث فقدت الصناعات التحويلية الأهمية التى كانت لها فى السابق ، وأصبحت الإنجازات تقاس بالتفوق فى مجال الخدمات الابتكارية وخدمات المعلومات بما فى ذلك تصميم المنتجات والبحوث والبرامج الذكية الجاهزة للكمبيوتر. كانت اليابان تسيطر فيما مضى على إنتاج المكونات المادية للكمبيوتر فى الوقت الذى كان العالم فى طريقه إلى اعتماد المكونات غير المادية (برامج الكمبيوتر الجاهزة) أساسا للحكم على الجدارة الاقتصادية، وبينما كانت اليابان تحزر تفوقا فى مجال المنتجات المادية ، كان العالم يتحول إلى المنتجات غير المادية ، ولو كانت قد تحولت إلى الأخذ باستراتيجية لتغليب الخدمات لكان قد أمكن لها أن تتغلب مبكرا على الأزمة المالية الطاحنة التى اجتاحت آسيا فى أواخر الثمانينات ومازالت اليابان بالذات تعانى من آثارها حتى اليوم. إن الصناعة اليابانية تعتبر أن توفير معدل مرتفع من التوظيف المستمر طوال العمر هو إحدى أولوياتها. لذلك تبنى استراتيجياتها على الانحياز لصالح المنتج والعامل المحليين على حساب المستهلك حيث ارتفاع أسعار الغذاء والإسكان والمواصلات والسلع الاستهلاكية داخل اليابان فى الوقت الذى انخفضت فيه المزايا التى يحصل عليها المواطنون العاديون فى صورة الضمان الاجتماعى أو خطط التقاعد وبرامج الرعاية الاجتماعية وإن كان قد ترتب على ذلك ارتفاع المدخرات اليابانية تحسبا لمستقبل غامض.
وإذا أرادت اليابان أن تحصل على وضع " الدولة الافتراضية " أو " الدولة الرأس " فإن ذلك سوف يملى عليها باطراد التنازل عن الصناعة التحويلية المرتبطة " بالدولة الجسم " لصالح بلدان أخرى. ومع اتجاه اليابان على تقليص دورها فى الإنتاج والتخلى عنه ستعم الفائدة كلا من الصين وشرق آسيا ( بما فى ذلك رابطة دول جنوب شرق آسيا) وجنوب آسيا ، وسيسهم هذا التنازل فى شيوع الاستقرار بالمنطقة شريطة أن توافق اليابان على أن تعيد استيراد إنتاجها من مواقع الإنتاج الأجنبية.

النمور الآسيوية والبدائل العملية لتجنب الاستثمارات العالية

ترتكز الاستراتيجية الأساسية التى تتبعها كل من هونج كونج وسنغافوره وتايوان على استغلال المؤسسات الصينية فى انتاج السلع لحسابها، وبذلك تتجنب الاستثمار العالى فى بناء القدرات الإنتاجية الجديدة على أرضها من شراء أراض وتشييد مبان وتركيب الماكينات واستئجار العمالة. عمليا نجد أن هذه الاقتصادات الثلاثة قد توصلت إلى استراتيجية جديدة للتفوق الاقتصادى تعتمد على تقليص حجم المؤسسات كاستراتيجية قومية ، ونقل فائض الإنتاج إلى مواقع فى الخارج ، كما أنها ارتقت بقدرات البحث والتطوير لديها بما يمكنها من تصميم وتسويق منتجات تحتاجها الصناعة فى الخارج. وقامت هذه الدول أيضا بتحديث البنية الأساسية لديها من حيث المرافق التعليمية وشبكة الاتصالات والموانئ والطرق الرئيسية والنقل الجوى وحرصت على تهيئى البيئة المالية المناسبة لاستقبال تدفقات رؤوس الأموال. وفى هونج كونج ، على وجه الخصوص ، نرى أن خدمات التكنولوجيا الراقية تشهد ارتفاعا مضطردا فى قيمتها مقارنة بالصناعة التحويلية. ومع كل نجد أنه - على خلاف اليابان والولايات المتحدة والاقتصادات الأوروبية – فإن النمور الثلاثة لم تنجح بدرجة كبيرة فى أن تجعل العمل ورأس المال فيها أكثر إنتاجية بكثير عما كان ، وينبغى عليها أن تزيد من حجم استثماراتها فى التعليم والبحث والتطوير .
وبالرغم من الأزمة المالية التى عصفت بجنوب شرقى آسيا ، والانكماش الكبير الذى تعرضت له أسواق الأوراق واسواق العملة ، فإن مستقبل هذه النمور الآسيوية النشيطة لايزال مشرقا ويقدر الخبراء أن الإنتاجية الكلية لعوامل الإنتاج آخذة فى التزايد حاليا فى سنغافورة وتايوان حيث لم تكن تعانى ضعفا فى العوامل الاقتصادية قبل نشوب الأزمة ، ولم يحدث أن تورط نظامها المصرفى فى تقديم تسهيلات ائتمانية عالية المخاطر ، وبالتالى لم يهتز أمام التفقات الاستثمارية من الخارج او يعانى من آثار سلبية نتيجة لذلك. كما يؤكد الخبراء أن المزيد من جهود البحث والتطوير سيفضى فى النهاية إلى زيادة إنتاجية هذه المدخلات ، ومن شأن النمو فى إنتاجية خدمات التكنولوجيا الراقية أن يؤدة إلى زيادة المنافع المترتبة على الإنتاج فى الخارج من خلال التحالفات الصناعية والاندماجات مع المؤسسات الأخرى.
وقد احتفظت هذه الدول الافتراضية الثلاث داخل أراضيها ببعض القدرات لإنتاج المنتجات النهائية ، وذلك بهدف مساعدة البلدان الأخرى على تمويل وتسويق إنتاجها . وإذا كانت البلدان الثلاثة قد نقلت إنتاجها الأكثر كثافة فى استخدام العمالة إلى الخارج ، فإنها فعلت أيضا ماهو أكثر من ذلك بكثير إذ عكفت على تقديم خدمة استشارية فيما يتعلق بالمستقبل الاقتصادى للدول الأخرى ، كما أن الخبرات المعرفية التى نقلتها لغيرها تفوق فى قيمتها صادراتها من السلع المادية. وقد ساعد على ذلك أكثر من مليون لاجئ صينى تدفقوا على هونج كونج بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية وتولى الشيوعيون للسلطة وفرض المقاطعة الاقتصادية عليها مما جعلها تتخصص فى الصناعات الخفيفة مثل المنسوجات ولعب الأطفال والساعات.

صراع العمالقة ومستقبل التغلغل فى الأسواق

إذا قارنا بين اليابان والولايات المتحدة نجد أنها تبنتا مواقف ذات طبيعة تجارية إزاء العالم الخارجى ، حيث سعى كل منهما إلى تحسين وضعه السياسى عن طريق تعزيز قوته الاقتصادية . تركزت استراتيجية الولايات المتحدة فى التحرك بصورة متزايدة نحو الخدمات الدولية بينما تنقل الإنتاج إلى خارج أراضيها، كما اعتمدت على التحكم فى التدفقات بدلا من الاحتفاظ بأرصدة محلية من السلع. على الجانب الآخر أقامت اليابان استراتيجيتها للتصدير على أساس الحد من تدفقات السلع إلى أراضيها ، كما شجعت التدفقات المتجهة للخارج وليست تلك المتجهة للداخل ولذلك فهى تفتقر إلى رؤوس الأموال والتكنولوجيا، ذلك أنه فى غياب التدفقات الحرة من رؤؤس الأموال إلى داخل اليابان فسيظل الين عملة محدودة الأثر بدلا من أن يصبح عملة عالمية. ويرى خبراء الاقتصاد أن المشكلة سوف تزداد حدة فى المستقبل القريب إذا لم تجد اليابان رأس المال اللازم لتحديث بنيتها الأساسية وتحسين نوعية الحياة لمواطنيها الذين تزداد توقعاتهم ومطالبهم ولن يرحبوا بتحمل أعباء ضريبية جديدة تتحدى حدود قدرتهم على الاحتمال واستعدادهم للتضحية. ومن العريب أن الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية لازالت هى السوق الرئيسية لليابان حتى الآن على الرغم من محاولات اليابان المستميتة لتقليل اعتمادها على تلك السوق واتجاهها إلى بيع منتجاتها فى شرق آسيا والصين لإيجاد أسواق ضخمة بديلة ، ولكنها من جهة أخرى تعتمد اعتمادا شبه كلى على الحماية العسكرية الأمريكية فى وجه الوجود البحرى والنووى الصينى فى بحر الصين الجنوبى.
وسوف تتجه اليابان فى المدى الطويل إلى إنتاج المزيد من السلع فى الخارج بينما تبدى اهتماما أكبر باحتياجات سوقها المحلية ، وسوف يزيد الإنتاج المحلى بالنسبة إلى الصادرات بعد أن تخصص انتاجها من الصناعات التحويلية فى كل من الصين وإندونيسيا والهند للوفاء بحاجة أسواقها المحلية وليس بغرض التصدير للولايات المتحدة الأمريكية. فى المقابل سوف تضطر اليابان إلى استيراد بعض إنتاجها من السلع اليابانية المصنعة فى مواقع بالخارج مثل أوروبا وأمريكا الشمالية والتى تعتمد حاليا على التجميع ولكنها بمرور الوقت سوف تتحول تدريجيا إلى شراء المكونات المحلية ومن ثم تصبح أكثر تنافسية من حيث السعر مع الاحتفاظ بمستوى الجودة العالى الذى يميز المنتجات اليابانية. وسوف تشهد أمريكا تطورا مماثلا حيث ستتجه إلى تصدير الخدمات ذات المكون المعرفى المتقدم إلى كل من شرق أسيا والصين والشرق الأوسط وأمريكا اللاتينية وأوروبا. وفى الوقت الذى تتجه فيه أمريكا إلى الاعتماد أكثر على السلع " غير المرئية " فإنها ستبقى فى حاجة إلى الاستثمارات اليابانية لتساعدها فى تعويض العجز فى معدلات الادخار الذى يترتب عليه عجزا أمريكيا فى رأس المال اللازم للصناعة باعتبارها بلدا مصدرا لرؤوس الأموال بافتتاحها لأسواق عالمية جديدة وتشجيعها للشركات المتعددة الجنسيات والشركات المشتركة والعابرة للقارات.
وإذا نظرنا إلى مصر التى تتمتع بميزة تنافسية عالية يمكن لها أن تستغلها ، ولاتحتاج إلى استثمارات عالية لكى تدخل سوق تصدير البرمجيات ، وصناعة الاتصالات ، فإننا نستطيع أن نستثمر فى تدريب كوادر فنية متخصصة نصدرها كعمالة مدربة مطلوبة باسعار تنافسية للعالم العربى أولا ثم إلى أسواق أخرى فى العالم بشرط إجراء البحوث الدقيقة على تلك الأسواق للوقوف على احتياجاتها ، ومداومة التحديث لمواكبة التغييرات العالمية فى سوق الاتصالات . كذلك تستطيع مصر أن تنشأ شركات لصناعة البرمجيات وأجهزة الكمبيوتر ومعداتها برأسمال مشترك مع الصين والهند وسنغافورة وتايوان من الدول التى تتلهف على إنشاء قواعد صناعية لها فى منطقة الشرق الأوسط .