Best Essay Writing Service Paper on Human relations

Human relations

Introduction

 The management of labor at the workplace has evolved from the scientific management style used at beginning of the twentieth century to the human relations style that is mainly used in the modern workplace. Initially, workers were thought of as factors of production, and hence needed to be given explicit instructions on what to do, with little room allowed for innovation or improvisation. Although this approach initially led to an increase in production and efficiency in the production process (Hodgetts and Hegar 8), it treated human beings as automatons, with little or no capacity for independent thought. Eventually scientific management fell out of favor and the human relations approach to management gained ascendency. The human relations approach to management is based on the premise that individuals have an almost infinite capacity to improve their productivity and efficiency in the tasks they are performing. The purpose of management is, therefore, to offer a platform and an enabling environment that will tap the potential of the employees for the benefit of the firm (Hodgetts and Hegar 10). When managing, it is imperative that the manager focuses on the employees because they are the single most important factor of production, with the potential to improve the fortunes of the company vastly or cause it great loss.

Restructuring and reorganization of businesses is an inevitable consequence of the rapidly changing economic landscape. Businesses that wish to survive have to be proactive, anticipate the likely changes in the operating environment and make the necessary changes in their modus operandi (Stroh and Reilly 13). However, any reorganization or restructuring process should take into account the human resources of the organization, keeping in mind that it is only the people working in an organization that can make any change effort to work. This implies that there should be a deliberate effort to place the focus of the change effort within the human resources of the firm, making the workers to own the change effort. This paper shall analyze the effectiveness of each of the proposed strategies using the human relations approach which places the worker at the center of any work place change effort.

Strategy 1

Candidate A has identified high costs as the biggest problem of Transworld and proposes that the most effective way of turning the company around is to drastically reduce the company’s operating costs. Employers are always concerned about labor costs, cognizant that high wage costs have a detrimental effect on the firm’s bottom-line, and if not controlled, can cause the firm to collapse under the weight of debts (Hamermesh 129). However, firms also operate in a competitive environment, where there is demand for the highly skilled workers who can have a positive impact on a firm’s performance. Therefore, a firm also has to ensure that it has a competitive pay package that can not only attract employees but also retain those already working with the firm. When tackling the problem of costs, a firm must strike a balance between managing costs and offering an attractive enough package to attract and retain the best talent. The assessment that high costs are a big problem is accurate because Transworld has a big workforce, mostly based in its headquarters in Denmark, where they are on large salaries and retainers. This is despite the fact that most of the company’s work is now coming from developing countries in South and East Asia and more is anticipated to come from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

Candidate A proposes to reduce the work force first, by not renewing the contracts of employees who are in two-year rolling contracts. The termination of employment is a painful process for everybody who is involved in the process and has a potentially negative impact on employee morale if it is not handled delicately (Zins 289). Reduction of employees through non-renewal of contracts implies that the staff reduction process is likely to be haphazard, unstructured and reactive, because it will depend on contracts running out, rather than being proactive and actively identifying those that may need to be laid off. This approach is likely to have a detrimental effect on staff morale as the employees who remain will be unsure of their fate, feeling that it is only a matter of time before they are also sacked. This approach to staff reduction does not consider the competence or merits of the retrenched staff; hence it is likely to reduce workplace commitment as employees are likely to begin looking for alternative employment cognizant that they become redundant at the end of their contracts (Ngambi 764). From a human relations point of view, this approach to staff rationalization and cost cutting is inefficient and is likely to cause more problems than it solves.

Secondly, the candidate proposes that all employees above forty years should be encouraged to leave the company in addition to project support writers and bid writers. This approach has pitfalls if it is to be implemented wholesomely, without exceptions. First, the company is likely to be accused of discrimination and practicing ageism because no valid reasons are advanced for dismissing all of the employees who are above forty. Although employers often view older workers as unable to adapt to the fast changing working environment, research has shown that older workers are highly adaptable to new work requirements (Billet 87). In addition, older employees are important in enhancing institutional memory and can help to orient new workers who are recruited by the company. Getting rid of this in-house expertise is detrimental to the company’s long term prospects because new workers have to find their own way as they enter the firm, costing the firm valuable time and resources as employees learn on job. The firm will also lose some of the work networks that the older employees will have built over time, considering that consultancy work involves a substantial amount of personal contacts. The loss of experienced bid writes is also likely to impact the firm negatively because the company needs experienced bid writers to aggressively market its services to prospective clients.

The candidate also proposes that the company should now focus on hiring administrators on site in the countries where the firm is operating, increasing the diversity of the firm as people from different nationalities are incorporated into the firm’s working environment. When diversity is managed successfully in the work place, there is a corresponding improvement in organizational performance (Ozbilgin and Tatli 106). Hiring of local administrators will also help the firm to integrate into the local communities where it is working, in addition to exploiting the synergistic opportunities that local employees provide. Giving the new employees pay that is commensurate to local earnings will help the firm to not only attract good employees but also substantially reduce its operating costs considering that the wage rates are likely to be much lower compared to those of Northern Europe. Finally, the candidate proposes to split top management into three sections – finance, operations and HR – a move that will undoubtedly increase the efficiency of the firm by allowing specialization and accountability. Retaining the managers on performance related pay ensures that the company is protected from paying over the odds when business is low.

Strategy 2

Candidate B identifies Transworld’s biggest problem as a lack of brand identity and being a local outfit which is trying to dapple in international consultancy. This assessment is correct because Transworld does not have a delineated business strategy, nor does it have a niche in which it specializes. The company has been mostly reactive, changing its modus operandi to reflect the needs of the market without having a company strategy. Branding is crucial to the survival of a company in the competitive business environment, where many firms have to scramble for the same clients (Ghodeswar 8). Although the process of establishing a brand is tedious, requiring through planning and perseverance (Knapp 36), clients will usually relate positively to a company that has a clear brand identity and are likely to come back for more business. Strong brands engender customer loyalty and can only be maintained by a firm making deliberate efforts to invest in programs that can make the brand to live up to its reputation (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 27). Candidate B, therefore, feels that the solution is not to shrink but to speculate on the vitality of the brand and expand operations in the hope that the firm will become a true multinational with a well defined brand.

Candidate B proposes that to begin the bold branding and expansion process, the company should turn the existing headquarters into an international hub responsible for strategic human resource and finance management. In addition, the company should establish four regional offices in the regions where the company’s business is growing or likely to grow. This approach makes strategic sense because it helps to keep the company employees in the ground, where they are needed rather than having them concentrated in the European headquarters where there is little work. In addition, the candidate proposes that the firm should consider transferring some of the administrative staff from the headquarters to the regional offices to be created to help in setting up the offices and train locally hired associates. However, this approach is dependent on workers willingness to relocate to the new regional offices that will be created. Relocation is a stressful experience and if not well managed can lead to reduction in productivity of employees, something that will have grave consequences on the viability of the company considering that it is already struggling to return a profit. Opening new offices is premised on the assumption the employees in the new offices will hit the ground running and be able to generate enough work to justify the opening of the new regional offices.

Candidate B also proposes that the firm should widen the range of products and services it offers, suggesting that the number of full time employees should be increased to cater to the increased product range. This proposal does not cause any staff cuts, instead suggesting that more should be hired, implying that it may not be opposed much by the existing employees. The strategy suggests that contracting should be phased out and employees should be employed on permanent terms with attractive pay packets, hence keeping the best employees in addition to attracting some of the best workers to come and work for the firm. For on-site hiring, the candidate proposes the hiring of management trainees from university who will be trained and then, if they are good enough, they will be retained for further training at the company’s headquarters. This approach of hiring young trainees from college is advantageous because it helps the company to have a workforce that is steeped in the firm’s values and traditions. In addition, it is cheaper to hire and train administrators who will slowly rise up the ranks rather than parachuting in expensive readymade employees.

Lastly, candidate B suggests that the firm needs to think small so that it can grow big quickly. Instead of focusing on governments and multinationals, the firm should focus on providing consultancy services for NGOs, small local companies and expatriate companies. These types of clients are very many in a community, and if the company can manage to get a number of them as clients, they can provide the critical mass of business that is required to keep the firm profitable. As part of the growth strategy, the candidate proposes that the firm should consider offering outsourcing services, providing consultants to companies at a fee, which can help the company to collect management fees. Diversifying the product range, in addition to engaging the small local firms, will help the company to develop and strengthen its brand as it becomes more visible in the local community. In addition, this helps in integration into the local community where it operates, an important consideration if the company wishes to remain relevant and accepted in its regional offices.

Strategy 3

Candidate C identify Transworld’s problem as an archaic business model that was based on the aid flow from the developed North to the impoverished South. This assessment is true because the firm was initially set to tap from the aid money that was being sent to poorer countries as development assistance. Therefore, the candidate feels there ought to be a paradigmatic shift in the firm’s business model to take into account the current realities.  The South is now becoming an active actor in the development discourse, setting new development agendas that require the North to take note and adjust the engagement framework (McEwan, and Mawdsley 1191). There is an urgent need for North-based agencies to reevaluate the existing partnerships that they have with the South and recalibrate the engagement framework, cognizant that the power relations between the South and North are changing (Ashman 77). It is with this in mind that candidate C proposes that Transworld has to change its business model and realign it with the new reality of the South being the source of its income. The candidate proposes a radical reorganization process, which when implemented will completely change the way Transworld operates.

Candidate C proposes that the firm should carry out a radical surgery of staff, laying off nearly all of the firm’s staff in addition to abandoning the company’s European headquarters. This proposal will see Transworld being turned into a shell of the current company, considering that nearly all of the employees will be sacked over a period of four years, maximum. The effect of these staff cuts will have devastating effect on the morale of remaining employees as nearly all of them will be aware that they will soon be redundant. The staff cuts will also make the company to completely lose its identity as well as institutional memory because nearly all of the people that make Transworld will be laid off as the company seeks to cut costs. This approach implies that Transworld has to completely rebrand, and reposition itself differently in the development business considering that it will have only a skeletal staff. The process of rebranding may make the company to completely get lost in the crowded field of small consultancy firms.

The candidate also suggests that Transworld should pursue local partnerships, seeking to establish depth before thinking of breadth. Candidate C suggests that Transworld should enter into partnerships with a maximum of two local firms and be fully integrated into the local community. Integration into the local community will help to give Transworld valuable leverage as the firm can exploit local contacts for more business. The company strategy will be to have a small number of expatriates, who will partner and be integrated into the local partner firms, while all the other employees shall belong to the local partners. Although this strategy shall help Transworld to substantially cut costs, the employees of the joint venture shall owe their loyalty mainly to the partner in the venture, making Transworld’s position in the local market rather precarious. Transworld shall earn money from profit and fee sharing with its partners in the joint ventures it will form. Considering that most of the employees are contracted to the local partner, this is an imbalanced power relationship and Transworld may end up being elbowed out. The candidate proposes that Transworld should introduce performance management to the local partner in addition to training local managers on how to manage the system. This raises the long-term viability of Transworld as a going concern because once the local managers have been effectively trained, what will the purpose of the local firm continuing the partnership. It is possible that implementing this approach will lead to the absorption of Transworld into the local firm, causing the firm to cease existing

Advice on preferred strategy

The strategy that Transworld needs to implement should be loosely based on strategy 2, with some alterations. The company should pursue an expansion policy which is cautious and not too rapid as this may cause the company to implode. I propose that Transworld should first open a single regional office in an area where it already has a footprint. This office shall serve as a case study from which Transworld can learn lessons on the challenges of opening new offices and how they are ameliorated. I propose that the company should also freeze any hiring of new employees in Europe limiting any new employees to the regional offices, and these should be from the local community. Sending of expatriates to the new regional office may be problematic especially in countries where there is a negative sentiment towards expatriates. I propose that the number of expatriates should be kept at a minimum and the company should ensure that those persons working for the firm who come into contact with the public frequently should as much as possible be sourced from the local community.

Transworld should also pursue a diversification strategy, although any expansion should be within a well thought out brand framework. The company must differentiate itself, making it clear what niche it shall be serving, and then develop as many products as possible to effectively cater to the identified niche. Expansion for the sake of expansion will cause the company to disperse its energies and lose focus of its brand, which is invaluable especially in the service industry. Therefore, I propose that the company should be developing new products gradually and after doing due diligence to determine that the market is need of the product. Finally, I propose that the company should endeavor to enter into partnerships with local firms in a bid to integrate into the local community where it will be working. However, the company must not lose its identity through the joint ventures. It may be preferable to acquire local companies to help the company to quickly tap into an existing network that it can then exploit to register its footprint. Acquisitions can also help the company to stay in the background and grow gradually in the local market especially in areas where there is xenophobia.

References

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