Discussion Essay Questions

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1. Discuss several areas in which HR can affect organizational culture positively or negatively.
A human resources department plays a significant role in determining the culture of an organization. Human resources cultivate and execute policies and procedures in key areas such as hiring practices, compensation, management relations and employee conduct and behavior. The decisions made by the human resources department can have significant positive and negative implications for the overall cultural quality of the organization. Some of the affected areas include creating awareness, compensation plans, hiring practices and behavior.

Company executives may not always have a true understanding of their corporate culture, as they are often far removed from the "front lines" of the operation. Human resources personnel can provide the benefit of instructing top management as to what the culture is really like. This may lead to positive changes in the corporate culture, it could also lead to changes that meet with resistance from employees, such as when management decides it needs to change or eliminate popular employee programs that it deems wasteful or unproductive. When it comes to compensation, the human resources department typically accepts the responsibility of designing compensation programs for the organization. Depending on how they achieve this, it could have a positive as well as negative impact on organizational culture. For example, an incentive program for salespeople may provide the opportunity for these employees to increase their compensation through greater productivity. Nevertheless, it could also create an environment where the salespeople are competing against each other, leading to the deterioration of teamwork and morale.

Human resources also determine the hiring and recruiting practices used by the organization, which has a great impact on the organizational culture. A strong attention to characteristics of job candidates such as education and experience can certify that the company hires employees who are capable of performing the job. In contrast, if there is a lack of focus on characteristics like personality and people skills, the company may end up hiring candidates who will have difficulty being a sole member of the corporate culture. Another key area subsiding under human resources is the conduct of the organization's members. In many organizations, particular larger ones, this involves the development of a code of conduct or ethics that specifics how employees should treat each other and conduct their daily activities. An operative code of conduct that denotes the core values of the organization and is strictly enforced can promote a culture characterized by high levels of ethical behavior. On another note, a weak code or one that is only given lip service by human resources could lead to a culture of dishonesty and distrust.

2. For many individuals, the nature of work and jobs is changing. Describe these changes, some reasons for them, and how they are affecting both HR management and individuals.
In reference to our textbook, our world is ever changing when it comes to the workplace. Some of the issues that affect the organization include technology, changing demographics, education and cultural issues. According to the article, “The Changing Nature of Organizations, Work and Workplace,”

In today's world, the structure, content, and process of work have changed. Work is now: * more cognitively complex
* more team-based and collaborative
* more dependent on social skills
* more dependent on technological competence
* more time pressured
* more mobile and less dependent on geography.
In today's world, you will also be working for an organization that is likely to be very different due to competitive pressures and technological breakthroughs. Organizations today are: * leaner and more agile

* more focused on identifying value from the...
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