Microsoft: Competing on Talent a

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How effective are Microsoft’s human resources policies and practices?

Microsoft pursued human resources policies and practices that would address the critical psychological states, namely, experienced meaningfulness, experienced responsibility, and knowledge of results, of its employees. By doing so, they aimed high internal work motivation, high work performance and high satisfaction on the job. Microsoft hired people with already high growth need. They were newly college graduates with high motivation seeking self-achievement. Microsoft also hired those who are going to be good Microsoft people, so people could work with others who were like them, which would lessen personal conflicts. Once hired, people began to work in an atmosphere they were familiar with. They worked in the “campus” and had their meals at the cafeterias where the food was subsidized, which increased social interaction. They could also decorate their own offices according to their likings. In addition to these, Microsoft provided a vision shared by all employees, which gave the employees a sense of meaning of what they were doing. This vision also signified the employees’ tasks as they perceived the impact of their jobs and felt like they were changing the world. It also created natural work units consisting of 30 to 200 people, which again were divided into work groups. This clarified the task identity and task significance for the employees. Microsoft gave autonomy to these work groups, so that they could decide when to start to work or when to play volleyball. Horizontal transfers helped personal growth through job switching. Key people were allocated from one project to another which accelerated training and development process by increasing skill variety. The employees were not discouraged by the fear of failure since in the organizational culture of Microsoft, failure was considered as a part of learning curve. Even the brutal criticisms by Bill Gates became a source of motivation...
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