The Robotization of a Human Workforce
Job satisfaction has been defined as “a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences.” It lists two different formulas for calculating job satisfaction: the Value Percept Theory, and the Job Characteristics Theory. This paper discusses the former and how it relates to Foxconn and its CEO, Terry Guo, whom writers Balfour and Culpan describe as a “ruthless taskmaster.”
The Value Percept Theory is essentially the workers’ WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) paradigm, describing how certain job elements affect employee satisfaction, and the ramifications of that satisfaction. It focuses on eight specific categories of employee values: how the salary compares to other employees in the same line of work; the frequency with which qualified people are promoted; supervisors’ conduct and recognition of employee efforts; the enjoyability and qualifications of co-workers; the “psychological pay” derived from the work itself, described by the text on page 106 as including “utilization of ability, freedom and independence, intellectual stimulation, creative expression, (and) sense of achievement”; to what extent the work has a positive impact on society; the level of prestige associated with the job; and the safety and comfort afforded on the job. Most people base their job satisfaction on five of those eight criteria.
The magazine article discusses Chairman Gou’s business philosophy and response to twelve employee suicides during the first few months of last year. According to the authors, Gou realized there was a problem after the ninth employee jumped to his death from one of the company’s ubiquitous, crowded dormitories. Gou responded by stringing netting around the exterior of the dormitories at second-floor level and set up a 24-hour employee hotline. He also gave employees a 30% pay raise and promised another salary bump during 2011 – principally due to pressure by one of his biggest...
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