Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Flea enterprise

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This report will initially analyse the article 'Flea enterprise' by Charles Handy. Second it will examine the changing patterns of work. Next the report will clarify how the 'psychological contract' will change for future workers, and discuss some of the Organisational Behaviour approaches which future management could use to try and point out how the behaviour of the workforce might change in the future. Finally the report will comment upon how the recruitment and selection processes in Organisations might adapt to the ever-changing patterns of the workforce.

Basically Handy states in the article 'Flea enterprise' that the large organisations, Elephant are now reliant on the Fleas, which are the small independent companies that do work for the Elephants for a fee (of which they can charge a high amount as long as their skills are up to date). More and more people are becoming Fleas as it is more cost effective and they do not limit themselves to one company giving them the flexibility to do the hours that they wish.

Handy points out the prophecy of Karl Marx, because he stated that society would not be equal and that there would always be a disadvantage to the lower realms of society unless they could take control of the working environment, which is exactly what the fleas are doing, taking control of the working environment. The Elephant will lose its power and the Fleas will have the overall control on the market, being able to choose the price and time- within limits- as they will now be in competition with other Fleas. The Fleas will have all the skills and technology to deal with the requirement of the Elephant.

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The Fleas will leave the Elephant only to band together for safety making less competition and giving them greater control over the Elephant. The Fleas will develop and grow if they keep their skills up to date which may lead to restrictions within their given market, for example Computer Engineering. Furthermore if the Elephants want to keep good Fleas working for them, they will offer better working environment and freedom as well as a good wage. Change can be studied on many different levels: individual, group, and organisation, social and global.

Organisational change influences conditions of work, occupational identities and divisions, the training and experience of employees and hierarchical relationships. One of the main critics has been the English academic Andrew Pettigrew who argues that organisational change should be seen instead as a complex and 'untidy cocktail' of rational decision processes, mixed with differences in individual perceptions, stimulated by visionary leadership and spiced with 'power plays' and attempts to recruit support and build coalitions behind particular ides and lines of action.

Pettigrew emphasizes the importance of the process of change, which is messy, combining attempts to solve organisational problems with the games of organisational politics. Pettigrew also emphasizes the importance of the context of organisational change. The inner context of change concerns the structure and culture of the organisation and the events in its history that have shaped current attitudes and behaviours. The outer context relates to environmental factors: customer demands, competitor behaviour and economic conditions.

(Organisational Behaviour pp. 476). Jobs were considered for life by both the organisation and the worker, now however the worker could have as many as 19 different jobs in a lifetime, as we look for better working conditions, more pay and shorter hours or flexibility time. Psychological contract will change for many future employees. There are potentially three scenarios that we may face. First, at present day many people complaint about the quality of working life and employment security will decline.

The employment relationship becomes more explicitly transactional and contractual in order to buy-in commitment and the organisation experiences a higher proportion of dysfunctional behaviour. Second scenario reflects a deeper change and a more serious set of issues for HR practitioners. Younger employees may be willing to sign up to a new raison d'etre in their work life. Furthermore the field of organisational behaviour will be forced to go back to basic assumptions and question whether the traditional motivational drivers and their causal effect on organisational behaviour still work.

In the second scenario, this change is considered to be temporary, whereby the presumed links between commitment, participation, satisfaction, motivation and performance have become 'submerged' as part of a temporary culture shock or stress-reaction process. In the transition period, the motivational power of traditional job design characteristics and work incentives becomes dulled. Moreover, employees can be seen to 'input' various attributes to the 'new deal' such as their work values and attitudes, motivational needs, and personal dispositions or competencies.

They are then subjected to various contract formation and breach processes. On the basis of which, attention is turned to a series of 'output' or outcomes, such as commitment, job satisfaction, trust and organisation citizenship behaviours. The third scenario presents a more perturbing possibility. The change in motivational drivers becomes permanent. Under this scenario, new work values become solidified and the dynamics of all the psychological processes, such as employee values, motivational needs, attitudes, satisfaction, commitment and trust- will be altered and 'reset'.

In this scenario what we are witnessing at the millennium is not just the redesign of business processes, but also the redesign of the mechanisms that underpin the psychological contract. Organisational responses to the psychological contract tend to operate at two levels. The first is to engage in a new dialogue with employees (either individually or through specialised processes such as focus group, task forces, etc. ) and to identify their HRM preferences. The second level of responses to the need to renew the psychological contract is to move not just towards local dealing, but also towards individual dealing.

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