Many organisations have realised the ultimate asset is the employee. So in a world where the work life balance is already askew, how does an organisation use this approach effectively? For instance, Generation Xers expect more flexibility in his or her lives because of what they witnessed growing up. They will expect the same for their children (Ronn 2007, p. 2). Studies done by the United Kingdom Department of Trade have found a correlation between a time-balanced employee, their performance and leaders at organisations that understand this theory.
Nick Easen reflects, “Workers whose employees are forward thinking enough to allow them to work flexibly will be more content in their jobs, more productive and have happier families” (2003, par. 1). Another more prominent study by Robert Taylor and the Economic & Social Research Council or ESRC (2005 ca), has found similar correlations and discusses the fact that organisational cultural values must be in place for work life balance as an approach to succeed.
First, his work has established that within the organisational context the work balance has not been defined nor does it carry value unless previously defined and valued by key members of management: The word in the context of the workplace looks like a bogus artefact that sounds modern and cool and yet obscures more than it clarifies about the nature of the genuine problem. In reality life and work over-lap and interact. Many people gain meaning to their lives through work whether they are being paid for doing so or not.
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The attempt to differentiate work from life in public policymaking threatens to establish a false dichotomy between the two that obfuscates our attitude to the changing world. (Taylor 2005 ca, p. 6) It is not a trade secret but mostly a fact of life and human kind’s notion of time that for modern man “work is growing both more intensive and insecure, whether business pressures on employees are crowding out the genuine concerns of society…as well as the genuine exercise of personal self-fulfilment” (Taylor 2005 ca, p. 7).
Taylor’s studies have found that less people have job satisfaction today due to lack of balance of time between work and home life. This balance or lack of it impresses upon the employee the pressure and stress experienced at work and this determined their outlook on everything (Taylor 2005 ca, p. 12). The employee feels pressure to balance work and life while maintaining performance levels, however, it has been found that at times the introduction of the work life balance approach does not even benefit the employee as much as one would assume.
Taylor’s study shows that the lack of definition causes many issues for work life balance as many organisations take advantage of creating their own concept of the balance. Taylor (2005 ca) argues that “there are considerable doubts.. the arrangements introduced into organisations over recent years are designed to suit employee needs rather than the productive needs of their employers” (p. 12). Taylor believes that such an approach as a workable benefit only allows management greater control over the employees’ time (2005 ca, p.13).
Still if the balance can reach a level of performance to benefit both parties, then all parties win. What Taylor argues and clearly worries about is the fact that instead of leaders using work life balance as a means of incentive or benefit to the employee, they are using it as a means to manipulate the employee to work harder. This is not good because then the balance does not promote communication, effective leadership or efficiency for production purposes.
Organisational performance is now in the process of going global, in part through the worldwide influence of United States business schools, in part through the American style of management found in multi-national corporations, in part through the role which the United States played in such organisations as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (Tatum 1999, p. 155). Performance Management, like Performance Studies, is not a unified research paradigm, but rather a gathering of diverse conceptual models, discourses, and practices.
These models all define performance in a slightly different manner, and thus they enable different ways of generating and evaluating specific performances. Yet gathering together this multiplicity of models, a specific challenge guides Performance Management: the challenge of “working better and costing less, ” of maximizing outputs and minimizing inputs, the challenge of efficiency (Tatum 1999, p. 156).
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