Employee rewards

Employee rewards

The Glacier Project

This relates to a major scientific investigation in a real life situation.

The Glacier Metal Company (UK) was the largest manufacturer of plain bearings in Europe employing some 4500 persons in six factories.

This was a unique experiment, commercially successful and probably without a parallel.

Task Approach Concept

The project began in 1948 with the assistance of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations and it sought to provide novel answers to baffling problems in industrial organizations. Simply stated, once people get a job, they begin to lose interest in the work, hate their firm and soon organize themselves in order to pressurize the firm for higher wages.

The Glacier project used the task approach concept, under which the task is carefully analyzed and roles clearly defined in order to provide scope for peoples effective participation in the fulfilment of companies objective. Work is seen to have two components:

  • prescribed; and
  • discretionary.

The latter is more difficult of the two. A supervisor, for example, has the discretion in matters of priorities, allotment of work and development of his or her department. These elements determine the extent of responsibility and are the basis of the theory of equitable payment developed by the renowned psychoanalyst, Elliott Jaques.

According to this, wages should be related to the responsibility involved and this in turn depends on the discretionary elements. Jaques developed a technique for measuring the time-span for discretion for different types of work and formulated a scale of equitable earnings for a laborer, machine operator, supervisor and engineer. The Glacier model is far more comprehensive, but for our present purpose the quantification of wage differential serves as a motivator for better performance.

Next | Payment by results