Basic approaches used to improve productivity
As indicated in the historical perspective section, from the very earliest of times people worked to promote greater efficiency in the way things were done. Initially, this was mostly concerned with manual working methods. Improved methods, improved tools and incentives to the workforce were all part of the search for greater productivity.
The world of work has changed enormously over time. Conditions, attitudes and expectations that prevailed in the ages before the Industrial Revolution were different from those that developed during this great period of social, technological and economic change.
The same is now true as we in the Western world move from a post-industrial society into a technological age-an age where the difficulties, dilemmas and opportunities will be no less challenging than in previous times.
The rest of this paper will look at the world of work with the emphasis on people. Specifically the section contains nine interrelated articles that deal inter alia with;
- the motivation of people to be productive
- job design and work organization
- the importance of high leader expections
- the HRM functions
- the contribution the application of ergonomics can make to employee motivation and productivity
- and the importance of communications in the workplace
The section is not altogether altruistic. People work better when the environment, working methods, and the equipment have been designed to help them. If we add to this the natural motivation to do a good job-of-work for an appropriate reward, we can confidently anticipate improved productivity.
Constantly improving productivity is something we all have a vested interest in, as it is the key factor that drives up living standards. High living standards are good for us, as those who enjoy a relative high standard of living tend to be healthier and tend to live longer. We should also remember, the inverse holds true.
This section then is on that most important of all the factors of producing goods and services-people.