Reinventing the Workplace: How Business and Employees Can Both Win

Reinventing the Workplace: How Business and Employees Can Both Win

Reinventing the Workplace: How Business and Employees Can Both Win

Reinventing the Workplace: How Business and Employees Can Both Win

Synopsis

"What is the future shape of the American workplace? This question is the focus of a national debate as the country strives to find a system that provides a good standard of living for workers while allowing U. S. businesses to succeed at home and compete abroad. In this book, David Levine uses case studies and extensive evidence to show that greater employee involvement in the workplace can significantly increase both productivity and worker satisfaction. Employee involvement has many labels, including high-performance workplaces, continuous improvement, or total quality management. The strongest underlying theme is that frontline employees who are actually performing the work will always have insights about how to improve their tasks. Employee involvement encompasses policies that, at the minimal end, permit workers to suggest improvement, and at the substantive end, create an integrated strategy to give all employees the ability, motivation, and authority to constantly improve the organization's operations. Despite the evidence of its benefits, substantive employee involvement remains the exception in the U. S. work force. Levine explores the obstacles to its spread, which include legal barriers, capital markets that discourage investment in people, organizational inertia, and the costs of implementation. Levine concludes with specific public policy recommendations for increasing the extent of employee involvement, including changes in government regulation of capital and labor markets to encourage long-term investment and labor-management cooperation. He recommends macroeconomic policies to sustain high employment, less regulation for high-involvement workplaces, and training in schools and on the job to teach high-involvement practices. He also suggests new roles for unions and provides a checklist for employers to assess their progress in implementing employee involvement." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

When I entered my economics Ph.D. program in 1982, few economists studied organizations. Although several conservative Chicago economists and several radical economists had written seminal articles, the mainstream largely neglected the field of organizational economics. Fortunately, since the early 1980s there has been a remarkably interdisciplinary blossom of interest, leading to what Oliver Williamson described as "the new science of organization."

This volume pulls together many of the insights of this new interdisciplinary science. My job title at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, gives a feel for the breadth of fields I draw from, since I am an associate professor in both the Organizational Behavior/Industrial Relations group and the Economic Analysis and Policy group. This volume draws on the insights of a broad array of social sciences and business experience, coupled with the tools for analyzing public policy that are the hallmarks of economic analysis. This book is intended for anyone interested in workplaces, including managers, workers, and union leaders. Those with an interest in public policy toward workplaces should find that this book brings together the relevant theory, evidence, and prescriptions.

Much of this volume derives from research that was undertaken with coauthors: Paul S. Adler (chapter 2), Douglas Cowherd (chapter 3), Barbara Goldoftas (chapter 2), Susan Helper (chapters 5, 6, and 7), Douglas L. Kruse (chapter 4), Edward E. Lawler III (chapter 4), Gerald Ledford (chapter 4), Susan A. Mohrman (chapter 4), Richard J. Parkin (chapter 6), George Strauss (chapters 1, 2, 3, and 8), and Laura D'Andrea Tyson (chapters 3, 5, 6, and 7). The structure of the argument draws on . . .

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