Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bosses Kill Loyalty: What Happens Now?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bosses Kill Loyalty: What Happens Now?

Article excerpt

EMPLOYEE loyalty to corporations is dead. It has been shattered by the massive wave of downsizing, reengineering, right-sizing, and restructuring - all usually involving major layoffs, says management consultant Steve Bookbinder.

Management excesses and overly tough practices can add to the atmosphere of fear and disdain. Anecdotes abound.

In Oxnard, Calif., Teamsters Union officials last year charged Nabisco with preventing women working on an assembly line making A-1 Steak Sauce and Grey Poupon mustard - many of them Hispanic - from using restroom facilities when needed. Some women felt forced to wear diapers to continue working, they say. A complaint was filed last week with California's Department of Fair Employment and earlier with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Nabisco spokeswoman Caroline Fee says, "We are denying the allegations." The union's Joseph Fahey says that after the bathroom issue was publicized, the company improved its bathroom privileges. But in retaliation, Mr. Fahey charges, Nabisco is moving the operation to Cambridge, Md. Ms. Fee says the move is "totally unrelated."

Boeing Company machinists Tuesday rejected a contract negotiated by their union partially in annoyance at the "greed" of five executives in getting stock options worth $2.5 million.

When an employee complained recently of too much unpaid weekend overtime at a New England book publisher, the boss fired the young man on the spot and had a company security official usher him immediately out of the building.

"If we stick only to fear, our companies are not going to benefit very much," says Lotte Bailyn, a professor of management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Mass.

Employees survive, however. A survey of 3,300 employees of large companies by Towers Perrin, where Mr. Bookbinder heads the firm's organizational research consulting practice, found that 75 percent of these workers said they were motivated to help their companies be successful and believe they can have a day-to-day effect on company success. Further, the generation Xers were just as determined as the baby boomers to work hard and do a good job.

What has happened, says Bookbinder, is that employees become involved in company affairs through a belief in themselves, their own careers, and in helping the customer. …

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