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Q.1. What do you understand by Staffing?
Define Staffing. Describe the need and importance of Staffing function is an enterprise.
Meaning and Scope of Staffing
Early definition of staffing focused narrowly on hiring people for vacant positions in an enterprise. Today, staffing is termed as human resource management and defined more broadly. Staffing may be defined as a managerial function of attracting, acquiring, developing and retaining human resources in order to provide the talent necessary for work activities leading to accomplishment of organizational objectives. This definition emphasizes that people are vital and valuable resources requiring proper care and attention. Thus, staffing involves: filling up various managerial and non-managerial positions created in the organisation structure with qualified persons, upgrading the quality and usefulness of the members of organisation for its success and its retaining the members by providing adequately for their welfare and career advancement.
The staffing process involves job analysis, human resource planning, recruitment, selection, placement, orientation, training and development, compensation performance appraisal, career development, promotion, transfer and separation. In many organisations most of the aforesaid activities are handled by the Personnel Department, now popularly known as Human Resource Management Department. It may be noted that staffing decisions and initiatives are the basic responsibility of line managers. However, the personnel management department provides necessary specialist services as well as supportive and administrative services to line managers for effective management of human resources
Staffing is a continuous function of management because human resources continue to be a significant factor in organizational success and therefore the organisation always needs to acquire and retain in proper form its personnel. Moreover, employee welfare and development, expansion and diversification, promotion and transfers, demotions and separations, retirement and death, modernization and change etc are common events continually taking place in an organisation, rendering staffing a never ending process. Managers have to keep a regular watch on the number and composition of people required by the organisation. The continuous nature of staffing is self-evident, as employees need regular care, balance and development to be effective for contribution towards achievement of expected results. Establishing and maintaining congruence between organizational goals and employees, personal goals is also an important regular aspect of organisation's working. To keep a proper working climate is an ongoing responsibility of personnel department.
Q.2. Describe the needs and importance of Staffing.
Need and Importance of Staffing
Progressive and successful organizations treat all employees as valuable human resources. Productivity and the resultant financial reward are dependent solely on the quality and skill of people. Some organizations make up for their lack of natural resources by their dedication to the maximum possible development of their human resources. If employees are put first, they help the enterprise to prosper. Staffing function provides proper mechanisms for efficient handling of personnel matters, including workers, grievances. Filed research indicates that employees tend to return the favour when they are treated with dignity and respect. Specially, it is reported that professional employees kept higher organizational commitment when their employer's human resource practice were perceived to be fair and just. Staffing is responsible for creating such practices.
Staffing activities, though all derived from organisation strategy and structure, in turn activate the strategic management and the structure. Strategic orientation in staffing function increases the chances of organizational success.
Staffing process and policies play a considerable role in acquiring right people at right time on right positions. Effective staffing function strives to establish cost-benefit relationship while manning the positions in the organisation structure - people are acquired at lower outflows for providing greater efforts, optimal contribution and higher commitment.
Staffing is important in its relationship with other managerial functions, because without their human resources, organizations would remain empty skeletons that cannot move to achieve their goals. The functions of planning, organizing, directing and controlling become nonstarters without people n the organisation. It is clear that the effectiveness of other managerial functions depends on the degree of efficiency with which the staffing function is done. An organisation is healthy, strong and successful to the extent that its people are capable, skillful and committed. Further, the attitudes, orientations and performance of people partly depend on how efficiently the staffing function is handled by the enterprise and how much attention top management gives to it.
Staffing function takes care of the need for building a sound organisation. In a sense, organisation widely differs in their quality and competence due to large variations in their human resources.
Q.3. Explain the principles of Staffing.
Staffing not only helps in acquiring right talent, but also strives for nurturing. There are no universally accepted staffing principles. However, Heinz Weihrich and Harold Koontz have identified certain useful major principles or guidelines for understanding and performing more effective staffing function.
1. Principle of the Objective of Staffing
The objective of managerial staffing is to ensure that those qualified personnel who are able and wiling to occupy them fill organisation roles. There is considerable evidence of failure to achieve results when these qualities are lacking.
2. Principle of Staffing
The clearer the definition of organisation roles and their human requirements and the better the techniques of manager appraisal and training employed, the higher the managerial quality. Those organisations that have no established job definitions, no effective appraisals and no system for training and development, will have to rely on coincidence or outside sources to fill positions with able managers. On the other hand organizations applying the systems approach to staffing and human resource management, will utilize the potentials of individuals in the enterprise more effectively and efficiently.
3. Principle of Job Definition
The more precisely the results expected of managers are identified, the more the dimensions of their positions can be defined. Since organizational roles occupied by people with different needs, these roles must have many dimensions - such as pay, status, power, direction and possibility of accomplishment - that induce managers to perform.
4. Principles of Managerial Appraisal
The more clearly variable objectives and required managerial activities are identified, the more precise can be the appraisal of managers against these criteria. This principle suggests that performance should be measured both against verifiable objectives (as in an appraisal approach based on management by objectives) and against standards of performance as managers. The appraisal of managers as manager considers how well the key managerial activities within the functions of planning; organizing, staffing, directing and controlling are carried out.
5. Principle of Open Competition
The more an enterprise is committed to the assurance of quality management, the more it will encourage open competition among all candidates for management positions. Violation of this principles has led many firms to appoint managers with inadequate abilities. Although social pressures strongly favour promotion from within the enterprise, these forces should be resisted whenever better candidates can be brought in from the outside. At the same time, the application of this principle obligates the enterprise to appraise its people accurately and to provide them with opportunities for development.
6. Principle of Management Training and Development
The more management training and development are integrated with the management process and enterprise objectives, the more effective the development programmes and activities will be. This principle suggests that in the systems approach, training and development efforts are related to the managerial functions, the goals of the enterprise and the professional needs of managers.
7. Principle of Training Objectives
The more precisely the training objectives are stated; the more likely are the chances of achieving them. The analysis of training needs is the basis for training objectives that give direction to development and facilitate the measurement of the effectiveness of training efforts. This principle brings into focus the contribution that training makes to the purpose of the enterprise and the development of individuals.
8. Principles of Continuing Development
The more an enterprise is committed to managerial excellence, the more it requires that manager practice continuing self-development. This principle suggests in a fast-changing and competitive environment, that managers cannot stop learning. Instead, they have to update their managerial knowledge continuously, revaluate their approaches to managing and improve their managerial skills and performance to achieve enterprise results.
Q.4. Explain in detail the process of Selection.
Discuss the various steps or elements involved in the Selection Process.
Selection Process Or Elements of Selection Process
The major steps involved in the selection process may be discussed as follows:
1. Filling in Application Form
This may be regarded as the first step of selection process. Candidates are supposed to provide complete information about them in a prescribed printed form. It may require information regarding a candidate's name, father's name, address, nationality, sex, marital status, religion, education qualifications, work experience, fields of extra-curriculum activities, references of two eminent persons and so on. The application of the candidates provides the basis for further analysis of the candidature and examination of his suitability for employment. The specific type of information required in an application blank may vary from firm to firm any by positions within the organisation. However, there is high degree of similarity with regard to general information sought in the application blanks of various organisations. If properly used application blanks can be an effective aid in selection. However, their usefulness is largely dependent on the accuracy of data and information furnished by the candidates. In their eagerness to obtain work, some applicants may be tempted to stretch the truth concerning matters such as past experience, responsibilities, salary and reasons for bearing the previous job. For this reason, many human resource managers make it a point to query applicants further regarding these matters during the employment interview.
2. Preliminary Screening
This refers to initial assessment of basic suitability of candidates for the job positions. The human resource manage sees whether the applicants meet the basic academic and other minimum requirements as to age, work experience, etc. Such screening may be done by going through the data and information supplied in the application blanks or by holding preliminary screening interviews. The basic objectives of preliminary screening are (i) to eliminate the unsuitable candidates at an early stage, (ii) to reduce the overall cost of selection.
3. Employment Tests
Candidates, who are filtered through the initial screening, submit themselves to certain tests, formal or informal. Test is a means of evaluating candidates knowledge, skills, experience, attitudes, aptitudes, personality, interest, capacity, physical characteristics, level of mental ability, likes and dislikes and soon. In some cases, such as typing and shorthand, computer knowledge and efficiency, etc., tests are the only way to determine the suitability of candidates for the job.
There are several types of tests, which are widely used for selection purposes. They include; intelligence tests, aptitude tests, personality tests, performance tests and so on. Written tests are found to be most popular in many cases.
Tests provide a more objective, authentic and consistent basis for selection of right candidates. They help the organisation in arriving at a judgement on the likely work behaviour and performance of candidates. However, certain conditions should be met if tests are to be used for employee selection. First, the tests should be reliable. In other words, they should provide consistent results. Secondly, tests should be valid. In other words, they should measure what they are designed to measure. If a test is designed to predict job performance, prospective employees who score well on the test, should prove to be objective when different scorers interpreting the results of the same test, arrive at similar interpretations. Finally, tests should be standardized. This requires them to be administered under standard conditions to a large group of persons. The purpose of standardization is to obtain norms; therefore specific test scores will be meaningful when compared to other scores in the group. If a test cannot indicate the ability to perform the job, it must not be used.
Testing helps in achieving the most efficient matching of applicants with jobs. From a social standpoint, testing that is job-related, serves the objective of equal employment opportunity, to which modern societies are increasingly committed. Thus, it is vital that organisations have a thoughtful process for validating any selection tests they use. No doubt, testing is a complex, time consuming and expensive process.
4. Employment Interview
Although employment tests provide a lot of valuation information and insight about the candidate, they do not provide a complete set of information and knowledge required about a candidate. The interview helps in evaluating information obtained from the application blank and tests. It provides an opportunity to the interviewer to integrate different pieces of information through his personal impressions and observations of the interviewee so as to such a decision regarding the suitability of the applicant for employment. Thus, the combination of tests and in view provides better results in selection. It allows applicants to obtain additional information about the prospective employer.
An employment interview is part of almost every selection process. It is the most important step in selection. This is because an interview enables the selectors to get a first hand idea of the personality of the candidate, their gestures, communication skills, general skills, mannerisms, reactions, presence of mind and confidence. Further more an interview presents an opportunity for both the organisation and the job applicant to "sell" themselves to one another and to establish their mutual expectations. However, for such expectations to be accurately established, it is essential that employment interview he as realistic as possible. In order to prevent unrealistic expectations, disillusionment and feelings of being misled in new employees, which may result in lack of job commitment and early turnover (leaving the organisation), interviewees should be told negative as well as positive aspects of a position, so that the applicants who view such negative aspects as unacceptable, can remove themselves from further consideration. Those who remain will represent a recruitment pool with accurate job expectations. Research by John P. Wanous (1980) suggests that such "realistic recruitment" contributes significantly to reducing employee turnover.
Q.5. Describe the various types of interviews.
Types of Interviews
In general, there are several types of interview's, which may be briefly discussed as follows:
1. Unstructured Or Non-Directive Or Informal Or Traditional Interview
In an unstructured interview, there are no predetermined questions or prearranged sequence of topics for discussion. Consequently, by design unstructured interviews are highly flexible and informal - no fixed questions format or systematic scoring procedure. Interviewers are free to probe into those areas seeming to deserve further investigation and to adapt (alter) their approach to the prevailing situation, as well as to changing stream of job applicants. Spontaneity characterizes this type of interview. Its direction is large determined by a job applicant's answers. To be effective, an unstructured interview requires highly skilled and trained interviewers. Experience shows that, if properly conducted, an unstructured interview can lend to significant job-related insights. However, such interview is highly susceptible to distortion, bias, inconsistency and difficult verification of its results.
2. Structured Or Patterned Interview
Structured interviews are recommended as alternative to traditional unstructured or informal interview. A structured interview may be defined as a series of job-related questions with standardized answers that are consistently applied across all interviews for a particular job. In this interview standardized questions are asked from all applicants for certain jobs and a standard form is used for recording responses. Standardization permits easy comparison of candidates. It also helps in achieving and proving validity. Of Course, no interview can be completely unstructured or nondirective and it is hard to conceive of an interview that is totally structured or patterned.
Generally, structured interviews are constructed, conducted and scored by a committee of three to six members so as to try to eliminate bias. The structured interviews are more likely to provide consistent and reliable information from the various interviewers. Furthermore, if the specific interview questions in a format are drawn from an accurate job analysis, then structured interviews are also more likely to be valid. However, such interviewers have limited flexibility. The unstructured interview format (form) restricts adaptation (alteration) to unusual circumstances or unusual interviews. Such interviews do not afford the opportunity to the applicants to demonstrate their job knowledge, communication skills, etc.
3. Stress Interview
Most interviews try to place interviewees at ease. However, the opposite is true in the stress interview. It is specifically intended to determine a job applicant's interviewer purposefully attempts to create a climate of intimidation (threat), criticism and ridicule (mockery or making some one appear foolish or worthless). The purpose is to deserve the interviewee's reaction to stress and tension. This approach is based on the theory that certain personal traits, for example, emotional stability, can be deserved only when an individual is placed in stressful surroundings. Thus, an interviewer may deliberately interrupt an applicant in his mindsentence, cast aspersions on an applicant's character, remain silent for protracted (longer) periods of time and adopt a hostile posture in an attempt to create a pressurized situation.
The extent which stress interviews are useful is debatable. Some justify its use when the concerned job position is particularly stressful, for example, law enforcement officer, airline pilot, sales representative, or fire fighter. However, some critics contend that the kind of stress created in an interview is rarely similar to that found on a job. Moreover, there are not very many positions in which the ability to cope with stress in a primary characteristics.
4. Group Interview
Interview also differs according to how many interviewers and applicants are involved. Normally, job applicants meet with interviewers one-on-one, i.e., individually. However, in the group interview, several applicants questioned together by one or more interviewers. A small group of fine or six candidates is observed and evaluated in group discussions and interactions, by the selectors.
5. Series Interview
For certain types of jobs, especially managerial jobs candidates may be required to go through a series of interviews of a progressively rigorous nature.
6. Board Interview
For important jobs, especially those of a political nature the board interview may be used. Here several interviewers, often members of a government board or committee, quiz one or more candidates.
Chapter 12 - Span of Management
* Span of Management
* Modern view of Span of Management
Q.1. What do you understand by Span of Management? Explain the factors that determine the Span of Management. What is the impact on Organization?
The Span of Management is the corner stone concept in traditional Management theory. Do you agree?
Meaning of Span of Management
The term Span of Management is also known as Span of Control or Span of Authority or Span of Supervision. Simply stated Span of Management means the number of subordinates that a manager can effectively manage. This concept implies that the number of subordinates directly reporting to a superior should be limited so as to make supervision and control effective, because executives have limited time and ability. It is an accepted proposition that the larger the number of subordinates reporting directly to a manager, the more difficult it will be for him to supervise and coordinate their activities effectively.
What is an Ideal Span?
It is sometimes suggested that the span of management should neither be too wide nor too narrow. Then, the question arises as to how many persons a supervisor can manager effectively. Some experts tell that the ideal span is 4 at higher levels and 8 to 12 at lower levels. But the number of subordinates cannot be easily determined because the nature of jobs and capacity of individuals vary from organization to organization.
Classical View of Span of Management
The first person to draw attention to the principle of span of management was a British General, Sir Iaan Hamilton (1920) who said that the average human brain can be effective in handling from 3 to 6 other brains. After a lengthy study of military organisations, he concluded that the span should be smaller at the top of the organisation, where thought processes were more complicated and that it should set progressively larger toward the lower levels, where thought processes were less complicated and more routine.
V.A. Graicunas (1933) suggested that as the number of subordinates increases arithetically, the number of potential relationships, between the superior and subordinates increases geometrically. For example, Graicunas indicates that if a superior manages 2 subordinates, there are actively 6 different relationships. Thus, he pointed out that an increase in the number of subordinates causes almost an explosive growth in the number of possible relationships. Hence, only number of bodies in a span should not be counted, but the multifarious relationships generated by the numbers must also be recognized while deciding for the span of individual manager.
Classical writers advocated a span of control ranging from 3 to 7 or 8 persons at the higher levels and a span of 20 to 30 persons at the lowest level.
Q.2. Describe the modern view of Span of Management.
Modern View of Span of Management
Contingency Or Situational Approach (Factors Determining Span of Management
The evidences indicate that spans of control cannot be stated in absolute terms as done by the classical scholars. There is no correct span for all situations. The predominant current view is to look for the causes of limited span in individual situations, rather than to assume that there is a given numerical limit generally applicable to all. Pragmatically speaking, a really proper span of control is one that is not improper.
Modern Approach has shifted away from trying to find out a universal formula of span of management. Instead of emphasizing absolute spans (specific numbers), the current view is that span is more flexible thing, and there is no one correct span for all situations. The appropriate number of span of control for a particular manager is contingent on several factors that may be discussed as follows:
1. The Capacity and Ability of the Superior
The personal abilities and influence of the superior (manager) play an important role in determining the number of subordinates that can be effectively supervised by him. If the superior possesses qualities of leadership, decision-making ability, communication skill, motivating strength and time management expertise, in greater degree, that the span of control may be wider. In other words, if the superior (executive) can comprehend problems quickly, can get along well with people and can command loyalty and respect from the subordinates, then he can supervise a large number of subordinates effectively.
2. The Capacity and Skill of Subordinate
In case the subordinates are competent, well trained, experienced and have good judgement, initiative and a sense of obligation, then they seek less guidance from their superior and therefore the superior manager will be in a position to supervise a large number of subordinates. On the other hand, if the manager has no confidence in the capacity and caliber of his subordinates, then the span will be restricted to be narrow.'
3. Nature and Importance of Work Supervised
If the work is simple and repetitive, the span of management may be wider, because it does not require much attention and time on the part of the superior. On the other hand where the subordinate's job is complex requiring close supervision by the superior, then the number of persons under him should be narrow or small. Such characteristics generally indicate whether jobs are easy or complicated, dissimilarity of jobs assigned the number of new problems that may be encountered, the need for frequent consultations and communication, the physical dispersal of jobs, geographically location of members, nature of decision making by the subordinates and so on. The more a subordinate's job involves unpredictability, variety, discretion and responsibility, the smaller span is likely to be.
4. Clarity of Plans and Responsibility
If the plans and policies are clear and easily understandable and if the functions and responsibilities are laid down in as definite terms as possible, the the task of supervision is easier and the span of management can be wider because the subordinates need not go to superior frequently for orders, instructions and guidance.
5. Degree of Decentralization
If there is proper delegation and decentralization of authority, then the superior can successfully supervise a large number of subordinates, because in that case he has not to take any decisions himself and merely provides encouragement and occasional direction. In case of centralization of authority, the span will be narrow.
6. Staff Assistants
When staff assistants (experts) are employed to advise and serve the superiors and the subordinates, then contract between the superior and the subordinates may be reduced and the span be broadened.
The Impact of the Span of Organisation
The actual span of supervision affects the organisation in different ways. The structure of organisation produced by the narrower span is called tall organisation, and the wider span produce what is known as flat organisation. The narrow span requires multiple levels of supervision and hence longer time for communication. Tall organisation is more expensive and complicates the process of communication and integration. A narrow span results in harassed subordinates and frustrated superiors. However, a narrow span enables managers to exercise close supervision and control and wherever these are needed, the narrow span is better suited.
Conversely, a wider span results in fewer levels of supervision. The flat organisation facilitates better communication and coordination, but it permits only general supervision due to the limited availability of time. The wide span results in harassed superiors and frustrated subordinates.
Robert House and John Miner (1969) have summarized the entire question of span of management as follows:
1. Under most circumstances the optional span is likely to be in the range of 5 to 10.
2. The larger spans (say 8 to 10) are most often appropriate at the highest policy making levels of an organisations.
3. The number of effective spans of first-line supervisors is contingent upon the technology of organisation.
4. Appropriate span for specific situations depends on a set of local factors (for example, task, interdependencies and leadership skills).