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Quality of Working Life in Bangladeshi Business Enterprises: An Empirical Analysis

Executive Summary: Quality of working life (QWL) is a popular issue in the industrialized

Western countries, where workers are becoming more and more educated, skilled and
consequently more vocal and demanding. The study shows that quality of working life is of vital
importance for enhancing employee satisfaction, morale, commitment and organizational
effectiveness. Despite its importance in improving employee productivity, paper on QWL in
Bangladesh is very limited. This paper deals with the state of quality of working life prevailing in
the ready-made garment ( RMG) industries of Bangladesh- the countrys main source of export
earning for the last couple of years. The study reveals that the QWL in the said industry is not at
all satisfactory, which may have bad effect on employee productivity. The study also makes
attempt to unearth the causes of poor QWL in the sample organizations. Among others, the
important factors, according to the respondents, contributing to the poor QWL are: inadequate
wages, unhealthy and unhygienic working environment, lack of job security, autocratic
supervision style, insufficient reward system, inadequate training and development opportunities,
limited opportunities for career development, lack of opportunities for participation in decision
making, absence of freedom of association and freedom of expression of views, etc. Poor QWL
may have bad effect on employee morale and productivity. Finally, the study offers some
suggestions with a view to improving the QWL situation in the sample organizations.
1. Introduction
The scenario of work force has rapidly changed over the last few decades, especially in the
developed world, where employees, especially younger generations, are now becoming more and
more educated, skilled and knowledgeable. As a result, their demands, needs and aspirations, and
expectations are changing very fast and these are much different from those of their
predecessors. They are becoming more independent and vocal. They are not merely happy with
traditional incentives- money and financial benefits. The importance of money as a motivator has
been consistently downgraded by most behavioral scientists (Herzberg, 1972; Elton Mayo, 19;
Robbins, 1998). They argue that money does not motivate most employees. Money is not
important to all employees. This may be due to the fulfillment of their monetary requirement.

Money should have little impact on these people. Perhaps, they have reached higher-order needs.
In addition to money, they demand something else. Although money is important, it is only one
of many things that influence their behavior. They want to grow and develop. They like to be
appreciated and recognized. These educated workforces have a strong desire for challenging,
interesting, and meaningful jobs. High achievers are intrinsically motivated. As Drucker (1996)
points out, there is a need to give educated workers more opportunity to use advanced skills,
more opportunity for growth and more chances to contribute their ideas. The job is not only a
means of earning bread but also a source of satisfaction (Herzberg, 1978). A real example will
make this point clear. In 1996, an unusual strike occurred at the General Motors assembly plant
at Lordstown, Ohio (Parkinson, 1996). It is called unusual because the strike was in protest
against meaningless or monotonous work and the authoritarian management. They were bored
with over- specialization. In other words, the strike was not for higher wages or financial
benefits. The excellent companies in the USA, according to Peters and Waterman (1982), also
give their people more work autonomy and freedom, because these companies adopt a strategy
of productivity through people. Work autonomy is a source of satisfaction for educated and
skilled people.
The traditional role of the manager may be blurred further as workers take a greater and greater
part in planning work, doing it, and controlling it. This is direct departure from Taylors idea of
scientific management. According to Taylor (19), planing should be separated from doing. Rigid
management controls were introduced in place of craft pride and self discipline. Jobs were
fragmented and simplified. In his opinion, managers are planners and workers are doers. Instead
of improving productivity, these measures have created worker dissatisfaction and industrial
unrest is accentuated and productivity has declined ( Davis, 1996). Scientific management
creates a positive distaste for work. It kills all interest in work. The human potential is not at all
utilized, and organizations fail to make proper use of its most valuable resource, its men.
Now the employees and even the customers are getting involved in improving efficiency. Toyota
Company of Japan, for example, invites customers to take part in the quality improvement
programs. It is the customers who ultimately decide what to buy and why to buy. In the twenty
-first century prototype corporation, a key component of managing people will be empowering

them to make decisions that affect them (Cascio, 1996). Employees want to live as human beings
and they want a better quality of working life.

It is the age of employee empowerment.

Employees want to be consulted and given an opportunity to participate in the activities of the
firm. The classical job design may not be appropriate for the new generation workforces, who are
more educated and vocal. In the example of General motors cited above, employees went for
strike demanding better quality of working life. This is a new set of values and a new way of
thinking that focuses on quality of working life (QWL).
During the last decade the term QWL has gained popularity all over the world, especially in the
developed countries. Experts are examining how workplaces and work can be reformed so that
life in factories befits the dignity of man. Progressive managers also feel that workers are now
highly educated and unless work is restructured their dissatisfaction will grow. A lot of research
conducted to find the effectiveness of QWL in organizational context. Research findings indicate
that QWL and productivity go hand in hand (White, 1981; Kiechel, 1986 and Werther 1989;
Jacobs, 2000). Higher the QWL, greater the productivity improvement and vice versa. Through
gain in productivity, managers can reduce costs, save scare resources, and enhance profits. In
turn, improved profits allow an organization to provide better pay, benefits, and working
conditions. The result can be a higher QWL for employees, who are more likely to be motivated
toward further improvements in productivity. QWL can nurture a more flexible, loyal and
motivated work force, which is essential in determining a companys competitiveness. It reduces
employee turnover, absenteeism and improves job satisfaction.
Bangladesh is still economically poor. Its economy remains stagnant for the last few couple of
decades. The GDP growth rate varies from three to five percent, although productivity growth is
of vital importance to feed its increased population. Most people live in abject poverty. It is
reported that the industrial relations system of country is very vulnerable, which is demonstrated
by the increased number of industrial strikes occurred during the last few years. The country has
already opened up its economy. The economic liberalization poses a lot of problems for the local
industrial firms. Local industrial firms are facing stiff foreign competition. Local industries
cannot withstand this competition. As a result, local market is increasingly submerged with
foreign goods. The countrys trade deficit is on the increase. We are miserably failed to reap the

benefits of globalization. Under this circumstance, we have no alternative to improving quality


and productivity. It is believed that Bangladesh can easily achieve its desired economic growth
by designing its existing management practices, especially QWL. This management technique
does not involve excessive cost.
This paper is a modest attempt to bridge the gap between theory and practice of QWL in the
context of Bangladesh. Articles and papers on this popular topic in the context of Bangladesh are
very limited. The issue is yet to receive proper attention in Bangladesh. It is hoped that this paper
will be important reading for practicing managers and policy makers in industrial enterprises of
Bangladesh. Against this backdrop, an attempt has been made to conduct a study on QWL in the
Bangladeshi industrial organizations. It is hoped that this paper will be important reading for
practicing managers and policy makers in the industrial enterprises of the country.
2. Conceptual Dimensions
Despite its popularity, there is no general definition of the concept of QWL. Still it is a growing
subject. Literature on this topic is not sufficiently rich. So, it is not easy to define QWL precisely.
But it is possible to give some broad indications of the various aspects of the QWL. The term
QWL was first introduced in 1972 during an international labor relations conference. It received
wide attention after the United States Autoworkers and General Motors initiated a QWL program
for work reforms. The staff of the American Center for Quality of working life developed the
following comprehensive definition:
QWL improvements are defined as any activity which takes place at every level of an
organization which seeks greater organizational effectiveness through the enhancement of human
dignity and growth, a process through which the stakeholders in the organization learn how to
work together better, to determine for themselves what actions, changes and improvements are
desirable and workable in order to achieve the twin and simultaneous goals of an improved
quality of life at work for all members of the organization and greater effectiveness for both the
company and the unions.

Key elements of the definition are highlighted as being a) promote human dignity and growth, b)
work together collaboratively, c) participatively determine work changes, and d) assume
compatibility of people and organizational goals.
QWL is fundamentally a philosophy or an approach that can permeate many different activities
in the workplace. QWL programs may include job enrichment and enlargement, instead of highly
specialized job assignments, joint union-management, joint superior-subordinate evaluation
instead of evaluation by the supervisor, group -based financial rewards and so on. Any specific
improvement in and around the workplace is often included under the catchall term of QWL.
Qwl is a group-oriented technique to stimulate collaboration and cooperation rather than
individualism and competition. Management undertakes various activities to promote higher
degree of cohesiveness.
Keith Davis (1990) defines QWL as the favorableness or unfavorableness of a job environment
for people. Davis argues that the basic purpose is to develop jobs that are excellent for people as
well as for production. Jobs are required to fit people as well as production. He opines that
classical job design, which focuses on specialization and efficiency for the performance of the
narrow task, may be best for a poor, uneducated workforce that lacked skills but it is less
appropriate for the new workforce who are well educated, skilled and demanding. It is, therefore,
imperative to redesign the jobs and the organization to suit them to the changing need aspirations
and attitudes of the new work force. According to this new approach, jobs are required to fit
worker as well as technology, while the classical job design focuses on the technological
imperatives and give inadequate attention to the human needs. QWL produces more humanized
jobs. It upgrades workers humanness. Effective QWL can supplement other personnel actions
and provide improved employee motivation, satisfaction and productivity. Robbins (1998)
defines QWL as a process by which an organization responds to employee needs by developing
mechanisms to allow them to share fully in making decisions that design their lives at work. He
speaks of workers control and empowerment.
Lawler and Mohrman (1995) define QWL from two point of views. In their opinion, QWL
consists of two different types of components, namely, objective and subjective. The objective
organizational conditions and practices are: promotion from within policies, democratic

supervision, employee involvement in designing work, safe and healthy working conditions,
equitable compensation, wellness, two way communication, career development,
opportunities for growth and development and job security. The subjective components
include employees perception that they are safe, relatively well satisfied, and able to grow
and develop as human beings. In many cases these two views merge. These are the important
components of a good QWL but all these factors may not be equally important for all due to
individual differences.
Moksal (1999) defines QWL in terms of employees perception of their physical and mental well
being at work. This is why QWL may not be the same all over the world. It is not universal.

QWL approaches are designed to help employees feel good about themselves, their jobs and their
organization. QWL is a managerial program that increases outcomes such as productivity by
better management of jobs, people and working conditions. The basic objectives of an effective
QWL program are improved working conditions (mainly from an employees perspective and
greater organizational effectiveness (from an employers perspective). A win-win situation may
result if QWL is positively linked to business performance.
Literature on QWL is not very rich as mentioned earlier. It is a recent development in the
literature of management. An examination of the review of existing literature clearly indicates
that a good number of interrelated factors are critical to improving QWL. Authors or experts on
QWL could not reach a consensus as the to factors contributing to QWL. But it helps us identify
the common factors affecting QWL and accordingly we evaluate the QWL in Bangladesh basing
on such factors as, job security, style of supervision, safe and healthy working environment,
adequate and fair wages and salaries, employee wellness, loyalty to the organization, conflict
resolution, organizational justice and fairness, flow of communication, opportunity to employee
growth and development, opportunities for advancement, workers participation in decision
making or workers involvement through CBA or joint consultation and better union-management
cooperation.

3. Objectives and methodology


The main objective of this study is to examine the state of QWL prevailing in the business or
industrial enterprises in Bangladesh. What are the factors that affect the QWL in the sample
organizations? To what extent are these factors prevalent in the sample organizations? This paper
will address these issues.
Still now, the contribution of industrial sector to the Economy of the country is negligible (only
19%). There is no denying the fact that the country is lagging far behind in this respect. This is
why the present study focuses on the manufacturing sector of the country. To this end, ten
garment factories located in and around Dhaka City were selected purposively as this region
represented the concentration of RMG business in Bangladesh. It is estimated that about 2000
RMG factories are in operation in Dhaka city.
Garment industry is chosen due to its ever-increased role in the Economy of the country. It
occupies a very important place in the economy of Bangladesh. It is the largest foreign exchange
earning sector. It occupies over 75 percent of the countrys annual export. The RMG has turned
the identity of Bangladesh as an apparel exporting country in the international market. It has
achieved 20% growth rater for the last two decades. Its contribution to the export earnings has
increased from 16 in 1985 to 75% in 2000. At present there are 3500 RMG factories in operation
in the country employing more than 1.5 million people (BJMEA). And female workers hold most
of the jobs (about 90%). It thus helps empower the poor and vulnerable section of the country
economically. Women are increasingly participating in various employment activities.
Additionally, the donor countries are putting too much pressure on our Government to raise labor
standards in the Garment sector. The countrys export is conditioned with the maintenance of the
labor standards. This article also helps us know the extent to which the labor standards,
prescribed by the donors, are met by the local industrial enterprises.
Both primary and secondary data have been used for this study. A total of 100 employees of
different categories working in the sample enterprises were interviewed. The numbers of
employees selected from each enterprise were not same due to the difference in the size of the

firm and number of total personnel employed. The sample was restricted to mainly female
workers. Of the respondents, number of female is 80% and the rest are male.
Five female investigators, who are presently pursuing MBA degree at the Dhaka University, are
assigned the task of interviewing the female respondents with the hope that the female workers
would feel free to express their views with the female investigators. No interviewer conducted
more than ten interviews and all respondents were unknown to the interviewers.
The respondents were asked to express their opinions about the factors that contribute to the
QWL in their respective enterprises. Judging the QWL is quite difficult since it depends on many
interrelated issues, which are again mostly cognitive in nature. For that matter, endeavors have
been made to quantify through some numerical values on the basis of the result from the survey.
They were asked to give opinions on the five points scale extending from strongly significant to
not al all significant. They are interviewed by using a semi-structured questionnaire. The
questionnaire contains items on employment security, method and mode of wage payment,
employee empowerment, freedom of expression of ones opinion, freedom of association,
working environment, safety, health and hygienic factors, attitude of management towards
workers, supervision style, settlement of conflicts, etc. Respondents freely expressed their views
on these points. The respondents completed the questionnaire in the presence of the interviewers.
The questionnaire is originally prepared in Bengali keeping in mind the educational background
of the respondents and then translated into English. . Furthermore, published articles, books and
manuals are examined to supplement the primary data. Informal discussions were also made with
few managerial people of the sample organizations to get a real picture regarding the QWL of
their enterprises. By analyzing the QWL of the surveyed enterprises, the author tried to draw a
few general propositions on the private sector business entities of Bangladesh.
This study is not without limitation. This study was restricted to manufacturing firms and did not
include service firms. No foreign firm doing the same line of business was considered in this
study. Any conclusions drawn from this study must be assessed against these limitations of the
study.

4. Results and Discussions


Most of the respondents are not well aware of the term QWL. Even they do not hear the term.
They are given an idea of QWL. They are told about the factors that contribute to the QWL.
Then they are asked to express their views about the existence of these factors in their
organizations. Most of the respondents (80%) are not adequately happy with the existing quality
of working life. Their views and attitudes towards these factors of QWL are discussed below:
a) Most of the respondents of the ready-made garments industry feel that they are suffering
from constant fear of losing job. Job security has become the most essential component of
QWL. Employee commitment to increased productivity cannot be achieved without adequate
job security. The responding workers mentioned that they were compelled to take up jobs in
the industrial units to feed themselves and their family members. Jobs are the means of their
livelihood. They would not like to lose it under any circumstances. They are always in
tension when to lose their jobs. As a result, they cannot make even rational demands for fear
of being victimized and harassed. They reported that their employers could dismiss them on
no excuse or lame excuse. Muhammad (1999) contends that in Bangladesh employers can
hire and fire unskilled workers at any time. Employers often violated the service contract.
They were actually threatened with termination. Employers on the other hand argued that
they dismissed workers only on the grounds of inefficiency and dishonesty.
b) In response to a question about the amount of salary drawn by the employees, a good number
of respondents opined that their take-home pay was not enough at all to maintain a minimum
standard of living and their monthly salary ranged from taka 600 to taka 3000. The responding
workers alleged that their employers did not follow minimum wage rule set by the government.
They mentioned that they couldnt meet their basic needs with this meager amount of salary.
Prices of essentials are going up by leaps and bounds every other day. But workers did not get
salary at inflated amount. They cannot afford the minimum expenditures for survival in the
society. They were not even provided with regular wages. According to news item published in
the Daily Star on September 10, 2000, more than five hundred female workers of a Garments
factory brought out a procession demanding for outstanding wages of the previous months and

twenty workers were injured in collusion with the police. There are many cases when workers
are dismissed on the ground of overdue wage payment. They also raise allegation about high pay
differential between managers and workers. As a group of female workers pointed out,
Managers and employers are rich because we are poor, we are made poor, they are
healthy but we are sick, we are made sick; they are loan defaulters, we are not; they
monopolize all benefits by exploiting us; there is none on earth to take care of us, to
preserve our interests, there is none to do justice.
The above statement made by the respondents indicates high pay or benefit differential between
workers and managers. Most of the female workers are living in abject poverty. It appears that
most of the female workers do not have good physical and mental health. They put on unclean
dresses. They are suffering from a variety of diseases. Most of them are slum-dwellers without
modern health and hygienic facilities. Sound physical and mental health is critical to improving
employee productivity because happy workers are usually productive workers.
c) The large majority of the female respondents reported that employers are more biased
towards male while giving benefits even they have same qualifications like men. Female
respondents make serious compliant that the salaries of the female workers are lower
compared to those of the male workers, although they are doing same job. They firmly
believe that they are the victims of wage discrimination. Employers or managers have some
superstitions and pre-conceived ideas about women. For example, women are inefficient and
incapable of using new methods of work. Both married and unmarried women admitted that
their husbands did not like their staying outside home for a longer time. Employers reported
that women are more involved in household works, which is a constraint for providing them
a responsible job, in spite of having necessary academic qualifications.
d) A safe or non-hazardous working places for workers are their fundamental human rights.
There are factory rules that workers must be provided with safe conditions while at work and
compensation for any physical or mental harm caused on them from breach of these rules.
Safety is a major issue in Bangladesh today. But almost 100% of the respondents reported

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that they were not provided with a safe and congenial working environment. The employers
manage the office of the chief inspector of factories on this issue. This hampers their
performance. The responding workers give a vivid description about the prevailing safety and
health conditions of their working places. According to them, the poor lighting, high
temperature, dust and fume and noise cause physical discomfort and impair their health and
efficiency. Inadequate ventilation affects the health of the workers. Workroom is
overcrowded. Working environment is very unhygienic.
In most cases the factory gates are very narrow and the passages and stairways of the factory
building are not wide enough. In many cases, there are no alternative staircase and exits to face
emergency situation. As a result, five to six workers couldnt make movement smoothly in the
case of emergency. There is not fire extinction equipment installed in the factory. Accidents are
often caused due to unsafe working conditions such as inadequate exits or emergency escapes.
Numbers of death cases due to fire are increasing every year. Accidents result in untold miseries,
sufferings, and financial losses to the employees. According to a news item published in the
Daily Ittafaq, on 13th December 2000, a total of 62 fire incidents occurred in the ready-made
garments sector during the last decade, which resulted in the deaths of 200 poor workers. Most of
the victims died of suffocation and in stampede while some died while jumping from the
building. It also costs the employer heavily by way of medical expenses, compensation, loss of
production, damage to machines, etc.
It is reported that many factories in the past did not compensate workers for death due to fire at
the work place. Often employers do not honor their commitment. Compensation is often limited
to the expression of oral condolence only.
Sufficient supply of pure drinking water at suitable pints conveniently accessible to all workers is
not arranged. Latrines are not kept in a clean and hygienic condition. This is for want of
education of the workers and proper attention bestowed by the management. In a factory, it is
found that there are two toilets in each floor for two hundred employees. Sufficient number of
spittoons is not provided in convenient places and they are not maintained in a clean and
hygienic condition. Industrial workers need education on health matters, but this not receiving

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due attention in Bangladesh. It is the primary responsibility of the employer to educate the
employees on health and safety consciousness and to provide all facilities necessary for their
medical care.
Most of the RMG industries are set up like prisons where workers enter in the morning and leave
late at night and pass their time in almost locked up conditions. The employers and managers
give an irrational logic for locking the gate during the working period. They do so for fear of
losing or stealing valuable items by the workers from the factories. To them employees life is
not that much valuable. This inhuman attitude they hold toward their employees. Workers may
be burned to death anytime from fire or other accidents. The industries have not been set up in
proper zones or premises designed for the purpose but in multistoried building of the residential
category with a single staircase for entry and exit. This is one of the main reasons why fire
accidents take such a toll. .
e) Majorities of the industrial workers in cities are migrants from rural areas. The first problem
they have to face after securing a job is accommodation. Problem of housing is very acute in
Dhaka City. It is reported that the majorities of the garment workers live in dark, damp and
unhygienic houses. This can be called slum. There are no drains, no bathrooms, no
ventilation, no moving space; full of dirt and dust and surrounded by unhealthy conditions.
This is the real picture of a workers abode. A worker cannot give his best when he lives
under overcrowded conditions with no privacy and minimum comfort.
f) Female workers are often victims of sexual harassment both inside and outside of the factory.
Violence against women working in the garment sector has been endemic. A recent study
(ILO, 2000) also confirmed this allegation. According to the report ILO report, 75% of
abusive incident occur on the streets as the garment female workers commute to and from
work. They are attacked by mustans, sometimes kidnapped, often assaulted and sexually
harassed by young hooligans and even the police. Frequent beatings and verbal abuse of
garment workers by the supervisors inside the factories have also been alleged. The
management of the factories, however, denied the allegation. A few respondents said that

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some vagabond youths often made obscene comments to them while they were coming to
and leaving from factories.
g) Workers of the sample factories are not allowed to form their association, known as trade
unions, although Bangladesh is a signatory of ILO convention. The political party and
government remain silent on this sensitive issue. Silence of the government is mysterious. It
is believed that the government might tolerate this harsh working conditions on the grounds
that RMG sector provides employment opportunities for many people and it is the main
source of export earnings and labor getting organized in it could undermine its
competitiveness. Workers personally face the management if they have any problem.
Supervisors usually handle the employee problems. Management decides everything;
workers have no voice. Wages and conditions of employment are not decided jointly by the
workers and management. Employers do not adopt democratic methods in their relations
with the workers. Although workers are most valued assets of the organization, they are not
allowed to make decisions of organizational matters. Employee representation on the board is
not allowed at all, which is common in Germany. Employee director can present problem
facing employees and help in moulding the policies regarding them. Managers do not
consider workers as an integral part of the operations of the organization to which they are
attached. Their contribution to the production process is not appreciated. Workers, due to
absence of collective bargaining agent, often could not t realize their basic demands. There is
none in the country to penalize the employers for violating the ILO convention of allowing
workers to have their own freedom of association. Interestingly, employers of the garment
factories in Bangladesh have their own association to realize their demands.
h) Workers are also unhappy thy way they are managed and supervised. They have a hatred for
tight and closed supervision. Managers do not treat them as human beings. They behave with
them like an animal. They do not trust them. Workers do what they are told to do. They do
not have any voice in decision making. They cannot make any protest against injustices or
unfair treatments. They are working like a machine. They are over-controlled. Workers are
not allowed to make mistake and learn from it. Management does not have any tolerance for
mistake. Managers often impose punishment for mistake.

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i) Workers alleged that managers are not fair in their dealings with them. Managers play
favoritism and partiality. As a result, they feel jealous to each other. The responding workers
reported that they were heavily penalized for minor offences. They mentioned that they were
not given enough opportunity to defend themselves. They have grievances against
management. But managers are not sincere to resolving their grievances. Complaining to
higher authorities sometimes rather brings additional troubles. On a broad range of issues,
employees expect to be treated justly, fairly and with due process. This may minimize
employee grievance and conflict. It is a fact that grievance handling is time consuming and
costly.
j) Managers have little apathy for workers welfare issues. Most of the workers reported that
they were not provided with canteen facilities. As a group of workers point out, We get up
early morning and finish our ablutions hurriedly. We are in a hurry to reach the factory gate
in time; we may or may not be able to take a substantial breakfast. Further by walking three
to four miles, we are tired. A hungry stomach will cause physical weakness, mental worry
and fatigue. We need good lunch and this must be less expensive and substantial. It is
impossible for the us to prepare lunch at home and bring it with us or through tiffin carriers
on account of time and distances as well domestic problems.
Employers spend very little for workers well being. They are very inconsiderate and unkind to
them. A little delay in attending work place is not tolerated, although they are not provided with
any official tranport facilities. They get up early in the morning and make their meals. They used
to finish luncheon with homemade foods. They have to walk five to seven miles daily. They do
not have any security while coming to and going from their work places. There is no social
security for them. Working mothers complained that they were anxious for their babies. The
employers do not provide them with child day-care centers facilities. It is reported that
absenteeism is a big problem and this is higher among women workers and among workers who
live away from the place of work. Thus it is clear that work and family needs are well balanced.
It is relevant to note here that in the advanced countries women and people with disabilities are
provided with alternative career paths, extended leave and flexible work scheduling.

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Few responding female workers alleged that they were not given maternity leave facilities, which
is a gross violation of Factory Act, 1965. The surveyed organizations do not have any medical
center to take care of problem employees. Even they do not have any counseling program do
deal with employees who are emotionally and psychologically disturbed. They do not have
separate toilet and rest room facilities in the premises of the work place. This also inhibits quality
of their working life.
k) In response to a question about working hours, the overwhelming majority of the respondents
replied that they have to work up to 16 hours a day for meager wages with not even weekly
holiday. They get very few holidays. This very long working period cause stress and anxiety
both physically and mentally.
l) They are very little empowered. Managers do not supply them with any relevant information.
They have a tendency to keep information secret. This secrecy creates confusion and
contradiction. Managers tend to believe themselves superior and thus underestimate workers
creative potentials. They do not allow them to express their feelings, emotions, and
grievances. Communication is one-way, not two-way. Two-way communication is an
important factor to build high quality of working life.
m) Workers have little scope to get promoted as a manager. Promotion from within is practiced
up to a level. Beyond that, fresh employees are recruited. The close relatives of the
employers usually hold top positions. Most of the garment factories are small in size and
owned by few people. They do not like to share managerial power with outsiders.
n) Most of the responding female workers felt that they were either unskilled or semiskilled
labor. Many female workers could not read and write. They could not comprehend basic
quality control statistics and computations. There is none to develop them. Their employers
are not serious to impart training program for them. Training is highly ignored, although
training is very vital in this competitive world in order to respond to changing demands and
needs. Employers tend to recruit trained workers and do not feel to train up fresh employees.

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Employees are not provided necessary counseling and information to upgrade the skills of
the deprived poor female workers. A respondent mentioned that our new generation
employers are only crazy for money and they would like to be rich overnight; they do not
feel any social responsibilities for the vulnerable section of the community.
5. Measures taken to improve QWL in Bangladesh
The research findings reveal that the QWL in Bangladesh is not satisfactory at all. Poor
employee productivity may be attributed to this poor quality of working life. The majority of the
employees are de-motivated and frustrated, which in turn, leads to poor performance. The review
of existing literature and suggestions made by the respondents help the researcher find out ways
and means of improving QWL in the context of Bangladesh. It is true that all the suggestions
cannot be implemented overnight. The employer, employee and the Government have to play
proper roles to create a congenial work environment in the country. The following suggestions
have been made in order to promote and improve a better QWL in the RMG sector of
Bangladesh:
- Top management commitment is vital to make QWL efforts successful. Top management must
convince that the QWL programs have lasting effects on motivation or productivity. Top
management must show through its actions that he really means it. Commitment, however, is
different from permission. Top management must initiate efforts towards the improvement of
QWL. It requires a willingness to share power. Managers must realize the fact that sharing power
is really increasing the total amount of power (Davis, 1996). Power is meaningless if it cannot be
exercised.
- Managers must become leaders, helpers, and coaches, not bosses and dictators. Managers and
workers must work as a cohesive team. There is a synergetic effect if people work as a team.
Synergy means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The responsibility of building team
spirit ultimately lies with management. Managers must recognize the fact that workers are not
slaves; they should not be used as a cog of industrial machinery, rather they are equal partners of

16

industrial peace and prosperity. It goes without saying that cooperation between management and
labor, not contradiction, brings success. None of this is simple or easily done.
- Managers should run their enterprise in a democratic manner. They should allow workers to
form their association through which workers can express their feelings, injustice, grievance,
problems and causes for conflicts to management. Management should sensitive to the
employees problems. Listening problems with patience may redress employee grievance.
Employees should be given opportunity to select their CBA. Employment related issues should
be determined through negotiation between managers and the elected representatives of the
workers. In Bangladesh, CBA is not allowed to set employee wage, which is done by the
government through National Wage board. There can be no trust between management and
workers where there is not an open policy and a real partnership in industry.
- Openness and trust are necessary. Openness removes all suspicion and doubts. It increases
employees loyalty and sense of ownership. To this end, employees should be provided with all
relevant information. Sharing information will create a common fate. All-important decisions
should be made in consultation with workers representatives. Joint consultation is a widely used
technique for establishing industrial democracy in Japanese organizations (Ouchi, 11981).
- Job security is the central focus of QWl companies. Novel Laureate Economist Gary, S.
Becker (1996) estimates that human capital accounts for more than half of all the wealth in the
USA. It is more important than any other asset to maintain and retain people and to use their
unlimited potentials. To the Japanese, a firm exists for two purposes: to provider a return on
assets for shareholders and to provide a livelihood for employees. Taylor (1990) contends that
job security leads to increased job satisfaction, which ultimately translated, into increased
profitability and an enhanced competitive position.
- QWL cannot be used as a tool to break unions or keep them out. It must remain separate from
the collective bargaining contract. And union should not use it as a tool against management.
Some unions have resisted QWL programs; they view these programs as weakening the power of
the union in its adversarial relationships with management (Skinner, 1998).

17

- Extensive training for workers and managers is of vital importance in order to support greater
worker involvement. Workers must get to know the basics of cost, quality, profits, losses, and
customer satisfaction. They need exposure to problem solving, group processes, and business
concepts. Managers must come to understand their new role: leaders, helpers, and information
gatherers. Both managers and workers need to learn basic interpersonal skills necessary to treat
others with dignity and respect. Managers must realize the fact that investment on human
resource development is the most rewarding and profitable. It is human resources that provide a
firm a competitive edge. Empowerment without adequate employee skill and knowledge will not
yield due result.
- Considerable patience is required by all concerned. The QWL program will not succeed
overnight. One reviewer found that QWL efforts often require 3 to 5 years or more to become
fully integrated into a business (Ozley and Ball, 1992).
- QWL must change continually and go forward from initial problem solving to an actual
partnership between management and workers. A single program cannot be used for a long time.
It must be updated regularly.
- Joint labor-management participation or cooperation is the very essence of QWL efforts.
Participation as an effort to improve QWL requires that managers treat lower-level employees as
mature individuals, for participation implies a redistribution of power within the organization.
They should treat their employees with respect and dignity. Participation programs that are tied
directly to financial incentives for employees tend to result in productivity increases for the
organization (Fein, M.1982). That is, productivity gains tend to be larger if workers are provided
with adequate financial rewards. The participation programs die out eventually if the pay system
fails to acknowledge the new activities and contributions of workers. Employees must be
rewarded adequately for the contribution they made to the organizations.
- The fire incidents, which resulted in the deaths of many workers every year, emphasize the
importance of safety. The working environment of the factory must be improved as much as
possible. There are many industrial safety laws, but these laws and rules are not followed in

18

letters and spirits. What is important is to ensure the proper enforcement of safety and health
standards. This can be enforced through a system of inspectors, citations and penalties. To
inspect health and safety conditions, the concerned govt. officials may enter any business at a
reasonable time and penalize for gross violation of standard rules and regulations. A sizeable
amount of money should be provided as compensation if any worker is killed in accident despite
all safety measures. It is the responsibility of the owners and managers to make general workers
aware of the safety and health standards. They should take proper steps so that workers lives are
not threatened under emergencies. The owners ought to be sensitized to the need of providing
safe working conditions to their workers and the relevant government ministry and departments
can play a singularly important role in this matter. All garments industries must set up fire exits
and other structures for the safety of the workers. The owners and managers of the RMG sector
must be made aware of their responsibilities about the workers and they must be sincere in
carrying out these responsibilities.
The responding female workers of the Garments factories suggested some measures to avoid
fire-related accidents. Among the important of these are the following:
-

Passages and stairways of their factories should be sufficiently lighted, wide and kept clear of
obstructions.

All factories would have to construct useable alternative stairs.

The RMG factories should not be allowed to run after 10 p.m. as most of the accidents
occurred at night.

Floor should not be slippery.

Safety committee can be organized and encouraged to educate about safety precaution and
rules. They will suggest preventive measures. Health is wealth. Health service in industry
should be more preventive than curative. It is the primary responsibility of management or
employer to educate the employees on health and safety consciousness and to provide all
facilities for their medical care. Employees must be provided with a congenial working
condition with regard to temperature, ventilation, lighting, cleanliness and satiation.
Employees will look after a company if they are properly looked after. Employees must be
provided with canteen facilities. Food, drinks, and snacks served at the canteen should be on
a non-profit basis. Pricelist must be displayed.

19

- More welfare facilities should be provided to the employees and these will increase their
loyalty to the company. Child day- care centers can by set up at the factory premise and
professional nurses and child experts can be hired to take care of children. Working mothers also
can meet their children during the rest period. A recent study reveals that the establishment of
day care centers for the children of the female workers who account for a majority portion of the
total workforce has increased productivity of the garment factories. Workers and their family
members should be allowed to join different entertainment programs sponsored by the company.
Medical center can be established to and medical experts can be made available to take care of
problem employee. Employees will love their companies when companies will spend lavishly for
their welfare. Employees and management or owners are members of a same family. Loyalty is
not a one way game. Both the management and employee must be sensitive ands responsive to
each others needs. The company management should keep in mind that happy and motivated
employees will work hard for the company. This may increase productivity, reduce wastage and
turnover and absenteeism.
- Labor unrest is very often based on wage questions. Wage must be adequate and fair. It must be
good enough to meet workers basic human needs. Wage must be paid as early as possible. It
appears that most of the responding female workers are in abject poverty. Still, money is a big
motivator for them. Wage fixation should consider productivity and skill of the workers and the
capacity of the industry to pay.
6. Concluding Remarks
The importance of QWL cannot be overestimated, as it is essential for making an organization
successful. It improves employee satisfaction, morale and work commitment. In spite of its
importance, the scope, content and goal of QWL differ from country to country, which may be
due to differences in a countrys stage of economic development, its style of management,
political and business system and above all, workers and managers level of education, skill, and
commitment. Available evidence suggests that companies achieving high employee productivity
give much importance on improving QWL (Moksal, 1999). Because QWL and productivity goes

20

hand in hand. Workers of excellent companies are not only well paid, they are also allowed to
participate in decisions affecting their interests (Peters and Waterman, 1982). There is democracy
in enterprise management. Reference can be made to Japan and Germany. Management treats
workers with respect and dignity. Workers are treated as equal partner of industrial progress and
peace. Workers are no more slave, they are human beings- the most valued asset of the
organization. Management behaves with them more humanly. Their jobs are highly humanized.
Management and workers jointly make constant efforts to make the jobs interesting and
meaningful.
But a reverse situation is prevalent in the sample organizations of Bangladesh. Here employees
are treated as a commodity or a cog of a machine, not as a human being. They are working in
condition o slavery. Employees are rarely allowed to participate in making organizational
decisions affecting them. Authority is highly centralized. Responsibility is decentralized.
Workers do not have any voice; they do what they are told to do, without any question. They are
not provided with relevant information. Managers do not have enough faith in workers.
Managers run the enterprises without taking workers into confidence. Workers in the Garment
industries have no formal association to prevent and defend themselves from exploitation by the
employers and managers. Industrial democracy is not in vogue. Workers of this sector feel that
they are highly deprived. Workers always feel frightened to loose their jobs. They are ill paid.
Working environment is very inhuman. The employers do everything to monopolize all benefits.
The employers, managers and workers- the actors and players of the industrial relations, should
come forward to improve the situation. The situation may not be same as it is now. Employees
are now more aware of what is happening around the world because of mass media. Workers
will be more vocal in the years to come. They will not keep silent. They will protest as the time
goes on. So necessary measures should be taken beforehand. Otherwise, the situation may get
more complicated. Be proactive to be in the race. More training program should be imparted to
keep the workers up-to- date, so that they can make meaningful contribution to the goal of the
organization. Participation in the decision making will not be effective unless workers are highly
trained, skilled and motivated. There is no denying the fact that the ultimate responsibility lies
with the employers or managers. RMG sector is facing serious problems with the existing factory
laws that were formulated in 60s and 80s when there was no export oriented garment industry in

21

the country. There is an urgent need to update the relevant laws of the factory so that the needs of
the employers and employees can be well integrated.
References
Cascio, W. F, (1996), managing human resources- productivity, quality of work life and Profits,
McGraw-Hill INC, New Delhi.
Ewing, W. D. (1971), Who wants corporate democracy, HBR, Vol. 49. NO. 5. Sep-Oct.
Fein, M. (1992), Improved productivity through worker involvement, HBR, VOL. 49. NO. 5.
Hian, C. C (11990), Quality of work life: What can unions do? Advanced Management
Journal, Vol. 55(2), p. 17-22.
Jacobs, R. L, (2000), A win-win paradigm for QWL and business performance, Human
Resource Development Quarterly, Vol.9, No. 3.
Lawler, E.E (1994), Productivity and QWL, National Productivity Review, PP. 23-36.
Moksal, B. S (1994), QWL in factory: How far have we come, Industry week,
Ozley, M. L. and Ball, J. S (1992), Quality of working life: initiating successful efforts in LaborManagement organization, The Personnel Administrator, Vol. 27, NO. 5, May, P. 27.
Pylee, M.V (1998) Industrial Relations in India, Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi.
Werther, W, B (1992), Human Resources Management, McGraw-Hill Inc, New York.

22

Disciplining the Problem employee


Introduction
Discipline is an important aspect of man management, because all employees are not rule-abider.
A good number of employees are also rule-breakers. It is of paramount importance to discipline
rule-breakers or problem employees. It is essential for the smooth running of an organization and
for the maintenance of industrial peace, which is very foundation of industrial democracy.
Organization with heterogeneous people cannot work smoothly without discipline. Discipline
action must be fair, equitable and consistent in order to reap maximum benefits from it.
Management must be wise enough to make and implement a discipline policy.
Concept of Discipline
All employees are not always obedient to organizational rules and regulations. All employees do
not comply with set rules of the organization. They do not always do what they are told. They
may not accept the responsibility of self-discipline. It is fact that some people are very sensitive,
whereas others are not at all. Even good employees may sometime make mistakes. There are
some employees for whom the motivational concepts are not enough to elicit the accepted norms
of responsible employee behavior. Counseling does not work for them. These employees are
known as problem employees. These employees require some degree of extrinsic disciplinary
action or punishment. These employees behavior is destructive or performance is unacceptable.
Under these circumstances, it is essential to adopt disciplinary practices. Avoiding action may
aggravate the situation.
Discipline is indispensable to management control to correct problem employee. In the wider
sense, discipline means orderliness. In the military circle, the term discipline is synonymous with
regimentation. In the industrial context, it does not mean strict and technical observance of rigid
rules and regulations. It simply means working and behaving in a normal and orderly manner as
any reasonable person expects an employee to do. It mans orderly behavior in accordance with
the rules and procedures of the organization.

Keith Davis (1994) defines discipline as a

23

management action to encourage compliance with organization standards. It refers to a condition


in the organization when employees conduct themselves in accordance with the organizations
rules and standards of acceptable behavior. For the most part, employees discipline themselves.
By that we mean that members conform to what is considered proper behavior because they
believe it is the right thing to do. Once they are made aware of what is expected of them, and
assuming they find these standards or rules to be reasonable, they seek to meet those
expectations.
Discipline may be preventive and corrective. Preventive discipline is action taken to encourage
following standards and rules so that infractions are prevented. The basic objective is to
encourage self-discipline among employees. The best discipline is self-discipline. Employees
will abide by rules if they feel that rules by which they are governed are fair and reasonable. In
this way, the workers maintain their own discipline, rather than having it imposed by
management. The techniques followed by management to achieve this type of discipline include
positive motivational activities such as praise, participation and incentive pay. Corrective
discipline is an action that follows a rule violation or infraction. It seeks to discourage further
infractions and to ensure that future acts are in compliance with standards. The corrective action
is a penalty of some type for the offending employees, such as a warning or suspension without
pay. An employees immediate supervisor initiates it, but actions may require approval by a
higher-level manager and / or procedural approval by the personnel department. The main
objectives of corrective discipline are to reform the offender, to deter others from similar actions,
and to maintain consistent effective group standards. They are educational and corrective, rather
than a negative slapping back at employees who have done wrong. The goal is to improve the
future rather than punish for the past.
Importance of discipline
Importance of discipline in an industry can hardly be overemphasized. Orderly behavior is
essential for achieving the organizations objective. Without discipline, no organization would
prosper. Any organization consists of people with different backgrounds.

They are not

identical. It is natural that some of them will be deviant. Management will take disciplinary
action when employees are at fault. Ideally, discipline should serve as a corrective mechanism to

24

prevent serious harm to the organization (Baum, 1991). The fundamental reason for taking
disciplinary action is to correct situations that are unfavorable to the company. Discipline may
be beneficial if it is administered properly. Weitz (1995) reported that disciplinary action
produced a lot of benefits. Among the important of these are the following:

Discipline may alert the marginal employee to his low performance and result in a change in
behavior.

Discipline may send a signal to other employee regarding expected levels of performance
and standards of behavior.

If other employees perceive the discipline as legitimate, it may increase motivation, morale
and performance.

Discipline enhances efficiency and reduces costs. Absenteeism and employee turnover are
minimized.

Despite the potential benefits of disciplinary actions, many managers want to avoid using
discipline. Discipline is one of the hardest human resource management actions to face.
Managers may avoid imposing discipline because of ignorance of organizational rules, fear of
formal grievances, fear of losing the friendship of employees (Dalton, 1991). In many cases,
indiscipline stems from the managerial faults and lapses ( Strauss and Sayles, 1988).
2. Rationale of the study
It cannot be denied the fact that most of the organizations of Bangladesh are experiencing poor
discipline. Employee indiscipline is very acute in the business enterprises in Bangladesh, where
employee performance is far below the acceptable level. Workers unrest is a common issue in
Bangladesh. Workers engage in conflicts with their colleagues, managers and employers. A
section of workers are arrogant and militant. They are not sincere in the performance of their
duties. They are engaging in terrorist activities. They are not adequately disciplined. They are not

25

rule abiders, rather rule violators. There is no doubt that all these factors are making our
enterprises sick. State enterprises are suffering from financial losses. Truly speaking, absence of
employee discipline leads to poor organizational performance. Management is in great trouble
with these problem employees. They do not know how to handle them. Poor discipline suggests
the need of correction. The correction implies some degree of force and penalty. Against this
backdrop, a study on disciplining problem employee is considered to be important to make our
organizations more effective and efficient by improving employee morale and productivity.
Discipline is more important to restore industrial peace and progress.
3. Objectives of the study
In view of its importance in correcting employee behavior, improving employee morale,
motivation, and productivity, this paper makes a modest attempt to find out the types and nature
of disciplinary problems generated or created by the employees, to suggest actions to handle
disciplinary problems, to identify the key factors that influence disciplinary decision and to
suggest few guidelines to make a sound disciplinary policy.
4. Types and nature of disciplinary problems
Stephen Robbins (1996), who conducted a study in USA- based business organizations,
categorized disciplinary problems into major four types. According to him, these four categories
are attendance, on-the-job behaviors, dishonesty, and outside activities.

Attendance
A serious disciplinary problem facing mangers involves attendance. A study found that leaving
without permission or absenteeism, habitual late attendance, abuse of sick leave, and other
aspects of attendance were rated as the foremost problems by 79% of the respondents (Robbins,
1996). Now question arises: why is attendance such a serious problem? Robbins (1996) has
identified few factors responsible for this. . First, many organizations have failed to align
workers goals with those of the organization and this results in decline in attendance. A second

26

reason may be a changing attitude toward employment. A third reason may be the different
backgrounds of new entrants with little previous experience into the job market. Their values and
attitudes differed from those of the new entrants of the previous decades. Fourth, many
employees believe that earned sick leave days have to be consumed, regardless of whether they
are ill or not. It is their right. A final reason is the difficulty involved in firing an employee,
especially those union members protected by a collective bargaining agreement. In Bangladesh,
union leaders enjoy avoiding responsibilities. They have jobs but they do not any work. They
draw salary without work.
On-the job Behaviors
Some behaviors are expressly forbidden on the job. These are treated as offenses. These are: a)
failure to obey safety rules, b) drunk on the job, c) defective work and sleeping on the job, d)
failure to report accidents, e) loafing and fighting, f) gambling, g) abuse of drugs, h) malicious
destruction of organization property, I) gross insubordination (refusing to obey a bosss orders),
j) carrying a concealed weapon, k) attacking another employee with intent to seriously harm, l)
smoking where prohibited, m) engaging in sabotage, n) holding meetings without authority
(Cascio, 1996).
Dishonesty
Dishonesty is major an offense. Dishonest people cannot be trusted. Dishonesty includes a)
concealing b) defective work, c) stealing or theft, fraud, d) taking or giving any bribes or illegal
gratification, e) falsified information on the employment application, f) any act subversive of
discipline, g) disclosing secrets, h) convention of offense involving moral turpitude.
Outside Activities
Employee may engage in activities outside of their work. Some of these activities may either
badly affect employees job performance or damage the image of their organizations. Their
behaviors off- the- job may embarrass the organization. These activities may include: wage

27

garnishment, unauthorized strike activity, working for a competing company, outside criminal
activities, questioning the organizations key values in public. Employees off the job activities
must fall within the acceptable standards of the organization; otherwise they will be subjected to
disciplinary action.
5. Factors influencing the disciplinary decision
There are many problems that might require disciplinary action. But the severity of these
problems is not same. So these problems call for different actions. Some factors that need to be
considered if managers are to have fair and equitable disciplinary practices. Here an attempt has
been made to identify the factors that can influence the disciplinary decision. W. Wohlking
(1975) proposed nine factors that help us analyze a discipline problem. These are: seriousness of
the problem (minor serious or major serious), duration of the problem, frequency and nature of
the problem (committing problem frequently), extenuating factors (external factors may cause
problem), degree of socialization (employee may be unaware of the accepted behaviors), history
of organizations discipline practices, implications for other employees, and management
backing.
6. Disciplinary Actions
Before taking actions, managers must have understanding about the factors as mentioned in
section three. Discipline problems are not same in terms of severity and seriousness Some are
minor offenses while others are serious. So they should be treated differently. By making such a
distinction, management can be able to establish a consistent and equitable discipline policy. To
over-penalize is unfair but leniency may encourage more and more violation. If drastic action is
necessary, it should be taken without hesitation. Employees must be given a chance to respond
to charges made against them. Infractions of rules that go without penalty encourage the rulebreaker to continue on this way. He must be given an opportunity to defend himself. If a
disciplinary action is challenged, the personnel department must have sufficient documentation
to support the action. Discipline generally follows a typical sequence of six steps: oral warning,
written warning, suspension, demotion, pay cut, and dismissal. Let us now discuss these actions
in detail.

28

Oral warning
It is the mildest form of discipline. It should be used in a private and informal environment.
Employees who experience their first minor offense might expect an oral warning. Managers
inform the employees that they are causing problems by violating rules of the organization.
Managers should make the employee aware of the problem and give him opportunity to correct
the problem. He should tell the employee about the consequences of non-compliance of rules.
This is sufficient to in most case to change the attitude of an employee who has broken some
regulation. If the employee fails to improve, the manager will need to consider more severe
action.
Written warning
The second step in progressive discipline is the written warning. It is more severe than oral
warning. It is permanently recorded in the employees official file. If an employee does not
respond to oral warning, then a formal written warning is called for. It is a bad remark in the
employees service record and is likely to be used against him in future. The procedure of written
warning is the same as the oral one. The employee is advised of the violation, its effect and
potential consequences of future violations. The manager writes up the warning. Written
warnings are often prepared in four copies- one for the personnel department, one for the
supervisor, one for the foreman and one for the disciplined employee.

Management will

conclude the warning by obtaining the employees signature to make sure that the problem
employee read and understand the warning. Of course employees are given chance to defend the
allegation.
Suspension
Suspension or temporary removal form service is next in severity. Suspension may be for several
days or weeks. Since suspension is a form of lay-off, it should not be used unless the offense
calls for at least a lay-off.
Demotion

29

If suspension has not been effective and management wants to avoid dismissing the problem
employee, demotion may be an alternative. Management is usually reluctant to use demotion as a
discipline measure because it tends to demoralize not only the employees but also the co-workers
( Decenzo, 1998).

Pay cut
Cutting the problem employees pay is sometimes used as a discipline measure. Although it has a
demoralizing effect on the employee, it is rational action if the last one is dismissal. If the pay cut
can always be rescinded if the problem employee alters his behavior. Management does not like
to use dismissal because it means losing the individuals experience and background. Hiring new
employees is expensive, as they need to be trained to do the job.
Dismissal
Dismissing the problem employee is the managements ultimate disciplinary action. It is
generally referred as industrial capital punishment. It should be used only for the most serious
offenses. It is used when other measures failed to bring about correction. If the employee
continues to engage in misconduct, then dismissal is the right remedy. Dismissal decision should
be legally justified. The dismissed employee may take legal action to fight the decision.
7. General Guidelines in Administering Discipline
Dessler (1997), Davis (1994), Huberman (1985), Condon (1985), Ghosh (1995), and Decenzo
(1998) develop few general guidelines for administering discipline. These are as follows:
i) Discipline should be corrective. The objective of disciplinary action is not to deal out
punishment. The objective is to correct an employees undesirable behavior. Punishment has
undesirable side effects.

30

ii) Discipline should be progressive. Typically, progressive disciplinary action begins with an
oral warning and proceeds through a written warning, suspension, and only in the most serious
cases, dismissal. Progressive discipline means that there are stronger penalties for repeated
offenses. The purpose is to give an employee an opportunity to take corrective action before
more serious penalties are applied.
iii) Discipline should be immediate. Just like touching a hot stove, where feedback is immediate,
there should be not misunderstanding about why discipline was imposed. It is best that
disciplinary process begin as soon as possible after the violation is noticed. If the penalty is
delayed, the employee may have forgotten the wrong doings and think that the company is
picking on him.
iv) Discipline should be with warning. You know what happens if you touch a red- hot stove.
Employees must know very clearly what the consequences of undesirable work behavior will be.
It is common sense that an employee will obey an instruction more readily if he understands it.
The manager has an obligation to give advance warning prior to initiating formal disciplinary
action. They must be given adequate warning. If an employee can show that management failed
to give adequate notice of rules, management has difficulty justifying the discipline before a
union or arbitrator.
v) Discipline must be consistent. Every time a person touches the hot-stove- he gets the same
response- he gets burned. Lack of consistency causes employees to feel discriminated against.
When rule violations are enforced in an inconsistent manner, the rules lose their impact. If there
is a hint of unfairness in a disciplinary action, it can lead to a prolonged, costly dispute. Strikes
can occur. Morale will decline and employees will question the competence of management.
Productivity will suffer as a result of employee insecurity and anxiety.
vi) Discipline must be impersonal. A hot-stove is blind to who touches it. So managers cannot
play favorites by disciplining subordinates they do not like while allowing the same behavior to
go unpunished for those they do like. All individuals- big and small-should receive equal
punishment for equal indiscipline, otherwise management is bound to be accused of favoritism.

31

(Tripathi, 1994) Penalties should be connected with a given violation, not with the personality of
the violator. The idea is to condemn the employees wrongful act, not the employee as a person.
That is, discipline should be directed at against an act and not against the person. As a manger,
you should make it clear that you are avoiding personal judgements about the employees
character. And all employees committing the violation can be expected to be penalized.
vii) The employee should be given an opportunity to explain his action. He must be given a show
cause notice or a charge sheet. An offender is innocent until he is proved guilty beyond doubt.
No punishment can be imposed on an employee unless he is proved guilty of some misconduct.
The burden of proving the violation always lies on the management. In other words, disciplinary
action should be carried out by the immediate line supervisor. The accused employee should
have the right to appeal to higher authorities.
viii) Disciplinary action should be taken in private. After the disciplinary action ha been taken
the supervisor must assume a normal attitude towards the employee. This is possible only when
the supervisor uses an impersonal approach in administering a penalty.
8. Concluding Remarks
This paper highlights a good number of aspects regarding disciplining problem employee. This
paper shows that disciplinary action is beneficial if it is practiced fairly and equitably and
consistently. The most common discipline problems can be classified as related to attendance,
on-the-job behavior, and dishonesty and outside activities. The severity of disciplinary action
should depend on such factors as seriousness of the problem, duration of the problem,
employees work history and implication of other employees. Considering these factors, mangers
should undertake actions, which range form warning to dismissal. Executives must convince that
disciplinary action is needful and effective. It is a tool that must be used for the companys
benefits. The main reason for disciplinary action to correct employee behavior. A manager must
consider it as tool and not as a weapon of supervision. Since disciplinary action involves
penalties and since it has bad implications, management must fully know when, why, how, and
when the disciplinary action should be taken. Only then the disciplinary action will gain its

32

purposes with a minimum loss of employee goodwill. The law of natural justice should be
followed; that is, the offended should be given an opportunity to defend him. Another important
point is that managers must be disciplined otherwise subordinates will not listen to them.
Disciplinary action must be evaluated in term of its effectiveness after it has been applied.
References
Baum, L (1991). Punishing workers with a day off, Business Week, p.80.
Cascio, W, F. (1996), Managing human Resources, McGraw-Hill, Singapore.
Condon, T, J. and Richard, H. W. (1985), A Comparative Disciplinary Practices, Public Personnel
Management, 14, No. 13, 245-251.
Decenzo, D. A. (1998), Human Resource Management, Prentice-Hall of India, New Delhi.
Dessler, G. (1997), Human Resource Management, 7th Edition, McGraw-Hill of India, New
Delhi.
Ghosh, B. (1995), Personnel Management and Industrial Relations in India, The World Press
Private Limited, Calcutta.
Huberman, J. (1985), Discipline without punishment, Harvard business Review, July-August, pp.
6-8.
Jucious, M.J. (1990), Personnel Management, 9th Edition, Toppan company ltd, Tokyo, Japan.
Robbins, S. P. (1997), Organizational Behavior, Prentice-Hall of India, New Delhi.
Tripathi, P.C ( 1994), Personnel and Industrial Relations, Sultan Chand and Sons, New Delhi.
Weitz, B. A. (1990), managing marginal employees: The use of warnings and dismissals,
Administrative Science Quarterly, 25, 467-484.
Werther, W. B. and Devis, K. (1994), Human Resource Management, McGraw-Hill, Singapore.
Wohlking, W. (1985), Effective Discipline in Employee Relations, Personnel Journal, September,
pp. 491-92.

33

Employee Productivity through Motivation


1. Introduction
The aim of all managers is the same; they must be productive. They have to create a surplus.
Without surplus, organizations cannot survive and grow. Productivity improvement is the main
objective of all managers. The developed countries are far ahead in the race of productivity.
Bangladesh, in contrast, lag far behind in this issue. Productivity is the ratio of output and inputs.
Of all the factors used for the transformation of inputs into output, the most important one is
human resources. So managers should encourage their people so that they can make maximum
contribution to the organization. Productivity through people is an esatblished fact. Making
employee productive is the prime responsibility of management at all levels. They must create an
environment in which employee with diverse backgrounds work together as a group, to achieve
the predetermined goals effectively and efficiently. In other words, Managers are responsible for
providing an environment conducive to better performance.
Now the relevant question is, why is human resource superior to other factors of production?
Human resources are endowed with some unique qualities. The wonder of wonders is man.
Among the important these are:
-

People can think and imagine. They can create something.

They can be motivated. When people are motivated, they work hard.

They can work as a team.

They have synergetic power. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Two and two can
make five or more in the case of positive synergy. Synergy may be also negative.

The main function of any manager is to secure and maintain optimum performance from their
employees. Performance is a function of the individual ability, knowledge and motivation.
Ability is the capability of doing a thing successfully. We can hire employees with extra

34

ordinary competence and develop these abilities and still not be assured that they will perform
satisfactorily. The mere presence of ability and knowledge cannot guarantee that individual will
put forth his best effort. There is another factor operating in the situation, namely motivation,
which finally determines the effort, which can reasonably be expected from such employee.
People who are motivated exert greater effort to perform than those who are not motivated. It
will activate the potential of our employees. Managers must be concerned with providing
stimulus that converts employee talent into successful job performance.
1. 2. What is meant by motivation?
Today, virtually all people have their own definitions of motivation. It means many things to
many people. The term motivation can be traced to the Latin word movere, which means to
move. It is moving people to perform something. Motivation attempts to influence or cause
certain behavior. It is the set of forces that cause people to behave in certain ways. Motivation is
the way in which drives or needs direct a persons behavior toward a goal. Psychologists agree
that all conscious behaviors are motivated. Let us define drive. Drives or motives are set up to
alleviate needs. People have a need for food. Needs are basic for survival. The need for food may
be translated into hunger drive. Motivation induces people to act in a desired manner. It concerns
the level of effort put forth to pursue specific goals. It is the willingness to exert high levels of
effort toward organizational goals, conditioned by the efforts ability to satisfy some individual
need (Decenzo and Robbins, 1999). There are three elements in this definition: effort,
organizational goal and needs. Needs are created whenever there is physiological and
psychological imbalance. When someone is motivated, he put more effort. Individual needs must
be compatible and consistent with the organizational goals.
Motivation and Satisfaction: A Comparison
Late professor Harold Koontz (1992) makes a distinction between motivation and
satisfaction. He argues that motivation is different from satisfaction. Motivation is the drive
or efforts to satisfy a want. Satisfaction is the happiness experienced when a want is satisfied or
fulfilled. In other words, motivation is the drive toward an outcome, and satisfaction is the
outcome already experienced.

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1. 3. Motivation as a Process
Motivation is a process involving a few steps. Motivation process begins with needs or a
deficiency. People have needs although number of needs is limited. Needs are essential for
survival. An unfulfilled or unsatisfied internal need creates tension that stimulates drives within
the individual. We can say that motivated employees are in a state of tension. To relieve this
tension, they exert effort. The greater the tension, the higher the effort level. These drives
generate a search behavior towards achieving goals, which will satisfy need and finally result in
satisfaction or reduction of tension. A person may have a need for food. This need for food can
be translated into hunger drives. Drives are action-oriented. The hungry person then examines
the surroundings to see which foods are available to satisfy that hunger. Eating food can tend to
restore the balance and reduce the corresponding drive. People will seek different foods to satisfy
their needs. This difference may be attributed to individual differences and cultural environment
may have a bearing on this. There are limitations of this simple need-want-satisfaction chain.
Many needs are influenced by environmental factors. Needs do cause behavior but needs also
may result from behavior. Motivation can be seen as a need-satisfying process. The motivation
process is shown in the following way:
Unfulfilled need

Tension

Drives

Search behavior

Satisfied need

Reduction of tension.
1.4 Importance of the study of motivation
Management is getting things done with and through others. In order to be successful in
management, a manger must be able to understand the people through whom he gets his
job done. According to Tiffin (1974), the productivity of employee depends on two aspects,
his ability and motivation. Hence the study of motivation is important on the following
counts:

36

Managers must be able to predict the behaviors of his employees correctly. Human
behavior is very complex and critical. A systematic approach to study human behavior
improves our understanding and predictive capabilities.

Managers must believe that there is no average person. Firms develop rules and regulations
with the assumptions that people are essentially alike. But it is not true because people are
unique- they have different needs, ambitions and attitudes and potentials. Unless managers
understand the complexity and individuality of people, they may misapply the
generalizations about motivation, leadership and communication. This knowledge is
essential to predict their behavior.

Modern organizations are made up of people of heterogeneous backgrounds in terms of


religion, language, education and gender. Managers must understand this workforce
diversity.

Globalization has intensified competition. In order to survive, organizations must be


innovative and creative. They encourage productivity through people. They give more
attention on people. This has led to the concept of human capital. So it is more
important to motivate people to be creative and innovative.

1.5 Theories of Motivation


There are many theories of motivation. Among the important these theories are:
-

The Carrot and Stick theory,

McGregors theory X and Y,

Ouchis theory Z,

Maslows Needs Hierarchy theory,

Alderfers ERG theory,

Herzbergs Two Factors theory,

Equity theory,

Expectancy theory,

37

McClellands needs theory

2.1 Motivation: The Carrot and Stick


Using rewards and penalties to induce desired behavior is the oldest theory of motivation. To
make a donkey move, one must put a carrot in front of him or jab him with a stick from behind.
Rewards and punishments are considered strong motivators. The carrot may be money in the
form of pay or bonus. The stick may be in the form of fear of loss of job, income, demotion or
some other penalty.
2.2 Theory X and Y
In the Human Side of Enterprise, published in 1960, Douglas McGregor contrasted two sets of
assumptions about workers attitudes to work and responsibility and commonly known as Theory
X and Theory Y. These two sets of assumptions are fundamentally different. Theory X is
pessimistic, static, and rigid. In contrast Theory Y is optimistic, dynamic and flexible, with an
emphasis of self-direction. They are assumptions only. They are not prescriptions or suggestions
for managerial strategies. Rather, these assumptions must be tested against reality. Furthermore,
these assumptions are intuitive deductions and are not based on research. Theor5ies X and Y do
not imply hard or soft management. Theory X assumes that lower order needs dominate
employees and theory Y assumes that higher order needs dominate. Lower -order needs and
higher- order needs are best expressed in theory of motivation presented by Maslow. This is
described next. McGregor himself held to the belief that Theory Y assumptions were more valid
than Theory X. So he proposed ideas like employee participation in decision making and
opportunities for challenging jobs that would maximize an employees job motivation.

The traditional assumptions about the nature of people, according to McGregor, are included in
Theory X as follows:
-

38

People dislike work and will avoid it if possible.

People must be coerced, controlled and threatened to get things done.

Average human beings prefer to be directed, wish to avoid responsibility.

They have little ambition and want security above all.

Theory Y
The theory Y managers assume that the average employee:
-

Enjoys work and does not want to avoid it.

Wants to attain organizational goals through self-directed behavior.

Will accept responsibility.

Has initiative and can be creative in solving organizational problem.

Theory X assumes that lower order needs dominate employees and theory Y assumes that higher
order needs dominant.
2.3 Theory Z
In his book Theory Z, William Ouchi (1982) has identified the characteristics of successful
Japanese and US management styles and organizational practices. Theory Z provides a
useful example of the way in which behavioral prescriptions for management must be
adopted tom fit the organizations cultural environment (Davis, 1997). Theory Z selectively
adapts some Japanese practices to the American culture. Ouchi identifies the management
practices of Theory Z type organization, which are as follows:
-

Lifetime employment ( to help satisfy physiological and safety needs),

Consensus decision making ( to help satisfy social needs),

Individual responsibility ( to help satisfy self-esteem needs),

Careful evaluation and promotion (to build confidence and self esteem),

Concern for the total person (to help satisfy self-actualization).

Opportunity to use skills (to help satisfy self-actualization needs).

It is evident from the above that theory Z is believed to foster close, cooperative and
trusting relationships among workers, mangers and other groups. The main theme is to

39

make people an important item. Treat people with respect and dignity. Theory Z is not
without criticism. It has been suggested that Theory Z is not new, but merely an extension
of earlier theories. It is very much consistent with theory Y suggested by Douglas
McGregor. Perhaps, the most damaging criticism is the idea that theory Z fails to provide
useful criteria for helping managers decide when to use it and when not to use it (Davis,
1997).
2.4 Needs Hierarchy Theory
Abraham Maslow has developed the need hierarchy theory of motivation. Need hierarchies
assume that people have different needs that can be arranged in a hierarchy of importance.
He proposes that human needs are not of equal strength. He saw human needs in the form
of hierarchy, ascending from the lowest to the highest. He argued that people are motivated
to satisfy five need levels. These are:
-

Physiological ( need for food, shelter, sleep, sex, and other bodily needs),

Safety ( job ,and financial security),

Social (friendship or interaction with others),

Esteem ( high status, recognition, autonomy, self respect),

Self-actualization (full use of potentials, able to be creative, independence, total selfdirection).

Lower-order and higher-order needs


Maslow separated the five needs into higher and lower order needs. Physiological and
safety needs were described, as lower order needs. They are similar to primary needs.
Social, esteem and self-actualization as higher order needs. Higher order needs are satisfied
internally and the lower order needs are satisfied externally.
Interpretation of the hierarchy of needs

40

The concept of hierarchy of needs ha two consequences. Firstly, unless and until a lower
need is satisfied, higher order needs do not motivate. In other words, as the lower order
needs are reasonably satisfied, a person places more emphasis on the higher order needs.
Higher needs emerge as lower needs are fulfilled or satisfied. Secondly, once a need is
satisfied, it no longer motivates. A fully satisfied need would not be a strong motivator.
Only unmet needs motivate. So an effective manger is one who can identify and accept
employee needs and recognize that needs may differ among employees.
Criticisms of Hierarchy of needs Theory
In spite of the benefits mentioned above, Maslows hierarchical arrangement has been
questioned. Given below are some limitations:
-

Practical evidence points towards a two -level rather than a five-level hierarchy.
Edward Lawler has observed, which higher-order needs come into play after the
lower ones are satisfied and in which order they come into play cannot be predicted. It
seems that most people are simultaneously motivated by several of the same level
needs.

Five levels of need are not always present and that the order of the levels is not the same
as postulated by Maslow. In addition, people from different cultures are likely to have
different need categories and hierarchies.

It is not easy to provide opportunities for self-actualization to all employees.

2.5 ERG theory


In response to the criticisms of Maslows theory, Clayton Alderfer has proposed an
alternative hierarchy of needs called the ERG theory of motivation. The letters E, R, and G
stand for existence, relatedness and growth. He suggests that peoples needs can be grouped
into three levels, not five levels. Existence needs are essential for basic human existence and

41

these are similar to Maslows physiologial and security needs. Relatedness needs, involving
the need to relate to others, are similar to the Maslow belongings and esteem needs.
Finally, growth needs are equivalent to Maslows needs for self esteem an actualization.
Alderfer suggests that more than one kind of need may motivate someone at the same time.
For example, both relatedness and growth need might be working on a person.
2.6 Motivation-Hygiene Theory
Fredrick Herzberg, a social psychologist, proposed the motivation-hygiene theory based on
satisfaction. He extended the work of Maslow and developed a specific content theory of work
motivation. His theory played a major role in managerial motivation. He surveyed a group of
respondents, asking them to describe when they felt good or bad about their jobs. He used the
critical incident method of obtaining data for analysis. These responses were tabulated and
categorized. He found that one set of job and personal factors produced good feelings and that
another created bad feelings. He found that entirely two different sets of factors were associated
with the two kinds of feelings about work. For example, a person who indicated low pay as a
cause of dissatisfaction would not necessarily identify high pay as a cause of satisfaction and
motivation. His theory implied that a satisfied employee is motivated from within to work harder
and that a dissatisfied employee is not self-motivated.
One set of factors, Herzberg called hygiene factors. These factors are associated with job context.
The hygiene factors include salary, job security, personal life, working condition, status,
interpersonal relations, and technical supervision and company policies. These factors do not
give positive satisfaction but their absence will cause dissatisfaction, and they cannot motivate an
employee. These factors are essential to avoiding or preventing job dissatisfaction but do not lead
to satisfaction. When they are adequate, people will not be dissatisfied, however, neither will
they be satisfied. Managers need to know this because the elimination of job dissatisfaction will
not necessarily motivate employee. If you neglect to clean the kitchen, you will eventually suffer
the consequences. However, if the kitchen is cleaned and therefore hygienic, it does not
guarantee good health. By providing these factors, managers can prevent job dissatisfaction but

42

cannot motivate employee to perform any better. In other words, they are a necessary condition
but not a sufficient condition for motivation.
Herzberg described the second set of factors as motivating factors. They include achievement,
recognition, autonomy, challenging work advancement and growth in the job. Thee factors are
associated with job content. Their existence will produce feelings of satisfaction or no
satisfaction. These are intrinsic factors.
Herzberg says that the opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction, as was traditionally believed.
The opposite of satisfaction is no satisfaction and the opposite of dissatisfaction is no
dissatisfaction.
The motivation-hygiene theory is not without its limitations. The criticisms of the theory include
the following:
-

When things are going well, people tend to take credit themselves. On the other hand, they
blame failure on the external environment.

It provides an explanation of job satisfaction. It is not really a theory of motivation.

No overall measure of satisfaction was utilized.

The theory ignores situational variables.

. He assumed correlation between satisfaction and productivity, but did not establish it.

In spite of these criticisms, his model is very popular because it instructs mangers that motivators
should be used to create a more positive work environment. He extended Maslows also drew
attention to the importance of job content factors in work motivation, which previously had been
badly neglected and often totally overlooked. In the past, management had generally
concentrated on the hygiene factors. This simplistic solution did not really work. Herzbergs
theory offers an explanation for this problem.
Maslow and Herzberg: A Comparison

43

Herzbergs theory is closely related to Maslows need hierarchy. The hygiene factors are
preventive and environmental in nature, and they are roughly equivalent to Maslows lower order
needs. These hygiene factors prevent dissatisfaction, but they do not lead to satisfaction. By
themselves, the hygiene factors do not motivate. Only the motivators motivate humans on the
job. They are roughly equivalent to Maslows higher order needs. According to the Herzberg
theory, an individual must have a challenging content in order to be truly motivated.
2.7 Equity Theory
Employees work in a social system in which they observe one another, judge one another and
make comparisons. They want their rewards system to be fair. Against this background, Stacy
Adam developed an equity theory of motivation. Recently, the equity theory of motivation has
received much attention in the organizational field.
The Equity theory refers to a persons subjective judgement about the fairness of receiving
reward, relative to the inputs, in comparison with the rewards of others. It is based on a persons
perception what he is giving and receiving versus what the other person is giving and receiving.
Greater the fairness perceived, higher the motivation and vice versa. There should be a balance
of outcomes divided by inputs relationship for one person in comparison with that for another
person. The inputs may be age, gender, social status, education, work experience and position in
the organization. Outcomes would be such rewards as pay, status, promotion, job security, social
rewards, etc. This theory assumes that inequality occurs when:
a) Persons outcomes divided by persons inputs less than others outcomes divide by others
inputs.
b) Persons outcomes divided by persons inputs greater than others outcomes divided by
others inputs.
c) Persons outcomes divided by persons inputs equal to others outcomes divided by others
inputs.

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Inequitable reward may lower productivity, inflate value of the reward, quit the organization, and
bargain for more actual rewards.
Equitable reward leads to continuation a same level of output. If employee feels over-rewarded,
they might work harder, or they might discount the value of the rewards received, or they might
choose some one else for comparison purposes.
2.8 Expectancy Theory
Victor Vroom has developed the expectancy theory of motivation. He criticized Maslow and
Herzbergs theories for making generalizations about employee motivation. He suggests that
different things motivate the same people at different times and that different things motivate
different people at the same time. This happens because individual perception toward motivation
is different. Individual perception is the main theme of expectancy theory. The term expectancy
indicates the subjective probability or expectation that one thing will lead to another.
This theory is based on the assumption that motivational strength is determined by perceived
probabilities of success. According to this theory, employee motivation depends on following
three factors:
a) Perception that his efforts will lead to good performance (Expectancy).
b) Perception that his good performance will lead to rewards (Instrumentality).
c) Perception that the rewards will lead to satisfaction of employees personal needs (Valence).
The mathematical model is given below:
Motivation = Expectancy. Instrumentality. Valence
Expectancy is the strength of ones belief that he is capable of putting the needed efforts and
efforts will lead to good performance. This expectancy is expressed in probability terms and
ranges from zero to one. This factor depends on employees personality, self-efficiency, and
internal locus of control. Instrumentality is the belief or perception that good performance will
lead to rewards. It also varies from zero to one. It requires to make performance appraisal as
objective as possible. Finally, valence indicates how strongly one considers possessing the

45

rewards and how much worth he attaches to the same. He may very much love the reward, or
indifferent or hate it.
The interaction among these three variables will determine whether motivation will be high or
low. Employees tend to work hard when they believe that they have a good chance of getting
personally meaningful rewards. This theory focuses on expectations and perceptions what is
actual and real is immaterial. What is perceived and expected is important. The application of
this theory is limited as in many organizations reward is not directly linked to performance.
Instead it is linked to other criteria like seniority, education, responsibility or difficulty.
2.9 McClellands Needs Theory of Motivation

David McClelland has identified the following three basic needs or drives within
an individuals:
Needs for achievement. People who spend time thinking about how they can
improve on their work, who wonder how they might accomplish something that is
valuable, and who derive great satisfaction from striving to do good work are
considered to have a high need for achievement. These individuals think about
objectives but also what obstacles may be encountered, how they can be overcome,
and how they will feel when they succeed or fail. McClelland conducted studies
and indicated strong positive relationship between high need for achievement and
high level of job performance and executive success. He offered the following
reasons why people a with strong need for achievement show such behavioral
characteristics.

They like situations, in which they can assume personal responsibility for
solving problems.

They tend to set moderate, realistic achievement goals and take calculated risks.

They want concrete feedback on how they are doing.

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Need for affiliation. Many people spend much of their time thinking about
developing warm, friendly, personal relationships with others in the organization.
They have a high need for affiliation and usually are more sensitive to others
feelings, seek to establish friendly relationships in groups by being agreeable and
supportive of ideas and look for jobs with a pleasant social environment that is
conducive to personal interaction. Personnel employees, teachers, nurses,
counselors and many government employees typically have high need for
affiliation.
Need for power. People who spend most of their time thinking about the influence
and control they have over others and how they can use this influence to change
peoples behavior, gain authority and status and dominate decisions have a high
need for power. Their needs are satisfied by manipulating and controlling others.
Individuals with this need usually seek positions of leadership in organizations, are
articulate, sometimes argumentative, forceful, and demanding, and not infrequently
are hardheaded. Research studies indicate that top managers and especially
organizational presidents are highly motivated by the need for power.

What is very interesting about McClellands findings is that the need for
achievement can be taught to individuals.
Motivation through job design.
A job serves two separate but related functions. It is a productive unit for the organization and a
career unit for the individual. There are two job design strategies, namely, fitting people to jobs,
and fitting jobs to people. In the first case, attempt is made to adjust the person rather than the
job in the person-job match. The method widely used to fit people to job is the job rotation
47

moving people from one job to another. The second job-design strategy calls for managers to
consider changing the job instead of the person. Managers can achieve a fit between persons and
their jobs that fosters both high work productivity and a high quality organizational experience
for the people who do the work, through job enlargement and job enrichment.
Job enlargement: Job enlargement is a process of combining two or more specialized tasks to
increase motivation. By increasing the scope of the job, the sense of wholeness of the job will
increases, thereby motivating the worker. But critics claim that two or more potentially boring
tasks do not necessarily make one challenging job.
Job enrichment theory of motivation: In general terms, job enrichment is redesigning a

job to increase its motivational potential. It increases the challenge of ones work
by reversing the trend toward greater specialization. Unlike job enlargement, which
merely combines equally simple task, job enrichment builds more complexity and
depth into jobs by introducing planning and decision-making responsibility
normally carried out at higher levels. Thus, enriched jobs are said to be vertically
loaded, whereas enlarged jobs are horizontally loaded. Upgrading five core
dimensions of work can enrich jobs: skill variety, tasks identity, task significance,
autonomy and feedback. Skill variety, task significance and task identity make
employee feel that work is meaningful and interesting. Autonomy creates a feeling
of responsibility for outcomes of the work. Feedback helps employee get
knowledge of the actual results of the work. The employee must receive, on a
regular basis, feedback about how well he is performing. It is important to note that
all employees will respond favorably to enriched jobs. Personal traits and motives
influence the connection between core job characteristics and outcomes. Only
those with the necessary skills and knowledge plus a desire for personal growth
will be motivated by enriched work. Researchers have reported that fear of failure,
lack of confidence, and lack of trust in managements intentions can stand in the

48

way of effective job enrichment. But job enrichment can and does work when it is
carefully through out, when management is committed to its long-term success,
and when employees desire additional challenge.
2.11 Money as a motivator: The debate
There is a controversy whether money is a motivator or not. Critics are divided on this issue.
Many people argue that the traditional carrot and stick method of motivation still works today.
The carrot has been money and the stick has been taken in the form of physical, financial or
social punishment. Money is important to employees for a number of reasons. Money is a reward
for accomplishment and is a means of giving people pleasure from accomplishment. It is a
measure of accomplishment. A person work because he or she has wants that cannot be satisfied
without money. The assumption has been that people will work harder and produce more if
substantial financial rewards are placed before them.
Money is often more than monetary value. It has also social value. It is a social medium
exchange. It can also mean status or power. That is, it has a status value. The lure of money can
lead to inappropriate and illegal actions. Many people in Bangladesh were engaged in insider
trading that resulted in huge personal profit. Money is used for motivating.
Classical management thinkers and scholars like Taylor, Pollock have tended to place money
high on the scale of motivators. They consider employees as economic man who are only
motivated by money. They assumed that economic gain was every ones primary motivation.
They designed reward systems for encouraging high performance by workers and managers.
Taylor and his associates believe that workers are lazy and aimless. They also believed that the
money that employees earn is more important than the nature of job employees is doing. Hence,
people could be expected to perform any kind of job if they were paid enough. The challenge
was to get them to the factory by paying decent wages. They suggested the use of an incentive
pay system. Money is a motivator if it fulfills at least three conditions.

49

a) Money, as money, is likely, to be more important to people who do yet meet their monetary
needs. The money needs of some people are very urgent. Money is an urgent means of
achieving a minimum standard of living. Money is important because of goods and services
that it will purchase. This is the economic value of money. For some people money will
always be of utmost importance, while for others it may never be.
b) It is quite true that in most kinds of organizations, money is used as a means of attracting and
holding qualified people. This is why organizations make their wages and salaries
competitive within their industry. Organizations often take greater care to ensure that people
on comparable jobs are given the same compensation because people usually evaluate their
compensation in light of what their equals are receiving. Katz and Khan (1976) maintains
that the money reward must be perceived as fair and equitable by the majority organizational
members, even those who will never seek the extra income. This is clearly explained by J.
Stacy Adams (1983) in the equity theory of motivation.
c) The money must be perceived as directly related to the required extra performance and must
be received immediately upon completion.
d) It is almost certainly true that money can motivate only when prospective payment is large
relative to a persons income. But employees differ in the amount of money they want. For
example, an extra taka ten thousand may not be motivating to an executive who earns taka
two lakh annually. This is why, pay increases or bonus should be large enough to motivate
the receiver. The annual pay increase in Bangladeshi firms is so low that it seldom motivates
the receiver. They may keep the employees from being dissatisfied and from looking for
another job.
Behavioral scientists like Elton Mayo, on the other hand, tend to place money low. They give
arguments against money as a motivator. Mayo and his associates found that better physical
facilities or increased economic benefits in itself were not sufficient motivators in increasing
productivity. They came to the conclusion that other factors were responsible. In effect, the
emphasis shifted to psychological and social factors, in addition to economic forces.

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There are many non-financial incentives such as employee satisfaction, morale, motivation
interpersonal relationships, effective supervision, and group dynamics might increase
productivity. These social needs are more important than money in motivating employees.
Human behavior in the workplace is much important in increasing productivity. The behavioral
approach makes it clear that people are the key to productivity. According to the advocates of
this approach, technology, work rules and standards do not guarantee good job performance.
Instead, success depends on motivated and skilled individuals who are committed to
organizational effectiveness. Humans are social and management operates in a social system.
Advocates of this human relations approach advised managers to make employee feel important
and allow them a bit of self-control and self-direction in carrying out routine actives.
It does not mean that economic factors or working conditions are less important for improving
productivity. These experiments suggested that an office or a factory is not only a work place but
also a social environment in which the workers interact with each other. In short, individual and
social processes played a major role in shaping worker attitudes and behavior. This gave rise to
the concept of the social man.
From the motivational theories, it is apparent that there is no instinctive or basic need for money.
Money is essentially an extrinsic reward rather than an intrinsic one. Money becomes important
insofar as it can satisfy recognized needs. Research suggests that money is capable of satisfying
physiological, security and esteem needs. If these needs are satisfied by other means, then money
is seen as having lower instrumental value and is not particularly useful in motivating
performance or any other behavior.
There is some evidence that organizations may be experiencing problems by assuming that
employees place a high value on monetary rewards. Pay does not always improve performance.
Improved performance does not result from pay increases. The personal satisfaction of a job well
done is a powerful motivator for many people. Economic rewards cannot provide all the needs
rewards for a psychologically healthy person.

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In reality, however, it may be more advantageous not to view money as the supreme motivator
may, but as one of the many factors in the work environment that affects employee motivation.
Even though money is not the only motivating force, it has been and will continue to be an
important one. Money is not a general panacea capable of compensating for all other
organizational problems. Money can be a motivator but not to the exclusion of other factors,
including the job itself.
Motivation through Employee Participation
Employee participation in management has been widely used in developed countries. Employee
may participate in goal setting, making decision, solving problems and designing and
implementing organizational changes. Employee participation may be defined as the process of
empowering employees to assume greater control of the workplace. By being personally and
meaningfully involved, employees are said to be more motivated and productive. According to
researchers ( Davis, 1998; Likert, 1976), the following factors will make employee participation
a success:
4.13 Performance (p)= Ability .Motivation Opportunity. Explain
Individual performance is generally determined by three things: motivation (the desire to do the
job), ability (the capability to do the job), and opportunity (the tools, material and information
needed to do the job). If an employee lacks ability, the manager can provide training or replace
the worker. If there is an environmental problem, the manager can create a supportive
environment to promote higher performance. A worker must be given opportunity to perform to
get organizational results. If the motivation is the problem, the task for the manager is more
challenging.
4.13 The Commandments of Effective Motivation

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There are a number of motivation theories. It is difficult and even dangerous to synthesize a large
number of complex ideas into a few simple guidelines. The following suggestions are offered
with the hope of motivating employees in the organizations.
-

Employees have different needs. Do not assume that all people are motivated by same needs.
Spend the time necessary to understand what is important to each employee.

Do not treat them al alike. People are different physically and more importantly
psychologically.

Make you employees feel important. Human beings want to be appreciated and like to feel
important.

Allow employees to participate in decisions that affect them. This can increase employee
productivity, commitment to work goals, motivation and job satisfaction.

Guide rather than order. Set a good example. The manager set the style for his people.
Subordinates are always watching their boss. Be a person worth coping.

Rewards should be contingent on performance.

Show confidence in your subordinates.

Listen attentively.

Do not be secretive.

Make your subordinates want to do things that you want them to do.

Rewards should be perceived by employees as equating with the inputs they bring to the job.

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Questions for Discussion


1. What is motivation? Why is the study of motivation important in business and industries?
2. Indicate the major similarities and differences between Masloow, Herzberg and Alderfer
models of motivation.
3. Compare and contrast McGregors X theory with Y theory bringing out clearly their merits
and demerits.
4. Write an essay on Vrooms theory of expectancy.
5. Explain McClellands need theory.
6. Describe the motivation process.
7. Explain the following formula: Performance (P) = A. M. O.
8.

References
Luthans, F (1998). Organizational Behavior,
Tiffin, J. (1974). Industrial Psychology, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

54

Fostering

Union - Management Cooperation: The Key to Employee Productivity.

Abstract: A cooperative attitude and relationships between the union and management can
contribute materially to discipline and productivity within the organization. Many sensible union
leaders and employer representatives realize the fact that cooperation between management and
labor unions is essential if organizations are going to compete in a global economy. This article is
about fostering labor-management cooperation at the enterprise level. An attempt has been made
to identify the common barriers that stand in the way of labor-management cooperation. There is
a growing recognition that productivity is through people, so proper steps and actions must be
taken to develop and sustain a cooperative relationship between labor and management, the two
equal partners of industrial peace and progress. It requires a responsible attitude on the part of
the union and management. Productivity improvement is the only viable solution to meeting the
growing challenge of globalization. This study suggests some measures to build sound
cooperative relationships between union and management.

1. Introduction
The world is becoming smaller but the market is becoming larger due to globalization. We are
living in an interdependent world. More and more business firms are becoming involved in
international trade. International business has been used as a means of achieving economic
success and prosperity. No country can live in isolation. Isolation means self-destruction. It is
suicidal to live in isolation. It is a reality that we live in a borderless economy. We cannot avoid
it. No political forces can stop it.
Unfortunately, the business firms of all the countries do not have equal access to this free world
trade. It is productivity that makes difference between success and failure. It decides which
country will win or lose the trade war. The developed countries are winning this trade war due to
their higher productivity growth. They are almost monopolizing the benefits of free trade. The
business organizations of poor countries like Bangladesh are facing big challenges unleashed by
the globalization. The organizational effectiveness of many enterprises in our country is at stake.
Numbers of organizations suffering from industrial sickness are on the increase. Many industrial
units are being closed down. Many people are losing jobs and thus living in abject poverty. Job
55

opportunities are becoming increasingly shrinking. Consequently, many young and bright people
are leaving the country to change their lots. This brain drain is an irreparable loss for the nation
because numbers of brilliant people are in short supply in the country. The country is lagging far
behind in the race of employee productivity. Local market is being flooded with imported and
smuggled foreign goods. Locally made goods are less competitive in terms of price and quality.
Because of fierce international competition, worldwide customers are now able to choose among
several international competitors. As a result, customers are becoming increasingly demanding.
They require high quality and low priced goods with short delivery time. The countrys trade
deficit is more than $ 2000 crore in fiscal year 1999- 2000 (Daily Star, March 20, 2001).
2. Improving productivity through cooperative labor-management relations
Under this circumstance, fostering union-management cooperation to solve the problem of
organization ineffectiveness cannot be ignored. Now it is more important than ever before
because organizational competitiveness is at stake, Productivity improvement is the only way of
addressing the challenge of globalization, which is characterized by international competition,
deregulation and automation. Productivity is a primary determinant of an organizations level of
profitability and ultimately, its ability to survive. It also determines peoples standards of living
within a particular country. Thus the citizens of a country highly productive country are likely to
have notably higher standards of living that are the citizens of a country with low productivity.
Both the labor and managers are benefited by increased productivity. Improved productivity
mitigates the workers demand for higher wages and employers demand for higher return on
investment. How does a business or industry improve its productivity? Numerous specific
suggestions made by the experts for improving productivity generally fall into two broad
categories: improving research and development (R&D) operation and increasing employee
cooperation through participation.
R&D activities are expensive and risky. This does not mean that research and development is
less important. The reality is that the poor developing countries like Bangladesh cannot easily
increase research and development activities due to resource constraints. But these countries can
easily modify and change the existing management practices particularly human resources

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management to enhance quality and productivity. These countries should focus more on building
sound labor-management relations, which, in turn, results in cooperation. It is widely believed
and proven that productivity can be improved by fostering sound labor management
cooperation. Drucker (1993) rightly says, Japanese firms succeed in the competitive business
world by establishing a cooperative relationship between management and labor.
The concept of labor-management cooperation is found to be effective in the Japanese and
Western countries. Labor-management cooperation is often confuse with collective bargaining,
although these two are the same or identical. Labor-management cooperation, as viewed by Batt
and Weinberg (1988) is not an alternative to free collective bargaining, rather it extends
collective bargaining beyond its traditional limits, that is, to deal with issues of mutual interest
without impairing either partys bargaining strength. Collective bargaining deals with matters of
divergence of interests and labor-management cooperation, on the other hand, deals with matters
of common interest. The underlying principle is that there are many matters of common concerns
to mangers and workers, which can best be handled by cooperation.
Labor-management cooperation has gained more popularity in the changed economic and
business world characterized by stiff foreign competition, changes in technology and
deregulation. These economic and social trends favor cooperative efforts in business and
industrial fields. In view of these changes, accommodation of labor and management to each
others needs (win-win bargaining) is more appropriate than the old adversarial win-lose
approach. By accommodating the needs of two parties, management and labor can enhance
productivity and quality of life (Casico, 1996). In the current climate of wants and needs, there is
no alternative. The win lose approach needs to be changed if firms are to remain competitive in
the international marketplace.
The main objective of cooperative process is to obtain benefits for both parties, not to bargain
over the division or distribution of gains. Each party has to serve its own interest by cooperating
with others. Through cooperation, both parties can replace reactive measures with proactive
approaches. Proactive efforts benefit the union and management by saving time and expenses.
By working together, management and workers can find ways to lower cost add provide superior

57

value to customers (Heckscher, 1989). These savings can mean higher profits for the company
and better contract for the union. Human relations and behavioral experts strongly feel that that
productivity or industrial progress depends on a cordial and sound union-management
relationship. Both management and workers are the equal partners of industrial progress and
prosperity. It is of vital importance to effectively manage human resources of the organization the most valued asset of the organization. Many experts believe that people are the key to
productivity. The excellent firms of the USA, according to Peters and Waterman (1983), also
encourage productivity via people. Productivity through people does not involve too much cost.
Akio Morita, the pioneer of big Sony Corporation, rightly says that: Assets make things
possible, but people make things happen. It is people that make difference between success and
failure. Drucker (1994) argues that union leaders have a tendency to resist changes. In his
opinion, only voluntary and cordial cooperation can reduce workers resistance to change. They
accept decisions gladly and work harder if they share in decision affecting them. They do not
resist changes if they know that they will not cause any inconvenience to them.
3. Labor- Management Cooperation Scenario in Bangladesh
Labor-management relations can be cooperative or they can be adversarial. As mentioned earlier,
cooperative labor-management relations are a definite asset for a firm, especially for one in a
competitive situation. Unfortunately, an adversarial relationship between management and
organized labor has been prevailing in the country for the last few decades. Both parties acted as
if enemy was each other. Adversarial relations make it nearly impossible to implement
significant; lasting change that will benefit customers. These poor relations between union and
management may be responsible for poor industrial performance. Adversarial situations can be
marked by a number of confrontations between management and labor in the country. A total
of.. mandays lost during the last ten years due to industrial disputes in the country
(Ahmed, 1998). A significant number of industrial disputes are alleged to be caused by political
reasons (inter and intra-union rivalries, political issues of national interest and sympathetic
strikes for causes of specific political party etc.). Industrial disputes owing to political cause
exceeded economic cause in numbers. During 1977-1991 out of 796 incidences of industrial
disputes, about 430 incidences were caused by so called political factor (Mondal, 1992).

58

Workers are highly politicized and fragmented. They are more loyal to the party to which they
belong and less to the organization. Anderson, Hosssain and Sahota (1991) maintain that unions
act more as political entities, not as economic agents in Bangladesh. Every political party has its
own labor front (Akkas, 1999). They often engaged in inter-union rivalries and conflicts. Interunion and intra- union rivalries often cause disruption in industrial enterprises, especially in
SOEs. Most of the time problem starts when a union affiliated with one political party try to
overthrow the existing BCA affiliated with a different political party. This is done when mentor
political party gets elected to hold state power. Management cannot take proper action against
these unions having political affiliation. Management also implemented a lockout in which it
refused to let workers come to work. All these non co-operative activities may result in decline
of output and employment (Mondal, 1992).
Now the relevant questions are: what are the barriers that stand in the way of the effective
union management cooperation in the country like Bangladesh? What are the ways out?
This paper will address these burning issues in the context of Bangladesh.
This paper is based on a discussion with few union leaders and top and middle managers of
different companies who participated in a seminar on industrial relations and cooperation in
Bangladesh held in Dhaka some time in the year 2000. The author was one of the discussants in
the seminar. The participants identified a variety of factors that were perceived to contribute to
poor labor-management cooperation at enterprise level. The author tried to record the major
findings of the discussion. The following section deals with a summary of these factors.
4. Impediments Standing in the Way of Labor-Management Cooperation in Bangladesh
The reasons for lack of cooperation identified by the managers and union leaders are many and
varied in nature. Both parties have a tendency to claim themselves fair and honest and put blame
on other party. Both parties are suffering from attitudinal problem. Among the important of these
barriers are the following:

59

Most of the managers are reluctant to give up their exclusive control over organizational
policy and strategy. They think that decision making is their job, not the union or
workers. They are the planners and workers are simply doers. They think that the
participation committee may threaten their prerogatives considerably. Managers have a
belief in the fallacy, if you want it done right, do it yourself. Taylor, the father of
scientific management, also held the same view. The decision-making authority in
Bangladeshi organizations is highly centralized.

Managers are also reluctant to take the risk involved in depending on others. They do not
trust the subordinates to do the job well. As a result, managers do not like to share power
with the workers.

Managers bring allegation against union for their political affiliation. According to
managers, politicization of union is the root of many formidable problems such as
workers loyalty to the political party, multiple unions, and inter-union rivalries. In
Bangladesh, trade unions are product of multi-party politics. They are more loyal to the
party to which they belong and less to the organization. Anderson, Hosssain and Sahota
(1991) maintain that unions act more as political entities, not as economic agents in
Bangladesh. Every political party has its own labor front (Akkas, 1999). They often
engaged in inter-union rivalries and conflicts. Inter-union and intra- union rivalries often
cause disruption in industrial enterprises, especially in SOEs. Most of the time problem
starts when a union affiliated with one political party try to overthrow the existing BCA
affiliated with a different political party. This is done when mentor political party gets
elected to hold state power. Management cannot take proper action against these unions
having political affiliation. Management also implemented a lockout in which it refused
to let workers come to work. All these non co-operative activities may result in decline of
output and employment (Mondal, 1992).

Manages underestimate the intelligence and potentials of their subordinates. They hold
the view that most of the union leaders are well educated and trained and consequently,
they cannot meaningfully participate in the decision making process.

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Managers complain that unions leaders often make unreasonable demands. They do not
consider the financial ability of the organization. They make unusual demand just for
gaining popularity among the workers to retain union leadership. They are more
concerned about their rights and almost indifferent to their duties and obligations. They
are more concerned on employee welfare and less on production and productivity. Union
leadership is irresponsible. Their main job is to discredit management, create fracture
between workers and management.

Managers make allegation against union leaders involvement in corruption. A manager


of a commercial bank says, union puts undue pressure on managers to get a favorable
decision and even union leaders are engaged in extorting money from management.
Union leaders are rated very poor in ethical and moral practice. The public has been
bombarded with news of irresponsible union strikes and some union leaders criminal
activities.

Union alleges that managers do not treat them as equal partners of management in jointbodies. We are not equal partners in reality, says a union leader.

Union leaders allege that a scheme of cooperative management is not given adequate
publicity. This has resulted low awareness and appreciation among workers on labormanagement cooperation scheme.

Union leaders also ridicule the idea of playing managers. After all, they are not paid to
manage. They may simply prefer to avoid risk and want their bosses or managers to take
all responsibility. Union leaders feel that cooperative participation is a waste of time for
them because it serves managements interest.

Union leaders feel that managers may use cooperative committee as an alternative to
union. Union leaders feel that in the name of cooperation, managers may weaken unions
bargaining power. Union leaders fear that cooperative programs may lead to an

61

undermining of union support by creating a closer identification with the companys


concerns and goals.

Union leaders allege that managers are biased and unfair in their dealings with workers.
They play dirty game of rule and divide with unions. Managers encourage weak and
dependent unions for their own vested interest. They create pocket union and extend all
support to a union, which is loyal to them.

Union leaders complain that their managers are very self-centered. Employers and
managers regard their enterprises as their personal property and seek high return to their
investment without due regard to the workers well being. Managers always exploit
workers. Workers are always paid much less than what they deserved. Employers have a
tendency to monopolize the financial gains. They are less interested in creating a
supportive and friendly work environment.

Union leaders allege that the private sector entrepreneurs prefer collective bargaining at
the plant level, which is provided for in the law of the country. Workers unions cannot
effectively bargain at the plant level given the level of education of the union leaders,
information at their disposal, sense of insecurity they experience and skill of bargaining
they possess (Ali and Shams, 2000). The employers achieve a high degree of
coordination through their association at sector, sub-sector and industry level as well
chambers of commerce and industry. Such decentralized bargaining as provided by law
puts workers in a relatively difficulty situation. Management use their power to weaken
the workers.

Unions resist productivity enhancement programs when these programs become a threat
to their job security. In the name of cooperation and efficiency improvement,
management may reduce the number of workers. Bangladesh is a country with high
unemployment. Getting a new job is increasingly becoming difficult. This is why;
workers are worried about their job security.

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Unions may perceive that there are no adequate rewards for accepting additional
responsibility. Unions claim that managers and employers monopolize almost all benefits.
There is no need to extend cooperation.

Another important barrier to sound labor-management cooperation is the weak


communication link between management and workers representatives and between
workers representatives and workers.

5. How to Foster Sound Union-Management Cooperation in Bangladesh


Institutionalizing cooperative relationships is not easy task. Management, workers, and union
leaders must agree on a concept of cooperation, participation and frank and open consultation for
all kinds of production problems. While the factors that are significant in the successful operation
of labor-management cooperation committees differ from country to country, management, union
leaders, experts, and political leaders, who attended the seminar, highlighted some crucial points,
which are discussed below:

Without managerial support and commitment, cooperative labor-management schemes


cannot succeed. Top management and workers must realize that industrial peace or progress
lies with the cooperation between labor and management. They must believe the fact that
either cooperate or perish. Managers must provide a vision for the firms and inspire others
to commit themselves to this vision. They need to be competent in their fields and command
the respect of employees. A manager surrendered by "yes-sayers" will get an incorrect view
of what is really going on within and outside the organization. Thus. Managers should invite
dissenting views.

The attitudes of managers towards workers must be positive. Managers must treat their
people with respect and dignity because people have a lot of positive potentials. They should
not violate the dignity of people for achieving enterprise objectives. People at all levels in the
organization are human beings and all deserve to be treated as such. When employees are
well treated by the boss, they are likely to develop a positive attitude toward supervision and
management (Luthans, 2000). Take the case of Japan, for example. In Japan, however,

63

managers and workers see themselves as one group, and the result is that every one is highly
committed and motivated. The basic idea underlying the Japanese approach is to bring
management and workers together as partners.

Managers must have confidence in people. Trust in subordinates is the foundation for
delegating authority. A manager gets things done through people. Effective mangers are
increasingly being described as coaches rather than bosses. They are expected to provide
instruction, guidance, advice and encouragement to help employees improve their job
performance. A coach looks for opportunities for an employee to expand his capabilities and
improve performance. He shows genuine interest in the person as an individual, not merely
as an employee. He must respect his individuality.

They must set a good example of trust. As Peters and Waterman (1982) point out, model the
qualities that you expect from your employees. If you want openness, dedication,
commitment and responsibility from your employees, you must demonstrate these qualities
yourself. Your employees will look to you as a role model, so make sure your deeds match
your words. Employees are always watching their superior.

Unions should be provided with all relevant information. In Bangladesh, schemes of labormanagement cooperation are not given adequate publicity. This has resulted in low awareness
and appreciation among workers on LMC. The trade unions of the Toyota Company, for
example, receive information about the companys financial position and production
schedules. The result? More efficient production and happier employees.

Guaranteed employment security is essential to utilizing employee potential. People resist


productivity improvement schemes when they feel threatened to lose job. This threat of
losing job due to increased productivity is termed as soldiering by F. W. Taylor (1911), the
father of Scientific Management. Japanese employees are innovative and welcome to
changes because they know that their jobs are well secured. Changes will not cause
displacement. Resistance to change can slow the innovation process.

64

Profit sharing, gain sharing and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) incentives can be
used to motivate employee to perform better. In profit sharing, an employer pays or makes
available to regular employees current or deferred sums based on profits earned in addition to
their regular salary (Werther, 1997). Advocates contend that the workers extend support and
cooperation to increase productivity if they are convinced that they will enjoy adequately the
benefits derived from the increased cooperative efforts (Ouchi, 1982). All employees will
work together toward the organizations best interest.

Management must reward workers for their creative behavior. A punitive reward system will
discourage people from taking risks and therefore reduce the organizations ability to obtain
competitive advantage. Managers must have tolerance for mistakes. Make employee feel that
mistakes will not be punished. Focus on mistakes as learning opportunities.

Manager must create a family friendly working environment. Excellent companies of USA,
according to Peters and Waterman (1982) intruded flexible working schedule, a great deal of
freedom given to the workforce. Informality in personal relationships is illustrated by the use
of first names. This informal organizational climate may result in robust company growth.

Employees will be more responsive to accepting change if they participate in identifying and
choosing among improvement ideas. Managers should include the employees or unions in
the change process. The president of IBM said, we (managers and unions) work as team or
partnership. The union has to be involved in everything that goes on. Managers must create
a climate that contributes to a free and open exchange of ideas. Union and management
should jointly set productivity growth goals (Cascio, 1998). The goal must be measurable
and attainable. Union leaders demand a true participation in managerial decision making at
all level, including union representation on the board of directors. Union representation on
the board is highly practiced in Germany. This practice is called codetermination. In Japanese
firms, decisions are made on a consensus. In Japan, employee-employer/ management
relationship is friendlier, almost family-like.

65

Politicization of trade union must be stopped in the greater interest of the country, because
inter-union rivalry has hindered effectiveness of employee participation in cooperative
activities.

The right of union members to strike cannot be hampered. Cooperative programs should not
be used as an alternative to collective bargaining.

To sum up, both management and workers must realize the fact that they can only meet their
demand for increased profit and wage by enhancing productivity, which depends, to a large
extent, on cooperative relationships between them. Without productivity improvement,
organizations cannot withstand the challenge of fierce international competition, which, in turn,
may eventually jeopardize workers and managers jobs. To put it another way, their jobs will be
at stake if organizations collapse. Organization survival will depend on its ability to increase
productivity. Managers and workers, therefore, should forget their narrow vested interests and
work together as a cohesive team for the greater interest of the organization in particular and the
country in general. Both are equal partners of industrial peace and progress. They are no more
enemies; rather the enemy is international competitors.

Questions for Discussion


1. Contrast labor-management cooperation with collective bargaining.
2. What are some key obstacles that strand in the way of true cooperation by labor and
management?
3. Will widespread labor-management cooperation lead to a loss of union power?
4. What suggestions would you offer to build sound labor-management cooperation in
Bangladesh?
References
Ali, A.M and Shams, M. N. S (2000), Trade Unionism in Bangladesh_ A Survey of the Impact of
Trade Unionism on Wage, Employment and Work Environment in the Manufacturing Sector, The
Jahangirnagarn University Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, June, PP. 13-28.
Akkas, A (1999), Politicization of Trade Unionism in Bangladesh: Causes and Consequences,
Journal of Business Studies, Vol. No. Faculty of Business Studies, Dhaka.

66

Anderson, H. Hossain, N. and Sahota, G.S (1991), The Effect of Labor Laws and Labor
Protection on Employment and Industrialization in Bangladesh, The Bangladesh Development
Studies, Vol. 19. No. 1, March_June, Dhaka.
Balla, O. P (1991). Indias experiments in Joint Management Council, Indian Labor Journal, Vol.
2. No. 11.
Drucker, P. F (1994). The Practice of Management, Harper and Brothers, New York.
Griffin, R. W (1998), Management, McGraw-Hill, Singapore, PP. 23-30.
Luthans, F (2000), Organizational Behavior, McGraw Hill Inc, NJ, P. 100.
Kreitner, R (1998), Competitive Advantages through People, Academy of Management Review,
Vol. 23, No.2. PP. 23-35.
Mondal, A.H (1992), Trade Unionism, Wages and Labor Productivity in the Manufacturing
Sector of Bangladesh, Research Report No. 133, BIDS, Dhaka.
Ouchi, W (1982), Theory Z,
Perlmutter, H. V (1986), Cooperate to Compete Globally, HBR, March April, PP. 136-152.
Peters, T. J and Waterman, R. H (1982), In Search of Excellence, Harper and Row, New York
Weihrich, H (1996), Management Excellence- Productivity through Cooperation, McGraw-Hill
Book Company, New York, P. 234.
Warrier, S. K. (1976). Workers participation in Industry, Management and Labor Studies, 2(11).

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