Who are People
Humans are social beings; we seldom live and work in isolation. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we are always in interaction with other people and we are continually planning, developing, managing and ceasing our relations with others. These relations do not appear out of nowhere. They depend on our actions and our ability to manage our actions. From an early age we gain knowledge and experience on understanding others and the way people behave in certain situations. Later in life we develop on this understanding further and carry it with us to our workplace.
Dealing With People in Organizations
However, dealing with people in organization is probably the most difficult thing we will ever encounter in life. People in organization are very complex creatures. Not a single person thinks, feels, sees, hears, tastes, understands and behaves the same way.
We all come from different ethnic, cultural, national, religious and political backgrounds. This makes each and every one of us unique with different set of morals, beliefs and values. This complexity and variety also reflects on our everyday work lives. People’s characteristics, values and beliefs form attitudes and behaviours that strongly influence their choice of employment.
However, this complexity and variety in the workplace often regarded as a problem. It is true that complexity is a management challenge, however, complexity is simply about the way we are. As it is natural for a dog to bark, it is natural for people to be complex. After all, everything changes and nothing is stable. Nevertheless, the law of cause and effect states that for every action there is a reaction. When this is applied to people management we can see that the input of HR practitioners affects people’s actions and reactions. Thus, in this sense, managing people can be seen as the most important task at work.
People and Management
Management cannot simply set certain policies and procedures in place and then sit back and watch the days go by. Managers need to put in the time and the effort it takes to deal with the complexities of employees. However, realistically, it is extremely difficult and in most cases impossible, to achieve this task fully. While some people will be content with the way things are, others will be unhappy about the decisions management makes. Some employees will work hard to achieve the goals that are set by management, while others will be unhelpful, obstructive and uncooperative. There will be organisational complexities in the microenvironment (inside the organisation) and microenvironment (outside the organisation). Internally, managers need to respond to a very diverse workforce and variety of business models for various different business units. Externally, things can be worse for managers where the complexity, variety and diversity is even higher in customer needs, logistics, cultural values, government regulations, investors, etc.
Moreover, the business environment today is no clearer than of yesterday. Although organisations are flooded with more and more information each day, they cannot always interpret, understand and make sense of information. Most of the time, people in organisations have to cope with ambiguity. Employee meetings, management reports, executive directives are becoming less solid and more open to interpretation. This, of course, is not always a harmful environment for organisations, because it allows people to have flexibility in their decisions and the way they do certain tasks, but nevertheless it will be naïve to assume that every employee can cope with ambiguity and interpret information correctly and apply their understanding to tasks effectively.
What is Organization
In addition, organisations have to deal with interdependence. It is evident that every organisational function and process is interdependent. In other words, everything we do is related to everything else. For example, according to the ‘the butterfly effect’ when a butterfly moves its wings on one side of the world, it can create a tornado in the other. The less rigid organisational borders are, the easier it gets for the organisation to take advantage of globalisation. Because the more open minded and flexible an organization is, the easier it will be to adapt new structures, philosophies and ways of performing that is needed to meet the demands of an international customer base. However, this also means that organisations are more and more exposed to the effects of the problems around the globe such as the recent economic crisis.
It is clear that management on its own cannot cope with everyday tasks and processes of organisational life and find effective ways to manage people by constantly providing clear guidelines and instructions, keeping the morale and motivation high and finding better ways for each employee to develop and flourish in the workplace. The demands of the changing nature of individuals and work require a more sophisticated management function which focuses not only on the short-term, day-to-day concerns of the individual and the organisation, but also on long-term, strategic organisational goals and individual needs.
From the time we get out of bed we are involved in organisational life. For example, the minute we get up and use the bathroom or make a cup of tea in the morning, we are engaging services such as electricity, water, sanitation, etc. which are provided by organisations. Organisations are an important part of our daily lives and it is hard to imagine a day without engaging in a task that does not have an input from an organisation (e.g. schools, universities, hospitals, places of worship, local government, etc.)
Organisations are created by people who decide to work together in order to attain their specific objectives. Organisations function through the division of labour and on a hierarchy of authority. People in organization and business processes are structured to achieve organisational objectives.