ERIC Number: ED339865
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
From Control to Commitment in the Workplace: In Factory after Factory, There Is a Revolution Under Way in the Management of Work. Readings on Labor-Management Relations.
Walton, Richard E.
A significant change is under way in the organization and management of work. The work force can be managed in two ways, one based on control and the other based on commitment. The traditional--or control-oriented--approach took shape in the early 1900s in response to the division of work into small, fixed jobs for which individuals were held accountable. Commitment does not flourish in this environment, and discontent with the apparatus of control has been growing. In the new, commitment-based approach to the work force, jobs are broader than before, combining planning and implementation and including efforts to upgrade operations. Control and lateral coordination depend on shared goals; expertise, rather than formal position, determines influence. Management believes that employee commitment will lead to enhanced performance. Assessing the costs of the commitment-based approach is difficult because many problems inherent to the strategy remain to be solved, for example, employment assurances, compensation, effects of technology, supervisors' role, and union-management relations. Most organizations initially make a more limited set of changes when making the transition to a commitment approach. The transformation may be fueled by economic necessity, but other factors shape it. (A work force strategies table compares the following aspects of the control, transitional, and commitment approaches: job design and principles, performance expectations, management organization, compensation policies, employment assurances, employee voice in policies, and labor-management relations.) (NLA)
Descriptors: Administrative Organization, Business Administration, Compensation (Remuneration), Employer Employee Relationship, Industrial Structure, Job Satisfaction, Labor Relations, Organizational Change, Participative Decision Making, Personnel Management, Quality Circles, Technological Advancement
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Bureau of Labor-Management Relations and Cooperative Programs (DOL), Washington, DC.
Note: Reprinted by permission of the Harvard Business Review (March-April 1985).