A primary tool in designing work and structure is job evaluation. The methods used today were created in the mid-1950’s and haven’t changed much since then. Their core assumptions are directly derived from, and have helped embed, Taylorism at the core of the modern organization
I don’t mean job evaluation as in assessing a person’s performance on the job – I mean the function usually managed by HR departments that ‘measures’ or ‘weighs’ jobs, and assigns them to levels and pay grades based on job “weight” with respect to skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions (the legal criteria for assessing pay equity).
I believe that these tools and their underlying assumptions are used to create the skeletal architecture of hierarchical organizations, the pyramid we all know.
These fundamental principles of work design need to be examined and re-conceived if the significant power of social computing is ever to be realized.
The definitions of the know-how (knowledge and skills ) factor levels are paraphrased from the semantic definitions on the actual Hay Guide Chart.
A - Unschooled and unskilled
B - Some school, some skill
C - Basic high school, routine work
D - Vocational school, community college, trades, senior administrative
E - University graduation, senior trades, managerial (reads the books)
F - University plus 10 years experience, grad school (puts the books to use)
G - Deep knowledge and expertise (writes the books)
H - God (has others write the books)
These methods did not envision or foresee the Web, hyperlinks and the exchanges of information which have spawned and carry the bit-by-bit layering and assembly of knowledge and peer-to-peer negotiation of results and responsibilities we are seeing emerge with greater frequency in this new networked world.
Any of us familiar with medium to large sized organizations can begin to see, I believe, that the fundamental Taylorist assumption that knowledge is structured vertically and put to use in siloed pyramidic structures and cascaded down to the execution level must be straining at the seams in the increasingly highly-connected social networks in which many people work today.
I think many executives and senior managers sense massive challenges to the power and status relationships (the core of yet-to-change organizational structure) that exist in most of today’s larger organizations. This sense of a growing challenge is behind many senior managers’ and executives’ struggles to understand or become enthusiastic about the possibilities of Enterprise 2.0. There is no Guide Chart yet about networked know-how, problem-solving or accountability.