Taking time seriously in evaluating jobs

One way or another, we would all agree that a chief executive officer’s job is bigger than a copy typist’s or a semiskilled manual worker’s in the same company. We might say that it carries more or a wider span of responsibility, calls for more initiative, or (perhaps) requires more training. Or we might say that the chief executive officer is accountable for their work, while the reverse does not hold.
If we compare the CEO’s role with that of his or her production director or sales manager, however, it becomes more difficult to state whether or why his or her role is bigger. We might still say that because he or she is the top manager the job must inevitably be bigger than any subordinate jobs. But we should still be hard put to say how much bigger.
And, most difficult of all, the moment we try to compare any two jobs in different parts of the organization we are in trouble. How do we compare, for example, an accountant with a production engineer, with a salesman, with a shop foreman, with a production controller, with a patent officer, with a research program manager, with a designer? Which is biggest
and which is smallest? Which is worth more and which less? Which should have higher status and which less? And how do we explain the differences to people actually in the jobs?

One of the things that all jobs have in common is time. Any experienced manager,whatever his or her job, takes the great importance of time for granted. Things have to be done on time, planning is done about time, and organizing is done to achieve things in time.

(quoted from Harvard Business Review, september 1979)


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