Network - Spring 2010 - (Page 39)

O Feature Current Economic Conditions Breed Good Management By James Bywater T he benign economic environment of the last 10 years has done some notable things: it has seen the rise of China as a superpower, widespread increases in public spending on health and education, significant immigration from Eastern Europe, and generally low levels of unemployment. However, this paper argues that the growth decade from 2000 to 2008 also presided over poor management processes that had gone untested. The economic slowdown may well cause organizations to rethink their approach to managing performance and careers, which should leave them stronger as the economic cycle picks up again. How did we get here? There is much media speculation about the psychology of the hype of the “boom” years – the assumption that growth was normal, or business as usual. Then came the economic slowdown. We now know what the slowdown feels like and we have some understanding about what may have caused it. It certainly looks like some of the lending to the housing market in the USA was based upon this assumption of eternal growth. As these lending practices have come under scrutiny, so too has the performance management culture within these businesses. It seems that over time these and other businesses have become obsessed with results – sales targets, profit targets and earnings ratios. While understandable, this form of quantitative measurement (“what”), when concentrated upon to the exclusion of the way these results are achieved (“how”) is well known to result in counter productive behaviours. The list of organizations that have done this in their own “good times” reads like a roll call of corporate bubbles that have gone wrong NETWORK O Spring 2010 The economic slowdown may well cause organizations to rethink their approach to managing performance and careers. – Enron, Equitable Life and so on. However these organizations were single corporations, and what has been occurring more recently is that a whole economy has become fixated upon results, and this does not promote good management. Performance Management Broadly speaking, performance management is a continuous process to manage the tasks and skill development of all employees in order to fulfil O 39

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Network - Spring 2010

Network - Spring 2010
Table of Contents
HRIA President’s Message
Recognizing Excellence in HR
Alberta HR Conference
Economic Crisis or Golden Opportunity? You Decide.
Advancing in the Right Direction: Maintaining Employee Optimism During Recession
Re-energize Your Employees Without Breaking the Bank
HR and the Post-Recession Landscape
Is the Workforce in Limbo?
Current Economic Conditions Breed Good Management
Learning Agility in Times of Change
Preparing for Economic Recovery – Alternatives to Terminations
The HR Office
Index of Advertisers

Network - Spring 2010