Desarrollo, cambio e inteligencia organizacional

Este es un tema al que se le ha prestado muy poca atención en las organizaciones y empresas que operan dentro de las culturas latinoamericanas. Y sin embargo

¿Quién no ha de reconocer que la eficiencia organizacional está en gran medida sujeta a que las tareas a desarrollar cuenten con personas físicamente aptas?

Como Frederick Taylor (“Scientific Management”; Harper & Row – 1947) es usualmente denostado y criticado tanto por la academia, la dirigencia sindical, la corporación política, y los sindicatos en los distintos países al sur del Río Grande, poca o nula aplicación se ha realizado en las empresas latinoamericanas de los conceptos y prácticas que ha realizado este curioso e innovador investigador de las acciones – principalmente motrices – que despliegan las personas en las empresas.

Algunas personas piensan que las habilidades físicas han dejado de ser importantes en las organizaciones y emprendimientos modernos.

A ellos les sugerimos que tengan en cuenta la importancia que tuvieron a partir del lanzamiento del primer Sputnik soviético realizado en el año 1957.

Como consecuencia de la importancia de las habilidades físicas en el programa espacial, se realizaron comparaciones a nivel mundial en relación con los niveles físicos de aptitud de los distintos jóvenes norteamericanos.

Los resultados mostraron que los jóvenes norteamericanos estaban substancialmente en desventaja respecto de sus pares extranjeros.

Como consecuencia de estos resultados se llevó a cabo un programa a nivel nacional para evaluar las habilidades físicas que está aún en vigencia y que responde directamente y bajo los auspicios del Presidente de Los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica.

Podemos señalar que de todas las variables que se relacionan con las habilidades físicas para la realización de una tarea, una de las principales tiene que ver con la “división del trabajo”.

Existe la concepción generalizada de que la división del trabajo y el foco en las habilidades físicas – como así también la diferencia entre los participantes organizacionales que piensan y deciden como se deben hacer las cosas respecto de aquellos que solamente tienen que hacer.

También se asocia a la división del trabajo con el tamaño de la empresa asumiendo que las organizaciones grandes son las únicas que tienen una alta división del trabajo.

No encontramos mucha evidencia de ambas proposiciones.

En primer lugar es de hacer notar que en el siglo X la industria textil inglesa ya contaba con una alta división del trabajo, lo que se remonta a más de 900 años antes del trabajo pionero de Taylor.

Por otro lado J. Litterer (“The analysis of organizations”; Wiley – 1965) demuestra que existen distintos motivos que justifican aplicar el principio de división del trabajo independientemente del tamaño de la organización.

En primer lugar existen limitaciones físicas que hacen imposible que una sola persona pueda realizar todas las tareas y una segunda restricción tiene que ver con los límites en cuanto al conocimiento necesario para la realización de la tarea.

Y el tercer aspecto tiene que ver con el hecho que la división del trabajo permite alcanzar niveles mayores de efectividad y eficiencia.

Se le adjudica a Adam Smith (1776) la denominación de “división del trabajo” quien a su vez también sugiere que existen tres razones principales que permiten alcanzar una mayor productividad como resultado de la división del trabajo.

Ellas son: 1. aumenta el nivel de destreza del empleado; 2. no existe pérdida de tiempo en relación con el pase de una tarea a la siguiente; y 3. promueve el desarrollo de mejoras e inventos como así también el uso de nuevos equipos y maquinarias, las que a su vez han de aumentar la productividad.

Adam Smith muestra como a través de la producción de “pins” una fábrica está en condiciones de producir hasta 4800 unidades por día, mientras que si cada empleado se dedicara a fabricar un “pin” por sí solo, quizás no llegaría a fabricar siquiera veinte de ellas y en algunas casos ni siquiera uno sólo.

Para tener una idea más precisa de las tareas a realizar – y los atributos físicos necesarios – una tarea puede descomponerse en dos elementos principales (J. Litterer; 1965 – ya citado):

a. la primera de ellas tiene que ver con el “alcance” de la tarea / del trabajo a realizar que tiene que ver principalmente con el grado de influencia que puede ejercer el empleado respecto de su contexto de trabajo, pudiendo de èsta manera realizar la tarea con mayor discrecionalidad (y con menos control y supervisión de terceros).

b. la segunda dimensión importante de las tareas tiene que ver con el alcance de la tarea.

Aquí el incumbente realiza pocas tareas y repite el ciclo de trabajo frecuentemente. Cuando se realizan operaciones más variadas el ciclo de trabajo no se repite con tanta frecuencia y el alcance es entonces mayor.

Existe una idea bastante generalizada en las culturas latinoamericanas de que las personas son por lo general altamente creativas – dentro de ellas – y prefieren por lo general tareas más complejas que las que son repetitivas.

Existe un trabajo muy interesante que fue realizado en Maytag donde E. H. Conant & M. D. Kilbridge (“An interdisciplinary analysis of job enlargement: technology, costs, and behavioral implications”; Industrial and Labor Relations Review, volume 18 – April 1965) quienes estudiaron las consecuencias y las actitudes del personal asociadas con dos tipos distintos de trabajo: la producción en línea o la producción en un banco de trabajo.

Los autores encuentran en este trabajo de campo que no existe directa y positiva correlación a favor de una mayor complejidad en el trabajo.

Un hallazgo interesante ha mostrado que la interacción social entre las personas era mayor en los trabajos de “línea” que en aquellos trabajos realizados “en bancos de trabajo”.

Esto sugiere que “agrandar” el trabajo de las personas no siempre es la mejor opción en todos los casos. En este sentido se sugiere tener en cuenta algunas de las conclusiones a las que arribaron J. Biggane & P. Steward (Job enlargement: a case study”; Bureau of Labor and Management, State University of Iowa – 1963).

Estos autores destacan que “job enlargement” hace que la tarea tenga más sentido para el trabajador y además es más gratificante para él.

Usualmente tiene un efecto positivo en cuanto a la calidad del trabajo. Pero por otro lado debemos reconocer que “job enlargement” tiene un límite del cual no debemos excedernos.

Los autores Alan Filley & Robert House (“Managerial process and organizational behavior”; Scott, Foresman and Co. – 1969) concluyen que: “It would appear that the policy at Maytag was to enlarge jobs to a semi-skilled level rather than to move to a skilled craft orientation.

Enlarged jobs, at least of the bench variety, require more space and duplicate equipment.

There are also some processes that must retain balanced assembly or continuous production characteristics. Finally, since retraining takes longer as skills levels are increased, absenteeism and turnover are costly.

Workers cannot be replaced as easily as they can for routine assembly-line jobs.”

El mito de la creatividad y de la preferencia por diseños de trabajo “agrandados” ha sido muy bien ejemplificado por el Profesor Philip Marcus (Eric Gaynor Butterfield; Paper: Sociology of organizations” – 1973).

El Dr. Marcus destacaba que a pesar del aparente descontento de los trabajadores respecto de las líneas de montaje automotriz, cualquier aviso solicitando personal encontraba más postulantes que a cualquier otro trabajo más creativo. Un hallazgo interesante en este sentido tiene que ver con que cada vez parecen ser más las personas que están tomando la decisión de “hacer un trabajo con poco sentido”, pero por otro lado se reservan horas libres donde “hacen las cosas que le son significativas para su persona” (Eric Gaynor Butterfield: Taller de “Satisfacción en el trabajo”; Julio 1995).

Inicialmente uno de los principales trabajos de Frederick Taylor (“Principles of scientific management”; New york: Harper & Row – 1923) tuvo que ver con llegar a conocer lo que sería la producción diaria de “un trabajador de primera clase” que representaría el estándar – o benchmark, en la terminología de hoy en día – de producción para los demás.

El “estudio de tiempos” de Taylor tuvo una versión similar en los trabajos de Frank & Lillian Gilbreth, quienes en lugar de hablar de tiempos, destacaron la importancia de las herramientas de “motion study”.

Una muy buena descripción de los “motion studies” es realizada por W. Spriegel & C. Myers (eds.) en “Writings of the Gilbreth`s”; homewood, IL:Irwin – 1953: Motion study is “the science of eliminating wastefulness from using unnecessary, ill-directed, and inefficient motions”. De acuerdo con éstos autores los seis pasos del análisis de los “motion studies” de los hermanos Gilbreth, son:

1. Ponga por escrito la “práctica actual”; como se hace actualmente.

2. Enumere los distintos movimientos (“motions”) que se realizan.

3. Haga una lista de las distintas variables que influyen sobre cada uno de los movimientos.

4. Ponga por escrito la mejor práctica.

5. Enumere los distintos movimientos (“motions”) que se realizan.

6. Haga una lista de las distintas variables que influyen sobre cada movimiento.

Roger Schank hace las siguientes observaciones en la sección titulada: “Companies that get new people productive faster will become more profitable.

The ability to train people at their home office locations via a three-hour computer simulation is enormously appealing for many reasons, not the least of which is turnover.

Nothing frustrates organization leaders more than spending a lot of money flying people all over the place, getting them trained only to see them leave a short time later, and then repeating the process”.

Schank sugiere que en muy poco tiempo las empresas PYMES han de estar en condiciones de contar con software de entrenamiento “virtual” a un costo muy bajo relativamente (entre 500 y 1.000 dólares).

Debido a su particular enfoque pragmático el autor concluye que el aprendizaje en el trabajo (on the job learning) no va a desaparecer en el siglo venidero; pero de todas maneras ha de tener que co-existir con el aprendizaje virtual.

En relación con la capacidad de innovar de las organizaciones Sachiko Nonaka & Nobuko Takeuchi (“The knowledge-creating company”; New York: Oxford University Press – 1995) hacen algunas sugerencias que tanto los altos directivos como también los empresarios y líderes organizacionales, no deben descuidar:

”To become knowledge-creating companies, managers in the East and West need to build and manage multiple conversions, spirals, and syntheses, and not be content simple to carry out a unidimensional boeing match.

The key lies in multiple transformations across multiple dimensions, or what we will call hypertransformations”. In order to cope with the uncertainty Japanese companies “are turning themselves into knowledge-creating companies on a global scale.

They will emerge stronger from the current recession, since the seeds for continuous innovation have already been sewn. Japanese companies have taught us that innovation can be achieved by continuously creating new knowledge, disseminating it widely through the organization, and embodying it quickly in new technologies, products, and systems.

This knowledge-creating process is no longer an enigma. This process is also no longer endemic to Japanese companies. It is universal”.

Aquellos que piensan que la capacitación y el entrenamiento del personal resulta algo muy caro, pueden intentar no tenerlo en cuenta.

Van a tener suficiente tiempo para descansar cuando se encuentren sin trabajo o sin empresa (Eric Gaynor Butterfield; Jornada de Capacitación, Buenos Aires 1995).

A estas alturas no faltará quien sugiera que: “Ok, está muy bien. Ahora vuelve a ser necesario apreciar la importancia de las habilidades físicas como consecuencia de la carrera espacial, algo similar a lo que sucedió hace casi un siglo atrás, pero dentro de otros contextos”. Pero no todas las personas están involucradas con los programas espaciales.

Quisiera en este sentido recordarles que todos nosotros nos ponemos “en fila” bajo muchas situaciones de nuestro quehacer diario.

Lo hacemos en los Bancos ante cajeros personales, y también a la salida de supermercados, o de tiendas en shoppings.

Y no nos sorprende encontrar a algún Cliente que está en una fila y decide en algún momento pasarse a otra fila, puesto que aunque es novato en la observación de esa particular situación, ha podido observar que alguien opera más eficientemente que su par.

Trabajos de campo han mostrado que las habilidades físicas diferenciales entre las personas, pueden llegar a producir performance más altas – a igual remuneración – en el orden del 15 al 20 %.

Respecto del análisis de las tareas en los puestos de trabajo podemos señalar que no se le ha dado suficiente atención a pesar de las importantes implicancias que tiene, puesto que se vincula con performance de acuerdo a ciertos estándares (como lo son las ISO 9000, por ejemplo) y además influye sobre los aspectos de seguridad y sus consecuencias que incluyen fuertes implicancias legales que pueden resultar disfuncionales para las empresas.

Una importante distinción es la que debemos realizar entre el análisis de la tarea en el puesto y las especificaciones del puesto ya que la primera de ellas pone foco en la descripción de comportamientos en el puesto, que resulta ser totalmente independiente de las características que tienen las personas que ejecutan las tareas. Las especificaciones del puesto tienen más que ver con las características personales, que se presume son necesarias para una performance exitosa.

Posiblemente E. J. Mc Cormick (“Job and task analysis”; en (ed.) D. Dunnette – Handbook of Industrial and organizational psychology”; Chicago: Rand McNally – 1976) ha sido una de las personas que más aportes ha realizado en ésta particular área y de allí que hemos de considerar como él lo ha definido.

Para Mc Cormick , el análisis del puesto tiene que ver con recoger información sobre los siguientes aspectos:

a. comportamientos “job-oriented”, como por ejemplo lista de tareas del puesto y los procedimientos de trabajo;

b. algunos comportamientos que tienen que ver con el personal y que son de carácter más conceptual y abstracto como es el caso, de la supervisión de otros, el procesamiento de información, y la toma de decisiones;

c. los comportamientos que se producen como consecuencia de las interacciones que mantiene la persona con las máquinas, los equipos, las herramientas y los materiales;

d. los métodos relacionados con la apreciación y evaluación de performance, tales como las tasas de error aceptables y los niveles de productividad;

e. el contexto en el cual se realiza el trabajo, como es el caso de las condiciones de trabajo, el sistema de remuneraciones, entre otros;

f. los requerimientos basados en el personal como por ejemplo las destrezas, habilidades físicas y las características de personalidad.

Distintos trabajos de campo muestran que en gran medida las organizaciones, empresas y corporaciones dentro de las distintas culturas latinoamericanas han comenzado a tener en cuenta modelos organizacionales “más modernos” pero no necesariamente más efectivos, y no han considerado que el aprendizaje es acumulativo en lugar de sustitutivo. Por esto queremos decir que desconocer la importancia de las habilidades físicas y las contribuciones de la administración científica le pueden estar costando muy caro a las organizaciones dentro de las distintas culturas latinoamericanas.

Los dirigentes Chinos, sus gobernantes, empresarios y líderes han obtenido ingentes beneficios como resultado de la aplicación de técnicas, modelos, principios y atributos que se relacionan con un modelo organizacional que, dentro de algunas industrias, aún las habilidades físicas siguen siendo muy importantes para obtener una ventaja competitiva.

Y esto no quiere decir que no tengan en cuenta que dentro de otros modelos organizativos las habilidades mentales y conceptuales quizás sean más importantes que las físicas.

Es por ello que ponemos a disposición de los lectores interesados, distintos materiales relacionados con la importancia de las habilidades físicas y como ellas se relacionan con el diseño del trabajo en las organizaciones y empresas.

Muchos empresarios gozan de una ventaja competitiva, aún hoy en día, exclusivamente por tener en cuenta estos – aparentemente simples – aspectos.

Algunos de los trabajos principales son detallados a continuación que representan una Bibliografía “inicial” esperando poder aumentarla y consolidarla con la participación de ustedes. Muchas gracias por compartir.

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Espero que esta Bibliografía – en gran medida de tipo incompleta sobre esta particular temática – sea de utilidad para los directivos de organizaciones como así también de empresarios, para ayudar a que sus empresas sean más competitivas.

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Gaynor Butterfield Eric. (2006, marzo 18). Desarrollo, cambio e inteligencia organizacional. Recuperado de http://www.gestiopolis.com/desarrollo-cambio-e-inteligencia-organizacional/
Gaynor Butterfield, Eric. "Desarrollo, cambio e inteligencia organizacional". GestioPolis. 18 marzo 2006. Web. <http://www.gestiopolis.com/desarrollo-cambio-e-inteligencia-organizacional/>.
Gaynor Butterfield, Eric. "Desarrollo, cambio e inteligencia organizacional". GestioPolis. marzo 18, 2006. Consultado el 5 de Julio de 2015. http://www.gestiopolis.com/desarrollo-cambio-e-inteligencia-organizacional/.
Gaynor Butterfield, Eric. Desarrollo, cambio e inteligencia organizacional [en línea]. <http://www.gestiopolis.com/desarrollo-cambio-e-inteligencia-organizacional/> [Citado el 5 de Julio de 2015].
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