订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

领导力

为什么“现代”工作文化让上班族这么惨

Jeffery pfeffer 2018年03月25日

新型工作安排其实是新瓶装旧酒,和以前的工作组织方式变化不大。

科技报道记者丹·里昂曾在评论文章中回顾在软件公司HubSpot的工作经历,呈现了视员工为一次性用品的工作环境,那家公司把员工当成零件,用完就丢在一边。HubSpot不是孤例:《纽约时报》披露的亚马逊工作环境也很类似。越来越多企业给员工提供零食和桌上足球之类娱乐设施,时不时创造一些新潮术语,就是想让员工忽略冗长的工作时间,缓解经济上强烈的不安全感。

至于种种手段有没有用,能奏效多长时间,答案就见仁见智了。

当然,在新经济领域,企业很少刚开始就雇用里昂之类的正式员工。不少公司更喜欢聘用独立的自由职业合同工承担大部分工作。在新近发布的研究报告中,劳动力经济学家劳伦斯·卡兹和亚伦·克鲁格认为,2005年到2015年十年间,在提供临时服务的中介或独立承包商等非传统工作场所打工的美国劳动力增长了50%左右。他们在报告中写道:“2005年到2015年,美国经济的就业净增长看来都在非传统工作场所。”

对于新型劳动协议和新型工作安排,有三点非常重要。首先,新型工作安排其实是新瓶装旧酒,和现代社会就业关系产生以前的工作组织方式变化不大。其次,新/旧工作安排提现了企业政策的自然发展。变化几十年前就已开始,即企业承诺支付员工固定工资,聘用的目的就是换回员工的劳动。第三,新型就业形势下,劳动者只能跟着现代人才市场走,打乱了以前人们工作的重要理由——成为公司一分子。

新型工作安排实为新瓶装旧酒

正如多位劳动力历史学家和社会学家论述,大企业聘用员工,并利用精心设计的人力资源政策管理招聘、薪酬、福利和培训以前,主流工作形式是小企业主聘请家里人干活(比如农场),或者和劳动者签订计件劳动合同。

现代雇佣关系主要源于雇主对自身利益更加明确。加州大学洛杉矶分校的经济学家斯坦福·雅各比在《雇用官僚制》(Employing Bureaucracy)一书中指出,随意的雇佣关系导致员工与雇主疏远,流失率极高,导致经营效率低下,由此产生了规范管控劳动力的做法。雅各比在《现代庄园》(Modern Manors)一书中详细解释,带薪假期和养老金等慷慨的福利怎样在名为“福利资本主义”的制度下兴起,既能先发制人应付工会,也符合政府监管要求。书中举了美国汽车大王亨利·福特的例子。福特将工人的日薪上调到5美元,将每日工作时间由9小时降至8小时。他之所以提出闻名业界的改善工人待遇政策,是因为发现更多薪水才能留住工人,保证有人上岗工作。一旦有人缺勤,福特驰名于世的汽车生产线就可能停工。

今天,企业可以更多利用电脑监督,还有各种复杂的日程安排平台分配工作。然而,企业选择聘用独立的合同工计件支付薪水,回到了140年前的工作安排形式,并不是管理创新。

员工意识转变

第二点,员工不再认为需要通过劳资关系保障自身。提供某种铁饭碗,即终生雇佣政策的企业急剧减少。曾几何时,挤入最佳工作环境榜单的公司还用此类政策当卖点,现在入围公司几乎不再提及。

几十年前,硅谷和其他地方的公司开始宣称,员工要对自己的职业道路负责。公司充其量只能提供承诺的薪资和福利,还给员工打磨技能从而更好适应未来机会(可能在其他公司)的工作。

将近三十年前,美国西北大学教授保罗·赫希还在《收拾好自己的降落伞》(Pack Your Own Parachute)一书中为企业并购、削减规模频发和外包盛行时代的工人提供建议。十五年后,丹·平克的畅销书《自由职业的国度》(Free Agent Nation)却在建议劳动者,如何应付越来越以市场为主的人才市场,还介绍了一些鼓舞人心实例,内容是自由职业者如何热爱自由的工作方式。

过去人们认为,对企业忠诚可以换来企业对员工的忠诚,如今,企业与员工互惠的观念几乎不复存在。美国卡耐基梅隆大学教授丹尼斯·卢梭合著的论文称,半数以上的受访者称,不管之前对公司的认同感模糊还是明确,进入公司不到两年已经动摇。我和弗吉尼亚大学商学院教授彼得·贝拉米共同进行的研究发现,如果让员工决定是否决定回报公司,其动机取决于判断恩惠是在工作环境下还是人际交往中。倘若是工作环境下,员工回馈公司的可能性就低得多。

很早以前企业就开始切断与员工的情感联系。企业将员工视为人力“资源”,是根据回报多少而获取和丢弃的资产。现状只是趋势延续。

失去了什么?

当前人才市场失去的是有人情味的感觉,现在过多强调效率、成本和生产率。

人是社会动物。我们渴望结成伙伴,希望成为群体的一分子,努力获得社会的支持。假如禁锢自身不与外界交往,就会遭到冷酷对待和过度惩罚。不断有研究发现,社会支持和人的身体健康息息相关,因为工作场所的社会支持可以缓解职场的压力,促进身心健康。为多个企业打工的自由职业者会导致和同事隔离,脱离了能带来工作满足感和社会支持的集体。

教皇方济各最近在评论家庭生活时承认,很多现代企业缺少人情味,造成破坏性打击。他指出,家庭正被现代生活压力“包围”,“大多数时候,父母回到家中已经精疲力尽,不想交谈,很多家庭里全家人甚至不在一起吃饭。”他认为,不少家庭“常常为了未来苦苦挣扎,却忽视了享受当下”,对经济状况和工作稳定的担忧导致情况进一步恶化。

未来会怎样?

雅各比等人指出,包括工资上涨、铁饭碗、体面的福利和正当程序保护在内,良性的工作环境主要因为企业想控制工作流程稳定。企业不希望内部政策受到劳资协议和政府监管影响。当代各国,无论是在美国还是其他地方,政府和有组织的工会影响力都在减弱,无疑和人才市场安排的变化有很大关系。

如今,企业面临是让一些员工搭工会便车还是和工会进行劳资谈判的问题。如果提供更好的待遇,超出了一定水平,人力成本就会高于竞争对手。由于各企业要让人力成本和对手的一致、不超过对手,所以出现竞相降低待遇的现象。只有在人才市场供不应求时,或者像现在这样,出现提高最低薪资和增加带薪产假等风潮时,企业才会停止降低待遇。

但是,人需要安全感,按照心理学家马斯洛的需求层次理论,这是人类需求的一部分。无论是否考虑竞争压力、工会、政府监管和失业率,社会交流都是最根本的需求。当下,人类基本需求与工作环境出现脱节,也是现代人才市场要付出的代价。这正是工业化国家大选期间民意激愤的原因之一。(财富中文网)

本文作者杰弗瑞·普弗瑞是美国斯坦福大学商学研究生院组织行为学教授,著有《领导力:拯救职场与事业》(Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time)一书。

译者:Pessy

审稿:夏林

Dan Lyons’ account of his time at the software company HubSpot describes a workplace in which employees are disposable, “treated as if they are widgets to be used up and discarded.” And HubSpot is scarcely unique: The description of Amazon’s work environment is just one of many similar cases. An increasing number of companies offer snacks, foosball, and futuristic jargon to keep employees’ minds off their long hours and omnipresent economic insecurity.

Whether that works, and for how long, is an open question.

Of course, in the new economy ever fewer companies hire people like Lyons as employees in the first place. Many workplaces prefer to use independent contractors for much of the companies’ work. A recent working paper by labor economists Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger concluded that the proportion of the U.S. labor force in alternative work arrangements—working for temporary help agencies or as independent contractors, for example—expanded by some 50% in the decade from 2005 to 2015. Moreover, they wrote, “all of the net employment growth in the U.S. economy from 2005 to 2015 appears to have occurred in alternative work arrangements.”

Three facts about the new deal at work and the new work arrangements are important. First, these new work arrangements are actually old, much like how work was organized before the modern employment relationship originated. Second, these new/old work arrangements represent a natural progression of company policies, begun decades ago, that tell people that companies owed them nothing except promised pay and to make them more employable. And third, by leaving people to navigate the contemporary labor market essentially alone, the employment arrangements disrupt an old and important reason for working—the opportunity to be part of a group.

The New Work Arrangements are Actually Old

As numerous labor historians and sociologists have documented, before there were large companies employing people and using elaborate human resource policies to govern recruitment, compensation, benefits, and training, work was mostly performed by small entrepreneurs using family labor (as on farms) or by contract labor paid on a piece-work basis.

The modern employment relationship emerged primarily because of enlightened employer self-interest. As UCLA economist Sanford Jacoby documented in his book Employing Bureaucracy, rule-based control over labor emerged as a response to the inefficiencies caused by a capricious employment relationship that left employees alienated and turnover extremely high. Jacoby’s Modern Manors detailed how generous benefits such as paid vacations and pensions arose under a system called “welfare capitalism” as a way to forestall unionization and government regulation. As an example of this, Henry Ford’s famous $5 a day wage and a concomitant reduction in daily work hours from 9 to 8 arose because Ford saw that he needed to pay more to retain workers and ensure they would show up. His famous automobile assembly line couldn’t run with people missing.

Although it is coupled with more computer surveillance and fancy scheduling platforms to pair people with work, today’s use of independent contractors paid on a piece-rate system represents a return to the work arrangements of 140 years ago, not some new managerial innovation.

Employees Beware

Second, the need for employees to fend for themselves is also a hoary idea. The number of employers offering some form of employment security—a no-layoff policy—has declined drastically. What once was a practice cited by many companies on the Great Place to Work list now exists almost nowhere.

Decades ago, employers in Silicon Valley and elsewhere began telling people that employees were responsible for their own careers. A company could at best deliver on promised pay and benefits and hopefully provide workers with jobs that would build their skills and make them more employable (possibly elsewhere).

Almost 30 years ago, Northwestern professor Paul Hirsch wrote Pack Your Own Parachute to provide advice to workers in an era of mergers, downsizing, and outsourcing. Fifteen years later, Dan Pink’s Free Agent Nation achieved best-seller status with its combination of practical suggestions on how to navigate an increasingly market-based labor market along with inspiring stories of free agents who loved their new autonomy.

The idea of reciprocity inside companies—repaying the loyalty of employees to their employer with company loyalty to its workers—is mostly gone. Carnegie-Mellon professor Denise Rousseau co-authored a paper reporting that within two years of joining their employer, more than half of the people surveyed reported that the implicit and explicit psychological contracts with their employer had been violated. Research by Virginia business school professor Peter Belmi and I found that when you told people they were making decisions about whether or not to reciprocate a favor, their motivation to do so depended on whether they thought they were in an organizational or interpersonal context. People put in an organizational mind-set were much less likely to reciprocate.

Companies started to cut employees loose quite a while ago. What we see today is just a continuation of a trend to treat people as human resources, as assets to be acquired and discarded according to the return for doing so.

What’s Missing?

What’s missing from the current labor market is a sense of humanity—as contrasted with lots of emphasis on efficiency, costs, and productivity.

Human beings are social creatures. We crave companionship, seek to be part of communities, and thrive on social support. Not surprisingly, solitary confinement is increasingly under fire for being cruel and excessive punishment. Research consistently finds a relationship between social support and health, because social support in the workplace can buffer workplace stressors and contributes to physical and mental well-being. Working as free agents for multiple employers can separate people from workmates and a community that provide both job satisfaction and social support.

Pope Francis’s recent message on family life recognizes the inhumanity and destructiveness of many contemporary workplaces. Describing families as being “under siege” by the pressures of modern life, the Pope noted, “In many cases, parents come home exhausted, not wanting to talk, and many families no longer even share a common meal.” He commented that many families “often seem more caught up with securing their future than with enjoying the present,” a situation aggravated by concerns about financial security and steady employment.

What’s Next

As Jacoby and others have noted, the benign workplace situation of higher wages, employment security, decent benefits, and due process protections largely originated from employers’ desires to control their own work practices. Employers did not want policies subject to either collective bargaining agreements or government regulation. The diminishing role of both the state and organized labor in the contemporary economy—in the U.S. and abroad—undoubtedly has much to do with the evolution of labor market arrangements.

Today, individual companies face a free-rider/collective action problem. If they offer a better deal, beyond a certain point the companies incur costs that their competitors do not. This idea of matching what others do—and no more—has set off a race to the bottom that only seems to abate when challenged by a tightening labor market or political actions such as the current groundswell for higher minimum wages and more paid family leave.

But human needs for safety and security—a part of Maslow’s hierarchy—and for social interaction are primal, existing regardless of competitive pressures, unions, government regulations, and the unemployment rate. This disconnect, between human needs and work arrangements that fulfill them, is one of the costs exacted in contemporary labor market arrangements. And it’s one reason for the anger so visibly playing out in elections all over the industrialized world.

Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, and author .

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏