Τhe human resources factor in the construction industry


Scientific Study, 2011

12 Pages, Grade: 10


Excerpt

Abstract

This paper aims at answering the strategic question, “In which way do the values embedded in an organisational culture affect the human resources factor n in the Greek construction industry”?

The construction industry is operating within a continuously changing environment a fact which influences the performance of construction companies. In addition, it has been criticized of poor performance because of the little development of its human resource.

In an attempt to improve the performance of the construction industry there is a need to examine in what way the organisational culture and the Human Resources Management influences the performance of a construction organisation

Keywords: Human Resources Management, Organisation.

Introduction

The objective of this paper is to present a topic of organisational culture and the way it has an influence on the human resources factor (Kamsaris, 2007) in the Greek construction Industry.

Egan (as cited in Kaka and Brown, 2003, p.A-1) states that the construction industry is under achieving and argues that the construction industry has not perceived that people are “its greatest asset” (p.Α-7). The products of this study are also important for the academic community interested in discovering the correlation of human resources factor with the organisational culture within the construction industry.

Thomas (1996) argues that changes occur and organisations have to manage them and face uncertainty and risks that stems from these conditions which can be due to the social and organisational structural changes, globalization of markets, technological, legal and regulatory changes, mergers, acquisitions and demographic changes.

A construction organisation consists of people who have to work together, although, they have different work interests and objectives, resulting in construction projects suffering from conflict and dispute, the consequence of which leads to delays, higher costs and schedule overrunning.

The first chapter contains the introductory stage to the research.

The second chapter includes the literature review. The purpose is to define the problem and the background of the study.

The third chapter includes the research design and methodology which will describe the steps that will be undertaken in order to address the research questions, the research approach, the research techniques.

The fourth chapter includes data analysis and findings resulting from the research expressed through tables, diagrams and descriptions.

The last chapter includes the conclusions and recommendations and it will provide suggestion for further study in the future.

Literature review

Human Resources Management

Torrington, Hall and Taylor (2002) the definition of HRM is difficult to be given partly because it is used generically to describe activities of personnel management and partly because it is used to describe “a distinctive philosophy towards carrying of people-oriented or organisational activities” (p.6). Torrington et al (2002) define HRM as a distinctive approach to the management of people, HRM is related to the provision and development of HRM needs and is concerned with planning, monitoring and controlling of resources while problem solving is achieved by members of management on HR issues.

According to Marchington and Wilkinson (2006) the concept of HRM originated in USA in 1960s and 1970s while two schools of thought emerged, namely the Fombrun et al in 1984 and the Harvard framework in 1985. Fombrun et al (as cited in Marchington et al, 2006) advocated the linking of HRM to the organisational strategy and divided the “human resource cycle”(p.4) in four components, namely selection, development, appraisal and reward in order to determine the effectiveness in which they deliver improved performance. Contrary to Fombrun et al, the Harvard framework, according to Beer et al (as cited in Marchington et al, 2006) divided HRM in six components namely the situation factors which relates to the organisation’s environment, the stakeholder interest , the HRM policy chooses which is related mainly to employees influence, the HR outcomes in terms of commitment, competence, cost effectiveness and congruence, the long- term consequences in terms of individual well-being, organisational effectiveness and societal goals and the feedback loop.

According to Fombrun et al and Beer et al (as cited in Brewster and Bournois, 1991, p.4) HRM has both the “hard” as well as the “soft” approach. The hard approach of HRM demonstrates that people are resources within an organisation as a result of which people should be managed in similar ways. Cost is the key factor for obtaining people while people should be viewed as a scarce resource depending on their quality and efficiency. The words “employees” (Brewster et al, 1991, p.4) is replaced by “human” or “people” (p.4). Contrary to the hard approach, the soft approach concentrates upon human demonstrating that creativity, commitment and skills of employees add value to an organisation and generate competitive advantage. Therefore, the skills of people are the most important attributes for the success or otherwise failure of organisations.

The importance of managing HR is also emphasised by Walker (as cited in Snape et al, 1995, p.43) according to which “The challenge of managing human resource is to ensure that all activities are focused on business needs. All human resource activities should fit together as a system and be aligned with human resource strategies. The strategies in turn should be aligned with business strategies”.

Research Methodology

The research method that will be undertaken in the study is the use of questionnaires. Questionnaires, according to Marchington et al (2006), are conducted by using limited resources, do not cost much and results in a large sample. Background, behavioural and attitudinal data can be collected through questionnaires according to Brewerton and Millward (as cited in Marchington et al, 2006).

The questionnaires were distributed to the subjects of the research on the 27th April 2009. They were administered in English but there were also available in Greek for those that were not confident with the English language. The amount of time it took for the questionnaire to be completed and delivered back was one to five days. The data collected is to be analyzed through the Microsoft Office Excel computer programme showing in diagrams the results.

Data collection and analysis

The first four questions are intended to indicate the demographic profile of the subjects of the research such as gender, age, educational background and the years working in the company. Therefore, the research has shown that 55.8% of the sample are male compared to the 44.2% that are female. The largest percentage of subjects, the 48.1%, is between 31 and 41 years old, the 28.8% is between 21 and 31 years old and the 13.5% is between 41 and 51 years old. Only a small percentage of the sample, the 5.8% is over 51 years old and 3.8% are under 21 years old. The third question is concerned with the educational background. None of the subjects was merely a high school graduate. Instead, the largest percentage of the sample, the 57.7% has a University degree, a smaller percentage, the 23.1%, has a Technological Educational Institute degree whereas the lowest percentage which corresponds to the 19.2% has undertaken post graduate studies. As far as the years that the subjects of the research are working in the company is concerned the largest percentage, the 40.4% is working in the company between 1 to 3 years, the 28.8% is working in the company between 3 to 5 yeas, a smaller percentage, the 19.2%, is working in the company between 5 to 7 years whereas only the 11.5% is working in the company less than one year. These percentages are shown in diagrams 4,5,6,7 below.

The next question is concerned with which of the human, financial and physical resource subjects of the research believe is the most important for the company to control. The 48.1% believe that human resource is the most important for the company to control compared to the 36.5% which believes that financial resource is the most important. There is also a smaller percentage of 15.4% which believe that physical resource is very important.

Graph 1: The most important resource for the company (Trochana, 2009)

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The next question asked from the subjects of the research to indicate what is for them the HRM. The largest percentage, the 63.5%, replied that HRM aims at ensuring that people are developed towards achieving specific performance, then the 26.9% replied that HRM aims at ensuring that the company is staffed with the appropriate people whereas the lowest percentage, the 9.6%, replied that HRM is just related to the administration of the company. None of them replied that HRM is useless to the company.

Graph 2: What is HRM according to the sample? (Trochana, 2009)

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In the next question the subjects of the research were asked whether the company is operating within a continuously changing environment. The largest percentage, the 80.8%, believes that the company is operating within a continuously changing environment contrary to the 19.2% that do not agree

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Graph 3: The company is operating within a continuously changing environment (Trochana, 2009)

In addition, the subjects of the research were asked to indicate in which way the company can cope with changes when operating within a continuously changing environment. More than the half of the sample, the 55.8%, replied that the company can cope with changes by continuously developing its people, a smaller percentage, 19.2%, replied that the company can adopt different political responses for each circumstance. The 15.4% indicated that the company can dismissing its people and employ more capable whereas the lowest percentage, 9.6%, believe that the company can adopt the same political response for each circumstance in order to cope with changes.

Graph 4: Ways the company can cope with changes (Trochana, 2009)

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In the next question the subjects of the research were asked to indicate in a five scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree whether people’s skills and competencies are an important element within the company. None of them replied that they strongly disagree or disagree. Instead, the largest percentage, 51.9%, replied that they agree and the 38.5% strongly agree. However, there was a small percentage, 9.6%, that was undecided.

Graph 5: The importance of skills and competencies within the company (Trochana, 2009)

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Furthermore, the subjects of the research were asked to indicate what skills the company requires from its employees. The research has sown that technical skills, 48.1%, are the most important contrary to the personal skills indicated by the 30.8% of the sample and the educational skills indicated by the 21.2% of the sample.

Graph 6: Technical, educational and personal skills (Trochana, 2009)

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From the 48.1% of the subjects that indicated the technical skills the largest percentage, the 44% believe that learning ability is the most important technical skill, then a 24% of the subjects believe that knowledge of construction methods is the most important technical skill, the 16% believe that matches past solutions to present needs is most important whereas a 8% of the subjects indicated that knowledge of the construction methods is the most important among others as well as an another 8% of the sample believe in the drawing skills.

Graph 7: Technical skills (Trochana, 2009)

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Excerpt out of 12 pages

Details

Title
Τhe human resources factor in the construction industry
College
UGSM-Monarch Business School Switzerland
Grade
10
Author
Year
2011
Pages
12
Catalog Number
V179605
ISBN (eBook)
9783656027966
ISBN (Book)
9783656028154
File size
522 KB
Language
English
Quote paper
Dimitrios Kamsaris (Author), 2011, Τhe human resources factor in the construction industry, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/179605

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