Vol.37-No.10 October 1,1998
On July 9, the Japan Institute of Labour (JIL) released the results of a survey on changes in the organization and work of white-collar employees. The JIL mailed questionnaires to 2,178 managers at 24 major firms in order to clarify ways in which their organizations were changing. It focused on changes in the role of managers in the workplace. Replies were received from 1,604 of the 2,178 managers.
According to the survey, managers reported their jobs were undergoing major changes and that they found themselves busier than before. They also reported that the necessary knowledge and skills, the scope and volume of their work, and their responsibilities had sharply increased. At the same time, management was more demanding and that the time spent together with their families was sharply decreasing. This situation made it difficult to reassign personnel in order to develop human resources and meant that many managers were now not able to give time to mentoring subordinates in their workplace.
Of the managers surveyed, 69.5 percent replied that the personnel evaluation system in their company had problems. Only 23.2 percent answered that their system was not problematic. The problems cited by managers included "the absence of standardized measures, a facet that created unfairness among divisions," "the vagueness of yardsticks for assessing performance that results in work evaluation outcomes that are unclear to subordinates," and " the averaging of evaluations." Managers also commented that evaluations tend to vary from one assessor to another.
The survey used a five-point scale to ask about the extent to which evaluations varied from one task to another. Only 4.2 percent said the evaluations did not undergo any changes; 58.6 percent of the respondents felt that the evaluations varied by one category and 32.8 percent saw it varying across three categories. The survey indicated that managers felt that employees did not place much stock in their own evaluation because the evaluations were not all done in a standardized fashion.
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