Waves of Trends
By Craig A. Stevens and His Students
(send your opinions and observations to
Nashville Technology Council On
Tech Jobs in Middle Tennessee
These are only opinions, not suggestions, it is your
responsibility to decide your own course of action.
Real Estate Bust Coming: In many housing markets, prices have out grown the
ability for two average people to pay. Expect a real estate bubble to pop
in the more inflated markets, such as some of those in California.
Some people say, "You should divest in over inflated markets, take the
money, rent until the market stabilizes, and then reinvest." Craig A.
Versions of the
Waves of Trends In Immigration
By Faye Waters, UoPhx, MBA 590, 2007
Edited by Craig Stevens
Forecasting trends in business can improve the quality of a strategic
plan. When forecasting trends it is important to consider the source or
start of the trend. In the forces of chaos and thrive-ability The Waves,
or foreseeable future events, allows one to see the up and down motion
of the subject matter. Trends that organizations experience today are
growing at a phenomenal pace. Many trends affect organizations, the ones
touched on in this paper include:
3. education, and
This paper will focus on the positive and negative aspects and social
implications of trends related to immigrants.
Trends in Population and Demographics
According to the Office of National Statistics, 90 million people
join the world’s population every year (Office of National Statistics,
2000, p.1). The population will continue to grow and get older. Changing
demographics may create a demand for a change in housing styles and
locations. Changing demographics may also create different consumer
Changes are happening now with the incursion of immigrants to the
United States. The U.S. immigrants are older than those of the past. In
the 1970s, the average age of an immigrant was approximately 26 years
old. In the late 1990s, the average age was over 30 years old (Polgreen
& Simpson, 2006).
Projected population growth in the United States (U.S) has become
significant as mass immigration drives the population upwards. Of the 15
most populous nations Mexico, ranks number 11 with 108 million people.
The Challenge of Accurately Estimating The Population of Illegal
Immigrants, a 2007 article by Nancy Bolton, a recent analysis by the PEW
Hispanic Center, explains some interesting trends. Nancy uses the March
2005 Current Population Survey from the Census Bureau and estimates the
unauthorized population at 11.1 million as of March 2005 and 11.5–12
million as of March 2006(Bolton, 2007, p.1).
Approximately 57% of the immigrants were from Mexico. Early
immigration to the (U.S.) occurred for many reasons; religious freedom,
freedom of speech, democracy, and a better way of life; also known as
the American Dream. The American “dream” for some is the ability to live
out their lives with the same opportunity for success as others. Since
Europeans and others arrived in the U.S. there has been a debate about
how many immigrants could enter the U.S. and what should be the mode of
In Immigration to the United States: Journey to an Uncertain
Destination, a 1994 report of the Population Reference Bureau, Philip
Martin and Elizabeth Midgley identified three reasons that immigration
has become a subject of debate (Martin & Midgley, 1994).
1. Tthe number of immigrants is rising from its low point in the
2. Today’s immigrants differ significantly in ethnicity, education
and skills from native born Americans.
3. No political consensus exists on whether immigrants are assets or
liabilities to U.S. society.
Martin and Midgley also write, a relatively small number of
immigrants between 1905 and 1914 grew and in the 1940s, the number of
immigrants declined again due to the Depression. The immigration numbers
began to rise again around the early 1990s and has continued. The report
shows that the numbers are high at the beginning of the century and
again at the end. Many wonder what the plateau will be and how the
United States will hit its high before declining again.
By the year 2010, a large share of the workforce will be retiring.
This is causing a “knowledge gap.” While this generation nears their
retirement years, organizations are changing the ways work is defined.
As the retiring workforce leaves the workforce, new jobs will develop
and provide younger workers with opportunities. This trend will occur
even if the economy is not growing. However, the aging workforce,
particularly the “baby boomers” may not be able to retire completely.
The cost of living is higher and will require many to work part-time in
order to support themselves. Even so, as they retire, industries will
feel the effects and will need specialized workers to fill these
positions. Per Fred Cook, President and CEO of Colin Harris,
Multiculturalism accounts for an important trend in the United States.
In his article, It’s a Small World After All, Cook predicts that by 2050
one in every four Americans will be of Latino ancestry. He goes on to
write that the cultural shift will not be limited to Hispanics (Cook,
Immigration to the United States,
by Period of Arrival, Region, and Country, 1821 to 2000
Source: Department of Homeland
Security, Office of Immigration Statistics, 2003 Yearbook of
Immigration Statistics (September 2004).
Notes: Numbers do not necessarily add up to totals because of
unspecified immigrants from various countries.
Arrivals by land were not completely
enumerated until 1908.
The source country for immigrants arriving before 1906 refers to the
last country from which the immigrant came, which is not necessarily
the person's country of origin.
a. The Americas comprise Latin America and Canada.
Trends in Technology
Technological change is a better way of making things; it is
constantly changing and effecting production, and the economy.
Technology is one of the biggest keys to ensuring an organization can
operate with more efficiency. By using technology and leveraging it to
grow your organization, the overall performance of the organization
should improve. More white collar occupations are created everyday and
technology has played an important role in this shift (Volti, 1995).
Organizations are changing the way we communicate with customers, and
Blue collar workers include immigrant workers who perform physical
labor and service work. The educational job skills necessary to perform
these jobs is often low. However, the craft skills to perform many blue
collar skills are often great. A significant improvement in the level of
skill immigrants possess occurred between 1987 and 1993 (Polgreen &
Simpson, 2006, p.1). The level declined in the mid-1990s but reversed in
1998, benefiting the labor market. With the development of the
computers, machinery, smart phones, and electronic equipment, many jobs
now require a higher degree of technological skills. The demand for
hi-tech or technologically advanced workers continues to grow in the
immigrant population and a need to fill these positions keeps employers
busy searching for new hires.
What will the low skilled worker do when a machine picks vegetables,
cleans homes, manufactures components for electronics and does not
require wages at the end of the day? Manufactures have created a product
pool on the market that notifies the consumer that their vehicle is in
need of maintenance, farm equipment that picks vegetables without
bruising the skin, and a remote operated vacuum cleaner exists today.
These “smart” products are for sale now. They filter and interpret
information that allows the consumer to act more effectively. For the
uneducated immigrant, education becomes a lifelong pursuit. This
transformation in society means technological change is constant. Thus,
education requires constant updating throughout one’s working life.
Trends in Education
Poorly educated immigrants are the result of a home country system
that neglects skills and education. In recent years, 10 million
immigrants arrived in the U.S. without a high school education. These
numbers added to the 10 million native born high school drop outs is an
economic burden on the U.S. and creates competition for the jobs that
require little or no skills. In the past, lower skilled U.S. workers and
often teenagers preformed these jobs.
According to the Department of Commerce, a third of the
foreign born population is 25 years or older and did not complete high
school. The percentage of immigrants with a bachelor’s degree is equal
to those of the U.S. born population. In 2000, 1.5% of elementary
schoolchildren and 3% of secondary school children were undocumented.
Approximately 5% in elementary and 14% in secondary schools had
Educational Attainment of the Population Age 25 or Older,
by Region of Origin and Sex, 2003
Source: Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Current
Population Survey: Annual Social and Economic Supplement (March
Note: Data are by years of school completed, not attended.
Immigrants contribute to the economy by filling jobs, and oftentimes
low paying jobs that others do not want. From programmers in Silicon
Valley, to restraint bus boys in Bethesda, MD, and nurses in New York,
immigrants are filling jobs that otherwise might go begging (Zellner,
Ardnt &, Borrus, 2000, p.1). Economic growth increases prices, makes
jobs more attractive, and attracts immigrants to the region. As
immigrants become acclimated to the region, they contribute to the
economic growth. They pay taxes, own homes, and pay real estate taxes as
everyone else does. The Social Security Administration estimates that
three quarters of undocumented immigrants pay payroll taxes and they
contribute $7 billion in funds that they cannot claim (Porter, 2005).
Economic growth of the future is coming from knowledge based businesses.
According to the United States Government Accountability Office,
between 400,000 and 700,000 illegal immigrants enter the U.S. each year.
A substantial number came across the U.S. and Mexico border. Immigration
is a constant issue within the United States borders. Some believe that
without immigration all the developed countries would experience a drop
in population. However, the issue of illegal immigrants in complicated
and includes both positive and negative impacts to the economy, racial
tension, crime, terrorism, corruption, health, the environment, and
demographic transition. Public opinion is mixed on the topic; however,
it is apparent that to have population growth the US needs organized
Bolton, N. (2007, Summer). The Challenge of Accurately Estimating the
Population of Illegal Immigrants. Social Contract Journal, 17, p,1.
Retrieved October 10, 2007, http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_17_4_bolton.shtml
Cook, F. (2007, Winter). It's a Small World After All. The
Strategist, Winter, pp. 30-33. Retrieved October 16, 2007.
Martin, P. & Midgley, E. (1994, September). Immigration to the United
States: JOurney to an Uncertain Destination. Population Reference
Bureau, 49(2), 1.
Office of National Statistics (2000, July). The Guide to Official
Statistics; Economic Trends; Regional Trends; Social Trends; Labour
Market Trends; Population Trends.. Retrieved October 7, 2007,
Polgreen, L. & Simpson, N. B. (2006, April 1). Recent Trends In The
Skill Composition Of Legal U.S. Immigrants. Southern Economical Journal,
, pp 938-957.
Porter, E. (2005, April 5). Illegal Immigrants Are Bolstering Social
Security with Billions. Retrieved October 11, 2007, www.newyorktimes.com
Volti, R. (1995). Society of Technological Change (3rd ed.). : St.
Zellner, W. Ardnt, M. & Borrus, A. (2000, April 24). How Immigrants
Keep The Hive Humming. Retrieved October 11, 2007,
Storms of Chaos Waves in Healthcare
Mays, UofPhx, MBA 590, 2007
The waves are the
foreseeable trends what can be seen before they impact the ship. The
waves may cause a company to rethink an idea or change an action plan.
The healthcare industry is always experiencing changes whether it is in
technology, economics, demographics, or politics. Trends affect strategy
by changing the consumer environment and understanding how to forcast
trends is a crucial part of the strategic planning and implementation
process (Kresch, 2001).
The Different Waves Hitting Healthcare
Technology had a huge
impact on the healthcare industry by making healthcare more efficient
and accessible. Electronic medical records (EMR) has made accessing
patient’s medical record more easily. EMR eliminated the problems
related to the illegible writing of physician notes on pieces of paper
that once ended up in the patient’s medical file (Halverson, 2005). By
inputting, the pertinent information into an electronic file, it reduced
the volume of paper records and made it simpler for doctors to retrieve
The internet helps
healthcare by opening the lines of communication to other countries and
increasing the access to active research of specific diseases globally.
The web also makes more procedures available worldwide by spreading
training and medical techniques. Procedures become more accessible thru
e-knowledge and by demonstration via the internet (Nosek, 2004).
New technical medical
procedures are influencing the way healthcare workers treat patients.
Every year, new medical and surgical procedures are available. Some of
the new technology has drastically changed the provision of healthcare (Nosek,
2004). Biotechnology has created supplies that are more effective and
equipment now allows less invasive treatments and quicker recoveries (Nosek,
The constant increasing
cost of healthcare insurance is having a tremendous effect on the
economy. Now the monthly cost of health insurance for a family in New
York or San Diego is more than it cost to employ a computer engineer in
New Delhi, India or Seoul, Korea (Halverson, 2005).
The cost of healthcare is
unpredictable when epidemics happen such as SARS. Then the cost for
research, treatment, and budgeting is not the focus. When the epidemic
passes the cost remains. The United States is struggling to reduce the
amount of the deficit and with healthcare costs are constantly
increasing, the struggle get even harder. (Halverson, 2005).
Physicians are not
receiving all the benefits of the increasing costs of healthcare.
Physicians may provide the health services but the service is costing
them as well. Rates for malpractice insurance in drastically increasing,
this is a necessity in order to practice medicine. For some doctors, the
closing their offices or merge with a hospital make more sense (Citcatello,
The numbers of elderly is
having an influence on the healthcare industry. In the United States the
number is growing at a rapid pace. The need for more health services
designed specifically for the elderly is growing to fight diseases more
common to elderly people (such a pneumonia.) In a study performed by
Baine, Yu, and Summe, they looked at how just one disease has a
significant effect on healthcare for elderly people. From 1991 to 1998,
the hospitalization of elderly people for aspiration pneumonia increased
yearly by about 93.7%. (Baine et al, 2001). This has a huge impact on
the industry especially when it comes from a specific part of the
Obesity is another problem
that is increasing and having a detrimental affect on healthcare
industry in United States (Herndon, 2005). Obesity is consuming the
healthcare industry and finding a way to gain control is difficult.
Obesity causes many chronic diseases that affect the US. Many of these
diseases have costly treatment such cancer and diabetes.
Shortage of Healthcare workers is a
problem for the healthcare industry. There is a scarcity of nurses in
the US and completion for the recruitment of healthcare workers is
intense because of a shortage worldwide.(Nosek, 2004). Many western
countries recruit globally to fill the void (Nosek, 2004).
In the 1990s, healthcare reform was the
government’s way of reducing the cost. During the Clinton
administration, those tracking healthcare had many concerns. One concern
was the amount of control the government should have on healthcare.
This caused much debate of Clinton’s plan to reform (Scott, 2002).
Quality is a wave that has impacted
healthcare. Quality has political effect when is comes to healthcare
because of many different agencies that monitor quality. According to
Halverson, the reports that these groups collect, informs companies on
the quality of service (Halverson, 2005). A report called the quality
chasm, reports that healthcare today brings more harm and consistently
fails to give the potential benefits to patients (Halverson, 2005). For
healthcare today, quality is definitely a trend that brings about change
in the health industry.
Affects of the
Waves on healthcare
The waves have positive and negative
affects on the healthcare industry. Technology is expensive. Developing
and creating new testing and drugs is costly. The cost of new technology
drives up prices for health. Doctors have trouble keeping up with the
flow of knowledge and new procedures (Halverson, 2005). This is one
reason it takes longer to implement new procedures and to upgrade
standards in treating diseases (Halverson, 2005).
The economic affect on healthcare is
increases with insurance premiums, higher co-pays, and higher
deductibles. Tiered benefit prescription drug plans are being
incorporated into their health benefits plans by many corporations The
high cost in healthcare has an effect on the competitiveness also
Companies are charging more for their products jsut to cover healthcare
expensive. Chrysler Corporation is charging $1000 more a car to provide
healthcare for their employees. The School board in certain states are
cutting out extracurricular activities for students to pay for
healthcare insurance for the teachers (Scott, 2002).
Health awareness has a impactr on the
obese population in America. There are many programs put in effect to
inform people about staying and getting into shape (Herndon, 2001). The
goal of “Shape Up! America” and “the War Against Obesity” programs is to
fight obesity and help control healthcare cost. (Herndon, 2001).
Adaptation to the
The biggest adaptation to
Healthcare was the premise of managed care. Managed care was not the
complete solution to healthcare crises, but it did help for a moment
(Scott, 2002). Boutique healthcare programs are another adaptation to
the needs of more health services (Cicatello, 2004). Boutique programs
provide faster appointments, stylish waiting rooms, and other unique
services for premium prices (Cicatello, 2004).
Many trends affect businesses on a
daily basis but once companies embrace those changes, the changes will
likely become a competitive advantage to the organization. The trends
become a part of the company’s strategy and adaptation to them is a
matter of survival.
Baine, W., Yu, W., & Summe, J. (2001,
July). Epidemiologic Trends in the Hospitalization of Elderly Medicare
Patients for Pneumonia, 1991-1998. American Journal of Public Health,
91(7), 1121-1123. Retrieved October 20, 2007, from Academic
Search Premier database.
Cicatiello, J. (Apr-Jun2004). Guest editorial: Reconstructing
healthcare in a global marketplace. Nursing Administration Quarterly,
28(2), 83-85. Retrieved October 3, 2007, from CINAHL Plus.
Halvorson, G. (2005, March). Healthcare tipping points.
Healthcare Financial Management, 59(3), 74-80. Retrieved
October 3, 2007, from CINAHL Plus
Herndon, A. (2005, August). Collateral Damage from Friendly
Fire?: Race, Nation, Class and the War Against Obesity. Social
Semiotics, 15(2), 127- 141. Retrieved October 20, 2007, from
Academic Search Premier Database.
Kresch, S., Boyd, H., & Haller, T.
(1983, winter). The Impact of Consumer Trends on
Corporate Strategy. Journal of Business Strategy, 3(3),
58. Retrieved October 3, 2007, from Business Source Complete database.
Nosek, L. (Apr-Jun2004). Globalization's costs to healthcare: how
can we pay the bill? Nursing Administration Quarterly,
28(2), 116-121. Retrieved October 3, 2007, from CINAHL Plus.
Scott, JS (Sep 2002). Healthcare reform: déjà vu all over again.
Healthcare Financial Management, 56(9),
34-35. Retrieved October 3, 2007, from CINAHL Plus.
Waves of Trends Paper:
Craig A. Stevens
Engineering and Computer Science Department, Management of Technology Program,
Vanderbilt University; NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center (through contract with
ASRI); American Management Association; Westbrook Stevens
Jim Nichols: Advanced Missile Signature
Center at Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee; PhD Candidate, Vanderbilt
Tawana M. Gardner
: MS Student,
PhD Candidate, Vanderbilt University
Life Long Learning: Trends Companies will have to
embrace life long learning because information is exploding! The National School
Boards Association's Institute for the Transfer of Technology to Education's
website cites the following statistics (National School Boards Association)
Every two or three years, the knowledge base doubles.
Every day, 7,000 scientific and technical articles are published.
Satellites orbiting the globe send enough data to fill 19 million volumes
in the Library of Congress - every two weeks.
High school graduates have been exposed to more information than their
grandparents were in a lifetime.
Only 15 percent of jobs will require college education, but nearly all
jobs will require the equivalent knowledge of a college education.
There will be as much change in the next three decades as there was in the
last three centuries.
National School Boards Association's Institute
for the Transfer of Technology to Education, Leadership and Technology, http://www.nsba.org/sbot/toolkit/chnsoc.html#PFChange
Technology: In the future, less time will be spent on
the technology and more on the information. In the 80's and 90's Information
Systems/Technology was king. However, the purpose of Information Technology is
to manage and distribute information so others can use it. Neither a manager nor
anyone else can know all there is to know about any one subject. Accordingly, to
avoid chaos, we must build into our organization teams of information and
technology gatekeepers. The gatekeepers are those who constantly look at the
trends in a specific area of knowledge.
Society is becoming higher-tech and faster-paced. The upcoming generation
will have grown up in a high-tech environment different from that of one or two
generations ago. These newcomers have different expectations and, like much of
the current "microwave mentality" embraced by our society, have less
patience. Training will need to be constant due to the volume and continuous
nature of change that is occurring and will have to be distributed in
entertaining sound bites.
Empowerment will be more important which will lead to
fewer layers of management. To enable a quick, effective response, the
information gatekeepers will have to be empowered decision-makers. Link
Collapsing birth rate
The collapsing birth rate will continue to cause worker shortages.
Many people would have us
believe that the population is exploding.
However, Peter Drucker in his book, Management Challenges of the 21st
Century (Drucker, 1999), warns that the birth rate in developed countries is
fact is, “under normal conditions,” it would take a birth rate of 2.4 babies
per woman of childbearing age to just maintain a steady state in the population.
Of all the developed countries, the U.S
is in the best shape with slightly less than a rate of 2.0. Most other developed countries are below 1.5.
According to Drucker, the populations of Japan and the Southern European
countries have already peaked. For
example, Japan has a birth rate of 1.3 and its population has been predicted to
drop from 125 million people to around 50 or 55 million by the end of the next
century. Southern Italy’s rate is merely 0.8. China has implemented
child reduction polices, allowing only one child per family.
On a positive note, this has enabled more money to be spent, on a per
child basis, for the education and care of children.
However, a cultural preference for male children has resulted in high
ratios of male births (by some estimates, in ratios of 14 to 1), which promises
to be a potentially volatile social and political problem.
To a lesser degree, the U.S. is experiencing some of this same trend in
the control of family size for economic reasons. One possible long-term effect of providing too well for the
children may be a weakening of commitment to demanding working environments.
The only reason that the U.S. birthrate compares so well is that
we have a large number of immigrants from
underdeveloped countries who maintain higher birthrates for a generation, or so.
Without these people, the U.S. could be facing a worker shortage disaster
The underdeveloped countries have
additional problems that contribute to population decline. In some African countries, civil war and HIV infection rates
of near 50% are starting to decimate the population. One country in Africa was reported by National Public
Radio (NPR) to have an AIDS rate within the ranks of its military of 60 percent.
This too is spreading throughout the underdeveloped countries of the
world. The average life expectancy
in some areas is now around 35 years.
These low birthrates have never before
been experienced in the history of the world and we have no way to predict the
true effects. Likely, however, this
population decrease will result in fewer qualified people, leading to
more available jobs, leading to possible economic crises (maybe even a deflation in real estate, governmental instability and
To compensate for this population
shortfall, productivity will have to increase rapidly and automation may be one
of the solutions. The
automated manufacturing sector may help compensate for the effects of this
population shortfall. However,
those service industries that rely on semi-skilled people to carry out their
daily activities will not be able to escape this problem.
Therefore, it is logical for the commerce markets to search for and
accept alternatives for those services that are the most labor intensive.
For example, the trucking industry has suffered from a driver shortage
for the last ten years. There has
not been a shortage of drivers, but a shortage of qualified
drivers. But in the next few years,
this driver shortage will become more acute and the shortage will be specific to
the universe of available drivers. With
this in mind, many shippers and consignees are already looking for ways to
circumvent this problem. One result
has been a renewed interest in intermodal transportation in recent years where
trucking firms have aligned with their former enemies, the long haul railroads.
Drucker, Peter F., Management Challenges for the 21st Century,
Harper Business, 1999.
Shift In Demographics: The workforce is aging but
will still be needed past retirement! The baby boomers make up a major component
of the US population. While this group is currently in the prime work age
bracket of 18 to 44, they will be aging and the number of people in this bracket
will be decreasing. With time, the percentage of the older population will get
larger while the available younger worker population is getting smaller. (Bureau
Of The Census, 1997).
Bureau Of The Census, Demographic State of the Nation: 1997,
U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, Current
Population Reports, Special Studies, Series P23-193, March 1997.
When baby boomers began entering the workforce, they increased the size of
the labor market. Since then, they have raised the average age of the workforce.
Assuming a retirement age of 65, baby boomers will not begin to retire until
2011. The median age of workers in 1994 was 38 years and by 2005, the median age
will be 41 years. The labor force will continue to age until about 2015.
In 1995, there were about 41 million workers age 45 and older, representing
about 31 percent of the labor force. By 2005, there will be about 55 million
workers 45 and older, or about 37 percent of the labor force. Much of the
increase will occur in the 50 to 60 year old category. After 2005, there will
also be an increase in the 60 to 70 year old categories until the early baby
boomers begin retiring in large numbers after 2020. (Poulos and Smith,
Poulos, Stacy and Demetra Smith, The Aging Baby Boom:
Implications For Employment And Training Programs, Nightingale, June 1997.
The shift in age and in the income of the population will give the U.S. an
older, richer population that will work because they want to not because they
have to. Accordingly, to attract these workers, they will have to be treated
Products and operations will become more projects
oriented. High/advanced technology products are coming to market in shorter
cycle times. Customers are demanding higher quality and more customized products
at lower prices. Demands are changing so fast that product and service offerings
are being driven by a company's ability to manage projects instead of
operations. A 21st Century organization will have to maximize project
effectiveness and minimize the layers of management. Consequently, because of
the fewer layers of management, those who rest their hopes on promotions and
moving up the organizational ladder will be disappointed. Therefore, for
retention, employees will have to be treated more like professionals. Much like
consultants and lawyers, when one becomes more experienced one will get better
work, more responsibility, and (hopefully) more rewards.
Corporate Sponsored Moral Decline: A corporate focus on
money at the expense of values has contributed to societal moral decline.
Motivated by our monetary or materialistic desires, we have polluted our
environment. Escalating competition has caused some advertisers to use shock
techniques to draw attention, some of which pollutes our minds and poisons the
innocence of our children. Radio and television sometimes capitalizes on ugly,
low (or no) talent shows showcasing the worst examples of human nature. Violent
and harmful products are being sold to our children. Disguising the truth and
questionable ethics seems commonplace. As values are challenged, one finds that
the segregation between the lowest common attitude and what is honorable is also
challenged. Some people seem not to know what is right and are sold on
"garbage thinking" to the point where it sometimes seems that few
people are expected to control their actions. The feelings of the moment are
sometimes sold as more important than honor and values. This has hurt our
personal lives, our families, our businesses, and our future. The truth is, what
you teach the population you are teaching your customers, families, friends,
enemies, and employees. Those who will lie for you will one day lie to you. The
same child who is desensitized today, may tomorrow be the one that is working
for you, competing with you, stealing your intellectual property, sending you
computer-crashing emails and even marrying your son or daughter. Those societal
problems we help create, become problems for the family, then public problems
and then our corporate and personal problems.
Stress related losses are high! The U.S. National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports stress related disorders
are fast becoming the most prevalent reason for worker disability. Stress has
been linked as a factor in cardiovascular disease. (National Institute for
Occupational Safety & Health, DHHS (NIOSH) publication no. 99-101, 1999).
"Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses
that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities,
resources, or needs of the worker." (The John Liner Review, Volume 11,
Number 3; Fall 1997)
The John Liner Review, Volume 11, Number 3; Fall 1997.
Standard Publishing Corp., 1977. http://www.jobstresshelp.com/DV_jobstress.htm
A study by the Bureau of National Affairs found 40% of worker turnover is due
to job stress. This was corroborated by a study by Northwestern National Life
which found 40% that of workers reported that their job is "very or
extremely stressful." Further, 25% of those surveyed said that their job
was the single greatest cause of stress in their life. (Schnall PL, Belkic KL,
Landsbergis PA, Baker DB, 2000).
Schnall PL, Belkic KL, Landsbergis PA, Baker DB, eds:
"The Workplace and Cardiovascular Disease," Occup Med 15(1), 2000.
Stress also has significant financial ramifications. It has been noted that
health care expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high
levels of stress. (Goetzel RZ, Anderson DR, Whitmer RW, Ozminkowski RJ, Dunn RL,
Wasserman J, Health, 1998). Job stress is estimated to cost American
industry 200 to 300 billion dollars annually as assessed by absenteeism,
diminished productivity, employee turnover, accidents, direct medical, legal,
and insurance fees and workman's compensation awards.
Goetzel RZ, Anderson DR, Whitmer RW, Ozminkowski RJ, Dunn RL,
Wasserman J, "The relationship between modifiable health risks and health
care expenditures: an analysis of the multi-employer HERO health risk and cost
database," Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Health
Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) Research Committee . Journal of
Occupational and Environmental Medicine 40(10).
Resistance to Change. Many attempts at organizational
change and improvement fail because of employees' resistance to change.
Well-intentioned attempts at improvement are sabotaged because organizations
ignore the connection between stress and the fear of change.
The Loss of Intellectual Capital. Organizations also pay
for stress in terms of depreciation of and overall loss of intellectual capital.
Studies have shown that humans in high-stress situations where they have no
control suffer reduced ability to perform mental tasks and solve problems. This
is hardly conducive to innovation! Intellectual capital will be the key
competitive advantage in the 21st Century knowledge-based economy. To survive,
organizations will need to be alert and ready to respond and adapt quickly to
customer needs and market demands.
Knowledge workers are the norm for 21st Century service
companies and all 21st Century companies will become service companies. In many
cases, even manufacturing will be done in very small made-to-order shops where
automation will customize products while the customer waits. Many times
purchases will be placed online but still the product will be enhanced by the
service to the customer. A 21st Century Company will require core competencies
focused by teams of knowledge workers on specific knowledge work. More
opportunities are available for these people and new lifestyle benefits will be
used to win employees from competing companies. They will expect good working
conditions, more freedom, responsibility, authority, family time and life-long
learning support. If their employer can't give them what they want another group
will. On the other hand, unskilled workers will experience a widening gap
between themselves and their more skilled counterparts and those more able to
adapt to change.
There is no one right
As a concluding trend, we can see businesses changing, as Peter Drucker
says, “from one best organization to multiple organization structures to
accommodate the business environment.” Chances
are, if all your divisions look the same on the organizational chart you have a
Drucker, Peter F., Management Challenges for the 21st Century,
Harper Business, 1999.