Why employ a person? LO24335

From: dpdash@ximb.ac.in
Date: 04/10/00

Replying to LO24329 --

> I am asking this question "Why employ a person?" because the
> answer is not so obvious to me any more.

Some answers have so far focussed on the very need to take others' help in
doing something (e.g., 'the founder cannot do everything', 'the company
cannot love you back', etc.).

However, a slightly different twist to the question is possible. Yes, of
course, one needs others' help, but why take the help in the form of
'employment', rather than, say, 'voluntary participation' or 'spontaneous
assistance' at one extreme or 'slavery' at the other extreme. It looks
like, 'employment' is some kind of an optimum value of this variable 'form
of help'.

Borrowing the vocabulary of management science (i.e., operational
research; MS/OR), we can interpret the question as:

What is the Objective Function that is optimised at variable 'form of
help' = 'employment' and what are the Constraints to which the system is
subject? Furthermore, how good is this Optimum, i.e., how Robust? how
Sensitive? and how Stable is the Optimum Solution?

I would argue that this re-interpretation of the question opens up the
possibility of focusing attention on the Objective Function and the
dynamic circumstances of the systems-in-focus which have not been
discussed so far.

My humble reflections on the matter encourage me to think that the
Objective Function is not unique, i.e., we do not have a common mind (or
shared understanding) on what we are trying to optimise by choosing
'employment' over other forms of getting help. Besides, I also recognise
that no matter what the Objective Function is (say, conviviality, wealth,
social harmony, peace, ...), we definitely lack a comprehensive
understanding of the 'system' within which this objective makes sense and
needs to be achieved optimally.

This realisation may arouse dispair, but it also suggests that we HAVE to
proceed from the limited understanding we have. In other words, we need to
set upon the task of (i) defining a set of possible systems; (ii)
considering possible alternative circumstances for these systems; (iii)
innovating alternative forms of getting help; (iv) evaluating competing
(and multiple) objectives for each of these forms of getting help to find
is any one or more of these might be considered as an optimum; (v) and
continuously evalusting the quality of the optimum solution with respect
to its desirability in the context of ever-changing circumstances.

I request the reader to view this as an MS/OR type treatment of the
question Dr. AM de Lange asked.


Prof. D. P. Dash
Xavier Institute of Management
Bhubaneswar 751013
New E-Mail: dpdash@ximb.ac.in



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