When is LO inappropriate? LO13788

Stever Robbins (stever@verstek.com)
Sat, 31 May 1997 03:41:48 -0400

Replying to LO13785 --

At 02:06 pm 5/30/97 -0400, you wrote:

>do the owners and managers of places like McDonald's expect
>their employees to remain behind the cash register for their entire
>careers? Or do the people who work in those jobs view them as careers
>with real opportunity for advancement, whatever that may be. This raises
>an important question for our society to answer. In service industries,
>what does career advancement mean if you virtually remain in hte same job
>throughout your career? What does LO mean to this person?

The impression I have, never having worked in such a service job, is that
many of the workers are viewed as relatively short-term, organizationally
immobile. A service company hires low-skill workers, doesn't invest much
in them, and expects a high level of turnover.

There's evidence ("The Service Profit Chain," by Heskett, Schlesinger,
Sassar, 1997) that hiring good people, training them, and investing in
their development ultimately leads to better service and higher profits.
But not many companies do it.

I think it's a profoundly important question. If organizations become
flatter, and there is only 1 manager for every N employees, it doesn't
leave much room to move up. Maybe there are other ways of
advancing/changing ones job, but face it--in a Taco Bell with a 1:100
manager/front-line worker fan out ratio, just statistically, 99% of the
jobs are taco-flipping. If 100 of those taco-flippers reach a stage in
their job development where they have the skills to do more, there simply
isn't room for all those skills to be applied. It seems to me like the
equivalent of traditional hierarchical advancement, only in the knowledge
domain. (E.g. there's only one CEO, so very few people are ever able to
make it there, whether or not they have the skills. Often, the ones who
have the skills and don't get the job simply leave.)

- Stever

stever@verstek.com, <http://www.verstek.com/stever/>
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