A critical investigation into the factors which affect that how Job Rotation can help in the learning and development of staff in the context of B&Q
This proposal will provide a guideline about the dissertation that how it would be carried out and what type of Literature, Research methodologies would be useful regarding dissertation. As part of my dissertation I have decided to base my research on “Job Rotation” that how it could be useful for the learning and development of staff in the organisational context.
2.0 Aim and Objectives
It is very useful to set the aims and objectives for the dissertation as they provide a very useful guideline to understand the topic area. The aim and objectives are as follows.
A critical investigation into the factors which affect that how Job Rotation can help in the learning and development of staff in the context of B&Q.
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To discover how with in function and cross function Job Rotation can be helpful in the learning of staff.
To understand how functional flexibility can help in the learning and development of staff.
To analyse how work based approaches are useful in the learning of staff.
To analyse what are the limitations and benefits of applying job rotation in organisations.
To determine how job rotation can be successfully implemented in an organisation.
3.0 Rationale of the study
Due to the uncertain and fast changing business environment organisations are more interested in earning high profits with out giving any attention to employees learning and development. Though it is very important not just for the employees but also for the organisation itself if the employees are multi-skilled, hence job rotation as a means to learning is essential.
At present the only learning for employees is through training courses without any practical involvement of the work, which is not ideal because training at courses usually doesn’t last longer as employees forget easily what they have learnt on the training day, on the other hand learning and development gained at the work place could be more beneficial for the employees as they learn more due to the practical experience gained. The work based methods of learning and development are becoming increasingly popular (Bennett, 2003) and being an employee of B &Q I understand that the only learning for employees in B&Q is through training courses and there is a need of a work based method of learning like job rotation which will enable the employees to work in different departments and learn different skills which will contribute towards their learning and development.
4.0 Literature Review
There are two schools of thought about job rotation. One school of thought follows the scientific management approach by F.W.Taylor that says that their should be a special person for every job and that person must be trained for this job only and their should be no job rotation(Ncwc, 2004).
The second school of thought says that scientific management ignores the principles of variety in tasks, task identity and staff also get bored by repeating the same task or job everyday(Netmba, 2007) but job rotation contradicts the principles of scientific management as staff is rotated among their jobs in job rotation and different authors discuss this point as follows.
In job rotation staff is moved between different jobs over a period of time and this movement is planned to achieve different purposes (Bennett, 2003). According to Malinski (2002) it is an organised movement of staff from one job to another and he also adds that an individual doesn’t have to leave a job to get a more satisfying job; this can be achieved in the same job by using job rotation, enrichment and restructuring. According to Elaine Parker (2002) job rotation is a model of training through which already employed staff leave their jobs to go on further training and unemployed people are brought into their places for work, Torrington and Hall (1991) come from the view that in job rotation individuals are moved between jobs of similar nature. Arnold and Felderman (1986) say that the movement of staff in jobs is at the same level in the organisation as they are not promoted in the job where they are rotated.
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All these views above are the views of the people who support job rotation and explain what is job rotation and they also agree to a common point that in job rotation staff are moved between different jobs and it is most of the time with in the organisation between different jobs or tasks apart from Elaine Parker(2002) who says that it is a form of training where a member of staff leaves the job and another unemployed person takes his job and his debate about job rotation takes job rotation outside the scope of organisation rather than inside the organisation as unemployed people are brought into the organisation but in case of B&Q job rotation would be inside the organisation and the idea of Elaine Parker(2002) can’t be implemented.
According to Friedrich, Kabst,Weber and Rodehuth (1998) the difference of opinions that whether to use job rotation in the organisation or not is dependent on the type of organisation that you are working. The organisations with a strategic human resource management approach tend to use job rotation where as the organisations which don’t have a strategic approach towards their human resource they don’t support job rotation(Friedrich, Kabst, Weber, Rodehuth, 1998).
Now comes the point that whether job rotation helps in the learning and development of staff or not. To describe this point Ben Bennett (2003) describes two forms of job rotation which are with in function rotation of staff and cross function rotation of staff. In with in function job rotation staff are rotated with in a similar department where as in cross function job rotation staff are rotated among different departments(Bennett, 2003). Bennett (2003) argues that both forms of job rotation are organised to increase the learning and development of staff as they contribute towards knowledge retention as staff are moved across organisation and their expertise are shared among others in the organisation and that also contributes in the development of new staff very quickly (Bennett, 2003).
Mullins (2002) agrees with Bennett(2003) but says that job rotation can only be used in increasing the skills of staff and their training if the jobs are different across which the rotation is being carried out. Cheraskin(2000) agrees to the fact that Job rotation is very useful in increasing the learning and development of employees and it also can result in solving staffing problems like due to job rotation if somebody is not available to do the job somebody else can do their job as they know each other jobs due to learing different skills in their jobs through job rotation(Cheraskin, Campion, 1996). The debate about job rotation was moved to a higher level by Kirk, Downey, Duckett and Woody (2000) who come from the view that job rotation is useful to train employees for managerial positions as well because due to carrying out different activities they can perform different tasks and their skills are also increased and being a manager you perform different tasks at same time as employees do in job rotation.
Kolb’s learning cycle is a theoretical framework which suggests that learning is achieved through experience as Kolb says that when an individual goes through a new experience, the individual learns from it, then reflects on the experience and later on this learning is used in different situations (Inclusive Learning, no date). In job rotation as well individuals learn as they experience different things everyday and this helps them apply these skills in new situations and tasks.
Armstrong and Dawson (1989) argue that on the job training using job rotation does help in the learning of staff as staff do it everyday in their job when their jobs are rotated so, its very natural to learn but this is a disadvantage of work based methods of learning as well because it is so natural that sometimes learning is ignored and management has to be careful and they need to provide full support for on the job training.
According to a research by Petra (2002) it has been discovered that job rotation also contributes to organisational learning as well apart from individual learning as due to job rotation individuals interaction among people in the organisation gets increased and they perform different tasks and that contributes to the sharing of the knowledge among organisation and the more the job rotation would be more understanding among staff would be created and that will give rise to interpretation of information which will contribute towards organisational learning (Weerd-Nederhof, Pacitti, Gomes, Pearson, 2002).
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Functional flexibility works on the same principle as job rotation and according to cordery(1989), Mueller(1992) and cordery et al (1993) it is a kind of process where the skills of staff are increased in such a way that they can work in different fields, According to Olmsted and Smith (1989) and IMS(1986) functional flexibility is used by firms to overcome the changing need of technology by developing the employee skills in different areas rather than specialisation in just one field of work like scientific management.
Cordery et al(1993) links functional flexibility to job rotation and says that it can be achieved by using job rotation and this is against scientific management as discussed earlier which supports the idea of one person doing just one job (ncec, no date). Leveson(1996) also disagrees with scientific management and writes that due to specialisation of workforce like same people working in the same department gives rise to a department culture which is different than the overall culture of organistion and that is against teamwork as well so, job rotation which uses rotation of staff can help to solve this problem and can also support learning of staff.
Friedrich, Kabst, Weber and Rodehuth (1998) say that due to functional flexibility the qualification of staff can be raised as they move between different jobs and the jobs in which they will move they will learn from those jobs.
According to Malinski (2002) there are many positives that are linked to job rotation but it has got few limitations as well. Malinski(2002) says that it helps in overcoming stress, gives rise to innovation and it also increases productivity and Bennett(2003) says that it helps in the learning of staff as well. According to Bennett (2003) there are certain limitations with job rotations as in the case of with in function job rotation staff remain in their own department so, learning is not as high as it is when staff members are rotated in different departments. Malinski(2002) also adds to limitations and says that sometimes the more experienced staff is not willing to rotate and also staff sometimes don’t fit well due to difference in their skill level and there is a cost issue as well for implementing job rotation and these three factors are very important for the implementation of job rotation in B&Q as most of the staff working there is experienced (B&Q, 2007).
Bennett(2003) argues that work based approaches are very popular for learning and development of employees but the reason why they are not successful is because they are not implemented properly. Malinski(2002) adds to it and says that for implementing job rotation properly three things are very important which include the type of job rotation which will be implemented, how the structure will be organised for it and their must be communication with the staff before implementation about the type of training and learning period during job rotation (Malinski, 2002).
According to a research by Adomi (2006) on job rotation the method of data collection used were based on questionnaires and then the results of these questionnaires were used for analysis. Another study on functional flexibility and the use of job rotation in organisation was conducted by Friedrich, Kabst, Weber, Rodehuth (1998) also shows that questionnaires were used to collect data. So, these two views show a tendency that in the research area of job rotation questionnaires is the type of method that is more favourable to collect the data.
This study is based on B&Q and it comes under retail industry and Parker and Byrom(2002) have done some research on the skills that are usually required by staff who work at independent retailers and this skill set is as follows.
Interpersonal skills, telephone skills, numeracy, selling, stock rotation, product Knowledge, cash handling, literacy, IT, health and safety, customer service, point-of-sale technology, security and emergency procedures and supervisory skills.
(Byrom, Parker, Harris, 2002, p.5)
All these skills are required for working in B&Q as well and apart from these skills being a big organisation and having about 10 departments in every store which are all different to each other in what they do and how they operate (B&Q, 2007). If the employees are rotated in their own departments and in different departments as well they will learn the skills in different departments and their overall learning and development will be increased that way as well
5.0 Research Methodology and Design
5.1 Philosophical Approaches
The philosophical approaches that will be used to collect data in this research will be based on both positivist and interpretative methods. Both methods have got their own positive and negative aspects. The research questions that are mentioned above suit more to the interpretative method of research as the interpretative method use the case studies and ethnographic studies to analyse the data as the secondary data will be consisted of published work and case studies (Weber, 2004).
The positivist approach will be used for the primary collection of data using questionnaires and it will help us to test the results that will be achieved through positivist approach. Because it is very important that the data that is collected is reliable as well, if we consider the positivist approach for this research it is more reliable as we will be using the Replicability approach to check the reliability of data which basically means that either the results collected can be reproduced or not (Weber, 2004).
In the case of positivist approach the results can be reproduced easily (Weber, 2004) as they are collected through questionnaires and surveys and reproducing them is easy but for the interpretative approach the Replicability is difficult as it uses the case studies and ethnographic studies which are based on participant observations of the group which is being studied which in this research will be achieved by using one to one interviews with in the organisation(Creswell, 1998; Higgins, 2007) and in that case it is not easy to reproduce the data to check the reliability of the data, that is why in interpretative method emphasis is usually based on the validity of the data and not the reliability of data (Ruth, 2006). To be certain of the fact that the results are correct that will be collected in this research we will use the data triangulation approach in this research (Higgins, 2007). The data triangulation will enable us to use different methods to see that our findings are valid (Ruth, 2006).
5.2 Primary Data
The primary collection of data will be carried out using both the qualitative and quantitative methods. The quantitative data will be collected through questionnaires and interviews will be used as a qualitative measure to collect the primary data.
The questionnaires will be used inside and outside the organisation to collect data from members of staff and those people who have got prior experience of job rotation to find out their perceptions about job rotation and the use of within function and cross function job rotation. The questionnaires will be designed using the secondary data that will be collected using the interpretative approach by using case studies and published work to find out what should be the specifications of the questionnaires and some advice will be taken into consideration from managers in the designing of questionnaires.
The questionnaires will be of the type that they will be delivered inside the organisation and then will be collected(Higgins, 2007).The questionnaires would be designed in a way that it will use the closed questions with answers categories so, that we get the desired answers from them. The deductive reasoning will be used to test our results (Trochim, 2006) from these questionnaires and to analyse the data that will be collected through them and that will help us in understanding and confirming the theoretical idea of implementing job rotaion in B&Q using the responses of staff.
Though the problem that we might face using questionnaires in our research is that we might not get the right response and the questionnaires wouldn’t go in depth as well.(Oppenhein, 1992) . So, to explore further, to get more response and to get more explanation of the area interviews will be conducted.
The type of interviews that will be used in this research will be exploratory interviews and standardised interviews.
220.127.116.11 Standardised interviews
The standardised interviews will be used with members of staff in the organisation where we will design the questions first that will be asked in the interviews (Oppenhein, 1992). As in the case of standardised interviews we will ask the same questions to every member of staff to quantify the data and to check responses of different staff members about job rotation on the basis of same questions.
18.104.22.168 Exploratory interviews
The exploratory interviews will be used with managers in the organisation to go in to the detail of the research questions and for these interviews the questions would be asked from the research topic on different areas rather than following standard questions and the reason for that is that we will get the facts and statistics from the standardised approach used with staff but for developing the ideas on job rotation exploratory interviews will be used with managers to collect as much ideas as we can rather than collecting the data(Oppenhein, 1992). The exploratory interviews will be recorded as well so, that they will be analysed in much detail later and they will be analysed by different people to get more ideas and that is why the exploratory interviews will help us to understand the job rotation much better and any ideas collected during the interview will be used to understand the topic in more detail (Oppenhien, 1992).
The inductive reasoning will be used as well to analyse the ideas that will be collected in the exploratory interviews as the data will be qualitative and inductive reasoning will help us to develop the topic area from more generalised observations and abstract ideas to a higher level of theory.(Trochim, 2006).
5.3 Secondary Data
The secondary data on research area will be collected by using already published research work and books. It is very useful to understand the research that will be carried out and it also can be found easily and in less cost (Cooper, Schindler, 1998).The books are a good source to understand the topic area but they don’t provide a critical analysis of the topic and also the information in books is usually not up to date and for that reason journal articles will be used to understand the topic area in detail and to get up to date information.
6.0 Sampling and Data Analysis
It is very important during the collection of data that the right people are being contacted as if the questionnaires are being used to collect the data but they are distributed to those people who are not part of the study then it is of no use and the data collected will be wrong and wouldn’t product a good analysis (Galloway, 1997). So, for that reason in this research the questionnaires will be distributed to staff members with in the organisation which would be the sample frame for this study.
Sampling is consisted of two types which are profitability sampling and non profitability sampling as part of the research Profitability sampling will be used to collect data inside the organisation as the sampling frame is available (Galloway, 1997) as we know the staff members to whom questionnaires will be distributed but purposive sampling will be used as well as a part of the non profitability sampling to collect data from people outside the organisation who have got some knowledge of job rotation as mentioned in questionnaires section.
The results from questionnaires and interviews will be first collected and then the patterns of answers will be analysed using SPSS(Statistical package of social sciences) which is a good statistical tool to analyse the data (SPSS, 2007). It will enable us to analyse the data using graphs, reports and charts and then these results will be analysed as compared to the secondary data collected in the same area for the validity of the collected data. To analyse the data properly as discussed earlier the data triangulation approach will be used where we will combine different methods to analyse the data and to check the validity of our findings (Ruth, 2006).
The research is being carried out for academic purposes so for the real implementation in B&Q some further research in relation to cost and application might be required. The time available to carry out the research is also short and in that time some aspects of research might be short on implementation detail. There are issues about the reliability of the data that will be collected as some people don’t give real consideration to filling a questionnaires even if the questionnaires is very well designed so their will be limitations in that respect of the research.
8.0 Ethical considerations
There are no ethical issues regarding this research.
9.0 Time scale for Study
Distribute Questionnaires and Get Results
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