Managing Human Resources in the Human Services: Supervisory Challenges

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Should I Get A Master’s Degree in Human Resources?

Pricing policy About our prices. We're committed to providing low prices every day, on everything. Performance Review and Counselling An important purpose of the performance appraisal is to counsel and guide employees towards greater job effectiveness. Thus a system of performance counselling is needed in extension organizations. Performance counselling is provided by the manager to the subordinates to help them in the analysis of job performance, identification of training needs, and finding solutions to the problems which hinder job effectiveness.

Counselling is an art of communication involving two people - manager and employee. Counselling differs from training in that the former involves a dyadic relationship and establishes more mutuality and confidentiality. The success of performance counselling depends upon the employee's interest, a climate of openness and mutuality, and the counselling process. Supervision Two major functions of supervision are task orientation and concern for employees. Therefore, direction and organization of activities, motivation of employees, and management of work groups are the important functions of extension supervisors.

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Direction and Organization Extension supervisors have to plan the work and maintain a high standard of performance. The whole process of job analysis, identification of key performance areas, and performance appraisal will help in planning and organizing extension work.

The training and visit system of extension has introduced mechanisms for defining goals, planning, and scheduling work at the field level with provisions for monitoring and evaluation. These techniques have been practised by extension organizations in Asian and African countries with varying success. Personal computers offer good scope for extension managers to increase certain managerial skills.

A study of supervisory practices to improve field performance of agricultural extension in Kenya, Malawi, and the Philippines revealed the following effective supervisory practices Honadle, : 1 use of collaborative, realistic, and result-oriented target setting and a daily activity plan; 2 a needs-based participatory evaluation system; 3 involvement of farmers in decision making and a reachable service target under local constraints; and 4 effective communication and use of simple proforma and report procedures.

Up to 86 per cent of field agents in Southeast Asia reported "friendship" as the most effective way for supervisors to ensure extension workers' reliable performance Goodell, Thus if extension managers are to be effective, they have to give supportive evaluation by way of enhancing employee motivation and improving the functioning of work groups.

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Motivating the Extension Personnel The work motivation and morale of extension staff, as reported earlier, are very poor in many countries. The reasons are many. The bureaucratic structure of extension administration, lack of rewards and incentives, poor facilities, poor promotional avenues, and the low esteem given to extension are the major causes of poor motivation and morale.

Extension supervisors should have the ability to motivate and lead the field extension workers so that the field agents perform more than routine jobs, and supervisors should be involved in attaining excellence in extension work. This calls for extension managers having an understanding of various theories of motivation as applicable to frontline extension agents. Special training for developing motivation among field-workers has to be undertaken by supervisors. Work-Group Management Every organization has formal and informal groups.

Formal groups are established by the management, while informal groups are spontaneous and developed to satisfy mutual interest of the members. Because work groups have a considerable influence on the work situation, supervisors should be sensitive to the needs of the group and develop skills to guide and achieve the group's goal, which will benefit the organization and the members. Effective extension supervision can use work groups in problem solving because they can provide many creative solutions.

One way to improve supervisory effectiveness in extension work is to develop a leadership style which represents the extension workers' group interest at the higher level of organization. This will increase the confidence and morale of the work group.

Managing Human Resources in the Human Services : Supervisory Challenges

An understanding of group dynamics and their implications for increasing work-group performance is essential for extension supervisors. For example, in the "Hawthorne Effect," increased performance due to special treatment of the group can be effectively used in extension organizations Honadle, Studies have pointed out that well-developed group dynamics result in increased extension performance Leonard, Management of rewards and incentives An important aspect of human resource management which needs special attention in extension organizations is the development of a reward system which will attract, retain, and motivate extension personnel, as well as provide training and promotional opportunities.

The extension agents are not only poorly paid but are paid late and after reminders or visits to head-quarters Wiggins, Most of the extension services are run by government agencies and operate under rules and regulations of public administration. These rules do not have provisions for rewarding superior performance or for a wage system based on merit.

Promotion criteria are based on seniority and length of service. Thus the bureaucratic structure of extension services is a basic hindrance to designing a better reward system. The rewards and incentive system can be improved in several ways. Rewarding Superior Performance. Extension organizations have to develop a reward system which encourages superior performance so that pay and wage administration will be an effective tool to promote performance, motivation, and satisfaction.

A clear job description, performance standards, and performance appraisal will help in evaluating extension work and rewarding people for meritorious service. Ways and means have to be found within the existing framework of public administration for basing pay on performance. For example, extension workers on the basis of their performance can be sent for higher education. Nonmonetary rewards such as recognizing the good ideas of field workers or awarding honourable titles will also help in improving performance.

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Extension personnel may also be encouraged to form professional societies to develop and communicate high standards, as well as to recognize superior performance. A professional monthly journal or newsletter can help extension agents to communicate innovative ideas and reinforce superior performance. Improved Working Conditions at the Field Level. The reward system must also be internally equitable.

The relative importance of field-level extension functionaries has to be realized in terms of pay compensation and other amenities. Lower level extension workers often have to work under unpleasant and isolated conditions.

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A carefully planned system of field allowance will compensate this Baxter, The living conditions of field extension workers must be improved by providing adequate facilities for housing, transport, and medical and educational allowances for children. Career Planning and Development for Extension Personnel. A career refers to all of the jobs that people hold during their working lives. Career planning is the process by which employees plan their career goals and paths. Career development refers to all of the technical and managerial skills employees acquire to achieve their career plans.

Career advancement, which gives a picture of future opportunities in terms of promotion, is a motivating factor for performance and development of skills. Unfortunately, no career structure exists for extension personnel in many organizations. In developing countries like India, there are many cases where one joins as a village extension worker and retires in the same position after serving thirty to thirty-five years.

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As part of improving the rewards and incentives system, extension organizations have to develop suitable career paths and advancement for different categories of extension personnel on a systematic basis. As part of career development, extension personnel should be provided with opportunities to develop their technical and managerial skills to enable them to occupy higher positions. Extension personnel should have a salary structure as well as promotion opportunities comparable to other professions like health or engineering.

In Kenya, the pay and career opportunities of extension workers are comparable to other government employees Onyango, Recommendations have already been made to equate the status of agricultural extension with that of agricultural research by offering an equal salary structure, professional advancement, and incentives and rewards FAO, Improvement of the quality of work life The earlier approach to human resource development emphasized individual development through training and proper supervision.

However, with the increasing complexity of organizations and society, it was soon realized that training individuals plays only a limited role in the development of organizations. The need for improving the quality of work life through making the job more satisfying and productive has been greatly felt. Factors such as the nature of the job or the role and involvement of employees in work decisions are important for improving the quality of work life. The methods used to do so are job enrichment, job design, and role interventions Pareek, An understanding of these methods and their application in extension organizations are essential for extension managers to improve the performance of extension agents.

Job Enrichment and Job Design Job enrichment refers to detailed analysis of the work to know the factors which make it a satisfying experience. Job enrichment uses the job as the medium of developing employees and changing organizational practices. Some of the factors which increase job satisfaction are a sense of achievement in the job, recognition for the job, the nature of the work itself, and opportunities to learn new things and grow.

The principles of job enrichment, according to Herzberg , are removing controls while retaining accountability, introducing new tasks, giving a complete unit of work, granting job freedom, and helping employees to become expert in their tasks. These principles can be practised by extension managers to increase the quality of work and job satisfaction among extension personnel. Job enrichment programmes were successful in improving the quality of work and job satisfaction.

However, it was found that job enrichment had a limited view of the job, and the need for greater emphasis on human values was realized. Based on the humanization of work, job design aims at increasing the quality of work life through treating the employees as human beings and emphasizing their development and involvement in work decisions. It emphasizes the use of extrinsic and intrinsic job factors, employee participation in management, autonomy, adaptability, and variety.

The concept of job design can be used by extension managers to increase participation of extension personnel in the planning and management of extension programmes, which will improve the quality of their work life. Role Interventions The study of roles, which are the positions employees hold in an organization, as defined by the expectations of significant persons and the individuals occupying the positions, is a comparatively neglected aspect of organizations. Roles are an important dimension in increasing organizational effectiveness. Through their roles, people are linked with the organization.

This linkage increases organizational effectiveness by integrating the individuals with the organization. Such integration increases mental well-being and personal effectiveness Pareek, The purpose of role-based intervention is to increase the mutuality of roles in organizations. Role-based interventions are done through learning situations such as process laboratory, group discussion, and use of questionnaires and schedules.

Role-based interventions in extension organizations will result in increased work commitment, motivation, creativity, and team spirit. Organizational development An efficient extension organization needs to develop the capability of responding to changes in relation to its environment.