January 18, 2010

January 18, 2010

Empirical Findings on the Meaning of Work and Work Centrality

Human Resources Policy Seminar Series at the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University of Toronto, Room 205, 121 ST. George Street, Wednesday February 3, 2010, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. 
Work constitutes a very important aspect in modern life, hence the presentation will focus on the meaning of work, its centrality, and other work related issues, in the industrialized world. It will discuss various approaches to work centrality as well as its measurement. Comparative data on this topic collected in various countries, will be presented and analyzed. In this talk, Professor Harpaz will draw on a number of studies.

Speaker:  Itzhak Harpaz, Director, Centre for the Study of Organizations and Human Resource Management, and Professor, Graduate School of Management, University of Haifa (Ph.D., Human Resource Management & Industrial Relations, University of Minnesota) is the author or co-author of six books and numerous publications in various areas of human resource management, organizational behavior, employment/industrial relations, and cross-cultural comparative management.

The Meaning of Work, Employment Relations, and Strategic Human Resources Management in Israel, by Itzhak Harpaz, Ilan Meshoulam (12 pages, PDF)

Work Centrality and Post-Award Work Behavior of Lottery Winners, by Richard D. Harvey, Itzhak Harpaz and Hui Liao (17 pages, PDF)

For more details please visit:  http://gsb.haifa.ac.il/~iharpaz/


The ILR School at Cornell University is hosting a Health Care Conference

Health Care Delivery System Reform and the Implications for the Work Force: From the Workplace to the White House: A Working Conference for Practitioners, Researchers, Union Leaders, and Policymakers May 11-12, 2010, New York City. A call for papers has also been released contact Peter Lazes

Healthcare Conference details


Hospital Workers’ Role Overload means Burnout

Linda Duxbury, professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business and her co-authors Christopher Higgins at the University of Western Ontario and Sean Lyons of the University of Guelph, have completed a study on healthcare worker stress.  The research, carried out at the Ottawa Hospital, Queensway-Carleton, Montfort and Royal Ottawa hospitals, investigates “role overload” in Canada’s health-care system. According to the Ottawa Citizen article, “The study confirms that health-care workers are among the most stressed, overwhelmed and burned-out workers in the country. About 60 per cent reported “high” levels of role overload and pinned much of the blame on never being able to say no.”

The study is one of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board’s, Solutions for Workplace Change: Funded Projects, 1999-2009 (see page 51). Description of the project: “Technologies such as e-mail, cellular telephones and laptop computers have made it possible for employees to work anytime, anywhere. In this context of increasing time pressures on workers, record numbers of Canadian workers are suffering from role overload — i.e., they do not have the time and energy to meet all of the competing demands of their work and family lives.” (this study is not yet posted on the web - you will be alerted when it is)

Ottawa Citizen, January 19, 2010:  Staff stress at Ottawa hospitals 'unsustainable': report -- ‘Everything is urgent,’ leaving workers burned out by ‘role overload,’ study finds

Globe and Mail, January 19, 2009: Health-care staff close to burnout, study finds : Researchers say excessive demands on hospital staff and managers, and a culture of urgency, are fuelling stress and absenteeism, by André Picard


Management skills required to reduce and prevent stress

Research from government agencies in Great Britain has produced a framework of the core behavioural competencies that line managers need to show in order to prevent and reduce stress in their staff.  The research was funded by Health and Safety Executive, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and Investors in People. Links to individual documents are available below but the section on stress on the HSE website is well worth exploring (click on the + on the left sidebar under stress) 

Research Methods students will find employee survey questionnaires measuring stress in the workplace under Tools and Templates

Framework, June 2009 (4 pages, PDF)   Line management behaviour and stress at work:  Refined framework for line managers:  A competency framework designed to enable line managers to work on the skills required to reduce and prevent stress at work.

Guidelines, June 2009  (7 pages, PDF): Line management behaviour and stress at work: Updated guidance for line managers

Guidance, June 2009: Line management behaviour and stress at work: Updated advice for HR

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also made the full text of the following publication available online:  Managing the causes of work-related stress:  A step-by-step approach using the Management Standards Second edition, HSE: 2007 (70 Pages, PDF)

What are the Management Standards for work related stress?

This section of The Management Standards cover six key areas of work design that, if not properly managed, are associated with poor health and well-being, lower productivity and increased sickness absence. In other words, the six Management Standards cover the primary sources of stress at work.

Management Standards webpage

Line Manager Competency Indicator Tool


Super Union for Nurses

The merger of the California Nurses Association, the United American Nurses, and the Massachusetts Nurses Union has created a new super union of 150,000 members. The merger became official on December 8, 2009.

National Nurses United website

Advancing the Word of Work, ILR School, Media Centre: "Superunion" for nurses Professor Rebecca Givan describes how new union will impact health care debate.

California Nurses Association News: It’s Official: Three Unions Merge to Form Nurses ‘Super Union’, by Lindsay Beyerstein In These Times December 8, 2009


Impact of H1N1 on hours worked

Statistics Canada has assessed the impact of pandemic H1N1 and seasonal flu on hours worked over a three-month period, starting in November 2009, using the Labour Force Survey. The impact of H1N1 and seasonal flu on hours worked was comparable to that of the Ontario-US power outage in August 2003. That outage cost 2.4 million workers in Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec, 26.4 million hours of work time. Including 7.5 million overtime hours, the net effect was a loss of 18.9 million hours.”

Statistics Canada, The Daily, January 15, 2010: Impact of H1N1 and seasonal flu on hours worked

Globe and Mail, January 15, 2009:  1.5 million called in sick with flu:  H1N1 and seasonal flu cost Canadian economy almost 30 million working hours in November as almost one in 10 called in sick, by Jeff Gray


CBC Radio Podcast – Sick days

As part of an ongoing series, Work in Progress, Anna Maria Tremonte  of the CBC Radio One program, The Current, looks at something that many people can relate to at this time of year ... missing work because you're sick. You get expert advice about the effect of sick days on productivity and employee morale and tips on how to call in sick when you just need a day off.  Tips from the Wikihow page include: “Make the phone call to your boss whilst lying on your back - you automatically sound groggy.”

The Current Podcast:  to find the broadcast on Sick Days click on Find (on this page) in your browser, type in sick days, then click on available MP3 file

WikiHow: “How to Call in Sick when You Just Need a Day Off:  Everyone needs the occasional unscheduled day of leisure. Here is how to get yours without raising suspicions at work.”


Women in Male-Dominated Industries

Catalyst’s report titled Women in Male-Dominated Industries and Occupations in U.S. and Canada discusses the gap that continues to remain between women and men in many industries. The report finds that women continue to be highly overrepresented in clerical, service, and health occupations, while men tend to be over overrepresented in craft, operator, and laborer jobs. Unfortunately, male-dominated industries continue to prove to be challenging for women to advance in.

Report, January 2010 (10 pages, PDF)


A Fresh Perspective on Retirement

Morneau Sobeco has released a report titled Retirement Trends in Canada. First published in 1999, this is the third installment in this long-term series which provides a look at what is currently happening with pensions, and an analysis of past predictions.

Report, Retirement Trends in Canada –A Fresh Perspective, January 2010 (12 pages, PDF)


Retirement Realities in Canada and the United States

According to 20th Annual RBC RRSP Poll nearly all Canadians (90 per cent) feel they will have enough income to cover their necessities in retirement but only one-in-four Canadians (25 per cent) feel they will have enough money to fulfill their retirement dreams.  
Bank of America has announced findings from the latest Merrill Lynch Affluent Insights Quarterly, a survey of the values, financial priorities and concerns of affluent Americans. Given the opportunity to do it all again, roughly half (51%) of retired respondents indicated that they would have focused more on their "life goals" and less on "the numbers" -- hitting a specific nest egg dollar amount when planning for retirement.

RBC Media Newsroom, January 18, 2010:  Canadians think a retirement of their dreams is out of reach: RBC poll Retired Canadians are spending less in their first year of retirement but still more than they expected

PRNewswire, January 14, 2010: Individuals Recognize the Need for Lifestyle Trade-Offs in the Wake of the Recession and for a Renewed Focus on What Matters Most


Bridging the Skills gap

This report is the third from American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) on the growing importance of talent to organizational performance and the threat of a future skills gap. It updates earlier reports looking at job losses in the current recession and the influence of Web 2.0 technologies and the Net Generation on workforce skills.

Bridging the Skills Gap: new factors compound the growing skills shortage, ASTD, January 2010 (30 pages, PDF)


Not the SCC Judgment of the Decade but close…

Below is an excerpt from The Court blog entry titled, Judgment of the Decade: Slim Pickings, but Prize Goes to a Tiger,January 14th, 2010. You will have to go to the blog to read about the winner and the tiger but the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) BC Health Services decision is a runner up… and here is what the author James Yap had to say about it, the recent Wal-Mart decision and the upcoming Fraser decision:

“BC Health Services (2007) – Here, public sector trade unions challenged legislation that would have, inter alia, rolled back concessions that had been bargained for and won in collective agreements. Directly reversing a ruling that had been settled law since the 1980s, the SCC declared that the democratic right to freedom of association under s. 2(d) of the Charter protected the right to collective bargaining. This ruling seemingly opened up a new constitutional aspect of labour law, but the Court (as per its custom) set out only a bare framework of what the right to collective bargaining actually means for the purposes of s. 2(d), leaving the rest to be filled in in subsequent decisions. The next such decision will be Fraser, which will explore the impact of BC Health Services on private sector labour relations. The Court could thus choose to constrict much of the impact of BC Health Services in Fraser; indeed, distinguished BC Health Services in the recent Wal-Mart decision on the grounds the employer was the government, possibly setting the table for a dramatic retreat from BC Health Services.

I do not think the Court will go this way. It would require too much in the way of legal gymnastics to dramatically narrow the impact of BC Health Services on legislation governing private sector labour relations, and the facts of Fraser are simply too repugnant to Charter values to make this worth doing. At least one of my colleagues on this site agrees with me. Nevertheless, the true impact of BC Health Services will not be made clear until at least Fraser has come out, and it would thus be premature at this point to label it the ‘Judgment of the Decade’.”


Top Executive Compensation in the United States

This report examines salary, total cash compensation, total compensation, and the mix of compensation elements for the CEO and the five highest-paid executives for specific revenue and industry groups. This report also provides information about stock and stock option compensation and the relationships among some key compensation elements and analyzes these compensation elements by industry category.

The 2009 Top Executive Compensation Report by Kevin Hallock and  Judit Torok, Conference Board New York, January 2010 (120 pages, PDF) available on theConference Board’s e-library to the current University of Toronto community.


New Research on Great Leaders

In a new research paper released by The Work Foundation, the finding of an in-depth three-year study on outstanding leaders has been released. This report is based on over 250 interviews, exploring the characteristics that outstanding leaders are believed to have – the report concludes that highly people-centred leadership results in performance that surpasses expectations.

Report, Exceeding Expectation: the principles of outstanding leadership, January 2010 (98 pages, PDF)


Book of the Week

Absent Citizens: Disability Politics and Policy in Canada, by Michael J. Prince.  Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2009. 282 p.   ISBN 978-0-8020-9630-2 (pbk.)

Disability exists in the shadows of public awareness and at the periphery of policy making. People with disabilities are, in many respects, missing from the theories and practices of social rights, political participation, employment, and civic membership. Absent Citizens brings to light these chronic deficiencies in Canadian society and emphasizes the effects that these omissions have on the lives of citizens with disabilities.

Drawing together elements from feminist studies, political science, public administration, sociology, and urban studies, Michael J. Prince examines mechanisms of exclusion and inclusion, public attitudes on disability, and policy-making processes in the context of disability. Absent Citizens also considers social activism and civic engagements by people with disabilities and disability community organizations, highlighting presence rather than absence and advocating both inquiry and action to ameliorate the marginalization of an often overlooked segment of the Canadian population.

Author: Michael J. Prince is Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy in the Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria.


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Editor: Vicki Skelton
Designer: Nick Strupat

Copyright © 2008 Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University of Toronto. All rights reserved.

Date posted: 
Monday, January 18, 2010