This situation once again proves that the people are not considered valuable additions, but commodities. And the management of these commodities changes based on business needs.
In terms of the younger employees, their careers -- or their end thereof -- are extremely intensely subjected to the evolution of technology. As a parenthesis, the advent of technology has imposed new standards for the employees in the meaning that they must progress alongside with the technological developments. And this state of events has also led to the commodification of the staff members. In a context in which technologies evolve, employees are more and more required to themselves evolve in order to be able to operate the new machines and the new technologies. From this standpoint then, alongside with the intensified usage of the technological resource, the human resource is perceived more and more as a commodity.
A specific issue related to technology is its use. In the workplace, employees might make use of the technology in a non-work related manner and this has constituted grounds for firing the respective employees. Nevertheless however, employees have been fired for blogging for work related purposes. A study conducted by Sean Valentine, Gary M. Fleishman, Robert Sprague and Lynn Godkin (2010) has identified that in most cases, the underlying reasons for firing the employees were unethical. In other words, the employers used blogging as an excuse to fire the respective employees. This once again points to the means in which the staff member is reduced to the level of any other commodity. It is used for as long as he is necessary, and he is afterwards let go, with the use of a pretense.
Despite the negative elements in the treatment of the staff members, fact remains that the modern day workforce is one of the strongest and best protected ones. It is safeguarded by legislations and by competition for the best employees. The result of this was the expansion of the benefits offered to employees, and modern day firms even include human resource initiatives in their budgets. With this movement however, came along the need to better manage the expanses with the staff members. And in a context in which organizational expenditures are always seen as in need of reduction, the incentives to the employees are also seen in terms of the need for capping. In other words, through the lenses of financial organization and restructuring, the labor force is understood objectively and financially, just like any other organizational resource which has to be managed in the most efficient manner.
Following this line of thoughts, economic agents need to reduce operational costs in order to reduce their retail price and as such better serve the needs of their customers. The example at Southwest Airlines is extremely relevant. The company decreased its expenditure and paid its employees by trip. The benefits and other incentives were kept to a minimum. This materialized in low flight fares and satisfied customers -- the key to a successful business (Tuck School...
Achtmeyer Center for Global Leadership). The lesson from this is that the employees are a commodity used in the direction of satisfying customers -- which are not the target of the business -- but which constitute the means to the desired financial ends. And the commodification of the labor force is nowhere more obvious than in the services sector, where the organizational success depends directly on the ability of the employees to interact with and satisfy the customers. The high levels of individuals employed in services in Australia once again support the theory of commodification.
Ultimately, the analysis of the evolution and modern day role and state of the Australian labor force has concluded that the employees are not perceived in the orthodox manner of the most valuable organizational resource, but as a simple and replaceable commodity. It would seem that the distinctions made by Marx, Marshall and Polanyi in their distinctive assessment of the labor force as different from other commodities (Peck, 1996) is no longer applicable. And this direction has not been set by a natural process of economic evolution, but more so by the interest and pressures of either significant economic agents, either desires for financial stability in the public sector.
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