Critical Thinking And Problem Solving Context Service Industries Essay

Question:

Discuss about the Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Context Service Industries.

Answer:

Introduction

The critical thinking is attributed to the most intellectual discipline which is concerned with the process of conceptualization, application, analysis and the evaluation of the information gathered from various sources (Jackson 2015). The information can be gathered from a wide variety of sources such as reflection, experience, observation, communication and reasoning (Jackson 2015). The modern-day organizations are gearing up for in depth information about the business processes that can be critical for making the business decisions (Jackson 2015). The critical thinking can be designated as the intentional application of the higher order thinking skills and rational skills that would be beneficial for the organization in the long run. In today’s modern organization, there are a lot of problems that happen in the workplace (Jackson 2015). An essential part of ambiguity lies in the dealing with ambiguity. The critical thinking is concerned with the “metacognition”, which is concerned with the act of being aware of the individual thinking when performing specific tasks as well as using the awareness to control the different entities (Metcalfe 2013).

There are many situations in the service industries which poses serious threat to the managers (Pinder 2014). The internal as well as external environment of the organization presents several challenges for the organization and there are several problems in the day to day functioning of the organization (Jackson 2015). The managers of the organizations work hard to formulate policies so that there is an increase in the efficiency of the organization (Pinder 2014). The issues of the organization affect the overall functioning of the organization (Jackson 2015). This report would provide an in-depth analysis of one functional problem in the organization and would provide critical analysis of the same (Jackson 2015). The problem would be analyzed in detail with the help of different attributes such as cultural beliefs, system dynamics, historical influences and examples of inductive or deductive arguments (Pinder 2014).

Description of the Problem

The growing number of multinational companies as well as small companies has long working hours which reduces the productivity of the employees in the long run (Jackson 2015). Research has shown that people working beyond the scheduled eight hours of working have serious health issues (Caruso 2014). The long working hours is not only harmful for the employees but it is also detrimental for the organizations in the long run (Jackson 2015). There is high attrition rate in the organization as the employees are not eager to work in organization that forces them to work for long hours than usual (Pinder 2014).

Research shows that people who work for more than 55 hours each week have an increased risk of stroke and coronary heart disease (Wilmot et al. 2012). If the employees fall ill, then there would be increased absenteeism as well as increased medical charges that would have to be borne by the organization (Jackson 2015). This would also bring in negative image for the company as there would be news that the company has long working hours (Caruso 2014). In such cases, the human resource department would be having a tough time in recruiting qualified manpower.

Analysis of the problem

There have been an increasing number of studies that shows the ill effects of the long working hours (Caruso 2014). One of the studies published in the “American Journal of Epidemiology” shows that the unhealthy diet habits, increase in the blood pressure and the stress is causing millions of people to go through serious health issues (Forbes.com 2017). This study showed that the act of spending long time (more than 11 hours) in office leads to an increased rise in the heart diseases (around 67 percent). There is also an increased risk to the varying levels of psychological stress that also damages the health of the individuals (Forbes.com 2017). There are other factors responsible for the high amount of stress in the individuals such as increased level of the cortisol hormone, lack of physical activity of the employees, increase in the sedentary lifestyle and the poor eating habits of the employees (Forbes.com 2017).

Reasons of long working hours

The managers of the companies often expect their employees to engage in long working hours by responding to the company mails at all times or willingly donate their holidays or weekends to the company, especially in the peak business seasons (Appelbaum 2013). This is caused by the different degree of economic incentives, corporate culture and the emerging technologies that have contributed to the additional hours that the employees contribute to their workplace (Appelbaum 2013). The employees also feel the urge to work long hours owing to the promotion as the management would be content if they are seen to be devoting long hours to the work (Forbes.com 2017). The employees have high ambition, greed for short term rewards and others, which make them to take huge workload and complete them by giving additional work hours to the company beyond their normal working hour (Sirota and Klein 2013). This often leads to increased levels of anxiety, stress, nausea, eyesight problems, headaches and loss of sleep. There are sleep disorders for the employees who work for long hours (Appelbaum 2013).

There may be situation in which the employees are expected to work from home even after their normal work schedules are over (Appelbaum 2013). This causes loss of work-life balance and the employees are unable to give sufficient time to their family or they have no personal life (Khallash and Kruse 2012). There are several close health related factors that are concerned with the long stretches of work (Caruso 2014). The employees may have impaired sleeping, heavy drinking, depression, impaired memory and increased susceptibility to diabetes (Miller and Reynolds 2012).

Consequence of long working hours

The human brain is unable to perform at its optimum level after 7-8 years of work. It increases the effectiveness, which is also reflected in the productivity of the employees (Bloom 2014). The organizations with long working hours can expect a loss of productivity as the employees would not be able to do their job duties in a perfect manner (Caruso 2014). There are an increased number of workers in Australia, who are doing work for more than 20 hours and also night duty (Bloom 2014). The erratic work schedules characterized by 6-12 hours of work at the shift and the employees working in different shifts are often seen to be lacking in sleep and this is detrimental to the organization also (Amorim and Santos 2017).

The employees working in shift duty or long stretches are often unable to focus on their day to day work (Bloom 2014). This is due to the fact that the mind is unable to focus on the work after certain hours of work (Foster and Wass 2013). The organization would not be able to give authentic work and there would be lack of creativity in the team if the employees are working for long hours.

Culturally held beliefs

There are different culturally held beliefs for the working hours in the organization. The working hours are directly with the life satisfaction (Munir et al. 2012). The determinants of the life satisfaction are directly dependent on working hours (Bloom 2014). The life satisfaction can be defined as the analysis of the general well-being as well as overall happiness of the individuals. It is true that having a regular job is important in improving the positive association. The happiness is closely related with the culture and the understanding of the culture is important for instilling motivations as well as positive behaviors among the employees (Gayathiri et al. 2013). The people are known to face different degrees of moral dilemmas as well as ambiguous circumstances when there is instance of proper behavior (Gayathiri et al. 2013). The emotional commitment of the employees is directly related with the act of prioritizing of the tasks (Bloom 2014). The most important dimensions of culture are concentrated on the fact that the locus of responsibility lies within the individuals and their actions (Caruso 2014).

System dynamics of long work hours

There are number of causal agents that contribute to the long working hours in the modern-day organizations (Reason 2016). There are incidents when the employees engage in long working hours without any extra pay. There can be lot of distractions during the official hours which may force the people to stay in office for longer duration (Gayathiri et al. 2013). There can be the existence of non-cooperating members who would minimal support to the employees (Karatepe 2013). This may also prevent the employees form finishing their work within stipulated time. There are instances when the supervisor is disorganized in his work approaches (Karatepe 2013). This may result in the late allocation of the work and hence the employee would need longer time to finish the allocated work (Gayathiri et al. 2013). The managers may be good at their own tasks, however, they may not be good at delegating tasks to the people, which may force their team members to stay in office for long hours (Wiig 2012).

There are instances when the employees are unable to manage their time effectively, which would make them to stay after office so that they can meet their performance targets. It can be argued that the persons working more than 48 hours of week can be regarded as the ones having long working hours (Landy and Conte 2016). Research shows that there are clear gender differences concerning long working hours. The male population is known to work for longer hours as compared to the female counterparts (Karatepe 2013). It has also been shown that people in the age group of 30 and 49 are most likely to work for long hours. The paid overtime was also considered as one of the causes contributing to the long working hours (Rodrigues Guest and Budjanovcanin 2013). There is close association between the overtime period and the current levels of pay (Gibbons and Henderson 2012). There are other dynamics for long working hours such as employee preference, career enhancement, occupational commitment and the job security (Rodrigues Guest and Budjanovcanin 2013).

Historical influences

The long work hours are also supported by several historical influences. During the 1800, there were many Americans who worked for long stretches (Skocpol 2013). They used to work over seventy hours per week, which became a political issue. There has been increasing workload in the nineteenth centuries. The jobs with high degree of overtime often results in the increased chances of the injury hazard rates (Rodrigues Guest and Budjanovcanin 2013). The Australians have long working hours’ culture and they are considered as the hardest workers among the global workforce (SMH.com.au 2017). There is one among the five Australians who work for more than 50 hours per week. The traditions of Australia demonstrate that the country relies heavily on the penalty rates and the over time, which is implemented to discourage the employees from having a long work week (Skocpol 2013). It is also true that the longer hours of work do not correspond to the higher rate of productivity. Studies also demonstrates the fact that the long working hours caused due to increased work pressure causes diminishing effect on the employee productivity (Skocpol 2013).

Use of statistics

There is high probability that a large number of statistics would be used for the purpose of evaluating the long working hours in the modern workplaces. The Australian statistics shows that the Fair Work Commission has set out guidelines for the hours of work that the employees are supposed to do (Fair Work Ombudsman 2017). The employees are supposed to work for a maximum of 38 “ordinary hours” in a particular week. The ordinal hours can be part time, full time and also applicable for the causal employees.

Suggestion

The problem of the long work hours should be handled carefully and set of solutions should be set for minimizing the risks caused due to the problem. The employees should try to priorities the tasks so that they can complete the tasks within the given deadlines (Pickert 2014). This would also prevent the employees from working after the office timings. The employees should engage in the prioritizing of the tasks and it is also important to set the timelines for important tasks first so that they get completed over time (Pickert 2014). The employees should engage in conversations with the senior management which throws light on the workload problems. The employees should ask direct questions to the supervisors instead of giving accusations to them (Duncan and Dunifon 2012). It is also important to find out the root causes of the workload issue and agree to solutions based on this analysis (Pickert 2014). The employees should be accountable for managing their own time and they should strive to maintain time keeping software that would help them manage the team as well as personal priorities well (Duncan and Dunifon 2012). The employees should be able to manage the work well and the organization should not overburden them (Duncan and Dunifon 2012). The organization should understand that the employees need to balance their personal as well as professional life. They should not give unachievable deadlines to the employees so that they can finish off their work within the office duty hours (Duncan and Dunifon 2012). This would make the employees more committed to the organization and their job role.

The organization can allow flexible work options that would help the companies to focus more on employee productivity. The organizations can give “Work from Home” options so that the employees can balance their personal as well as professional life easily (Bloom et al. 2014). The companies should leverage the increasing use of the technological interventions and hence this should be done to keep the long working hours (Duncan and Dunifon 2012). It is important to take care of the “log in” and the “log out” time so that the employees do not overburden themselves. The organization should hire adequate number of employees so that the departments get adequate number of manpower to perform their day to day tasks (Gavino Wayne and Erdogan 2012). An efficient human resource department is the key to adhering to the limits of the normal working hours. The employees should keep time for themselves even in a busy schedule (Duncan and Dunifon 2012). This would help them to cultivate their hobby or their favorite pastime, which would keep them refreshed and hence they can concentrate on the work better.


The organization should strive to undergo frequent motivation sessions for the employees, which would inspire the employees and this would be reflected in their work performances also (Duncan and Dunifon 2012). The motivation can be in terms of both financial as well as non-financial terms (Weiner 2013). A motivated employee would help them to give their optimum performance and hence this would also help them to restrict the working hours. The organization can conduct motivation sessions that would help the employees to perform their job tasks in a better way (Duncan and Dunifon 2012). There should be limited working hours for women because they may have several duties such as child-rearing as well care for the elderly people (Gavino Wayne and Erdogan 2012). The organization should organize wellness sessions that would engage experienced as well as qualified psychotherapists so that they can provide the employees practical tips of managing stress. These kind of training sessions would provide the employees necessary tools to cope up with the extreme long working hours. These kind of training sessions would also provide the employees emotional support so that they can cope up with the pressures of the work (Gavino Wayne and Erdogan 2012). There can be one to one sessions if the situation demands so. This would result in the employees successfully managing their work within the stipulated workplaces timings. The organization would be successful in maintaining a positive work culture in which there is trust and professionalism (Gavino Wayne and Erdogan 2012). This would increase the productivity of the employees and hence there would be fulfillment of the organizational goals.

The organization should also do proper planning for the allocation of tasks. The employees should be given task before hand and they should be given sufficient time so that they are able to complete them within the stipulated time (Gavino Wayne and Erdogan 2012). This would help the employees to complete the task within their duty hours and they would not need to stay late for completing them. The task management and task planning is important and the managers should take play a key role in it (Gavino Wayne and Erdogan 2012). The organization should be empathetic towards its employees so that they can enjoy the work they are doing and this would cause an increase in the productivity.

Conclusion

The modern-day organizations are going through lot of complex processes since they are big entities and they are having cross border operations. In such situations, it is important to undergo critical thinking so that there is effective problem solving. This report discussed one of the most important issues in the modern workplaces- long working hours. The problem is analyzed in detail. The different health consequences of the long working hours are discussed. The different reasons for the long working hours are discussed such as high ambition, greed for short term rewards, different degree of economic incentives, corporate culture and the emerging technologies. The consequence of long working hours is also discussed. The culturally held beliefs are discussed along with the system dynamics of the long working hours. The organizational dynamics that lead to increased working hours are critically analyzed. The different historical significances related to the long working hours are discussed. The Fair Work Commission has set out guidelines regarding the working hours, which are discussed. The concluding part of the report has practical suggestions for dealing with the particular situation. This report would help in the understanding of the issue of long working hours in business and how to deal with them effectively.

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