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HRD 2002 – Jobs with limited opportunities ‘worse than unemployment’


People who move into jobs with limited opportunities are often more unhappy than people who become unemployed according to Professor Michael West, speaking at the CIPD's annual training conference yesterday.

His speech identified this as a key weakness in the UK economy: insufficient attention to work organisation which limits innovation and creativity in UK workplaces.

West said, "Organisations should look to recruit and retain teams which are diverse in character, emphasise job variety and share objectives. Well functioning teams which also report high workloads and adversity record the most innovation. UK nurses have experienced this in their fight with doctors for the right to perform several functions such as simple surgery. More significantly, they have learnt to form effective, powerful teams which has helped to secure their right to perform these functions and hold on to them".

West also sounded a wake-up call to organisations to reform traditional work organisation methods to harness creativity. He argues that creativity is stifled in the UK workplace by job insecurity, time pressures, threats and unconstructive criticism. He concluded, "If organisations are looking to improve creativity in the workplace, we need to remove all possible constraints such as timescales, job insecurity and look to ensure that workers have variety, autonomy and feedback in their role. Creativity is best harnessed when the individual is alone and away from the workplace; this should be reflected in more flexible ways of working".


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