Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Personalities influence workforce planning

Date:
November 26, 2012
Source:
Concordia University
Summary:
What if factory foremen treated their workers less like the machines they operate, and more like people, with personality strengths and differences? Surely the workers would benefit, but might the employers also see positive results in the workplace, as well as being able to cut costs?

What if factory foremen treated their workers less like the machines they operate, and more like people, with personality strengths and differences? Surely the workers would benefit, but might the employers also see positive results in the workplace, as well as being able to cut costs?

That's what Concordia researcher Mohammed Othman set out to prove in his paper "Integrating workers' differences into workforce planning," recently published in the journal Computers & Industrial Engineering.

Currently, explained Othman, two types of researchers study production workforces: industrial engineers like him, who try to organize machines and people to maximize efficiency; and industrial psychologists, who design personality tests. Beyond personality type, such tests can determine a worker's motivation level and triggers, work capacity, and even his or her ability to learn. But the test results are generally only used in a pass/fail capacity, to determine whether or not to hire an individual, says Othman. "There are many things you could use this rich data for -- training, motivating workers, determining salaries -- but they don't use it."

Othman's model takes this psychological data and, crossing disciplines, employs it to better engineer workforce planning -- hiring, firing, scheduling and training. "Workforce planning is usually done in the manager's mind -- what he or she knows about the workers and their abilities," says Othman, adding that the manager seldom notes down these estimated measures.

In fact, fearing charges of unfair discrimination leading to union grievances, many managers and foremen expressly avoid taking personality into account when assigning tasks, because they "don't want to make it a personal thing." But, Othman insists, such grading systems do not aim to harm or downgrade workers. "You're trying to help them, by putting them in an appropriate position. At the same time, you're trying to train them and improve their skills -- at their level."

In his paper, Othman ran a complex mathematical model to determine the cost of running a manufacturing shop floor over an eight-week production period. He first ran a control in which workers deemed hirable were slotted into positions without regard for their training, skills, capacity for work, personality or motivation. Then, using his mathematical model, Othman took these factors into account before the production period began, placing workers in more appropriate positions with a view to minimizing hiring, firing, training and overtime costs.

The result? Othman's model created a cost savings of 7.1 per cent, a significant figure that could keep more jobs in Canada, in this competitive, globalized economy.

Beyond manufacturing, Othman says his model could also be applied to the service industry. What's more, "there is also an opportunity for another researcher to incorporate cognitive ability," he adds, "clearly an important factor in human differences." And, clearly, the factor that most differentiates us from machines.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Concordia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mohammed Othman, Nadia Bhuiyan, Gerard J. Gouw. Integrating workers’ differences into workforce planning. Computers & Industrial Engineering, 2012; 63 (4): 1096 DOI: 10.1016/j.cie.2012.06.015

Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "Personalities influence workforce planning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126131311.htm>.
Concordia University. (2012, November 26). Personalities influence workforce planning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126131311.htm
Concordia University. "Personalities influence workforce planning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126131311.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins