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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The situational suitability of job evaluation plans in unionized environments Stobart, Anne Patricia


Despite the age of and scholarly interest in job evaluation, little research has been done which would assist the practitioner in determining what plan would best suit any given situation (particularily within a unionized context) and what criteria can be used to measure plan effectiveness. The focus of this study was to identify and analyze the situational factors which influence a firm's choice of job evaluation plans, and ascertain the impact these factors may have on plan effectiveness, as well as, to develop common criteria for measuring effectiveness. A sample of three British Columbia unionized organizations was examined, and the observations arising from each plan were documented in the form of a case study. Each plan reflected historical, environmental and internal influences peculiar to the individual organization while, at the same, all had been subjected to certain common exigencies. The observations of the sample supported earlier research on the influence of various factors. For example, as noted in the literature, senior management support, the existence of an appeal mechanism and regular plan audit, as well as, full information accessibility appeared to correlate with plan effectiveness. Additionally, it was noted that the stability and competency of the analysts, as well as, the nature of the work environment were particularily influential. A growth in union interest in job evaluation was evident and the relationship between management and the union strongly dictated the degree of freedom with which management was able to apply job evaluation. However, job evaluation was perceived, by both management and labour, to be non-adversarial in nature. The traditional job evaluation process was evidently time-consuming and cumbersome; all organizations expressed a need for a more expedient process. Only one organization expressed concern regarding the issue of equal pay for work of equal value, suggesting that it is, currently, more of a philosophical than practical issue vis a vis job evaluation. Few common criteria of job evaluation plan effectiveness were applied. Nevertheless, based on common concerns and experiences observed in the study a measurement "checklist" was compiled which outlined the following job evaluation plan requirements: (1) predetermined goals of the plan, (2) senior management support, (3) workable terms of reference, (4) evaluation method suitability, (5) evaluation method soundness, (6) evaluation consistency, (7) checks for accuracy/objectivity, (8) plan credibility and comprehensibility, (9) administrative efficiency, and (10) wage/classification structure rationality. Insofar as labour and management share a common goal for job evaluation, the potential for increased sophistication and effectiveness of plan development and administration appears to be great.

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