UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Manpower consultative service : examination of a federal approach to solving the manpower adjustment problems of technological change Keylock, Alec John Keith


Since inception of the Manpower Consultative Service in mid-1964 about twenty programs of manpower adjustment to technological change have been initiated under its auspices. This report reviewed recent literature on manpower adjustment requirements to provide a framework within which to evaluate the effectiveness of the Manpower Consultative Service in enhancing an active national manpower policy. Selected cases were examined for any emerging patterns amenable for use In future adjustment procedures; for strengths and/or weaknesses in the Service's methodology; and for providing an evaluation of the achievements of the Service in its enhancement of the nation's manpower policies. The examination exposed areas of weakness in the current rationale of the Manpower Consultative Service. Suggested improvements were recommended on the basis of the established framework. The findings of this report indicate that: 1. A broad pattern is identifiable from the case studies that reveals the approach most likely to evolve in the disposition of manpower adjustment programs under the auspices of the Manpower Consultative Service, 2. The program offered by the Service, analyzed in the light of this pattern, is unduly restricted in its range of applicability by virtue of its current methodology. Specifically, (a) Advance notice of impending changes that will result in the displacement of workers is prerequisite to the effective disposition of manpower adjustment programs. It cannot be left to the limited efficacy of collective bargaining and will be ventured by few firms caught up in an ever-increasing competitive environment. Legislation is required to provide for minimum advance notice of worker lay-off as a statutory right, (b) Current emphasis on joint labour-management cooperation limits the range of applicability of the Manpower Consultative Service and clearly duplicates the current function of the Labour-Management Consultation Branch of the federal Department of Labour. This principle should be subordinated in the Service's basic rationale such that it becomes only a complementary function. (c) Co-ordination of the federal counselling, placement, training, retraining and mobility services has been ineffective and inadequate. Efforts should be focussed on strengthening the co-ordination of these services and priority given to their utilization by actively promoting an atmosphere conducive to manpower adjustment. (d) The research and/or committee chairmen of the Joint Consultative Committees have evolved into third-party problem-solvers in contravention of the principles of the Service and, apparently, to the detriment of a widespread use of its co-ordinating facilities. A researcher's duties in the development of an adjustment plan should be reappraised and more clearly defined. 3. The basic rationale of the Manpower Consultative Service is not clear and, therefore, its resulting implementation lacks organizational commitment to a discipline that dominates its structure and processes. A revitalization and reorganization of the Service's basic rationale is required to promote the maximum utilization of the nation's manpower resources. Examination of many aspects pertinent to the operation of the Manpower Consultative Service was beyond the scope of this report. A number of worthwhile areas for further study have been introduced.

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