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Reward & Recognition Strategies: A case study of GE Healthcare in Umeå (Management Project)

In a world characterized by increased global competition, and a rapidly changing business environment, companies and organization are forced to continuously reevaluate how they work. Since the first systematic studies of manual labor began during the last century, the focus have changed from a strict control of employees toward looser organizations, increased globalization, and the emergence of HRM-Human Resource Management during the 80’s.

Research shows that employee compensation can account for as much as 70-80 percent of companies cost,but also show that the value of a company’s human capital can significantly affect the market value of the company. Studies also show that managers see non-monetary reward and recognition systems as very effective in reaching eight out of ten organizational objectives.

Another problem facing international companies is establishing themselves in cultures vastly different from their own, in regards to organizational as well as national cultures being different. A company that has been highly regarded and are among the most valued companies in the world is General Electric, which established themselves in Sweden and Umeå when Amersham became GE Healthcare n 2004.

This background led us to our problem formulation:

How does GE Healthcare in Umeå use Reward and Recognition strategies and how do their co-workers perceive these strategies with a focus on motivation and jobsatisfaction?

And our purpose:

We want to examine potential gaps between evidence and practice on Reward and Recognition Strategies. Furthermore we want to develop and understanding of how co-workers perceive these strategies.

We have chosen to use a case study to examine GE Healthcare Umeå, and we have interviewed twelve respondents, both managers, white-collar and blue-collar workers. We are using a hermeneutic stance, and our interviews are semi-structured and qualitative in approach. Furthermore we are using an abductive research process in performing our case study. We have chosen to use a theoretical framework based on soft and hard HRM, reward and recognition strategies, and motivation and job satisfaction.

We found that GE is highly focused on individual reward and recognition systems, but that they have to some extent adapted to the Swedish collective working culture. GE Healthcare is still in a transition phase in Umeå, and we found that there are some dissatisfaction primarily amongst blue-collar workers with the new organizational structure and culture. Feedback and communication was seen as the most important factor in affecting motivation and job satisfaction, and this was seen as lacking, especially amongst blue-collar workers. We think that this will most likely change over time, as GE’s Session C and EMS systems are implemented throughout the organization and the communication has been further developed. Taking into consideration the loss of perspectives that our anonymity entails and the interest of the topic as such, we think that it would be interesting to conduct a more extensive study of GE Healthcare, two to three years from now.
Source: Umeå University
Author: Öztoprak, Tugba | Lundmark, Richard

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