Opportunities And Threats Current Employment Market Offer Employees And Employers

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What opportunities and threats does the current employment market offer employees and employers?

What opportunities and threats does the current employment market offer employees and employers?

Admittedly, the idea of applying the concepts and mechanisms of “Buyer-Centric Commerce” to employees may seem odd, if not ludicrous on the face. Employees are not “buyers”, and their relationships with their employers are not included in what is usually termed “commerce”. (Price 2007) Yet they are clearly involved in a “commercial friendship”, as is the case with customer relationships. And there is clearly a “market exchange” involved, even though some employees may think of and even refer to themselves as “wage slaves”. (Pilbeam 2006)

Rather than argue in principle whether employees properly fit into the BCC model, let us first consider whether the philosophy of BCC applies to relationships between employees and their employers. Do firms tend to look for ways to optimize the value they extract from employees, rather then ensure fair exchanges of mutual value? Do employees often look to extrinsic mechanisms to get their fair share (e.g. unions, strikes, government regulation)? Do firms tend to judge their “balanced scorecard” performance on how well their executives, managers and shareholders benefit from employees'(Freeman 2007) labor - more than, even exclusive of how employees benefit?

There are clearly exceptions to the “extraction model” of relationships that characterize many if not most employment relationships as far as employees are concerned, often reported when describing the “best employers to work for. But is seems likely that the norm, the mode for employee/employer relationships is closer to the CRM model of relationships with customers than to the BCC alternative. And there are reasons to suggest that the BCC model, if applied to employee relations, (Richard 2007) might work better for employers, just as it can for sellers when applied to customer relationships.

BCC Mechanisms Used by Employees

Like consumers engaged in BCC, employees have access to and often use the same kinds of mechanisms consumers are resorting to as they seek to redress the balance in their relationships with sellers. Employers frequently “empower” themselves by acquiring skills, knowledge, reputations for performance, etc. that make them attractive in the employment market. They may further empower themselves by gaining internal “political” strength, though this often acts to the detriment of firms, as they become over politicized. (Orley 2008)

Prospective employees have used a wide range of intermediaries in relationships with employees. The growing number of employment search sites online is one example. Traditional employment agencies and search firms serve an intermediary function, with differing degrees of commitment to the individual looking for work and the employer depending on the orientation and focus of each, how and by who each is paid. In the rarified atmosphere of sports and entertainment celebrities, the “employee” (Price 2007) often hires a permanent “agent” to promote individual's value and negotiate bigger and better deals.

But the mechanism that this article is about is “buyer-centric marketing”, in which the firm shifts significantly away from ...
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