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Critique of a research paper entitiled: Understanding human competence at work: An interpretative approach.

The purpose of this research is to evaluate the development of employee benefit schemes in china, since the start of the Chinese economic reforms in 1978. Based on extensive interviews with Managers/Directors of H.R firms across China, the aim of this of this paper was also to examine whether better employee benefits have had a positive outcome on the organizational goals. The findings conclude that better quality and coverage of the benefits have had a positive impact than in the pre-reforms period

Statement of problem
The Authors of this research paper have clearly identified and precisely stated the research problem. It is to explore what are the general benefit schemes that have been adopted in China, and whether these benefits have an impact on organizational outcomes. Since, previous literature has deal mostly with employee compensation and training only, an important aspect in form of employee benefits has been generally ignored. Thus this research accurately identifies the gap that needs to be addressed.

Literature review
The authors firstly explore the lack of research on this issue and quote other researchers who have the same opinion. This shows the credibility of the author's assessment in identifying the research gap. This research identifies previous theoretical research conducted on the causal effects of benefits over labor attraction, labor turn over and better quality workers. Most of the empirical researches on this issue have been conducted in USA and U.K . But these researches, as the authors make the case, have not been able to include other variables that effect labor turnover. The authors further identify the current research that has conducted in the USA which has identified a positive correlation in the improvement of employee benefits to the organizational except for a study conducted in Tiwan which, however, only studied

financial benefit. Thus the authors identify gaps in research literature and have tried to address the overall impact of all types of benefit schemes involved.

This research was an initial preparation to a more wider research. Research methodology was used. The method of data collection was through a sample of 16 managers/directors, which were selected from a pool of 14 randomly selected HR firms across China. Telephonic interviews were used for practical purposes due to distance limitation (the researchers were based in the UK). The interviews were conducted through the inquiry of unstructured questioning.

The data derived from the telephonic interviews was used as a means of identifying benefit items common used in China. The participants general views about the potential links between provision of employee and organizational outcomes provided useful information from which the authors draw conclusions regarding the impact of employee benefits on organizational effectiveness, in the context of China.

The results of the author's analyses shows that amongst the engineers of the same department, working on the same important tasks, there were three different conceptions of work and how it should be accomplished. And in accordance with the main aim of the tasks the competence varied in direct proportion to the strength of conceptions of work. That the more clearer and stronger the participants concepts, the more competent they were. All were equally skilled more or less and their education level was the same. However, a further examination of experience as a variable has yielded a correlation but has not been discussed by the author at length and has been suggested as an area for further research. Also, since this was a case study of a single company, generalizing the re-definition of workers competence has also been suggested for further research.

In contrast to the prevailing rationalistic approaches to the study of competence, this study is based on an interpretative approach, namely phenomenography. The empirical findings and the approach adopted provide a new understanding of, and a new method for, identifying and describing what constitutes human competence at work. The most central finding generated by the phenomenographic approach is that human competence is not primarily a specific set of attributes. Instead, workers' knowledge, skills, and other attributes used in accomplishing work are preceded by and based upon their conceptions of work. More specifically, the findings suggest that the basic meaning structure of workers' conceptions of their work constitutes human competence. It is the workers' ways of conceiving work that make up, form, and organize their knowledge and skills into distinctive competence in performing their work.