IN CHAPTER 1 we outlined three challenges companies face as they attempt to manage the workforce as a strategic asset. The first of these, the perspective challenge, is the focus of this chapter. At the foundation of the perspective challenge is an increased emphasis on differentiation—of employees, jobs, and performance. Such a shift in focus may represent a new approach to workforce management for most firms. Indeed, we find it interesting that while most managers appreciate the value of differentiation as an attribute of products and services, we don’t observe the same emphasis on the role of differentiation in the execution of workforce strategies. For example, managers routinely evaluate the key ...

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