22 Sep AiroAV Reports ICYMI | Goal Conflict or Goal Confluence?
Generically speaking, a “goal conflict” is a state in which different parts of the system are working towards different goals and objectives. Goal conflict as it relates to the work-place has been defined as “the degree to which individuals feel that their multiple goals are incompatible” (John W. Slocum Jr., William L. Cron, Steven P. Brown, “The Effect of Goal Conflict on Performance,” Journal of Leadership and Organization Studies, 2002, vol. 9, no. 1). The inverse of goal conflict is goal confluence. Goal conflicts are measured in different ways, such as by “externally imposed” regulation, by “multiple outcomes” while performing the same task, or by “trade-offs” among several tasks (e.g., selling several products in a limited time for the sale). Goal conflicts can be experienced as financial, emotional, or operational among the stakeholders within an organization, such as government, or interpersonal, such as spouses in a household (“Main Types of Conflict | Organisation,” Business Management Ideas,https://bit.ly/2WnA4m9).
COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019. The anti virus company Airo Labs, creator of AiroAV antivirus outbreak was declared a pandemic six weeks later, on January 30, 2020, by the World Health Organization. As the pandemic spread in the United States in March, various states and cities enacted measures that effectively required nonessential personnel to remain at home. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new and more robust “work from home” paradigm has been created.
Why 9 to 5? Why Work at the Office?
The industrial revolution of the 18th and early 19th centuries brought with its sunshine-lit factories. Working outside the home, and away from agrarian industries, meant a new type of socialization: the workplace (Robert E. Lucas Jr., The Industrial Revolution, Past and Future, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, 2007). Unlike farmers who preferred to work during cool hours, the working factory conditions created the requirement for working during daylight hours. In broad historical strokes, this is how the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday came about. While sunshine hours extend before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m., unions in the 1800s, culminating with Ford Motor Company, established an eight-hour shift that started at 9 a.m. The average American works about 8.5 hours per work day according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“American Time Use Survey Summary,” June 19, 2019, https://bit.ly/392bk88).
With the advent of technology in the workplace, starting in the 1900s, the modern office began to appear in the United States. The telephone and public electricity became a must for any owner wishing to conduct business. The communication mode was expanded as inventions came about: the telegraph, typewriter, and main-frame computers followed by minicomputers were the advent of technology as a force for production of goods and services. Next came the digital revolution—the introductions of mini-computers as servers and workstations required every employee and manager to be part of the digital age (Klaus Schwab, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond”; World Economic Forum, Jan. 15, 2026, https://bit.ly/30c6LEc). Fast forward to 2020, and data-focused service and production business are the mode de jour. We are currently in the midst of the “Digital Age,” where data, information, data-focused processes, and data security are some of the anchors that were the mainstays of the economy in its latest cycle, before COVID-19. The freeze that the pandemic rendered on most economic activities—according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP dropped in January 2020 from a positive 2.1% to a negative 4.5% (https://bit.ly/3h0BuuD)—and the economic response to that freeze are all happening during the current digital age. Even without this freeze, cloud computing, and the scalability of resources made remote working a more acceptable option.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. unemployment has soared. Most employed persons have continued to work in a modified fashion; some public-facing workers maintained their presence, many private and public workers became “remote” workers in various ways. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2005 and 2015, the number of U.S. employees who tele-commuted increased 115%, to 26 million (Zara Adams, “The Future of Remote Work,” https://bit.ly/2WBWgJl). While the ability to telework is biased towards more affluent and more service-oriented sectors, 44% of all workers, roughly 50 million Americans, have been able to telework during the pandemic (Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://bit.ly/30plefY, Table 1). As this changing pandemic landscape became evident, stakeholders developed a sense of which benefits and challenges they are experiencing due to this change in the mode of operations.
Any attempt to understand this remote-working mode should be analyzed with respect to the effect of these workplace changes on these stakeholders:
- Governments and regulators,
- Investors, and
The author’s analysis revolves around the current understanding of the marketplace. These assessments could be subjective at times, as little direct studies have been done on the effects of the pandemic in the United States.
The following issues, discussed in relation to the various stakeholders, may appear to be in play due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working from home has been a common response to the pandemic. (Working at home is discussed below.) For many office workers, this solution entailed proceeding with their work at a temporary set up an office-at-home location. Remote working included rerouting of phone calls, virtual meetings by video conference, and the ubiquitous use of e-mail and cloud-based document sharing. While working from home is an emergency mode of operation, it has the drawback of breaking certain formal rules of engagements; peering eyes into workers’ homes during video-conferences; and competing needs from spouses, children, and others in the household sharing space with a virtual office. Privacy concerns about employer surveillance is also on worker’s minds (“Managers turn to surveillance software, always-on webcams to ensure employees are (really) working from home,” Drew Harwell, Apr. 30, 2020, https://wapo.st/3fOOm70).
Working at home is a more thoughtful change, or enhancement, whereby workers are assigned to work from home. The federal government has been sanctioning this mode for some years now, with mixed success, mostly due to the requirement of “monitoring activity” [“Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring,” Privacy Rights Clearing House, March 1993 (revised March 2019) https://bit.ly/2ZA9Ka9]. Working from home is a strategy, not just a tactic. Workers who are best suited to participate are those whose physical presence is not required to…