Environmental Practice @ Work
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We need to know the roles people can play to inform our learning materials. We Look at the workplace and the roles therein to ensure that competences are the basis for learning.

People play various roles in an organisational structure. While many organisations maintain hierachial structures, some have social partnerships. Hierachial structures expect employees to follow orders with little feedback, while social partnerships rely on a dialogue between managers and staff, usually through elected representatives.

Many organisations are introducing 'quality' management systems. These can deal with a range of emerging issues, incuding the environment and food hygiene. These spell out what managers should do. Good systems also spell out the roles and responsibilities for all other employees. This is particularly developed with health and safety systems where control may be critical. In environmental systems, all people who may have significant impacts on the environment must be "competent".

Manager's Role
Such systems usually outline the role of the manager clearly, but do not flesh out the roles and responsibilites of others who would be involved. Managers organise people and production by measuring performance (whether health and safety, environment or sustainable development) and then monitoring and auditing progress. All systems must show contiunual improvement.

Skilled Workers
People will be appointed to look after certain functions - in particular quality control, risk assessment and implementing control procedures. These functions could be carried out by supervisors, skilled workers or union / health & safety representatives.

Supervised Workers
verybody at work has a part in these systems. Supervised people are limited in what they can do. They may be able to take an active role, or they may be only allowed a passive role and just required to be 'aware' of the systems in operation.

For more on Systems

For more on Health & Safety Systems

For more on Environmental Management Systems

If you want to see how this all fits together, go to Sustainable Skills Matrix