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New Work Systems

Follow this link to an article in the Resource about NWSH, February 2005.

New Work Systems at Harvard -- NWSH

The University Joint Council (UJC), a labor-management oversight group, decided in late 1999 to sponsor a number of pilot sites under an initiative called New Work Systems at Harvard, NWSH. The focus of NWSH is to improve both department performance (e.g., better service, higher quality, cost effectiveness, etc.) and the employees' work environment. The NWSH approach seeks to enhance the commitment, involvement, and performance of the workforce through proven design elements that include participation in decision-making, team-based work organization, and an emphasis on skills training. The overall goal of NWSH is to make Harvard work better and make Harvard a better place to work by truly engaging staff in decisions about their work.


A leadership committee representing staff, managers, faculty, and union representatives will be formed. This committee will begin by learning together about the basic concepts of New Work Systems, and reviewing the current operation and services of the particular department. After this study is completed, the committee will develop a plan for how to apply these concepts to the department's organization.

The redesign might include the following: department structure, services provided, work process, job descriptions, leadership roles, information systems, training, decision-making. The leadership team will then determine a schedule for implementation.

During the study, design, and implementation phases, the leadership committee will seek to involve the department's staff, supervisors, and faculty in the process. Restructuring Associates, Inc., an outside consulting firm chosen by the UJC, will assist the committee in its study, planning, and implementation.

New Work Systems at Harvard Projects

  • Harvard Medical School Animal Resource Center
  • Weatherhead Institute for International Affairs
  • Harvard Benefits Services Group
  • University Financial Services
  • Kennedy School of Government Faculty Assistants Program
Also, some Joint Councils have worked on re-design projects:
  • Harvard Mail Services

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