A team is a formal work group whose members work internally with each other to achieve a common objective. A self-managed team is a small group of employees responsible for an entire work process, improve their operation or product, plan their work, resolve day-to-day problems, and manage themselves. U. S companies including Ford Motor company, Digital Equipment and Boeing report many positive benefits from their experience with self-managed teams including higher productivity, improved quality and lower turnover.
Team Development and Evolution
EXATO vision it self as a services organization involve in providing solutions for mixing problems, rather than just designing and manufacturing of mixing machines. EKATO objective was to design a flexible and optimized production facility at a realistic cost, while creating an attractive environment to foster innovation. Therefore the new building was designed to support a cell-based, self-managing culture.
Before the change to self managing culture, an extensive consultation and participation programme was conducted. This was based around people, process, technological and architectural strategies. A planning groups consisting of both workers and representatives of the workers’ council was formed to discuss any affect on employees due to those changes.
The plan is to have 3 person groups. Wide-ranging internal information was made available to employees to support the new-managing, self-optimising approach in EKATO.
With self managing teams approach brought good results;
The new decentralised system amortized itself within the first 2 years operation
Throughput times were reduced by 50%
Inventories fell by 50%
Spare parts stores reduced by one-third
Machine cost fell
Changes to plans reduced by 40%
Obtaining information and passing it on cost reduced due to its availability and the easy communication
Double time work was eliminated
Due to the amount of coordination between that large no. of cells, the company reformed the cells into 8-9 persons instead of 3 allocated to three major manufacturing areas responsible for drives, shafts and impellers. Each manufacturing area has a leader who is responsible of that production group.
Teams can supply the competitive edge. Group pressures can have influence over individual’s behavior. The basic philosophy is “Entrusting employees with responsibility assures highest quality standards and low costs to the customer’s advantage”.
2. Evaluate the contribution that an effective HRM operation makes to the organization?
Maximizing the effectiveness of the human assets of an enterprise is critical. HRM strategies vary from one company to another but provide similar services to the organization.
– In EKATO, the HR is decentralized by making the department managers to be responsible for their staff finance and HR matters especially the appraisal and performance.
– HRM includes a variety of activities, the key is deciding what staffing needs you have and whether to use independent contractors or hire employees to fill these needs. In EKATO hiring decision vital since staff composition determines whether the firm has the necessary creativity skills and attitudes. EKATO maintains relationship with universities that specialised in process and involve this expertise on specific assignment. This open doors for universities students to work with the company after they finish their studies and be part of the organisation.
– Attracting new employees by rotating them through different sections of the company for few months including assembly to gain the hand on experience in the entire company and be multi skilled.
– Improving employees’ skills by providing extensive training programme to allow them to improve the productivity and have high quality performance. EKATO Team skills were improved through training before and after the move to the cell structure, to allow workers to be multi skilled and able to rotate roles to some extent. Coaching assisted individuals in personally adapting to working in teams on day-to day basis. Group members were trained in conflict resolution, problem solving, interpersonal relationship skills, team roles, group dynamics and decision making, as well as setting goals and priorities.
– The typically objective of the HR is to provide an atmosphere in which all employees can perform their jobs to the best of their abilities and creatively contribute to the organization. EKATO retains its people by providing interesting work environment. Working there is relatively challenging because employees need to keep up development by attending seminars and read to stay current and keep up with fast technology. It is easier to make the job interesting for R&D staff than sales people.
– They motivate their employee by adjusting the reward system to include an individual bonus for works contribution and the group productivity which encourage workers to work as a team to achieve individual goals. Re-training some employees who resisting the new change of the company to be self managing and group process.
In addition, human resources management includes 15 methods to improve
1. Working security: organization gives employees a long-term contract.
2. Carefully interview: managers should be carefully choosing excellent employee.
3. High salary: the salary is higher than another competitor at least.
4. Appropriate compensation: every month choose the excellent employee and give reward.
5. Employee ownership: provide stock of organization or share in project of profit.
6. The salary concentrating: Narrow the degree of the difference of the salary among employees.
7. Participate in management: let lower level employees join management.
8. Term work and working design
9. Symbolic equality principle: treat all employees equally.
10. Internal upgrade: through upgrade a lower level employee to higher position
11. Measurement practicing: Organization should measure employee attitude, different of the scheme and spirit of creation and ability of employee performance level.
Introducing new technology such as expert system to help the company to manage and share solutions and knowledge, thereby reducing duplication.
3. Discuss the extent to which leaders at EKATO have attempted to change the organisation’s culture?
Culture represents the unwritten feeling part of the organization. It refers to the set of values, beliefs, norms, attitudes, assumptions, and understandings shared by all members of the organization. It also defines the basic organizational values and communicates to the new members joining the organization the correct ways to think and act, and how things taught to be done.
An understanding of organizational culture helps organizations respond and adapt to external environment by changing and solving internal problems.
EKATO is a family owned enterprise. The founder Todtenhaupt was very technically oriented and has excellent relationship with his works and people in the chemical industry. The founder passed the organisation culture to his sons. But his sons changed the culture by bringing in an outsider Mr. Zeiler as CEO/President.
The CEO, Mr. Zeiler believes that the leadership has to do with the personality style, values and assumptions. The CEO concentrated on the company internal matters and problems. With his sales background, he changed the company from role oriented i.e. bureaucratic to self managing culture. He focused on his workers by delegating responsibility to them and empowering skilled employees. He implemented the trust and openness culture within the organisation by allowing staff to learn from mistakes. To prevent classical labour problem, the CEO implemented communication and sharing the information culture by having open discussion on the company’s numbers, problems and goals. This is done by having two annual meetings between management and employees where the workers council and the CEO report to the staff. Beside that, top managers meet weekly and senior managers engage in cross-functional weekly problem solving meetings.
Top management set the company plan and individual departments’ goals. These goals are communicated to departments’ managers and then discussed within department staff. Senior mangers then meet quarterly to discuss the direction and review the strategy and areas of innovation. Each department manager is required to present results, costs and innovation capability. The outcome of these meetings are fed back to top management and then shared with staff.
Hence, the spreading nature of culture will have an effect on organizational processes such as decision making, design of structure, group behaviour, work organization, and motivation and job satisfaction. Management interest in organizational culture to improve performance and increase competition. It is developed and manifests itself in different ways in different organizations, therefore, it is not possible to say that one culture is better than the other. Hence, there is no such thing as an ideal culture, only an appropriate culture.