Hovey and Beard Company is a manufacturing industry in which specializes in a wide array of wooden toys and things of the like. The process begins in the wood room where toys are manufactured and transformed through a cut, sand, and partial assembly process. Toys are then dipped into shellac (varnish) and sent to the painting room. Painting was always completed by hand for many years until demand increase became too much. The painting operation was altered so that the painters sat in an assembly line where they would take toys off of hooks and spray them to then place them back on the hook for drying. The speed of the hook line was designed so that each trained painter would have enough time to grab a toy, spray it, and hang it back up before the next one arrived. With change in development came change in benefits. Painters were paid on a group bonus plan and would receive a learning bonus for training hours that would periodically decrease in sum each month.
The six month learning period was set in place to vanish after said time when all employees were expected to be comfortable with the new system – that is, able to meet production standard and earn a group bonus when exceeded. After two months of training, it seemed to show that painters were learning more slowly than anticipated and it began to look as though production would fall far below what was planned. Many hooks were going by empty and painters complained that the process wasn’t working well resulting in job replacements. Complicating the learning process further, one painter whom the group regarded as its leader was outspoken in taking the complaints of the group. Complaints showed, the job was messy, hooks moved too fast, pay incentive was not correctly calculated, and working conditions were hot from being so close to the dryer. Overall, employees became increasingly disheartened, morale was low, and they felt as though they wouldn’t be able to reach their bonus payments and work was meaningless.
Hovey and Beard Co. has a list of issues due to values, or lack there of, pertaining mainly to employee emotions. Employees were unmotivated to work due to lack of communication with the management during the time of operation and manufacturing changes. Painters had gone from consistent pay doing something they were all very highly skilled at to being dropped to training for a new system of work that was uncomfortable and unbeneficial due to compensation and working conditions. This all lead further to a low self-esteem in the workers and a whittled self-worth or wealth. Work no longer reflected personal achievement but a group evaluation which was unfair for certain workers. Without achievement and without reward, there is nothing to work for. The painters disheartened would have rather quit than continue to work unhappily doing something they once enjoyed.
Work was once flexible and beneficial for the painters but due to lack of respect was now focused only on the goals of the company. The learning period is when things began to show first signs of failure. Workers became disheartened when they couldn’t complete the job properly after six months of training. Work was highly inefficient as hooks were being missed and toys weren’t being completed. The workers personal perception was as failures. They looked at themselves like they couldn’t do their own job, decreased motivation, and increased self doubt.
Hertzberg’s hygiene factors are an accurate representation of this case. Hygiene factors are based on the need for a business to avoid unpleasantness at work. If these factors are considered inadequate by employees, then they can cause dissatisfaction with work. Hovey and Beard’s company policy along with the administration, wages, employee to employer relations, and working conditions lacked positive hygiene factors. Steady wages were not implemented by Hovey and Beard for workers. Working conditions became miserable as the hook line was too fast and closely located to the dryer making workers flustered and uncomfortably hot. Employer management worked in a very irresponsible and unethical manner.
Hovey and Beard Company have many issues as we just discussed but all of which, in my opinion, can be fixed. Things began to look bright for the company when management decided to have meetings with employees and discuss what changes should be made. Through an increase in communication employee and employer relationships brighten in which trust and respect is obtained. The speed of the hooks was the center of discussion and the main cause of the emotional and value issues within the company. As we see in the case, giving the different options of hook assembly speed, production increased, employees felt motivated and passionate about work again, and steady base pay along with bonus’ were being met. This is where I believe things were working best for Hovey and Beard Co.
Solving working conditions leads to the next issue of employee authority and what positions have justified influence in change of wages and work load. Management became flustered between the earnings of the painters and that of other workers in the factory. Conflict between the superintendent and the supervisor, the engineers and the supervisor, and the superintendent and the engineers led to the superintendent revoking the learning bonus for painters and returned to the old painting operation. I believe a change in management needs to occur. The superintendent should be fired and the supervisor should take the position based off of better values displayed throughout the case. In addition, working conditions should go back to the controlled speed of the hooks set by workers and not engineers. This was most beneficial to the companies production rate and also to the workers well being, mental health, positive emotions, and benefits.
Courtney from Study Moose
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