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Hovey & Beard Company Case Essay

1. Discuss how the principles of job design and reinforcement theory apply to the performance problems at the Hovey and Beard Company. Principals of Job design exhibited at the Hovey and Beard Company, a production company who made toys. Toy painters were experiencing the following problems: New painters learned at a slower pace (making the other painters lose money on rewards per piece) the assembly line hooks moved too fast, painters blamed management. Incentive pay wasn’t adequate for workers and it was too hot working so close to the drying ovens. One painter, who worked with the company the longest, was appointed by other painters to address their concerns with the supervisor.

Supervisor listened and worked closely with painters to address their concerns; he worked well and incorporated the goal setting theory with the painters. Changing the work design of the painters work station, management used a positive reinforcement theory to make the painters part of the solution. Management installed fans, installing a timer on the hook device: fast, medium and slow, letting the workers choose the time of day to change the speed. Managers keep the incentives going with the learning bonus and the per piece reward. Also, update meetings were being held to keep everyone on the same page. Production was 50% higher.

Other employees felt the inequity in the company, they were skilled labors and not making as much money as the painters, with this management stopped all incentives for the painters; everything went back to the original work environment, because management felt the negative reinforcement towards the skilled labors. Management should have looked into a more effective process. The supervisor, who managed the painters (equity theory), left the company to seek other employment

2. Analyze the performance problems using the “performance diagnosis model” in Chapter 7. Exhibit 7.6 Performance Diagnosis Model When analyzing the Performance Diagnosis Model, and answering no to the question “Do both the boss and the subordinate agree that the subordinates performance needs to be improved?”, leads us to perception, by the subordinate. There are not different views between manager and subordinate. When the answered is “yes” and a subordinates performance needs to improve, three performance problems arise.

1. Resource problem, subordinate does not have enough resource support; he/she may need material, personnel support and cooperation from interdependent work groups. 2. Training problem, the subordinate may not have enough training/skills to adequately perm his/her job. 3. Aptitude problem, supplying subordinate with more resources for job performance, including more training if necessary. Manager can refit subordinate into different position or release employee from company. If the subordinates performance needs improvement and it is not a result of inadequate ability, it will than become a motivation problem.

Lack of motivation from subordinate can stem from three different problems. 1. Expectation problems between subordinate and manager, bad communication can lead to different views on job requirements and goals between manager and subordinate. 2. Incentive problems, subordinate does not feel his/her job performance makes a difference, he/she has not been given enough feed back or reinforcements , no reward system either intrinsic or extrinsic from management. 3 Salience problem, a subordinate questioning whether or not rewards/incentives are worth his/her job performance.

Manager may reinforce incentives and rewards, becoming more creative in the nature of the reward. Manager needs to be more flexible and creative with rewards, having his/her subordinates choose which is better for them and their job performance. The “Performance Diagnosis Model” is an understandable tool for managers to alleviate job performance problems, re-designing jobs, relocating subordinates to different positions if necessary, setting different goals that help job performance and using different methods of motivation, instead of concluding that poor performance from subordinates may stem from personality issues or bad attitudes.


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