Aberdeen facility is focused on the production of special missile canisters for US Navy. The peculiarity of the production lies in its extraordinary complexity. Canisters have many features that require special attention and careful assembling. Thus, the commitment of workers is the issue of crucial importance. Otherwise, the quality of product will suffer, which is absolutely inadmissible with regard to the nature of production. The privileged position of Aberdeen plant lies in the fact that it doesn’t actually have any competitors.
It works for the only customer US Navy. However, it contains hidden threats as well, because there is always a chance of neglecting a quality of product knowing that there is no fight for a customer. The Aberdeen plant was started five years ago without using unions to regulate pay scales and define various job descriptions. It employs 100 employees and is much smaller in size than the Green River facility. The production line utilizes three-quarters of its employees.
Bob Lancaster – the founder and the first manager of the plant — first introduced the innovative participative management. Lancaster based his management theory on “doing the right thing, trust and if you can fix it, do it”. This functioned as a collective, it took away fear from doing or not doing what is needed to complete a task and it also gave each individual the responsibility of solving a problem without having to go through a chain of command to get results.
Ken Dailey, Green River plant manager, is intrigued with the management processes at the FMC Aberdeen facility and thus is willing to implement similar changes at Green River. Dailey is a progressive manager and wants to innovate the Green River plant with a progressive style of management as well as three new plants that the corporation plans on building. The major organizational issue pertaining to the possible changes is that of an organizational structure.
Obviously, within the Green River plant we notice usual linear structure of organization where authority is delegated from the top to the bottom, from the higher manager to the manager of the lower level. There is a direct relationship between superior and subordinate, with each subordinate responsible to only one person. Line relationships are associated with functional or departmental division of work and organizational control. Line managers have authority and responsibility for all matters and activities within their own department (Sterman, 2000).
It means that organizational structure at Green River doesn’t suppose any personal initiative or any social interaction beyond the processes and functions defined. Moreover, linear structure also doesn’t suppose any group discussions, since major decisions are taken above. In contrary, Aberdeen facility has more flat organizational structure, when every employee can turn to the higher level one with an initiative, complaint or offer. Such an organizational structure presupposes more communication and thus has greater impact on employee’s motivation.
Flat organizational structure kills the fear towards management in employees and create more favorable working atmosphere. Considering two different types of organizational structure within two facilities, it is possible to say that organizational structure actually impacts the organizational culture and the way people perceive themselves and their importance to the organization, treat each other and behave i. e. working atmosphere that exists.
(Brislin, 1993) Thus, in Green River company, people are brought together based on defined roles within the structure of the organization. The nature of the tasks to be done is a predominant feature within this facility. Management, certain rules and relationships, identify goals and norms of behavior are established. Thus, Green River’s organizational culture is very formal. As it was mentioned before, employees do not have a chance and stimulus to socially interact with each other, share their ideas and experience.
It is possible to identify Green River’s organizational culture as the one of total control and power from the center. At Aberdeen, in contrary, organizational culture is more people oriented, “humanized” and caring. This so-called “human” approach to management has resulted, in particular, in active interaction between employees, as well as in the fact that 30% of all employees were represented by women and 8% by minorities. It helped to create a positive image of the plant in the yes of Aberdeen community and people outside as well.