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This article presents a typical human resource problem concerning some dispute between the head of a research department and one of his subordinate leaders on dealing and handling a product safety problem.
It was during R&D Budget planning meeting in WYZ Company when the head of Electrical Engineering Research, Bob Bateman along with others group leader do the 1998 budget deliberation; and part was to tackle the request for research projects; like addressing product safety problem like shock hazard. Shock occurs upon contact of a body part with any source of electricity that causes a sufficient current. Normally, this expression is used to describe an injurious exposure to electricity. Correcting such problem would cost the company a lot of time, effort and resource charge to company’s expense.
As the head of the research team, Bob Bateman imposed that the request is too insignificant for a modification of the current control system of the said product. As the manager of that department, he always sees the overview of the research operation and come up with the idea the all in the group are heavily loaded by a day’s work; and it is a waste of time, money and effort for the group to get in to the details of problem in view of the fact that there are only few case of reported shock hazard by customer. Bob is a type of manager that is the autocrat, doesn’t take influence by it support group and more on the retroactive side.
Covering up the truth and their worries of being sued, they agreed that no trace of modification request should exist in any form, shredding the modification request from one of their support group was an option for Bob; as if such requests never happen. Decision made during the planning meeting are based from some experiences on the other company experience such complaints, even though decisions compromise the company’s ethical standards.
One of Bob’s group leaders, Carl, was trouble by the decision from the planning meeting; the possibility of doing some corrective work on that matter. Carl shows traits at pertains to a typical group leader who works with his ethics and consciences in providing total quality to its customers. He initiated investigation for the safety problem and work modification without the knowledge of the research head.
A COMMON COMPANY SCENARIO
What happens in the article “THE HUMAN SIDE: BOB SHREDS THE MODIFICATION REQUEST” happens in almost every company throughout the world, as a research manager; it is more of administrative principles and pro-management trait are often shown by Bob. It is a common issue and problems in decision making arise in planning affecting the working relationship within the department head and its researchers or technical leaders and some of the support staff for a certain project due to indifferences in nature and scopes of work. Issues can be misunderstanding, conflicts or confusion that may occur since they are both interdependent with each other. Some of this issue may inhibit the effectiveness and productivity of the research.
In a life of a manager, what they do form the day in and day out is to relate to their people by leading them, instructing them on what needs to be done and controlling them with the excesses and deficiency. Another managerial task, with regards to the core values is instilling the works ethics, and utilization of all kinds of resources.
PROBLEMS ARISES A PROBLEM
The shock hazard problem in this article seems not be the major problem but causes the problem, this problem arises when they ignore it from the start. During the product testing prior to first production run, this error can be detected during the quality control stage but still ignored due to small probability to happen and they’re reducing the cost down to its minimal level. Problems such as shock hazards needs to be attended at first sign to avoid problems that may arises to the end, as to what the article stated. Known company as their example; shock hazard can be a ground for suing the company at the end.
Research team must be always equipped by corrective action type plan, not with “if all else fail, read the manual” attitude. Problem can be prevented in their early stages. Product stability and strong research work are also good in predicting possible future problems.
ISSUES REGARDING INTRA-DEPARMENT’S GOALS
The following are issues/ problems arising due to department staff interdependent relationship: Research manager’s is to direct a project decision with the basis of hitting target high over the expenditures. While research staff’s goal was to work in project exhibiting high quality standards. This Issue can be minimized by taking an extra care in developing the cost and effectiveness of a good product. Communication and regular update are some keys in developing a certain product and minimizing problems.
Stability of the prototype varies with time for the management to evaluate the process as slow moving projects. This is one of the reasons in rejecting the modification request. Another was inability to acquire funds for the upcoming projects which cost delays and abolishment of projects. Every managers wants finances go to the priority project rather than the reworks. In doing a research and rework form modification; it means that more job addition to the current work load.
RESOLUTION BETWEEN CONFLICTS
Unavoidable circumstances such as conflict and misunderstanding are common to any interdependence group. A research manager must treat support personnel as creative partner so that they can be familiar, flexible and responsive to the work of the researcher as well as the technical officer.
Establishing some rules and regulation specific to research work, problem may arise due to inappropriate and inflexible rules and regulation. Support personnel may consult the researcher for the determination of barrier in R&D work productivity and effectiveness. Through this, both parties can institute reforms in the administrative rules, regulation and procedure.
Conflicts during the planning and rework stage can be minimizing if the team works well by the group and avoiding rush decision. The manager has the responsibility of insuring that there is a plan for any activity (communication) which has details such specific target, good specification, and output and budget parameter.
1.Reyes, Jaine C. 1995. Support System for Research; “Issue and Relating to the Working Relationship between Research and Support Staff”. Pp.165-171. “Principle in Managing Research Support System”. Pp.175-184. UPOU, Los Baños, Laguna.
2.Cuyno, Rogelio V. 1997. Concept and Principle of R&D Management; UPOU, Los Baños, Laguna.
3.Types of Manager. http://learn.latpro.com/the-six-different-types-of-managers. Accessed on September 11, 2012