This paper will analyze different group and team concepts and provide examples of leadership theories that management can implement at Woodsy Veneer Factory. Additionally, this paper will give examples of how management can use leadership styles to improve networking with the floor workers. Improving Group and Team Concepts Woodsy Veneer Factory hires two types of work groups: management personnel and floor or production personnel. A work group is two or more people who interact with each other and share some tasks that are interrelated.
It is the responsibility of the floor workers to produce the veneer and this in turn effects the management personnel through the production efficiency, sales, and costs associated with the production of the veneer (Specter, 2008). The company would be more successful if the two groups of employees had more respect for each other and improved their communication methods (Specter, 2008). Right now, there is a bulletin board where employees can read the latest news about the business.
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The management seems to disregard the floor employees as unimportant and the floor employees cannot stand the condescending attitude shown to them by the management personnel. The floor workers at Wood’s Veneer Factory show a remarkable ability to work together as a team; however, their effort’s this far have resulted in a negative turn of the company’s bottom line. A work team has three properties that are not always present in a work group (Specter, 2008).
A team consists of individuals who perform coordinated and interdependent actions, each member of a team will have a specific role to fill, and the group shares the same objective. “All teams are groups but not all groups are teams” (Specter, 2008, p. 311). The floor workers currently have an objective to destroying good veneer and not be caught doing so by the management staff. There are four group and two team concepts that need understanding before a consultant can make suggestions to improve productivity and diversity in the workplace.
First, each member of a group plays a particular role (Specter, 2008). These roles can be either formal (specified by the company) or informal (determined through group interaction) (Specter, 2008). Some of the roles the floor workers have been given are spies, who watch out for management sneaking around next to the administrative area, and look outs, ho use hand signals to let others know that management is around and they should stop grinding up the good veneer. Norms are unwritten rules of behavior accepted by the work group (Specter, 2008).
These rules can include style of dress or work ethic. Some groups enforce the norms to a degree in which most workers will not willingly go against them for fear of being ostracizes from the group (Specter, 2008). Productivity may be driven either positively or negatively by the norms of a work group. The case at Wood’s is definitely negative. The floor worker’s demonstrate a high-level of group cohesiveness. Group cohesiveness is all of the factors combined that attracts people to the group and keeps the group together.
The fundamental dislike of the management staff at Wood’s has increased the group cohesiveness of the floor workers to such a degree that they stay motivated to work together to destroy good product, hurting the company, and frustrating the management. Process loss is evident at Wood’s Veneer Factory. The workers spend more time trying to destroy good product than to work at producing the veneer. The floor employees expend a lot of time and effort on playing look out instead of on producing quality veneer.
The team commitment shown by the floor workers is remarkable. The individuals show their willingness to work hard for the team, but unfortunately, it is not in productive ways that will improve the company’s profit margins (Specter, 2008). Many people working together and understanding their shared task of destroying good veneer represent the floor team’s mental model (Specter, 2008). They have coordinated their efforts to be successful at raising the garbage fees and decreasing productivity at the factory.
The consultant the stockholders hired to report on the activities present at Woodsy Veneer Factory would offer a couple of suggestions to help correct the observed problems and get the company back on track producing quality veneer and reducing expenses. First, the quality circle could be implemented to allow floor employees and management an opportunity to talk face-to-face about the problems in the factory. These circles would give employees a voice and improve communication between the two groups of employees working at Wood’s (Specter, 2008).
Management could voice their concerns and the workers could understand how decisions are made instead of just seeing the result of the decision-making process. Management could hear and understand the issues the floor workers are acquiring and they could all communicate ways of improving productivity (Specter, 2008). Team building could also improve the working environment at Wood’s. A facilitator could come in to conduct a series of workshops that would improve communications between management and the floor workers (Specter, 2008).
If each group understood the concerns of the other, they could work together for solutions. Team building works best if there is an outside facilitator, who will help lead the groups to successfully becoming one team working for the name initiative because an insider may be biased toward one group or another, and therefore not be as successful (Specter, 2008). Implementing Leadership Theories Many industrial and organizational psychologists have studied leadership and the qualities necessary to be a good leader. This has resulted in the development of many leadership theories.
One such theory that is applicable to the current situation at Wood’s Veneer Factory is the transactional theory or management theory. The basis of this theory is on a set of awards and punishments (Specter, 2010). Using the transactional theory, employees that perform their jobs well with little waste, will receive rewards, such as bonuses and raises in wages. While unproductive wasteful employees will receive strong reprimands and punishments, such as coaching’s, write-ups and ultimately termination of employment. This theory is also applicable to management as well.
Management personnel that show negative or unsupported attitudes toward the floor workers should face stern reprimands and punishments, including loss of privileges, suspension from work without pay, and possibly termination of employment. The supervisors that instill a positive attitude among their workers and increase production deserve rewards such as bonuses and raises. Another leadership theory that would benefit Wood’s is the transformational or relationship theory. Currently, management and the floor workers have an unhealthy relationship; they lack the proper forms of communication and behave in a manner that is not professional.
Transformational leaders are ethical and highly moral leaders; they want their employees to be productive while fulfilling his or her individual potential (Specter, 2010). Wood’s management could invest time in training miners, so that they can learn proper motivational techniques and apply these techniques immediately. In a professional environment, the employees of Wood’s would benefit from praise, inspiration, and appreciation. Once both groups of workers develop this relationship, it is a winning situation for all involved.
As John Quince Adams, the sixth president of the United States once stated, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader (Leadership Quotes, 2010)”. Improving Relationships Many of the problems that exist at the factory are a result of a poor relationship teens management and the lower level employees. It is necessary to break down the existing barriers, and build a positive, inspiring relationship between both parties. There are situations in which personal relationships are evident at work, even becoming a source of conversation between employees.
These relationships need to remain separate; the workplace is a professional environment that should have the respect that it deserves. Management treats the lower level employees in an abrasive and condescending manner, which is not conducive to a healthy workplace. In a professional environment, all embers of an organization need respect, this is essential to building a trusting relationship. Management must learn to speak to people as equals while the lower level employees should learn to respect their supervisors (Specter, 2008).
Communication is the key to any relationship, including workplace relationships. While the use of a bulletin board is effective as an informal communication depot, it is not beneficial to the group. Open communication is the best method to create a positive workplace; one possible way to create a communicative environment is through shift meetings. During these meetings, management can rife its employees about various information that may apply to the factory; this can include management’s expectations of productivity, updates on benefits, and the company’s financial situation.
This would include the employees in the overall welfare of the company making them feel important (Specter, 2008). Sam Walton, the founder of Wall-Mart stores believed that employees were a part of the company; they built the foundation of the retail chain. Walton developed the three basic beliefs of Wall-Mart: respect for the individual, service to the customer and striving for excellence. Sam Walton was a true leader who inspired ND motivated his employees through mutual respect, open communication, and appreciation (Three Basic Beliefs and Values, 2010).
Should management learn to balance the power distribution among employees, show respect and appreciation, and communicate freely, Wood’s Veneer Factory will grow and flourish into a positive healthy work environment. Using Good Leadership Styles within the Company In looking at the difference in leadership and management, one can say that effective leadership sets a positive new direction or vision for employees. Management, on the other hand, does the controlling and directing of the employees and company resources based Upon the policies and principles of the company or organization.
A good example of how management at the factory could utilize leadership styles to improve networking with the floor workers would be to utilize Douglas McGregor Y Theory. The Y theory utilizes the more constructive aspects of leadership, tends to be more participative, and allows further growth and development among employees. Rather than attempt to catch the workers grinding up the good veneer, the Y theory manager or leader promotes rewards for hard work and allows employees the freedom f imagination and creativity in performing their job, which creates a motivation and commitment in the employees work.
The Y theory manager or leader is more tolerant of the occasional error and views it as a learning curve (Spokesman, 2008). Wood’s has an “us versus them” attitude within the factory, which causes some workers to feel disrespected and underrepresented by management. The Y theory manager has an open line of communication with staff, works with them on assignments, is even tempered, less blaming, and gives instruction and direction in a courteous manner. The Y theory manager does not view himself as teeter than his staff but as a forefront to lead them into success.
Often the work is asked to be done and not demanded. Managers who are effective leaders do not make threats or impossible deadlines to meet of their staff. This positive and open instruction leads to improved attitudes and networking among workers. Research indicates that workers prefer to work for managers that are concerned about their well-being, participate in the work themselves, listen to their staffs needs and complaints, and provides them with praise, and reward for a job well done (Spokesman, 2008). Conclusion
The manager’s ego at Wood’s Veneer Factory has nothing to do with productivity. If an “us versus them” attitude exists within the factory, some of these workers may feel disrespected and underrepresented by management. Lack of effective communication among management and floor workers is creating friction in the atmosphere. Allowing all workers a voice will strengthen communication between leadership and staff. Implementing the transactional, transformational or relationship theory, and/or Douglas McGregor Y Theory will improve relationships between management and floor workers.