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Collective and individual improvement activities: the role of reward systems

Máire Kerrin (Institute of Work, Health and Organisations, Nottingham University Business School, Nottingham, UK)
Nick Oliver (The Judge Institute of Management Studies, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 1 June 2002



Mechanisms for increasing participation of employees in problem‐solving activities such as continuous improvement (CI) programmes often include the use of problem‐solving teams. Teams can support problem solving by emphasizing accountability for the production process within the work unit, thereby increasing the sense of responsibility for (local) problems. However, it is unclear how effort within these organisational forms should be rewarded. This article describes the use of problem‐solving teams within a UK automotive component company, and examines the implications for human resource policy, in particular for the reward and recognition systems. The article outlines the outcomes that ensued when two reward systems existed, one for team‐based activities and another for individual suggestions. The contradictions of the two systems are considered in the context of the organisation’s historical individualistic approach to reward systems.



Kerrin, M. and Oliver, N. (2002), "Collective and individual improvement activities: the role of reward systems", Personnel Review, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 320-337.




Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited

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