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Until recently, only relatively few Northern European companies hadorganized their operations by use of autonomous work groups, althoughthe first literature on this…
Until recently, only relatively few Northern European companies had organized their operations by use of autonomous work groups, although the first literature on this subject stems from the 1950s. Yet this seems to be changing. From recent publications and the author′s experience it appears that the diffusion of autonomous work groups is increasing relatively suddenly. A survey among eight cases in six companies (two Dutch, four Swedish) shows that recent changes in the marketplace and in available technology are the main reasons why this increase has taken place and why, according to the companies, this is the very moment to start using autonomous work groups. On the one hand these changes enable the companies to introduce autonomous work groups, while on the other these changes force companies to do so.
Claims that the most important demands on managers insociotechnical organized systems with more or less autonomous workgroups are generally that they must have a basic…
Claims that the most important demands on managers in sociotechnical organized systems with more or less autonomous work groups are generally that they must have a basic trust in their subordinates and their capacity and development potential, that they must be able to set goals for the activities within the groups and let the group members be responsible for the fulfilment of the production target and thus give up exercising a detailed control over the job procedure, and that they must realize the necessity to provide the group members with all kinds of basic data which are needed for the decision making within the group. At the transition from a traditional to a group‐based organization, the manager must display a real commitment as change agent during the whole implementation period.
This book is a policy proposal aimed at the democratic left. It is concerned with gradual but radical reform of the socio‐economic system. An integrated policy of…
This book is a policy proposal aimed at the democratic left. It is concerned with gradual but radical reform of the socio‐economic system. An integrated policy of industrial and economic democracy, which centres around the establishment of a new sector of employee‐controlled enterprises, is presented. The proposal would retain the mix‐ed economy, but transform it into a much better “mixture”, with increased employee‐power in all sectors. While there is much of enduring value in our liberal western way of life, gross inequalities of wealth and power persist in our society.
This paper explores the theoretical implications of empowered self‐management as a teamwork design concept. It explores the multiple definitions of empowerment and…
This paper explores the theoretical implications of empowered self‐management as a teamwork design concept. It explores the multiple definitions of empowerment and self‐management that have been used in the design of work teams and it attempts to locate empowered self‐management within the relevant traditions of work design. The paper provides a critical appraisal of empowered self‐management as a team design concept arguing that its unique contribution to the work design literature, has been the development of concepts that focus upon task enlargement as the basis of enhanced role accountabilities within teams. Empowered self‐management as a team design concept has little to say about employee or group autonomy but in fact reflects the design of teams to provide for the normative self‐regulation of employees within management directed systems of control.
In this, the second part of a two‐part paper (Part I, Personnel Review, Summer 1977, pp 21–34) a survey of instances of work system design (WSD) experiments will be…
In this, the second part of a two‐part paper (Part I, Personnel Review, Summer 1977, pp 21–34) a survey of instances of work system design (WSD) experiments will be continued. As described in the Introduction to Part I, cases chosen for inclusion report the economic and human results of actual physical or structural innovations in a set or series of human tasks which, taken together, form some meaningful technical whole. The term ‘experiment’ is used in both Part I and II to refer loosely to change or manipulation of actual work activities, and not necessarily to well controlled laboratory experiments. In fact, most cases reported here are ‘natural’ and very few are carefully controlled.
Examines new developments in work group design. Autonomous workgroups, also called self‐regulated work groups or self‐managing workteams, have been described as…
Examines new developments in work group design. Autonomous work groups, also called self‐regulated work groups or self‐managing work teams, have been described as originating primarily from socio‐technical work design. The concept of autonomous work groups has also been described as a more comprehensive application of the methods employed in quality circles. Both of these examples will be shown to be inaccurate descriptions of a truly self‐managed work team. Instead, through the implementation and application of self‐managed work teams, a combination of socio‐technical design is utilized with a concept that goes far beyond that of quality circles‐empowerment. Empowerment is the idea that employees and groups can achieve higher levels of productivity, quality, and team member satisfaction through delegation of more task‐related decisions to the team. However, there are considerations in the implementation of autonomous work groups. These include development of trust, appropriate status and reward systems, senior management support, and the effective management of change. Focuses on the changes and processes that are integral parts of the successful implementation of empowerment.
The overall purpose of this paper is to explain theoretically the autonomy phenomenon of teams working within the auto manufacturing context and its implications for the…
The overall purpose of this paper is to explain theoretically the autonomy phenomenon of teams working within the auto manufacturing context and its implications for the technical and social aspects of group work.
Three auto component companies were studied. The procedures of a qualitative methodology were followed, adopting naturalistic observation techniques of work teams, and unstructured and semi‐structured interviews conducted with operators, supervisors and middle managers. To analyse and interpret the qualitative data obtained, the grounded theory technique was used.
In this paper 33 concepts were obtained, which resulted from the constant comparative method applied to data. The relationships between those concepts allowed the construction of a theoretical model that is settled in the “bridge” concept. This “bridge” is a metaphor that translates the process which binds operational work group goals to the needs of external clients. This process is supported by social aspects – team decision making, participation, mutual helpfulness, and social and emotional relationships, and by technical aspects – operations and information. The bridge has four pillars that are critical to the effective functioning of self‐directed teams: team facilitation, hierarchical relationships established within the teams, quality of manufactured components, and productivity achieved.
The present investigation was carried out in a specific industry, which does not allow for the generalization of the model to other industries. Furthermore, it may be questioned whether the same results be obtained if the operators of the teams observed were interviewed, not individually, but in a group situation. Other kinds of research design and other industries organized on the basis of autonomous work groups must be studied, applying the grounded theory technique, in order to compare diverse theoretical models.
The organization of the industrial automotive production based on self‐directed teams, which know the needs of external customers and to whom a high level of participation in operational decisions was given, can generate a substantial increase of working groups' efficiency and an increase in job satisfaction.
The study of teams in the automotive components industry – in a southern country of Europe – and the consequent elaboration of a specific theoretical model draws attention to the need for social research that takes into account the fact that realities are constructed by the actors who interact in a certain context. No theoretical model can ever encompass the reality of all contexts.
This chapter reports on a longitudinal quasi-experimental field study within an organizational design of a global consumer products manufacturer moving toward…
This chapter reports on a longitudinal quasi-experimental field study within an organizational design of a global consumer products manufacturer moving toward high-performance work systems (HPWSs) in North America by integrating business centers and self-directed work teams (SDWTs) coupled with 13 other action-levers within an integrated and bundled high-performance organizations (HPOs) re-design. The results of this organizational design effort are assessed using different types and levels of organizational outcomes (hard record data, behavioral, and attitudinal measures) along a 5-year temporal dimension punctuated by multiple time periods (baseline, during, and after). The organization, which was “built to change” (Lawler & Worley, 2006), in this research had already highly superior or “exemplar” (Collins, 2001) levels of organizational performance. Consequently, the real research question becomes: “What effect does state of the art organizational design and development have on an exemplar organization?” The study also calls into question the field's ability to truly assess exemplar organizations with existing measures of organizational change and development.
This two part paper represents an attempt to enumerate and analyse recent instances of work system design experiments in terms of the outcome measures sought or reported…
This two part paper represents an attempt to enumerate and analyse recent instances of work system design experiments in terms of the outcome measures sought or reported in those studies. ‘Work system design experiments’ is intended to include only experiments dealing with sets of interrelated jobs, as opposed to those experiments solely manipulating either jobs which are dealt with individually, or changes in such things as work environment, or management climate. The literature comprising experiments in work system design contains a wide range of general end results variables, but, however, suffers from the associated fact that these numerous outcome measures are frequently poorly conceived or operationalized, and are not easily compared with one another from study to study.
Addresses the issue of introducing a system of group working into organizations. Examines the areas where changes are necessary to facilitate group working. Argues that changes should be made to the notion of group working, the context of organizational mission and statements, management structures, organizational culture, and communication and coordination. Suggests that changes be worked out on a participative basis for real benefits to accrue.