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Volvo's car assembly plant in Ghent, Belgium, is currently experiencing turbulent times. The plant is implementing the biggest expansion in its history, with plans to…
Volvo's car assembly plant in Ghent, Belgium, is currently experiencing turbulent times. The plant is implementing the biggest expansion in its history, with plans to almost double its production capacity in 2004. Moreover, Ford is increasingly consolidating its position as the new owner of Volvo. Both developments are challenging the distinctive model of teamwork that Volvo‐Ghent has established over the last decade. This paper assesses the challenges presented by these two developments and the possible outcomes in terms of teamwork at Volvo‐Ghent. This assessment relies on a combination of theories of team structure and team processes.
The purpose is to analyse the impact of team responsibility (the division of job regulation tasks between team leader and team members) on team performance. It bases an analysis on 36 case studies in The Netherlands which are known to have implemented team‐based work. The case studies were executed in 1997 by means of face‐to‐face interviews with HRM staff and line management. It concludes from the analyses that two different types of team responsibility prevail. In a “hierarchical team” team leaders take responsibility for decisions concerning work preparation, support and control, while in the “shared‐responsibility team” decisions are taken by the team members themselves. The analyses show that “shared‐responsibility teams” are thought to contribute more substantially to team performance outcomes than “hierarchical teams”. The analysis helped gain a better understanding of the relationship between HRM and organisation performance, as it is viewed in the “human resource‐based view of the firm”.
To assess how team working processes at the Volvo‐Ghent car plant in Belgium could evolve following the purchase of Volvo by Ford and the intention to vastly increase…
To assess how team working processes at the Volvo‐Ghent car plant in Belgium could evolve following the purchase of Volvo by Ford and the intention to vastly increase production from the year 2004.
Doctoral research on work organization in Belgian car assembly plants, an assignment of the Flemish government to provide scientific back‐up for a “round table” on the car assembly industry, and an interview with a key respondent, responsible for personnel relations in the case study plant.
They discuss the challenge to the Belgian car plant's distinctive model of teamwork, which it has established over the last decade, by its biggest‐ever expansion (plans to double its production capacity in 2004) and by the new ownership of Ford. The explanations and descriptions of the effectiveness of various teamwork models are given in considerable textual and diagrammatic detail, and are applied to an assessment of the sustainability of team working at the Ghent plant.
The extent to which the plant is able to limit regression of the teams on the process dimension is crucial for upholding its structurally progressed “third way” in teamwork within the Ford group.
The explanations and descriptions of the effectiveness of various teamwork models are given in considerable textual and diagrammatic detail, and are applied to an assessment of the sustainability of team working at the Ghent plant.
The characteristics of successful lean operations make a committed workforce a necessity. However, there is an ongoing debate over whether lean characteristics inherently enhance or impede commitment. The purpose of this paper is to help settle the debate, as well as provide insights into the role specific work practices play.
Based on responses from 1,391 workers at 21 lean sites, the authors examined the relationship between the degree of lean implementation and worker commitment; as well as the commitment effects of 21 lean work practices.
The paper examines relationships between worker commitment and lean production, sheds light on the lean commitment debate and provides guidance for designing lean systems that complement high‐commitment work practices.
The results will be of value to readers with interests in operations, human resources and high‐performance work practices, as well as the management and implementation of lean and its associated practices.
The study described in the paper is unique in that it establishes a statistically valid relationship between lean production and worker commitment and associated work practices.