Organizational behavior refers to the study of the conduct of various persons working in an organization within the paradigm of operation of the organization. Organizational behavior is replicated in the organizational culture. Organizational culture refers to the values and norms that define the personality of a particular organization. Before the implementation of change, the organizational culture of Hawk Car Company (a Swedish car manufacturing company) encouraged bureaucratic and hierarchical management structures.
A bureaucratic organizational structure is associated with Max Weber. He was incredibly concerned with how production firms could gain optimally from their labor resources. F.W. Taylor also made far-fetched contributions in laying a fundamental background on how organizations could utilize their human capital resources in more effective and efficient ways.
He advocated for division of work within an organization and then allocating small divisions to persons depending on their abilities and skill levels. The effect was to encourage specialization and division of labor. These two models of the organizational structure have influenced the operation of many production organizations, including Hawk Car Company.
Based on the above assertion, this paper aims at analyzing the issues arising from a hierarchical structure and Taylorist methods of production at Hawk Car Company. The paper will examine McGregor’s theory in light of the management styles before and after the changes at the company. Further, it will carry out an in-depth analysis of the changes supported by motivation the theories to explain the effects of change on employees at The awk Car Company.
Lastly, the paper will contrast the advantages and disadvantages of teamwork with individual work by discussing the effects of teamwork on workers in Hawk Car Company to explain the effects further by using theories about teamwork and other aspects of organizational behavior.
Analysis of the issues arising from a hierarchical structure and Taylorist methods of production at Hawk Car Company
Hierarchical structures are associated with bureaucracy. From the perspective of Taylor, hierarchical structures also encourage high specialization of labor within various structures of an organization. The impacts of specialization are to ensure that some people engage in highly specialized tasks with minimal possession of a variety of skills to accomplish the same task.
The organization of work at Hawk Car Company from the Taylorist approach had the overall implication of making work at the company highly repetitive and monotonous. The job designs, together with the procedure of work, was essentially organized using the traditional, inflexible manufacturing arrangements.
Such arrangements made it impossible to incorporate new designs and models in the production lines. This argument means that separate units of work did not exist at the company. The reinforced job design implies hindering information and idea sharing among workers working along the organization’s assembly lines.
Before the changes were introduced, the management structure was also highly centralized and bureaucratic. Power and authority were mainly concentrated at the top. Supervisors enforced the voice of command.
Consequently, the topmost management personnel was the only people who were permitted to make organizational decisions without considering possible alternative innovative ways for accomplishing a particular task from persons in the shop floor. Arguably, faced with these realities of operation of Hawk Car Company, the organization deployed mechanistic organizational structures.
Various researchers have found negligence of delegation of duties at work as having negative implications on the performance of employees by impairing their motivation. Indeed, about Jacobides (2007), monotony in work environments leads to low performance of employees (p.455).
Realization of this finding has prompted work-studies for various scholars to unveil mechanisms of ensuring that people not only remain motivated but also effective in their work. For instance, Jacobides (2007) recommends that work rotations constitute an important mechanism of dealing with challenges of job monotony.
However, for this to happen, it is important for the workforce within an organization to be multi-skilled. Unfortunately, at Hawk Car Company, organization of work structures from the perspectives of hierarchical structure and Taylorist methods of production at the company encouraged high specialization. Hence, it hindered the development of a multi-skilled workforce.
Theories explaining the changes made
Theories of organizational structure decentralization have been instrumental in fostering the success of Hawk Car Company. Under a decentralized management structure, the power of making decisions rests on all people who are engaged in the production process. Decentralized organization structure also ensures that delegation flourishes such that the persons in charge of shop floor operations stop a process immediately an abnormality is identified without seeking permission from the line or departmental supervisors.
This step has had the effect of reducing the number of rejected automobile parts during the production process at Hawk Car Company. In enhancing change at Hawk Car Company, organizational communication and information sharing theories have also been instrumental in enhancing the currently experienced success of the Company.
The above theories, which have contributed to change at Hawk Car Company, can be broadly classified as resting within the umbrella of organizational theory. The theory constitutes an organizational framework for change.
It reviews the organizational structure, which checks deeper how relationships between positions in the organization interrelate with each other. From the dimension of the organizational theory, an organization comprises several elements, which must operate in harmony and support to one another if the organization is to succeed both in the short-term and long-term.
This means that an organization is a system. In a system, there must be vertical and horizontal communication of various components so that points of failure can easily be identified. Therefore, the hierarchical and one-dimensional flow of information is inappropriate in an effective system. Indeed, various components in the Hawk Car Company did not operate in harmony and support of one other. This case prompted the need for change.
Why the changes were more effective
Faced with challenges of low employees’ productivity, the management of Hawk Car Company recognized that it needed to make several changes to break down the hierarchical structures. Currently, at the workplaces where there is joint concentration, supporting work is achieved by deploying persons who are multi-skilled to handle various work-related challenges.
The concept of teamwork has also been introduced at the company to enhance the culture of knowledge sharing. Incredible achievements have also been realized towards breaking departmental structures of the organization accompanied by de-formalization of channels for decision-making in the effort to ensure distribution of the decision-making process.
The aim here is to ensure that the organization leaps from the benefits of inputs of the workforce in the making of decision that may enhance the future success of the company through creativity and innovation. Employees at the company are also allowed to control most of the tasks they are engaged in daily besides being encouraged to engage in cross communications as a strategy for empowering them.
Examination of McGregor’s theory in the light of the management styles before and after the changes
McGregor suggested two management styles according to which managers regarded the work potential of their employees. These are theory X and theory Y. About Jacobides (2007), these theories are “very nearly the opposite of each other in the context of human nature based on his experience as a management consultant” (p.461).
Theory X is negative and pessimistic. It explains the traditional management perception of employees. According to this theory, employees are considered capital assets, just like land. Hence, they can be optimized for the finest productivity. Unfortunately, this position is contested by studies in human resource management.
Consequently, McGregor introduces theory Y to take into account modern approaches to workforce management. In Griffin and Moorhead’s (2011) words and from the dimension of theory Y, managers can “achieve more if they start perceiving their employees as self-energized, committed, responsible, and creative beings” (p.94).
From the perspective of theory X, managers cannot trust some workers and employers. Such people are also lazy. They require some means of enforcement to ensure they execute tasks given to them successfully. Enforcement includes the deployment of strict rules to direct them.
Before the adoption of change, Hawk Car Company approached the problems of low productivity by inculcating and conferring powers to the supervisors that would give them the freedom to punish nonperforming employees through strategies such as compulsory leaves for suboptimal performance. Non-compliance to quality was also an indication of the incompetence of a worker. It attracted demotion. These approaches indicate that non-performing employees were type X workers before inculcation of change at the company.
Type Y employees are self-driven, highly trustable, and responsible for their actions. This means that they are accountable. McGregor argues that type Y workers are empowered by an organization to make decisions on behalf of it. This way, they can realize their job mandates and obligations both effectively and efficiently. Hawk Car Company pursued type X theory before its adoption of change and type Y theory after its adoption of organizational change.
The delegation management styles were more effective. Sporadic change to deploy theory Y is related to the realisation of the findings that, when employees are aware that they are supposed to be held accountable for all their actions, both negative and positive, they are likely to put more effort to ensure they avoid repetitive mistakes in the process of execution of their duties (Jacobides 2007).
From the context of Hawk Car Company, supervisory tasks are reduced while the productivity of the employees is improved due to the desire to surpass certain targets. This strategy truncates into better quality standard compliance and more outputs for each worker per shift.
Motivation theories that can explain the improvement in the motivation of the workforce after the changes at Hawk Car Company
A myriad of motivational theories can be deployed to explain the improvement of employees upon the implementation of change in Hawk Car Company. Such theories include the Maslow’s hierarchy of need motivational theory and the two-factor theory, among others.
Maslow’s motivational theory
Maslow’s motivational theory focuses on the evolutions of the needs of employees in an organization. According to Alvesson (2002), Maslow’s hierarchy of needs comprises several elements among them “self-actualization, esteem needs, social and safety, and psychological needs” (p.78). Maslow argued that, when the low ranking needs in the hierarchy are satisfied, they cease from being sources of motivation. The lowest rank is a psychological need, which encompasses food, clothing, and shelter.
Following the cultural and structural changes at Hawk Car Company, the effort was made to ensure that the company employees are self-directed in the effort to ensure they can handle any emerging challenges. Consequently, employees initiated efforts for ensuring that team culture dominated all job facets that they were required to undertake. The work teams were also responsible for making decisions that were autonomous.
At the lower level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, employees are ready to execute any task in the endeavor to ensure that psychological needs are met (Alvesson 2002). In this phase, strict rules to enhance compliance can be used to boost the productivity of employees since they are driven by the fear of losing their jobs in the panic that they would not meet their psychological needs.
The circumstances leading to adopting change evidence that, at Hawk Car Company, working to meet psychological needs ceased from being the influencing factor for the motivation of the employees.
The hierarchical arrangements of work structures coupled with Taylor list approaches to the management of work imply making the work at the Hawk Car Company highly specialized. Such repetitive tasks made specialized jobs boring. Hence, change was necessary so that people could engage in rotatable job elements.
This argument implies the urgency of addressing employees’ desires for the deployment of mechanisms of enhancing self-actualization so that they would become motivated by delegation to handle new challenging tasks. Esteem needs are also crucial aspects of the need to embrace changes at Hawk Car Company.
Change fostered employees to engage in information and knowledge sharing so that work teams that were formed following the change could achieve collective success. The company also endeavored to reward any achievement beyond par through both monetary rewards and promotions. These measures are incredible for responding to the esteem needs of employees, as discussed by the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Responding to social needs embraces another implausible measure for enhancing the motivation of employees. Griffin and Moorhead state, “social needs can arise when work is intended to be more flexible and working conditions to be kindler” (2011, p.95).
In the context of Hawk Car Company, upon embracement of the change, an effort was made to ensure that workers got opportunities to develop through engagement with their co-workers together with their supervisors. While this strategy was significant in helping to encourage and enhance creativity through knowledge sharing among people working in work teams, it also reflects the role of meeting the social needs of employees in keeping them motivated.
After the implementation of change, consistent with the Maslow’s motivational theory, Hawk Car Company also provides safety needs for its employees through increased rewards for optimal performance and loan to meet higher educational needs together with paternal and maternal benefits among others. The effort was also made to alter the layout of the shop floor to enhance safety for the employees.
Hygiene motivation theory
Herzberg postulated hygiene theory. Alternatively known as the two-factor motivation theory, it argues that employees’ motivation can be increased by the provision of “job security, higher salary, flexible work environment, interpersonal relations, and flexible company policies” (Griffin & Moorhead, 2011, p.93).
Other motivators cited by the theory include success, achievements of satisfactory outcomes, growth, and respect. The applicability of this theory in the realization of change at Hawk Car Company is evidenced by the increased employees’ satisfaction, reduction of labor turn over, and reduction of absenteeism rates at the company upon embracement of change.
Advantages and disadvantages of teamwork in comparison with individual work
The change at Hawk Car Company was enacted to enhance teamwork as opposed to individual work. Compared to individual work approaches used before the enactment of the change, this strategy presented both advantages and disadvantages to the Hawk Car Company.
One of the advantages of teamwork is that, rather than engaging workers in specialized tasks, team members can handle a myriad of work units related to a major task through peer training. During the process of an assemblage of cars, each car passes through a given work team, which conducts its mandates in a fully self-directed manner before it is handed over to the next team specializing in other tasks.
If any problem related to the assemblage process is identified, team members discuss the causes and possible remedies of the problem. At Hawk Car Company, the success of the work team is attributed to various factors upon embracement of change. These success factors underline the advantages of teamwork in comparison to individual work.
At Hawk Car Company, every work team organizes meetings regularly. The meetings are aimed at identifying and conducting a thorough analysis of recurrent problems that affect the teams’ performance. This strategy is crucial since the identification of the causes of manufacturing problems constitutes the first milestone towards the making of products that meet the preset quality standards.
Resolution of challenges that affect a particular team member in terms of realization of mandates of the teamwork roles and duties implies that an organization can acquire a valid and multidimensional approach to the resolution of manufacturing problems. Since workgroup is composed of more than one person, possible solutions are available due to the brainstorming of the team members. In fact, according to Combs, “every team member contributes ideas and knowledge towards the team’s goals and work process” (2008, p.237).
In this extent, it is important to note that teamwork is important at Hawk Car Company since a team of workers is made of individuals who have varied talents. This argument implies that every team at Hawk Car Company possesses a myriad of expertise together with abilities.
Within a team, it is possible to allocate tasks to an individual to ensure that he or she maximizes his or her strengths. Hence, people can capitalize on the task that hikes their skills and or capabilities.
This case constitutes an element of specialization within a workgroup. Also, working as a team has the advantage of attracting diverse ideas for managing work. This argument is attributed to the fact that people are unique and that all of them have unique opinions, which can be combined to come up with a better way of handling a task. Work team also provides flexibility in working.
This assertion is evidenced by the argument that, since members in a work team are multi-skilled, in case one member is ill, another worker takes up his or her work. This case provides constant continuity of workflow within Hawk Car Company. The perception of belonging to a given team acts as an incredible source of individual motivations since every person desires/or and works hard to ensure that he or she does not let down the efforts of other team members.
Amid the advantages that are realized by embracing the concept of teamwork to enhance the success of Hawk Car Company, some disadvantages are experienced. These disadvantages are the advantages of individual work in comparison to teamwork in manufacturing firms such as Hawk Car Company. While working as a team, instances of the unfair delegation of work may be experienced. This means that, at Hawk Car Company, some people may carry more work burden in comparison to others.
Different opinions and views possessed by different persons may also serve to increase disagreements among the team members. Within a work team, it is difficult to determine the persons who outperform others in the realization of success in the tasks delegated to given team members. Hence, Hawk Car Company encounters challenges in the selection of persons who need rewarding through promotions.
Some members of a team may abuse teamwork spirit by being dependent on others for the accomplishment of group tasks. Additionally, emphasizing teamwork, Hawk Car Company may also have challenges of developing individual skills since instances of talent stagnation may emerge. This case is attributed to members of a team working to achieve collective team goals as opposed to personal attributes.
Alvesson, M 2002, Understanding Organisational Culture, Sage Publications, New York. Combs, M 2008, International Organisational Behaviour, Pearson Education, New Jersey.
Griffin, R & Moorhead, G 2011, Organisational Behaviour: Managing People and Organisations, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Jacobides, M 2007, ‘The inherent limits of organisational structure and the unfulfilled role of hierarchy: Lessons from a near-war’, Organisation Science, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 455-477.