week_7_Reading - Diagnosing Whether an Organization Is...

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Diagnosing Whether an Organization Is Truly Ready to Empower Work Teams: A Case Study Thomas J. Bergmann and Kenneth P. De Meuse, Professors of Management, University of Wisconsin Department of Management and Marketing T his case study examined employee perceptions regarding the level of organizational readiness to move toward team-based management. The sample consisted of 11 managers, 18 team leaders, and 123 team members in a multinational food manufacturing plant. Although all three groups indicated a moderate level of readiness, the plant experienced great difficulty implementing the team concept. One-way analysis of variance indicated that team members scored significantly lower than team leaders and managers on nine of 18 sur- vey items. In-depth interviews with plant mangers and team leaders revealed there was widespread confusion regarding what the team approach was, the speed with which it should be implemented, and the impact it would have on jobs. Implications for the introduction and implementation of the team approach in an environment of mixed employee support are provided. 38 HUMAN RESOURCE PLANNING
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Self-managed work teams, self-directed work teams, high performance/high commitment teams, employee involvement teams, employee participation teams, quality circles, and total quality management teams — all are names given to an organizational approach designed to empower work teams to make more decisions affecting their work units. The introduction of the "team concept" in the work place is one of the leading strategies US corporations are using in the 1990s to gain a competitive advantage. Leading companies such as American Express, Disney, Ford, General Mills, Hewlett-Packard, and Shell Oil are using empowerment techniques to increase organizational effectiveness and employee morale. Recent surveys have reported up to 70 percent of US companies are employing some version of self-managed work teams (SMWT) or high-performance work teams (Dumaine, 1994; McCann & Buckner, 1994; Ostennan, 1993). McCann and Buckner found, however, that only about one-third of human resource professionals believed that power and decision making were truly being shifted to lower levels within the organization. They ques- tioned whether empowerment was being directed from the top-down without the corresponding movement of power. They called for additional research to obtain a better understanding of what actually is occurring in organizations empower- ing their employees. The purpose of this case analysis is to exploi e the perceived readiness of an organization to implement the team concept. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses are performed to exam- ine the different perceptions of managers, team leaders, and team members with regard to the team concept. Suggestions are made on how to more effectively introduce and implement the team concept.
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This note was uploaded on 10/17/2011 for the course PM586ON B taught by Professor W during the Fall '10 term at Keller Graduate School of Management.

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week_7_Reading - Diagnosing Whether an Organization Is...

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