Inmost organizations, structures and systems are implemented to enhanceefficiency (Yan, 2013, p.1196-1197). One of the systems that hadconsiderable positive effect in the past was division of labor wherespecialization was encouraged. Individuals would be assigned tasksthey had adequate technical capability. This was effective but incontemporary organizations, the use of teams has been encouraged.Teams are task execution units that are required to execute taskscollectively. However, there may be factors within the team or beyondwhich may affect its output. This paper explores organizationalbehavior within the context of a case study.
Theprimary problem inherent in the packaging team is ineffectiveness. An ineffective team is associated with less output or task completion(Lanajh and Ollenbeck, p.1477-1478). As per the case study, thepackaging department, the teams output remained consistently low andthis has led to backlog of unpackaged products.However, theunpackaged items should not be treated as the problem. There isevidence that employees at the packaging department were consumingmore minutes during their lunch and tea breaks. The actual problem istime wastage that led to inefficiency.
Thereal problem may not lie within the packaging team itself. As itwill later be discussed within paper, time wastage that laterresulted into inefficiency should be treated as an intermediateproblem. Contextually, the problem occurrence should be viewed as adeterministic occurrence. That is, it was caused by other internalproblems.
Thereis evidence that employees at the packaging department took moreminutes during their lunch breaks. That is, the team is known forextending the lunch hour by 10 minutes and the coffee break by 5minutes. This was a fact was well known by the supervisors. Therewere instances of a non-linear internal structure as the departmentallay out was unsound. The packaging department had no fulltimesupervisor assigned to it o a full time basis. It relied onsupervisors from sawmill and plane departments.
Inaddition, as per the location of the packaging department, it wasdifficult for supervisors to attend to it. This left a managerialvacuum. Communication flow between the department and others was thuseffectively constrained thus decision making was negatively affectedas conceptualized by Barker and Gower (2010, p.298-299).It waschallenging to assess and report on the activities of the packagingdepartment because supervisors assigned to it rarely visited thedepartment. It was difficult to pass down instructions as well asother information from management. Other departments were executingtheir tasks well despite the additional work load. Each team had asupervisor in every shift. Coordination was proper and efficient. The packaging department appears to have to be the only affectedbecause when temporary employees are assigned into the packagingdepartment they developed mannerisms inherent there. That is,temporary employees would pick the behaviors and time patterns thatexhibited by employees of the packaging department. The outcome ofthis infectiveness manifested itself in low output and unmet qualitymetrics (Espinosa, Nan and Carmel, 2015.158-159).
NSSIinternal management layout was to a large extend sound. The divisionof labor and the concept of team working were excellent. However, theinternal structure of the organization was non-linear and hadpotential contingencies that would have occurred soon. An affectiveorganizational structure is one that is characterized by division oflabor combined with effective coordination, communication, workflowand a sense of transformational leadership. If the number if minuteswasted on daily were to aggregated on a weekly basis, then NSSI lostan average of 75 minutes of man-hour (assuming they worked five day aweek). This is a considerable amount of time that would have beenre-directed into packaging duties. It may be simplistic to blame thepackaging team in that there are various factors that determineemployee behavior.
NSSIhad a team-based structure where each team, in presence of asupervisor self-directed itself. The teams were organized around workprocesses. Team structures are associated with more flexibility,lower admission costs and quick decision making. However, there arelimitations such as slower coordination during team development andteam leaders are likely to have less power. The management span ofcontrol was limited in that top management was not aware thatemployees at the packaging department had tendencies of time wastage.In his case, they never intervened. In view of the above, thefollowing assumptions can be drawn,
The management was ineffective which lead to stagnation of other departments
There was no proper ground coordination as supervisors were aware of the actual problem yet no intervention efforts were conducted.
There were no proper communication channels in that the supervisors were aware of poor time management efforts among the packaging team but made no efforts to appeal to higher authority. It may be assumed that the reason why management assigned more staff to the packaging department was based on a possibility of man power shortages within the department. The chronology that define the problem occurrence can be formulated as follows
Managementinadequacies poor departmental coordination constrainedcommunication flow
Inefficiencyaccrues Poor time management habits Lack of departmental control
Organizationheads poses legitimate power to exercise over subordinates, but at aprofessional level. Managers can request that subordinates behave inspecific ways at specific circumstances (Ma, Rhee and Daegyu, 2013,p.712-713). This was immaterial in the packaging department as therewas no managerial control over it. In this case, anarchy and rivalrymay have resulted. Managers have the responsibility to ensure thatemployee behavior does not in any way affect the objectives of thecompany. However at NSSI, there was no proactive intervention toensure that employees stuck to the vision. Contextually, if there wasefficient managerial control, the problem of time wastage would havebeen identified and corrective measures put in place. There was nosupervision pressure for the packaging department to focus on thepre-set vision. This can be vindicated by the fact that whentemporary assigned employees to help in the backlog immediatelyassumed time wastage tendencies. Influence in organizations is verycritical in that it ensures that people behaviors and attitudes arecompatible with the larger organization vision. This influenceoperates up, down as well as across the organization. The supervisorsassigned to packaging team new that the teams’ time managementtactics were poor and this would frustrate productivity efforts. Itappears perhaps NSSI had no systems that gave supervisors a platformto launch an upward appeal. Perhaps, this would have been acorrective measure.
Empiricalstudies established that the packaging department had the capacity toperform all packaging ditties efficiently without any eternal help.However, this knowledge, they continuously committed more resourcesin the packaging team to address the some of the issues. This is aconstruct known as “escalation of commitment” where anorganization allocates more resources to a failing course of action.
There seems NSSI had management breakdown at NSSI. The seniormanagement was not in control in that they were not aware of theactivities of the packaging team. It would be imperative to have atask-oriented management structure the management (Naranjo, 2015,p.35-36).
This leadership style will ensures that employees have a clear understanding of their goals and do all that is necessary in this respect.
NSSI is a manufacturing entity and this style has had considerable positive effect as it ensures consistent high quality and production.
Employee may fear breaking rules this inhibiting creativity and innovation. NSSI operate in an industry that requires high creativity and innovation as a way of remaining competitive and thus leadership style may not guarantees this.
This leadership style is inn most times associated with high employee attrition rates as it does not impact a sense of motivation in the workforce. Employees can then seek motivating opportunities elsewhere.
Pursueupwards appeal system
Thissystem will ensure that when supervisors are faced with a problemthey cannot handle, can seek the intervention of superiors (Daftand Marcic, 2011, p.282-294).At NSSI, the supervisors had little influence on the staff as theydid not engage with them regularly.
This strategy will ensure that employees focus task completion thus deadlines are easily met.
Management will have a larger span of control in the team’s activities. At NSSI, management will ensure that employee observe all schedules.
Extensive influence over team’s activities can draw resistance.
Team lack of independence can spur lack of motivation and self-drive in that employees only work under instructions from supervisors.
3.Have less team size
Thesize of the teams can be re-sized to have smaller teams within eachdepartment. NSSI can break the packaging team into distinct entitieswith distinct duties (Hoegl,2015, p.102-103).
Smaller teams need less time to process activities thus are associated with more output
It takes less time to develop capacities in teams
It easier to engage more with a smaller team
Smaller teams have the urgency and feel more responsible for the team success
Smaller teams are not appropriate for larger tasks
There may be need to have more management portfolios to cater for each tem
Confusion or duplicity of roles can ensue
Smallerteams with a general supervisor
NSSIshould re-constitute the larger packaging team into distinct smallerentities. The entities shall be assigned specific tasks that will beperformed interpedently. As earlier highlighted, smaller teams havea high sense of focus on the task at hand. Every member of the teamis aware on the specific task that should be performed else, the restof the process stagnates. In addition, it takes less time for smallerteam to bond and develop (Hoegl,2015, p.102-103).Moreover, it easier to train and couch a smaller team as the learningoutcome can be tailor made to fit the team. In relation to a largeteam, there are diverse cultural dispositions that are difficult tofactor in any training program. Furthermore, in a small team, thereis more cohesion and it easiest to engage with a smaller team.
Asviewed by Hoegl(2015, p.98-99),it is easier to administer a small team. The team’s progress can betracked and monitored with minimal efforts. There is no tool that isneeded to monitor execution of tasks as the magnitude and size of thetask is less.
Thesupervisor will ensures that the team is performing the right thetask at the right time. In addition, he or she will evaluate theoutput of the team against organizational goals. In addition, thesupervisor will act as the link between the team and management.
NSSIhas 180 unionized employees and 16 supervisors. Thesupervisor-employee ratio stands at 1:12 employees. Assuming thateach department has an equal number of employees, the packaging teamwill have 12 employees. The team can be broken down into fourdistinct groups where each will be assigned specific duties.Practically, the first team can be labeled as quality team whosespecific duties would be to pile the lumber and the bands. They wouldhave to determine the best time to pile the lumber and bands. Thisexercise will be expected to be through with four hours of receivingthe necessary input from the sawmill department. The second teamshould be assigned the label “seal and stencil team”. This teamshould apply stencil and seals on lumber and bands received from thefirst team. Again this exercise should be completed within 2 hours. The third team (plastic wrap team) will be responsible attaching theplastic wrap neatly and tightly. The fourth team assigned the label“quality assurance” is expected to assess the final batch toensure it is in compliance to pre-set quality metrics. The supervisorwill liaise with other departments such as sales and transport toensure the products get to them on time. Follow up surveys should becommissioned to assess the effectiveness of this change within thefirst two month of its implementation.
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