Self-Managed Work Team

Table of Content

SMWT’S have generated a great deal of interest in organizations in the last several years, during this time there has been a proliferation of articles discussing the characteries the implementation, the advantages, and overwhelming success for SMWT’S for improving the work attitudes and the performance of employees. The pressure to improve relations with customers, increase productivity and enhance the quality of work life. Organizations have turned to several new management techniques as well as alternative ways of designing or structuring jobs. Their purpose of investigating was to develop a methodology for assessing and examining SMWT. Traditionally managed stores, newly initiated, or greenfield self-management, and stores that were in the process of converting to self-management. Were three categories of stores used in the study. The organization that the study took place was a rapidly expanding chain of drive-through fast food restaurants. The division chain had there own operations people working in stores or restaurants, Human Resource, and Finance was shared with the parent company. Including the President of the chain reporting directly to the President of the parent company. However, the restaurant chain had begun implementing SMWT’S in the years the study was conducted.

The organization’s business rationale counted on self-managing teams as the only way that they would achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace. SMWT’S was consistent with the chain’s focus on continued improvement of speed, value, and quality in food service. Top managers began to realize that the need for change in the organizational policies and procedures to accompany the structural modifications that were being made. The plans were to move from the traditional hierarchical organizational structure to a learner structure, with operational managers and area managers. That will give the facilitative a role as a coach and expanding their spans of control. Before the transition to SMWT’S, there was a lot of intensive training efforts going on. In varying stages of development, there were ten restaurants selected by the organization for this study forming three comparison groups: converted, traditional, and new SMWT. Four restaurants were being converted from conventional to self-management, two restaurants were classified as traditionally managed, and four restaurants were greenfield self-management sites. The first step they took was: What’s our temperature? Since they entered the process after a year, they needed to assess the degree to which the teams were self-managing. Self-management of any team can be judged by the number and types of task and decisions the team is responsible for (Lawler, 1986). Thus we should be able to distinguish three broad levels, or ‘degrees’ of self-management: necessary self-management, intermediate and self-management, and advanced self-management.

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Self-management has levels, and each one is represented by certain typical activities the team should be performing and the decisions at the level the team should be making, and the characteristics level should possess. Step two: What’s the Bottom line- Lower Costs and Increased Productivity. Once they found out the terms of degree of self-management, it was time to assess their effectiveness. The system model of work group behavior has been developed throughout years to organize the variables relevant to traditional work groups and SMWT’s (Greenbaum, Kaplan, and Metlay, 1998). The model has four successive stages: feedback, output, input, and process. Variables described as the work setting is the input stage. All the activities and behaviors that occur over time is the process stage. The results or outcomes of those activities is the output. Information about past inputs, processes, and outputs that are fed into the system to modify its subsequent behavior is the feedback stage. They also used a questionnaire for the employees to answer. For example, ‘The quality of the food served is good.’ the employees would choose from a 5-point scale from strongly agree to disagree strongly. That would give them the strengths and weaknesses of there employees. The organization wanted to maintain quality in their store and establish an ongoing evaluation process for the effectiveness of SMWT’s.

A self-rating system that evaluated the level to which the employees felt empowered. The evaluation process of the employees biannually to assess the strengths and weaknesses throughout the organization. A scoring system that linked compensation to the field management groups as well as providing a means for incentive to the hourly employees as they achieved optimal levels of self-management. A diagnostic process to help the organization understanding what they were up against in converting the remaining traditional stores to self-management. In there study they learned that the fast food restaurant chain enabled them to make some headway on the development of a methodology for the examination and assessment of the SMWT’s. However, three interesting points emerge that organizations should think about when their CEO says, ‘We need to lower cost and increase productivity quickly-lets put in self-managed work teams.’ The CEO needs to realize that Self-management is not created overnight, all teams are not created equal, and the measurement of SMWT is not unidimensional. They did ok with there study and working on helping the organization of the fast food restaurants learn how to use SMWT. However, I think that there should have been more training involved as well as more of a description to the organization on SMWT.

Learning the strengths and weaknesses is essential when designing an SMWT because it gives your employees and you the chance to find out how you can help them find out there strengths and weaknesses so that they know what they need to work on to gain higher levels of SMWT. Giving the employee’s evaluation and incentives depending on how they are doing is a good idea. In the study, it never talked about if the CEO was involved in the changes and working with there team and they advanced in the SMWT. The questionnaire that they gave the employees is a good ideal. I think that all companies should do that with their employees at least biannually. The reasoning is that if there is something that the employees don’t like but are afraid to speak up this gives the organization an opportunity to get their employees point of view and then in return, the organization can provide them with feedback on their concerns. The author could have been more detailed in the way that they designed their training as well as what SMWT’s had to do to get to each level when moving to the next step. They needed to find out what the CEO wanted when the CEO said that they wanted to lower cost, and how the company thought that they could change things to reduce costs. Also was the company and the CEO happy and comfortable with the new design. Maybe they could have added more training as well as maybe webinars and seminars. By doing this, each SMWT can share their knowledge with their employees and gain more experience, and the learning will continue to move throughout the company. By experience, I have learned a lot in the leadership role by the webinars, training, and workshops that Spartan as offered. One thing that I think companies should do in designing jobs is getting the input from their employees. It could be something you agree with, or it may be something that you might find disagreeable.

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Self-Managed Work Team. (2022, May 04). Retrieved from

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