As a management consultant, I have been hired to assess the Treadway Tire company, assess and analyze the existing problems, and give my recommendations to deal with the problems. I looked at the organization in detail, and examined the different aspects. I found that turnover, job dissatisfaction, morale, overworked employees, and communication were the biggest issues within the company. Lack of training was also causing inefficiency. I discuss these problems and its effects. I also looked into the root causes of these problems.
Finally, I gave my recommendations that could help remedy the situation. I suggested implementing a training program to improve efficiency. To improve morale and job satisfaction, I suggested having monthly meetings and giving the workers a certain amount of autonomy. Finally, I suggested using a different approach to dealing with the workers. I suggested using a more personable approach to dealing with the workers. For support, I used the Equity theory, Transformational leadership, Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation, and French and Raven’s sources of Power.
I am a management consultant, and have been hired to analyze the workings of the Treadway Tire Company. I have been hired to study and assess the potential and existing problems, and give recommendations as to how to prevent or solve these problems. Existing problems within the company
From your description, it is evident that you are aware of the biggest problems in your company. Turnover seems to be the biggest concern for the company. The important part to note is that there is almost as much voluntary turnover as involuntary turnover (Skinner & Beckham, 2008). This indicates that while there is a problem in the efficiency of the foremen, there is also a problem with the work environment. It is essential that along with improving the efficiency of operations, we need to change the organizational culture. This process might be tedious and long-term but needs to be addressed right away. This is just the beginning of the company’s problems. As you have seen, there are tense employee relationships between the line formen and the hourly line production employees. These weak work relationships are also resulting in serious job dissatisfaction. Both the hourly and the salaried workers feel that they are not getting the respect that they deserve. The foremen feel that they are not an essential part of the company, and thus this frustration maybe a cause for their overly strict behaviour and lack of respect for the hourly line-production employees. Another major issue that is contributing to both the job dissatisfaction and the voluntary turnovers is the decreasing morale between the workers.
The poor communication between the management and the foremen, and between the foremen and the hourly employees is resulting in a diminishing respect between colleagues and decrease motivation to work in that poor organizational culture. Finally, the involuntary turnover was resulting from not being able to effectively communicate with the area supervisors and the workers that they were in charge of along with not being able to “meet forecasts” (Skinner & Beckham, 2008, p. 5). All of these problems combined are affecting the productivity of the company, and the efficiency of operations. I believe that you have undertaken the task of trying to control and reduce the turnover rate. I hope that my analysis and recommendations will be helpful in accomplishing this mission. Potential Causes for the problems
As mentioned before, the productivity and the efficiency of the foremen are being called into question. Several of them are getting let go due to this problem. While looking through the organization, the first thing that stuck out was that the forement was in-charge of too much work which was affecting their ability to do any of the tasks efficiently and successfully. Along with running 12 hour shifts, the foremen were responsible for overlooking “all phases of production and quality assurance work” (Skinner & Beckham, 2008, p. 2). They were also responsible for writing up reports of the employee performances per day and scheduling and controlling the production team. They also deal several human resources and payroll issues. By the looks of it, it seems to me that the foremen are being stretched too thin and are being expected to perform various tasks in diverse areas which is definitely taking toll on their work attitudes and satisfaction. It is possible that this frustration and fatigue is resulting in their poor communication and not behaving properly with their workers.
The potential thinking could be that if they are expected to do so much without showing any concern for them then their workers should be treated the same way. Going along with Adam’s Equity Theory, the workers are feeling that for the amount of work they are doing, they are not getting the equivalent rewards or output that they deserve (as cited in Carrell & Dittrich, 1978). Even before the immense work load, is the lack of formal training that the foremen receive. The foremen are expected to fend for themselves in this enormous amount of work with no background information or training given. The supervisors feel that they should drop the hired foremen in the field, and let them figure their way around. This lack of training is resulting in conflicts between the workers and the foremen not being able to work efficiently. Overall, there is too much isolation between the foremen and the unionized workers. This makes it difficult for each of the groups to be able to effectively communicate. In an organizational behaviour class in 2010, Professor Ayman had taught us about the status system which I feel is apt for this situation. The workers and the foremen do not know their status in the company, and feel that they are not being valued enough in the company.
Additionally, it seems to me that the foremen, as leaders, are not using the right tactics to influence their workers. While evaluating the employee performances, if “results fell below forecasted levels, the line foreman was subject to a severe tongue lashing and usually threatened with a poor performance review” ((Skinner & Beckham, 2008, p. 3). According to French and Raven’s theory of the sources of power (from the class notes on September 29, 2011), the foremen seem to be using the coercive and reward power instead of referent power. In other words, the foremen were using threats and force as a source of power to get the job done from the workers. I should say that if these problems are not addressed immediately, the turnover rates will continue to rise, and worse yet the diminishing morale and job dissatisfaction is going to seep into the work environment and reduce productivity so that the cost cutting steps that the company had undertaken will actually result in rising costs to solve all of these problems. I strongly recommend attacking these problems immediately and as soon as possible taking the necessary steps and precautions to change the organizational culture and climate. Recommendations
My first and foremost recommendation would be to have a separation of duties. The foremen are dealing with way too many tasks in too many diverse areas. If, instead of the foremen handling all of these duties, it would be more effective if you spread out the tasks amongst the employees. A possible scenario could be that you make the union representative do the performance reviews since they know their own colleagues and how to deal with them. This will also help deal with the status system because it gives them a sense of autonomy and a feeling that they are being trusted and valued enough to be given this autonomy. In addition to this, I think having the Human Resources department dealing with the personnel issues might be a more efficient way of dealing with the payroll issues and preparing work schedules and time sheets. According to me, the foremen should mainly focus on getting the production running smoothly. They should also be in-charge of monthly performance reviews which will also give them an idea of how the workers are doing. Feedback is essential to an effective work environment, and thus these performance reviews will serve that purpose.
In terms of the training, I believe the idea of the training program will be very effective. I think a cross-training will be a good idea because it gives the employees a chance to understand every aspect of the work force, and each level of employees will be able to better understand what each other is expected to do and deal with. This might be a first step to improving communications too because the hourly workers might begin to understand what the foremen go through and vice versa. I recommend doing a needs assessment before developing the training program to assess what all areas is the training needed for (as mentioned in class in 2011 by Professor Morris for Personnel Psychology). An internal or external consultant should be brought in to perform this needs assessment. This procedure will analyze the organization and its goals, the resources that are present in the company that can be used to develop and run the training program, internal and external constraints, and finally, the climate of the employees towards the training. The last factor is the most important. It is vital that the employees see the training as beneficial and not as a waste of time. The training program should be presented as such that the foremen understand why they are going through the training.
As for the issue dealing with voluntary turnover due to low morale and job dissatisfaction, I would recommend the managers, supervisors, and specifically the foremen change their tactics. It would be more effective if these managers use Burns’s (1975) theory of transformational leadership because it helps in motivating the employees. Transformational leadership has been defined as one that inspires people to follow but it also makes people believe in the mission, and stimulate them to think creatively and put in their full energy into achieving that goal (Burns as cited in Bono & Judge, 2004). Motivation is a big problem in the company. The workers are slowly losing their motivation to work in the company, this includes both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (from the class notes on September 29, 2011). The transformational leadership helps solve this issue. It serves to motivate the workers to want to work even though the motivations may differ. The point is to get them to want to work in the company.
Having monthly meetings where the employees are allowed to remove all of their frustrations and address their grievances without any consequences of getting fired or such might be helpful in reducing their job dissatisfaction. These meeting should be held without the direct managers so that they can feel free to raise these concerns. It also helps in showing the workers that they are valuable to the company, and that their concerns are being taken into account. These concerns, however, should be given to the managers so that they know what the employees are feeling and realize what they can do to improve the culture of the organization. It is important to emphasize the importance of proper communication. These meetings should be held with all of the level of employees from the hourly workers to the area managers and supervisors, and should be run with the human resources department because they will be the only unbiased department. Conclusion
I feel it is necessary for me to point out that implementing these recommendations is not going to be an easy feat. You might have to deal with employees resistant to change as culture is a very strong and difficult aspect to change since it is intangible. Implementing the training program will also be difficult not just because of the attitudes towards the training but also because of the costs that will be incurred to develop and put into effect.
Even with all of these problems, it will be necessary for you to assert the importance of putting into practice these recommendations. The training program, even with the costs, needs to be run so that the foremen can know what they are expected to do. While it might be expensive to develop the program in the short term, it will definitely save money and improve efficiency in the long run. I hope these recommendations will help you in your mission to reduce turnover rates and improve the company’s culture and efficiency.
Bono, J.E. & Judge, T.A. (2004). Personality and transformational and transactional leadership: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(5), 901-910. Carrell, M.R., and Dittrich, J.E. (1978). Equity theory: The recent literature, methodological considerations, and new directions. The Academy of Management Review. 3;2: 202-210. Skinner, W., and Beckham, H. (2008). The treadway tire company: Job dissatisfaction and high turnover at the Lima tire plant. Harvard Business School Publishing, 1-12. Dvergsdal, S. (2010). Transformational leadership model, Retrieved October 14, 2011, from: http://www.aboutepi.com/secondary.php?page=accelerateresources&article=21.
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