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Participative Management Essay

3714 words - 15 pages

1. Self-Managed/ Directed Team
Self-directed work teams, also known as self-managing teams, represent a revolutionary approach to the way work is organized and performed. It is a group of people working together in their own ways toward a common goal which is defined outside the team for example - James River Corporation’s Kendallville Plant ALPHA team. They manufacture cardboard boxes as defined by executive leadership. Team does their own work scheduling, training, rewards and recognition, etc.
Minnesota-based 3M is among an increasing number of companies that involve employees in the daily management of their business through work teams. These teams are empowered to take corrective ...view middle of the document...

1. Literature Review:
Increasing competition, globalization and demands to raise customer satisfaction, have made it necessary for businesses to create innovative strategies to maximize efficiency and productivity within their organizations. As a result, more corporations are beginning to recognize the value of developing a team-based organizational structure. At the foundation of this structure are self-managed work teams, which are groups of individuals working toward a common goal. These empowered teams share equality through managing the risks and benefits of decision-making from training, mutual commitment, and trust (Gandz, 1990). This shared responsibility is expected to lead to an increase in efficiency, quality control, and overall effectiveness

The self-managed work team is not a new revelation; rather, it derived from the autonomous work group, a prominent form of worker organization developed as an outcome of socio-technical system theory in the 1960sand 1970s (Herbst, 1962). This theory combined both the technical and social systems of the organization. It is the only framework that specifically deals with the group rather than the individual. (Pasmore, et al., 1982).Meaningful work and direct responsibility for its outcome has been found to satisfy individuals much more than what is accomplished on an individual basis (Buchanan, 1979).

Although self-managed work teams may vary depending on the culture of the company, there are common characteristics, including: group task design; group composition; and the development of group norms (Hackman and Oldham, 1980). Group task design is largely determined by the motivation of the team members and focuses on the variety of skills essential to the successful completion of the task. Group composition includes not only the specifically skilled, but also a diverse, multi-talented cross section of the organization, including all levels of management (Corderey, Mueller, and Smith, 1991).

1.2. Characteristics of Self-Managed Work Teams

Virtually every effective self-managed team ranges in size between two and 25 members, with the majority averaging 10 members. Small size is more of a realistic guide than an absolute necessity for success. For example, it is far easier for 10 people than 50 to work through their individual, functional, and hierarchical differences toward a common plan and to hold themselves jointly accountable for the results they create, not to mention logistics for meeting time, location or other factors (Hirschorn,1991).

In addition to finding the right size, teams must develop the right mix of skills. In order to do its job effectively, a team must possess complementary skills. Proper skill sets are common denominator in potential self-managed teams. Skill requirements fall into three fairly self evident categories: (1) technical or functional expertise; (2) problem-solving and decision-making skills; and (3) interpersonal skills.

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