Designing Jobs to Implement Strategy
Organizing a company’s activities and people to implement strategy involves more than simply redesigning a corporation’s overall structure; it also involves redesigning the way the jobs are done. With the increasing emphasis on reengineering, many companies are beginning to rethink their work processes with an eye toward phasing unnecessary people and activities out of the process. Process steps that had traditionally been performed sequentially can be improved by performing them concurrently using cross-functional work teams. Harley-Davidson, for example, has managed to reduce total plant employment by 25% while reducing by 50% the time needed to build a motorcycle. Restructuring through fewer people requires broadening the scope of jobs and encouraging teamwork. The design of jobs and subsequent job performance are, therefore, increasingly being considered as sources of competitive advantage.
Job design refers to the design of individual tasks in an attempt to make them more relevant to the company and to employee(s). To minimize some of the adverse consequences of task specialization, corporations have turned to new job design techniques: [pic]
Figure: Job Design Techniques
♫ Job Enlargement: Combining task to give a worker more of the same type of duties to perform.
♫ Job Rotation: Moving workers through several jobs to increase variety.
♫ Job Enrichment: Altering the jobs by giving the worker more autonomy and control over activities.
A good example of modern job design is the introduction of team-based production by Corning, Inc., the glass manufacturer, in its Blacksburg, Virginia, plant. With union approval, Corning reduced job classifications from 47 to 4 to enable production workers to rotate jobs after learning new skills. The workers were divided into 14 member teams that, in effect, managed themselves. The plant had only two levels of management: Plant manager Robert Hoover and two line leaders who only advised the teams. Employees worked demanding 1211/4 2 hour shifts, altering three-day and four weeks. The team made managerial decisions, imposed discipline on fellow workers, and were required to learn three “skill modules” within two years or else lose their jobs. As a result of this new job design, a Blacksburg team, made up of workers with interchangeable skills, can retool a line to produce a different type of filter in only 10 minutes-six times faster than workers in a traditionally designed filter plant. The Blacksburg plant earned a $2 million profit in its first eight months of production, instead of losing the $2.3 million projected for the start-up period. The plant performed so well that Corning’s top management acted to convert the company’s 27 other factories to team-based production.
International Issues in Strategy Implementation
An international company is one that engages in any combination of activities, from exporting/ importing to full-scale manufacturing, in foreign countries. The multinational corporation (MNC), in contrast, is a highly developed international company with a deep involvement throughout the world, plus a worldwide perspective in its management and decision making. For a multinational corporation to be considered global, it must manage its worldwide operations as if they were totally interconnected. This approach works best when the industry has moved from being multidomestic (each country’s industry is essentially separate from the same industry in other countries; an example is retailing) to global (each country is a part of one worldwide industry; an example is consumer electronics)
Strategic alliances, such as joint ventures licensing agreements, between a multinational company (MNC) and a local partner in a host country are becoming increasingly popular as a meant by which a corporation can gain entry into other countries; especially less developed countries. The key to the successful...
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