The Treadway Tire Company

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Background
The Treadway Tire Company is a major supplier of goods for replacement tire markets and original equipment manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. In 2000, Treadway’s Lima Tire Plant underwent a $100 million expansion which increased the plant’s capacity to utilize new technology for the manufacturing department. However, due to the rising cost of raw materials, increase global competition, and the high turnover rate of the line foreman, the Lima tire plant was challenged to increase productivity. Ashley Wall, the director of human resources at the Lima Plant, knew she could not control the rising cost of raw materials, and she knew she could increase productivity and reduce cost by decreasing the turnover rate of the line foreman.

The high employee turnover rate of the line foreman is a serious issue threatening the productivity of the Lima tire company. After the closing of the Greenville, South Carolina plant in 2006, the Lima plant went to continuous operations to handle the additional volume. Therefore, the company decided to implement two 12-hour shifts instead of the old three 8-hour shifts to increase the performance potential. During these stressful 12-hour shifts, line foreman were expected to handle personnel, resource, and administrative issues.

There were additional issues which affected the job satisfaction of the line foremen. For example, line foreman were expected to exceed target production numbers while having a lack of formal training as a foreman and the lack of upper management support while disciplining hourly union employees. Line foremen were at constant conflicts with the union, upper management, and hourly employees. Many of these line foremen felt isolated and undervalued due to the fact that since 2007 only one line foremen had been promoted to general supervisor. Due to this poor work environment, the job satisfaction of line foreman decreased. Problem

The high turnover rate of the line foremen is due to the fact that overworked line foremen must meet or exceed company performance expectations without a formal integrated training program, the constant conflicts with the union hourly staff, and the lack of support by upper management. Relevant Theories and Models

The poor morale amongst employees contributes to the high job dissatisfaction and high turnover within the Treadway Lima tire plant. Understanding the consequences of job dissatisfaction by employees can be seen in the exit-voice-loyalty-neglect framework. These non-union foremen employees are unable to voice their dissatisfaction with union hourly employees through a grievance committee meeting. The line foremen also had no control in regards to disciplining any hourly employee. Line foremen did not have the voice mechanism for them to continue their jobs and know that their job situation would improve. The exit and neglect behavior deal with problems such as absenteeism, decreased productivity and increase turnover within the organization. These behaviors are defined by the lack of training given to foremen to be successful at their job.

The line foremen position had high expectations without having adequate control over their work environment. The demand/control model by Karasek illustrates the conflict that line foremen were having within their position. The key concept of the demand/control model is that high demand/low control jobs lead to higher job dissatisfaction and high turnover rates. Foremen were expected to meet and exceed daily production numbers while not having the support of employees above them or below them. Many line foremen felt powerless when they had to discipline an hourly employee. Many line foremen felt as though these employees were protected by the union. Also, the lack formal training given to line foremen made them feel as though they had no control managing their work duties. Herb Adams, the general supervisor, informed others that he did not have...
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