Fundamentals of Leadership and Management
Dr. Eve Kaczmarek
May 27, 2012
Gaining a Deeper Understanding
Human Resource Director, Ashley Wall, with 10 years of experience at Treadway Tire Company, has decided to conduct a thorough analysis of the line foremen job dissatisfaction problem within a short frame of time and devise a plan of action to correct it. Using an action research approach to understand the problem from different viewpoints, Ashley is determined to solve the problem as soon as possible by uncovering key issues at the plant using formal and informal documentation. According to Patton (2002), “to have an understanding of the nature of the problem by those involved will allow human beings to more effectively control their environment” (p. 217). This is to say that as a participant in the problem being studied, personal insights and experiences can be interjected with a sense of urgency to get any problem under control. As it relates to the Treadway Tire Plant, this essay will discuss: (1) Any key issues with shortcomings; (2) Recommendations for a possible solution; and (3) Data sources and collection to better understand the nature of the job dissatisfaction problem. Key Issues and Mistakes
The exemplars used as examples of the flywheel and doom loop imaging in Collins’ book, “Good to Great” found their success in continuing to push hard at what they were doing with each momentous turn powering the next. The Treadway Company could be described using this descriptor by their driving efforts for maximum expenditure of effort of their line foremen and employees. The mandatory 12-hour shifts with 2 breaks and only a half hour for meals for the foremen and employees was the company’s way of driving a continuous operation and substantially fixing their costs of remaining in business (Skinner & Beckham, 2008, p.2). However, an adjustment of the way the flywheel approach could be used at Treadway to take them from a “good company to a great company would be a course direction in continuous improvement and the [continuous] delivery of results (Collins, p.174). Treadway will need to take a hard look at their current way of doing business, the job dissatisfaction of its foremen, and the possibility that the current momentum cannot be sustained. At Treadway Tire Company, the major problem of job dissatisfaction is the expressed result of varying underlying issues. Firstly, at Treadway, there is a misalignment of the mission and vision statements when compared to the daily work performed. The company has become very focused on surviving the outside challenges of escalating raw materials costs and global competition setting aside the internal issues of morale, job dissatisfaction, and high turnover rate among the line foremen. By continuing to manage by daily numbers, the Lima plant has incorrectly assumed that their current way of managing is adequate. According to Collins (2001) this is managing by “self-ego, self-interest which will hinder them from becoming great” (p. 30). While the outside challenges may not go away, the inside challenges can be handled by embracing the idea of making the company great from the inside out.
Secondly, the position of line foremen needs review and possible revision since they influence production rates, safety, and union relations. How well they perform in the position is dependent on their skill set and educational background. The better line foremen are experienced line foremen from other plants so a manufacturing background is a plus for the job. The young college graduates lack the manufacturing background but do have the management skill set needed in the position. The job description and primary responsibilities are not in sync with what they actually do during a daily shift.
Thirdly, the climate at the plant is non-conducive for honest sharing...