due week of Feb. 25 .. specific date/time to be confirmed)
Zenith Medical Systems has been practicing a human relations managerial style; tightly structured jobs, centralized decision making, employees are rarely fired, pay increases are generally based on seniority, liberal employee benefits. However, the firm is becoming more classical in its treatment of managers, replacing those who don’t seem to be performing. The problems are not due to the individual managers, of course, but to the organizational system in place, which doesn’t fit the dynamic and complex environment that the firm is in, nor the technology (intensive, non-routine), nor the work force (highly educated, highly paid). They are trying to use an analyzer corporate strategy, but this is not really working for them, as the industry is changing too fast.
A recommendation is to move to a high-involvement managerial strategy, with a much greater use of teams to produce each new product. Each new product should have a cross-functional project team, with representation from marketing (ideally the marketing systems specialist and the systems design specialists), along with applications programmers with expertise in each of the relevant modules. There should also be representation from installations and maintenance.
However, as the recent compensation review report indicated “none of this will work without changes to the compensation system, which is causing employees to work at cross-purposes, rather than in cooperation.” In adopting a high-involvement managerial strategy, quite a few changes need to be made. Jobs need to be broadened, coordination needs to become more horizontal, communication better, decision making pushed down the hierarchy, with more reliance on self-control. Cross-functional project teams will play a key role in all of this. But to make all of this work requires a radically different reward and compensation...