Running head: THE HOVEY AND BEARD COMPANY CASE
The Hovey and Beard Company Case
University of Redlands
The Hovey and Beard Company Case
A company’s success is measured by evaluating different variables, including, but not limited to production levels, revenues, retention of its employees, etc. While these quantitative and macro assessments measure results and help set the company’s future objectives, we cannot ignore the human factor, which is an integral component contributing to the success and longevity of a company. For the purpose of the Hovey and Beard Company case analysis, the human factor will be analyzed in terms of the correlation between job conditions, job satisfaction and performance, and the effect of this triangle on company’s growth and failure. Driven by an increase in demand for toys, the Hovey and Beard Company’s decision to implement an operational change and introduce a new method of painting toys through an assembly line resulted in a multi-layered shift of job satisfaction and performance over time. Painters were first given a monetary incentive to learn new skills and an opportunity to earn additional bonus, if they exceeded the productivity quota. While the management was considerate in trying to adapt an incentive-based learning method and provide the opportunity for the painters to earn a bonus if they exceeded the production quota, the fact remained that there was a basic failure on their part to include the painters in the decision making process. The management acted unilaterally without the input of the employees whose practical and technical expertise could have been valuable in determining the best course of change. Ivancevich et al. (2011) pointed out that “the more involved people at all levels of the hierarchy are in the change planning, implementation, and monitoring, the higher the likelihood of success” (p. 522). In their opinion, workers tend to resist if change is imposed on them without any warning. This is exactly what took place with the painters during the first phase of the implementation. The painters did not show much excitement in learning the new tasks as quickly as anticipated, and production did not speed up according to the plan in place. In fact, the possible dissatisfaction of the painters, along with the inadequate conditions and unreasonable expectations, led some of them to quit their job. This put the company in a further downward spiral, and delayed the learning process even more since new workers had to be brought in and more training offered. If the painters had some participation or say in the decision-making process, the motivation to succeed and do well would likely be at a higher level. This specific point was studied in detail by Lam et al. (2002) in trying to find a “causal link” (p. 905) between participative decision-making and employee job performance. In their observation of the overall effect of participation in the decision-making process on job satisfaction, the authors found a positive direction of causality, due to a higher involvement in the design efficiency and context of their own jobs, which added a sense identity and significance, and brought importance and meaning to their role in the company. The top-down decision implemented by the management of the Hovey and Beard Company not only lacked a participative process, but it also failed to include a thorough job analysis and scientific study to produce factual data on the feasibility and efficiency of their proposed assembly line. Ivancevich et al. (2011) believe that “motion and time study, work simplification, and standard methods are at the core of job analysis in factory settings” (p. 155). There was no reference of any test trials conducted by the engineer where the speed/time ratio was monitored closely. The painters were not able to perform at the speed expected of them....
References: Ghitulescu, B. E. (2013). Making change happen: The impact of work context on adaptive and proactive behaviors. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 49, 206-245. Doi: 10.1177/0021886312469254 Ivancevich, J. M., Konopaske, R., & Matteson, M. T. (2011). Organizational behavior and management. (9th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill. Lam, S. K., Chen, X., & Schaubroeck, J. (2002). Participative decision making and employee performance in different cultures: The moderating effects of allocentrism/idiocentrism and efficacy. Academy of Management Journal, 45, 905-914. Retrieved from http://faculty.washington.edu/mdj3/MGMT580/Readings/Week%208/Lam.pdf Melin, B., Lundberg, U., Soderlund, J., & Granqvist, M. (1999). Psychological and physiological stress reactions of male and female assembly workers: A comparison between 2 different forms of work organization. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20(1), 47-47. Retrieved from http://www.proquest.com/en-US/ Sloan, P. (2006). The leader’s guide to lateral thinking skills: Unlocking the creativity and innovation in you and your team. (2nd ed.) London: Kogan Page.
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