Monday, November 01, 2004

10 30

Roloff 10 30

This week, we begin to look at macro-approaches to persuasion and resistance.

Organizational change still involved individuals.

In Organizational Change, Burke begins by talking about traditional approaches.

Frederick Taylor – Scientific Management – Early 20th Century – wrote about early industrial problems. Wanted to solve 3 industrial problems:

1) Uneven Quality – variance in the quality of what each employee produces.
2) Systematic Soldiering – People only work as hard as their troop or team works.
3) Health and Safety issues

Taylor’s first principle: There is one best way to do everything. The way to discover the one best way is through the scientific method. Developed time and motion studies to find the one best way. Deleting unnecessary steps through the study eventually distills a process, and then everyone is trained in the one most efficient way to do the job.

Taylor’s second principle: Everyone is paid according to effort. This discriminates against the physically challenged, women. According to Taylor, this would eliminate the need for labor negotiation, because pay would be commensurate with effort, quantified and objective. Job, rather than individual, factors are the reason for pay discrepancies. Companies are absolute meritocracies; only competency is a measurer of a worker’s worth. The most trainable and obedient worker is the most desirable, since there is one best way to do any job. There is a strict difference between management and labor; labor doesn’t think, they are only responsible for performing labor, but management is responsible for planning, coordination, and supervision (Management is the elite, workers have strong backs and weak minds). Individuals can be identified as labor or management candidates, promotion from labor to management wouldn’t happen (In Taylor’s time, people couldn’t easily seek more education in order to advance).

Taylor viewed himself as a reformer; he adjusted the size of shovelheads to reduce workers’ back problems, and credited his adherence to the scientific method for saving workers’ health. He was discredited shortly before his death, and his name now represents outdated, impersonal management practices. Unions didn’t believe there was a one-to-one ratio between movements and effort, and resisted his practices. His practices were demeaning to workers; it treated workers as children, incapable of grasping complex ideas.

Human Relations Approach

In the famous Hawthorne Lighting studies, lighting in a factory didn’t matter to productivity as much as the worker’s thought that he or she was being watched. Elton Mayo believes that the meaning has been taken out of work, nothing personal about one’s contribution to work. Work fulfills a need for social interaction. Mayo suggests that people are more responsive to their workgroups than to management.
1. Supervisors should not act like supervisors - they should be friends, counselors to the workers2. Managers should not try to micro-manage the organization by an overriding concern for product or job quality at the expense of the macro-social, or humanistic, characteristics of work3. People should be periodically asked how they feel about the work, their supervisors, and co-workers4. Humanistic supervision plus morale equals productivity5. Those who don't respond to group influence should be treated with sarcasm6. Workers should be involved or at least consulted before any change in the organization7. Employees who leave should be exit-interviewed - turnover should be kept to a minimum

The Scanlon Plan creates cross-functional teams that can make decisions without consulting management. The limitations are:

1) Monetary cap;
2) Must have permission of another unit if changes will affect that unit.

According to the Scanlon Plan, if you do something that increases profits, part of the profits go to your group and not the company as a whole. This puts teams in competition, but creates a group incentive, rather than an individual incentive. This gives individuals an incentive to be members of more than one group.

Like Scientific Management, the goal of Human Relations is to make a worker more productive, not the self-actualization of the worker. In studies of what made an effective WWII combat unit, camaraderie was the most important factor; unfortunately, not all work teams are buddies. Management never thought the Human Relations approach would work; the model was never adopted, decision-making authority was given on matters of little importance to workers. Some jobs, done only for the money, don’t lead to self-actualization of workers, and the Human Relations Approach is meaningless to people whose only interest in their job is money.

Industrial Relations Approach

Fleishman’s study at Westinghouse - front line supervisors were trained to treat workers with respect, but after the study, they reverted back to inconsiderate ways of interacting. Fleishman found that the front line supervisor’s own supervisors were not part of the study treated them poorly. Fleishman believed that changing both the system and the individual was needed.

Evolutionary Approach to studying Organizational Change

Evolution suggests adaptation that results in progress. The process is cyclical. When you look at a market, you’ll find many competitors; over time, selectivity shrinks variety, and remaining competitors will resemble each other. Is an evolutionary model that leads to less competition good for customers?

Variation ------à Selection -------à

One way to discover why a company survives is to examine its culture. In Leading Change, Kotter observed three cultural approaches:

1) Strong Culture – the founder is still running the company, there is a consensus about what culture should be, there is a strong mission statement and values, and only people who fit the culture are hired. IBM was the epitome of strong culture. Often, strong culture is successful but only for a short period of time, because the founder started the business at an opportune time; the downside of the strong culture is that it is not adaptable or innovative (IBM was slow to respond to changes in the market).
2) Strategically Appropriate Culture – there isn’t one best type of culture, it depends on the market a company is in at the time. This approach was popular during the dot-com era. Old cultures weren’t appropriate for new companies; a fast approach was better for new companies. Studies showed that these cultures were as likely to fail as old cultures in the long-term, because the assumption is that the market in which the culture exists is static. There was less consideration, and a trail-blazing hubris that was maintained because of past success.
3) Adaptive Culture – People value change, and accept the fact that what is done today may not be sustainable in the future. This is a market-driven culture; a company should do what the market requires. This requires expert analysts, who are less reliable than horse-handicappers. Constant retooling is required to meet new demands of the market.

How to create an Adaptive Culture? Kotter divided people who advocated change into three types:

1) Externals – advocates of culture change from outside – ineffective because externals don’t understand existing politics, inspire resistance and alienation because of “arrogance”. External have two biases: the current culture is bad; there is not enough internal communication.
2) Internals – promote culture-changers – ineffective because they make small internal changes rather than sweeping changes. Negative frames are brought from past experiences with coworkers. External who has internal resources/internal who has an outsider’s view – these are the most successful culture changers because they have an outsider’s view and can influence and mobilize internals without alienating them


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