With particular focus on Dewar’s book, A Savage Factory, this report examines how the failure in manipulating various organizational behavior principles in the right manner can lead to massive mistakes and the ultimate collapse of the organization. It is the memoir of Robert J. Dewar who has worked at Ford Motor Company, one of the biggest automotive companies in the world. This report aims to summarize the history of workers and managers and their attitude towards work. The workers and managers discussed were mainly responsible for controlling the quality of the products and sale growth at Ford Motor Company, before and during economic recession. It is the representation of how Ford management has run the manufacturing sector since 1960s for meeting the demands. The purpose of this report is to analyze how Sharonville Plant of the Ford Motor Company can advance work behaviors, enhance training, establish work environment, and motivate workers.
As far as the Sharonville Plant is concerned, it has been challenged by various problems in its production system. The main problem is work attitude of workers that has consequently resulted in a decrease in job performance and organizational commitment. Many factors such as job satisfaction, stress, motivation, and ethics affect the job performance and organizational commitment.
The Sharonville Plant
It is no secret that one of the most important factors to attain optimal job performance is work attitude. Derwar (Bob) who was appointed as the new manager at Ford Company had left his previous job to get better pay. The high payment evoked him to change his job and start working at Ford Automotive Company. He was shocked when he witnessed the relationship between workers and foremen and their behaviors. In addition, the training continued for 39 minutes; definitely not enough to explain the work. The inadequate training hindered him to work effectively on damaged converters as he could not fix them. It was mainly focused on 4600s form, a punishing way to continue good performance. He was supposed to submit this form for every real or perceived misdeed of his aggressive workers. This form ultimately led to job dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, lack of respect, and conflict between hourly line workers, the factory foremen, management, and the Detroit Mafia.
During one shift, Dewar was responsible to look after the turbines’ run out for torque converters. He recognized that job satisfaction was absent missing among hourly workers at the department 258, the torque line, in the Ford’s Sharonville transmission plant. They seemed bored, depressed, and angry. The top supervisors made ‘numbers’ the only target for Bob. It was crystal clear that there was a lack of communication between hourly workers and managers. They did not call each other by name or shook hands. They used to refer to them by their last 4 digits of employee numbers and such treatment made them look like machines hired to produce cars. Such humiliating behaviors caused a sharp resentment among workers. As a result, the jobs were mostly turned down and those who did not quit jobs performed badly.
The achievement of desired goals was the only thing that the upper management at 258 Department was concerned about. However, that was a challenge because of the anger, low morale, and resentment of workers. Bob assumed that upper management had chosen him because of his experience at P&G. Due to his professional experiences, he could apply all techniques that P&G was using upon its employees to adjust their attitude and raise self-esteem. However, Larry & Ed, Bob’s upper managers consistently pushed Bob to follow and implement Ford’s old school management styles and method of using 4600s and harsh treatment for employees. They believed that old styles methods were the only solutions to keep Ford Motor continue manufacturing their products. During training session, Ed asked Bob to just give 4600s to employees because they were not committed to the work. Bob was informed that the workers used to take long breaks and play during work time. He even did not explain to Bob how Ford Sharonville transmission plant works. Due to this inappropriate training, when the Fairfax turned down, Bob did not know what was it and how to fix it to make the work process going in the 258 Department.
Nevertheless, the old styles of management did not work with hourly line workers. They continued to arrive late at work; some of them used to playing while some read magazines. The Sharonville plant suffered a turned-down torque. These factors led to low production ultimately and the departments failed to meet their targets. Bob believed that such conditions were the consequences of a lack of communication and motivation.
It is made clear in the book that the motivational techniques and giving the employees a sense of belonging were Bob’s methods to transform their behavior towards work, manage their anger, and improve the work environment and production during morning shift. The upper supervisors did not like the fact that Bob had not turned in any 4600s form in months. The Ford Sharonville transmission plant day shift overcame their lack of communication with Bob. They started to produce and reached their effectively, but not sufficiently, by the end of the day.
The quality standards on the paper were completely different than what happened on the ground. There was little concern about quality in the Ford Motor Company. The main concern was meeting the quota. There were many occasions when the company turned out junk transmission because they had to meet the numbers. Due to these factors, Ford’s cars that were known to fail resulted in the recall of millions of Ford transmissions. They were reported to jump out of park and into reverse. Because of engineering deviation that allows production part to run the motors with weak standards, the possibility for the Ford Motor Company to go bankrupt was high during that time. For example, if the run of transmissions did not meet qualification, the quality control rejected it. However, the production used to say that they had to meet the quota and engineering and would then write an engineering deviation allowing the production part the lot at those standards.
How Organizational Behavior Theories and Practices Could Have Been Used by the Ford Company to Avoid Poor Worker Performance?
Organizational Behavior (OB) illustrates the interactions between employees and the management, among workers, and with the company itself. It is clear that there was a huge problem in management system. The optimal theory that would have a significant improvement upon Sharonville transmission plant department 258 is Herzberg’s Two Factor theory, also known as Motivation-Hygiene Theory. It focuses on the internal and external motivations that leaders could apply to obtain job enrichment and understanding employees’ attitude.
The Herzberg’s Two Factor is a framework that is based on the assumption that there are two sets of related factors that influence motivation in the workplace by either building up employee job satisfaction or hindering their satisfaction. The two sets are Hygiene (intrinsic) and Motivators (extrinsic). Hygiene factors are factors that connect to the job but may not make the employees satisfied. They also include things that, when taken away, may make the employees dissatisfied. For example, relationship with the boss, work condition, company policy, and supervision are Hygiene factors. On the other hand, motivator factors are factors that motivate employees in the work place. If these factors are absent in the work place, they do not cause any great dissatisfaction; they just make workers more productive and motivate them. For instance, recognition of effort, responsibility, and personal growth are motivator factors.
I got a clear vision of this theory from my father’s Automotive Car garage shop. Ten years ago before he used this method, he recognized the high percentage of absenteeism and that the employees did not care about their customers. They had the belief that they would receive their salaries even if they did not finish their job early. Thus, he decided to give his workers their salary based on workshop’s monthly budget. If they were present daily and worked fast with high quality, they received a high income. In contrast, if their work decreased or went down during recession, they were to receive low salaries. He treated them nicely and gave them the responsibility of the work to let them feel a sense of self-efficacy. Such treatment with his workers motivated them and increased their job enrichment and satisfaction.
As discussed earlier, job enrichment was missing on Ford Automotive Company’s Sharonville transmission plant. The leaders needed to understand what motivated their employees and how to approach them with stimulation. The managers were required to spend most of the time on tow factor theory by raising self-efficacy, increase the relationship among workers and managers, and give hourly workers a sense of belonging to the Ford Automotive Company.
As far as the Herzberg’s theory is concerned, Savage illustrates at making intrinsic motivation come alive in Rodger’s men. From the start, he believed that altering the management behavior will yield to motivate workers to perform better. His aim was to apply organizational behavior technique, what he had learned at P&G, and instill a sense of pride in the men by developing their performance. This is what ultimately took place at Zone three in Sharonville plant. For this, Savage relies on punitive measures such as demoting people for not wearing their uniform, closing down the bar, and arresting people off-base without permission. The people at Ford needed to increase their extrinsic motivators such as a cash bonus vs. intrinsic motivators including a feeling of accomplishment and the implementation of other theories of motivation such as equity theory, or ensuring individual inputs and outcomes are equal across the organization, and providing feedback. Happy employees could have earned even fewer disciplinary proceedings against themselves and the supervision cost could have been reduced reduces. It is true that extra promotion and reward cost the company in the short run. Nevertheless, it is worthy as it results in more productivity and profitability for the company in the long term (Mind Took).
There is a significant link between equity theory and expectancy theory allowing employees to compare outcomes among each others. This causes adjustment in the level of performance to make it fair.
The Organizational Behavior enables organizational leaders to understand the feelings and interactions of employees based on their verbal cues and body language. In other words, Organizational Behavior helps in the development of the emotional intelligence of an organization’s leaders. The Organizational Behavior concept and associated theories allow people, especially the management, to understand and analyze the characteristics of individual, groups, work situations, and the organization itself and how members feel about and act within their organization. The happening at the Ford’s Sharonville plant paints an important lesson for managers that are in direct charge of employees. The lack of OB knowledge among Ford’s Sharonville transmission plant managers and president was the biggest obstacles faced by Robert J. Dewar. When he came to the Ford Motor Company, he recognized and highlighted the lack of communication, motivation and commitment. If Ford Motor Company had implemented changes considering these three factors, the Sharonville transmission plant would have developed job satisfaction among workers.