Mayo’s study of Hawthorne and relevance in securing worker cooperation in relation to Ground America case study
Mayo’s study of Hawthorne Electric Plant workforce presents a lot of ideas that are relevant for securing worker cooperation towards the achievement of organizational goals. Just as in the American Ground case study, workers come from different cultures, contexts and with varied beliefs. This requires an understanding and application of the concept of group dynamics. As Mayo posits, it is not only essential to understand the workers, but equally of great value to take into consideration their feelings and understanding of the context of work operations. The impression given by Mayo is that for group success to be achieved there is need for the managers to appreciate the group dynamics prevalent and, to do so, ensure that such group dynamics are taken into consideration.
In American Ground several problems arose primarily due to the failure of the managers to coordinate and manage the workers in a joint and structured effort. In that regard, the process of building the World Trade Centre may have been more efficient, more efficacious and effective. The absence of coordination of groups and appreciation of group dynamics conspired to disposes the project of the efficiency and effectiveness it deserved. The paper shall examine some of the group dynamics and principal matters as gathered from Mayo’s case of Hawthorne.
The main approach from the principles as devised by Mayo ought to be the motivation of the workers. For effectiveness and efficiency to be achieved, workers need to be motivated and promoted in their workplace. From the reading of Mayo, motivation occurs in various levels and does not necessarily stop at one given level. Mayo recommends that the employee should be understood in the context of his emotional feelings and wishes. He asserts that employees need to be understood and that the manager should take time to inquire about the worker. The worker would generally be more productive if and when he is understood and feels part of the group. For that reason, it is essential for the manager to invest his time into inquiring about the whereabouts of the employee, the likely situations they are facing and their level of comfort. Mayo explains this aspect through the experiment with the environmental conditions changes and the resultant changes in the levels of productivity. Accordingly, it was found that employees tended to be effective if and when the external conditions were modified to the optimum. In that context, it is essential for the manager to ensure optimum working conditions for the employees. Mayo, for instance, used proper lighting, work breaks, systematic ordering of operations to test the employees’ reaction to the conditions and the attendant productivity. He observed that workers would be more productive if and when the working conditions were fair and adequate for them. In that context, it was necessary to ensure that worker had a flexible timeframe for working. For instance, with a reasonable length and number of breaks during the work, the level of productivity improved. This approach should have been adopted in the American Ground case for purposes of solving the managerial issues. The manager ought to have provided opportune conditions and provisions for the workers to work effectively. In that context, it would be important for the managers to provide proper working conditions for purposes of increasing the productivity. As Mayo observed, the group would perform better with improved working conditions. These external conditions enable the work to be performed better due to the motivating effects they have on the employees. They tended to increase the morale and working psyche of the employee and in the long run led to improved efficiency and higher productivity.
In addition, Mayo asserts that in understanding the group dynamics, the manager needs to appreciate human needs, values and concerns. A good example is a case where an employee is bereaved and still in the mourning process. It would be expected that this employee’s personal performance be affected in the negative and that the overall effect only reduce with the passage of time. According to Mayo, the best approach a manager needs to adopt in these situations entails an understanding of the employee’s feelings. The manager must appreciate the human feelings and the need for consolation and psychological support. An application of these factors and principles in the American Ground case would have reduced the employee related cases of inefficiency and the mismatch in application of work operations primarily due to the failure to understand one another. Finally, it needs to be appreciated in overall that that organizational success is only possible when the entire group pulls towards the same direction. For that reason the manager needs to ensure all the members of the workforce are in appreciation and understanding of the organizational objectives and the way forward. In the long run, the American Ground case would have been effectively implemented without the hiccups it experienced if a strict application of the ideas by Mayo on group dynamics were put into use.
Question two: Significance of Political Bargaining and Coalition Building in IGR- The case of Wichita Confronts Contamination
The significance of political bargaining and coalition building is best captured in the case of Wichita Confronts Contamination that had threatened the complete devaluation of Gilbert Mosley. As the author in the case captures it, the situation was adverse and involved a web of several institutions and persons. This complexity introduced the need for collaboration and cooperation between the parties. It is on that strain that the role of political bargaining and the need for coalition building comes out. In happens that politics, the law and social concerns may merge in a manner that makes a simple case too complex and unnecessarily bureaucratic. In the Wichita case, the context was in the contamination of Gilbert Mosley and the attendant consequences. Economically, the owners of property in this area were threatened with massive losses due to the loss of value of the property. In addition, the need to evacuate residents to other areas meant that households would be consequently disposed and economically strained. This was further complicated by the Court’s ruling which implied that lenders could be found liable for the contamination in cases where it would be proved that they lent funds to companies that later contributed to the contamination. It is this aspect that occasioned the withdrawal of the banks and lending institutions from funding through loans the businesses in the area. This technically left the business at a loss with threats of bankruptcy. The Environmental Protection Agency had expressly declared the area as contaminated and ordered that active measures be taken in containing the continuing pollution and the likely cleanup process. The onerous task fell to Wichita City although some part overlapped to the neighboring counties and jurisdictions. It is on that premise that the need for political bargaining and coalition building came about.
First, it is essential to appreciate the stakes at hand in the case. The property owners had the threat of losing all their values for no value at all. Companies partly responsible for the pollution through contribution were set to contribute to the cleanup and the City needed to take action under the legal structures of their own laws. It would be essential for the City as the main cleaners of the area to rope in the contribution and assistance of all the relevant bodies. In addition, worth noting is the fact that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment had an oversight role. In the long run, the City accepted to conduct the cleanup with the application of the steps and procedures as provided by the Environmental Protection Agency while retaining the Kansas Department of Health and Environment as the oversight body. It needs to be noted that the City had debated on the option it had for the cleanup. One of the options was to get the contributors and polluters to participate in the cleanup. The second option was to recommend the area for possible National Priority Listing which would qualify it for superfund. However, both options had their own limitations. For the former, not all polluters were ready to contribute for the cleanup. Others were merely selfish and unwillingly to contribute, while others genuinely lacked the capacity and resources to contribute towards the cleanup. For the latter case, the listing for superfund status was bureaucratic and would equally expose several of the businesses entities into compulsory contribution even for cases where they had not contributed towards the pollution. For that reason, the City had to build coalitions and strike a political consensus which led to the third option. This option involved the City taking the lead role and applying the steps as given by the Environmental Protection Agency and with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment working as the oversight body. In that strain, the main challenge was securing the funds for the cleanup process. The spirit of the City was to save the threatening wasting of the land in Gilbert Mosley. In addition, it needed to prevent the threat of water contamination that would reduce the quality of water and the related causes such as cancer. In the spirit of abating a worsening situation, the City resorted to the use of a Tax Increment Finance. Through this, the value of the property in the cleanup area was devalued by close to forty percent but saved from complete loss of value. In addition, the City was able to raise finance for the cleanup.
In the long run, the Wichita case illustrates the political dimensions of IGR. It shows the need for coalition building and political bargaining. It puts a strong case for the advanced position that laws need to interface well with social needs. In this case a strict interpretation and application of the law may have ended up complicating a situation which needed immediate solution. It is the dimension of political negotiation and the need to protect each and everyone’s interests in complex setups that suffices.
Stillman, R. J. (2009). Public Administration: Concepts and Cases, 9th ed.: Concepts and Cases. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.