Applying a new management theory
Neil O'Conner recently enrolled himself in a three-day management course entitled 'Modern Management'. O'Conner is 47 years of age and is Chief of Technical Staff in a large public transportation company. The course addressed the subject of decision making in organizations.
O'Conner was especially impressed by the sessions on the benefits of group discussions and having decision making based on smaller groups. This was constantly stressed during the lectures. O'Conner experienced this for himself during the problem situations which the course participants had to deal with. O'Conner knew of research into the advantages of group discussion and decision making, but only when he experienced the effects himself did he become convinced. After in-depth discussions with two of the speakers his initial objections seemed untenable.
According to the speakers, when given the opportunity to consult together in meetings, employees will produce sensible and well-considered proposals. Furthermore, when future decisions are made on the basis of proposals put by the employees, these will be implemented without resistance or obstruction. This is because employees no longer feel that they are having decisions passed down to them, but rather are participants in decision making themselves; as a result, effective operational implementation is almost guaranteed.
O'Conner planned to put into practice some of the maxims that were brought up during the course. On his return to his department, he called a meeting in the department's canteen of the 32 mechanics working in Repair Workshop C. He told them that he was of the opinion that the norms for maintenance, repair and revision of components and the regular technical check-ups, norms which had been set five years earlier on the basis of time studies, were now too loose. Recently acquired testing equipment and more modern tools had now rendered these norms inappropriate.
O'Conner told this group of employees that they were to be given the opportunity to discuss specific factors with regard to the setting of norms, and further proposed that in the future a group would be responsible for setting the norms. O'Conner left the canteen confident that his people would not let him down and without a doubt would introduce much stricter time norms than he himself would ever have dared to propose.
Management: An Evidence-Based Approach - 3rd edition 2010
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