Contrast managerial practices employed
The aim of this paper is to compare and contrast managerial practices employed at FMC Green River and FMC Aberdeen. The focus of this paper is on work groups/teams, leadership, communication processes. The aforementioned concepts are of paramount importance for the effective management of any company. In a work group/team, people are likely to have different experience and sum of knowledge. This variety can offer a creative approach to solving some problem. However, the problems might include misunderstanding of the basic terms of cooperation and prejudices against other team members.
To avoid them, the team leader should establish a clear framework for cooperation and enforce ethical standards. If an effective organization of work groups/teams is in place, employees feel encouraged to improve their performance in order to enhance the team’s (and, consequently, company’s) productivity. The culture of collective learning environment should be nurtured. Workers should be welcomed to seek help, advice, and feedback on their performance from their colleagues and work group/team leaders. However, effective organization of work groups/teams is impossible without visionary leadership.
The leader should be charged with developing an egalitarian corporate culture, encouraging organizational learning, and work group/team responsibility. These values are close to those advocated by Peter Senge (1990) in his article ‘The Leader’s New Work: Building Learning Organizations,’ namely building shared vision, surfacing and challenging mental models, and fostering system thinking. While participatory management can be perceived to diminish the role of strong leadership, in reality it is visa-versa.
Communication is also central to the notion of participatory management. In the process from traditional management models, companies often experience vertical communication problems. Employees are frequently uninformed of key corporate business decisions, while senior management seems out of touch with what the practical policy execution issues are troubling the middle and lower management. Effective patterns of information sharing should be implemented in order to make participatory management work.
With regard to work groups/teams, Bob Lancaster at FMC Aberdeen suggested establishing self-directing work teams, replacing managers with team leaders chosen collectively by workers, and encouraging employees to assume and exercise responsibility. The process of building trust was central to this new concept of participative management. This organizational model was based on the principle of trust, involving self-directing work teams that would eliminate fear from among all employees. Implementing this model at FMC Green River is possible and recommended.
In spite of the difference in size and nature of production process, Kenneth Dailey could embrace this particular dimension of participatory management. Self-directed work teams have proven to be effective at large facilities, too. For instance, Carl Ghosn was able to create effective Cross-Functional Teams at Nissan plant (Magee, 2003). As for leadership, a different approach should be taken at FMC Green River. First of all, FMC Aberdeen’s size allowed Bob Lancaster developing closer and more personal relations with management and even employees; however, this would be impossible at a facility as large as the one Kenneth Dailey runs.
In addition, Bob Lancaster’s leadership style has certain distinct peculiarities. While it is always helpful to be a leader by example, Lancaster’s leadership style can be characterized as charismatic, while Dailey relies largely on traditional authority (though coupled with openness and fancy for interactivity). It is necessary to acknowledge that each manager should master his or her own leadership style based on personal values and characteristics as well as the nature of company this manager runs. Free communication flow and information sharing should also be regarded as the driving force behind FMC Aberdeen’s success.
Company size allowed holding regular meetings involving all employees; integrating all information management activities into a custom-built system was also relatively easy. Obviously, this model is impossible to deploy at FMC Green River facility, yet the underlying principles of organizational communication should be the same. Employees should be encouraged to share their ideas and express their concern; management should take employee’s suggestions and ideas into account while designing policies and establishing organizational practices.
Therefore, a contingency plan for FMC Green River would first of all include establishment of self-directing work teams. However, it is of paramount importance to keep in mind that the facility’s size and huge infrastructure that is already in place would prevent the facility from implementing such a significant change overnight. The change should happen gradually, so that both managers and employees have sufficient time to reinvent their roles and responsibilities.
The second step would be to establish an effective information sharing system. Since Dailey believes that the company’s ability to share information is limited by its computer systems, it is necessary to improve these systems with a view to allowing free and effective communication flow.
Magee, David (2003). Turnaround: How Carlos Ghosn Rescued Nissan. New York: Collins. Senge, Peter M. ‘The Leader’s New Work: Building Learning Organizations. ’ MIT Sloan Management Review 32(1) (1990): 7–23.