I’m working on a Management question and need guidance to help me study.
Kiran, D.R. (2016). Total Quality Management: Key Concepts and Case Studies, 1st Edition, Butterworth-
Heinemann, 2016. ISBN-13: 978-0128110355
Exercise: How Would You Have Handled the Situation? The layout improvement project explained in our case study was planned very meticulously, providing several new facilities to the workers, elimination of crowded work areas, etc. This project was worker-friendly and was expected to be implemented without resistance. But it was not so. If you are the Works Manager, how would you have handled this situation?
Use Chapters 8, 10 and 11 to build your case (400 words)
The Works Manager of M/s XYZ & Co, a medium-scale industry manufacturing engineering products called the supervisors of all the departments for a meeting. An MBA from Harvard University has a high reputation of being a dynamic leader, having experience in industrial engineering. He opened the meeting with an appreciation for the good performance the company made in the past 2 years and commended the role of the workmen, especially the supervisors, in achieving this high performance level.
He recalled how the company started its operation 10 years back in an old barracks type of building. The office was located in the front room, while each of the seven rooms housed stores and machinery, as and when they are procured. A small extension for this building was made with a semiopen asbestos roofing, housing maintenance, fettling, bench drills, etc., a large backyard is left unused.
Due to the good performance of the company, expansion of activities became inevitable and it was contemplated to extend the building to cover a major portion of the backyard. The existing layout had obvious inefficiencies causing obstructions to the free movement of the men and materials. A comprehensive study was made with specific reference to the movement. The improved layout, the works manager explained, took care of all these factors providing more facilities for the workmen. The basic changes, according to him were insignificant, except movement of certain machinery, removal of certain partition walls, and relocation of the workmen.
All the supervisors stared blankly at the works Manager and showed no signs of happiness. They were apprehensive that their workmen would resist the change.
In the existing system of working, senior workers of the machine shop were closeted in a cozy room, but would have to be shifted to a large hall, together with other semiskilled operatives working on smaller machines. In the assembly shop instead of clustering around a larger work table in quiet conditions and chit-chatting, they would now have to work in a larger hall with individual smaller tables, one behind the other.
All this meant too much for senior workers, since skilled workers are equated with semiskilled workers and are made to move out of the cozy rooms. They decided to approach their union, which in turn could force the management not to undertake the re-layout work.
The above is just one case in point to illustrate how resistance to changes occur. We all know that most of the management techniques to raise productivity aim at methods improvement or systems improvement. But the very word improvement is linked with the action of change and the consequent resistance to change is more psychological than the workers being against the change itself. While in a majority of cases, the resistance is from the operatives, many times the resistance comes from personnel higher up in the ladder, even from the departmental heads.
A sincere attempt to understand the possible motive for such a resistance, as well as the past history responsible for the development of such a resistance, together with complete analysis of the situation, would possibly enable the management to plan a rational course of action for successful implementation of the change.