Applying OD and Change Theory to Solutions
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The organisation chosen is Sun Valley Foods Company located in Detroit Michigan. It creates, packages and ships pallets of prepackaged lunch trays such as sandwiches, milk, cookies, juice, and fruit to public schools in Detroit, inner-city jails, and local hospitals. This is done by workers assembling the former items on as assembly style line which goes into boxes then on pallets to be loaded onto a truck. The lunch trays for the school system are used solely for the spring and summer school program but the hospitals and jail systems use the lunch trays year-round. They also sell pallets of various food, milk, and drinks to small store owners who may only want to buy a certain product to resell. More so, the shipments highest peak is in spring and summer when hot lunches are not necessarily being prepared.
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Findings show that a problem identified today can be a symptom tomorrow which can become a continuous improvement for researchers, managers, and supervisors (Kader Ali, Wilson, & Mohammad, 2014). At the individual level, motivation is lacking and work stations are empty when the production line is moving. Arguments and ensuring and lack of respect is visible. Employees are not parking in the gated lots provided and parking in front of houses and property that Sun Valley doesn’t own. An abundance of trash and food wrappers are seen around the outside of the company including neighboring lawns. Some employee files show expired food handlers cards, even though everyone that touches food or works in the warehouse must keep an updated card.
At the team level, deadlines are not met. Trust seems to be lacking as well and problems with communications present constant arguments. All departments are not aware of the organization’s vision. Higher seniority workers are not listening to the thoughts and opinions of lowered seniority workers. Older employees are refusing to train younger workers the knowledge they have in fear of replacement. Nonetheless, the young employees will not help older employees with the trends and technology usage they possess in fear of seniority advancing once they learn these skills. Furthermore, truck drivers are waiting for pallets to be finished and loaded on the truck leading to calls about late shipments. Breaks are longer than usual and work area are empty while in production, leading to shipments being held up.
At the organizational level, sales have been poor and the company’s reputation is starting to decline. The receivables department is not collecting payments for orders within 30 days. Billing and invoices are not going out on time. More so, in house projects aren’t being managed correctly leading to tasks not be handled and taking longer to get accomplished. Positions are being added to within but the extra stuff isn’t leading to performance improvement. Performance reviews are not fully acknowledging worker performance. Also, several tasks and responsibilities are rising to management, robbing them of the time needed for tactical thinking.
Organisational Root Cause
Sun Valley can diagnose the cause of a problem by looking at company structure and what elements can get people to change. Findings show that conditions are not being met at Sun Valley to prevent these barriers and maximize team effectiveness. This includes the absenteeism of the “team is a real team not in name only, has compelling direction for its work, has enabling structure that facilitates rather than impedes teamwork, operates within a supportive organizational context and has ample expert coaching in teamwork” (Hackman, 2002, p. 31; Salas et al., 2013, p.36). The diagnosis of root cause related organizational problems finds that all of the arising problems stem from another main issue that has trickled down. Furthermore, managerial jealousy of certain individuals can hinder a proper and accurate review. This causes individuals who have highly achieved to only get recognized minimally.
The problem with communication stems from lack of management to subordinates. When superiors are not effectively communicating, it leaves the production teams without knowledge of relevant information or how to effectively perform. Although the importance of communication in organizations is well established, a need still exists to examine organizational communication measures as they relate to other organizational concepts such as job performance (Giri & Kumar, 2010, p. 138). Production workers will eventually form their own negative opinion about the way issues are held. When they aren’t working to their full capacity, it can alter bottom-line figures, including loss of production, clients, and customers. Not implementing solutions can also lead to worker stress and decreased motivation as they will feel nothing is being done to help. The organization can experience worker rebellion which can lead to purposely incorrect assembly and ultimately potential product recalls. It also leads to future employees using the same job descriptions to assemble parts and eventually repeating the same cycle.
Consequences of not Implementing Interventions
If the organization does not provide solutions to the problem, consequences will occur beginning with negative production. The lack of communication between high and lower seniority can lead to conflict, arguments, and fights between employees. As Nzuve & Njambi (2015) notes, “the stronger the attitude, the more likely it will affect behavior” (p. 90). Negative attitudes and resentment will continue to brew if workers feel not everyone has equal chances to excel. These same employees can suffer from stress and anxiety leading to performance issues. Not intervening on long breaks and empty work stations will affect production. For every person missing is equivalent to a tray that could have been assembled and sent down the production line. This leads to higher unexplained tact time and a rising of product completion time. Organizations should also understand that a company can’t move ahead without the engagement of employees (Nzuve & Njambi, 2015). This is a key determinant furthering high employee performance levels.
If solutions are successful, there can be smooth production with breathing room in case of small errors. Worker tact time will be lowered, teams will collaborate smoothly, and team engagement will be increased leading to higher innovation and creativity. To address the above issues and solutions, interventions and evaluation plans must be considered between the production teams, materials department, and management. Goals must also be set for what should be expected from each team member and can serve as support to the teammates who will do the work. The importance of management support is backing a role building process by sharing related information with employees, offering opportunities for meaningful contributions, and assigning needed resources for making operations and structural changes (DeJoy et al., 2010).
When the production workers have a clear understanding of their job description, they will experience job motivation characterized by dedication, work engagement, and vigor. If an employee believes that the effort given will lead to performance which is acknowledged by the management, they will try to put their best efforts into practice (Nzuve & Njambi, 2015, p. 89). It has to be understood the employer ensures their employees are trained for the job and fully knowledgeable of the jobs company standards. The employee cannot meet standards of quality and quantity when those standards have never been communicated to him/her, and likewise, the employee cannot perform if not training has been given (Motsepe, 2011, p. 34). Production will run smoothly and effectively leaving less rework items and higher employee ethic, performance, and satisfaction.
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To address the above issues and solutions, intervention plans should be considered between the office and production workers, shipping department, customers, and management. In looking at intervention plans, one step is to recognize reasonable goals. This is something that can be accomplished in a short time that pushes the team where it wants to be (Chevalier, 2014). Goals must also be set for what should be expected from each team member. A useful feature of setting reasonable goals is it can serve as better encouragement to the teammates who will do the work and tighten the performance gap (Chevalier, 2014). Short term goals with production team members can be set such as lowering production times will assist in this process. The number of late shipments should be looked at as to why this is a repeat occurrence. Is the production line too slow? Is there a minor issue with the way the food is packed? Is the supplier sending over spoiled goods preventing assembly? This is something that management needs to go in-depth and try to find answers to. This can show if the organization is able to extend manufacturing/assembling times without losing valuable production or profit.
More so, leaders need to have meetings with their teams to access any thoughts or ideas that can be of value. This can include discussing upcoming projects, new production orders, hot shipments, and important deadlines. This can ensure shipments are timely and any problems can be communicated to the leader promptly instead of when it’s too late. More so, finding out why the high and low seniority is lacking respect for one another and what can be done about will help solve the conflict issue and decrease possible employee turnover. Furthermore, there need to be employee suggestion boxes. This can be done with the help of the human resources department. Not all team members will be receptive to speak about issues or conflict with others openly and in front of management or leaders. Having a sealed box that individuals can write down any conflict, ideas, or suggestions will promote more employee engagement. This will also break down the current barriers and communication walls that people are displaying.
Questionnaires can be used for organizational restructuring including analyzing trends within stakeholders, competition, customers, employees. The surveys will be given to every employee at Sun Valley Foods. The questions asked will range from thoughts on barriers, communication, performance, development, and values. The Likert five-point scale will be used to measure views. It will cover how each participant views each topic and their opinion on where change and improvements can be established in the organization. Data will be collected twice, once the beginning and then after development changes are identified and implemented. This can show if any or all the organizational themes have changed or fixed the problems. The advantage of using questionnaires is they are inexpensive, a single individual can administer the test, data be can be collected from a huge amount of respondents, and the respondents can anonymously answer which can make for more honest answers (Furaiji & Łatuszyńska, 2012). On the other hand, questionnaires can have poor response rates, questions can be inaccurate or misinterpreted, and a sensible sample size is needed to exemplify the entire population (Furaiji & Łatuszyńska, 2012).
A successful process begins with the will to implement it (DeJoy et al., 2010) and successful interventions for these issues will create countless benefits. We can improve performance by addressing the problems presented in the work environment and communicate expectations and results with employees. How one will know the interventions were successful is from the decreased amount of conflict, missed deadlines and negative reviews while showing an increase in production, customer sales, profit and communication at the individual, team, and organizational level. The process of establishing healthy work organizations is about building capacity or increasing the company’s ability to mobilize, identify, and address relevant and important issues (DeJoy et al., 2010). Workers will not be absent from work stations and the assembly line will have continuous movement. The team members will be able to seek, share, and understand other members feedback. Roles within groups will be clearly defined and barriers will no longer be present.
The development of reward systems, career opportunities, and recognition can be one of the more effective and less costly levers to be applied by management in efforts to retain, motivate, and attract workers since they consider these important factors (Nzuve & Njambi, 2015). Individuals bring skill, knowledge, motive, and capacity to their job. These motives need to align with team and work environments so people have a yearning to excel in working. When the worker can learn and do the necessary tasks to be successful, capacity will be present (Chevalier, 2014). Another aspect signifies if the person has the needed skills and knowledge to do a particular job in order to complete the goal.
In conclusion, the organization chosen is Sun Valley Foods Company located in Detroit Michigan. They create, packages and ships pallets of prepackaged lunch trays. In looking at symptoms at the individual level, motivation is lacking and work stations are empty when the production line is moving. At the team level, deadlines are not met. Trust seems to be lacking as well and problems with communications present constant arguments. At the organizational level, sales have been poor and the company’s reputation is starting to decline. Sun Valley can diagnose the cause of a problem by looking at company structure and what elements can get people to change. The diagnosis of root cause related organizational problems finds that all of the arising problems stem from another main issue that has trickled down. If the organization does not provide solutions to the problem, consequences will occur. Negative attitudes and resentment will continue to brew if workers feel not everyone has equal chances to excel. If solutions are successful worker tact time will be lowered, teams will collaborate smoothly, and team engagement will be increased. Intervention plans should be considered and goals must also be set for what should be expected from each team member. This can include discussing upcoming projects, new production orders, hot shipments, and important deadlines.
- Chevalier, R. (2014). Improving Workplace Performance. Performance Improvement, 53(5), 6– 19. https://doi.org/10.1002/pfi.21410
- Furaiji, F., & Łatuszyńska, M. (2012). Methods for Gathering Data for the Study of Consumer Behavior. Studia i Materialy Polskiego Stowarzyszenia Zarzadzania Wiedza / Studies & Proceedings Polish Association for Knowledge Management, (58), 77–88. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=89672104&site=eds-live
- Giri, V.N. & Kumar, B.P. (2010). Assessing the Impact of Organizational Communication on Job Satisfaction and Job Performance. Psychol Stud 55(2):137–143. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12646-010-0013-6
- Kader Ali, N. N., Wilson, P., & Mohammad, I. Y. (2014). Symptoms Versus Problems Framework (Svp): An Innovative Root Cause Analysis Tool. International Journal of Organizational Innovation, 7, 66–76. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=102561442&site=eds-live
- Nzuve, S. M., & Njambi, M. P. (2015). Factors perceived to influence employees’ performance: a case of the independent electoral and boundaries commission. Problems Of Management In The 21St Century, 10(2), 88-99.
- Salas, E., Tannenbaum, S. I., Cohen, D. J., & Latham, G (Eds.). (2013). Developing and Enhancing Teamwork in Organizations: Evidence-Based Best Practices and Guidelines. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. ISBN-13: 978-1118145890.
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