Service Adhesives Ltd currently employs up to 20% of their workforce on short-term contracts. What effect will this have on the team-based working structure?
Employing workforce on short-term contracts has its pros and cons. On the one hand, the employer will be able to cut the expenses by offering the employees the salaries that are considerably less impressive compared to the ones offered to the long-term employees. Therefore, the company can afford to buy much better equipment, sped more financial resources on building stronger relationships with the foreign partners, and on improving the company’s relationships with the target audience by offering the latter more discounts.
When it comes to team structure, however, the prospects of the company are far not that bright. Since migrant workers represent a different culture, it will be quite hard to establish a specific organizational behavior for the employees to follow. The cultural specifics of the employees will have to be taken into account, which means that the Service Adhesives will have to make a departure into the exploration of the specifics of its new staff’s culture.
As a result, it can be expected that the team structure is going to be weaker than it would be with native workforce. While it will be relatively cheap to afford the migrant labor force, Service Adhesives will also have to take into account the numerous misunderstandings and cultural conflicts that are likely to take place in the nearest future.
In addition, there is no secret that the use of migrant labor presupposes that the quality of the services will be much lower compared to the situation in which the native workforce is used. Since the company is going to strive for “operational excellence” (Slack, Chambers & Johnson, 2010, 257), it can be assumed that Service Adhesives is far from bringing its production values any lower.
In considering a transition to a team-based work structure, what sort of barriers are Service Adhesives Ltd likely to encounter?
As it has been mentioned above, a departure from the traditional leadership style and the transition to a team-based structure is fraught with many difficulties. These difficulties, however, do not mean that the company should have never accepted a new policy.
It is necessary to admit that the enhancement of teamwork, as well as the process of establishing the appropriate organizational behavior for the migrant workforce will demand a strong effort and considerable time for the managers to plunge into the specifics of the migrant workers’ culture and realize what will help keep their team together.
However, in the given case, the ends justify the costs that are going to be taken in the process. Since the Service Adhesives has already started expanding, it is especially important to consider the possible obstacles. The latter can be split into the formal and informal ones. Among the formal barriers, the fact that the company has little to no experience in the new market should be mentioned. As a result, the competitors clearly have an advantage over the Service Adhesives.
Among the informal barriers, the above-mentioned complexities regarding the organizational behavior must be mentioned. Making migrant staff work as a team is intrinsically difficult, since the employer knows little to nothing about the culture of the former.
Could a team-based work organization be the answer to organizational difficulties?
Despite the aforementioned statement concerning the difficulties related to the team-based structure, it is easy to understand the reasons behind the leader’s decision to change the company strategy. According to the information offered in the case study, the strategy adopted previously proved a complete failure due to the decrease of the product quality and the company’s inability to make for the rapidly rising costs, as the revenues remained unchanged.
Judging by the fact that the low product quality stemmed from the lack of control over the production process, as well as the lack of cohesion between the actions of the company’s staff, it can be assumed that the current team-oriented strategy will help bring the staff closer. As a result, the knowledge management process is likely to become more efficient, which will upgrade the production values up a notch.
The given plan seems rather viable; however, the cultural issues specified above must be tackled before the company starts competing with the new rivals in the new market. On the one hand, a team-based strategy will contribute to the development of a better knowledge management process.
On the other hand, a strong and integrated team is only one of the many aspects of an efficient knowledge management system, which means that the proposed plan will work only when the rest of the elements, such as the information distribution and processing, the quality standards, the strategy for fighting the competitors, etc. are up to the notch.
What difficulties could Service Adhesives face in implementing empowerment?
Another important aspect of Service Adhesives improvement concerns employee empowerment. There is no need to stress the significance of providing the staff with enough freedom for them to make decisions on their own. Thus, employees feel that they contribute to the company.
In addition, such decisions are more adequate, seeing how employees have an immediate access to the specifics of a certain issue in their field. To empower employees in Service Adhesives, a flexible system of rewards should be provided. Once seeing that their initiatives are appreciated, the employees will be more willing to take part in the company’s business processes.
Slack, N., Chambers, S. & Johnson, R. (2010). Operations management. Harlow, UK: Pearson Education.