Managing the production process is a challenging and problematic task, which requires that not only several separate procedures should be handled efficiently, but also the cooperation between the departments responsible for these processes, as well as the staff and the managers of the organization in question, should be introduced into the production management. In their article ForeFront Manufacturing: Production Processes and Change Management in Mainland China, Piper and Goodwin address the issue of changes in production management as the critical tool for improving the organization’s score and the challenges, which these alterations entail. Although the case study features a somewhat plausible solution to the critical problem, the company leader should have paid more attention to the effects of the leadership approach chosen by him.
Key Issues and the Ways of Addressing Them
According to the case study’s details, the company was suffering from a lack of efficacy in its performance and had severe issues with its capacity constraints. The organization was suffering huge losses due to the imperfections in the business model utilized as the critical framework for the operational processes management; as a result, a significant change in the business model, by which the company was being operated, was changed so that more robust results could be obtained.
Also, the ethical principles, which the company was supposedly guided by, may have been abused by the employees. As the report explains, “Li suspected that workers were cutting corners everywhere they could to make their work easier, and believed guidelines and procedures were required to ensure work was carried out properly” (Piper and Goodwin 12).
While the former issue regarding the business model appears comparatively easy, though admittedly time-consuming, to address, the latter concern seems a too complicated issue to cope with. It is imperative that specific means to enhance the staff’s motivation for complying with the new and reinforced ethical principles should have been introduced into the company’s management. The fact that little to no methods of enhancing motivation among the staff, including possible incentives and public recognition of the most productive and dynamic employees, have been designed; seems a significant flaw in the development of the new strategy for the company to follow.
Alternative Solutions: What Could Have Been Be Done Differently
As it has been stressed above, the change in the ethical principles of the company, i.e., the reinforcement of the guidelines concerning financial frauds, needs sufficient support in terms of encouraging the staff to follow the newly adopted rules. It goes without saying that, being exposed to the opportunity to cheat and earn more money, the team will hardly be able to resist the temptation; hence, a financial encouragement of the employees, who refuse to participate in the corrupt system of illegal moneymaking, is imperative.
More to the point, the staff needs a role model to follow when changing their organizational behavior. Herein the need to reconsider the current leadership strategy lies. While one must give credit to the democratic leadership principles, which the company is guided by at present, one still has to admit that these principles do not allow for changing the staff’s concept of ethics and honesty in the workplace. Consequently, a more appropriate leadership style should be adopted; choosing between the existing alternatives, one should consider the transformative leadership approach as the most promising one. Creating the premises for the staff to reconsider the benefits and the drawbacks of their current organizational behavior, such a system allows the company leader to display the pool of opportunities, which the new ethical model opens in front of the staff. Thus, a faster and more efficient transfer to the latest ethical principles becomes possible.
Finally, it would be reasonable to introduce better cohesion between the departments. An update in the communication system will help address the issue. Notably, the principles of shared knowledge should be established. Thus, a faster update on the company’s current issues and the development of proper strategies and solutions can be provided.
Analysis of Solutions: Strengths and Weaknesses of the Method Proposed
Much to Li’s credit, the adoption of automatic systems of operation, which did not need supervision, was a sage decision to make. The emphasis on responsibility, primarily the responsibility to the local society, was also the right thing to do since it reinforced the company’s ethical code and promoted professional ethics and commitment among the staff. Nevertheless, some of Li’s choices may have a negative effect on the company’s operation. Notably, the issue concerning the lack of emphasis on the leadership strategy, which obviously has a tangible impact on the company’s performance, should be mentioned.
Table 1. Solutions, their Pros and Cons.
|Change in leadership strategy||Efficient solution of ethical issues||Problems with the employees’ motivation|
|New knowledge management principle||Faster data transfer and the adoption of more adequate decisions||Employees may be reluctant to share the information, which they spent time acquiring, with the rest of the staff|
|Automatic operation system||Faster production process||Lack of flexibility|
|New business model||Efficient update on the company’s production process||Necessity to adopt new organizational behaviour principles|
As it has been stressed above, the company needs a more efficient leadership strategy to be employed. Unless the staff gains a charismatic leader, who is capable of transforming the mindset of the team by appealing to their needs and wishes and enhancing their motivation, the company will be incapable of making any progress. It is essential that the reconsideration of the organization’s fundamental values and ethical principles should take place.
Piper, Chris, and Nigel Goodwin. “ForeFront Manufacturing: Production Processes and Change Management in Mainland China.” Leading Change. Ontario, CA: University of Western Ontario. 2014. 5–19. Print.