Ompare and contrast two organisations (Oticon and BE)
This part of the assignment requires you to compare and contrast two organisations, based on the case studies provided at the end of this document. You are expected to use academic concepts, theories and the reading you have done for the module to do this. In particular you should look at them in terms of
i?? Organizational Culture
i?? Organizational structure
i?? Motivation and job design
From reading the case studies, you should notice straight away that the two organizations are very different in the way that they operate and in the way that the members of the organization experience their work. You need to explain these differences, but also note any similarities.
Your answer should be in essay format, there should be an introduction (one paragraph is enough). The body of the essay which should be clearly structured in three sections each of which compares and contrast the two organizations i?? one dealing with organizational culture, one organizational structure and one dealing with motivation and job design. There should also be a brief conclusion and a references list, listing all the sources referred to in the body of the essay.
Case Study 1: Barking Engineering Ltd (BE)
Barking Engineering (BE) Ltd. was founded in 1897 by Ebenezer Ewell as a manufacturer of mining equipment. Over the next few decades it evolved into a renowned producer of motor components. The firm is family controlled to this day (owning a 51% stake); the grandson of the founder Sir Basil Ewell is the Chairman of the board of directors and is also Conservative MP for Lower Crackden. Sir Basili??s two sons are in their 30s but have chosen not to enter the family business. The BE plant at Barking employs 493 staff, the majority of whom work on the production side of things (the i??shop-floori??), the rest in managerial and clerical roles such as finance, marketing and human resources. The plant is highly unionised with two trade unions recognised (TGWU for manual employees; AMICUS for clerical and managerial employees). There is quite a long history of poor relations between management and the unions which periodically results in industrial action. The principal problem seems to be one of trust between the management and the workers.
The managing director is George Mitchell who is due to retire sometime soon. His motto is: i??If it aini??t broke, doni??t fix it!i??. He tends not to venture on to the shop-floor very often, preferring to leave that side of things to his operations director and good friend Mike Bissell who has been with the firm for many years, having worked his way up. Below Bissell is the long-suffering production manager Ahmed Khan, a young and highly qualified engineer who has experience of working in German and Swedish plants.
Ahmed has many good ideas to improve the performance of the business but has encountered difficulty in getting them taken seriously. In particular, he is frustrated by the lack of effective communication channels between sections of the business. One of his ideas is to create a more integrated and flexible production system that is more tailored to the specifications of individual customers. The Marketing Department handle customer liaison (which usually involves rounds of golf followed by long lunches). Ahmed rarely speaks to anyone in Marketing as it is the firmi??s procedure that interdepartmental liaison should go through the directors.
In recent years the company has invested in new computerised production technology in order to keep pace with stiff competition in the global market place. This has prompted the decision to reorganize the way in which work is organized on the shop-floor. Seeing the success of self-managed teams (SMTs) in other equivalent organizations, BE has decided that this would be a good model for their plant. After protracted negotiations with the trade unions, six teams were created with between 12 and 50 members in each. The teams are structured as follows: a team supervisor has overall responsibility for the SMT. The product co-ordinatori??s job is to ensure the supply of raw materials and parts to meet the SMT production targets. The charge-hand acts as i??progress-chaseri??. Below the supervisory grades come a hierarchy of skilled manual grades reflecting different levels of training, experience and pay. The setter, for example, is apprentice trained and is paid a skilled rate to set up the machines for the semi-skilled operators. Semi-skilled workers receive little training and are paid little more than the minimum wage. The tasks carried out by the semi-skilled workers are narrow and repetitive. The fact that the skilled and more experienced workers are able to confine themselves to more fulfilling work is the source of some resentment.
Employee turnover is high at BE, despite being located in an area of above-average unemployment. Absenteeism is also a problem. Human Resource Manager Jim Kirkland is philosophical: i??What do you expect me to do about it? Iti??s up to the team supervisors to man-manage (sic). I cani??t help it if they end up with a bunch of useless idiots working for them! Also, the unions woni??t let me sack them!i??. Kirkland also recently had to deal with a complaint from a female member of staff who was concerned about the display of i??Page 3i?? photographs of topless women in the canteen. She was told: i??Oh come on, Love! Iti??s only a bit of fun!i??
Sales have started to decline and BE is beginning to struggle to meet the orders it has on its books already. George Mitchell is overseeing the finishing touches to his villa in Spain. Mike Bissell is preparing his CV to go for the soon to be vacant MDi??s post (he spoke to Sir Basil over dinner at his St James club and reckons i??iti??s in the bagi??.). Ahmed Khan is in the process of being head-hunted by a leading Japanese engineering firm.
Case Study 2: Oticon
Oticon is a Danish manufacturer of hearing aids that, in 1988, was being seriously challenged by large competitors, such as, Siemens and Phillips. Incoming CEO Lars Kolind radically restructured (i??disorganisedi??) it, to create what he termed the i??spaghetti organisationi??. The company had been very bureaucratic. Vertically, it had a tall hierarchy with six levels of management. Horizontally, it was separated into divisions, and the two main ones i?? Electronics (product development) and International (sales) i?? communicated poorly with each other. Within each division, employeesi?? work was organised around specific departments and tasks.
Kolind re-organised the work around projects instead of divisions. Project leaders (basically, anyone with a compelling idea), were appointed by a 10-person management team (the last vestige of the companyi??s previous mechanistic structure). Project leaders competed to attract resources and recruit people to deliver results. Employees decided whether or not to join, and could only do so with the agreement of their current project leaders. The company had a hundred or so projects at any one time, so most people worked on several at once. Additionally, they needed to be multi-skilled, so a software engineer had also to develop skills in marketing and aspects of production. Project owners (management team members) provided advice and support, but made few actual decisions. As a consequence, Oticoni??s organisation structure became a fluid affair with no departments or divisions which could encourage local interests, impede communications, or make adjustments in workloads. Instead, project teams formed and reformed as they were needed. The potential problems of this i??managed chaosi?? were kept at bay by the company having a clear purpose and a set of common values, which all employees knew about and subscribed to.
This allowed Oticon to dispense with the traditional features of a mechanistic structure. There were no job titles, and employees did whatever they felt was appropriate at the time. The company did not abandon physical space completely, and continued to use its headquarters building near Copenhagen, where about 120 staff were based. However, within the build