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Black & Decker

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Introduction

Black & Decker is a leading global manufacturer and marketer of power tools and accessories, hardware and home improvement products, and technology-based fastening systems; employed 27,200 worldwide in 2005. (Source from Black & Decker Homepage). In the 1980s, the company was struggling. Profit were down, and expenses were high. Management was unproductive and was characterized by some analysts as lazy. Production budgets were bloated. The company needed a new vision and find ways to get employees involved in the decision-making process.

Following the reduction in management levels, Black & Decker leaders introduced a program called Everyone Counts that uses teams to brainstorm and develop ideas about training, communication, administration and rewards. People from different departments were grouped into teams, and evaluation committees for managerial personnel were named to receive ideas and judge their merit. The approved ideas to be implemented dealt mostly with improved operations that resulted in cost savings. The program also improved upward lines of communication in the company.

In this paper, I will use the ÐŽ§Group Behaviour ModelЎЁ to explain the success of Everyone Counts in Black and Decker.

Group Behaviour Model

A groupÐŽ¦s performance and satisfaction is determined by five variables. First, a group is influenced by the larger organisation of which it is a part. Second, a groupÐŽ¦s potential level of performance depends to a large extent on the resources that its members individually bring to the group. Third, there is a group structure that shapes the behaviour of members. Fourth, there are internal processes within the group that aid and hinder interaction and the ability of the group to perform. Finally, the impact of group processes on the groupÐŽ¦s performance and member satisfaction depends on the task that group is doing. (Robbins & Mukerji 1994)

External Conditions Imposed on the Group

According to Robbins and Coulter (2005) work groups are part of a larger organization do not exist in isolation. Every work group is influenced by external conditions (i.e. organizationÐŽ¦s overall strategy, authority structures, formal regulations, the organizationÐŽ¦s performance evaluation and reward system) imposed from outside it.

Everyone CountsÐŽ¦ overall strategy is to find ways to get employees involved in the decision-making process in order to contribute money-saving ideas to management. Groups of multiple backgrounds have the same chance to pass on their ideas, management are committed to listen and act on their ideas. Employees feel that they have a say in the management of the organization, this eliminate the barriers created by traditional authority structures and have better innovation and problem solving capabilities.

Sharing of information with group members also helps to resolve conflicts and mastering new skills, but in which it is deficient. In additions, formal regulations are well established. Grouped teams are allowed to submit a maximum of five ideas every 12 weeks to ensure that teams were focused and concentrated on long-term planning.

Group Member Resources

According to Robbins and Coulter (2005) performance of a group depends to a large extend on the resources, that its members bring to the group, include membersÐŽ¦ knowledge, abilities, skills, and personality characteristics.

In this case, more than 85 percent of the eligible workers volunteered for this program. Employees from different departments, each group consists of different levels of knowledge, abilities, skills and personality characteristics. As a result, through open communications, group members are able to recognize the type and source of conflict confronting the group and to implement and appropriate conflict-resolution strategy to solve the problems with alternatives. The degree of participation will therefore be utilized. However, members of the group may be total stranger or may not get along with one another. In order for these groups to succeed strong leadership, empowerment, shared goals, and an appropriate reward system must be implemented.

Group Structure

According to Robbins and Judge (2007, p.268) ÐŽ§Work groups are not unorganized mobs. Work groups have properties that shape the behaviour of members and to explain and predict a large portion of individual behaviour within the group as well as the performance of the group itselfÐŽK.These properties include Roles, Norms, Status, Group size and the degree of group cohesiveness.ЎЁ

Effectiveness of group decision making is influenced by the size of the group. Everyone CountsÐŽ¦ members were divided into 39 groups, the size of the group is large, the greater the chance that there will be personality clashes and the diversity of the group may lower the level of cohesiveness. Therefore members should giving up their individuality so that group may keep its cohesiveness and continued to achieve its goals. All group members now sharing the responsibility for the success of the group because they feel that they have a say in the management, a sense of belonging or membership.

Group norms also play an important part of how a group reacts to each other. Norms are being well established in Everyone Counts program. Rank-and file workers have to contribute

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