CASE QUESTIONS –Will Teams Work?
1. What is the managerial context in which these managers will be operating? Do you think training designed to help managers understand the context they will be operating in will be helpful? Why or why not?
The managerial context that APM is trying to create is team concept. The managers at APM have been selected for their ability to operate in a traditionally structured organization. Therefore, it will be necessary to provide training for these managers so they can learn how to function in an organization that operates in a team concept structure. There are many differences between a traditional structure and a team concept structure and the role of managers is very different in both. Typically managers are very resistant when changing from a traditional structure to a team concept, in fact, this resistance is considered to be a leading cause of team concept implementation failures. Therefore, training will be beneficial if resistance can be overcome.
2. What types of competencies should be developed in the management training? Give your rationale.
The management training must include technical, interpersonal, and leadership training. It states in the case that the managers have little knowledge of the machinery. If managers are to function in a team concept, they must have the technical knowledge to be able to perform the work and contribute to problem solving. Additionally, managers must be trained in interpersonal skills. Up to now, managers have used a confrontational style in dealing with their subordinates. If they are to establish a team concept, they need to develop other ways of dealing with conflict and/or problem solving. Lastly, if the problem solving team initiative is to succeed, the managers cannot continue to perform their function from a traditional perspective. They need some training on leadership in order to evolve from a more transactional style of leadership to being able to participate as a member of the team.
3. What types of training should be used to provide the different competencies? How long will it take to provide this training? Give your rationale.
The technical training can be provided through workshops and seminars. It may even provide an excellent team building opportunity if non-managers who had the technical knowledge were given the opportunity to help provide some of the training. OJT would also be beneficial if managers were allowed to perform some of the work on the machinery along side with non-management employees. Interactive skills training using simulations, feedback, and grid management should help develop the required interpersonal skills. Grid management training will develop the manager’s ability to display concern for work outcomes and concern for people. Leadership skills can be developed through simulations and role play. Effective feedback will be necessary so that managers can learn how to operate in a team concept effectively.
4. What are the alternatives to management development? Do you think one of these alternatives should be used? Why or why not?
Two other alternatives are 1) try to improve quality without implementing problem solving teams and 2) hire a new management team who can function in a team concept environment. If resistance by managers is very high one of these options may have to be used. If it is thought that quality cannot be improved through traditional methods and team concept is the only solution, the second option may be required. It should be noted that the cost of replacing the management team would be very high. Training is probably the most economical approach assuming that supervisory resistance can be overcome.
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