Organizational behavior case: the rubber chicken award | Engineering Management
Kelly Sellers is really fed up with his department’s performance. He knows that his people have a very boring job, and the way the technological process is set up leaves little latitude for what he has learned about vertically loading the job through job enrichment. Yet he is convinced that there must be some way to make it more interesting to do a dull job. “At least I want to find out for my people and improve their performance,” he thinks.
The employees in Kelly’s department are involved in the assembly of small hair dryer motors. There are 25 to 30 steps in the assembly process, depending on the motor that is being assembled. The process is very simple, and currently each worker completes only one or two steps of the operation. Each employee has his or her own assigned workstation and stays at that particular place for the entire day. Kelly has decided to try a couple of things to improve performance. First, he has decided to organize the department into work teams. The members of each team would be able to move the workstations around as they desired. He has decided to allow each team to divide the tasks up as they see fit.
Next, Kelly has decided to post each team’s performance on a daily basis and to reward the team with the highest performance by giving them a “rubber chicken” award that they can display at their workbenches. The production manager, after checking with engineering, has reluctantly agreed to Kelly’s proposal on a trial basis.
1. Do you think Kelly’s approach to job redesign will work? Rate the core job dimensions from the
Hackman-Oldham model of Kelly’s employees before and after he redesigned their jobs. What could
he do to improve these dimensions even more?
2. What will happen if this experiment does not work out and the production manager forces Kelly to
return to the former task design?