a Learning Operative Organization
J. J.J. Kasvi, I. Kari, M. Vartiainen, A. Pulkkis & L. Repokari Helsinki University of Technology Laboratory of Work Psychology and Leadership
In order to strive in the ever tougher markets, operative organizations require new information tools and procedures to expand individual and organizational competencies of their employees. In addition to managing the operative knowledge, such systems should support creation, collection and refining of knowledge from within the organization. After all, the operative personnel are the hands-on experts with experience based tacit knowledge that would benefit the whole organization if externalized and distributed properly.
But, as there are different approaches to work system design, different approaches to support these work systems are also being called for. This discussion will be based on reflections on two case studies conducted at two Finnish assembly lines producing similar products with similar technologies, but with radically different work system design approaches.
At the moment, there are two prevalent work system design and management approaches: The lean and the anthropocentric work system design concept. Both stress co-operation, distributed decision making and innovative working style throughout the organization. But there are differences, too.
Work systems are adaptive, flexible and expansive if they have a certain amount of over-capacity, that is, redundancy (e.g. Emery 1993). Our two work system design approaches seek redundancy from different sources: