Studies in Personnel and Industrial Psychology

By Edwin A. Fleishman | Go to book overview

the company and union engineers. Most of the rates checked by the union were left at the same level set by management. In the few cases where management's figures were not confirmed by the union study, principles were agreed upon which increased the rates by 8 per cent. This amount was considered small since most of the increased rates were on special styles of garments and were connected with controversies that had arisen in principle before the re-engineering project began. In only two instances were the new rates adjusted on regular products.

In management's opinion, the number of grievances was not excessive in view of the number of new rates that had been set and the kind of issues raised in the majority of the complaints. The negotiations which settled most of the grievances were amicable and an acknowledgment of management's honest intentions.


SUMMARY

The radical change in production methods described here brought about results that were highly gratifying to management. The cost of production was reduced; a better product was turned out; production time was shortened; and productive capacity was expanded without heavy overhead charges. Since the plants were highly engineered before the changes were effected, these gains cannot be attributed to any lack of efficiency earlier. These were substantial accomplishments which taken by themselves certainly justified the program. However, the achievements in the company's labor-management relations were also highly gratifying. To management the minimal nature of the difficulties met with during the change was at least as noteworthy as the economic gains. Indeed, the company's heads believe that the economic success could not have been obtained without the accomplishments in labormanagement relations.

In addition to a sound beginning in production engineering, management attributes the program's success to the policies which it followed with its employees. These might be summarized as an honest attempt to maximize the participation of the workers in the change. Management considered the workers as part of the enterprise, with an interest in its success, and with the right to expect fair treatment. Hence management's plans were disclosed as early as possible before unfounded rumors got started, the workers' ideas were given attention, and their problems with new methods were investigated. In addition, their earning opportunities were protected and any economic loss brought about by the new methods was properly compensated for. Moreover, management was careful not to inspire resistance to the change by any action which appeared to be provocative.

Throughout the whole process, management did not lose sight of its right to make the changes it contemplated, but it was equally aware of what the changes meant to the employees. Basically, management laid

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