This is case study of an Indian company situated at Thane area in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is majorly in constructing and producing cable machines for industrial applications. This company is a leading performer in the market and constantly has to find innovative technical solutions to stayin that position. When the study was undertaken, the company had about 60 employees inthree countries, including India. The founder of the company was, at the time of thestudy, still active as a leader of the company, although his son was formally the chief executive officer (CEO).Theorganization has a structure of self-managed teams and an organizational culture withthe expressed aim to promote the possibilities of the employees to develop their skills andinfluence their work situation. According to market surveys, the company has had a better economic performance than other comparable companies (Market Manager, 2015). At thesame time, the employees of the company have also had a comparatively low sicknessrate (SCB, 20015), on the average 2 days a year.
Strategies of the company
The founder of the company has consciously developed and refined the culture and thestructure of the organization since it was established in the 1990s. He claims that
‘mybusiness idea is basically honesty’
and that power and control is associated with fear andsuspicion, and a sign of lacking confidence. He assumes that all individuals want to dosomething meaningful, take responsibility and develop in their work. He thinks that thisis best promoted by freedom, appreciation and participation. The philosophy of thefounder permeates both the structure and the culture of the organization. It is alsoreflected in the buildings of the company. A new factory building was constructed in2003. The major parts of this building are made of glass, meant to symbolize a pure flowof communication. The idea is that the shaping of the building should promote the participation of all employees and promote an open and honest communication. On thewalls are hanging pictures from the company’s history, such as the first machinesconstructed.The founder of the company is actively communicating the values of the organizationalculture to the employees. He is taking a central role in the meetings with all theemployees. In his communication he is often using metaphors, such as ‘geese flying in adelta formation’, related to the organization of the company.
He spends a lot of timetalking about the importance of the employees being alert and taking responsibility,emphasizing that it is the responsibility of the employees to make the company profitableand to find sustainable solutions.An observation was made when the founder of the company together with all theemployees formulated the quarterly goals of the company. The employees made their contributions when they were asked to, and the founder decided if he thought that acontribution was worth writing down. During the meeting, a picture of the company’seconomic turnover was shown, and the founder talked about where money needed to besaved. He encouraged the employees to work with the quality of the products to change anegative trend. The final version of the goals was typed out and handed to all employeesduring the next coffee break.A respect but also a certain distance to the founder of the company was expressed by theemployees interviewed. They believed that a prerequisite for the company’s organizationof work was a leader who raised the awareness of the employees’ own responsibilities for work performance.All the persons interviewed described the frequent communication in the company assomething positive and an important condition for their work. The employees feltmotivated by what they perceived as a good atmosphere in the organization. They feltthat their contributions were appreciated. According to the CEO, they try to have astraight and honest communication in the organization, where everyone should be awareof the situation of the company.
Innovations by the leader
The leader of the company has decentralized structure which has no formal hierarchy noforemen and no time clocks. Instead, it is organized in self-managed teams. In theseteams, the employees are expected to take initiative, try new things, take responsibility,adapt and co-operate. According to one of the employees,
‘it is a mental development, you are developing mentally, it is not only . . . machines, and you are also developing asan individual. You always learn something new all the time… no limits are set, you candecide yourself in what pace and all that…’.
There is also an ambition to avoid professional divisions in the company. For example,the employees take turns in managing the reception and cleaning the workplaces.According to the CEO, the practical work experiences of the employees are moreimportant than their formal education. Therefore, it is important for the company to havea work environment where the employees can learn, develop and take responsibility.Employees who are unwilling to step outside their professional limits and want to have aclear working division are not suitable for this company. The work of the self-managed teams is goal-oriented. A structured schedule is used for setting annual and quarterly goals of the company, and the employees are involved in this process. The employees are also setting their own goals every week according to theschedule.
The quarterly and annual goals were described in the interviews as reminder of what is expected by the individual, an eye-opener, rather than financial goals or goals for production.At coffee breaks every day at 9AM and 2PM, where all the employees are expected to participate. These breaks are used as information meetings. A bell rings in the building tocall attention that the meetings are taking place. A flipchart and an overhead projector arealways present to be used at these occasions.
Observations and outcomes
•The founder/leader of the company promotes the individuals to take the responsibilities,carry out innovation and other meaningful works/things that would directly or indirectly benefit the company and the individual.
•He grants freedom, appreciation and accepts participation and contribution fromemployees through open and honest communication.
•He supplies motivation to the employees through various measures like hanging on wallsthe pictures of the company’s historical achievements which depict the involvement of the employees.
•He supports the workers of the company to initiate and execute their ideas during meetingand other occasions.
•All the employers were motivated by the environment of the organization created byleader and CEO of the organization.
•He developed decentralized structure where employees themselves initiate and managetheir work.
•He also gives proper chance to the employees, so that they can do the required work accordingto their wisdom and need.
•In this particular structure of the organization employees work in self-managed teamwhich is goal oriented.
•He spends a lot of time talking about the importance of the employees being alert andtaking responsibility, emphasizing that it is the responsibility of the employees to makethe company profitable and to find sustainable solutions.
•The employees felt motivated by what they perceived as a good atmosphere in theorganization.