Decision making comes as one of the key pillars of any organization. It has a bearing on the profitability, as well as long term sustainability of an organization as it determines the course of action that would guide the operations of the organization both in the short and the long term. Needless to say, decision making is an extremely crucial aspect of an organization in times of conflict. Conflicts are almost always bound to happen in organizations, especially considering that organizations are composed of different individuals, who have different goals, aspirations, interests, as well as techniques of attaining the goals. What matters is not whether a conflict occurs in an organization as this cannot be prevented, rather, it is the way in which the managers deal with the arising conflict that determines the course of the organization or company. This is the existing case for the New Haven.
Lee Burton had the intention of transforming the lowest performing unit in The New Haven. He had observed that the unit or division was being bogged down by excessive machine downtime and backlogs, as well as negative morale of the employees resulting from complaints pertaining to quality. All these things were triggering rumors that the plant would be closing in no time. In essence, Lee Brown realized that he had to introduce a new culture that assisted in the elimination of backlogs, ensured faster production and enhanced the quality of products. One of the strategies that he proposed brought some conflict both from the management and some workers (Daft, 1997). He had proposed that, the assembly line should be divided into cells of self-managed teams so as to allow for empowerment and motivation of workers so that they can make real-time decisions. This idea seemed to appeal to a large number of workers who felt that their control over the daily operations would be enhanced. Supervisors, on the other hand, did not like the idea as it meant that they would be losing control, as well as seniority and prestige. Some employees, in addition, balked over the idea as they feared the aspect of decision making and acknowledged that they still needed constant guidance (Daft, 1997). This brought conflicts in the organization, which resulted in non-cooperation and impinged the functioning of the organization.
Lee Burton was vouching for rational decision making model. He recognized and defined the decision situation, noting that a (negative) stimulus was indicating the need to make a decision. In this case, he identified the varied alternatives that could be used to increase the quality of products, enhance motivation and increase the speed of production (Daft, 1997). He evaluated alternatives so as to determine their feasibility, consequences and satisfactoriness, and finally settled on this course of action where the cells would be divided into self-administered units, thereby allowing for real-time decision-making and pushing the morale of the workers high. While there may be varied reasons for choosing this model, it is worth noting that the model infuses the process of decision-making with consistency, logic and discipline. The step-by-step approach necessitates that the problem is defined, decision criteria identified, alternatives listed out and their possible outcomes considered, then the alternatives rated to give the best decision possible (Griffin & Moorehead, 2010). It goes without saying that, the methodology comes in handy in addressing complex issues as it breaks them into uncomplicated steps and all aspects and possible solutions considered before a final decision is made.
The key reason why the proposal by Lee Burton did not work was that he did not garner sufficient support and cooperation both from the management and the workers. It is evident that both parties felt that they had been sidestepped in the making of this fundamental decision, whereas they were to be directly touched by it and would be expected to implement it. One of the strategies that Lee Burton could use is to ensure that he incorporates the managers and workers in the decision-making process. This will allow them to feel as if they are part of the process and, therefore, own the implementation process (Griffin & Moorehead, 2010). It will also enhance their cooperation both in the long-term and the short-term. On the same note, he should empower the key integrators. Scholars note that, during the growth of a company, a layer is created between the back-office and front-line people with even new procedural requirements being imposed (Cole, 2004). More often than not, this does not work. It would be imperative that Lee Burton identifies the current staff members who interact with the two worlds and enhance their voice. In addition, it is imperative that Le Burton increases the amount of power that is available especially to people in the lower ranks (Griffin & Moorehead, 2010). Scholars note that, more often than not, individuals who have the least power or authority in organizations carry the larger part of the cooperation burden, yet they are recipients of the least credit (Cole, 2004). These people, on realizing this fact, usually withdraw from cooperation, choosing to isolate themselves. This trend can, nevertheless, be reversed by increasing the power available to these people, which would propel them to risk moving away from their isolation, show initiative, trust others, and enhance their transparency pertaining to their performance (Cole, 2004).
- Cole, G. A. (2004). Organisational behaviour: Theory and practice. London: Thomson.
- Griffin, R. W., & Moorehead, G. (2010). Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations. Australia: South-Western/Cengage Learning.
- Daft, R. L. (1997). Organization theory and design. Cincinnati: South-Western College Publ.