Using three motivation theories/frameworks covered in this course, discuss what are the lessons to be learned about motivation from the practices of NUMMI?
What would you advise NUMMI management to stop doing, start doing, or do better?
It is correctly said that employees are the biggest assets for any organization. Therefore, it is important that leaders and managers should make efforts to keep employees happy. There are various ways to keep employees happy. One of the basic ways is to improve the motivation level of employees (Boyle & Charles, 2011). It is also observed that the motivation level of employees is directly linked with the productivity level of employees. There are various theories in the field of motivation of employees. One of the most widely used theories of motivation is Maslow need hierarchy model of motivation. The objective of this paper is to discuss the case study of ‘Motivation at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.’. The paper would discuss the two questions at the end of case study. The analysis is based on number of motivational theories and motivation like Maslow need hierarchy, Expectancy theory of motivation, Job characteristic model, etc. The paper also discusses the key issues for the organization and the probable solutions to these issues. The strategies discussed in this paper would help the organization to move forward. The two questions asked in the case study can be discussed as:
The case study of ‘Motivation at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.’ is an interesting case. The case can be analyzed from various perspectives of organizational behavior. This case is an interesting case to analyze; as General Motors was not doing good and employees were not happy at the workplace. However, the organization observed a transformation in its new avatar of NUMMI. The new management was very clear in its approach that they want to best from the employees and for that they were ready to give best culture to employees. The specific questions asked in the case study can be discussed as below:
There are various good lessons learned from the organizational behavior at NUMMI. The three key motivational theories that could be applied to the case study of NUMMI can be discussed as:
The management of NUMMI realized that different employees in the organization are at different level of motivation and it would make sense to target motivational trigger of these employees at these levels. For some of the employees, basic need was important and there were some employees who were at self esteem needs level (Tarman & Tarman, 2011). Within the organization, management and leaders focused on some basic steps like increasing the salary of employees. The management was also able to satisfy the basic and safety needs of employees by providing a high level of job security. The management also ensured that the differences between different levels of employees were minimized by providing the facilities in same cafeteria (Loes & Pascarella, 2012). Another thing that the management of NUMMI focused on was the training and development of employees. The management organized several training for employees. The objective was to generate a feeling of self-belongingness among employees. It can be said that the management was successful to generate this feeling of self-belongingness, as employees felt more connected with the employees and management. The management also established the culture where managers had limited or no power (Paolacci & Chandler, 2010). This can be considered as a negative instrument also as some sort of powers should be given to managers and leaders so that they can manage the operations of the organization in an effective manner.
Maslow hierarchy of need
Whereas Maslow and Herzberg look at the relationship between internal needs and the resulting effort expended to fulfill them, Vroom's expectancy theory separates effort that arises from motivation, performance, and outcomes. This theory of motivation suggests that the performance of an employee within the organization depends on number of internal and individual factors like skills, knowledge, personality, ability, experience, etc. Therefore, it is important that management should map employees to the desired skill level. The key thing for management of NUMMI was to convince the employees about their capabilities. The performance of the employees would be high only when they work as per their skill set. This strategy helped NUMMI to increase the productivity level of their employees (Reidenbach & Robin, 2013). The steps taken to improve the skillset of employees were specific training and development programs for employees. With time, employees were able to improve their performance as their performance was linked to their rewards. It can be said that expectancy theory of motivation has helped NUMMI to establish a culture of trust and motivation within the organization. At the same time, it is important that employees and organizations should also understand the negatives associated with the expectancy theory of motivation. For example, at NUMMI the rewards of managers were slightly more than the employees. It is suggested that organizational leaders and managers should treat all the employees equitably and fairly.
Simply defined, Job characteristics theory is a theory of work design. It provides “a set of implementing principles for enriching jobs in organizational settings. There are various job design models that NUMMI used. The mode of job design helped the management to have a systematic process in place. With work deign, managers are able to have jobs dependent on processes rather than dependent on people. It helped the organizations to maintain the effectiveness in place even when the people leave the organizations. The organization, NUMMI was able to improve the efficiency level of employees with a proper job characteristic model in place. The job characteristic would depend on number of variables like skill variety of employees, task identity, task significance, and feedback given to employees. It is important that the management and leadership should also give real time feedback to employees so that they can work on their feedback (Stewart, 2014). The process of feedback also helps the employees to improve on real time basis. The empowerment given to employees is also an integral part of job characteristic model as used at NUMMI.
Expectancy theory of motivation
With Internet and technology advancements, organizations have been able to overcome the international expansion barriers. The spread of Internet has also helped the people to socialize with the culture of other people and as a result the ease of doing business has improved in the international market. The culture of NUMMI appeared to be good. However, it is important that the management must realize the importance of continuous improvement. Therefore, the leaders must realize the things that are on right track and the things that should be improved further. There are not much of the differences that could be observed within the organization. However, some of the issues that the organization should take care of can be discussed as:
One of the issues identified at NUMMI is the cultural issue. The company has expanded and it hast the employees from different parts of the world. For example, NUMMI has the employees from America and Japan. There are significant differences between the culture of America and Japan (Cohen & Burdett, 2011). Therefore, it is important that the management should develop the strategies that do not impact the productivity level of employees amidst these cultural differences.
It is also important to mention that the company has to operate within the tough competition. Therefore, it is important that the management of NUMMI should have a strong eye towards the profit maximization strategies. It is correct that the organization has taken several steps to ensure that profit maximization happens at a good pace (Knutsen & Brock, 2014). For example, NUMMI was able to use less amount of water to produce per car. At the same time, the company was able to produce more cars per day. All these strategies enabled NUMMI to have profit maximization entities in place.
The solutions to above issues or problems are not easy to implement. However, with effective planning and a long-term vision in place, the solutions could be implemented. Some of the probable solutions or the strategies to overcome the issues can be discussed as:
As discussed above, one of the major issues for NUMMI is cultural issue. There are various cultural models that the management of NUMMI can use to overcome the cultural barriers. The model like Hofstede cultural model would help NUMMI to overcome the cultural issues that exist within the organization (Sokoll, 2014). For example, the cultural issues between the Japanese and American employees could be minimized with the use of Hofsetde cultural model. Another recommended solution for NUMMI is to keep employees engagement high. It is important that employees should understand their values in the organization. The management should empower the employees so that the organization can get the best from employees.
Job characteristic model
Another recommendation for NUMMI is that the leaders of NUMMI should focus on transformational leadership style. The advantages with transformational leadership style is that the leaders can handle change management naturally with transformational style of leadership. For a large organization like NUMMI, change management should be an integral part of business operations. Therefore, it is important that leaders have the ability to manage the change within the organization. The benefit with transformational style of leadership is that it helps the leaders to show and to communicate a vision to employees. It is also important that the organization should consider the conflict in a positive manner. With the employees from different cultural background there are chances of various conflict that can occur within the organization. The use and implementation of transformational style of leadership helps the organizations to implement conflict in a positive matter (Barker & Mak, 2013). The next solution or the strategy for NUMMI would be the focus on real time and two-way communication. It is suggested that the communication should be effective within the organization so that the efficiency is high.
The above paper discusses the case study of NUMMI. With the above discussion it can be said that cultural issues are the major issue for the organization and the management of NUMMI would be able to bring further improvement within the organization with an effective culture in place. The paper also discusses various motivational theories that the management of NUMMI. The Maslow need hierarchy theory is widely used and it would help the management of NUMMI to get the best out of people. Based on the issues discussed in the paper, the suggested solutions for NUMMI are also discussed. It appears that the management of NUMMI would be able to make further improvement in the organization if it can make and establish an effective culture within the organization. The support from the internal stakeholders like employees and the external stakeholders like investors would enable the management of NUMMI to have a vision in place. The important thing is that this vision should be communicated to various internal and external stakeholders of the company.
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