Treetop Forest

Statement of the problem The packaging team at Treetop Forest is experiencing many problems. Their productivity is decreasing and affecting the rest of the departments negatively. The unsupervised employees are slacking off, are not motivated and are adopting norms that are not fitted with the company. Inventory costs and the risk of damaged stocks are also increasing. The quality of the appearance of the finished products is also decreasing, resulting in a loss in the market share in the industry, hence being unable to compete with other companies.
Cause of the problem Social loafing is causing the decrease in productivity in the packaging team. This tendency to withhold physical or intellectual effort when performing a group task[1] represents the slacking behaviours of the employees in that department. The lack of supervision is also one of the main causes of most of the problems stated. The group’s cohesiveness is causing them to behave in similar manners, as additive tasks, even though the behaviours adopted are not in line with the norms of the rest of the company (taking longer breaks etc).
Because this department’s location is further than all the other ones, the employees feel isolated and excluded from the company, causing their lack in motivation. The group’s poor performance is causing an overstock which results in high inventory costs and risk of damaged stocks since they have to be stored outside ultimately causing the poor appearance of the finished product which affects the buyer’s decision. It can be assumed that it is a larger group due to the tasks that need to be performed, which affects the group in many ways.

In larger groups, friendships develop, participation decreases and disengagement increases resulting in process loss: a group performance difficulty stemming from the problems of motivation and coordination in larger groups. [2] Solutions and Consequences 1. To counteract the social loafing the company should: Increase feelings of indispensability. Doing this within the group would motivate the employees. Increase performance feedback, so that employees will know how to improve themselves as well as knowing what they did well. Reward group performance. Pros: Highly motivated in what they are doing • They would feel belonging to the company since they would know what the company’s goals are. 2. To have a more structured environment, Treetop should hire and train a new supervisor only for the packaging department. Pros: • This solution will decrease inventory costs and increase the production and quality of the finished products. • Effective communication between the other departments to balance the productivity levels Cons: • The salary and training of this new employee will increase the company’s costs. 3.
To reduce the overtime costs, limits should be put on the amount of overtime hours an employee is allowed to use, along with a deadline for a specific amount of products. Pros: • This would decrease the overtime salary costs • This would increase productivity due to the fixed goals. • This would decrease the extended break and lunch times. Cons: • Because these goals are imposed, the employees may be reluctant to achieve them. To avoid this situation, the goals could be discussed therefore increasing the probability of their achievement. Recommended Solution
It would be recommended to implant supervision since it is the main cause of all the problems the company is faced with and because of the many effects it would have on the situation. The group needs structure and a supervisor would therefore help resolve most problems. Implemented Solution Immediately, communication should be improved between the departments to stop the unbalanced productivity. This would resolve part of the inventory costs problems. Upper management should also put someone in charge of the packaging team. If costs of hiring a new supervisor are too high, an existing supervisor could be given more shifts.
Although hiring and training costs are high, the company will benefit from this addition in the long-term. The new supervisor would counteract the social loafing the company is experiencing. The supervisor could be trained to focus on the motivation of his group (rewarding good performances etc). This supervisor is also the one who should limit the employees to a certain amount of overtime hours they are allowed to. The supervisor would reinforce the company’s norms, eventually eliminating the self-imposed ones in the group (longer breaks…). The supervisor would also promote group cohesiveness and a pleasant working environment.
In the short term, upper management could host a meeting or assembly between all departments to make them feel interrelated and important to the company. This could be a great motivation for the employees. In the long term, group evaluations could be necessary to measure the group’s performance and to see if the actions taken are resolving the problems. ________________________________________ [1] Johns,G, & Saks, A. M. (2008). Organizational Behaviour, 7th edition, Toronto: Addison-Wesley-Longman. [2] Johns,G, & Saks, A. M. (2008). Organizational Behaviour, 7th edition, Toronto: Addison-Wesley-Longman.

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