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BMW’s New Oxford Way

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  • Category: BMW

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a) Suggest examples of:

i) Job Rotation:

Job rotation is moving an employee from job to job. The purposes of job rotation are to give employees experience with all organizational activities as a training process and to remove boredom, which can occur when performing the same job over an extended period of time. This allows them to learn new skills and gain new experience by relying on themselves not by others. It allows the employer to take advantage of being more trained in widely trained workforce. An example of job rotation used in BMW’s used the central element of the program ‘New Oxford Way’ was Wings (Working in Groups) which included hundreds of self-steered groups of between 8 to15 people across manufacturing areas. The most important motivational factors involve the moving of task within the different groups of production to stop boredom from occurring on the production line. Job rotation also motivates and challenges an individual who has been on a job for a long time. This gives the employee different tasks where he or she will come across a variety of tasks to be carried out, which permits the job rotation to happen and prevents the employees to be bored, but instead more interested and motivated to work.

ii) Job Redesign:

Job redesign focuses on work rearrangement for decreasing or overcoming job dissatisfaction and employee alienation happening from repetitive tasks. Job redesign tries to raise productivity levels by offering non-financial rewards such as satisfaction from a sense of personal achievement in achieving the augmented challenge and responsibility that the employees must give. It also includes self monitoring their tasks with self-regulation and speed in a cooperative and interactive business environment. An example in the text is when BMW puts into practice job redesign through the groups of 8 to 15 people across manufacturing areas. The Wings system allows the managers and directors to work on the production line; workers and employers work together minimizing the distance between them. There will be less miscommunication that way. From the case study an example of job redesign is the fact that BMW also halved the day-to-day duties of one member in each team so they can concentrate on developing team members and the way teams operate. Another example is that ever fortnight, each shift had a 45 minute team talk so that workers and discuss idea, problems and suggestions.

iii) Multiskilling:

Multiskilling is when workers are trained in more than one skill and thus able to do more than one job. This results in a more flexible workforce. Workers can be moved to where they are needed. This causes also more pressure on individual skills and responsibilities with a range of issues which could be linked to a faster, more effective and well-organized work performance. An example of multiskilling in the case study is when BMW ran an external training for its employees. The employees also got couching for working as part of the team, which created a turnaround in the performance and working practice of the employees. This increased their multiskilling abilities through their job rotation and receiving new tasks and learning to adapt to a variety of areas of the business.

iv) Job Enrichment:

Job enrichment means giving workers more interesting, challenging and complex tasks. Workers are also given the opportunity to complete a whole unit of work rather than individual separate tasks. Job Enrichment gives workers the chance to test themselves and use their full variety of their ability. It is more motivating than job enlargement or job rotation because it increases the difficulty or challenge involved in the task, rather than just simply providing more variety to the work. Workers will gain a greater sense of achievement and possibly more praise or recognition of their work when they have successfully completed a tougher task. Job enrichment tries to give employees greater responsibility by ‘vertically’ expand their role in the production process.

The Wings system allows the workers and teams to have the power to fix the problems occurring in the production by themselves. An example of this occurring in BMW is when a worker suggested that recycling screws or another example was when a worker suggested to use rubber instead of foam strips. Theses two examples saved the company a lot of money which proves that allowing the workers more responsibility gives positive outlooks. Workers in BMW seem to use this opportunity to show their personal skills as they are more enthusiastic and became less negative. If the employers give a little authority to the workers it will give them more motivation and they learn more causing less mistakes occurring in the company because it can be handled quickly by the workers.

b) What View of motivation is management likely to take workers at BMW?

Financial rewards have been used in the past by firms in an attempt to motivate employees to improve productivity. However, businesses have realized non-financial rewards have become more effective because it is easier to control. Non-financial helps employees satisfy their personal needs. Non- financial rewards help motivate the employees to work harder and increase productivity. Whereas financial, people are still not motivates just with a little money because they will still not like to come to work or be motivated. Yes they will be motivated at the time but then it dies down. However, if you change the quality of the workplace fore the employees they are much more productive and motivated to do extra. The business BMW has established a great scheme of work where they employees are able to be responsible and make decisions in terms of fixing production problems by themselves.

Whereas, before they would have to call another department which is very time consuming. Managers and employers have an extensively trained workforce because employees will gained more skill and knowledge by being in their groups. Employees receive external training and coaching in workings as part of a team. This also raises the employee’s confidence, motivation and trains them to become strong working individuals. They are encourages towards a better working environment. Heike Schneeweis, HR Director at BMW, said that the setting up of Wings created a turnaround in working practice and behavior. She argued that the teams ‘diminished the power of the traditional hierarchical structure and gave more responsibility to working teams.’ This statement from the Director indicates that working teams have become part of the decision making in terms of the responsibility and the power. This decision makes it a lot less difficult for the managers or employers because now the managers can work on more significant tasks for the business and instead of watching the employees they are able to use their time more wisely. The significance of Wings system is a way where mangers or employers and employees can work together. Workers have more enthusiasm because they now are part of the decision making I they feel more responsible.

c) Explain the benefits of team working at BMW for:

i) Employees

Wings program which involved hundreds of self-steered teams of between 8 to 15 people across the manufacturing areas. The benefit of having employees into teams is that they are able to express their thought can learn better communications. It can meet a worker’s social needs as a person can more easily build friendships and feel a sense of belonging to a unit or group and hopefully to the business as a whole. This motivates them to enjoy work and to be more productive whereas if they were unsocial they would be quite slow in production and would put less effort in their work. Employees working as a team have other advantages to a firm other than just improving motivation. It can lead to greater flexibility of production, as employees are likely to be multi-skilled (able to do more than one persons job) as they have learnt from other team members or undertaken formal job rotation. This means they can cover any absences and can quickly adapt to a new production technique.

Employees also have greater job satisfaction and motivation, and improved learning. In overcoming obstacles, teams build trust and confidence which allows them to be more careful and more excited about their work. Primarily it motivates them and encourages the business to have more open environment and employees will not feel restricted to state their opinions example in the text prove that team working has many advantages. Increasing the open environment in the business allows the productivity level to increase. To expand on that BMW decision with the Wing program a strong advantage to this program is that there is a quite considerable number of employees in each group as it lies between 8 to 15 employees per group as each can specialize in some skills and knowledge as tasks can be easily distributed by each employee in order to produce the best quality products in the least amount of time. It combines knowledge and skill making the best use of the employees by allowing them to work on their strengths. Teams can also compete with each other which could be an incentive to work harder and faster.

ii) The business itself

BMW benefits in many varieties of ways in terms the Wings program. Teams can have many positive advantages and also many benefits. It firstly can improve productivity because workers are motivates to work harder and faster because they may be a little competiveness in the business. Products are also more efficient because each employee specializes in something, so if they get a task for example they can spread the work depending on their skills and knowledge. It also allows the business to have more positive feedback. Since production is improving more profit will come in. It also motivates the workers to come to work and give all their effort because they are more motivated to get the business to succeed. Another obvious benefit is the improvement in quality of products or services because employees in their groups each specialize in something so they spread the work in terms of skills and knowledge each individual has.

The speed of spread ideas allows the company has more ways to increase the profit of the company and to allow them to get ideas very quickly for new product and such. It also allows the business to quickly respond to opportunities and threats and to fast-changing environments because employees have different awareness. With the groups brainstorming new ideas which can be very useful to figure out before anything happens. Employees can discuss from their specialty what should be a concern and what they should consider. This allows the groups to expand on their thoughts. It improves employee’s motivation especially because the environment of the business is free and open and they want to work harder because they like their jobs.

It also introduces multiskilling and employee flexibility which means that employees can learn from each other. They are able to enhance their skills and enhance their knowledge. Multiskilling can allow employees to have fewer mistakes in the production line because they are specialized in everything. Overall BMW benefits from team working as better decisions are made through the groups because of the variety of ideas. Team working has resulted in physical benefits. It has put into practice that over 8,000 staff ideas and production targets in 2002 which were exceeded by more than 60 per cent. Finally, these changes contributed to savings of more than 6.3 million pounds over a 12 month period.

d) Discuss to what extent empowerment is necessary for the success of the Wings system.

BMW empowered it employees because it decisions that were delegated would be more successful if employees were empowered. By empowering the employees BMW is allowing them to make decisions. The purpose of empowerment is to help managers or employers because some time there are too many decisions that need to be made and some are not very significant. So the managers or employers delegate the power to the employees to make the decision but only for the less significant. Through empowerment, companies realize their reliable employees and delegate the power to the employee because he or she is trust worthy. Empowerment of employees involves a number of aspects such as giving employees control of decisions, and giving employees self confidence. Recognizing employees’ achievements and complementing them on it.

There are many advantages to empowerment and it is becoming more common for businesses. These are the benefits from empowerment:

* Employees’ may feel more motivated. This should improve productivity and benefit the business in the long term.

* Employees may find less stress in their work

* Decisions may be made by those most suited to make them

* There may be greater employees skills and personal development

Although there are disadvantages to empowerment:

* Empowerment is criticized as being a means of cutting costs and removing layers from the business

* Passing decision making down the hierarchy might allow a company to make manager redundant.

* Employees are given more work to do, but for same pay

* The cost involved to the business, such as the cost of training employees or changing the workplace.

Empowerment is very significant for the Wings system because if it did not use empowerment then it would not have been as successful as it is now. BMW seems to have a lot of trust in their employees. BMW’s Wing program is employees being put into small groups in the same area of production working together towards learning new skills and knowledge to help them be more experienced and have the training. Delegating authority to employees should not be a burden to the employee it should be a motivator which in this case for BMW Wings program it is. It is a motivator because employees get make decision and be part of the decision making in the company. It extends the ability for the groups to allow them to make more decisions and to change those choices in actions. By choosing empowerment the company is more efficient and communal assets. Empowerment allows the manager to relieve some stress and it is a great technique dividing the duties so they can be more efficient and better quality.

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