Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management

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In this report I will be addressing the problems and how
Volvo had tackled those problems with the help of Motivational
theories. The report will also include some motivational techniques,
which will help to make the jobs more interesting and I have divided
the report into four different sections, which are as follows:

Section A
In this section I will be talking about the reason why Volvo had made
the change the working practices at Kalmar and what was its aspiration
behind the changes?

Section B
In this section I will be talking about the changes made at Kalmar
plantation and if they were successful or not, and if they were than,
why was it so?

Section C
In this section I will be writing my conclusion and recommendations
and the reason why I would suggest Dickens and Son weather to change
their working practices or not.

Section D
In this section I will be writing where I got the information from and
which book helped me to accomplish this report. I will use Harward
referencing too:

Section A
There are number of reason why Volvo had to modify the working
practices although some of the fundamental issues which I would like
to address to the Director of Dickens and Sons are as follows and
would like to discuss the issues in the report and they are as

Assembly line working system, Poor working conditions and pay,
Autocratic management style, communication system and layout of the
Job Description.

Working in an assembly line is one of the widespread ways used by most
of the manufacturing industries in the 1960’s but this type of system
has a great number of disadvantages rather than advantages. For
example staff will get bored doing the same job over and over, the
organisation might not be able to use some of the useful skill the
organisation has employed, the chance to progress in the organisation
will be at a minimum level, the level of faulty car manufactured might
be high and staff turnover might be at a higher level as Volvo has
experienced. These are some of the issues, which had arisen while
Volvo was going through the same difficulties of assembly line working

Therefore the reason why Volvo had to change the system is due to high
level of labour turnover, which lead to recruitment difficulties in
the area, as well as the performance of the plantation as a whole was
poor and getting worse. In order to tackle this problem Volvo had to
adopt some of Motivational Theories and techniques, which are as

The organisation adopted the Human Relation theory by Elton Mayo,
which states that “Staff need to work in groups or teams of 15 to 20

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people” and in matter of time the number of faulty cars manufactured
and personal staff turnover declined and the reason of this being that
members of the teams didn’t want to let the team down. The reason why
staff turnover and manufacturing of faulty cars decline was because
the staff felt the sense of responsibility.

At the very same time Volvo also adopted the Herzberg two-factor
theory, which is the Motivational-Hygiene theory, which states
“Motivator are factors which will improve employees performance i.e.
achievement, recognition, responsibility, etc where as Hygiene factors
are factors which will sustain employees performance but not improve
them i.e. working condition, interpersonal skills, company policies”.

The organisation also adopted the Maslow’s Hierarchy theory, which
stated, “ Every single person had five needs, which can be shown in a
pyramid, which are Physical need, Safety need, Social need, Esteem
need and Self actualisation.” This theory helps the organisation
because it could classify and provide staffs with all the essential
needs. Therefore reason why they Maslows Hierarchy theory is because
they could relate it to Herzberg two-factor theory. Please see
appendix 1

The management style also plays key part in the organisation as Volvo
used Autocratic Management style it affected the performance of all
the staff in the organisation, because staff felt like they were under
supervised all the time and didn’t have any say in the management of
the business but since Volvo changed the management style to
Democratic Management Style, staff started to sense that they have a
bit of say as well as felt valued to the organisation and their views
were considered in mind, which is a good technique to retain staff as
well staff loyalty towards the organisation.

The other issues, which Volvo faced, were the how the job description
was lied out. The job description stated that, staff could only carry
out fewer tasks, which means that staffs were caring out a lot of
reparative job, which lead to boredom and high staff turnover. In
order to make the job more interesting Volvo decided to redesign the
job description and applying some of the motivational techniques,
which are as follows:

* Job rotation so staff can do all different jobs so they don’t get
bored and encase of any absentees they could not fall back on the
production line because everyone has been train to do different
tasks in the team or group.

* Job enlargement so staff can carry out other tasks, while they are
caring out their normal tasks. Basically it makes the job more
challenging and interesting and makes the job structure bigger.
For staffs are given more than one task i.e. fixing the wind
scream as well other duties like fixing the sits, etc.

* Job enrichment so staff can be challenged and give a greater sense
of achievement from their job. Staff can get more feedback from
their jobs; tasks will be more varied, more freedom in planning
tasks and have more of an involvement in the changes to the
working environment. For example staff are given a chance to plan
goals for the day and while caring on with their day-to-day

The other key issues Iwould like to address is the interpersonal skill
of the Mid Management. The reason why this was one of the key issues
was because the Mid Management is responsible of the day-to-day
running of the business i.e. passing the information to junior staff,
if the mid management haven’t got he desirer to achieve a target than
the staff under their management won’t be bothered. Therefore if Volvo
employee staff with good interpersonal skill they will motivate staff,
pass appropriate and necessary information to the lower management,
communicate with Senior and junior management properly, etc and one of
the most important interpersonal skill is the communication.

The flow of communication in the organisation was only downwards,
therefore this means the information was only passed from the senior
management to the junior management and this was disadvantage because
there wasn’t any upward communication, which means feedback wasn’t
given back to the senior management, which lead to passing of
unnecessary and overloaded of information been provided to the lower
management although horizontal communication was appropriate.

Section B

There are number changes I have identified, which has help Volvo to be
successful and some of the changes are as follows:

Introduction of team working and other benefits i.e. changing room etc

This is one of they key ways which has help the organisation to
resolve its problems, especially through the help of the Human
relation Theory by Elton Mayo, which stated that “Working in groups
can increase productivity as well job satisfaction” and Theory X and Y
by McGregor, which stated that “ there are two different type of
people, those who hate to work and need supervision are classified as
Theory X and those who love work and don’t need supervision are
classified as Theory Y”.

Since Volvo adopted these theories, the staff left more valued and as
we can see from the report provided by Michelle stated, “Today Kalmar,
…than the others.” which meant that they are recognised and also
everyone in the team will receive the same amount of reward as stated
in the report “Everyone from … pay packet”, which meant that all the
staff felt like an asset to the organisation and equally treated.

The teams also felt recognised because each team had its own
facilities in their area and the competition between the teams
increased in order to manufacture fewer faulty as well as the quality
control on the car increase, where by less time was spent checking
every single part of the car.

Herzberg two-factor theory, Motivational-Hygiene factor theory was
also applied at Kalmar plantation too, the theory stated, “There are
hygiene factors such as job security, interpersonal relation, working
conditions etc, which are dissatisfies and there are Motivators
factors such as sense of achievement, responsibility, recognition etc
which are satisfier”. This theory had help the company to achieve it
aim by providing training, appraisal scheme and other as it was said
in the report “ Instead of … of his section” and it help to identify
the staff requirements like good working conditions, job security, etc
and improve the environment and the facilities been provide to the
staff. Herzberg two-factor theory also stated that “Money is not the
only motivator but also personal needs are one of the key issues.”

Maslows Hierarchy theory was also one of the importation theories
because it classified the employee needs and the reason why this was
successful at Kalmar was because all the employees had already
achieved the first two needs which are Physical needs; Safety needs
and social needs because the pay was better and also the used to work
in a team, which gave them a change to build up a relationship with
the other staffs and also losing a member of the team was just like
losing a key player in the team weather their job role is small are

All the theories help the Volvo to build up a psychological working
relationship between all the different teams as well as all the
different managerial levels.

Change in working conditions, pay and other benefits

This is another key issue, which helped Volvo to become successful
because after the Kalmar project started the cost of running the
automobile plant had decline, as stated in the report “…” and so there
was a surplus, which was given to staff in terms of wages or salary
and also a bit of that surplus was invested in the plantation to
improve the working condition and even the junior staff didn’t mind
paying 40% tax which was as stated in the report “…”. And also
Herzberg two-factor theory was applied in this situation with good
working condition in order to make full use of the labour.

Change in management style

Democratic Management style is one of most frequent style exercised
today in all the organisations, because it give a chance to the
organisation to get different view from people and the organisation
might find some talented staff who might be appropriate for the job
i.e. manager, although the senior management still have the last say
in the organisation. This management style might also be a
disadvantage because the decision might not be in favour of staff and
staffs might sense that their views are not considered in mind and end
up going on a strike or retiring from the job. Therefore this
management style can be a benefit as well as unbeneficial.

Changes in Communication flow

Volvo used to communicate in a circle pattern in the organisation but
the form of communication used was not appropriate i.e. excess
information was passed on to the junior staff, which led to
unnecessary provided top the junior staffs. In order to tackle this
issue Volvo introduces new ways of communication at Kalmar’s, and also
provide staff with training on how to operate the new system for

This is another changes made by Volvo, is the way they communicate.
For instant each team has their own VDU at Kalmar’s, which displays
the quality and deliveries level and also managers can communicate
with each teams with the VDU. For example all the staffs could check
their bonus pay on the VDU at anytime.

Another way Volvo communicate with staffs is through emails, whereby
staff received emails from the team leaders about the performance of
the Kalmar’s plantation and if the organisation is meeting its target
or not. The information provided to the staff was in brief and not too
detailed which means the team leaders are using their interpersonal
skills efficiently.

Volvo also decided to use different approaches to tackle the problem
and they are as follows:

* Appraisal interview so the manager can discuss with sub
coordination about the job performance and career prospects and
provide them with individual feedback.

* Regular Staff meetings in order to discuss how the team has
progressed and what the team has achieved and provide the team
with feedback the overall performance and what else is required to
achieve the team target.

Good communication is essential in a company like Volvo to achieve the
company’s objectives. The communication needed to be upwards and
downwards. By Volvo changing their communication channels, enabled
information to be passed effectively.

Introduction of temporary jobs of the School leavers

Volvo used very good techniques by introducing temporary jobs for the
school leaver because the population of the working was on the edge to
declining as well as to attract more school leavers to join the
manufacturing industry in the future prospects. This technique also
benefits the local community around because it created more job
opportunities for the people around the local area.

Section C

It is difficult to come to a firm conclusion, not only does Volvo
working practices/job design cancel each other out but also implies
that Dickson and Sons should adopt Volvo approach to job design
because Volvo techniques has benefit staffs and has also brought in
different techniques in treating their staff and motivating them as

Also with the use of different motivational theories, this will help
Dickens and Sons in adopting this approach and using it with their own
staff as well. Based on my report Dickens and Sons should also adopt
Volvo approach and put it into practices especially job rotation and
job enrichment, this will help staff to get more interested in their
job and more valued, recognised and feel as part of the teams.


I will recommend Dickson and Sons to adopt the system for various
reason and they are as follows:

* For a start it will improve the communication between all
different levels of management and also communication will much
more efficiently and much more easily as well as frequently.

* Working in teams or groups will also improve staff performance;
increase productivity and also the relation between the
colleagues. Working in teams will also help to improve the
communication between different management levels.

* Autocratic management style also plays a major part in the
developing the Kalmar plantation because it has given a chance to
the staff to have a say, it also help Volvo to find out what the
staff think about and what training is required by the staff.

* Change in the job description also helped the organisation to use
the staff employed more efficient and make the tasks more
interesting by the help of the motivation techniques. It also help
to keep the cost at the minimum levels.

Section D

Winfield, P (2000), Core Management for HR Students & Practitioners,
Financail Times, Oxford.

Beardwell, I & Holden, L, Human resource Management a Contemporary
approach, Longman Group Ltd, Essex.

Mullins, L, Management and organisational behaviour, Financial Times,

Hollinshead, G & Leat, M, Human resource Management, Pitman Publisher,

Marchington, M & Wilkinson, A, People Management and Development,
Cipd, London
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