کشش خلاق در یک محیط کار ناب : مفاهیمی برای شرکت های لجستیک و کارگران
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|1437||2012||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||1 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Production Economics, Volume 137, Issue 1, May 2012, Pages 157–164
In this paper we use the concept of “creative tension” from the lean production philosophy to reconcile the need for added value and cost control in logistics. Due to thin profit margins, a managerial orientation on logistics employees as a source of costs rather than a source of added value prevails. However, to foster employee well-being and organizational effectiveness, a fit is needed between the job characteristics influenced by the need for process control, and workers' need for autonomy and creativity in their jobs. The fit hypothesis was tested across two logistics service providers. Results from both studies indicated that challenging and enabling workers to creatively use their talents and skills in daily work will most likely lead to positive results.
Logistics is a highly competitive industry and logistic service providers (LSPs) generally tend to get small margins on their activities. When market conditions do not allow for an increase in revenues, a strong focus on costs prevails (Johnson et al., 1999). Since the cost of labor is the major cost component of logistics, a managerial perspective has developed to see labor as a source of costs that needs to be disciplined and controlled, rather than a source of added value that needs to be nourished. As a consequence, work pressure is high, pay is relatively low, and the motivating potential of jobs may suffer. The lean production (LP) philosophy to “do more with less” has been embraced as a managerial panacea for cost control, and has accordingly been criticized in the scientific literature for its purported effects on workers' well-being. In this paper we argue that the concept of “creative tension” (Womack et al., 1990, pp. 102) from the lean production philosophy may provide a way to reconcile the need for cost control and worker well-being and satisfaction in a lean production environment. The purpose of this paper is to counterbalance the claim that lean jobs cannot be intrinsically motivating (de Treville and Antonakis, 2006) by investigating whether lean can actually overcome the misfit between workers' growth need expectations and job characteristics, thereby enhancing employees' personal and organizational outcomes. Section 2 discusses the market perspective of LSPs and how this affects the work environment of logistics employees. In Section 3 we discuss the perspective on the effects of lean production on employees that has evolved in the literature. In addition, we offer a new lens to observe the effects of lean on personal and organizational outcomes. In Section 4, we present empirical data obtained from two Dutch LSPs, suggesting that lean practices can actually help to create a fit between job characteristics, worker demands, and company requirements.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The creative tension concept offered by Womack et al. (1990) to describe the interaction between workers and the characteristics of a lean work environment has so far been neglected in the lean literature. In this paper we have argued that this concept offers a lens to not only study the effects of lean practices on worker well-being, but also to suggest improvements to make lean jobs more motivating and effective. Based on person–organization fit theory, we developed a modified version of Hackman and Oldham's (1976) well known Job Characteristics Model to investigate the effects of a fit between need and potential for autonomy and creativity on workers' psychological states and important outcomes. Our empirical results support the efficacy of the creative tension concept for research on the effects of lean. Our results indicate that our respondents, all working in logistics, were actually very much satisfied with the potential for autonomy in their work. Because the potential for autonomy was shown to be the most important predictor of satisfaction, motivation, and turnover, this finding has important implications. Contrary to de Treville and Antonakis' (2006) claim that lean will bring about a massive reduction in autonomy, it suggests that this organization's efforts to implement lean practices do not inhibit employees to perceive a high degree of autonomy in their work. A second important finding is that the potential for creativity in the job offered room for improvement, because it did not meet the personal need for creativity. One of the primary fundamentals of lean is the bottom-up strategy to get workers involved in continuously identifying sources of waste and making suggestions to eliminate these, for instance by tapping their creativity in kaizen events. Our study suggests that indeed this will likely have a positive effect on job satisfaction and turnover. Moreover, as satisfied employees perform better than dissatisfied employees and they are less inclined to leave the organization, more potential for creativity may also be expected to enhance organizational effectiveness. A third important finding from this study is that the relationships between job characteristics and outcomes were consistently mediated by responsibility, although the effect for motivation was not very strong. Table 3 shows that responsibility is somewhat more driven by the need and potential for creativity than for autonomy. Taken together, we believe that both the theoretical discussion and practical relevance of the lean concept will benefit from a stronger emphasis on creativity. Just like any other study, the present study has limitations that need to be taken into account when interpreting the results. The main limitation is the sample size. The present study was intended to explore the research potential of the creative tension concept, but more and larger samples would certainly have contributed to the reliability of our results and the validity of the constructs involved. Another limitation is that our regression analyses are based on data provided by warehouse workers. Thus, we cannot with certainty generalize our findings to all logistics firms. Notwithstanding these limitations, however, we believe that the creative tension concept offers great potential for future research to better understand and investigate the effects of lean production practices on worker well-being and organizational effectiveness. A compelling suggestion for future research has been made by Farris et al. (2009) who argue that it is the responsibility of the operations management and industrial engineering community to help organizations better understand kaizen events. Thus, a promising line of research would be to investigate whether kaizen events can indeed unleash the workers' creativity in terms of ideas and practices leading to smoother processes, thereby also contributing to more potential for creativity as experienced by workers.