1. How have the external environments influenced the human
resource policies and practices in OA?
The human resource policies and practices in AO are a lot
based on the external environmental influences. This is primary
due to the fact that first of all it has to deal with the
socio-cultural background of the employees, their education,
experience and character of social relations in the region.
This is a vital external factor as it becomes the forerunner
of the potential technological learning capability of the
human resources and has impact on their performance and productivity.
The economic, legal and political factors are essential to
take into consideration as they can cause certain difficulties
in the company’s functioning as well as the team functioning.
This is primary due to the fact that AO management concentrates
on the household (economic issues) of its employees as well
as many other aspects like safety (the legal issues) which
are somehow related to their work. The international character
of the AO team management sets high requirements and provides
it with a global nature. The proper implementation of the
Star concept is what makes AO management competitive in any
2. What internal environmental factors have been most relevant
in influencing OA’s human resource system?
OA’s human resource system is also greatly influenced
by the internal factors. The first position is given to the
management style, because it is what determines the success
of the team, corresponding team members and the ability of
these team members to fulfill necessary tasks. Personnel training
peer appraisals and compensations and other make this management
style and philosophy so appealing. OA takes the necessary
time to make sure the employee is well trained and ready to
operate. The organizational structure with the board of directors
and the president on top and the plant manager, the HR manager
,the controller, the training manager and the MIS manager
– make up the solid base for the successful team functioning.
Production technology is learnt by the employees through training
and through the team leaders and is mainly controlled by the
planning system. Therefore it is another important internal
relevant in influencing the OA human resource system. As the
corporate culture of the OA HR has a solid character. OA’s
physical facility is also one important internal factor as
it helps the HR in a way that it is an automated facility
and its manufacturing capability is great.
3. What are the unique issues in human resource planning that
team management organizations must address?
HR is vital for the team management. The team management organization
in terms of human resource planning in the first place needs
to take into consideration the necessity to have employees
that would fit in the OA Team Concept. As team management
is concentrated on team work it is obvious that the team members
need to show interaction with other team members in order
to be a team that has one task and is responsible for it.
So the human resource planning should address the “fit
in” issues, which are obtained not only through the
social, cultural and education background, but also through
training which the employee can eventually realize in a well
structured team and have his concrete responsibilities that
are a part of greater team responsibilities. The planning
concentrates on treating the operation personnel and trusting
the same way the managerial personal is treated and trusted.
4. What role should teams and team members play in human resource
When a new team member comes into the system, the OA Team
concept is what makes him eventually competent as the team
teaches him and “upgrades” him to the team level.
Therefore the teams and team members, with their practical
experience should participate in human resource planning in
a way that they need to mention their recommendations: those
HR characteristics that make their job more effective and
does not make it harder. As the OA teams are paid for what
“they know, not for what they do”, the teams may
give recommendation on what future team members need to potentially
know. As the OA Team concept is concentrated on the positive
team member treatment, therefore here the team opinion may
become an essential component as it may lead to new level
of productivity and the higher dedication of the team in general
and team members in particular. The OA’s” fundamental
concern” about people is in the first place to the revealed
through the participation of teams and team members in human
5. How does job design in self-managing teams differ from
traditional job design?
The job design of self-managing teams strongly differs from
the traditional job design. The OA job design calls for equality
between the team leaders and team members. In OA’s job
design there is no place for reserved parking, executive dining
rooms and it actually implies an all-salaried workforce. Every
team member is important for the team, correspondingly there
are no more or less important team members. Therefore the
self-managing tem job design is observed in the daily work
of the team. As opposed to the traditional job design, the
self-managing job design implies defines team as the basic
unit of the organization which performs work. The traditional
approach gives tasks given to individuals repeatedly. When
an OA tem gets a task the whole team works on learning all
the necessary skills to cope with it in.
6. How would you evaluate the effectiveness of OA’s
initial recruitment efforts?
It is necessary to say, OA revealed a strong position in its
initial recruitment efforts. In order to recruit potential
employees OA invited HR and training experts. While the building
was under the construction, this group of people formed a
recruitment system which corresponded to OA’s demands.
The recruitment of the employees for the mill was absolutely
based on the notion that each and every employee has to be
able to survive in a team management environment. The initial
effort identified potential employees as effective “team
players”. They went through a half-day orientation session.
This session explained the main directions the organization
is aimed to follow, analyzed the importance of the team concept
in terms of the organization and what are the potential employees
expected to do. This session sifted out those individuals
that were not interested. The rest completed applications
and passed a variety of tests in the assessment center. It
is necessary to say that this step was rather effective as
objective observers rate the participants and the tests revealed
differed sides of the employee. This sifted out a group of
people who went through several interviews and only after
this the training for the actual job began and people were
hired. Such comprehensive approach is rather difficult, but
the result is very impressive and provided exactly what OA
wanted – good team members.
7. Would you recommend any changes in the way the organization
should recruit for future openings?
The OA’s recruitment system is progressive and effective.
It perfectly corresponds to the goal which OA put as the priorities
of the organization. A thorough selection of the potential
employees, their orientation and further training and development
of skills results in effective team work – the primary
goal of the organization. OA’s work is impressive and
it is very hard to give any kind of recommendations to its
improvement. The only recommendation would be the suggestion
to initially sort out those individuals who come to the orientation
session, because it would facilitate the following laborious
and expensive testing work.
8. OA used a comprehensive approach to employee selection,
especially through the use of an assessment center. What are
the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?
The comprehensive approach allows maximizing the probability
of choosing a good employee for the organization. It allows
analyzing the capability of the potential employee to fit
in the Team concept and ability to interact within such specific
corporative culture. The main problem is that many people
are not ready for such approach and they expect concrete individual
repeated tasks, the OA introduced a new system in which the
team is responsible for the task and not the individual. The
main disadvantage is that some employees may find it difficult
to be “paid for what they know”, because people
are ordinarily paid for “what they do”. Additional
skills result into addition compensation within seven levels
of development. The comprehensive pay and progression plan
has a concrete view of what the necessary skills are to be
and in what measure they must be demonstrated. So, it may
be said that both the advantage and the disadvantage of the
comprehensive approach to employee selection is the innovative
character of this selection which changes the mentality of
9. How would you describe the role of training in OA?
It is very hard to underestimate the role of training in OA
as it is what makes the employee “suitable” for
their places. Training is vital for OA as it is comprehensive,
it possess a systematic character in a way that the team member
constantly progress. The training always has to deal with
concrete tasks the employee may face and therefore it is always
related to it. The evaluation of the training skills is always
very objective and the whole training program uses the individual
approach to each employee. OA training gives both the theoretical
and the practical aspects of the required skill. Evidently,
OA’s training leads the employees to the “no-fail”
motivation which is priceless in terms of HR. Such training
unites the team members and the makes inter-team relations
10. How do you think the role of training and development
will change at the organization?
The only possible direction of changing training and development
at the organization is the full implementation of the Star
Concept which would eventually result into making all teams
at an equal level of development. Therefore this would extremely
raise the productivity of the organization. The training and
development may change is such a way that would allow all
the team adapt to the conditions at the same rate and correspond
to the organization’s highest expectations. OA’s
training and development is an essential aspect for the team
concept, therefore its role is expected only to grow in direct
progression to the amount of training class and their members
with special attention to the pre-hire and post-hire orientations.
From all perspectives, the role of training and development
within the OA’s team concept is to rise and become the
dominant one within the Star concept.
11. OA has developed a peer appraisal approach system that
is used within the teams. What are the advantages and disadvantages
of this approach?
Each team uses peer appraisal forms learnt from the classes
that teach employees how to actually do appraisals, avoid
pitfalls and how to help in order to assure consistency in
the process of appraisal. The main advantage of this system
of appraisals is that it helps to monitor the product quality
through performance appraisal and statistical process system.
Nevertheless, the appraisal still includes the subjectivity
factor of every individual and this becomes its main disadvantage.
This factor is very hard to eliminate, nevertheless OA’s
appraisal classes do their best in teaching the team members
how to avoid subjectivity and make the appraisals basing on
objective factors and criteria.
12. What are some of the issues related to the compensation
plan OA had to resolve?
As it has been mentioned before, the OA compensation plan
deals with the notion that the employees get paid for “what
they know”. When they come to mastering additional skills
they get addition compensation. The compensation plan is basically
a reward plan, which stimulates the employees to develop more
and more new skills required for effective completion of the
organization’s tasks. For instance, in order to assure
that team members attend team meetings – they are paid
for this one-half hour meeting. This both respects their time
and makes sure the team members interact and share their difficulties
in order to solve them. Therefore these meeting provide the
required communication between the team members and correspond
to the OA team concept. Any overtime work – is compensated
as well as team building activities. The compensation plan
helps to maintain the cross-training model and makes the team
more prepared for further problem-solving.
13. Identify some of the strategies that OA has used to enhance
OA is very interested in enhancing employee relations. According
to OA team concept it is necessary to focus on employee relations
and development activities as they establish positive relations
not only between team members but also between team members
and top-level managers. Fine communications between upper
and lower units creates the “we” attitude, which
is very important in terms of OA’s management. Basically,
the main strategy used to enhance employee is aimed at the
prevention of adversarial relationships and may be called
the “non-adversarial strategy”. Another aspect
of the strategy is enhancing employee relations through the
process of training. Plant wide meeting, team visits to the
president and quarterly communications meetings are also the
realizations of this strategy. By means of these activities
the pressure is taken away and the team concept actually starts
14. Most discipline was handled within the team structure
in OA. List the advantages and disadvantages of this approach.
As the majority of discipline was handled within the team
structure as any other aspect is has both advantages and disadvantages.
The discipline is based on the accountability system and is
a vital element of any organization. Owing to this system
the inter-team control is maintained and as the result the
quality of product raises. The advantages are the next: the
team approach allows maintaining disciple at every stage of
production, team work and team building activities. At the
same time it puts the president away from all the disciplinary
sanctions; it creates the perception of individual accountability
and therefore may undermine the top-level management authority.
This converts the team into an organization inside another
organization in which they are only interdependent.
15. Show how the following are interrelated and integrated
in OA: Employment Environment, Human Resource Planning, Recruitment,
Selection, Training and Development, Performance Appraisal,
Compensation, Employee Relations and Discipline.
OA started it work with the analysis of the employment environment
which semed suitable for the peculiarities of their offered
jobs. The process of recruitment consisted of several phases
and on each of the phases the process of selection took place
at the end resulting in a number of individuals that “fit”
the organization’s team concept. At these stage training
and development starts with the post-hire orientation. The
further development and training is stimulated by the system
of compensations. According to the system each new skills
is rewarded. The evaluation of the skills is conducted with
the help of performance appraisals when the individual passes
written and performance tests. In case the skill’s level
corresponds to the demands of the organization, the employee
get compensation. Also team meeting and team-building activities
may provide compensation too. Evidently, the OA’s team
concept implies that the team plays the role of the discipline
controller of the individuals. This is how the teams are self-managed.