April 18, 2011

The Treadway Tire Company

Posted in BADM 720 tagged at 3:13 pm by Sarah

This week’s reading makes the Treadway Tire plant sound like a plain lousy place to work.  The line foremen are expected to do whatever it takes to overcome factors out of their control in order to meet impossible productivity goals.  Once the witness account gets done telling the reader how awful it is to be a foreman at this factory, there is a quote from the plant manager saying that he tries to make up for it by hosting sports night at the neighborhood bar.  This seemed so ridiculous to me that it prompted me to use my highlighter for the first time on this reading, only to scribble a bright blue question mark in the margin.

It just seems to me that the time and money and effort spent on work-endorsed alcoholism could have been put to better use, perhaps actually improving the working conditions that drive the foremen to drinking in the first place.  Some ideas could include scheduling a reasonable eight-hour workday instead of a soul-crushing twelve, or making sure that the various teams around the plant have the equipment and staffing needed to do their jobs.

The other item in this reading that caught my attention was the part about how the foremen are trained.  The account says that they are told by former foremen that they simply have to be strict with their direct reports, that there is no other way to keep the rabble in line.  If this were a company practicing evidence-based management, they would instead be reading the research on management practices and encouraging the foremen to experiment and find a management style that suits them and their teams.

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