Case Analysis: Rl Wolfe

2344 words - 9 pages

INTRODUCTION
RL Wolfe is an engineering and productions company that deals with the production of plastic pipes. The company has its headquarters in Houston, Texas. It is worth 350 million dollars and has three branches that include Wolfe’s Austin based in Texas, Columbus based in Ohio and the most recent branch that the company acquired based in Corpus Christi, Texas. The company has been trying to adopt new human resource management (HRM) practices in a bid to increase the productivity. The new HRM strategy is the adoption of self-directed teams (SDTs). The strategy began as an experimental strategy on the workforce in Corpus Christi in a bid to raise the production of the company workforce to 95%.
HRM in any company is a weighty issue that needs much attention where business performance is linked to a HR strategy (Caldwell 2008; Ulrich et al. 2008). In the recent past, competition has become stiff, such that organizations need to come up with other means to compete in the extremely dynamic market world. Thus, companies have shifted their emphasis to Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) where they enhance and empower their personnel in order to increase the productivity and the services offered into the market (Mello 2006). This goes against the traditional ways of increasing the means of competition where organizations place emphasis on tangible resources. In the past, organizations competed in terms of machinery and acquisitions. This has changed greatly due to the changing customer tastes and the diversity of the market in the present (Delery & Doty 1996; Lengnick-Hall et al. 2009).
HR PROBLEM/MAIN ISSUE
RL Wolfe decided to try the SHRM through self-driven teams. In the past, the company had highly unionized structure that was complicated with the chains of command from the highest levels of management to the lowest subordinate structure (Garvin & Collins 2009). This meant that the decision making responsibilities were left with the highest offices solely and the employees had no say in the decisions not taking into considerations whether the decisions affect them directly or not. The system also had narrow and specific job descriptions. The employees in the company were divided into various categories according to their seniority and the wages received. The job done by each employee was meant to be mastered as there was minimal or no rotation. This reduced the employee interaction, and they were not able to be innovative enough. An example of an issue that was caused by the narrow job descriptions was that whenever there was a fault in the line, operations had to come to a standstill as the line operators waited for the technicians to fix the problems (Garvin & Collins 2009). This happened even when one of the employees in the line operation knew how to fix the problem, as that was not part of their job description.
Unionized Free market firm: innovative strategy, SDTs
• Highly hierarchical structure • Flattened hierarchical...

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