Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Faster employees may indirectly motivate colleagues to increase production

16.06.2010
You wouldn't think that there would be much similarity between a hockey line and an automobile assembly line. However, University of Alberta management-science researcher Ken Schultz says that both groups can learn something about line design and human behaviour, which may help them perform better.

Schultz, who recently published an article in Management Science, analyzed production-line data from a General Motors plant and identified that there seemed to be a shift in how fast the task was completed. What he and his fellow researchers hypothesized was that these workers, who were performing similar tasks, were positively influenced by the performance on a fellow worker who completed his task more efficiently.

Schultz found that an individual's performance level may have a direct effect on what becomes "a good day's work" in that some members may change their work behaviour to match the output of their co-worker.

Schultz ties the results of their study to the principle of equity theory, or the idea that motivation comes from fair treatment—a good day's work for a good day's pay. "The workers may think 'we're not really connected, so I have no real reason to care about how fast you are working. But I'm a human being and I do care, and I do notice,'" said Schultz, who concluded that is possible for "people [to] change based on what they see."

Part of that change, Schultz found in his analysis of the production-line data, was that, by changing up lines to introduce a higher-performing worker to an average or lower-than-average performing line, an impact can be made on efficiency or productivity.

However, Schultz notes, simple switching people on teams will not produce the desired effect. In a plant, as in hockey, knowing which players to change up will provide the most benefit.

"You'd look for the person who's a good performer but doesn't react to others around him; that's the person you want to move to the low-level team," he said, because "there's a good chance he's going to be a person who has proven to be a leader.

Schultz also noted that the design of the workspace is equally important in influencing productivity, yet is an aspect that is ignored when designing new plants or redesigning workspaces. The key is to arrange the area so that workers are facing each other when performing their tasks, rather than facing away from each other, or in same direction. Allowing the workers to observe and monitor the speed of their co-workers is the necessary catalyst for the behavioural change to occur, he says.

"You don't have to say anything, you don't have to do anything, you don't have to put a flashing light over their head, said Schultz. "Just make sure people can see each other and allow the workers to do what they would naturally do."

Thus, whether seeking to improve productivity or build a strong contender for Lord Stanley's Cup, Schultz says that, while the environments and processes are different, being mindful of the human element and its motivational properties can produce the desired effect.

"Good coaches have seen this, and we have research that shows it's being doing in the factory floor as well," said Schultz. "You want your team to have not just good or average—or even great players—that can play well no matter where they are.

"To get that extra bit, you want to find the good or great players who will perform better around other great players."

Jamie Hanlon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From Hannover around the world and to the Mars: LZH delivers laser for ExoMars 2020

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Borophene shines alone as 2-D plasmonic material

21.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos

21.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>