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!
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences