Organizational Structures: An Analysis
This analysis paper will focus on the organizational structure and prevailing culture of FMC Corporations’ two subsets – FMC Green River and FMC Aberdeen – amongst its five businesses: Industrial Chemicals, Performance Chemicals, Precious Metals, Defense Systems, and Machinery & Equipment. What are the differences between FMC Green River and FMC Aberdeen and how do these differences impact the organizations’ contributions to the mother conglomerate company of FMC Corporation? In addressing these, we will be discussing the three major facets occurring in both organizations – management principles, work units and, communication processes. Management principles involve rules for directing an organization, aimed at continually improving performance by focusing on customers while considering the requirements of all stakeholders (Forsberg, 2006).
FMC Aberdeen, South Dakota, being run by Bob Lancaster, is directed towards a participative-based management organization. Lancaster strongly believes in the power of people empowerment by entrusting a high-level of trust and respect to all employees, thereby encouraging its members to contribute to the overall performance of the company, as he is well aware that he is indeed, a major stakeholder. Lancaster’s master of sitting down with other human beings enables him to reinforce that although he is the captain of the ship, he is still one with his crew – as he values them like the way he is also looked up to. However, this unorthodox form of management or the participative management may not work well for everyone, as various technical skills in the decision-making process will be necessary (Robbins, 2006). FMC Green River in South Dakota, under the regulation of Kenneth Dailey, is founded in the model of the path-goal theory where the leaders are assisting their followers to attain their personal and corporate objectives, which will in turn, empower people (Robbins, 2006). Consequently, they are able to deliver more high-quality forms of customer service.
With a long-running mark in the industry since 1948, the organization should remain competitive in the market as they hold a unique selling point: the largest sodium tri-polyphosphate plant in the world. Given this stature, Dailey strengthens the core competency of his employees also by entrusting high trust and initiating interaction between divisions. This will develop interdependency, at the same time, coordination between divisions, with the same goal of improving outputs for increased customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction in the corporate arena is a corporate value that runs in a two-way direction: towards the one receiving the service and towards the one delivering it (De Castro, 2007).
With over 1,150 employees servicing over 100 customers of specialized chemicals, the level of management directive indeed is a major component in the sphere of influence. Comparing the abovementioned management approaches, FMC Aberdeen enhances and rewards the contributing work units to generate increased productivity, while it is the other way around for FMC Green River – management gearing the productivity level of the units to increase customer satisfaction and thereby empowering the people at work. The organizations’ varying fundamental work units will further support these differences.
The basic work unit in FMC Aberdeen is the working team. These self-directing teams are encouraged to optimally perform and deliver best results whilst utilizing their acquired or inherent skills. Work teams synergize energies together as they are by nature, works collectively in performance (Robbins, 2006). They accomplish the work but also take on a management role – that primarily functions like their supervisors and managers. This allows managers to be their mentor and facilitate rather than simply lead and control (Williams, 1995).
100 employees servicing a single customer of only one type of product specialized in defense is the role set Aberdeen by team performance. Lancaster believes that technical skills in choosing employees will come in secondary as these can be easily trained than personal and interpersonal skills and working attitudes. Key work deliverables of the work units are measured against by its ability to contribute and take full accountability of an initiative that aims to optimize manufacturing processes. Lancaster’s style of management reflected impressive results in operations and productivity (increased output with decreased costs) and in organizational behavior (high employee morale and enthusiastic highly-skilled personnel). This working teams environment is not prevalent in FMC Green River, if so, they are not as demonstrative as the ones in Aberdeen. The existing union (United Steel Workers of America) however, is more transparent in the organization. Team leaders in Aberdeen play a vital role in meeting the targets set by the unit, but in the case of Green River, power relies heavily on the managerial executives, although without ignoring their staff. Nevertheless, assuming that Green River’s divisions work interdependently among the rest of the units, a working team with a dedicated team leader will be able to serve as the speaker of the house. Representation within units to the management will enable employees to feel more involved and their actions all influence FMC’s state of profitability and productivity.
Finally, communication processes have been called the lifeblood of organizations. It is a vital aspect of human behavior, and how it was delivered and understood can strengthen or ruin relationships in organizations (Carrell, 2006). In FMC Aberdeen, there are basically, the plant manager, purchasing manager, production manager and administration manager who oversee all of the teams. The level of bureaucracy is not as long a ladder-stall – giving more emphasis on team members’ responsibility in the course of their work. Though FMC’s defense segment was only 30 percent of overall sales and Aberdeen’s part was only 3 percent of the defense business, they are still playing with flying colors. Small units may come in small packages but may deliver the largest and most remarkable results. High bureaucracy is maintained in FMC Green River which is not seen as a drawback but even as a necessity, given the expanse of their operational procedures. However, this system should not be a hindrance to individual employees to excel. When breakthrough ideas rise, it should be heard and not restricted; should be put into action if found advantageous and not killed. Green River may comprise of the highest paid employees among the FMCs, but money is not everything to sustain and develop progressively the business and its people.
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Williams, R. 1995. Self-directed Work Teams: A Competitive Advantage. Retrieved from www.qualitydigest.com on 27 July 2007