This paper is about All American Group, a company that has ventured in prefabricated buildings. The company was founded in 1964 and is currently based in Indiana, USA (All American Group, 2015). All American Group is among the leading companies in the US that have ventured in off-site construction of homes. The company started as Coachmen Industries, and has since grown in leaps and bounds. In fact, at some point, the company featured on the New York Stock Exchange. However, following a series of challenges, the company could not maintain the required listing standards of the NYSE. Consequently, it was delisted in 2009 but it is still involved in modular homes construction (Andrews & Wood, 2013). This background paper explores possible impacts of problems that All American Group has been facing in its productivity. Included are recommendations on how the problems can be solves, as well as suggestions for a training program for the whole company on best practices.
Possible Effects of Problems Facing All American Group
All American Group has faced a myriad of problems in recent years to the point that its productivity has dropped significantly. Role conflicts are among the major problems facing the company. Problem of role conflicts comes about because of the company’s divided attention. The company has also ventured in the manufacture of buses through All American Specialty Vehicles (Andrews & Wood, 2013). The manufacture of vehicles is a joint venture with ARBOC Mobility. Whereas All American Group is being motivated by the desire to register greater success by venturing in the motor vehicle industry, it faces a big challenge because of the incompatible demands that arise. It should be noted that the motor vehicle industry is completely different from the construction industry and therefore it requires different strategies to approach the two industries. The management of All American Group is likely to face challenges in the coming days as far as planning is concerned.
The problem of role conflicts is likely to cripple the company’s investment in modular housing. It has already been mentioned herein that All American Group has registered success over the years, to become one of the leading companies that are in the business of modular housing. This success is under threat because of the persistent problem of role conflicts. The Housing Group is being faced with challenge of defining the roles and responsibilities of workers. For this reason, some workers are forced to be involved in the roles that differ because of lack of clear boundaries. Sometimes workers are assigned more roles than they can handle. This trend is likely to affect employees’ performance because it puts the workers under intense pressure. The problem may get out of hand when workers become stressed to the point of becoming dissatisfied with their jobs.
Group members are also facing communication problems in All American Group. The company’s expansion over the years is one of the reasons as to why the company is experiencing internal communication problems. The company is likely to face hierarchy problems in the near future because workers at the bottom are continuously finding it hard to access the company’s top management. Some of the workers may be having concerns but they cannot air them out to the management because of inaccessibility of the management. In the long run, the relationship between the workers and the management will deteriorate. The company has a large work force with different employees being assigned different roles. Therefore, unless simple communication lines are created, some employees may not get the chance to access the top management. For instance, the workers who are involved in putting up houses for clients may not get the time to meet with the managers unless arrangements are made.
All American Group has also been experiencing communication problems because it undertakes various construction projects, some of which are located far from the main office. It should be noted that constant communication is required in the course of these projects. The company is also expecting that it will be involved in more projects as economic conditions continue to improve. With an increase in the number of projects being undertaken, communication problems are bound to worsen unless proper plans are laid out. Otherwise, some projects may be crippled in the event that there is poor communication. The continuous expansion of All American Group has also forced the company to resort to the use of memos and emails. Communicating through such means may not be effective in gathering information about everything that is going on the ground. For this reason, parties that have been assigned different projects may begin to feel detached.
Lack of cohesion is yet another problem being faced by various stakeholders in All American Group. This problem is likely to affect the company’s success in future. All American Group has been facing this problem for a long time. In fact, in 2009 Rick Bedell, the Housing Group President, pointed out that cohesion was not just a problem in the company but also in the entire construction industry (Andrews & Wood, 2013). It should be noted that work in All American Group suffers because of lack of cohesion. The situation was made worse when the company took the step to invest in the motor vehicle industry. The step was not a bad idea as such because it boosts the company’s income. However, ensuring that there is cohesion between the two businesses that the company operates has proven to be a challenge. The company is yet to come up with a way of promoting interdependence between the workers of the Housing Group and the workers of the Specialty Vehicle Group.
The company also comprises of workers who differ significantly in various aspects. The workers have different personal backgrounds which influence their attitudes. For this reason, trust cannot be established among the workers as soon as they meet and start working together. The problem of cohesion is bound to persist in All American Group as long as the company continues to have diverse members. The Housing Group, for instance, needs employees with different skills to accomplish different tasks. Some workers usually take care of preparing prefabricated materials. Other workers are involved in transporting materials to construction sites, while others are involved in putting up houses. These workers should develop a spirit of interdependency so that they can work towards the common goal of accomplishing organizational tasks (Caruth & Handlogten, 2008). If the problem of cohesion in groups is not addressed in good time, the completion of various projects that the company is involved in will be delayed.
All American Group has been faced intergroup conflicts, especially in the recent past. It should be noted that the company is made up of various groups, where each group plays a specific role. For the company to register success, each of the groups should play its part as and when it is called upon. There have been reported cases, where some groups of employees have engaged in battles with other groups. For instance, groups in charge of putting up houses on construction sites have registered complains on incompatibility of some prefabricated designs many times (Andrews & Wood, 2013). Production teams often cite incompetency to be a reason why those in charge of construction have had difficulties in assembling the prefabricated homes. Groups in charge of transportation also accuse the production department of producing poor quality products whenever breakages are reported during transportation. The production department has been countering such accusations by accusing the transportation department of carelessness.
As intergroup conflicts continue to escalate in All American Group, the company’s operations will be affected. It should be noted that these conflicts become unhealthy when the quality of services rendered to clients become affected. Clients usually associate poor quality services with the entire organization irrespective of where the problem arises. Therefore, the intergroup conflicts could have far-reaching effects if they persist. Some groups may end up being closed off from other groups because they may create perceptions that groups differ in status. At the end of it all, communication among the affected groups may be impaired. It should be noted that communication promotes interdependence among different groups that exist in organizations. Therefore, when intergroup conflicts get out of hand, operations in All American Group will be affected. The company’s productivity will suffer a blow because it will be difficult to meet clients’ needs as different groups in the company will not be working towards a common goal.
Recommendations on How the Problems Facing All American Group Can Be Resolved
The problem of role conflict comes about in the House Group of the All American Group because the group is made up of various members whose roles are not clearly defined. The role of transportation department appears to be clearly defined. However, the roles of groups in charge of prefabricated materials production and those who have to go out to attend to construction projects tend to bring about confusion. Therefore, going forward the company should ensure that roles and responsibilities of different groups are defined as far as projects and tasks are concerned. In the absence of clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the different groups working in the company, tasks will always be assigned randomly whenever need arises (Chelst & Canbolat, 2011). In such cases, conflicts are likely to arise when some parties feel that the decisions that have been arrived at have crossed certain boundaries of responsibilities.
Role conflicts also arise when workers are required to be in charge of various roles. When workers have a myriad of responsibilities, they may find it hard to cope with the demands of each role. Therefore, defining the roles and responsibilities of each worker does not solve the problem of role conflict completely. Part of the solution lies in assigning workers’ roles that they can accomplish comfortably. The roles should be challenging but not impossible to accomplish. The problem of role conflict usually ends up stressing workers. It should be noted that in most cases workers’ dissatisfaction is believed to arise when workers are stressed by their work. Therefore, All American Group should focus on eliminating role conflicts in the groups working in the company.
All American Group should put in place measures to ensure that communication problems are solved before it is too late. The company should note that hierarchy creates communication problems. Therefore, the company should ensure that simple communication lines are created. This will make it easy for workers to access the top management without going through unnecessary intermediaries. While some workers may hold low positions, they may be in a position to spot issues that may have great effect on the entire company. Such workers can inform managers about various issues effectively if they can communicate with the management directly (Lussier, 2011). In addition, establishing simple communication channels, which make managers accessible, make it possible for the top management to know about problems that workers face before situations get out of hand. The same should also apply to the personal problems of workers.
All American Group should set aside time for regular meetings because they can go a long way to solve communication problems. While making the management more accessible through simple communication channels may be the most effective way, it may consume the managers’ time. Therefore, instead of allowing every worker to meet managers as and when they like, there should be team meetings. Such meetings can save time because in most cases workers from one department have similar concerns. Some workers may also not be confident to meet with managers to present their concerns. Such workers can get courage through interactive forums, where managers meet and interact with workers. Meetings also reduce the need to use emails and memos to communicate with workers. Many workers are not particularly comfortable with memos because they are usually used to pass across orders on what managers have decided about. Communication ensures that workers are involved in decision making on various issues. Therefore, they are more likely to embrace whatever the management communicates through memos.
All American Group can register greater success if it can manage to establish and maintain cohesion among various groups in the company. The first step that the company should take is to ensure that trust prevails in the company. It should be noted that the company has recruited workers whose beliefs and values differ significantly. Therefore, they do not start trusting each other as soon as they make their way in the organization. Given that workers in different groups differ, as it has been explained herein, establishing trust among them is the way to go. This will make the workers concentrate on the roles that they have to play because they would be having the confidence that other workers will take care of the rest. Trust will also encourage consultation whenever the workers are stuck. At the end of it all, employees of the company will become more connected and group cohesion will be established.
To solve the problem of lack of cohesion in All American Group in the long term, the company should focus on creating and maintaining greater similarity. Similarity will come in handy in promoting cohesion among coworkers because it involves having a workforce of individuals who have a lot in common. The company can establish entry criteria for each of the groups of workers. This will ensure that an individual will only qualify to join a specific group if he/she meets most of the requirements for the group in question. This measure will also go a long way to eliminate division in groups because workers will treat each other as equals. Greater similarities among members of a group increase the sense of belonging among the members. This creates an environment, where cohesive relationships among coworkers are established. To maintain cohesion in the company, interactive and bonding activities should be organized on a regular basis.
The problem of intergroup conflicts can be solved by first establishing the nature, the cause, and the seriousness of the conflict in question. This will be the key in ensuring that a collaborative approach is adopted in ending an intergroup conflict. The authorities and roles of the conflicting groups should be clarified because in most cases conflicts arise because of the perception that groups’ statuses differ (Lussier, 2011). Once roles have been clarified, the company should move to address differences and any forms of power imbalances. All American Group should concentrate on establishing a collaborative culture in the company. This can be done by ensuring that good communication systems are created and maintained to ensure that different groups work together. However, in doing this the company should ensure that healthy competition is encouraged in the company.
Suggestions for a Company-Wide Training Program On Best Practices for Group Productivity
Employee engagement plays a key role in ensuring success of an organization (Krozer, 2008). The more the workers are involved in best practices, the higher the chances that their productivity will improve. However, it should be noted that employee engagement requires training because of the mental, behavioral, and emotional engagement that is involved. One of the company-wide best practices training programs that All American Group can adopt is introducing a training and development program. The company’s employees require specific knowledge, skills, and abilities that can enable them to make appropriate decisions and thus take the rights actions. The level of employees’ involvement in the activities of the company depends on the level of skills and abilities that the employees possess. For such a training and development program to work, employees should also be committed to it. Therefore, All American Group should ensure that the employees not only support the program but are also part of the entire program.
In establishing a training and development program, All American Group should take into consideration group dynamics. It has been mentioned herein that similarities come in handy in ensuring that there is cohesion among the employees of an organization (Krozer, 2008). Usually, a group comprises of people who differ significantly in terms of characteristics. Even with the differences, the groups are required to deliver. Therefore, in the face of workers’ differences, employees should work together to achieve organizational goals. A training and development program would ensure that all workers of each group are equipped with the necessary skills and attitudes that would enable them to add value to the groups (Phillips & Stan, 2011). In fact, training should start as employees make their entry into the company. This will ensure that they catch up with group members that they will be working with. The training and development programs should also focus on employee development, which is to be based on exchanges where employees benefit from one another.
The flow of information is also crucial in an organization because it affects the workers and hence groups’ productivity. As employees work in groups, they should share information on a regular basis. It should be noted that groups consist of individuals who have varying skills and abilities. Some workers or groups may be involved in developing information on output, others on expenses, incomes, and profitability, while others may take care of customers’ reaction (Phillips & Stan, 2011). Given the varying nature of groups and information they handle, All American Group should develop a training program that will be used to ensure that groups learn how to create information systems and share them with the concerned parties in good time. Training individual employees as well as groups on the procedures of handling information systems will ensure that the flow of information in All American Group improves significantly. Productivity in the company will improve because individual employees and groups will always have timely access to information that they need.
All American Group is a company based in Indiana, USA. The company deals with preparing prefabricated building materials but recently it has expanded to the venture in the manufacture of buses. The company currently faces a myriad of problems, which are likely to affect the productivity of the company in the near future. The company struggles with problems of role conflicts, inefficient communication, lack of cohesion, and intergroup conflicts. To improve productivity of different groups in the company, these problems have to be solved. There is also the need to improve workers’ engagement in activities of the company. This should start with the establishment of a training and development program that will be used to ensure that workers are equipped with the required skills and abilities. Such a step will go a long way to ensure that every employee is productive.