Case Study Motivation Production Slowdown at bendum metal fab,inc

Case Study 2

Motivation: Production Slowdown at Bendum Metal Fab, Inc.


When the new supervisor improves production dramatically at the expense of employee relations, the plant must face rumblings of rebellion. The incident calls for considering grievances, using authority, gaining acceptance of change, generating motivation, obtaining commitment, and linking output with job satisfaction.


May B. Wright had been made supervisor of a production line at Bendum Metal Fabrication, Inc.(BMF). The plant manager, Sommer Flimsay, made her responsible for operating the entire production line efficiently and effectively. Wright supervised 6 forepersons and 48 assembly line workers. Her job was to keep the assembly line going at the scheduled 150 units per hour.

When Wright took the supervisor’s job two months previously, the production line was losing 90 minutes of production a day. Line stoppages, maintenance problems, absenteeism, and workers stopping the line for repair were some causes of lost production. The 90-minute loss was approximately 20 percent of the daily operating schedule.

Wright reduced absenteeism and took other steps to prevent the loss of scheduled production time. She kept the main line going even when some feeder lines stopped. “The workers don’t like it,” said Wright. “They resent working the required 7 hours and 45 minutes a day instead of only 6 hours and 30 minutes.”

The disgruntlement of the production line workers toward Wright seemed to be centered in Izzy Short and Monica-Lou Inski. The complaints against Wright were varied and included the following. Both Short and Monica-Lou said that Wright laid off workers for being two minutes late. They also said that Wright had forepersons picking up trash. Short said that Wright had threatened him with an iron bar about eight inches long and claimed that Wright was guilty of using “speed-up” tactics. Insky said she had friends in high places and would do whatever it took to get some action. As a result of these events, the two filed a formal grievance targeting Wright.

The plant manager knew that Wright was the target of increasingly vitriolic verbal protests by Short and Inski. Both were openly defiant and implied that they were ready to take matters into their own hands, especially Monica-Lou.

Confronted with this high and rising level of employee unrest, the plant manager reflected upon Wright’s inability to achieve simultaneously adequate production and adequate behavioral relations with her workers. He wondered “Are these two goals necessarily incompatible? Does the problem lie with Wright, the assembly line workers, or the situation?” More importantly, Flimsay knew that prompt decisions an actions were essential to defuse the explosive situation. He particularly didn’t want the press to get hold of all this and blow it all out of proportion.

While action was immediately needed to extinguish the agitation among the assembly line workers, the plant manager wished to use Wright in a positive role, and he desired to maintain the improved production rates achieved under Wright’s leadership. For the longer run, he reasoned that developing specific operational policies would be essential in areas such as supervisory training, introduction of change, team building, and other areas relevant to balancing supervisory concern for task performance with concern for behavioral relationships. Implementation of these policies would be difficult, and he knew it. As the plant manager pondered his plight, his stress increased. He was uncertain where to begin. Should he call his lawyer first, or later?


Analyze the scenario from a motivational theory standpoint. As a personnel specialist, develop a strategy BASED ON SOUND PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY to motivate the workers to buy into the systems. Wright, not being a good manager, has contributed to her line workers’ disenchantment. She did not anticipate the motivational problem she helped create. However, you, as a clever personnel specialist, can help salvage the manager and improve the line workers’ morale by using your knowledge of motivational theories. You should consider the various theories such as: need, equity, expectancy, goal setting and intrinsic motivation. Which one(s) should be incorporated in your plan to help motivate (train) Wright and which one(s) should be employed to motivate the line workers?

The personnel manager, Kit Gloves, has asked you to:

Develop a strategy to solve this motivational problem
Present it to her and Sommer, the plant manager

Submit your strategy in a presentation to be presented to the manager and Sommer. Presentations must have at a minimum 6 slides (including title slide, table of context slide and work cited slide). You MUST use at least 1 source.

Case Study Rubric
Case Study Rubric
Criteria Ratings Pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome
Grammar and Mechanics

5.0 pts
Full Marks

2.5 pts
Half Marks

0.0 pts
No Marks

5.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome

5.0 pts
Answers questions based on own view point and knowledge

2.5 pts
Answers minimal questions with own view point

0.0 pts
No reference used

5.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome
Quality of Answer
Answers provide quality information to answer question.

10.0 pts
Answers all questions with references and shows evidence of knowledge

5.0 pts
Answers questions with or without reference and provides minimal evidence of knowledge

0.0 pts
Does not answer questions with reference or evidence of knowledge

10.0 pts

Total Points: 20.0

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