1. What changes in the work situation might account for the increase in productivity and the decrease in controllable rejects? The changes in the work situation that might account for the increase in productivity and the subsequent decrease in controllable defects are the redesign of the work flow and the increase in the work responsibility assigned to each worker. The redesign of the work flow allowed workers to assemble a unit of the hotplate instead of only a part over and over again. This resulted to 'empowered' workers as they now feel that they own the job as shown by the declaration "Now, it is my hotplate."
Given the more responsibility, the workers became more empowered and accountable with their jobs and tasks. Each worker was treated as an individual creating a hot plate instead of just a part of the process. I believe the workers gained ownership and pride in their work. The workers took something and made it their own which resulted in a better sense of self-worth and more pride in their work. With a new sense of ownership and pride, the assembly line mentality disappeared. Instead of the same old job, it became personal. The rejects declined because the workers are focused on completing the task that they are now more responsible for completing. Since the hotplate is now their piece, the workers are more precise and accurate in making a piece they can be proud of which eliminates or decreases the rejects.
2. What might account for the drop in absenteeism and the increase in morale? The changes on how the hotplates are assembled are probably the most important factor that can account for the significant drop in absenteeism and the increase in morale. This is so because as the job tasks became more complicated and allowed the workers to actually own the final output motivated the same workers to be more responsible are regards how the plates are assembled. The work environment became structured as to create a work environment that allowed the workers to feel valued and challenged. The company looked at the workers strengths and their preferences, and created the work assignments toward giving individual workers tasks that are well-suited to their special skills which created pride in their building their own hot plate.
3. What were the major changes in the situation? Which changes were under the control of the manager? Which were controlled by workers? The major changes in the situation were the assembly line system for manufacturing the hotplate which is entirely under the manager's control and the number of times or hours spend in the assembly line which is entirely under the workers control.
4. What might happen if the workers went back to the old assembly line method? If the workers went back to the old assembly line, I believe that the productivity and rate of reject would become even worse than their levels before the changes in the assembly line were implemented. Moreover, absenteeism and morale will also be worse off. This is so because the workers have already experienced a system that is much better than the old method and return to this old way will further demotivate them. If the workers were forced to go back to the old way of assembly it could lead to a lot of stress for the workers. Stress can lead to a lot of absenteeism from being ill. Stress can also lead to workers leaving the company and looking for another job.
Stress will also affect the productivity of the workers. Stress creates low morale and low motivation to complete a work task which results in problems for the employer. The workers may also feel unappreciated and not a part of the organization if they are forced back to the old way of doing things. This could result in anger, resentment, and an employee that does not want to work for you and definitely does not want to give 100% for the employer. Reverting back to an old way may look good on paper but it could be devastating not only for the workers but for the employer as well.