Although several well-known companies, such as 3M, Gore, Milliken and Toyota, can serve as real-life examples of how large organizations have capitalized on their employees’ ideas for workplace improvement, this researcher chose to conduct a case study of a small metals manufacturer, MetalFab (pseudonym used in this study), located in the east central area of the United States. In June 2006, MetalFab implemented a new suggestion program to generate employee ideas for workplace improvement that replaced an earlier unsuccessful program. This study explores the theory surrounding employee involvement in suggestion programs and, more specifically, the impact leadership has had on the level of employee involvement in contributing ideas for workplace improvement in the new program. A research methodology that was largely qualitative, utilized primary data from individual interviews with leaders and employee focus groups and observation. From the quantitative perspective, organizational data were analyzed with the use of NVivo8 to identify the most important themes and patterns from the results of the interviews and focus groups. The summary of the study includes two tiers of recommendations. The first recommendations address current weaknesses in the internal communication channels, the leadership structure and the suggestion system. These recommendations should improve the leaders’ impact to the employees’ participation in the suggestion system. The next set of recommendations includes specific, in-depth actions that will make the organization’s suggestion system even more effective.
|Subjects||Management; Labor relations|
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