Case of flex bump, Business Management

Case of Flex bump

Becker and Fagen are two observers of organizations. They are attempting to understand organizational dynamics, developments, and strategies in the firm FLEXBUMP from past to present.  This firm manufactures flexible bumpers for a wide variety of vehicles. 

Segment I: One thing Becker is particularly interested in is the reasons and ways in which organization and management practices have evolved over time and how new ways of organization and management develop.  FLEXBUMP was founded in 1896. The original manufacturing system was based on what was called the one best system and this was implemented in the FLEXBUMP factory.  It both restricted the freedom and discretion of workers and also imposed a rigid division of labor and specialization among the workforce. Over time this organizational arrangement became less and less effective as tensions emerged. Becker wants to understand why these techniques did not remain in place and why they were replaced by different organizational and management methods.  Can you provide a framework for explaining this and apply it to the case?

Segment 2: Fagen notices that over the years FLEXBUMP has developed a whole range of programs and policies that seem to involve greater communication between workers and managers and also greater levels of participation and a wider range of task responsibilities for all workers. How can you explain the increase in these programs and on what kind of theories are they based?

Segment 3: Becker is a fan of Max Weber and likes to think about bureaucracies and how they create an “iron cage” for workers. However, when he looks at the rules and regulations for employees at FLEXBUMP he notices that some rules are ignored, others are followed, and others provoke conflict. Things are more complicated than he thought. He has even found that some employees demand rules and procedures from managers. What theories and concepts can explain Becker’s observations?

Segment 4: In the 1970s FLEXBUMP faced intense competition from a Japanese producer and lost a large part of their market share. Fagen is interested in knowing what kind of changes FLEXBUMP would have made to its operations in response to both improve quality and the ability to respond more quickly to changing market conditions in styles, design, and demand?

Segment 5: Becker notices that in the 1990’s FLEXBUMP moved its centralized operations to different locations. For as long as the firm existed, research and design, manufacturing, and marketing, were all in the same Midwest United States location. In the 1990’s manufacturing was moved to South Carolina, research and design was moved to Boston, and marketing was moved to New York City. What is the theoretical rationale for this spatial division of labor and what organizational tension does this strategy address?

Posted Date: 2/14/2013 4:56:16 AM | Location : United States

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