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Title: Organic structures for manufacturing support services: the role of affective commitment
Authors: Jaaron, Ayham A.M.
Keywords: Manufacturing support services
Affective commitment
Organic structures
Service design
Service operations
Mechanistic structures
Systems thinking
Case study
Implementation methodology
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: © Ayham A.M. Jaaron
Abstract: Manufacturing support services, operating as call centres, are one of the fastest growing and preferred means of service delivery in today's ever-changing manufacturing environment. The call centre has a significant potential to provide support to manufacturing organizations with business intelligence captured during contacts with customers. Research has shown that affective commitment is of particular significance in the workplace since this has been found to have the greatest impact on individuals performance, on-work behaviour and ultimately organisational effectiveness (Porter, Steers & Boulian 1974, Sung 2007, Shum 2008, Herscovitch 2002, Gong 2009). Meyer and Allen (1991) define affective commitment as a measure of the employee's emotional attachment to the organisation, the strength of identification with the goals of the organisation and strength of commitment to its success and continuous improvement. However, call centres are mechanistic structure models represented by close monitoring of words, stressful working loads, emotional exhaustion and burnout, and minor empowerment of employees. As a result employees lack affective commitment which detrimentally influences the service quality and has consequences such as high employee turnover and low customer satisfaction. Mechanistic structures are inward oriented structures that must be shielded from the environment but call centres are outward-facing entities. This firmly implies that call centres must be given a certain form of organic structure that will stimulate affective commitment building among employees and improve work conditions. This study aims to identify that by the implementation of an organic structure, through a systems engineering approach, to the design of manufacturing support services, the affective commitment of front-line employees will significantly increase, and due to that significant, but often counter-intuitive, benefits can be created. Conducted on a multiple-case design, three organisations were selected in this research study to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. Results were analysed for each case individually before it was analysed on inter-case basis. This has been done to show differences and similarities in patterns of data across the case studies. Results from the research show that structuring call centres around the principles of systems thinking will produce an organically structured support services department that will improve employees working conditions, and will formally institute the integration of call centre with other business units in the manufacturing organisation. The cross-case comparison revealed significant improvement in employees affective commitment level using organic structure when contrasted with employees working under mechanistic structure designs. It was revealed that by leveraging employee s affective commitment that significant benefits can be created at different levels in the organisation; an employee s level, managerial level, customer level, and the overall business level. A novel methodology for organic structures implementation, as a value creating model, was formulated. The emerged methodology consists of six major tasks and a decision making criteria. Results from this research indicate that there is a need for manufacturing organisations to structure their support services departments following organic structures that could provide a rewarding working experience for their employees while achieving organisational goals. The study makes an explicit practical contribution for manufacturing organisations in the selection of proper support service design and contribute substantially to the theory about manufacturing support services structures and management.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/6338
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering)

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