Quiz 19: Managing Quality and Performance

Business

Company L has a very successful performance management system that they tried to implement overseas. Unfortunately the efforts to implement the methods in other countries did not work. Company L is now trying to determine whether the failures were due to poor implementation, or whether the culture in other countries is just not compatible with its ways of successfully doing business in the U.S. Company L's structure in the U.S. is decentralized, with employees being greatly responsible for their own performance. For example: • Sales reps are given technical training , so they can answer customer questions effectively on their own and better understand the customer's needs. This gives them the ability to help customers without bringing in additional technical staff. • Employees are given precise work standards , and are then paid based on their productivity in meeting those standards on a per-item basis. This gives them a lot of control over their own compensation. • Supervisors oversee 100 employees , which mean that employees will receive minimal attention from management and must monitor their own performance.

A manager should convince the employees that a customer service problem which exists can provide quantitative data or customer anecdotes as proof. Both types of information can be important in identifying and defining a problem; however in the case of participative management, the anecdotes are likely to be more effective. These stories will present the problem in an easy-to-understand way and will inspire staff to figure out ways to better help the customers. Once the staff is ready to deal with the identified problem, they can seek out quantitative data on their own to guide their progress.

Loss prevention expert C is recommending a change in the shoplifting policy at Company W, which would modify the current "zero tolerance" policy to one where first time offenders under 18 or over 65 would not be prosecuted unless the items they took exceeded a specified limit. Although it is a change from the long-term established policy at Company W, they should select option #2 as their new shoplifting policy. This policy does not prosecute first time offenders under 18 or over 65 unless the items they took exceeded a value of $20. This change in policy has the following benefits to Company W: • It reduces their prosecution costs , which are high and hurting the company results. • It shows sensitivity to specific groups - teenagers and older adults - who are first time offenders. This hopefully gives these people the opportunity to regret their decision to steal from the store and decide not to repeat it without the stigma of a prosecution on their record. • It frees up time and money for other activities , which might allow the company to improve their business results through promotions or other actions. The company is losing money, and prosecuting these low-value first time offenders requires attorney fees and staff time which can now be focused on other activities.