A major turnaround from massive lay-offs to hiring employees : a company culture proved more accurate than management's predictions

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Goodnight, Ronald Keith
McElhinney, James H.
Issue Date
Thesis (D. Ed.)
Center for Lifelong Education
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This in-depth study looked at a major manufacturing company during a year when management projected contract losses and massive lay-offs and terminations. The company's hourly employee culture indicated that the major automotive customers of the company were influential driving forces and would rescue the company from the dire management predictions. The principal major research question was to determine the accuracy of predictions based upon the company's hourly workers' culture versus management's predictions and actions based upon external sources.Another investigation area was the company management's actions to manifest their avowed "our employees are our most valuable resource and asset" belief statement. Similarly, would the Professional and Technician Equal Employment Opportunity job groups have the smallest percent of reduction, since the company's primary strength was purported to lie in its engineering and technical employees?Interviews, data collection and analysis, and monthly task force investigations and communications revealed the company culture was definitely more accurate than the numerous predictions made by management. As the "culture" predicted, the loss of the contracts did not occur. The company concluded the year with increases in total employment. Temporary lay-offs did occur during the year and management took numerous actions to help both retained employees and those being terminated or laid-off. Such actions included outplacement services, stress reduction programs, job placement and resume writing, and instituting communication networks and procedures and a Dispute Resolution Procedure. The company did show that the employees were valuable and important assets.The reduction numbers and percents for the Professionals (engineers) and Technicians were exactly opposite of what management typically avowed. The largest category reduced was the Technicians and the second-largest category was the Professionals.The company continued to be quite viable and the future outlook became optimistic, which coincides with the company culture that the major automotive customers will always be there needing the company's products.The company management took several steps to prevent their predictions from occurring, while hourly employees, using only history which is not a very dependable source for industry today, happened to be correct in this study.The primary conclusion was that the culture of the company's hourly workers was more accurate in predicting the future than management's predictions based on supposed knowledgeable external sources. It was recommended that internal cultural based predictions and externally based information be blended together for the most accurate predictions. This will provide all managements everywhere a better information base for making decisions, particularly strategic planning decisions.