A significant number of organizations are increasingly facing intense competition for survival in a market environment that is characterized by high levels of volatility. Organizational performance and motivation are some of the essential tools that can be used for the attainment of the long term success of the firm (Banerjee, 2002). This implies that measuring the performance of an organization is a critical aspect of organizational management due to the fact that it serves to indicate the firm’s progress and achievement. Baum (1996) asserts that the organizational structure is a core factor that influences the levels of motivation within the organization, especially in cases whereby it fits with the organizational strategy. In order for organizations to achieve sustainable competitive advantage and avoid marginalization, Bolman & Deal (2008) suggest that it is vital that they adapt to the changes in technology and business opportunities provided by globalization. Owing to the fact that these changes usually occur in the external business environment, it is a requirement for all business firms to adapt to the changes that can function as a source of motivation for the attainment of competitive advantage (Baum, 1996). In the light of this view, the main purpose of this paper is to identify the key transformation or throughput processes and analyze the relationships between them within the Industrial Services of America. The paper makes a case that the amount of motivation at Industrial Services of America Inc has a direct effect on its performance. This implies that motivation in the company is a core factor in generating performance. This will be affirmed through the identification and discussion of the throughput variables and explaining how the throughput variables interact, after which the assessment will be used to determine how these interactions generate the amount of motivation for the company.
Organizational Structure of Industrial Services of America, Inc
According to Burke-Litwin, organizational structure is defined as the orientation of the organizational functions, people responsibilities, authorities, communication and interactions in a way that facilitates the realization of the organization's mission, goals and strategy (Burke & Litwin, 1992). The organizational structure type at the Industry Services of America Inc is functional, whereby the employees of the various functional units within the firm are engaged in specialized kinds of organizational tasks. This is characterized by product departmentalization within the firm such as ISA Alloys, ISA Recycling and Information Technology (Icon Group International, 2009). This has resulted to the operational efficiencies within the various functional groups found in the organization. The limitation associated with this type of organizational structure is it imposes significant communication constraints among the various functional units in the firm, resulting to inflexibility and slowness within the entire organization. From a broader perspective, the functional structure is effective for the case of ISA, which is involved in the production of goods and services at a relatively large volume at reduced costs (Burke & Litwin, 1992). In addition, the coordination and specialization of organizational tasks is characterized by centralization using a functional structure, which in turn results to the efficient and predictable production of goods and services. Within the ISA, there is a vertical integration of the functional units resulting to a quick distribution of their products using a cost leadership strategy. Specialization and coordination within the ISA makes significant contributions towards employee and organizational motivation, which in turn translates to improved organizational performance (Icon Group International, 2009).
The tasks and skills at the Industry Services of America Inc are characterized by core competencies. Core competencies refer to the particular factors that business organizations perceive as being significant in its processes, operations and functions (Icon Group International, 2009). They are normally an outcome of distinctive skills and techniques of production implemented with the main objective of delivering value to the end user of the product. Core competencies are a vital tool that ISA deploys in order access diverse markets; this is because core competencies are a strategy for organizational growth since results to the production of core products that can be consequently used to produce additional products and services for the end users. Core competencies can be argued to be vital in the attainment of competitive advantage that is primarily determined by the capabilities of the business enterprise (Daft & Marcic, 2010).
The management practices used at the Industry Services of America Inc is characterized by participative decision making (Icon Group International, 2009). This is enhanced by the increasing levels of coordination among the various functional departments found within the firm. The decision making approach adopted by the organization makes use of the bottom up approach, whereby information flow within the organization starts from the lower levels towards the top management, which is contrary to the imposed decision making approach (Bolman & Deal, 2008). The participative approach is an effective management practice that serves to enhance employee and organizational motivation due to the fact that they feel that they are part of the organizational processes, which creates a perception that they are part of the larger organizational success.
Systems and policies describe the standardized policies and mechanisms that are used in the facilitation of work, and are mainly indicated through the reward systems, control systems and human resource allocation. Some of the control systems that are used within the ISA include performance appraisal, participative budgetary process and human resource allocation. In addition, the organizational culture demands that the various functional units must communicate effectively and work in partnership in order to contribute to the achievement of the organizational goals and objectives. For instance, the Information Technology Department, Communications and the Human Resources department must work together in order to ensure that there is optimal usage of the organizational resources. The rewards schemes are usually based on the employee performance through avenues such as employee training and career development opportunities. An inference that can be made from this is that the systems and policies deployed by the ISA make significant contributions towards enhancing the organizational motivation and ultimately its performance. Systems and policies usually interact with the management practices, the work unit climate and the individual needs and climate in order to improve organizational performance.
The work unit climate within the ISA is mainly transformational, characterized by bi-directional information flow from the lower organizational levels to the upper management. This creates a positive work environment because there is a mutual association between the subordinates and their managers. In addition, the transformational climate is characterized by policies that encourage effective individual decision making in the areas of expertise. This autonomy in decision making implies that there is minimal use of authority, and that employees are innately motivated to undertake their organizational tasks, which in turn make significant contributions towards its performance.
With regard to the individual needs and values, ISA places an emphasis on workplace diversity and equal opportunity and embraces the differences among its workforce. In fact, ISA exploits the aspect of workplace diversity and equal opportunity to enhance talent in its workforce and its performance (Burke & Litwin, 1992). The reliance on a diverse organizational workforce normally serves to be a sign of the diversity of the community that the business organization undertakes its operations. Diversity can generally be described as valuing every organizational member as an individual. With this respect, managing diversity is core to the effective management of people within an organization, and it is usually relevant to the all the business processes and functions. In the present business environment that is competitive, it is imperative that ISA explores all the potential sources that can be used to create a competitive advantage. The implication of this is that it must have an in-depth understanding of the aspect of diversity and its relationship with business performance, this offers a framework through which business enterprises can compete productively (Icon Group International, 2009).
In the context of ISA, it is arguably evident that individual and organizational Performance is influenced by the motivation factor, and that the motivation factor interacts with three factors: Task and Skills, Individual Needs and Values, and Work Unit Climate. These kinds of interactions play an integral role in generating individual and organizational motivation that can be used to improve its performance.
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