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How to motivate assembly line workers
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, EMM (Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Management).
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, EMM (Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Management).
2007 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 10 points / 15 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of our master thesis was to investigate what motivates assembly line workers performing low-skill jobs in a small industrial laundry business. We wanted to see what fac-tors determine and influence their motivation to work and if and how this motivation can be improved with respect to assembly line systems in general. The method of our investiga-tion was qualitative in nature, where we studied one firm that leases clean bed clothes and textiles to hotels and restaurants around Sweden. We constructed a survey on motivation and handed it out to the assembly line workers who deal with the laundry. Furthermore, we interviewed the shift manager in order to get the company’s view on employee motivation. Our findings indicate that there are several overlapping factors that determine and influ-ence motivation in the long run. From this particular case we saw that a unified working culture and collective efforts both boost the willingness to work and help the process run smoothly. Furthermore, proper communication is motivating, where everyone should be committed to company goals, but the workers should be able to take part in profits, and not just generate them. Also, employees have to be considered as important as customers are. Another factor is to have the right resources to execute company plans, such as proper working techniques that minimise stress, injuries and frustration, and more responsibility that allows employees to see the whole system by learning about the technical aspects, or engaging in customer contacts. When trust builds up between the workers and the man-agement, there will be less need for a controlling boss, and people will be more motivated to work when they are not constantly monitored by their leader. In addition, more CEO visits are encouraged at plant level, because they send the signal that the company cares about all its employees. Finally, a crucial factor is feedback, where the firm should not only criticise, but praise everyone for a job well done. This way, the workers will feel worthy. When long term factors are weak or missing in the company, the only motivation for the people is money. However, money can work as a short term and a long term motivator be-cause it serves as a tool to satisfy needs of both security and self esteem outside work. Con-sidering motivation and assembly lines in general, when the assembly line is at its core, where efficiency is the goal and workers serve as means to get there, the only motivation is money, and possibly working colleagues. Intrinsic motivation can be reached by moving away from the actual system and performing other tasks. Still, the long term factors can improve the situation to a certain extent, but sooner or later everyone will turn into a well oiled machine with no further ways to improve motivation, since boredom and routines will remain. One goes from being a cog in the machinery to an integral part of a successful engine. It is still the same content, but in a different package.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. , 87 p.
Keyword [en]
assembly line, motivation, industrial laundry business, incentives, Human Performance System
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-945OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-945DiVA: diva2:4698
Uppsok
samhälle/juridik
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-09-07 Created: 2007-09-07

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Citation style
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