Organizational effectiveness in a garment factory in China

Part I Organizational Effectiveness

1.0 Introduction

Hong Ling Garment Factory is a well established factory since the year 1995. It is located in Dongguan, Guangdong province of China with convenient transportation. It is a professional manufacturer specializing in the areas of design, development and production of women clothes. There are nearly 500 hundred working staff in the factory. And due to the professional skills on women garment making and advantages in geographic, political, human resource and so on of its manufacturing department, New Era Textile Garment Company is conducting an takeover of the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory and going to be the head of the company.

New Era Textile Garment Company was established in Hong Kong in the year 1989 and is one of the major Chinese women garment manufacturers. In the year of 2003, it moved to new multi-stories factory which is about 23,000 square meters in Dongguan, Guangdong province of China with 2,000 skilled workers, 170 staff as well as nearly 1800 machines still leaving its headquarter in Hong Kong. To facilitate the further development, New Era Textile Garment Company is going to take over the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory.

This paper will make an analysis of the organization effectiveness of the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory to facilitate the takeover being successfully. At first, this paper will give a brief overview of the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory, which includes the advantages of the takeover and how the integration should be implemented. Secondly, this paper will make a research on the influence and uncertainty of the environmental forces on the acquired manufacturing department on the basis of Bolman and Deal’s four frames. Thirdly, it will analyze the effectiveness of the integration on the environment and technology aspects according to the theory of mechanistic and organic systems by Tom Burns and G.M. Stalker. And meanwhile it will emphasize the importance of the size. Furthermore, on the basis of the analysis, this paper will offer some proper recommendations to enhance the organizational effectiveness of the manufacturing department.

2.0 Manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory

2.1 An overview of the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory

The manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory has 100 to 300 workers depending on the need of different working seasons. And because of the nature of the division of garment making process, the manufacturing department is made up of a few self contained work units, which are called production teams. And each production team unusually has 10 to 15 sewing workers, which is able to independently produce a garment. Meanwhile there is often a team leader, appointed by management, who has relatively high authority to assign the different working procedures to the team members as well as scrutinizes the worker’s performance.

The manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory often accepts some subcontracts from other larger factories which have access to overseas garment buyers. And now it has established relatively steady sales network which is even reaching the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

All in all, the manufacturing department is an outstanding unit of Hong Ling Garment Factory because of its relatively high quality products and nice design compared with other competitors

2.2 Reasons why the manufacturing department is acquired

According to the above overview of the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory, it’s easy to see it is an outstanding department. Based on that, there are abundant reasons for New Era Textile Garment Company to acquire the manufacturing department from Hong Ling Garment Factory.

2.2.1Geographic and political reasons

According to Eesley (2009), Guangdong providence of China is one of the most advantaged garment manufacturing centers in the world due to it prospering along with the development of the Shenzhen special economic zone during China’s broad economic reforms which began in 1980. And meanwhile when China opened its economic door to foreign investment, Guangdong was the first place in China for Hong Kong garment manufacturers to transfer this labor-intensive industry due to the relatively cheaper and numerous labor forces and its adjacent to Hong Kong (Seijts 2006). As for Hong Ling Garment Factory, it is in Dongguan, Guangdong providence which enjoys the fantastic geographic and political advantages including the unlimited cheap labors, advantaged harbors and easy access to Hong Kong, which is one of the centers of the world garment manufacturing industries.

2.2.2 Language reasons

Workers in Hong Ling Garment Factory can speak fluent Cantonese as well as Mandarin, which is an outstanding advantage for New Era Textile Garment Company, whose header quarter is located in Hong Kong, to have sound communication with the workers in manufacturing department without the language barrier. Because as we all know, the mother tongue for most of people in Hong Kong is Cantonese not Mandarin (Mei, n.d).

2.2.3 Economic reasons

As Seijts (2006) stated that Dongguan is inexpensive in terms of the land, labor as well as the favorable location compared with other places in China mainland for the development of garment manufacturing. So the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory also enjoys this kind of economic advantage.

2.2.4 The status of workers

According to the data from Seijts, G.H. (2006), we can get that 95% of the garment workers in Guangdong were peasants, who want to stay Guangdong to find a job due to the nice working opportunities. So most of them often choose to stay in Dongguan and work hard to save money and after eight to ten years of hard work, their savings enable them to go back their hometown and enjoy a relatively easy life. And meanwhile, Hong Ling Garment Factory has been established since the year of 1995, which has developed steadily and has a well functioning sales network which offers the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory have the ability to attract and retain a number of steady workers relatively.

2.2.5 Technology advantages

Firstly, the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory has a professional knowledge of the processes in garment making, such as the standard fifteen procedures of dress making compared with other garment manufacturers. Secondly, the process of cutting, manufacturing and trimming a garment (CMT) and the fifteen procedures of dress making are well understood by the workers in manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory. Thirdly, the piecework salary system makes the responsibility lay on individual’s performance, which is fit for the present status of textile manufacture industry in China and can save cost and motivate workers at some extent. At last, the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory is professional at women’s clothes manufacturing, which is the same as New Era Textile Garment Company. The similarity of the professional knowledge as well as the equipment can reduce the cost and time for New Era Textile Garment Company instead of training new workers and buying new equipment.

2.3 The integration between the manufacturing departments of Hong Ling Garment Factory and New Era Textile Garment Company

2.3.1 People integration

From the company structure of New Era Textile Garment Company, it is easily to observe that there are two production departments separately specialized in woven and knit. And according to the market orientation of Hong Ling Garment Factory and the need of New Era Textile Garment Company, we know that the workers in manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory are more professional in woven and at the same time the demand for workers in the production department of woven are bigger than the production department of knit for New Era Textile Garment Company. Based on that, it is necessary for the workers from Hong Ling Garment Factory to be integrated with the production department of woven in New Era Textile Garment Company.

2.3.2 Culture integration

The New Era Textile Garment Company has already built a positive corporate culture of just, fair and open. And meanwhile, there is a lack of corporate culture in the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory. So for New Era Textile Garment Company, one of the crucial issues for it is to integrate its just, air and open corporate culture into the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory. According to Wolfenden (2009), New Era Textile Garment Company can integrate its corporate culture into the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory via top down initiatives, which are aimed at having effects on behaviors and practices of workers.

2.3.3 Technology integration

Due to the two factories are specializing in producing women’s clothes, the machines and relative skills of each manufacturing department are easily compatible with each other. For example, New Era Textile Garment Company can integrate the useful technological possibilities together from both the two manufacturing departments to solve a product problem (Iansiti 1998).

3.0 Environmental forces influence the performance of the organization.

According to Bolman and Deal, there are four frames of environmental forces which can affect the function of an organization. (Bolman & Deal, 1991, 1992, 1997 2003 cited in Thompson, n.d.) The four frames are structural frame, human resource frame, political frame as well as symbolic frame. The structural frame, which considers the organization as a machine, emphasizes the importance of the integration between organization’s structure and the goals, rules, tasks, technology and environment of the organization. The human resource frame regards organization as a family, which highlights the relationship between organizations and individuals. In another word, the human resource frame aligns organizational needs and human needs together. The political frame views an organization as a jungle, where there are differences, scarce resources, conflicts and power. The symbolic frame treats the organizational life as a drama with the context, culture and meaning created by individuals when they play their working roles and show self expression to their task.

3.1 Environmental forces and the most important ones

3.3.1 Environmental forces based on structural frame

Based on the four frame model, the environmental forces of structural aspect affect the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory are as follows (Gallos, 2006).

At first the work roles and tasks distribution to workers in manufacturing department are not be clarified clearly enough and often ambiguous. For instance, the team leader sometimes just assigns tasks to his or her subordinates by personal preference, which doesn’t have a proper guideline or clear standard in task distribution and often arouses misunderstanding of the workers such as the mistakes in sewing, ironing and button tacking, etc.

Secondly, the goals setting in manufacturing department is short-sighted which focuses more on the demand of the present orders. Due to the too much concentration on the short term profit, the plans and schedules made by the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory are more suitable for that temporary situation while are lack of proper plans and schedules for the long term, which may hinder its future development.

Thirdly, it is difficult for workers to find a proper way to receive compensation from the loss of their working time because of the mistakes of management owing to the work first and pays later principle in the manufacturing department.

3.3.2 Environmental forces based on human resource frame

According to the four frame model, the environmental forces on human resource aspect affect the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory are as follows (Gallos, 2006).

Firstly, due to the different demand of the workers’ number based on the marketing demand, there is higher demand of workers during peak season while during off season the demand is smaller. That directly makes the high turnover rate of workers in this industry, which also exists in the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory but relatively lower in spite of its retaining a number of steady workers.

Secondly, due to the high turnover rate, the relationship between workers and the organization is indifferent. And the work first and pay later principle also makes the relationship between the manufacturing department and the workers just purely monetary interest, which leads both the manufacturing department and workers to put the personal interests at first place.

Thirdly, that the problem of workers’ turnover rate is difficult to control and the indifferent relationship between workers and the organization become a stumbling block for the training and development of the workers in manufacturing department. Because, not all the workers are so steady, if turnover happen, the cost on workers’ training would be unimaginable higher than the benefits. And according to the consequentialist theories, the consequence should have more benefit than cost of decision making (Trevino & Nelson, 2007). So based on that theory, the budget on the workers’ training is not too much, which results in the workers lack of professional skills and directly affects the productivity of the manufacturing department.

3.3.3 Environmental forces based on political frame

On the basis of the four frame model, the environmental forces on political aspect affect the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory are as follows (Gallos, 2006).

There are several conflicts and competition inside the manufacturing department. Due to the absolute authority of team leader in tasks assignment to workers and some influence on workers income, some team leaders could assign good jobs to their favored team members, because Guangdong is a migrant place and many workers may come from the same village and be related with each other (Seijts, 2006). This unfair phenomenon often arouses conflicts between workers and workers, and workers and the team leader. It decreases the working morale of these workers in the manufacturing department and hinders the development of some potential workers, which also affect the efficiency of the manufacturing department.

Meanwhile, the manager of manufacturing department also has absolute authority on the estimation of team leaders’ performance, which directly affects the income of the team leaders. To win the preference of the manger, the conflict between team leaders are also furious. It makes the small group phenomenon become popular, which also affect the proper function and effectiveness of manufacturing department.

3.3.4 Environmental forces based on symbolic frame

On the basis of the four frame model, the environmental forces on symbolic aspect affect the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory are as follows (Gallos, 2006)

There is a work first and pay later rule in the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory and worker only concern with their personal interests, which lead the lack of proper and positive corporate culture.

3.3.5 The most important environmental forces

According to the above analysis, it is easy to get that the structural and human resource forces are the most important ones to affect the good performance of the manufacturing department. In structural field, the work roles and tasks distribution, goals setting as well as work first pay later rule are all the key factors which directly affect the performance of the manufacturing department such as the future development, product’s quality and the productivity. In the human resource field, the professional skills of workers, turnover rate as well as the working relationship also directly affect the performance of manufacturing department, such as the productivity, stability and development of the garment factory. By and large, the two environmental forces become the main factors to affect the effectiveness and performance of the manufacturing department and should be managed properly.

3.2 Uncertainty created by environmental forces

3.2.1 Uncertainty due to structural factors

From the above analysis, the uncertainty in the structural environment surrounding the organization is as follows. At first, the plans and goals setting in manufacturing department focus too much on short term, which let the lack of proper plans and schedules for the future and no forecasting system to meet the fluctuant demand of the market (Lonial& Raju 2001). Secondly, work roles and tasks distribution are ambiguous to workers and it results in the difference in quality outcomes, which decreases the competitiveness of the manufacturing department compared with its rivals (Lonial& Raju 2001).

And the uncertainties in the human resource environment are as follows. At first, the turnover problem is tough to handle out, which creates more uncertain factors such as the problems in the number of steady number of skillful workers, the quality of product and so on. These uncertainties relatively affect the productivity of manufacturing department and may directly affect the customer satisfaction as well (Lonial& Raju 2001). Secondly, the indifferent relationship between workers and workers, workers and the manufacturing department make the cooperation among them difficult, which rouses many unstable factors for the manufacturing department to meet the market demand, increasing productivity as well as improvement of the product quality.

The uncertainties in the political area are in the following. There are several conflicts and competition inside the manufacturing department between workers and workers, workers and team leaders as well as team leader and team leader, which lead to several confusion reigns, small groups phenomenon as well as black mouth to the manufacturing department even the whole Hong Ling Garment Factory (Gallos 2006). These issues create several uncertainty factors such as difficulty in handling the integration of working staff as well as collaboration to meet the product goals and customers’ needs.

And meanwhile the lack of positive corporate culture makes manufacturing department lack of cohesive power among its workers which also creates several uncertain factors such as the uncertainty of how to properly motivate the working morale of workers to meet the market needs.

By and large, although there are several uncertain environmental forces which affect the performance of manufacturing department, the whole environmental status of manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory is relatively stable compared with other competitors in this industry.

4.0 Theoretical perspectives – Environment, and Technology

4.1 Theory of Mechanistic and Organic Systems by Tom Burns and G.M. Stalker

According to Burns and Stalker (1961, cited in unc.edu, 2001), there are several rules, procedures, well distributed tasked as well as clearly clarified hierarchy of authority in mechanistic structure. And meanwhile, there are relatively looser structure, less written rules, not clear hierarchy as well as more horizontal communication in organic structure. And we can find that both the mechanistic structure and organic structure emphasize the rate of adaptation of one organization to the condition of environment and technology aspects (Burns & Stalker 1961, cited in unc.edu, 2001; valuebasedmanagement.net, 2010).

And according to the situation of the integrated department between the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory and New Era Textile Garment Company, it can be observed that the structure of the integrated manufacturing department has more inclination on organic structure, which has the characteristics of the organic structure such as on the basis of the employees’ teamwork, tasks are adjusted and redefined, the tasks’ knowledge and control are located anywhere in the network of the organization, as well as there is a horizontal or in another words lateral communication between people of different of tasks (Burns & Stalker 1961, cited in unc.edu, 2001; valuebasedmanagement.net, 2010)..

4.2 External environment

The followings are analysis of the integrated manufacturing department on the area of its adaptation to the environmental aspect.

4.2.1 Political and geographic environment

The integrated manufacturing department is located in Dongguan, Guangdong province, which has its geographical advantage after the integration, such as the convenient transportation infrastructure for the product distribution and easy access of the supply on raw material due to the already well built solid foundations as well as complete industrial system for garment manufacture industry by the government of Dongguan, Guangdong province (Unknown, 2008).

4.2.2 Economical environment

From the above analysis, the land and labor force in Dongguan, Guangdong province is relatively cheap for the development of garment manufacture industry, so the integration of the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory into New Era Textile Garment Company, would also help New Era Textile Garment Company save cost. And meanwhile, the relatively steady and skillful worker force in the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory can also help the integrated manufacturing department in New Era Textile Garment Company save a lot compared with recruitment and training green hand workers.

4.3 Technology

The followings are analysis of the integrated manufacturing department on the area of its adaptation to the technology aspect.

4.3.1 Distribution of tasks and task scope

According to the adaptation of piecework salary system and team work system from the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory, the distribution of tasks are based on the whole requirement of the manufacturing department and meanwhile the responsibility are clearly laid on individuals just the same as other organic structures, which can help the integrated manufacturing department to handle the task of work distribution and manage the workers as well to have a better performance (Burns & Stalker 1961, cited in unc.edu, 2001 & valuebasedmanagement.net, 2010).

4.3.2 Structure of control, authority and communication as well as Locating of knowledge

Based on the real situation of the integrated manufacturing department as well as the information from Burns and Stalker (1961, cited in unc.edu, 2001; valuebasedmanagement.net, 2010), it can be observed that the professional knowledge of the processes in garment making including the standard fifteen procedures of dress making and the process of cutting, manufacturing and trimming a garment (CMT) from the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory is well compatible with the relative garment making skills from the manufacturing department of New Era Textile Garment Company. It can reduce the technology conflicts in the integrated manufacturing department. And the integration of the technology essence including machines, tools as well as relative skilled workers can enhance the flexibility to the environmental challenges and increase the productivity, such as more professional workers on garment production without too much extra training cost and time.

4.4 The importance of size

From the above analysis, we can find the importance of the adaptation to the environment and technology aspects for the integrated manufacturing department. While at the same time, it is also curial for the integrated department to take the importance of size into consideration. According to Ouchi and Dowling (1974), the size means the span of control such as the number of the employees, the total sales, the physical capacity of the organization and so on. As the nature of garment manufacturing department is on the basis of labor intensive tasks, the number of skilled workers has great influence on the productivity of the department. Because more skilled workers mean higher productivities, it directly affects the effectiveness of the department (Seijts 2006). Due to the integration of several skilled workers from the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory, the integrated manufacturing department now has more labor force to conduct and also strengthens it competitiveness of garment manufacturing.

5.0 Recommendation

5.1 Strong points and weak points

Based on the above analysis, it is easy to get the major strong points and weak points of the integrated manufacturing department such as the favorable geographic location, government supporting policy, language advantages, some ambiguous structure setting, and high turn over rate of the workers, as well as some pitfalls in technology areas and so on. Due to these weakness and strong points of the integrated manufacturing department, the followings are the recommendation for change.

5.2Recommendations for change

5.2.1 Cultural building

One of the important issues for the integrated manufacturing department is people issue, which directly affects the effectiveness of the department. One of the proper means to control people is to build positive culture, which should include the shared values and norms (Devis 2007). According to the current situation of the integrated department that there is a lack of proper culture in the original manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment factory, it is important to build a cultural fit for the integrated department. Based on the situation, the open, just and fair culture of the original manufacturing department of New Era Textile Garment Company is a reasonable choice for the integrated department to build which can make the workers feel the security and care from the department and work hard to increase the effectiveness.

5.2.2 Institution building

One of the factors which resulted in the workers deliberate slowing down tasks is the ‘work first and pay later’ principle, which leads workers difficult to find a way to protect their benefits. To alleviate the dispute, there is a need to build some rules and principles which is relatively fair to workers, such as some compensation policies. For instance, the advancing price policy from the original department of New Era Textile Garment Company is a recommendable means, which gives the worker more guarantees and can decrease the turnover rates at a large extent (Ying2009).

5.2.3 over all objectives and job description via proper communication

According to David (2009), we can get the clearly job description to the worker in the manufacturing department is also very crucial. The ambiguous goal and short term plans setting in the department of Hong Ling Garment Factory aren’t reasonable for both the future development of the integrated department and its workers. To alleviate the problem, it is recommendable for the integrated department to set over all objectives and give the workers clear description, which should be facilitated by the team leaders (David 2009). Under the clear job guidelines and goals, it is easier for the team leaders to assign the tasks and fulfill the work more effectively.

6.0 Conclusion

This paper has made an analysis on the organizational effectiveness of the integrated manufacturing department. At first, from the analysis of the acquired manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory, we can get that there are enough rational reasons supporting the acquisition, which includes the favorability in the areas of geography, economy, labor force, language as well as technology. And meanwhile, there are also some environmental forces which affect the performance of the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory, such the structural area, the human resource area, the political area as well as the symbolic area.

Based on the advantages and some pitfalls of the manufacturing department of Hong Ling Garment Factory, the manufacturing department of New Era Textile Garment Company has used proper means to fulfill the integration in the areas of people, culture and technology. And the integrated manufacturing department has adopted its structure to environment and technology, which relatively functions well.

And on the basis of the analysis, this paper also offers some recommendations to enhance the organizational effectiveness of the integrated manufacturing department, which can facilitate the performance of its future development.

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