and broken tools and find out alternative tooling. The leadership of the tool con-
troller and the ingenuity of tool engineers finally helped to overcome the crisis sit-
uation with minimum stoppages in the production and assembly lines. Shop man-
agement raised hue and cry regarding production interruptions and justified
excess ‘overtime’ payment due to non-availability of tools in time and time losses
for trying out new tooling.
Unfortunately, the annual performance review of the tool engineers was con-
ducted against the prescribed appraisal norm of number of interruptions & lost
hours booked by the production shops against non-availability of tools. The manage-
ment ignored the fact that the excessive tool breakage by the shops also contributed
to the shortages in supply. Also the fact that the timely availability of imported
tooling was affected due to amendment of Government policies was ignored during
the annual appraisal. Astonishingly the management gave no credit to the genuine
& innovative efforts put in by the tool engineers to maintain the production vol-
ume against all odds. Instead of recognition, the tool engineers were reprimanded
as their performance evaluation was based blindly on the loss-hours punched
against non-availability of tools. None of the tool engineers including the tool con-
troller get any annual increment. Ironically, the purchase department was not
penalized because it was argued that they had no control over government policies.
It was a task-cut out for the tool controller to maintain the morale of his men
and keep the team motivated.
TRAPS OF THE REWARD SYSTEM
This is a case study involving a reputed Indian multinational company that had
market monopoly for many years. Suddenly the company found itself under the
pressure of competition from cheaper alternatives produced by unorganised sector.
To retain its market-share and improve the bottom line, the company had initiated
a productivity drive designed to increase production volume, improve quality,
and reduce costs, one would hardly find fault with this approach. The design of
this management initiative was based on monthly or quarterly internal competi-
tions with clear stipulation that the improvements must be beyond the mandatory
targets fixed in the three-year bipartite agreement with the recognized union. The
winner and runner-up are to be recognized with General Manager’s certificate and
in-house publicity, and each team member to get a material reward earmarked for
the degree of improvement. Rewards included holiday trips, blankets, modern
cooking utensils, refrigerators, etc. In the initial stage the program was a hit, the
management was happy so were the concerned workmen. But the success of the
program could not be sustained despite initial enthusiasm, as the workers having
got used to materialistic inducement voiced their expectation for the material
rewards even to produce as per the targets stipulated in the bipartite agreement
with the union. Soon the environment got vitiated. The management was caught
in a Catch-22 situation; it could neither yield to the unreasonable demand, nor could
it withdraw this management initiative. The stalemate had adverse impact—the
PEOPLE ORIENTATION—A MYTH? 417
production fell much below the stipulated targets of the three-year agreement.
Approaching the union did not help as the union told in no uncertain terms that
the management itself created the problem and that union has no control over this
situation either. The company went through a period of turmoil, despondency,
and even faced a violent labour situation. The lesson learn from this case study is
simple and straightforward. Allurement through carrot of material rewards to
attain ‘quick-fix’ results is a ‘deadly disease’ distorts the work-culture, and the
sporadic success through such programs cannot be sustained.
418 FEW CASES AND QUOTES

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