Social Productivity of Manufacturing Teams 2/2 - Practical Activities -

Dec. 25, 2019 [No.72-2019]

Masahiro Nowatari
Professor emeritus at Tamagawa University, Industrial Sociologist,
PhD (psychology), PhD (engineering) 

Social Productivity of Manufacturing Teams 2/2
- Practical Activities -
1. "Social Productivity"

Advocating "social productivity" of work teams at manufacturing production sites will lead to the establishment of a new production management system based both on a production system and social system. Conventional production management has been a world confined to production systems that evaluated productivity (efficiency, operating rate, etc.). A new evaluation of the social system that conducts a cognitive evaluation of teamwork will be added to this. The production system evaluates the production capability of work teams, while the social system evaluates their social capability.

2. Teamwork Management

Stronger recognition of group values in work strengthens the social capability of team members through mutually helping one another. As a result, it will bring about improved production capability. "Social productivity" linked to improved quality of work life is sustained and improved by means of teamwork management. The social system is checked in the form of teamwork by leaders and members in work teams, and the production system is checked in the form of team productivity, mainly through things like the level of achievement regarding actual time taken in relation to the standard time. The work teams in the workplace are mapped into four categories based on sociality and productivity. Then, the teams mapped to the higher categories for both sociality and productivity are used as a benchmark, and the other teams are compared and reviewed in relation to them on a regular basis. In doing so, we check the differences between their recognition of teamwork, and aim to improve team productivity by providing education and guidance. This is a psychological approach that does not require any new capital investment. If extended to the whole workplace, the approach will improve the "social productivity" of the entire organization.

3. Teamwork Appraisal Factors (TAFs)

"Social productivity" and teamwork management are implemented on the basis of TAFs evaluate teamwork. TAFs were extracted from work teams at manufacturing production sites at plants belonging to Japanese manufacturing companies listed on the stock market in the 1980s, through a nationwide social survey. TAFs in Japan consist of two groups, with 12 factors in total (60 questions): six Task Orientation (TO) factors (30 questions) and six People Orientation (PO) factors (30 questions). TO means (1) work under control, (2) work guidance given by immediate supervisor, (3) work guidance given by leader, (4) attention given by leader, (5) work performance capability, and (6) work checking (progress, quality, and quantity). PO means (7) sense of unity, (8) atmosphere, (9) human relations, (10) morale (motivation), (11) mutually complementing each other in performing work, and (12) satisfaction. Both of these are aggregated together into 5 questions.

When new questions about teamwork, are set in a company, the people involved at the production site have to thoroughly discuss them among themselves, and decide on what questions to set while checking the actual situation in their own work teams. Through this process, the teamwork content is unified, and reconfirmation of group values is shared among the people involved. This is an extremely important step. The survey based on this process is then conducted, data collected, and TAFs set through analysis, then everything is linked to teamwork management. This setting of TAFs greatly affects the outcomes of "social productivity" and team work management activities.

4. Introduction to Practical Activities

With its focus on "social productivity," teamwork management visually represents teamwork through basic statistics and quantitative analysis (such as multivariate analysis), based on each company's data. In all cases, its effectiveness and robustness have been confirmed. A domestic survey was conducted at ten business establishments in the 1990s, and obtained responses from approximately 4,000 people. An overseas survey has been conducted at 30 business establishments since 2000, and obtained responses from approximately 13,000 people. The countries targeted by the overseas survey were: the United States (3 establishments), Mexico (2), the United Kingdom (2), India (1), Thailand (5), Germany (2), China (5), Indonesia (1), the Philippines (1), Malaysia (4), and Vietnam (2).

5. Future Prospects

"Social productivity" is contributing to the SDGs' "Goal 8. Economic growth and decent work for all."  Furthermore, the process of constructing a social system by means of an SECI model will contribute significantly to the construction of a new production management system compatible with ISO 56000 Series / IMS.

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