Die rol van werkgroepe in 'n kunsmisonderneming
Lessing, Karel Frederick
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Purpose The purpose is to investigate the role of work groups in a fertiliser business by determining the knowledge, capabilities and structures which managers require for the effective handling of groups in the business in order to realise the empowerment of workers in the business by means of participative management, to make managers aware of the implications of work-place democratisation, and to establish clear guidelines with regard to dealing with groups in business. Method In the study the survey procedure is used, the primary purpose of which is to obtain factual information in respect of the functioning of work groups, as discussed from the point of view of the structural functionalism of Parsons (1952). The empirical data was obtained by means of a structured questionnaire. Attention was given to the analysis and discussion of the most important research findings, and an attempt was made to correlate the results with theoretical points of departure. Core findings Specific demands are made of and challenges posed for businesses and their managements. South Africa is in the midst of the process of change, which implies in-depth reform in a variety of areas. The situation has thus far been characterised by conflict and tension, with clashes of interests and rapid change. Humanity is in a process where there is a striving for orderly co-operation, a shared value system and the integration of society. The focus within business is sifting to the open-system approach where teamwork, as opposed to the traditional individualistic approach to work, is promoted. Groups form an integral part of people's lives, also within the business. Work groups hold certain advantages for both employer and employee. Various needs of the individual, which can only be realised by co-operation with other persons, and which can be satisfied within a group context, find expression in a need for social integration and the goal attainment within group work in the business. In order to be able to function effectively, the system must be adapted to its environment effectively, but it must also maintain its own internal integrity. Parsons (1952) divides these two basic conditions into the adaptation, goal-attainment, integration, pattern-maintenance and tension-management functions. These four functional imperatives are linked to four action systems, which indicate that action is situation-bound, motivated, purposeful and normatively regulated. From the perspective of this theoretical background attention is focused on the process of democratisation of the work place. Work-place forums form part of work groups in the business and should be so utilised that the members of the work groups direct the knowledge, capabilities and skills of the various role-players, namely employer, employee and the trade union, in such a way that they themselves establish mechanisms to give expression to specific objectives. The work-group approach lends itself to the establishment of various mechanisms in order to enable the optimal management of the democratisation of the work place by means of participative management and decision-making. This takes place by means of the work-place forum constitution , which regulates the orderly and effective functioning of the forum as a sub-system within the business. The aim is thus to create a climate which promotes harmony in labour relations and the achievement of economic development and social justice, and which also brings about stability within a culturally diverse working environment. This can only be achieved if a business culture of collective responsibility and harmony between employers and employees as well as trade unions is established, and the if parties function as allies. The dynamics present within work groups in the business must be developed to its full potential by the establishment of a partnership between all role-players. Continuous development and growth are encouraged, and in order continually to stimulate development among group members, the focus is on the enhancement of both performance and job satisfaction of staff. Successful managerial leadership comprises characteristics such as the ability to create a vision and establish objectives which encourage work-group members to become committed to the achievement objectives. Business leadership furthermore has as its aim the promotion of job satisfaction among those who themselves are involved in managerial work and thus enable others really to enjoy their work. This study indicates that the training and development of staff by empowering them and creating an aligned commitment can indeed take place, because the knowledge, capabilities and structures which are required in order to deal with people in a group context are known. Existing knowledge must be effectively utilised and expanded, but new knowledge must also be gained regarding industrial sociology as a science. It is justifiably stated in this regard : "Industrial sociology is concerned with the world of work. It deals with the people and relationships which constitute the world of work. It attempts to study these people and relationships in the broader social setting in order to deepen our understanding of the nature of work, of industry and of industrial society." Human actions can be explained by studying these actions. Interaction can be focused and adjusted so as to achieve objectives by the integration of business structures and staff into a functional unit, where the maintenance of internal coherence and order occurs by means of normative and cultural behaviour patterns, which serve as a tension-management mechanism within the business system.