Group technology: amalgamation with design of organisational structures

Dekkers, R. (2018) Group technology: amalgamation with design of organisational structures. International Journal of Production Economics, 200, pp. 262-277. (doi:10.1016/j.ijpe.2018.02.018)

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Abstract

Group technology has been studied extensively from an ‘industrial engineering’ perspective (layout, scheduling, workflow, etc.), but less often from an organisational design viewpoint. To study this implication of group technology, the approach of applied systems theory for the design of organisational structures was used as framework for analysis in three empirical cases. To increase the reliability of findings from the analysis of these three empirical cases, five more cases were drawn from archival search. Cluster analysis and product flow analysis were the methods used for forming groups of machines and employees in manufacturing cells, whereas the coding of parts was not employed to this end. Furthermore, the results indicate that the implementation of group technology generally meets shifts in performance requirements caused by competitive pressures, particularly flexibility and responsiveness, albeit the companies considered group technology only when under pressure of ‘poor’ business performance. However, group technology is not always a solution to challenges that companies experience; one empirical case shows that defunctionalisation and scheduling with virtual groups was more beneficial. Nevertheless, when the introduction of group technology is feasible, it also allows firms to consider delegating responsibility for production planning and scheduling to lower levels in the hierarchy and semi-autonomous groups as an alternative to ‘complex’ software applications (a socio-technical approach). Whereas the current study sheds light on the relationship between group technology and design of organisational structures, further research is necessary into the design of these structures and their relationship to group technology.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dekkers, Dr Rob
Authors: Dekkers, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:International Journal of Production Economics
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0925-5273
ISSN (Online):1873-7579
Published Online:16 March 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
First Published:First published in International Journal of Production Economics 200:262-277
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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