Supervisors' role in manual assembly
Licentiate thesis, 2008
There are many different ways in which to analyze an organization when striving to achieve better performance. One such way is through analyzing the supervisors in the organization. The supervisor is the first management level, and is in charge of the production personnel, i.e. has non-managerial subordinates that work in the production of the products or services of the organization. It is of interest to analyze the supervisor role because it is a role that has direct contact with production, and thus the performance of the producing unit, while at the same time it is a role that is confronted with different and contradictory constraints and demands.
This study investigates the supervisor role in a production unit with a manual assembly line within the automotive industry in Sweden. Observations, interviews and a questionnaire were performed at the plant, and were used for the analysis. The supervisor role is analyzed in the following dimensions; activities, skill level, interaction and communication, and authority.
The findings show that supervisors are focused on motivating their employees, while their tools and methods for doing this are highly constrained. Other findings are that supervisors’ motivational work should be included in future research as an important dimension when analyzing the supervisor role, and that motivation is composed of many dimensions (internal, instrumental and interactive motivation) which need to be considered simultaneously, and in conjunction, in order to develop motivating work conditions.