Case Studies: Enriching Jobs Standard Decoy
Job Design, Employee Participation, and Alternative Work Arrangements
Standard Decoy in Witchell, Maine, has been making traditional wooden hunting decoys
since 1927. Cyrus Witchell began the business by carving a couple of ducks a day by hand.
Demand and competition have long since driven the company to use modern machinery and
assembly-line techniques, and they now turn out two hundred ducks daily even on the
slowest days. When Stewart Alcorn, Cyrus Witchell’s grandson, took over the business, he
knew things needed to change. Output hadn’t fallen, and the company was surviving
financially despite competition from what he called "plastic ...view middle of the document...
The fine-tuners were skeptical, and the other workers were only slightly more enthusiastic.
The whole program turned out to be a disaster. Even with guidance, the planers and spraypainters
could not master the higher-precision techniques, and the fine-tuners seemed
willing to give them only limited assistance. After one trial week, Alcorn gave up. During a
lunch break that Friday, Alcorn was wandering around outside the plant bemoaning his
failure. Then he noticed one of the rough-cutters, Al Price, whittling at something with an
ordinary pocket knife. It turned out to be a block of wood that he had cut incorrectly and
normally would have thrown in the scrap heap. But as Price said, "It kind of looked like a
duck, in an odd way," and he had started whittling on it in spare moments. Alcorn liked
what he saw and asked Price if he would be willing to sell him the duck when he got through
with it. Price looked surprised, but he agreed. The following week, Alcorn noticed that Price
had finished the whittling and was getting one of the fine-tuners to help him paint the duck
in a way that made it look even odder. When it was finished, Alcorn offered it to one of his
regular customers, who took a look at it and said, "You’ve got hand made?" and asked if he
could order a gross. By the middle of the next month, Alcorn’s "Odd Ducks" program was
in full swing. Workers were still responsible for producing the usual number of conventional
ducks, but they were allowed to use company tools and materials any time they wanted to
work on their own projects. There were no quotas or expectations for the Odd Ducks. Some
employees worked on one for weeks; others collaborated and produced one or two a day.
Some wouldn’t sell their ducks but crafted them to practice their skills and brought them
home to display on their mantels. Those who would sell them kept half the selling price. That
price usually did not amount to more than their regular hourly wage, but no one seemed to
care about the precise amount of income. The response to the Odd Duck program was so
great that Alcorn put up a bulletin board he called "Odd Letters" as a place to post
appreciative notes from customers. Most of these customers, it seemed, had no interest in
hunting but just liked to have the ducks around. And when Alcorn learned that some of his
customers were in turn selling the ducks as "Cyrus Witchell’s Olde Time Odd Ducks," he
did not complain.
Question No 1
How did the "Odd Ducks" program enrich the jobs at Standard Decoy?
Answer: Alcorn was the man who Odd Ducks program enrich the jobs at standard decoy.
When alcorn take over the business from his grant father it not very good position so he take
some changes that are very much impact on standard decoy. He knew things needed to
change. Output hadn’t fallen, and the company was surviving financially despite competition
from what he called "plastic ducks" from the Far East. But Alcorn noticed that...