Treadway Tire Company Case Study
Treadway Tire Company is a major North American supplier of tires to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and replacement tire markets. They currently manufacture Treadway Primo, Treadway Performance, and other private tire brands.
Treadway’s Lima Tire Plant, based out of Lima, Ohio is considered one of the company’s top plants for productivity and quality ratings. A continuous operations plant – operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week with four rotating shifts – the Lima Plant produced approximately 25,000 tires per day in 2007 alone.
There are over 1100 employees at the Lima Plant location – 970 hourly and 150 salaried. The ...view middle of the document...
Morale and productivity are also suffering as the foremen are under immense pressure to produce results in a sink or swim environment.
Relevant Theories and Models
An important theory illustrated at the Lima Tire Plant relates to the three components of attitudes. The foremen’s cognitive component of attitude is the belief that they own too many responsibilities within the plant, yet not enough authority to effectively deal with them. They are expected to meet or exceed operational targets regardless of their day to day challenges. An employee satisfaction survey displayed the foremen’s affective component of attitude. They felt powerless against the hourly employees who were protected by the union and felt unsupported by upper management who expected them to just get the job done without the necessary skills and tools to do so. As a result, the behavioral component of attitude from the foremen was to just quit. Of the 23 foremen who left their position, 43% had done so voluntarily.
A major job attitude that is affecting the employees at Lima is job dissatisfaction. Departing foremen showed solid discontent in the plant and highlighted concerns about the foreman position. Frankly, the upper management did a poor job of psychologically empowering the foremen by not allowing them to feel like major contributors to the company. Bellingham admitted foremen “feel that their contributions are undervalued and their concerns ignored.” The perceived organizational support (POS) was nonexistent as responsibilities increased, training was put on hold and promotions were slim to none. Consequently, an exit interview revealed that the foremen were not satisfied with their training, working conditions, supervisors or advancement opportunities, thus leaving the position to seek other opportunities.
Due to the level of job dissatisfaction, the mood structure of the foremen was focused on a high negative affect and a low positive affect displaying pure degrees of stress, fatigue and tension. The emotional labor of the foremen was highlighted in several incidents that occurred between them and the hourly employees. After a worker arrived back late from his break, a foreman lashed out at him continually screaming without allowing explanation. Additionally, a comment from a salaried employee was that foremen “would be more successful if they could treat their people with courtesy and not have such negative attitudes about them.” It is evident that the foremen were no longer able to surface act and their bottled up feelings of frustration and resentment eventually led to burnout causing them to eventually quit.
The old management style of sink or swim at the Lima Tire Plant is inefficient. According to the employee satisfaction survey, over 75% of foremen feel they are not prepared to accomplish the duties of their job. The foremen are thrown into their job with little guidance and little preparation. However, most do...