This research proposal is about the problem of motivation at Tasti Products Limited located in Te Atatu Peninsula in Auckland. The research team has identified this problem because one of the team members is working in this company. The company is progressing steadily therefore it not a critical problem However, it should consider the needs of employees so that they can enjoy their work and make greater input into the firm. This will encourage a higher quality of employee performance and increase company earnings. Hence this is a problem which once solved can lead to increased profits for the business.
This research is on the problem of motivation at Tasti Products Limited, a manufacturing company based on the Te Atatu Peninsula in Auckland. It was founded in 1932 by two men Oswald Lawless and Victor Watson who joined forces and formed a partnership with a capital of £200 with the aim of producing crystallized ginger. In early 1990's Tasti became a food licensee of Weight Watchers with the license in New Zealand for Breakfast Cereals, Oil and Muesli Bars. By 1998, sales had reached $20 million and Tasti installed its first Fruit Cereal Bar line and started manufacturing Weight Watchers and Private Label Fruit Cereal Bars. In 1980 it was recognized that if it took the dried fruit, coconut and the nuts it was already handling and added a few rolled oats, it had Muesli. From here Tasti launched a range of Breakfast Muesli's and the first Muesli bar to be launched in New Zealand. By 1975 Tasti was manufacturing and packaging over 200 products. Also in the 1970's a joint venture between Tasti and the Fijian Government was established to Glace Ginger in Fiji. During this time period, Tasti acquired the Sunfield Oil business from Fletchers (which was then NZ Grown and processed Oil). In 2000 first exports of Fruit Cereal Bars started to Australia. Staff numbers at this time were 70. In 2004 it installed the first tri layered Muesli Bar plant of its kind in Australasia.
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Today Tasti employs over 200 staff. The staff sits beside a moving belt, which holds Muesli Bars. As the Muesli Bars are passed, each staff member does one small act to help its assembly. As the moving belt passes, it goes through the wall into other departments packaging, shipping, and quality control. Each department is quite separate, and when there are hold-ups in production, each department blames the other departments. Quality control is poor, and there are many cartons of bars sent back to be recycled. Managers are constantly telling staff what to do, and staff are nervous about the managers watching them all the time, but the managers never give feedback about the overall performance of the production line. Tasti's production and profitability could increase if the company give consideration towards the welfare of its employees. From desk research, mainly from their observation, the research team found that production dropped, and the number of mistakes made by the employees has increased recently.
Many organizations are now investing heavily in providing staff with training needs in order to be able to improve quality and quantity of products output. In competitive businesses such as manufacturing progress is dependent on employee performance. According to Inkson and Kolb (2008), Maslow's hierarchy of needs is an appropriate method of identifying employee needs so that strategies of motivating employees is effective. A subconscious sense of mistrust and superiority on the part of manager could demoralize an employee and have adverse effect on his performance. Samson and Daft (2008) suggest employees come from many faiths, cultures, world views and experiences, across borders and require cultural sensitivity such as the idea of creativity, flexibility, and empathy that has been nurtured by cultural knowledge. Therefore employees have needs and managers need to consider these needs.
Statement of problem
At Tasti Products staff work in isolation sitting beside a moving belt and each staff member does one small act to help its assembly. Because of this when there are hold-ups in production; each department blames the other departments. Managers do not trust staff and do not have time to give feedback on their performance. The staffs are nervous about the managers watching them all the time. Because of this production dropped, and the number of mistakes made by the employees has increased recently. Despite this company operates in profit. The research team has discovered that it is an opportunity problem in the internal environment of the organization. For example if the staff are properly cared for, then they will be motivated to work harder with greater care. This will reduce the mistakes and save time and labour, resulting in increase in productivity.
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Will motivation of staff improve employee performance at Tasti Products Limited?
Problem Solving and Decision Making
In this research Kepner-Tregoe Problem Solving and Decision Making will be applied. This method is appropriate because it is step-by-step process that helps people quickly and correctly resolves a wide range of business issues. This will help individuals at every level of an organization to efficiently organize information, analyze trends and take apt action. Because managers can tap into the life-experience of individuals, develop harmony, and gain commitment whilst resolving issues by using a familiar approach and language.
There are six steps in decision making. The decision-making process starts when a manager is able to identify a problem. At Tasti Products the employees make mistakes in their work because there are records of items sent back for recycling. Every single manager wants to make excellent decisions. To do so, managers need to have the best resources including information, personnel, time, supplies and equipment and identify any factors that may be able to prevent any issues or problems from arising. From observation, the research team identified that limiting factors are isolation, lack of knowledge in employees and lack of trust and feedback on the part of managers. The research team will develop potential alternatives. One of the best known techniques for developing alternatives is through brainstorming, where a group works jointly to produce ideas and substitute solutions. The theory behind brainstorming is that the group dynamic encourages thinking out-of-the-box. For example one person's ideas, no matter how offensive, can be the source of inspiration for other ideas from the group. Ideally, this generation of ideas is communicable. For this step the team will use varying steps such as survey questionnaire and personal observation to generate alternatives.
In the third step alternatives will be analyzed. The purpose of this step is to decide the relative merits of each idea. Managers must be able to identify the positives and negatives of each alternative solution before making any final judgment. The research team will analyze each alternative and discuss in detail. These alternatives will be priotised. In the next step the best option will be chosen. The best alternate choice is the one that will produce the most advantages and the least disadvantages. Sometimes, the selection process can be reasonably uncomplicated, such as the alternative with the most pluses and least serious minuses is fairly evident. At other times, the most favorable solution could a combination of a number of alternatives and so, more difficult to set up. In case of Tasti Products, the alternative which will bring maximum benefit for both the employer and employee will be chosen. The final stage is the implementation of the decision. Positive results must follow decisions. All staff-members involved with the decision must be acquainted with his or her role in ensuring a successful result. To guarantee that employees comprehend their roles, managers must thoughtfully develop procedures, programs, policies and/ or rules that will help them in this problem solving process. In case of Tasti products: after the decision is implemented, a feedback will follow. It is anticipated that since the employees, employer and independent observers are involved in decision making, an appropriate solution will be found to improve the employee performance.
The information for the research will be collected by using questionnaire, interviews and personal observation. The research team consists of three members. The team will meet regularly to prepare the questionnaires and interview questions. Each instrument will be scrutinized and pretested to do necessary changes so that data collected will be reliable. Each member is allocated a responsibility. One of the members is responsible for collating and typing the data. Second member is allocated the task to plan and arrange interview schedule and also make a backup plan if the respondents are not available. The third member will analyze the data and present it in table and graph form. The team will together discuss the data and develop solutions and recommendations. Letters will be written to the manager of Tasti Products asking for permission to carry out the research and making the results available to the company on completion. All the respondents will be informed by letter about the purpose of the research and seeking their consent to participate.
Reliability and Validity of Research Instruments.
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Each research instrument will be pretested on a randomly selected respondent from the projected population. Necessary changes will be made before using them to collect the data for the actual research.
Out of two hundred workers, twenty will be randomly selected to answer the questionnaire. Five respondents from managerial roles will be interviewed and the third source of data will be based on observation by independent persons using a checklist.
A letter will be written to the manager of the company to seek his permission to conduct the research. The research team will commence the actual research after the permission is granted by the manager. Also the respondents will be explained about the purpose of the research and they will be used as sources of data if they consent to give information. sample
Strengths and Weaknesses
Some of the strengths of having questionnaire are the responses are gathered in a standardized way and therefore more objective. It is relatively quick to collect information using a questionnaire. Information can be collected from a large a group. However return rates can be low and they can take a long time not only to design but also to apply and analyze. Sometimes reply may not be honest. Personal observation, checklist and literature review which will support the data from the research. This is important because it will help in data triangulation resulting in reliability of the research. Interview question can elicit information by face to face or by telephone. Sometimes it is difficult to get interviewee agree to answer questions.
The team will need access to a computer, the internet, lecture notes, time, transport, printer, and support from the tutor. Research should be completed in 14 weeks. In the first week the group is formed. The following week possible organizations and problem is identified and selected. This will be approved by the tutor. From the third week research work will start and should be completed by week fourteen.
The findings will be analyzed question by question basis for each of the three instrument types.
The results will be compared to check reliability and validity. It will be presented in a graph and table form so that it will be easily understood.
The data will be discussed by using at least five management concepts relevant to the findings. Based on the discussion recommendations will be made. The recommendation will be priotised according to the strengths and weaknesses of each solution.
Recommendation will be made to management of Tasti Products so that they can improve their attitude towards employee motivation and this will result in employee performance and improve the status of the company as workers will speak positively about the company to other stakeholders. It could be used by other similar organizations that have similar problems and other researchers engaged in research work on the topic of motivation.
Word count: 1900 approx.