Saturday, November 24, 2007

Innovation in Manufacturing

Improvisation Model for Team Performance Enhancement in a Manufacturing Environment

Anil B. Jambekar, Karol I. Pelc

Team Performance Management, 2007, 13, 7/8, p. 259-274

The core purpose of the paper is to propose that improvisational practices have potential of bringing an additional dimension to learning process in a typical manufacturing organization governed by a culture-implied “Plan what we do and do what we plan” environment. In today’s turbulent environment employees should possess both the capability to follow a plan while, at the same time remaining able to respond instinctively to outcomes that are unexpected.
Several authors view the concept of improvisation associated with performing arts and creativity-based artistic productions such as jazz performance, comedy and improvisational theater as a model to shape organizational processes. The instances of improvisation cited in the literature are first classified as either proactive or reactive. Using jazz metaphor the paper offers a model of decision making by an agent and a process view of communication.
Authors propose that a culture of a manufacturing environment described as “Plan what we do, do what we plan, but improvise with bias toward improved system performance” is very desirable and should be legitimized. Although the model is conceptual, it will benefit from more empirical or case based research.
For practicing managers, this work offers a goalpost toward productive thinking.
The authors argue that improvisational experience of other domains of activity e.g. in creativity- based artistic productions; jazz band, theatre, etc. should be considered for adoption into manufacturing environment after a suitable transformation.