Mini business activities, team performance, job satisfaction and team innovation in manufacturing: a South African perspective

Smit, Izanne (2019-04)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: The Quality Circle (QC) originated in Japan and is described as a small group of manufacturing employees who are in the same work area, and who meet regularly and voluntarily to identify, study and solve problems pertaining to quality. Many organisations implement different variations of QC programmes in a variety of industries to solve a wider range of problems, and these programmes often go by various different names. A number of South African organisations are implementing a variation of QCs called a Mini Business Activity (MBA). Providing for the fact that each country has a unique culture, language(s), and quality of education, it cannot be assumed that the effects of QCs in other countries are applicable to South Africa. Similarly, it cannot be assumed that findings on the outcomes of QCs in their original form will be identical for variations of QCs, such as MBAs. The aim of this empirical study is to determine whether MBAs in South African manufacturing organisations have the same effect that QCs have in Japanese and North American organisations. This study is classified as non-experimental, hypothesis-testing research and the effect of MBAs on three outcome variables, namely team effectiveness, team innovation and job satisfaction, is investigated while employee engagement is modelled as a mediator between MBAs and job satisfaction. A questionnaire is used to collect data from a total of 390 respondents from five South African manufacturing organisations that are implementing MBAs. A linear regression analysis is used to analyse team effectiveness and team innovation, while job satisfaction is analysed as a multilevel mediation model using the multilevel structural equation modelling (MSEM) framework. The results indicate that in South African manufacturing organisations, MBAs have a significant positive effect on team effectiveness and team innovation that is similar to the effect of QCs in both American and Japanese manufacturing organisations, but that MBAs have no direct or indirect effect through employee engagement on job satisfaction—which differs from past findings for QCs. This research helps to fill a gap that exists in literature regarding the impact of MBAs in South African manufacturing organisations. In addition to the theoretical contribution, the research also has practical value, enabling local organisations to make more informed decisions on whether to devote resources to the implementation of MBAs or not. A few key conclusions are that, if organisations wish to improve team effectiveness and team innovation, MBAs could be a useful tool to achieve this. However, MBAs were found not to have an impact on job satisfaction and therefore are not recommended as an effective mechanism for improving this outcome.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Kwaliteit-sirkels het ontstaan in Japan en word beskryf as ‘n klein groepie werknemers in ‘n vervaardigings-onderneming wat in dieselfde werksarea is en gereeld op ‘n vrywillige basis ontmoet om probleme wat verband hou met kwaliteit te identifiseer, bestudeer en op te los. Menigte ondernemings implementeer variasies van Kwaliteit-sirkels in ‘n verskeidenheid industriëe om ‘n wyer veskeidenheid van probleme op te los en hierdie programme word dikwels anders genoem. ‘n Aantal Suid-Afrikaanse ondernemings implementeer tans ‘n variasie van Kwaliteit-sirkels genaamd ‘n Mini Besigheid Aktiwiteit (MBA). Elke land het ‘n unieke kultuur, politieke klimaat, taal en kwaliteit van onderwys, en daarom kan daar nie aangeneem word dat die uitkoms van Kwaliteit-sirkels wat in ander lande gevind is, van toepassing is op Suid-Afrika nie. Net so kan daar ook nie aangeneem word dat die effek van Kwaliteit-sirkels in hul oorspronklike vorm dieselfde sal wees vir variasies van Kwaliteit-sirkels, soos MBAs, nie. Die doel van hierdie empiriese studie is om te bepaal of MBA’s in Suid-Afrikaanse vervaardingings-ondernemings dieselfde effek het as Kwaliteit-sirkels in Japanese en Noord-Amerikaanse ondernemings. Die studie word geklassifiseer as nie-eksperimentele hipotese toetsing en die effek van MBAs op drie uitkomstes, naamlik span-effektiwiteit, span-innovasie en werksbevrediging, is ondersoek. Werknemer betrokkenheid is ook gemodelleer as ‘n mediator tussen MBA’s en werksbevrediging. ‘n Vraelys is gebruik om data in te samel by 390 deelnemers uit 5 Suid-Afrikaanse vervaardigings-ondernemings wat tans MBA’s implementeer. ‘n Linieêre regressie analise is gebruik om span-effektiwiteit en span-innovasie te analiseer, en werksbevrediging is ontleed deur gebruik te maak van ‘n ‘multilevel structural equation modelling (MSEM)’ raamwerk. Die resultate toon dat MBAs ‘n beduidende positiewe effek het op span-effektiwiteit en -innovasie wat soortgelyk is aan díe van Kwaliteit-sirkels, maar dat MBAs nie ‘n direkte of indirekte effek deur middel van werknemer betrokkenheid op werksbevrediging het nie—wat nie soortgelyk is aan Kwaliteit-sirkels nie. Hierdie navorsing dra by tot die vul van ‘n gaping in die literatuur rakende die impak van MBAs in Suid-Afrikaanse vervaardigings-ondernemings. Bykomend tot die teoretiese bydrae van die studie, het die navorsing ook praktiese waarde deur organisasies in staat te stel om ‘n meer ingeligte besluit te maak wanneer daar bepaal word of dit die moeite werd is om tyd en hulpbronne aan die implementerig van MBAs te wy. MBAs word aanbeveel as ‘n moontlike hulpmiddel wat kan help om span-effektiwiteit en span-innovasie te verbeter in organisasies. MBAs word egter nie aanbeveel indien organisasies probeer om werksbevrediging onder werknemers te bevorder nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105795
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