This school emphasizes finding the best ways to maximize motivation and the fulfillment of needs (Cole, 2004). Lin still emphasizes the need to achieve results, but is seeking to reduce the burn and churn element of the company. By taking a more humanist approach to management, she is operating under the assumption that this will keep the employees able to drive results over a longer time period.
It is difficult to determine which of these two approaches works better. Bossidys approach is predicted to realize results in the short-term but may not be effective over the long-term. However, 29 quarters is over seven years, so there is merit to the argument that Bossidys approach can be sustained. There are employees that thrive under such working conditions and if the rewards are sufficient, those employees will continue to be attracted to Allied Signal.
There have been studies that show that Lins more balanced approach is also successful. Employees at successful firms work the same amount of hours as those at unsuccessful firms, but have higher productivity. Thus, they are working smarter rather than harder. Bossidys approach does imply that harder work is the path to success. Lin realizes that Allieds hard work culture has value, but also realizes that there is value in having the workers work smarter, reducing hours and increasing productivity.
It is worth considering however, that the evidence supports that good management is the most important variable in a companys success. Whether or not a company supports a work-life balance program is ultimately irrelevant to its productivity or its success (Bloom et al., 2006). This goes a long way to explaining why Bossidys approach succeeded in driving strong quarterly gains over the course of seven years. His attitude towards work-life may have resulted in a high level of employee turnover, but with good management the new employees were able to join the company and be productive quickly, mitigating the negative impacts of the high turnover rate. With good management, Bossidy was able to overcome what should have been a disadvantage in his myopic pursuit of financial measures.
It is recommended, however, the Lins approach be adopted. Lin has also succeeded with good management rather than her approach to work-life issues. However, the employer brand of Specialty Wax is likely to be better than that of Allied Signal as a whole. This will help to attract better talent. With lower rates of turnover and an enhanced ability to acquire new talent, the long-term quality of talent at Specialty Wax can be expected to increase (Van Mossevelde, 2010). This is a critical source of competitive advantage because the supply of skilled labor that has helped to fuel growth at Allied Signal cannot be expected to last forever. It should be pointed out that while Bossidys growth figures are impressive, the economy was expanding rapidly during those years — his approach has not been proven in tougher economic times. The company should seek to increase its employer brand by improving its work-life balance, even though there is no direct correlation between work-life balance and either productivity or profit.
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