Trends in Organizational Learning concept LO29395

From: Alan Cotterell (
Date: 10/28/02

Replying to LO29388 --

>From 1971 to 1984, I worked in an Australian defence manufacturing area in
which SOP's were unknown. I was responsible for the introduction of the
first 'process specifications', in this particular factory.

During one year 11 foremen (tradesmen) completed their service (average 35
years each). These men were the real leaders of a 900 strong workforce,
how much knowledge do you think left with them?

Many of the foremen hads been in charge of engineering workshops during
the 1939/45 conflict. After the war they were told the had to accept
qualified engineers into the shops. Many of these engineers became little
more than 'progress checkers', however they were theoretically 'in
charge'. The factory was effectively 'managed to extinction' in 1989.

Sorry if I sound cynical, however there is much to be said for providing
well written management system documentation, it empowers workers 'at the
coal face', and provides some 'memory'. There is a lesson for all of us
in the demise of this factory. We have to 'close the gap' between
tradesmen/process workers and engineers. Perhaps we should also have
competency requirements for managers?

Best Regards,
Alan Cotterell


"Alan Cotterell" <>

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