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CASE 25-1: Encouraging Employee Involvement The Orion Corporation recently implemented employee involvement teams as part of an organizational development program. The employees in the customer support department of the engineering division were excited about the chance to participate in solving a problem they had been facing for some time. Fourteen of the 20 employees had school-age children. Several times during the year, the employees needed time off from work to attend parent-teacher conferences, help with projects in their child’s school, or attend an important school activity involving their children. Orion had no policy that allowed employees time away from work. The employees either had to miss the school activities or call in sick. Most of the employees felt uncomfortable about taking a “sick day” when they really were not sick. The employee team worked carefully and developed the following plan: Each employee could have up to two half-day absences for school-related activities during the year. The absence would have to be scheduled at least one week in advance and only one employee could be absent at a time. The other employees would complete the work of the absent employee before they left for the day without additional pay. The department manager could cancel the absence with one day’s notice if the department had special assignments or extra work. The employee team submitted its plan to the department manager. The manager rejected the employee recommendation. She identified two reasons for rejecting the plan: (1) The company could not have different policies concerning employee absences for each department. (2) Not all employees in the department had school-age children, so the policy would be unfair to those employees who did not.

THINK CRITICALLY 1. Do you believe the manager made the right decision about the team’s recommendation? Why or why not? What should the manager do now, based on her decision not to accept the team’s recommendation? If you were the manager, how would you respond to the team’s recommendation? 2. How do you believe the employees will feel about the organization, based on the manager’s response to their proposal? What would you recommend the employees do, based on the responses of the manager? 3. How can the Orion Corporation improve the way it organizes and uses teams in the future? Should the manager’s role change now that employee involvement teams are being formed?


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