Lesson 4: Changing the Process of Work
The process of producing a good or service usually involves an input, management of the input, and a resultant output, or outcome. Unfortunately, this process of work also involves the possibility of workers becoming ill or injured while completing their tasks or their input into the work process. There are incentives present for management and workers to prevent injuries and illnesses in the workplace, but these injuries and illnesses still occur.
The majority of the quality problems in the workplace are caused by management.
McLaughlin and Kaluzny (2007) point out that management is typically responsible
for the design of the work process and employees produce the output of the work process.
Therefore responsibility for both the good and the bad results (including injuries) produced by the work process is the ultimate responsibility of the leadership of the business. It is ironic that even though the leader designs this process, the only ones who can make the process safe for the workers are the workers themselves, who often are not included in the design process. Total quality management programs as they relate to workplace injury and illness programs have to be a top – down process. Although the expertise necessary for a quality work process free of worker injury and illness resides largely in the workers, the change in the work process needs to be ignited by the workplace leader, because he or she controls the resources and training necessary to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.