World-Class, Lean Performance in the SMEs - Small and Medium Enterprises - by Carlo Scodanibbio, Industrial & Business Consultant - Lean Management Consultant

Carlo Scodanibbio
Industrial & Business Consultant
Lean Management Consultant

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Human Resources Management

Having defined the main Industrial Models in respect of their Organisational Strategies, it's easy to allocate to the various quadrants of the grid the "most fit Human Resource Strategy under the circumstances".

For instance, for an enterprise falling in the Model A quadrant (FUNCTIONAL-TAYLORISTIC - PRODUCT-OUT), it's easy to conclude the most fit HR strategy is based on a "Paleo" (old) style of HR Management (autocratic, paternalistic, bureaucratic......):

Paleo HR Management

Actually, the area of suitability for this style of HR Management spreads a bit also over quadrant B.

Considering the main HR Management disciplines in industrial history, it's rather easy to identify the areas of suitability of MBO - Management by Objectives:


and of the so-called MBOII - Management by Objectives II:



TEI - Total Employee Involvement is well fit and adequate for enterprises of the right zone of the Organisational Strategies grid:

Total Employee Involvement


Having made the above considerations, it's easy to conclude that, for every (theoretical and real) Industrial Model there is a HR Management Strategy optimal and most fit under the circumstances.

It would definitely be a horrible mistake to try to enforce a TEI environment in a Paleo-Enterprise (Model A): simply, there would be no pre-requisites to allow it.
People would be totally disoriented, should top management of a paleo-enterprise decide to switch over to TEI practice and style. In short time, an enormous chaos would be generated.....

Likewise, let's consider the hypothetical situation of a Model C enterprise (process/people oriented - involvement) taken over by a new management team with very "paleo-management" ideas.
Should new management try to enforce a "paleo" HR style, people would just vanish like mist in hot sun.....

So, all "traditional" enterprises should assess, to begin with, the validity of their current HR Management Strategy in relation to their overall Organisational Strategies, and ensure there are no major hybrid situations, or conflicts, or clashes.....
This will assure, at least, a better overall functional effectiveness.

And "traditional" enterprises willing to move into the world-class area, can do so after putting, if necessary, their "house" in order.

Putting things in order means : "re-thinking" the enterprise culture, values, principles, objectives.... - means reviewing the enterprise's approach to market and clients - means rationalising the overall product/service development area - and means streamlining the enterprise's processes - and means reviewing people position in those processes - means educating, training, and forming people - means making step-by-step experimental tests and launching pilot projects - means instilling gradually new culture and showing new horizons.....

In this way, the shift to the right zone on the Organisational Strategies grid is gradual, continuous, regular, integrated, painless... but takes time !
Cultural changes are the main limiting factor. Time is necessary. The shift is a "medium" term project (2 to 5 years, depending on circumstances).

But Total Employee Involvement can, in this way, be introduced and made take-off.

How painless is the process?
It might be rather painful for "strong-Model-A" enterprises. It is somewhat painful for Model-B enterprises. And it is less and less painful for "central-zone" enterprises.
Still, the road to world-class status will show a few casualties. Not everybody will be able to adapt to this kind of change.....


Is TEI the HR state-of-the-art discipline for world-class enterprises? Are there any further developments?       (more »)

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