Webs of Resistence in a Newly Privatized Polish Firm Workers React to Organizational Transformation
This study examines how the shared cultural values of employees in a Polish firm influence management attempts top transform organizational practices in a newly privatized factory. By introducing a foreign management approach, Total Quality Management (TQM), the management of this factory presents a potential conflict of values between the employees and the management philosophy. Tracing the historical and contemporary impact of traditional, political and religious influences in Poland and utilizing ethnographic techniques of observation, interviews, and secondary source data, the author identifies four patterns of shared mindsets. These mindsets, insecurity and instability, distrust, reluctance to assume responsibility and a struggle between individualism and collectivism generate resistance to the successful implementation of TQM in this factory. Organizational studies research has identified cultural differences in values but previous studies have not examined the congruence assessment that employees make when confronted with a management intervention, such as TQM. The author finds that an incongruence between societal values and the values the employees perceive are embedded in the TQM approach produced actual outcomes that are not consistent with TQM objectives of empowerment, teamwork, visionary leadership and continuous improvement of quality. Employees demonstrated a reduced sense of empowerment, team goals that are counterproductive to organizational goals, autocratic leadership and an increased focus but not sustainable effort toward improving quality. The book examines the reasons for these results through detailed description and extensive quotations from employees both inside the Polish firm and throughout Polish society.