Founded in 1898, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has remained one of the popular tire producers in North Carolina and in the United States as a whole. For more than 100 years now, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has maintained its global purpose of increasing the value of its brands for everyone. The company has a market-driven innovation, and it struggles to deliver the highest quality tires to its customers around the world (Goodyear Corporate, 2015). The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has four major objectives including; to attract, develop, motivate and retain the best team of associates; to earn and build a long-term relationship with customers and business partners; to drive an organization that is effectively and efficiently aligned to its objectives; and to create a sustainable business model that operates according to legal and ethical requirements. The shared values that guide the operations of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company include; quality, respect, integrity, honesty, wellness and safety, environmental sustainability, and a team-based culture. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has specified the leadership traits that the company’s leaders must possess and apply. The company requires all its leaders to build teams and talents, have effective problem-solving skills, possess effective communication skills, be able to make courageous decisions, and have the ability to deliver the desired results. Over the years, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has tried its best to achieve its mission, vision, and objectives. Currently, the company earns estimated annual revenue of more than 1 billion United States dollars (Goodyear Corporate, 2015).
Just recently, more than 10,000 employees walked out of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC. The workers are resisting the demands for a huge salary cut for newly-recruited employees including the area managers, specialists, and front office personnel on up. Workers at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC are also complaining of erosions of medical coverage, pensions, and working conditions. Those employees who are not in agreement with the pay-cuts are subjected to lay-offs (Futch, 2015). According to Futch (2015), the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC is now eliminating more than 30 salaried jobs from its workforce. However, the company has not issued formal announcements to its workers (Futch, 2015).
Over the years, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC has been known for its good human resource practice of reviewing plant operations and making sure that its remains competitive while it continues to meet the needs of customers. In addition, the company frequently reviews staffing needs in order to meet business requirements (Bell and White, 2006). Currently, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC employs approximately 2,400 workers and manufactures about 32,000 tires on a daily basis. The pay cut and layoff issues are likely to affect the company’s operations as some workers may choose to leave the company completely (Guerin, 2014). The fact that the company’s employees have not been informed officially bout the pay cuts and layoffs is an indication that there is a problem with communication throughout the plant. According to Bell and White (2006), layoffs and salary cuts are normally effected by companies either when certain positions are no longer needed or when there is a slow-down in the company.
Layoffs and salary cuts are stressful and painful experiences to both the employer and the employee (Guerin, 2014). What is currently happening at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC indicates that the process of salary cuts and layoffs have not been carried out effectively by the company’s leaders. In addition, lack of effective communication between leaders and employees in the company is another source of tension throughout the plant (Futch, 2015). Whether there is a slow-down in the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant or the company feels that certain positions are no longer necessary, the company must change the manner in which it handles sensitive issues in the company and how it communicates important information to the workers in order to make the leaving workers feel contented and to boost morale of the remaining workers (Guerin, 2014).
Kotter’s 8 Step Approach
Following a comprehensive analysis of the problems at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC, it is clear that the company should change the way it relates with its workers. Appropriate change requires creation of a good plan that can help the company to initiate the change, adapt to the change, control the change, and effect the change. The best change model that can assist the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Plant in Fayetteville, NC to make a long-term change is the Kotter’s 8-step change model.
In 1996, Kotter was concerned about what leaders do to transform their companies. After reviewing what was done by several leaders, Kotter’s decided to organize the whole process into a total of 8- steps. According to Kotter, for leaders to successfully bring about a meaningful change in their organizations, they must strive to change people’s behaviors by speaking to people’s feelings. In this regard, Kotter categorized the 8-steps to a successful change into three groups (Webster, 2015). The first group known as creating a climate for change involves the first three steps namely; increasing urgency, building and guiding team, and getting the right vision in that order. The second category known as engaging and enabling the organization involves step four, five, and six namely; communicate for buy-in, empower action, and creates short-term wins respectively. Kotter’s third category is referred to as implementing and sustaining change and it involves step seven and eight namely; do not let up and make it stick respectively (Webster, 2015).
Kotter’s first step towards managing change, known as creating or increasing urgency, is where companies strike the initial motivation to everyone in the company in order to get things moving. In the first step, the company should not only show people about the poor performance but it also needs to convince people that the existing problem is affecting the company negatively and that there is an urgent need for change (Webster, 2015). In order to spark the initial motivation towards change, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company should involve all employees in developing scenarios to show what could happen if all employees left the company due to layoffs and salary cuts. Additionally, the company should examine opportunities that can be exploited to bring about a positive change. Leaders of the organization need to begin honest discussions with everyone in the company in order to convince them about the importance of eliminating certain positions considering the current status of the company. In case the leaders of the company fail to agree with employees, they should requests for support from the company’s stakeholders to help them strengthen their arguments (Petrescu, 2010).
In the second step towards change management, Kotter calls upon company leaders to convince everyone in the organization that indeed, a change is necessary. This step involves forming a powerful coalition with other people in the organization as a way of leading change. According to Kotter, for leaders to guide change effectively, they must first bring together a team or a coalition to assist with decision making. In this second step, leaders tend to unite the different opinions of every individual member of the team around the need for change. To effectively go through the second step, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company needs to identify the most dedicated leaders and stakeholders in the organization. The company should the request for an emotional commitment from these people and then work together with them to create a functional team. Before moving to the third step, the company must remember to check the weak points of its team member and try to strengthen them to ensure that it has a god mix of people who can help in leading change (Webster, 2015).
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