Since the decade of the 90s, and due mainly to Anglo-Saxon countries and Japan, new paradigms in the management of the sector have been developed. These new systems created an open door to new management models, very different from the traditional ones.
The globalisation of the economy, which multiplies the offer available and the possibilities of offshoring companies in cheaper countries, have led to the need of promoting the talent and creativity as the only way to achieve the necessary innovation level to be competitive in the market.
It is the main reason why in the new model of professional relationships based on the shared and participatory management, knowledge has become the most precious asset.
The emergence of a society of knowledge has been reinforced by the predominant role of the information technologies and internet, which have fostered an instant and global communication. This information is universal and accessible information. Likewise, it has been a boost of social networks whose ability to establish relationships have influenced all areas of the company.
This transformation process represents a key to understand the new trend towards the model of professional relations.
In the metal sector, there has been a change from traditional industry to the smart 4.0 intelligent industry; from stable and predictable environments to ones in constant change. It could be said that it has been a change from scenarios where there was labour confrontation to scenarios where the collaboration prevails and is the main character in a company.
Professional relationships are developed in a constantly changing environment, and they go beyond the traditional vision of a company; where innovative models of shared projects and collaboration strategies prevail.
The paradigm of having an employee who is just obeying his/her boss has disappeared.
This relationship inside the company has changed and it is proved to create a more productive worker, and therefore, more cost-effective for a company if there are participative systems implemented in the production processes.
The predominance of these new values and attitudes is in fact, what fosters new models which reinforce the participation of people in the management and the results of the company.
In light of this new scenario of professional relations in the metal sector, intangible assets are the key to create the intellectual equity of companies. It is in fact this transition where new ways of understanding the business management models relies.
The value of people starts to change, and they become the axis for the management of the organization.
The traditional metal business model is based on a structure organized according to job positions, with transversal and specific features similar to the one we introduce in the table below:
The new model of responsibility aims to discover the most invisible elements of the company in order to, first recover them, try to quantify their value and then, promote and foster them.
This change in the business model orientation, have left aside the theoretical models which highlighted the “hard” or technical skills -Taylorism or Fordism- and started to suggest new ones where the “soft” elements are given priority, fostering different intangible aspects that are summarised in the term “knowledge”.
We will review some key concepts in order to understand what a shared and participatory management model implies for the worker.
The human capital
The human capital, it refers to the value of the human team which is based on different variables such as: leadership, efficiency in the organisation of people and tasks, qualification level, creativity, initiative, motivation, integration in the company, team work…
The human capital is a value increasingly estimated, which leads the company to create the necessary conditions to enhance the abilities and motivation of workers.
Thus, both in the assessment of the performance of the employees as well as in the recruitment processes, there are increasingly taken into consideration the competencies and other intangible assets such as abilities, attitudes and values.
The structural capital
The structural capital, by its side, is the one which covers the whole technical infrastructure that fosters the human and relational capital.
To be said, the structural capital deals with the following aspects: efficiency in the procedures of transfer of knowledge and facilitates the communication, administrative processes, productive processes, research and development investment of tangible and intangible assets…
The relation capital
The relation capital assesses the role which, in most cases, the customer has inside the company. It manages the indicators such as client satisfaction, intensity of the relation with the client, loyalty, presence of the company in social networks…
The credibility of people is determining a model where the traditional terminology in business relation processes disappears.
Currently the terms worker, labour force, workforce, HHRR are not used any longer. We talk about people who know their responsibilities inside the company and should act in accordance with it, beyond the rules imposed by hierarchical structures.
The new model of professional relations based on the shared and participatory management principles, adopts a flat organizational structure where the decision-making power is decentralized in order to be shared by all working teams.
Which are the concepts defining this new professional relationship process based in shared and participatory management?
New concepts defining the paradigm of the shared and participatory management relationships:
- Free access
- Democratic organization
- Autonomy at work
- People as the main value of the company
- Equity´s secondary and instrumental role
- Participation in management
- Retributive solidarity
- Social transformation
Therefore, the mission and the corporate value of the business culture of a shared and participatory management model are based on:
- Customer´s satisfaction.
- People as the main assets of the company.
- Optimization of products and services.
- On-going improvement.
- Social function of the company.
Another essential aspect of this new management form is the decrease of hierarchical structures and the implementation of teamwork, as one of the main characteristics of the shared and participatory management comes from the change in the traditional organization chart of traditional companies.
The design of the organizational chart is an essential element of the management functions inside it. The three main approaches for the design of the organizational chart of a company are the vertical, horizontal and the internal balance.
Traditionally, companies from the metal sector have been managed according to the Tayloristic values of division and specialization, which has been translated into a structure by departments or differentiated roles.
An organizational structure is established through the use of organizational charts, and tasks are distributed among employees from different departments.
These kinds of charts allow defining clearly the hierarchical relations among the different roles inside the organization, or to be said; the value chain.
Nevertheless, in an organization chart, the responsibilities, the relation with customers, strategic aspects, information flow and internal communication are not reflected.
A company with rigid chart leads to a fractionated way of developing its activities, and it becomes a company where some areas or roles are given more attention.
In a shared and participatory management model, there is a trend toward the disappearance of intermediate levels and the creation of working teams.
What are the working groups?
Working groups are a stable element inside the company where all workers are included.
As a permanent element inside the organisation, different dynamic flows coexist in an organization based on processes.
The approach based on processes is characterised by inter-relating all the activities that take part in the different procedures of a company.
Therefore, resources and activities are managed taking into account their relations as a whole, fostering the achievement of more efficient results.
According to this management model, the process is formed by different activities interrelated between them, which have influence on each other; one activity starts when the other finishes.
The working groups are the tool which allows an intensive cooperation between different professionals and they constitute a common nexus between the different groups of people working in the company who share their knowledge and experiences.
Each of them acts with a high level of autonomy, as a semi-independent small company.
Thus, values such as the trust and flow of knowledge become key aspects inside the management, both among the workers as well as with clients and providers.
The role of a shared leadership plays a major role in the success of the new role of the workers; leaders are the ones who start the process of change, promote improvements of ideas and provide support and counselling to teams.
The shared and participatory management model aims to highlight the social dimension of the company which becomes to be understood as a strategic decision in order to obtain better results through the integration of workers in the organization in a more inclusive way.
Companies aim to achieve the complete development of its employees as internal social goal. At the same time, they aim the integral development of the environment where they act as external objective.
Therefore, the social goals imply that the company tries to align and combine its own objectives with the ones of its stakeholders.
The new model tries to generate a long-term goal where concrete strategies are implemented aimed to:
- Guide the company towards the customer
- Promote the feeling of belonging and being part of the company
- Foster the commitment through and responsible and sustainable actions of the company.
- Opt for innovation in all spheres of the organization