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High Tech High Touch. How Top Managers and Consultants Facilitate Organizational Transformation by Improving Social Competencies and Total Quality

Marjatta Maula
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Marjatta Maula: The University of Applied Sciences in Seinäjoki, Finland, Postal: Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy, Copenhagen Business School, Blaagaardsgade 23 B, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark

No 1/2001, Working Papers from Copenhagen Business School, Department of Management, Politics & Philosophy

Abstract: This report describes a transformation process that concerns competence development and total quality in an industrial production company. It investigates the cooperation between Grundfos, the world’s foremost global producer of water pumps, and Strandgaard Gruppen, a Danish management-consulting firm. Together they developed ‘values-based’ management and ‘social competences’, and implemented a Business Excellence solution at Grundfos Management (the group function) and Grundfos A/S, the Danish unit of Grundfos. The improvement of Total Quality started originally in 1993 by developing the idea of self-organizing groups. In 1995 the project was specified further to include the implementation of two supplementary aspects, ‘high tech’ and ‘high touch’. These concepts refer to EFQM (The European Foundation for Quality Management), and ‘Learning Organization’ model, respectively. The transformation process was motivated by Grundfos’ need to attract skilled people into the industry. It was supported by the firm’s top management and other leaders who themselves went through an education process and improved their competencies as leaders. The major changes occurred, however, in the self-organizing groups. The transformation influenced the individual employees’ and leaders’ self-consciousness, work-life and partially also their private life. It empowered the groups and radically changed the leaders’ role. Moreover, it inspired other firms, influenced the partners’ ways to do business with Grundfos, and caused changes in the national agreements between the industrial organizations and labor unions. As the recognition of this work, Grundfos A/S won 1999 the Danish Quality Award. The company has applied for the European Quality Prize in 2002.

Keywords: Transformation; Change management; Competence management; Value-based management; Industrial production; Management consulting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2001-01-01
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