GROUP MAKING at Nestlé


“It must be possible to recognize my product at a glance. The ‘nest’ is not just my trade mark, it is also my goal of aims.”

Henri Nestlé

Founder of the Nestlé Company

The above was the response of Henri Nestlé to one of his British agents who had suggested to him in 1869 to replacement of his trademark—the nest—with the Swiss cross. By refusing to comply Nestlé not only reflected his confidence in his product but also the commitment to his corporate philosophy.

How did Nestlé hit upon this particular trademark? Simple as it may seem with hindsight, in view of the meaning of the German “Nestlé”—little nest, a lot of thought had actually gone into it. Nestle’s eloquent family coat-of-arms consisted of a single bird sitting on a nest. In order to establish a visual link between the name and the product, Nestlé changed him family coat-of-arms into trade mark by adding three young birds being fed by an adult and perked the whole thing on an oak branch. This established a connection between the coat-of-arms and the product while at the same time symbolizing the purpose of the infant serial with a picture of a mother feeding her young.

Nestlé adopted his trademark at the beginning of 1868. Today, 129 years after it was first used, the ‘Nest’ continues to be corporate identity of Nestlé as the world’s leading Food Company and remains the symbol of quality.

Nestlé was established in 1866. In Pakistan firstly milk plant had begun operations in 1981 as a producer of UHT milk. By 1988, it had expanded its operation and was also producing butter, cream and desi ghee all under the brand name of Milk Pak and juice drinks under the brand name Frost.

1981 UHT Milk

1983 Butter

1986 Milk Pak Cream

Desi Ghee

Frost Juice

Milk Pak UHT Milk

1990 Nido

Cerelac

1991 Nestum

Lectogen

1992 Everyday Tea Whitener

Gloria

Maggis Noodles

1994 Milo

Neslac

1995 Millo RTD

Nescafe 3 in 1

1996 Every day UHT Milk

Nestle Orange Juice

Nestea

Polo

Nescafe Classic

Maggi Yakhni

Company has both registered and corporate office in Lahore. Company has two factories one at Lahore-Sheikhupura Road, Sheikhupura and second at Khanewal-Kabirwala. Company has nine regional Sales Offices in different cities of Pakistan. These cities are:

v Karachi

v Lahore

v Faisalabad

v Peshawar

v Islamabad

v Hyderabad

v Multan

v Gujranwala

v Quetta

During 1997, company has total sales of Rs. 3,220, 836 thousand and the net profit of 166, 340 thousand.

an is a social animal so he lives in groups. Everybody is a member of one or more groups. In some groups, he plays an active role while in others; he seems to be quite inactive.

The three conditions, which the members of the group should possess, are:

(i) People must interact with one another

(ii) They are psychologically aware of one another, and

(iii) They should perceive themselves as a group

When an organization is developed, it is divided into departments, units, sections, etc. The members working in such departments, sections, units, etc. because interact each other, know about other members of the unit or department and they all perceive themselves as a group and work for common interests, this may very well be called as groups. These groups may be permanent or temporary only for a short while or adhoc till a particular job is done.

Groups may be found within the work organization or outside the work organization having no relations with the organization such as friendship kinship groups or neighbors. Local trade unions, departmental group or a work-group are examples of such groups, which are found in a formal organization.

Characteristics of a group may be summarized as follows:

A very common characteristic of a group is mutual interaction between the members of the group. In a wider term, interaction is a communication. Such communication may be oral or by gesture or by nodding the head. People or members of the group are closely associated with one another and adjust themselves among them only through interaction. They know each other and their behavior through interaction.

Almost all the groups do something. Work groups may be busy in activities on the work while friendship groups may talk each other, go to a place, and take lunch together. The group must be active but it is not necessary that all of its members are active. Some may be active while others may be quite inactive.

There are certain norms of the group that represents its culture. Every group has its own culture and a level of behavior by which it is recognized within the society. These norms are fixed by the group itself and are followed by each and every member of the group. These norms may be in writing or oral.

There must be an informal leader among the members of the group. It is nominated by the members of the group taking into consideration the age, experience, technical knowledge, etc. He has no formal power but he obtains the power from the members of the group. A group may have more than one leader for different purposes.

A group develops because it satisfied certain needs of its members. The more needs it satisfies, the more it attracts the members. This attraction or belongingness may be called cohesiveness. Group cohesiveness implies consensus, unanimity of agreement among members on major issues. Members of the group feel highly attached to the group and attract towards each other.

There must be conformity between the individual and group goals. If these two confirm, there will be a group cohesiveness. Cohesive group demands conformity from its members so that it can attain its goals and may enjoy the security in the society.

Formal groups are deliberately structured to subserve organizational interest. They are formed to accomplish the specific functions and organizational goals. These functions and goals are related to overall organizational goal. They serve as means to formal ends. They are shown on the organizational chart. Groups are empowered with the authority by the institution. Authority is always delegated to the position and not to the person. Therefore, position is important and not the person in the formal groups. Authority in formal groups is not acquired but delegated from the above and it always flows downward and never upward.

The status of a group is determined by its position on the organizational chart or responsibilities of the job, it performs. It is developed according to the technical requirements.

All communications to formal groups are sent through chain of command. There are predetermined rules and regulations, which are to be followed by every member of the group. The behavior of members is regulated through such rules and regulations. Any violation of rules and regulations attracts penalty—financial or non-financial.

Formal groups are formed by the management of an organization, so they are controlled and can be abolished by the management at any time it likes.

Command group is determined by the organization chart. It is composed of the subordinates who report directly to a given manager. The smallest command group consists of supervisor and his subordinates and the largest one consists of top management and the total personnel in the work force. There are so many other groups in between these two extremes.

Task group also organizationally determined, represent those working together to complete a job task. Task group’s boundaries are not limited to its immediate hierarchical superior. It can cross command relationships. All command groups are task groups but task groups are not command groups.

The members of the formal groups are asked to perform the functions, which are necessary for him considering his role status in the organization. But as because men can be engaged to work as a whole and not in parts, there are number of needs which cannot be satisfied through formal groups. So, they form other groups by interacting each other, to satisfy some of their other needs, which could not be satisfied by formal groups. These other groups are called informal groups. There may be innumberable informal group in a formal organization. They are generally small and serve different interests of their members.

An informal group arises involuntarily and spontaneously and they generally satisfy the social needs of the members of the group. Informal groups, unlike formal ones, cannot be abolished. Any attempt to destroy them may causes several others to emerge. Informal groups may exist within or outside the organization.

Group of those, working together to attain a specific objective with which each is concerned is called interest group.

This kind of group involves close personalities as friends or relatives who are well known to each other before hand. Mostly these groups are found in pairs and are useful in spreading influence and information.

In Nestlé the command groups of permanent and temporary nature exist. As the name shows, the permanent groups are of permanent nature. In Nestlé, the permanent nature command groups include the quality assurance department, industrial engineering department, cost accounting department.

The chain of command as expressed by authority, responsibility and accountability allocates of the role of each individual in the group. The superior of a particular group is the leader who performs important functions for his group. He sets goals for the group, suggest ways and means to get them and settle jurisdictional issues, which arise between subordinates. The superior is an effective instrument for downward communication and an initiation for upward communication.

In Nestlé, there are also working functional groups whose primary task is to carry on the operations. Then these functional groups are again classified into three categories:

(i) Team group

(ii) Task group

(iii) Technological group

The distinction between these groups involves the method role allocation and role fulfillment.

Team group is specified no fixed role to its individuals. The general role of the group is set and the members of the group are allocated the roles according to the needs of the goal. Roles of members in a team group are interchangeable without any clash.

Task group specifies a fixed job for each of its members and lays down the job description. Roles of the team members are not interchangeable and if superior does so, it is not without much personal resistance and friction between superior and the member.

Technological group is something different. There the roles are assigned by the management. The position of the job is fixed and the methods are laid down and the speed of work is fixed by some device. Thus members of the group have no choice over the method and the spread of the work.

In Nestlé, the groups are also formed to carry particular work or to perform the specific task, named as temporary command groups. Such groups come to an end as soon as the task assigned to them are over. Whenever sales in some territory decreases, a study group is appointed under the Regional Sales Manager in order to analyze the causes of decrease in sales.

In 1996, the sales of Fizzy Orange and Fizzy Strawberry decreased. The management formed groups consisting of 3 RSMs and under each RSM, there were 6 ASMs. They conducted a survey and found that the sales of these product was decreased due to moisture in these products and then Nestlé lifted back these products from the market and then launched again with modification. These groups came to an end as soon as the task assigned to them was over.

In Nestlé, along with the formal groups, informal groups also exist. Each informal group has its own informal leader who is elected among the members of the group not on the basis of authority he possess in the formal group but on the basis of age, seniority, technical knowledge, respect, etc. Authority in the informal group is given to the person and not to the position. As soon as the members lose their confidence in him, he will no more be the leader of the group.

Communications in these groups possess through informal channel, mostly verbal. Norms, values and beliefs of the group regulate behaviors of members. Violators of the norms are punished through non-financial modes such as social boycott, loss of prestige and status within the group.

Mostly in Nestlé informal groups consist of colleagues and associates who normally observe certain norms and standards. They are closely intimate to each other. The object of this type of group is to provide recognition to each other and exchange information of mutual interest. There are two types of colleagues:

(i) Such colleagues consist of people working in the same department irrespective of their rank differences. Such groups develop because of earlier acquaintance of people or the dependence of the superior upon his subordinates for some formal purpose.

(ii) The group consists of people of more or less same rank and working more or less in the same area. Such groups are formed cutting across organizational boundaries. Such members find some point of commonness and keeping the objectives in mind, come together. This is the most common form of informal group.

This model explain that group passes through five different stages. These are as follows:

The first stage of the group development is known as forming. It is characterized by a great deal of uncertainty about the group’s purpose, structure and leadership. This stage is complete when members have begun to think of themselves as part of a group.

The storming stage is one of intragroup conflict. Members accept the existence of the group, but resist the constraints the group imposes on individuality. Further, there is conflict over who will control the group. When this stage is complete, a relatively clear hierarchy of leadership exists within the group.

The third stage is one in which close relationship develops and the group demonstrates cohesiveness. There is now a strong sense of group identity. This norming stage is complete when the group structure solidifies and the group has common set of expectations of what defines correct member behavior.

The fourth stage is performing. The structure at this point is fully functional and accepted. Group energy was moved from getting to know and understand each other to performing the task at hand.

The final stage in group development for temporary group, characterized by concern with wrapping up activities rather than task performance.

This step is mostly done by the management. Management forms the groups depending on the nature of the objectives or tasks of the formation of group. Like if they have to increase the sale of particular territory, they form the group of sales representatives to see the reasons of low rate or to adopt new ways to reach a good level of sales. So the people requiring same skills are included in the group.

But in the case like they when introduced the new flavors in the POLO, which is their product, so they included the people in the groups having complementary skills.

So they also see the behavior of one another in the group. So as the people know that they have to achieve a target or objective so they try to understand one another and also the behavior of one another.

In this stage as the people have to achieve one objective so they try that the whole group becomes cohesive. Leaders do a good role in this stage. Leaders try to bring the people so that they have same feelings. Leader also tells them that what are the ways to cooperate with one another so that the ultimate objective of group can be achieved.

In this stage the groups at Nestlé start performing their functions and after the selection of particular idea and the way, all try to perform the functions which they have decided in the meetings of their group. If any ambiguity about the functions is there then it is cleared by the leader of the group.

This is the stage normally in the sales force grouping. These groups of temporary nature are disbanded when the required objective is achieved.

But the groups of permanent nature are going on like the milk collection groups and quality assurance groups. They are of permanent nature and still going on.

Another important thing or stage is storming which is not followed in Nestlé as we have read it. The conflicts go on through out the process between members of the group. Because group is the collection of individuals and every individual has his own ideas and thinking. So the small or big conflicts go on during each stage of development of group. But usually these are resolved by the help of group leader and in the meeting held between the group members.

Every work group has a formal leader. He/she is typically has title of department manager, supervisor, foreman, project leader, task force head, etc. This leader plays an important role in group’s success.

The leader of group in Nestlé is selected by organization itself. Usually the senior member having special required skill is selected as a leader. He/she leads the group and give proper direction to them.

External conditions imposed on the group also affect the behavior of the group and its performance. These conditions can be as followed.

An organizational strategy typically put into place by top management outlines the organization’s goals and the means for attaining these goals. Any organizational strategy can affect the performance of the group. Top management may allocate resources on the basis of these strategies to different groups.

Organizations have authority structures that define who reports to whom, who make decision and what decision individuals or groups are empowered to make. This structure typically determines where a given work group is placed in the organizational hierarchy formal relationship between the groups.

Organizations create rules, procedures, policies and other forms of regulations to standardize employee behavior. The more formal regulations that the organization imposes on all its employees, the more the behavior of work group members will be consistent and predictable.

Some organizations are large and profitable, with an abundance of resources. Their employees will have modern high quality tools and equipment to do their jobs.

Every organization has an unwritten culture that defines standards of acceptable and unacceptable behavior for employees. Members of work group have to accept the standards implied in the organization’s dominant culture if they are to remain in good standing.

Members of any work group are first, members of the organization of which the group is a part. The criteria an organization uses in its selection process will determine the kinds of people that will be in its work groups.

Every organization has some strategies on which it works to achieve some objectives. Strategy is to do with the matching of the activities of an organization to the environment in which it operates. In 1997 most initial progress has been in the area of milk collection and processing. The key to success lay in a comprehensive and well thought out strategy to overhaul the manner in which milk was collected and transported. Critical areas of operation were identified

and made the focus of improvement. Different groups were developed who educated the farmers and the milk collection staff. Different groups were further developed to collect and drop the milk. These groups contain persons who get training.

As we have written before that it is related with where the group placed in the organizational hierarchy. In Nestlé, sale promotion groups place under the control of the marketing department. So these people have to report to top manager of marketing department.

Every organization has some rules and regulations, which have to be followed by the employees of the organization. Same is the case in the Nestlé. They have to come in time in meetings. They have to come in formal dress and all other rules and regulations such as about communication that they have to firstly communicate the problem to the immediate manager and he/she discuss this problem to other higher authority and if the problem is very serious then they can talk directly to upper level so these people follow this. So this concept is also applied in groups as well. They discuss their problems to the leader of the group and the leader then talks to the higher authority.

As we know that Nestlé is a multinational company having good number of resources. So organization used its resources in the shape of well-defined manner. They provide these resources to their employees. They have modern machinery and equipment, which they have provided to their employees. Different groups are being benefited from it, which increases their performance.

In Nestlé, people like to work in group because they have friendly relation with each other. They all know what is accepted or unaccepted behavior from them. They know who to do the things.

Personnel selection also contributes much not in the program of group as well as in overall organization program. The selection criteria in Nestlé is there are different types of test being held such as intelligence, aptitude test, also the primary and final interviews are being conducted. The personnel are selected on the basis of these tests and interview. The person involved in this process is the person from the human resource management and the person from department, which requires the new employees. So when these people are selected on the basis of merit so they also perform good in organization.

The performance of any group is affected by several factors other than the reasons for its formation and its development. We are going to describe four main factors, which can affect the group performance.

Group composition is most described in terms of the homogeneity or heterogeneity of the members.

A group is homogeneous if the members are similar in one or several ways that are critical to the work of group such as age work experience, technical specialty or cultural background.

In heterogeneous groups, the members are different in one or more ways that are critical to the work of the group.

Group size can have an important effect on performance. A group with many members has more resources available and may be able to complete a large number of relatively independent tasks. Smaller groups are faster at completing tasks than are larger ones.

A norm is a standard against which the appropriateness of a behavior is judged. Thus a norm is the expected behavior or behavioral pattern in a certain situation. Norms usually regulate the behavior of group members rather than their thoughts or feelings. Norms result from the combination of member’s personality characteristics, the situation, the task and the historical traditions of the group.

Group cohesiveness results from all forces acting on the members to remain in the group. The forces that create cohesiveness are attraction to the group, resistance to leaving the group, and the motivation to remain a member of the group.

While discussing with Nestlé people, we have found that four factors can affect the performance of the groups. Now we are going to discuss these factors in the context of Nestlé.

As we have discussed that composition of the group can be described in terms of homogeneous and heterogeneous. In Nestlé, both types of groups are existing.

Homogeneous groups are often created in Nestlé when people are assigned to command groups based on a similar technical specialty. Although the people who work in such command groups may differ in some factors. They are homogeneous in terms of a critical work performance variable such as technical specialty.

Nestlé people say that they create heterogeneous groups when the task assigned to them is complex, requires a collective effort and requires creativity. An example of this type of group is product development group for POLO that works on different flavors of POLO. This group involves people who have different expertise and develop two different flavors of POLO.

The size of the groups in Nestlé depends on the task itself. If the task is about to generate new ideas, the size of the group will be large. If the purpose of the group is to cover small territory then the size of the group will be small to cover that.

For large groups usually set agendas for meetings. The communication is most likely to be formalized.

As we have described the norms in the expected behavior or behavioral pattern in a certain situation. Nestlé people are of the view that they are familiar with expected behavior they have to be adopted in different situations, which help them in achieving goals. In case of groups each member of the group knows what he has to do in different conditions, what is expected from him/her or what not? For example, while attending a formal group meeting, the first important thing is to come in time. If someone comes late, it will be noticed, which saves time because people try to come in time.

Pressures to conform to group norms can be powerful determinants of group performance. Norms affect setting goals, defining behaviors that are appropriate for members and restricting behaviors of members. Conformity to group norms may result in serious problems at work.

Nestlé people say that the cohesiveness is more when the goals are clear, competition with others, mature development. The reasons they gave to us are that when the goals are clear, we are clear about the group and each of us in the group perceive it same, so we work in groups. Competition can also increase the cohesiveness. Nestlé also gives different rewards in the achievement of the task. They say that when the group is recently formed, it will have less cohesiveness because we have low interaction but as the group matures, it increases the cohesiveness between the members. Successfully reaching goals often increases the cohesiveness between us because we are glad to be identified with winner and to be thought of a competent and successful organization.

Whether the groups interact regularly or infrequently, the interaction between them is crucial to the organization’s success and the potential for problems between them always exists. It is management’s responsibility to forestall such problems and to help groups work together constructively.

The most powerful basis for interaction among groups in organizations is task interdependence, or the degree to which the activities of separate groups force them to depend on each other, thereby requiring more coordination to reach organizational goals. The three types of task interdependence—pooled, sequential and reciprocal—require increasing levels of group interaction.

Pooled interdependence exists when two or more groups function with relative independence, but their aggregated or combined outputs contribute to the output and profitability of the total organization. The outputs, inputs and manufacturing processes of each group were separate and distinct from one another. Their contributions to organizational goals were pooled only at the end of the process. Many companies have separate operating divisions that interact only when the operating profits are pooled at the end of the year. In both situations, the groups do not interact except to aggregate their outputs.

When the outputs of one group are the inputs of second group, but the outputs of the second group are not inputs of the first, sequential interdependence exists. The work of the second group is dependent on the first. If the outputs of the first group are interrupted, the outputs of the second group eventually stop as well.

Reciprocal interdependence occurs when the outputs of one group become inputs for another and vice versa. In such situations, groups are highly interdependent and the most difficult to manage because the groups are constantly interacting.

They have told us that it depends on the task of the group that uptill how much they have to interact with one another.

In case of pooled interdependence, they have this kind of interaction in the sales force groups. The sales force groups work independently in their regions. So they have their own resources separately. They use different ways to sell the products of the company, but in the end, their contributions are shared by the whole organization. But they work for the overall profitability of Nestlé.

In case of sequential interdependence, at most this exists in all the organizations where the processing is done to produce final product. Here we can take the example of the milk collection group and the milk cleaning department. Until the output, that is, the milk is not collected by the milk collection group, what the milk cleaning department will do?

In case of reciprocal interdependence, this kind of group also exists in Nestlé. For example, the milk collection group and the quality assurance group work together to collect the input for their organization. Both depend on each other. Until the milk is not collected, the quality assurance group has nothing to do and until the quality assurance group does not assure the quality of milk, the milk collection group cannot take that milk from the supplier.

So all the groups which have a lot of interdependence, they interact and work together, so that the organization goals can be achieved.

As the case of intragroup competition, the individuals in the group try to do it, but the management of Nestlé said that if it is in a sense that the individual want to take good part in the group work, then it is right, but if he tries to let down others, that he can be judged as a better performer and hinders the work of other group members, then such behavior is not acceptable and the group leader tries to correct his behavior at his own.

Similarly the management also gives reward at the group level to avoid this behavior from the individuals in the group.

As far as the Inter-group competition is concerned, it is there. But it again depends on the task of the groups. Groups that have sequential interdependence or the reciprocal interdependence, there is no such kind of competition because if these groups start competing instead of cooperating, then the organization will suffer and there will be great losses.

So in case of pooled interdependence, the competition exists like there is competition between the groups of sales force. So whoever goes beyond its target or gives more sales, then that group is rewarded. To increase the performance of such groups, the competition is encouraged in Nestlé.

Today, organizations accomplish their work through working in groups. Organizations like Nestlé, which have adopted total quality or continuous improvement strategy, are attempting to create working group culture throughout their system.

But cultural difference, skill, diversity are few barriers to effective group work. Lack of focus failure to reach decision, wasted efforts and poor integration are just small number symptoms of ineffectiveness of groups. When their symptoms appear, Nestlé management promptly takes action to increase the effectiveness of the group.

It is an inward look by the team at its own performance, behavior and culture for the purposes of dropping out dysfunctional behaviors and strengthening functional ones. The group critiques its performance, analyses its way of doing things and attempts to develop strategies to improve its operations. Sometimes the purpose of the meeting is a special agenda item, such as developing the group’s performance goals for the coming year. Often the purpose of the meeting is for the more general charge expressed in the equations: How can we build ourselves into a better functioning team? And how can we do the job better.

Team building session is usually initiated by the manager in consultation with the third party. A good length of time for the meeting is anywhere from one to three days. The session should be held away from the work place.

The usual practice for these sessions is to have the consultant interview each of the group members and the leader prior to he meeting, asking them what their problems are, how they think the group functions, and what obstacles are getting in the way of the group performing better. These interview data are categorized into themes by the consultant, who presents the themes to the group at the beginning of the meeting. The group examines and discusses the issues, ranks them in terms of their importance, examines the underlying dynamics of the problems, begins to work on solutions to the problems and establishes some action steps to bring about the changes deemed desirable. It is imperative to have follow-up meetings to determine whether the action steps that were outlined were taken and to determine whether or not they had the desired effects. This is the flow of events for the meeting.

It is often desirable for the consultant to interview the entire group, using an open-ended approach, such as “What things do you see getting in the way of this group being a better one?” This procedure introduces the consultant to the group members and allows the consultant to assess commitment to the team-building session.

The consultant presents the interview results in terms of themes. When everyone has understood the themes, these are ranked by the group in terms of their importance. In the course of meeting, much interpersonal and group process information will be generated, and that may be examined too.

Important problems are discussed; alternatives for action are developed. Generally, the team-building meeting involves deciding on action steps for remedying problems and setting target dates for “who will do what when.”

1. “Get the right people together for

2. A large block of uninterrupted time

3. To work on high-priority problems or opportunities that

4. They have identified and that are worked on

5. In ways that are structured to enhance the likelihood of

6. Realistic solutions and action plans that are

7. Implemented enthusiastically and

8. Followed up to assess actual versus expected results.”

The consultant that interviewed all team members in confidential interviews to gain an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the team and the organization. When the interviews were completed, the consultant met with the Executive Director to give him an overview of the interview results. While maintaining confidentiality, the consultant described the issues uncovered in the interviews and solicited the Executive Director’s reaction, which was that the diagnosis agreed with his own perceptions.

In work teams decisions are made, tasks are assigned, and individuals and small groups accomplish the tasks. This is easily described on paper, but in reality a decision to have someone do something is somewhat more complex than it appears because there are in fact multiple actors involved in even the simplest task assignment. The issue is, who is to do what, with what kind of involvement by others?

The technique called responsibility charting helps to clarify who is responsible for what on various decisions and actions. It is simple, relevant and very effective technique for improving team functioning.

The first step is to construct a grid, the types of decisions and classes of actions that need to be taken in the total area of work under discussion are listed along the left-hand side of the grid and the actors who might play some part in decision making on those issues are identified across the top of the grid....

The process, then, is one of assigning a behavior to each of the actors opposite each of the issues. There are four classes of behavior:

1. Responsibility (R)—the responsibility to initiate action to ensure that the decision is carried out. For example, it would be a department head’s responsibility (R) to initiate the departmental budget.

2. Approval required, or the right to veto (A-V)—the particular item must be reviewed by the particular role occupant, and this person has the option of either vetoing or approving it.

3. Support (S)—providing logistical support and resources for the particular item.

4. Inform (I)—must be informed and, by inference, cannot influence.

Each decision or action is discussed and responsibility is assigned. Next, approval-veto, support and inform functions are assigned. First, assign responsibility to only one person. That person initiates and then is responsible and accountable for the action. Second, avoid having too many people with an approval-veto function on an item. That will slow down task accomplishment or will negate it altogether. Third, if one person has approval-veto involvement on most decisions, that person could become a bottleneck for getting things done.

Nestlé management considers fifteen points while selecting a member for particular group. The intensity of these factors depends upon the task of the group but these principles act as pillars of group building in selection process for group formation.

The person that is selected for particular group should prefer counseling for decision making. He chronically consults with people to polish his opinion.

The person should be task oriented he love to work on special task.

The involvement level of person towards his work should be high. The person should feel himself fully involve in the operation of organization.

Person should lie at top at interpersonal relationship scale.

Person should be humble and show respect for his colleagues and subordinates.

Person should be sincere to the organization and his work. His sincerity should be beyond any doubt.

The level of tolerance should be high for the individual personality.

The person should have consistency in his behavior.

Person should have skill, which are complementary to group and required for achieving the task.

Person should be able to do something more what other group members are expecting from him.

Person should have positive approach in thinking and in his decision making process.

Person should avoid investigation about his other group members but he should cooperate in dealing with others.

Person should hold himself for self accountability apart from the accountability of group leader and other group members.

Person should be competent in his field and his competency should be required for achievement of organization objectives.

Person should be open for continuous improvement of his personality and his skills.

The most common form of group decision making takes place in face-to-face interacting groups. Brainstorming, nominal group and Delphi techniques, and electronic meetings have been proposed as ways to reduce many of the problems inherent in the traditional interacting group.

Brainstorming is meant to overcome pressures for conformity in the interacting group that retard the development of creative alternatives. It does this by utilizing an idea generation process that specifically encourages any and all alternatives while withholding any criticism of those alternatives.

In a typical brainstorming session, a half dozen to a dozen people sit around a table. The group leader states the problem in a clear manner so it is understood by all participants. Members then freewheel as many alternatives as they can in a given length of time. No criticism is allowed, and all the alternatives are recorded for later discussion and analysis. That one idea stimulates others and that judgements of even the most bizarre suggestions are withheld until later encourages group members to “think the unusual.”

Brainstorming, however, is merely a process for generating ideas. The next three techniques go further by offering methods of actually arriving at a preferred solution.

The nominal group technique restricts discussion or interpersonal communication during the decision making process hence the term nominal. Group members are all physically present, as in a traditional committee meeting, but members operate independently. Specifically, a problem is presented and then the following steps take place:

1. Members meet as a group but, before any discussion takes place, each member independently writes down his or her ideas on the problem.

2. This silent period is followed by each member presenting one idea to the group. Each member takes his or her turn, going around the table, presenting a single idea until all ideas have been presented and recorded (typically on a flip chart or chalkboard). No discussion takes place until all ideas have been recorded.

3. The group now discusses the ideas for clarity and evaluates them.

4. Each group member silently and independently rank-orders the ideas. The final decision is determined by the idea with the highest aggregate ranking.

The chief advantage of the nominal group technique is that it permits the group to meet formally but does not restrict independent thinking, as does the interacting group.

A more complex and time-consuming alternative is the Delphi Technique. It is similar to the nominal group technique except it does not require the physical presence of the group’s members. In fact, the Delphi technique never allows the group’s members to meet face to face. The following steps characterize the Delphi Technique.

1. The problem is identified and members are asked to provide potential solutions through a series of carefully designed questionnaires.

2. Each member anonymously and independently completes the first questionnaire.

3. Results of the first questionnaire are compiled at a central location, transcribed and reproduced.

4. Each member receives a copy of the results.

5. After viewing the results, members are again asked for their solutions. The results typically trigger new solutions or cause changes in the original position.

6. Steps 4 and 5 are repeated as often as necessary until consensus is reached.

Like the nominal group technique, the Delphi technique insulates group members from the undue influence of others. Because it doesn’t require the physical presence of the participants, the Delphi technique can be used for decision making among geographically scattered groups.

The most recent approach to group decision making blends the nominal group technique with sophisticated computer technology. It’s called the electronic meeting.

Once the technology is in place, the concept is simple. Up to 50 people sit around a horseshoe-shaped table, empty except for a series of computer terminals. Issues are presented to participants and they type their responses onto their computer screen. Individual comments, as well as aggregate votes are displayed on a projection screen in the room.

The major advantages of electronic meetings are anonymity, honesty, and speed. Participants can anonymously type any message they want and it flashes on the screen for all to see at the push of a participant’s board key. It also allows people to be brutally honest without penalty. And it’s fast because chitchat is eliminated, discussions don’t digress, and many participants can “talk” as once without stepping on one another’s toes.

Experts claim that electronic meetings are as much as 55 percent faster than traditional face-to-face meetings. Phelps Dodge Mining, for instance, used the approach to cut its annual planning meeting from several days down to 12 hours. Yet there are drawbacks to this technique. Those who can type fast can outshine those who are verbally eloquent but poor typists; those with the best ideas don’t get credit for them; and the process lacks the information richness of face-to-face oral communication. But although this technology is currently in its infancy, the future of group decision making is very likely to include extensive use of electronic meetings.

How do these various techniques stack up against the traditional interacting group? As we find so often, each technique has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. The choice of one technique over another will depend on what criteria you want to emphasize. For instance, the interacting group is good for building group cohesiveness, brainstorming keeps social pressures to a minimum, the Delphi technique minimizes interpersonal conflict, and electronic meeting process ideas fast. So the best technique is defined by the criteria you use to evaluate the group.

After the groups have been formed, then they are given the task or objective. The group is clearly told that what is their duty or job or the special task and in what time they have to achieve that task.

So after this the group is to do its task. The groups perform brainstorming sessions by keeping in view the objective or task of the group. Every individual in the group is asked to think of the ways to achieve those objectives. Every person is free to give his idea. All the different ideas are recorded. People are encouraged to give as many ideas as they can. Then in the later session, the individuals are asked to clearly discuss their ideas. They are asked that they should be fully clear about their own ideas so that it won’t take much time in discussion. Then after all the ideas have been discussed, some of these are sorted out for later discussion by the consensus the final ideas are selected.

After the idea selection the group members discuss different implementation programs and sub-objectives are made which they have to achieve the overall objective of the group formation.

Then the group member starts work. During the work the group members meet after short intervals and see that whether they are going in a right way or not. If satisfactory situation is there then they go on the same way. If the sub-goals are not achieved or the group is facing certain problems then the group leader try to solve these problems. If the problem is at group level then the group leader tell the problem to the management.

So the corrective actions are taken by the group in their meetings and the decisions are made by consensus regularly.

n Nestlé both formal and informal types of groups are working. In case of formal groups, they are made for special tasks. Nestlé has fifteen basic principles for selection of members of the groups. While selecting the persons, the management also considers complementary skills and culture of the department from which the persons are taken for the functioning of the group.

A criterion for the selection of leader of group is seniority. Management gives the responsibility to that person which is senior most among the group members. Top management tries to create positive competition between the groups, which have independent task. If the groups have to depend upon one another for completion of task, then the management induces cooperation among the groups not competition. Nestlé completely discourages intragroup competition to avoid the coalition and groups within the groups. For avoiding intragroup competition, Nestlé gives rewards to groups, basis upon the group performance evaluation.

The evaluation of groups in Nestlé is a continuous process from the day they start work uptill completion of task. The evaluation is the responsibility of the person to whom the group is to report. Nestlé management also provides consultancy services to group members.

Nestlé increases the cohesiveness among the group members by collective performance rewards and by including the small number of persons in the group. Nestlé increases the group performance by providing them chart in which the clear-cut responsibilities of group members are written and group members also have opportunity to hold meetings with management. In this way, groups can increase their performance.

The members of the different groups were also surveyed by us and they completely agreed with the management group formation policies and the methodology of evaluation of group performance. They were also satisfied with the reward criteria set by the management. We also found that in Nestlé, friendship informal groups are present, but they have no influence upon the formal group activities at all. In short, Nestlé is booming its performance due to group work.


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