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FMC Green River Organization Structure: Most difficult environmental forces to manage

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Which forces in the environment are most difficult for FMC Green River to manage? Why? In what way does the need to manage these forces influence the organization’s structure and culture?

Kenneth Dailey, site manager for FMC Corporation’s Green River, Wyoming, facility, leaned back in his seat in the conference room near his office. He was listening to a team of employees tell him about their visit to FMC’s Aberdeen, South Dakota, plant and the unusual operating procedures they had observed there. Dailey was intrigued with the results that Roger Campbell, plant manager at Aberdeen, and his predecessors had been able to achieve at the plant, and he had sent this team to see it and make recommendations about whether or not it would work at Green River. He wondered if the Aberdeen system would work for his operation as a whole, in part, or not at all; if there were parts that might work, he wondered what they were and how to implement them.

Dailey knew that his operation was different from the Aberdeen plant in a number of significant ways and that these differences would make his deliberations difficult. First, Aberdeen had only a single customer, while Green River had over 100 and distributed its products worldwide. Second, the Aberdeen facility employed only 100 people, while Green River had 1,150. Third, Aberdeen produced basically a single product, while Green River had several product lines. Fourth, Aberdeen had been a new start-up five years ago. while the first of the several Green River plants was begun in 1948. Dailey was supervising the start-up of three new plants in his complex this year, though, and recognized that similarity. Fifth, the two units functioned in very different industries-Aberdeen in defense and Green River in chemicals. Finally, Aberdeen had no union, while the Green River site worked with the United Steel Workers of America.

Despite these differences, there were several features of the Aberdeen management approach that were either appealing to Dailey or suggested that the Aberdeen approach might fit his operation. Operating under FMC corporate guidelines, both management teams enjoyed, along with the other 87 FMC North American sites, considerable flexibility in how they ran their businesses. Both units also had a common link to the FMC corporate image and objectives and thus had some similar operating values and systems. Dailey also knew that productivity in the Aberdeen plant had grown dramatically since its opening and that costs had continued to drop. Finally, Dailey felt that the principles and values upon which the Aberdeen system were built aligned well with his own. As Dailey listened to his team describe the Aberdeen system, he continued making mental notes and questions about the system and its applicability to the situation in Green River.
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The first force in the environment that is most difficult for FMC Green River to manage is the union United Steel Workers of America. This force is not a global force; it is social force and is a difficult force for FMC because it may restraint the changes that Dailey may make in the terms of especially those relating to remuneration and promotion. Any action by Dailey will come under the sharp scrutiny of the Union and any ‘spontaneous’ gesture on part of the management will be criticized and objected to by the union. The union is the most difficult force in the environment for FMC Green River. The union will not allow the formation of the work teams that have been seen in Aberdeen, the union will object to the selection of employees based on the Aberdeen model and the union will object to the culture building exercises that are carried out in Aberdeen. In addition, the fundamental structure of the work team will be objected to …

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