Thursday, November 17, 2011

Different perspectives

I saw a program on the National Geographic Channel a couple of months back about the Ferrari factory. One guy who was working in engine assembly said that whenever he saw a Ferrari car his heart swelled with pride at the thought that he had contributed to its making. Another woman who sewed the leather upholstery said a similar thing. Would I have a similar feeling if I making hundred of the same thing everyday? I don't think so. At the very least, I would have had frequent bouts of trumspringa.

It reminded me of a couple of essays in the Organisational Behaviour book in IIMA. I don't remember the details but the idea behind the two essays was as follows.

The first was by Lee Iacocca who was in some top position in Ford at that time, probably its President. He talked about his exclusive car parking space, how excited he was every morning while coming to the office, about the plush executive dining room and the exotic fruits that are flown in from around the world for the dining pleasure of top executives. In short, he was chuffed with life.

The next essay was by a worker in the Ford assembly line. He talked about the monotony of his job, about the drug pushers in the Assembly line, about the bills that he had to pay, about the difficulties in educating his kids etc. In short, he was not thrilled about his job. The title of this piece was, 'It is the same company.'

That is why I was not convinced when I heard the statements of the workers. I won't be surprised if the workers were coached about what to say in the T.V. program in order to project a wholesome image of the company.


  1. Well, maybe the Ferrari story is true since they do not make that many Ferraris a year. And if the leather is really handcrafted in Italy and not outsourced to a factory in China, then there is really is some connection maintained with the end product. Unlike the mass produced Ford.

  2. Different people get the 'kicks' from doing different things..That's what makes the world so interesting!!And yes,not everything that's written is true!I remember reading in the Jul 1993 issue of THE FRONTLINE about the 1st batch of women officers of the IAF and their comments on their getting commissioned..What a certain Pilot Officer L Leela was recorded as having said was certainly not what I said!!Ha!ha!ha!

  3. I will add my own fundas to what Amit has said. Because Ferraris are fewer in number and pricier, workers are probably paid higher (only a guess). This probably attracts a better class of workers. The shopfloor might be less 'assembly line' than the Ford shopfloor.

    A CEO's job-content, by definition, is more diverse than a lower level worker's. This is esp true of a factory, but is very true of any service sector job as well.

    Finally, in the Maslow hierarchy, a worker is closer to the bottom.

    Amit's "connection with the end-product" is a really good one. I have heard this very often in my career and have occasionally felt it as well.

    Thanks for the opportunity to make some(?!) CP....

  4. Kailash,

    There isn't much management stuff here so I can understand your relief at the opportunity of making some CP!