Human resource management strategies and practices in just-in-time environments: Australian case study evidence
journal contributionposted on 08.06.2017, 02:50 by Power, Damien, Sohal, Amrik S.
Just-In-Time is a philosophy aimed at minimising total costs through the pursuit of continuous improvement, the application of specific manufacturing and purchasing techniques, a commitment to Total Quality and the unlocking of the full potential of an organisation's human resources. In more recent times there has been an increase in research into the effect on and importance of the human variable to the success of Just-In-Time. This paper examines current human resource management practice in three Australian companies that have been operating the JIT methodology for some years. The cases focus on practice in the areas of levels of participation, multi ski 1 ling and flexibility, communication, employee development programs, teams, and empowerment. The conclusions reached from the research include: (1) Communication in JIT companies can be expected to be open, direct and less formal, (2)JIT companies can be expected to be characterised by a participative management style, (3)A strategy of empowering employees is central to the effective operation of the JIT methodology, (4)JIT companies need to actively promote the development of a multi skilled and flexible workforce, (5)Team based structures are common in JIT-environments and can be expected to be used as a driver for continuous improvement processes, (6)Effective employee development programs are important in JIT environments to underpin other strategic elements, (6)There is evidence to suggest that the combination and emphasis of the overall human resource strategy employed in the JIT environment is potentially more important than the individual elements, (7)JIT environments can be characterised as dynamic systems requiring awareness and management of change processes. The research indicates that the ability to tap into and maximise the human potenti al of the organisation will be a major determinant of the success, or otherwise, of the continuous improvement processes, and therefore the Just-In-Time methodology.