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Motivation, Maslow & Lean Manufacturing

SelfFulfillment

Esteem Social Safety Physiological

By Quarterman Lee, P.E. Strategos, Inc. 30 June 2010 Strategos, Inc

C O N S U L T A N T S E N G I N E E R S S T R A T E G I S T S

www.strategosinc.com

Motivation, Maslow & Lean Manufacturing


Introduction
Abraham Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" is a simple, effective and practical way to understand much of normal human behavior. It is a management classic that many of us vaguely recall it from some long-ago study. This article summarizes the original 1943 paper, "A Theory of Human Motivation." It then relates the original ideas to Lean Manufacturing and operations. Lean practitioners have long recognized The Human Side of Lean. Maslows theories help to explain why it is so important.

The Five Basic Needs


Maslow suggested five categories of basic needs that are common to all human beings. These categories apply across all cultures, activities, professions and social positions. They are: Physiological Needs The physiological needs are those things that keep the body alive and reasonably healthy. Examples are food, clothing and shelter. This is the most basic need of any organism and is at the bottom of the hierarchy as shown in the figure. Safety People need to feel physically safe in their environment. In millennia past this meant safe from prowling saber tooth tigers. Today it may mean safety from assault or safety from harmful equipment and harmful chemicals. Figure 1 Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

Intrinsic

SelfFulfillment
Accomplishment, Pride, Mental Growth,

Esteem
Approval, Recognition, Self-Confidence

Social
Friendships, Group Membership, Social Connection

Extrinsic

Safety
Physical Safety

Physiological
Food, Shelter, Clothing

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Social Needs Maslow originally used the term "Love Needs" but his description better fits the word "Social". This need involves connections with other people and includes family, group belongingness and friendship as well as romance. All normal people want a place in a group or society, even if they sometimes deny it. Esteem Needs With a few pathological exceptions, people need a realistic sense of self esteem and esteem from others. Self Esteem includes honest achievement, feeling adequate to face the world, confidence, independence and freedom. Esteem from others involves reputation, respect, attention and recognition. Self Fulfillment (Self-Actualization) Needs Self-Actualization is the most misunderstood of Maslow's categories because of an unfortunate word choice. The ancient Greeks would have called it "fulfilling your destiny." The Hierarchy The needs are not equal in their motivational power at any given time. They have a hierarchy of "prepotency." This means that lower needs in the hierarchy must be substantially gratified before higher needs become motivators. People who are malnourished, hungry and cold are hardly interested in approval or recognition--they just want food and warmth and they will take serious personal risks to obtain it.

Maslow on Self-Actualization "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be." "Growth is, in itself, a rewarding and exciting process, e.g., the fulfilling of yearnings and ambitions, like that of being a good doctor; the acquisition of admired skills, like playing the violin or being a good carpenter; the steady increase of understanding about people or about the universe, or about oneself; the development of creativeness in whatever field, or, most important, simply the ambition to be a good human being."

Once the physiological needs are substantially satisfied, people are concerned about safety. They need to feel freedom from violence, accidents or other physical harm. Without this feeling, they have little concern for friendship, recognition or destiny. When people feel reasonably safe and have the physiological means to sustain life, social needs come into play and so on until self-fulfillment becomes the prime mover for behavior.

The Role of Fear In the eighth of Edwards Deming's Fourteen Points, he urged managers to "Drive fear out of the workplace" for a very practical reason: Fear only motivates to minimal compliance.

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Once minimal demands are met, the fear is removed and motivation ceases. Fear does not get the best performance from people and often brings out unintended and undesirable behaviors. Physiological and safety needs are largely met in modern societies. Their power to directly motivate mostly ended with labor unions, the welfare state and the liberation of Auschwitz. To some extent, irrational fear can still motivate. For example, fear of losing a job stems from irrational fears of ensuing starvation. Such fears, however, are secondary. The lower needs (physiological and safety) motivate entirely through fear. For some people and to some extent, social and esteem needs are fear-based. Therefore, these lower needs are incompatible with Lean and with high performance. Besides, they never did work very well.

What Maslow's Hierarchy Means for Lean Manufacturing


Lean requires high performance from everyone in an organization. It depends heavily on multiple small improvements, tight coordination good communication and cooperative problem-solving. The question is: "How do we align the work environment and the worker's basic needs to promote highperformance, team-oriented behaviors?" We illustrate with a bit of history... Manufacturing & the Lower Needs Until about the 1940's, most manufacturers depended on the lower physiological and safety needs to motivate employees. These lower needs tend to be fear-based, i.e. fear of starvation, financial insecurity, and fear of physical injury or sickness. At one time, there was some rationale for this approach. We will use the illustration of Ford Motor Company but most large-scale industry had similar practices. As Ford Motor Company became successful with the Model T and began to employ tens of thousands of workers, the company faced some serious workforce problems: Most laborers, particularly in Detroit, were poor immigrants from many regions of Eastern and central Europe. Few spoke English and co-workers often had no common language for daily communication. The workforce was largely uneducated and often illiterate, even in their native language. Mechanical skills were rare. To utilize this workforce effectively, Ford Motor Company developed their massproduction methods. Tasks were divided into minute, short-cycle subtasks that

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repeated endlessly, 8-10 hours per day and 5-6 days per week. A culture of fear developed based on a threat of losing the job. Henry Ford introduced the $5 day because his company was having difficulty getting people to work under these conditions. It was not out of idealism as he often claimed. There was little to appeal to the higher motivations of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Clearly, such work was unfulfilling. There was little in the way of recognition or approval. Socialization was difficult because of the equipment arrangement and was actively discouraged by management. I recall the story of one executive who would occasionally walk through the plant and fire people who were talking or, God forbid, laughing. Henry Ford himself was reputed to have done the same. The other Detroit automobile companies were a bit better, but not much. General Motors had a veneer of civilized behavior and Packard was known as a (relatively) congenial place to work. Other large-scale industries followed the Detroit Automotive pattern in varying degrees. The Ford system began to break down with the advent of labor unions and the welfare state. Unions offered some protection from the most outrageous abuses and they increased wages in many industries. Social Security, Unemployment Compensation and other programs reduced the impact of layoffs. In the following decades, the workface became more educated, more literate and less fearful as memories of the Great Depression receded. Other factors were also in play. Models and options proliferated while equipment became more complex and more sophisticated. These factors required increased coordination, higher skills and motivation to perform well in all aspects of a job.

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) A psychologist, Maslow studied what he called exemplary peoples rather than the mentally ill or neurotic. He wrote that "the study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy." Maslow was among the first "humanist psychologists" who focused on normal, healthy ways of coping with life. Maslow first published his theory in the 1940s, and it became a widely accepted notion in the fields of psychology and anthropology. He was a professor at Brandeis University. His major texts included Motivation and Personality (1954) and Toward a Psychology of Being (1962). ____________________________________________________________________

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Appealing To the Higher Needs Toyota was one of the first automotive firms to make widespread use of the higher motivators in Maslow's hierarchy. Ironically, it was an American who forced the change. The story goes like this... After World War II General Douglas MacArthur was, essentially, the dictator of Japan. In an effort to break the power of Japan's military-industrial complex, MacArthur greatly increased the power of Japanese labor unions. Toyota was a smallish firm and a family-run affair with paternal instincts; hardly a major player with the Japanese zaibatsu, but Toyota was still caught up in the reform effects. In 1950 the company faced an economic crisis that required extensive layoffs and Toyota's union called a strike that became quite bitter. The strike experience shook the fundamental attitudes of both management and labor. The result was recognition of their common goals and interests as well as a further recognition that Toyota people, at all levels, was the company's best resource. In fact, Toyota had no resources beyond their people because of destruction from the allied bombing campaign and postwar economic chaos. A more detailed account of these events is at Toyota Traditions. Toyota's "Respect for People" philosophy became intertwined with the developing Toyota Production System and an integral and essential part of Lean Manufacturing. This "Respect for People" addresses the higher needs in Maslow's hierarchy. In the following section, we describe how the higher needs fit with each of several lean elements. These are just some obvious examples. There is actually a complex web of interaction between the Socio and Technical aspects of Lean that cannot be addressed fully in a short or even a very long article. Teams Lean Manufacturing makes extensive use of teams. Work Teams, particularly in cells, organize and manage their own work. Quality teams cope with quality issues and improvement teams make processes more efficient, smoother and more capable. Setup teams often work together to improve and speed setup operations. True teams are not just a group of people who have been thrown together. They are miniature societies with their own mores, codes, procedures and relationships. Teams are excellent vehicles for fulfilling social needs. But they can satisfy even higher order needs as well. Team members implicitly recognize each other's worth and contributions. Members help each other to compensate for each other's weaknesses. Management can recognize teams, rather than individuals and thus promote team solidarity. All of this addresses Social, Esteem and Self-Fulfillment needs. Cellular Manufacturing Workcells function best with work teams. Teams help to balance work, smooth flow and motivate people. They solve a range of problems and reduce

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or eliminate the need for supervision. At the same time, a properly designed cell encourages teamwork by allowing easy communication, close proximity and easy movement among workstations. Various team members will have a range of skills and the team allows those individual skills to be exercised, developed and applied to useful work. The result is a high degree of personal as well as team fulfillment. Workcells carry the satisfaction of higher needs even beyond what teams alone can do. Quality Teams have been part of the quality movement from the very beginning. They were originally known as "Quality Circles." Quality, like safety, is an ideal that everyone favors and delivers great personal satisfaction to those who participate in it. Active participation in quality efforts gives people self-esteem and self-fulfillment as they use their abilities to achieve worthy goals. Process Improvement Process improvement and quality teams are somewhat synonymous. All of the comments on quality apply here as well. SMED Setup Reduction (SMED) often uses teams for actual setups and it uses teams to establish setup procedures and improvements. Active participation can help people to satisfy Social, Esteem and Self-Fulfillment needs as it challenges their ingenuity and skills. Training In General Training in many skills and areas is an important part of Lean Manufacturing. The idea is to get maximum performance from every employee by addressing the higher needs. The results are highly beneficial for both the organization and for the individual employees.

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Summary
Maslows hierarchy is a simple and useful concept for understanding much of human behavior, particularly in the workplace. Over the years, many people have attempted to expand or improve the original concept to account for the many exceptions and nuances of the human psyche. Such improvements, however, negate the primary aspect of its usefulness: simplicity. In this article we have considered several specific aspects of Lean Manufacturing and used Maslows hierarchy to explain their efficacy. We also hope to convey the importance of the Human Side of Lean. Lean implementations that fall short of their potential generally do so because of the human rather than technical considerations. Of course, an understanding of this human side requires involves more than the familiar triangle and the five levels. But, Maslow is a good place to start. Here are some other topics that may interest the reader: Socio-Technical Systems Paradigms Change Management Theory X & Theory Y Learning Organizations

References MASLOW, ABRAHAM, A Theory of Human Motivation (originally published in Psychological Review, 1943, Vol. 50 #4, pp. 370396). MASLOW, ABRAHAM, Eupsychian Management, 1965; republished as Maslow on Management, 1998

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______________________________________________ The Human Side of Lean Manufacturing Video In this unique Lean Manufacturing video, workers explain how they designed and built their own workcell. They talk about benefits to their company and the profound improvements in their work life as we follow them in their work. These are real people with a real story. The video dramatically illustrates Maslow's higher motivations as they apply in the workplace and to Lean concepts. It is an ideal introduction for the shop floor and gives important insights to supervisors, engineers and managers. It also shows how the human and technical elements of Lean Manufacturing interact in a complex Socio-Technical System. Available at www.strategosinc.com

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