Can a first-line supervisor improve worker performance? First-line supervisors at a facility of a manufacturing company volunteered to learn performance improvement principles and be coached in applying those principles in order to solve performance problems in the workplace. The researcher continued coaching and evaluating the performance of the first-line supervisors as the volunteers utilized action research methodology to improve worker performance. While solving performance problems, the volunteers used a job aid specifically designed to guide the first-line supervisor in solving performance problems, improving the job aid as a result of usage. Each of the first-line supervisors, prior to volunteering, had some experience as a supervisor, ranging from one year to 20 years, but had not been prepared to be a supervisor prior to assuming the position and had not been trained in performance improvement after becoming a supervisor. In solving each performance problem, the first-line supervisor analyzed performance of a worker or group of workers to determine the performance gap for the problem, identified the cause of the problem, chose an intervention to improve performance, implemented the intervention, and evaluated all of the actions taken to determine if further action was needed to improve performance. Some performance problems were solved with one intervention and others required multiple interventions to find the most effective intervention to solve the problem. Each first-line supervisor used the job aid to guide, as well as document, actions taken to solve performance problems. Each first-line supervisor also contributed to improvement in the job aid resulting from usage. Findings resulting from observation, interview, and the comments of the volunteer first-line supervisors were that: (a) learning was transferred to application by actually solving performance problems, (b) the job aid was useful in guiding first-line supervisors in solving problems, and (c) action research, in addition to being easily understood by the supervisors, facilitated the solution of problems by providing a framework for action in solving performance problems. Further research is needed in applying the action research methodology in other organizations with a larger sample of first-line supervisors, in different locations, with different missions and goals.
|Advisor:||Tiem, Darlene Van|
|Commitee:||Chevalier, Roger, Freer, Kevin|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, School administration|
|Keywords:||Improvement, Performance, Problems, Supervisors|
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