The Financial Express
Swasti Lankabangla Swasti Lankabangla

A critical discussion on industrial management and Covid-19

| Updated: September 03, 2020 21:10:03

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Maintaining industrial productivity and smooth operation amid this global pandemic is imperative through formulating rational and the  appropriate strategies. This sudden depression, uncertain industrial management, and unfavourable working environment have become a dark crescent for every nation. Consistency of mutual trust within the organisations and keeping it alive and productive in this volatile environment requires the top management to adopt newer strategies, plans, budget adjustments, incentives, laws, and procedures. If we look back at the US financial crisis, this could be somewhat of a repetition. In the run-up to the recession, the US adopted a new strategy to link the industry's management and efficiency.

Historically, industrialists realised that the most accommodating ideas concerning industrial management emerged from challenging eras, following the ever-changing aggressive strategies. A flexible working environment must accompany the diversification strategy of internal and external changes in management-- via a harmonious industrial relationship of control or introduction of a decentralised system. This uncontrollable variable, coronavirus, is now a hurdle to global trade, market, investment, and productivity.  For the first time in history, a virus has shut down mills, offices, courts, and transport means. While China remains relatively less impacted, most nations are to incur high losses while trying to cope with the economic and industrial crisis of globalisation. Bangladeshi industrialists and senior management councils are obliged to take timely decisions based on the consensus of the management and workers or labourers to keep the production of the industry running to cope with this economic downturn. They could consider a strategy practised by Chester Barnard, former president of New Jersey Bell, where the managers require to develop ideal hybrid management for the organisation, based on the strengths of an institutional and interpersonal socialisation belief, which builds concentration and loyalty within the employees and workers of the organisation. Considering the work environment, the organisation's values and policy formulations need to be stimulated. They must also focus on virtual and digital skills while assessing the coronavirus induced situation of industrial plants in Bangladesh. However, it is expected that the benefits of the demographic dividend should be considered to be favourable, optimistic, and vital during and after the Covid-19 economic recession. In other words, the company's top authority must focus on the fact that its finance, marketing, production, operations, and technical skills are coordinated and organised by  effective human resource management practices.

An organisation's success depends on the employees' morale, enthusiasm, and satisfaction with human resources and concentration on  the organization's senior management. In recent times, many international researchers have found their research results to have a significant link between the successful management of human resources and industrial enterprises' development. Henry Mintzberg, a researcher at McGill University in Canada, found in his many studies that senior management spends most of the day engaged only in administrative tasks that hinder their organization's proper coordination, organizational skills development, and employee motivation. Andrew Petligrew, an eminent British professor and researcher, studied the organisation's strategic decision making policy and attached high attention to the fact that the organisation's employees focus on well-organized system. He further proved in his research that industrial organisations have been holding the most erroneous assumptions about their business for over a decade, even though there is evidence of many deadly epidemics. In addition to the Covid-19, many successful industrial enterprises today have faced significant financial and organisational challenges, such as the Great Depression in America and Europe, the Asian financial crisis, and the war-torn period in Japan.

In the 21st-century's industrial management field, most management scientists and researchers have strongly emphasised the importance of non-financial aspects for the development of technical and soft skills. Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, Walmart Stores, BP, Sinopec Group, China National Petroleum, State Grid, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Toyota Motor are listed in the world's most successful Fortune 500 companies in the developed world-- industrial enterprises have focused on improving people's morale and skills rather than money, machines, and other materials. In other words, proper human resource management and skill coordination of employees is the key to the success of the organisation. Kenechi Ohmae, Head of McKinsey's Tokyo office, rightly noted that Japanese institutions and human resources are "synergistic." It is possible to produce quality sustainable products in Japanese organisations at the lowest cost only through the workers' innovative intelligence and extra risk-taking abilities. According to Ohmae, "Japanese senior managers often mention that lower-level workers are directly involved in the front and end of the company's production line." Therefore, they have more experience in judging relevant information and heart facts of the organisation. That is, the top management of the organisation needs to understand that success depends mainly on the creativity of lower-level workers/ employees and their loyalty to the organisation. Kimsey Mann, Chief Executive of Blue Bell, the world's second-largest apparel maker, identifies eight characteristics of the key driving force behind the improvement of an industrial organisation related to human value and integrity. On the other hand, recent researchers have noticed that if a standard of the internal and external working environment of the industrial organisation can be determined in the current pandemic, all the problems can be solved easily by eliminating the disadvantages of the organisation.

The evolution and review of the industrial management's historical progress explain several issues from at least similar, if not identical, historical events, which are primarily influenced by two factors. On one hand, the rational use of the internal strategy of the organisation and, on the other hand, the external integrated socialisation of the organisation. In contrast to today's 21st-century management wisdom and the model of strategy, management theorists of the first eighty years of this century were not so concerned about the organisation's place in the environmental market competition or any external content of other substances. Until then, the idea of the higher authority of the industrial organisation was that the workplace's efficiency depended on the perfect use of its internal resources. This idea has not changed much in the recent past.

At the final stage in the development of the 21st-century industry's competitiveness, several management scholars began to recognise that the external environment also influences the organisation's internal system. Therefore, to keep the industry afloat in today's economic crisis with coronavirus collapsing the world, the senior management authorities need to thoroughly scrutinise the organisation's internal quality while connecting them with different external factors. A realistic and acceptable management paradigm must be developed, which would help maintain the balance of work atmosphere among the employers and their employees while maintaining mutual compassion, which would keep the organisation's productivity intact.

Mohammad Khasro Miah, PhD is a Professor at the School of Business and Economics and the Director of Career and Placement Center, North South University. khasro.miah@northsouth.edu


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