Roles and competencies of first line managers for effective workplace management: the case of Amalgamated Beverage Iindustries (ABI)

Gaga, Mzimkhulu Samson
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This research sought out to establish the extent to which first line managers - team leaders, supervisors, foremen - are considered part o f the management structure and. therefore, carry the attendant responsibilities. Secondly, the research aimed to ascertain whether supervisors are adequately developed and prepared to effectively manage all aspects of the workplace. To achieve these aims, the researcher studied the roles played by first line managers, and the attitudes of middle managers and shopfloor employees towards first line managers. So too. the competencies required b\ first line managers for effective workplace management were studied. The research was a case study conducted at Amalgamated Beverages Industries (ABI). Interviews were conducted with the following people: » the Human Resources Manager who provided information on the changes that had taken place in the company: • the Training Manager who gave insight into training attended by team leaders: and • the employees who offered their views on die role of team leader. Team leaders and middle managers completed a questionnaire on various issues such as the competencies required by team leaders, the role of team leaders, and others. A research conducted by the National Productivity Institute (NPD among some South African companies on similar issues' was used in this research. The researcher discovered that team leaders at ABI were generally regarded as part of management by both middle managers and shopfloor employees. However, the role of team leaders was n.'t clear to many employees. It was recognised that there were certain activities that should be carried out by team leaders but were currently not. Some of these activities are performance management, goal setting, and budget control. Concerning the development of team leaders, the researcher found that ABI had offered a variety of courses to team leaders, yet lacked a cohesive development approach and programme. The researcher concluded that the status of team leaders, as well as their motivation, could be enhanced by allowing them to take full responsibility for shopfloor employee management. Also, it was concluded that the development of team leaders would be more effective if it was holistic and located within a planned programme. Recommendations for A BI's consideration have been made on some of these aspects.