Its workforce of over 17, 000 men and women voted Iceland Frozen Foods the third most successful company compared with all other companies in motivating them to do their best.
Four years before the turnaround, morale was ‘at rock bottom after 40% of staff at the Deeside head office were made redundant’ (The Sunday Times, 2009). It is quite reasonable to assume in retrospect that top management at the time was incapable of motivating the workforce to achieve profitability and ensure the survival of the firm. It is quite likely that ‘scientific management’ or Taylorism as it is also called, may have been, the paradigm under which the top managers of Iceland Frozen Foods worked, in running the day to day affairs of the company. Or, they may not even have given much thought to motivating the workforce, but merely continued on traditional lines, hiring and firing believing that labour was a disposable item.
Taylorism is explained as the ‘decoupling of the labour process from the skills of the workforce’, and has been defined as ‘management strategies that are based upon the separation of conception from execution’ Pruijt, 2000). The knowledge and skills of how best to run the enterprise are confined to the heads of the few top mangers. The rest of the workforce merely follows orders to the letter. They have no discretion as to how they do their day to day jobs. They have to follow strictly laid out procedures. This may work well in some industries, say on a car assembly line, but in enterprises with close customer contact, this approach is unlikely to be optimal. Nevertheless, Prujit also acknowledges that McDonalds and call centres (customer service operations) use such strategies and can claim success by ensuring ‘predictability and controllability’ (op. cit.).
After Taylorism , Herzberg’s two-factor motivational theory became influential in alerting management to the value of tapping into the need for