Question one: The Four Capabilities
Indeed, most companies possess thorough knowledge about their specific business designs, especially when developing plans to construct new plants. The primary motive of each company in such circumstances is to strengthen their respective profit margins and ensure optimal performances. However, Spear proposed different approaches in the establishment of high-velocity companies. Using the “4 capabilities” approach, Spear suggested the functional integration and continuous self-improvement, innovation and inventiveness are crucial elements that organizations must consider. Spear’s suggestions are different because they promote functional integration as a critical element for ensuring high performances. Moreover, the capabilities emphasizes the establishment of continuous processes that are sustainable in both the long and short-run. Under the first capability, Spear insists on the provision of specific information on the company’s design that captures the present knowledge and consistent approaches necessary in the attainment of overall organizational tasks.
The specific design information includes the normal levels of the outcome, individuals responsible for each task, the commodities, and methods that will facilitate the accomplishment of the stipulated plans. Under “capability 2,” Spear suggested the significant role of swarming in organizational practices to supplement the design. In particular, Spear argues that organizations should devise appropriate strategies to diagnose and contain different problems. Such capabilities would enable organizations to develop comprehensive knowledge on the effective management of complex systems.
The third capability emphasizes the significant role of sharing knowledge throughout a high-velocity organization. According to Spear, organizations can benchmark related processes to ascertain the solutions and procedures used in attaining organizational goals. Information sharing will enable entities to act based on cumulative experiences and ensure efficiency in the execution of different processes. Under the last capability, Spear suggests that organizations should facilitate the development of stipulated skills (1, 2, and 3). Continuous problems on job processes and performances will enable the personnel to self-adapt to different situations and develop highly reliable solutions. Indeed, the “4 capabilities” will allow the organization to achieve win-win situations and strengthen the overall performances of the employees.
Question Two: Spear’s perceptions on the identification of problems in manufacturing plants
Typically, most employees may view a problem as an “inconvenience” rather than as an opportunity to develop viable solutions. However, Spear believes that such employees should help the company in the identification of the problem to ensure workable solutions. For instance, when they identify a safety glitch in a manufacturing system, Spear encourages the employees to involve relevant experts to avoid possible accidents.
Question Three: The “4 Capabilities” not present at NASA (using at least two examples)
NASA did not apply any of the four capabilities before the accident. For instance, NASA failed to investigate evidence that the system was depicting unexpected and undesirable behaviours. The entity relied on past mission successes and was complacent about the whole processes. In additionally, NASA lacked comprehensive cultural traits and organizational practices that emphasizes the identification of possible problems. Lastly, the failure to establish a margin for error on the RCC panels contributed to the accident.
Question 4: How Alcoa take advantage of the 4 Capabilities
Notably, Alcoa applies different concepts stipulated under the “4 capabilities” to ensure a high-velocity management system. For instance, the company’s new CEO Paul O’Neil used “capability 1” to identify safety needs and related challenges in addressing different perilous processes. The CEO’s primary objective was to ensure zero cases of injuries in a company engaging in numerous perilous processes. For instance, the company stipulated that insufficient understanding of the company’s processes resulted in the increased cases of injuries among the personnel. Under “capability 2,” the company’s CEO conducted comprehensive investigations of the problems (swarming) to reveal the perceived causes. Through such studies, the CEO aimed to develop complete solutions to prevent problems from reoccurring. In particular, the company emphasized rapid identification, and prompt examination of safety-related issues backed up with the engagement of technical experts. The skilled individuals would help in swarming the problems and developing solutions that are applicable throughout Alcoa.
Using “capability 3,” Alcoa developed systems to “spread the new knowledge” from the experts among other employees. Social learning of the organizational processes on safety conditions improved the general performances and efficiency at Alcoa. Lastly, Alcoa applied “capability 4” to engage senior employees in the implementation of high-level goals. The company stressed that organizational leaders must incorporate Alcoa’s core capabilities and knowledge processes.
Question Five: Explanations of the benefits of “swarming
According to Spear, swarming can facilitate effective diagnosis of organizational problems. Proper identification of challenges is crucial in the development of relevant treatment plans. Moreover, “swarming” can encourage the buildup of more profound knowledge on how to contain different situations. Holding such problems before spreading to other parts of the organization will ultimately contribute towards increased efficiency and performance levels.
Additionally swarming a problem helps in the gathering of important, contextual information on different processes. In specific, swarming facilitates the preservation of fading memories among other related circumstances. Once a problem is swarmed, organizations can develop a long-term solution to prevent the future repetition of similar challenges.