This large Midwest water distribution agency needed to save one million dollars in six months. They believed that (1) work had to be redesigned to achieve this goal, and (2) employees had to buy into the changed design.

Key Issue:

Outside organization design consultants have been brought in to do work redesign in the past. These efforts were usually not implemented and resulted in high levels of employee and manager cynicism.

Since employees would be impacted by a new design the organization management wanted employees to participate in the design


We believe high performance organizations that use their internal resources to do the redesign feel a stronger commitment to the success of the design. Implementation follows commitment.

Taylor-Nelson taught work redesign principles to the employees and managers who, in turn, revised work practices that accomplished the required goals.

They conducted a one-day work redesign simulation workshop where the principles of self-design were learned. Management and employees practiced designing high performance work systems in ways whereby they could see the benefit of the principles.

They proceeded to design their own work and managed to achieve the savings the organization desired.