Marketing Research Industry

Improving Productivity among Knowledge Intensive Services

ProMES as a management tool in innovative organisations

About 70% of all Employees in the EU are working in Service Industries.

Moreover, the largest growth rates are accounted for in knowledge intensive, high-tech services (high-tech KIS). The degree of complexity is rising with the knowledge intensity of tasks. People don’t just have to exchange existing knowledge – interdisciplinary cooperation and efficient communication among highly specialised experts is crucial for organisational success. There is, in fact, a great demand for adequate management methods to support effective teamwork, especially among knowledge intensive services. The present study describes a ProMES project which has been conducted between 2004 and 2006 at the international market research company, GfK SE. The basic tasks of the project team included software testing, customer service, and media research.

Large Gains in Productivity

The design team developed a measurement system with three objectives and eight indicators. One objective was Enhance Customer Orientation measured by a customer satisfaction index and the availability of the hotline service. Questionnaires on customer satisfaction were conducted regularly for different services (hotline support, software training, and special analyses). The other objectives were Improve Project Management and Effective Software Testing. Throughout the project, performance data was continuously collected for 24 months. The productivity index from January 2005 to December 2006 is shown below.

The project turned out to be effective. During the feedback period we observed a positive productivity change of about 50 percent. Performance data were also collected after the withdrawal of the facilitator. During that period, we found another strong productivity effect. The three objectives, however, showed different effects: The objective software testing showed changes which were highly above average, whereas the other two objectives showed moderate positive effects. Apparently, the team had set its priority towards the most important task without neglecting the other two objectives. According to Pritchard (1990), this is one of the most important characteristics of ProMES: the participative alteration with the aspect of productivity makes clear that all aspects of work (indicators) contribute to overall effectiveness.

Significant Changes in Team Cohesiveness

The work group’s team climate was also assessed. Whereas during the pilot study, substantial changes occurred on all four climate dimensions (goal orientation, task mastery, cohesion, responsibility), in the course of the long-term project only task relevant aspects of cohesion increased, whereas aspects of interpersonal relationships remained on a medium level. These findings are typical for the ProMES intervention. It helps people to have a clearer understanding of goals, roles and tasks in order to improve their effectiveness.

ProMES is a powerful Management Tool for modern Organisations

ProMES might not be the only method for improving team performance, but due to Bob Pritchard and research groups worldwide, we know a lot about its effectiveness. It is particularly successful among knowledge intensive work. ProMES is readily available; therefore, we recommend that it be utilised in knowledge intensive work environments.

Literature on the Case Study

Roth, C. (2007). Partizipatives Produktivitätsmanagement (PPM) bei Spitzentechnologie nutzenden und wissensintensiven Dienstleistungen [The Productivity Measurement and Enhancement System (ProMES) among Knowledge Intensive High-Tech Services]. Hamburg: Verlag Dr.Kovac.

Roth, C. & Moser, K. (2005). Partizipatives Produktivitätsmanagement (PPM) bei komplexen Dienstleistungen. (The Productivity Measurement and Enhancement System (ProMES; Management system PPM) with complex service tasks.) Zeitschrift für Personalpsychologie, 4 (2), 66-74.