An empirical study of employees' perception of teamwork at AECI Bioproducts.
AECI Bioproducts implemented the team concept as its management structure in it first ventures the lysine plant. The plant is AECI's first venture into Biotechnology. After a successful commissioning phase the plant was hampered by significant technological problems that prevented the plant from reaching design capacity. To compound matters the implementation of the Team Concept was not fully conceptualised resulting in poor implementation. The poor implementation resulted in teams being uncoordinated and often resulted in conflict between management and teams. The benefits that were envisaged from applying the team concept did not occur. The poor lysine prices and the inability to produce at design, resulted in significant losses being generated. This resulted in significant retrenchments at management level. The team structure remained intact despite the negative results achieved. The company recommitted to the team concept and structures were overhauled to ensurer the success of the teams. In 2001 Bioproducts is a vibrant thriving organisation. The productivity is above design and all benchmarks have been attained if not bettered. The organisation is one of the forerunners in the Biotechnology field and possesses skills and capabilities, which can be maximised in the future. The management question is how effective are teams and what is their relationship to job satisfaction. In this study we look at how effective teams are at Bioproducts and what is the level of job satisfaction among employees. We then determine the relationship using correlation analysis between perceptions of teamwork and job satisfaction. We also investigate the relationship between teamwork and organisational commitment, teamwork and work demands and teamwork and stress. Employees that were part of teams were given a questionnaire prepared by the author using the literature review conducted. There are seventy employees in the organisation and fifty-seven employees that belong to teams took part in the research. It was discovered that teams at Bioproducts are performing well within the organisation. Teams have high levels of autonomy, responsibility and accountability. There is a high degree of teamwork. Teams are interdependent and are co-operating and communicating well. There is a significant focus on job enrichment by management. The organisation is supporting and reinforcing teamwork well. The employees are committed to the organisation and there are high levels of job satisfaction among employees. Areas of concern that need to be looked at are the stress among employees, the insecurity surrounding ownership, communication within the organisation and training. The correlation analysis between teamwork and job satisfaction reveals that as individuals perception of teamwork increases job satisfaction increases and similarly as individuals perception of teamwork decreases job satisfaction decreases. The correlation between perception of teamwork and organisational commitment also reveals that as teamwork increases organisational commitment increases. One can conclude that team members that are happy in teams are more likely to be committed to the organisation and have increased job satisfaction. Stress of individuals increase as a result of teamwork, this is evident in the correlation analysis carried out. Organisations need to take heed of this since most individuals are not adequately equipped to deal with increases in stress levels. Teamwork places an increase in demands on employees and this factor together with stress levels need to be monitored. Overall the organisation is well equipped to deal with the ever-changing future and in terms of its human capabilities is well set to take advantage of its competitive edge once the issues that have been identified have been dealt with.