“The Funnel System Method” by Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Running head     THE FUNNEL SYSTEM METHOD:  USING QUALITY CONTROL, PROBLEM SOLVING AND ETHICS TO TRAIN RESEARCH LAB WORKERS AT THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH, SURVEY SERVICES LAB

 

  • Diffuse, Supersede and Unlearn Biases in the Workplace using Neutrality Training
  • Advanced Behavior Modification
  • Managing Workplace Relationships
  • Solving Problems in the Workplace, Handling Crisis and Mistakes Successfully
  • Case Studies Highlighting 10 Ways to Improve Quality of Performance, Products, Services and Workplace Climate

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Norwich University

 

Author Notes

Afua Osei-Bonsu, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies in Leadership, Norwich University

Afua Osei-Bonsu is now a student of Communication 301, Technical and Professional Writing

(Adjunct Professor, Dr. Melanie Schultz)

This research is supported by Kreitzberg Library, Research data and observation from the Institute for Social Research & Osei-Bonsu Family Trust

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Afua Osei-Bonsu at 422 Pearl Street #1B Ypsilanti, Michigan, 48197

Contact:  afua.oseibonsu@gmail.com

 

THE FUNNEL SYSTEM METHOD:  USING QUALITY CONTROL, PROBLEM SOLVING AND ETHICS TO TRAIN RESEARCH LAB WORKERS AT THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH, SURVEY SERVICES LAB

Abstract

The achievement of quality can be like a funnel system where one is perfecting and then stream lines.  One idea is to perform frequent QC early on to perfect and change employee performance, before things become habits or patterns.  One must learn how to obtain methods that instill constant and regular improvement.

The overall comparison will be done with Chinese Manufacturers and to a local Research Insti­­tute at the University of Michigan, the Institute for Social Research (ISR) as a workplace example.  This proposals conclusion looks at several case studies to compile a list of ~10 ways to improve the quality of performance, products, services and workplace climate.

The proposal will highlight problem solving in the workplace, the building in or inclusion of ethics in design by collecting examples of ethics from multiple case studies. Third, this proposal will examine a list of key research points around the achievement of quality both within an organization, its organizational leadership plan and by juxtaposition of a national plan for the achievement quality.

Some goals of this research may be for refinement, perfection, and precision to achieve a high quality.  The idea is to create something that can be standardized in the form of a sample, bar, or boundary, a work ethic or style manual.  The goal is to minimize and eradicate human and machine error.  The end result may be inclusive of a variety of technological products, trainings, literature, and possibly an acronym to support the achievement of quality as an educational, workplace and national goal.

Another idea proposed for this research is to use the development of professionalism as catalyst of quality and generate advanced research around professionalism.  Proposal also looks at ways of achieving “ideals” as within the scope of high quality.

One method currently used at the ISR where workers leave stuffed envelopes for research mailings and boxes unsealed that a “QC” checks for accuracy at the second stage and seals envelopes and boxes to achieve an error free product, therefore establishing quality.

What is inspiring about QA/QC in general is the idea that whole nations have perfected themselves, all of their methods, management systems, their bodies, schools and education.

One could take for example a written survey questionnaire that is called the “SAFTEE” which is composed of a list of human physical areas with corresponding questions used to ascertain the status of the body and gauge the impact of healing or medications on overall physical quality.  One may attempt to blank slate or free the body of flaws, scars, or illness.  One may alternatively attempt to advance the abilities of his or her being or achieve a greater degree of quality of life, beauty, work skills and resulting high quality by products. Things such as strength training or laser surgery may be utilized to achieve quality.  This example of how to achieve a “quality being” by modifying some prior use research techniques is just one example of what a nation may engage in to improve on the overall quality of its people.

 

Key Words:

“QA has to do with plans that a researcher has for minimizing and measuring error in his or her research.  QC is the actual procedures implemented in the research.”[1]

Quality Assurance-A Program for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects, of a project, service, of a facility to ensure the standards of quality are being met.

 

Literature Review

Author will address a “convergent model” as compared to a funnel system, at first broad then streamlining.  “The Funnel System Method” will use actual empirical case studies of a  research lab, the Survey Services Lab at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan juxtaposed with texts that highlight managing quality in terms of projects, critical quality themes, utilization of professional standards, practical approaches to quality control and alternative quality methods such as the “Lean Six Sigma,” by Carreira that involves powerful actions to improve quality, increase speed and reduce waste.  Special attention will be paid to how to improve overall techniques and theories regarding quality to enhance performance in organizations.

Other aspects included in the convergent model “The Funnel System Method,” include research in texts about ethics in the workplace in texts such as “Professionalism, boundaries and the workplace,” by Malin.  The third key element in the in the Funnel System Method will be the use of practical problem solving skills.

The research from key references along with case studies will form the basis of a new method to be utilized in presentations, trainings and later teaching.  A comprehensive list of quality, ethics and problems solving texts will be compiled from the Kreitzberg Library for use in later PHD studies.

The idea has to do with the start of employment and how key training will advance a novice worker from the general population into a professional employee with expertise. Primary research will come from case studies and actual analysis of the workplace.

The long term goal of research in such texts is to disseminate training materials and  work products that facilitate specific key goals including the achievement of quality, ethics and problem solving skills in the workplace.

 

THE FUNNEL SYSTEM METHOD:  USING QUALITY CONTROL, PROBLEM SOLVING AND ETHICS TO TRAIN RESEARCH LAB WORKERS AT THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH, SURVEY SERVICES LAB

 

Illustration 1 Funnel System Method

THE FUNNEL SYSTEM METHOD:  USING QUALITY CONTROL, PROBLEM SOLVING AND ETHICS TO TRAIN RESEARCH LAB WORKERS AT THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH, SURVEY SERVICES LAB

 

Table of Contents

Letter of Transmittal                                                                                                            1

Title page                                                                                                                                2

Abstract                                                                                                                                  3-4

Literature Review                                                       —————————————–         4-5

Funnel System Illustration                                                                                                     6

Table of Contents                                                                                                                   7

List of Illustrations                                                                                                                 8

Statement of the Problem                                                                                                       9

Background                                                                                                                            9-10     Proposed Solutions                                                                                                     10

Diffuse, supersede and unlearn biases                                                                                   10

Advanced Behavior Modification                                                                                          10

Managing Workplace Relationships                                                                                      10

Solving Problems in the Workplace                                                                                       11

Quality from Professional Standard to Alternative Quality Methods                                               11

Implementation Steps for Key Decision Maker                                                                     11-12

Conclusion                                                                                                                              12

Appendix A:——————————————————————————————–n/a

Appendix B:                                                                                                                           n/a

References                                                                                                                                       13

 

THE FUNNEL SYSTEM METHOD:  USING QUALITY CONTROL, PROBLEM SOLVING AND ETHICS TO TRAIN RESEARCH LAB WORKERS AT THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH, SURVEY SERVICES LAB

 

A List of Illustrations

Illustration 1:   Funnel System Method                                                                                       6

THE FUNNEL SYSTEM METHOD:  USING QUALITY CONTROL, PROBLEM SOLVING AND ETHICS TO TRAIN RESEARCH LAB WORKERS AT THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH, SURVEY SERVICES LAB

 

Statement of Problem

What is wrong?  Staff  are continuously affected by uncovered or underdeveloped areas in training that may impact staff retention and workplace climate.  What is needed are advanced training modules that are inclusive of key skill sets and impact employee relationships, biases, workplace climate and the achievement of quality.  Who will be impacted by the problem are all faculty & staff of ISR, including contingent staff and ISR as a model Research Institute that may impact similar organizations.

Background

The Institute for Social Research houses the SRO or Survey Research Operations inclusive of the Survey Services Lab and the Survey of Consumer Attitudes Team in Ann Arbor, Michigan on the campus of University of Michigan.  ISR uses “nationally representative samples of households in the contiguous United States that are designed to measure changes in consumer attitudes and expectations.” (SCA Interviewer Project Manual, Pg. 1)

ISR is the largest Social Research Institute in the United States that looks at what “consumers think about economic events under various circumstances and the reasons for their opinions.” (SCA Interview Project Manual, Pg. 1)  The basic idea is that “changes in consumer attitudes will come before changes in behaviors, therefore expectations can act as leading indicators of the  aggregate economy.” (SCA Interview Project Manual, Pg.1)

The Survey Services Lab houses the Survey of Consumer Attitudes team on the ground floor of the Perry Building at ISR.  The typical mode of work is in front of a computer, with a telephone and headset in a cubicle where a variety of SSL team members will complete tasks including QC, RDD or Random Digit Dialing to complete sample group interviews with respondents, taking incoming calls from sample groups, completing training modules, using GIT or General Interviewing Techniques or overseeing the lab in various management capacity. The secondary work is completing large research mailings or assembly of research binders. The third mode of work is the use of conference rooms to complete focus groups. The perhaps fourth mode of the research institute is to administer the masters and doctorate programs in survey research methodology.

“The SCA was started in 1946 by George Katona and is now run by Principal Investigator Richard Curtin since 1976.” (SCA Interview Project Manual, Pg. 1)

 

THE FUNNEL SYSTEM METHOD:  USING QUALITY CONTROL, PROBLEM SOLVING AND ETHICS TO TRAIN RESEARCH LAB WORKERS AT THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH, SURVEY SERVICES LAB

 

Each month about 600 numbers are included in a new sample group, 400 new and 200 “recon” or reconnect from 6 months earlier. The SCA Team sets out to contact out of a representative pool respondents to interview and collect data.  Production interviews are recorded in the CXM System and calls are generated using Genesys RDD.  “QC from each shift randomly selects and reviews the recordings of each interviewer and for adherence to General Interviewing Technique and recording data properly.” (SCA Interview Project Manual, Pg. 4)

Problems that arise in research labs are sometimes consistent with all workplace environments combating varieties of biases without training. Locations with RDD or Random Digit Dialing and frequent QC may also be host to “negative treatment” and little or few appreciative techniques and appreciation in the end impacts their bottom line. There is sometimes little or no training for how to handle mistakes, solve problems, manage people positively, and how to eradicate workplace gossip that impacts employee’s careers. The problem continues how to improve the quality of research, the quality of research teams and their respective products.

Proposed Solutions to Problems in the Workplace

Diffuse, Supersede and Unlearn Biases in the Workplace using Neutrality Training

Problems in the work place, such as biases can be diffused, superseded or unlearned with use of “neutrality” training.  The basic idea is that employees choose a “neutral status” and utilize techniques for maintaining that neutrality within their work place relationships and effectively moving away from biases that promote negative ideas to employee.

Advanced Behavior Modification

Advanced behavior modification training is needed to funnel employee from general population into trained interviewer or other.  Often in QC patterns are uncovered that need advanced behavior modification training to impact the perfection and precision of GIT or General Interview Technique Protocols.

Managing Workplace Relationships

Managing work place relationships has to do with appreciation techniques that ultimately impact an employee’s bottom line and companies’ bottom line. An employee can be given positive feedback to begin to illicit good behaviors.  An employee’s positive feedback is what is discussed in employee reviews and what will decide an employee’s status and raises. Employee’s need help with the creation of professional boundaries, and how to establish a positive employee perspective to maintain the work place climate.  Workers need policy to reflect boundaries that protect workers privacy and direct casual talk about worker that impacts their career.

 

Solving Problems in the Workplace, Handling Crisis and Mistakes Successfully

This paper supports creating training modules for solving problems in the work place, handling crisis and mistakes, via specific case studies that look at typical problems with which workers are confronted.  This paper aims to create an ethics based research and design an ethics training around specific work place problem areas.  This researcher found that the handling of problems may be impacted one by bias, and two by a lack of skill for handling the specific problem and the person or employees who may have made a mistake or be in crisis.

Case Studies Highlighting 10 Ways to Improve Quality of Performance, Products, Services and Workplace Climate

Quality at ISR may be impacted by use of professional standards.  One good example is in basic workplace daily use design and cleanliness. If each employee is taught a basic standard practice to follow, such as how to clean and prepare their work station before and after shifts.  Professional Standards are also impacted when employees are trained to package mailings or assemble binders. Employees may need to be provided a “work sample,” to match, and a work progress demonstration to follow to achieve a high quality finished product.  Specific issues arise in simple or basic assembly line functions including how and where in the assembly line one performs tasks, the direction and flow of work, eg. an employee may try to go backwards down the assembly line.  For example when assembling binders employees may pull all consecutive pages from a list for insertion “in a station” (not on the assembly line) to quickly assemble binders.

Quality is impacted by the first impression, the last impression and the constant impression.  Quality is also impacted by frequent QC at the start of employment to funnel employee into a professional with expertise via training and experience.  There are practical approaches to quality control and alternative quality methods to be explored to improve quality, increase speed and reduce waste.  Setting goals and basic expectations, utilizing policy, manuals and style manuals improve quality.

Implementation steps required for decision maker

1 Serve on diversity and inclusion sub committee

2 research

3 Design training materials

4 Software engineer/training software

5 publish books

6 Set up training conference at UM

THE FUNNEL SYSTEM METHOD:  USING QUALITY CONTROL, PROBLEM SOLVING AND ETHICS TO TRAIN RESEARCH LAB WORKERS AT THE INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH, SURVEY SERVICES LAB

 

7 Augment policies, manuals, procedure to reflect changes

8 Create style manual

9 Implement necessary work place changes

10 Inform employees, media, public, disseminate

 

Conclusion

The research from key references along with case studies will form the basis of a new method to be utilized in power point presentations and later teaching.  A comprehensive list of quality, ethics and problem solving texts will be compiled from the Kreitzberg Library for use in later PHD studies.

The idea has to do with the start of employment and how key training will advance a novice worker from the general population into a professional employee with expertise. Primary research will come from case studies and actual analysis of the workplace.

The long term goal of research in such texts is to disseminate training materials and work products that facilitate specific key goals including the achievement of quality, ethics and problem solving skills in the workplace.

The above research is also valuable for advanced training of CEO’s who may plan for a particular skill set that will impact their distinct contribution as well as the work place.

 

 

 

 

 

THE FUNNEL SYSTEM METHOD: USING QUALITY CONTROL, PROBLEM SOLVING AND ETHICS TO TRAIN RESEARCH LAB WORKERS

 

References

Basu, R. (2012). Managing quality in projects (Advances in project management). Burlington, Vt.: Gower.

Beckford, J. (1998). Quality : A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge.

Bone, D. (1989). Quality at work : A personal guide to professional standards (Fifty-Minute series) . Los Altos, Calif.: Crisp.

Caplen, R. (1970). A practical approach to quality control. Princeton N.J: Brandon/Systems Press.

Carreira, B. (2006). Lean six sigma that works : A powerful action plan for dramatically improving quality, increasing speed, and reducing waste. New York: American Management Association.

Cole, R. (1997). Improving theory and research on quality enhancement in organizations : Report of a workshop (The compass series). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Hinds, P. (2002). Distributed work. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Kennedy, George E. & Montgomery, Tracy T., Technical and Professional Problem Solving, Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice Hall, 2002

Malin, N. (2000). Professionalism, boundaries and the workplace. London: Routledge.

Schoeman, C. (2014). Ethics can : Managing ethics in the workplace. Randburg: Knowres Publishing.

SRC Survey Research Center, Interviewer Project Manual:  Surveys of Consumers (SCA), University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research

Taylor, J. (1994). Practical problem-solving skills in the workplace (Self-paced learning for a fast-paced world). Place of publication not identified: American Management Association.

Wheeler, S. (2007). Ethics in the workplace. Law and Critique, 18(1), 1-28. doi:10.1007/s10978-006-9008-9

 

Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu, A00864242

 

 

[1] Carpi, Anthony & Egger, Anne E.,  “Uncertainty, Error and Confidence,” Visionlearning, www.visionlearning.com

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