Date of Graduation
This study reports on how work relations and the management of human resources at the point of production in underground coal mining serve to increase or diminish coal production outcomes. The major objectives of this research were identification of incidents producing work interruptions; and an assessment of the effect of such interruptions on the production of a given workcrew. The study employed a conceptual framework derived from X-Efficiency theory and utilized an exploratory approach to the problem. The findings are based upon coal miners' perceptions of the work process. The major incidents responsible for work interruption included: (1) repair of mine machinery breakdowns; (2) mine transportation problems; (3) geological conditions of a given section; and (4) car wrecks in the mine. Under conditions of continuous workflow, lack of work motivation and poor effort levels on the part of miners do not appear to be at issue: miners prefer to run coal relative to other activities. However, under conditions of work interruptions, motivation and effort levels may become an issue between foreman and crew. Work interruptions were reported to have a cumulative negative impact upon work effort and motivation and produce strained work relations between foreman and crew. Such relations seem to make it quite difficult to achieve high levels of production with the most efficient use of resources. It is important to note that miners report seeing themselves largely in control of production outcomes during conditions of continuous workflow. Work activities associated with downtime appear to infringe on and diminish the autonomy of the work group. Based upon the findings of this study, successful management of human resources in the work process appears to involve maintenance of work conditions which minimize work interruptions, minimization of uncertainty of task assignment, avoidance of detailed and close supervision during downtime, production planning which insures adequate supplies at the face and the minimization of the foreman's preoccupation of getting out production at the expense of adequate machine maintenance.
FIGLER, ROBERT ALBERT, "WORKFLOW INTERRUPTIONS AND HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN UNDERGROUND COAL MINING: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY." (1984). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8847.