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Rl- Wolfe Self Directed Teams

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RL Wolfe – Self Directed Teams


RL Wolfe is a $350M private plastic pipe manufacturer headquarters in Houston, Texas. In 2003 RL Wolfe purchased Moon Plastics in Corpus Christi and wanted to improve this facility productivity and quality more than three times the industry average by implementing self-directed teams at this new plant (Garvin & Collins, 2009).


Moon Plastics is a 300,000 square-foot facility that requires 27 floor workers to run four extrusion lines 24 hours a day over three shifts and they were to focus on bringing raw materials to the hoppers, running the lines, and transporting pipe away from the finish lines (Garvin & Collins, 2009).


Moon Plastics lost employees because they refused to participate in the SDT process while others used autonomy to do what they wanted to do and misunderstood the concept of employee empowerment (Garvin& Collins, 2009).


Instead of 100% of the decisions being made by the coordinators 80% of the decisions about the factory floor work would be made by the SDT’s. The workers would know more than the coordinators about plastic extrusion and the workers would become the experts and would be accountable to each other (Garvin & Collins, 2009).


Leadership transitioning should be asserted to allow SDT’s to have more control and autonomy as a team (Wellins, 1992).

Managers should teach, coach, develop, and facilitate rather than direct and control (Williams, 1995).


Continuing to implement STD’s at Moon Plastics would help reduce barriers among departments and improve manager/employee participation and investment.


Garvin, D. A., & Collins, E. (2009, December).RL Wolfe: Implementing Self-Directed Teams. Boston, MA; Harvard Business School.

Wellins, R. (1992, December). Building a Self-Directed Work Team. Training and Development, 46(12), 24-28. Retrieved July 14, 2015 from

Williams, R., (1995, November). Self-Directed WorkTeams: A Competitive Advantage. Quality Digest. Retrieved July 14, 2015 from




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