Frontline leaders: The entry point for leadership development in the manufacturing industry
This multi-method case study examined the roles, functions, capabilities, job satisfaction, strengths, weaknesses and skill gaps of frontline team leaders working on the shopfloor in the Australian automobile industry. The study was conducted in a large automobile manufacturing company employing 4,500 employees and rated as one of the top 22 organisations in Australia according to net revenue. Extensive data were gathered through two surveys involving 121 frontline team leaders and semi-structured interviews with 100 team leaders, 100 group leaders, and 30 general forepersons. The findings showed that there have been relatively few theoretical and practical efforts to specify the functional requirements of frontline leaders who occupy the first level entry point of leadership positions and hence career progression in the automobile industry. The study proposes a definition for frontline leadership.
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