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Knowledge worker performance analysis using DEA: an application to engineering design teams at Bell Canada

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3 Author(s)
Paradi, J.C. ; Center for Manage. of Technol. & Entrepreneurship, Toronto Univ., Ont., Canada ; Smith, S. ; Schaffnit-Chatterjee, C.

Knowledge worker productivity measurement is a very difficult undertaking, but implementing improvement suggestions is even more challenging for management. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) was used to examine the productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness of one such knowledge worker group-the Engineering Design Teams (EDT) at Bell Canada, the largest telecommunications carrier in Canada. Two functional models of the EDTs were developed and analyzed using input oriented constant returns to scale (CRS) and variable returns to scale (VRS) DEA models. First left free, the multipliers were then constrained using DEA Assurance Region models based on economic prices and managerial preferences. This study offers an excellent example where inefficient decision making units (DMU)-i.e., EDTs-could be made more efficient by improving their scale efficiency simply by reassigning work amongst the units. Bell divides its EDTs along provincial boundaries into Ontario and Quebec teams and each EDT is responsible for a specific geographic area in the province assigned to it. The results of the DEA analysis indicated that redrawing the geographical boundaries of the market area served by the EDTs could move both increasing and decreasing returns to scale EDTs toward CRS behavior. Substantial performance improvements are possible over the entire system, resulting in significant savings in costs without people dislocation or branch closings

Published in:

Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:49 ,  Issue: 2 )