Date of Award

5-2008

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

Robert Rice

Second Committee Member

Robert J. Lilieholm

Third Committee Member

Scott Anchors

Abstract

A survey was conducted in the summer of 2007 to investigate management practices and management styles of sawmill chief executives. Managers of sawmills in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and Michigan were interviewed in person or by telephone. The sawmills that were chosen have an annual production approximately equal to or greater than 10 million board feet and have a well defined management structure. Within the region three types of mills were included in the sample: softwood dimension mills, softwood lumber mills, and hardwood lumber mills. Five key questions were asked each corresponding to one of the five management functions of planning, organizing, leading, staffing, and controlling. It is clear from the research that chief executives who oversee these mills have styles that are similar however, significant differences between mill types and ownership patterns where found with regard to a chief executive's management style. When managers were separated by their level of education, management experience, and position tenure there are no significant differences in how they manage. Similarly, when sawmills were separated by their total number of employees there were no significant differences in how the managers managed. Only one out of four managers could be classified as having a particular management style when compared across the common management functions. Most were eclectic in their approaches. Seventy five percent of the managers used a combination of up to four of the defined management styles. Some significant differences in management styles were found when managers were divided by demographic and related information. When managers were separated by sawmill ownership, significant differences were found in how strategic plans are developed, major resources are allocated, and how changes to products are handled. When managers were separated by mill type, significant differences were found in the way major resources are allocated and how priorities are developed. Finally when managers are separated by their sawmill's annual output, significant differences were found in the way day-to-day decisions are made and the way priorities are developed.

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