This is solution of Nelson College Organization and Behaviour Assignment, given for HND Business course, in this British Airways is researched for their management.
Organisations are the set of individuals grouped together to perform a certain set of tasks. The employees in an organisation form the building block, and their interaction decides the way an organisation is performing with respect to the pre-set goal. The social behaviour and workplace interaction between the employees decide the way employees are contributing towards the organisational efficiency. The roles of managers are also very important in making sure that every one of at the same level in terms of their understanding about the goal and strategy of the organization. The example used in this study paper is the British retailer ASDA PLC. Various actions taken in the day to day operation of the company give the entire picture of the organisational efficiency.
LO1. Understand the relationship between organizational structure and culture
LO 1.1 Compare and contrast the organization structure and culture of ASDA PLC to that of British Airlines
ASDA PLC practises a multi-level hierarchy in its organizational structure. The pyramid structure of the organisational hierarchy represents the top to bottom approach of the management. The top portion of the pyramid is given with higher roles and more responsibilities. All the decisions are taken at the top of the pyramid, and then they are processed through the hierarchy down to low-level workers. Right from its beginning, ASDA PLC has been practising the hierarchical structure in its organisational framework. In 1991, Mr Archie Norman took over the rein of the British retailer. He focussed more on the colleague environment in the company’s organizational structure than the rigid one-way hierarchy. People were given more respect in the hierarchy, and most importantly the employees with higher roles were encouraged to treat their subordinates as colleagues than the junior employees. This was the beginning of ASDA way of working. The organisation culture however has been employee friendly from very long time. The changes in the culture of ASDA were primary influenced because of the takeover by Walmart Stores. The workforce composition was changed, which meant the influx of new work culture in to the organisation. Walmart being an American company, the organisational cultures are fundamentally little different from that of the British ASDA PLC. The change in culture impacted the ASDA employees and hence the organisational culture was kind of a hybrid between the two companies. The environment and the technology responses were duly noted by the management think tank and hence the new culture was developed in order to keep the organisational value intact (Gibson, Ivancevich, & Donnelly, 1991).
On the other hand, British Airways practices a radically different approach than ASDA PLC. The company has a flat organisational structure. The simplistic organisational structure enables employees to interact with each other with more freedom and ease of access. British Airways faced very serious stages of business operations management in the recent time. The company was even on the brink of getting bankrupt because of the poor financial performance and weaker management. The flat structure enabled the company’s focus towards innovation and aggressive business steps. The flat structure is useful in making the quicker decisions which are necessary for a firm which goes through tougher times. The employees were enabled with a clearer idea about their roles in the organisation, and the supervisions were easier in the organisation. The result was in the higher productivity and better commitment from the employees. The need of the hour brought in the culture of urgency in British Airways. The company culture is helpful to the innovative ways of thinking and the company required this type of atmosphere to give the competitors a tough fight. The employees are treated as generalists in the company, who can be given any task to perform depending upon the requirement of the company situation. Fundamentally the organisational structure and culture of the British Airways is different from those of ASDA PLC. The two companies have adopted their respective strategies keeping the need of the organisation in mind (Mullins, 2007).
LO 1.2 Explain how the relationship between ASDA’s structure and culture impacts on its performance
Organisational structure is decided by the companies based on their need of the operation. The business organisation needs to know their role in terms what are they going to do in which manner. The organisational structure is helpful in giving the company a clear picture of individual and group tasks. The task groups are provided with particular tasks in the organisational structure. Based on the business need and the suitability to the organisation, the companies choose their organisational structure. The structure decides the way employees are supposed to behave in terms of their duties and responsibilities. The effect of organisational structure is clearly visible on the organisational culture. The cultures can be observed in the employees through various values.
ASDA PLC practises hierarchical organizations and behaviour; hence the employees are cultured in a multi-level order obeying fashion. However the management practices of the company ensure that the employees are empowered with the risk taking capability. The employee behaviour is very important to the outsiders as well as the insiders as it decides the brand image of the company. The sensitivity of employees’ attitude in the retail outlets towards the buyers is crucial. The organisational culture of ASDA PLC enables the employees to come up with innovative ideas on the shop floor. The most visible element in the organisational culture of the ASDA PLC is the employee communication. The employees are encouraged to share friendly communication with other colleagues.
The company’s culture was changed, although the organisational structure was kept intact, after the Walmart takeover. The takeover brought in new concepts of retailing behaviour to the employees. The employees were encouraged to participate in the decision making process, so that the feel of being a stakeholder is present in the employee’s attitude. The resulting scenario is the good performance of the company, and the strong brand image because of the employee behaviour. The way employees are treated in the company is similar to the way the customers are treated by the employees. ASDA PLC has been a very good example of exhibition of the synchronisation between the organisational structure and culture; hence the resultant performance of the company is also on the positive side (Mohr, 1982).
LO 1.3 Discuss the factors which influence the behaviour of ASDA’s employees at work giving relevant examples
Various employees form the visible organisational culture in the organisation. Individual characteristics related to the employees represent their identity and hence their attitude. ASDA PLC employs a variety of employees from various demographics, different skills, different perception, attitude, and personality. These factors put together form the perception of the employees. The individual behavioural factors decide the way an employee develops his attitude towards the colleagues, managers and the company. Most importantly the employee behaviour is an important and deciding factor that shapes the customer treatment in the retail sector. Similarly the perceptions in the managers are responsible for the way the subordinates are treated. The perceptions are a way of interpreting things around the individual. In the organisational context, the employees possess the power to choose between the ways they want to interpret from things happening around them. It is important for the managers at ASDA PLC to create a suitable environment that fosters the work environment favourable for the employees. Broadly the organisational structure and culture are the two main reasons that shape the employee behaviour at workplace (Buchanan, & Huczynski, 2004).
LO2. Understand different approaches to management and leadership
LO 2.1 Compare the effectiveness of the leadership styles used by the CEO in ASDA to that used by British Airways CEO
ASDA PLC understands the need of a good leadership at the helm of its business operation and within the employee work force. The leadership style in any organisation decided the way subordinates behave in terms of their way of doing task and listening to the managers. There are various types of leadership styles which are applied in the organisations depending upon their need and suitability. The leaders are not only responsible to perform their given responsibilities, but also to make sure that other members in the team are adhering to requirements. ASDA PLC follows a mix of two leadership styles. The company follows hierarchical structure, which makes the role of managers and supervisors wider and stronger. The company’s business strategy and the dependence on the power of the managers, and at the same time the leaders are supposed to show affirmation while dealing with the subordinates. The autocratic leadership style is important in ASDA PLC. However the pure form of autocratic leadership is not practised in ASDA. The managers take decision with proper consultation with the peer groups and some time with the consultation of the subordinates. The dependency on the leaders is moderate to high to level. After the merger of the company with Walmart Stores, the mangers needed to take decisions quickly. The autocratic style was effective at that time. However the leaders also follow the democratic way of managing people. The employee motivation and the managers’ encouragement to take the employees along have been the standout factor in the organisational work force.
British Airways, on the other hand, practises pure autocratic decision making process. The company has gone through a very bad phase of business performance. The “need of the hour” forced the company to hire the new CEO, who believes in quicker decision making and firmer control over his other employees. Mr Willie Walsh was given the duty to rectify the business related issues covering the competitiveness of the company to the major challenges faced in the difficult global situation. He accepted the challenge and implemented the autocratic way of leading the company. He hardly consulted with other decision makers to take a number of stern decisions. As a result of which, the company was on the path of recovery. The two organisations follow different leadership styles, which suit their overall organisational goal (Bryman, 1992l; Tannenbaum, Weschler, & Massarik, 2013).
LO 2.2 Identify any organizational theory practiced at ASDA and explain how organizational theory underpins the practice of management
There are a number of organisational theories which can be connected to the modern age organisations. The theories mainly revolve around the structure and function of the organisations. There are mainly three broad types of organisational theory: classical, neo-classical, and modern organisational theories. The usage of classical organisational theory, and its various guidelines in practising the same in the practical context, is highly adapted.
ASDA PLC practises variety of organisational theories; but the dominating theory is the scientific management. This is also known as Taylorism, postulated by the famous author Frederick Winslow Taylor. The main idea of this theory is to make the work a more standardised process so that simplification and specialisation are achieved in order to offer efficiency in the work force. The practises at ASDA PLC are based on the mutual trust between the mangers and eth employees, which have been developed with a continuous effort over the period of time. Better way of workflow and other associated processes are the major area of focus in this theory. The retailing company practised the theory in its recruitment process. After the Walmart acquisition, it was important to hire the employees who can understand and adapt in the new organisational process. The company also practises the specialisation of workers; the employees who are given specific roles are supposed to get expertise in them, and later they will be responsible for the overall function in that department (Schein, 1996).
LO 2.3 Evaluate the different approaches to management used by ASDA to that used by British Airways
The management approach at ASDA PLC is the classical one. The company follows the scientific management approach. The organisation has gone through a variety of changes in various department of its organisational structure from the very constructive days. The organisational structure has been following the hierarchical structure, which encourages the higher level management to take decisions good for the company with a limited consultation with the lower level subordinates. Everyone in the organisation is given a specific role to follow. The responsibilities are defined scientifically. The old thumb rule is not suitable in the modern age retailing sector; hence the company has developed the areas of each employee’s job description. The recruitment process follows a scientific approach to ensure that the scientific approach is present in hiring, training and developing the employees. The mangers are given the training to make sure that everyone is abiding by the regulations to follow at the work place. By keeping a control over the quality of the employees who are hired in the recruitment process, ASDA PLC ensures the quality is intact in its employee pool. The productivity is monitored continuously and measured meticulously to give an impression of the performance of each employee. The work and responsibilities are also divided in such way that the ASDA managers are taking over most complex parts of the business operation.
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British Airways follows a more stringent approach towards the management. The company’s journey through difficult times has made the organisational think tank to give importance towards quality control. Quality in every aspect of the organisational function makes sure that the entire company is functioning smoothly. The managers practise the stronger practise of making employees follow the company guidelines. The flatter structure of the organisation gives ample scope to come up with better ideas of innovation and tighter supervision (Lansley, Sadler, & Webb, 1974).
LO3. Understand the ways of using motivational theories in organizations
LO 3.1 What types of changes could ASDA engage in? Discuss the impact that different leadership styles may have on motivation of ASDA’s staff in periods of changes
ASDA PLC practises a mix of autocratic and democratic leadership styles. The company has been in the search of a proper fit of management style after it was acquired by the retailing giant Walmart Stores. The current style of leadership needs to move towards a more tendency of democratic style. The decision making processes have to be spread across the system and the consultations need the opinion of every stakeholder in the organisation. The change in recruitment process and the development procedure will definitely help the organisation to be a more robust retailing firm. The change will also help the motivation level of the employees to go high. After the company was acquired, the infusion of Walmart culture made the managers think in a different way than they used to be. As a result of which, the motivation level of the employees have also changed. The employee motivation comes from the way managers handle them. If the scope of doing task is ample for the employees, then they will show more interest in their job. Democratic way of management will also help the employees to express their views in the time of change. They can express the problems they are facing after the Walmart employees became their colleagues. They can also give suggestion to improve the processes in the new and revived organisation (Cosh, Fu, & Hughes, 2012).
LO 3.2 Compare the application of different motivational theories with special reference to ASDA’s employees as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Vroom expectancy theories and McGregor’s theory X and Y. Which theory is most applicable and why?
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs- this model has recognized that all the employees have five different types/levels of needs. The first level deals with the basic needs like food, shelter, clothes, and salary. ASDA PLC provides ample amount of basic facilities to fulfil the need of its employees. The company also makes sure that the second level of safety needs is met, by providing the workplace related safety. The managers are ASDA are responsible to bring in a feeling of belongingness in the employees, which fulfils the social needs. The self-esteem needs are fulfilled by the employee development and career growth opportunity provided at ASDA.
Vroom expectancy theories- this theory deals with the employee motivation and their behaviour at the workplace. The company has set the standards for the managers to motivate the employees in such way that they are motivated enough to take risk taking steps and innovative approaches on the shop floor. ASDA PLC follows merit based career growth, which ensures that the better performers are given ample scope to grow in their career ladder.
McGregor’s theory X and Y- it has two sub-theories: theory x which give the impression of an authoritarian manner of managing people, and theory y which gives the scope of democratic way of people management. Theory x cannot be practised in the case of ASDA PLC, hence the theory Y should be given more scope for application.
From the above three motivational theories, Vroom expectancy theories is the most applicable for the employees of ASDA PLC (Organ, 1990); Hofstede, 1980).
LO 3.3- Evaluate the usefulness of a motivational theory for managers. How could a theory like Hertzberg’s motivation theory be useful and relevant to the managers of ASDA?
Managers’ actions in the retailing shop space determine the way employees are treating the buyers. Hence the role of motivated mangers is very important, as it reflects in the action of the employees. Frederick Herzberg has identified two broad features that encompass the motivational theories: the factors that motivate the employees and the level of job satisfaction. The hygiene factors and motivator factors are the main components of employee motivation. Hygiene factors include the better condition and the minimum expected compensation. These are the basic factors, which may not be responsible for motivation of the employees but the absence will result in dissatisfaction. Motivators are the other factor, which give the employee recognition and rewards. The presence of motivators will definitely result in better performance. However the managers at ASDA PLC should choose to follow the combination of both motivational factors to make sure that employee performance is at high level (Drew & Coulson-Thomas, 1997).
LO4 Understand the mechanisms for developing effective teamwork in organizations
LO 4.1 Explain the nature of the various groups that may exist among ASDA’s staff and how they may influence the group behaviour
ASDA PLC may have a number of groups in the organisational workforce. The group formation needs time to be created. People who are recruited from outside go through induction phase, and the uncertainty among various type of personalities is present. Then the persons with different personal characteristics go through intra group conflict stage. With the passage of time, the tendency to mingle with each other comes in the work force. The retail company is known for giving equal opportunity to everyone in terms of recruitment and employee development. The variety in educational qualification, age, cultural belonging, ethnicity, and work experience will always be present in the work force employed by ASDA PLC. Various departments in the company provide the scope for formal groups. For example, the employees who are given the task to help the customers on the shop floor are the salesmen or saleswomen. All the salesmen and saleswomen form a group, and the interaction is mandatory. On top of that, employees tend to interact with people from other departments. The social contact is obvious in a group of human being, which gives the scope for informal groups in the ASDA’s employee force. For example, the employees in the administrative department may have an informal connection with the people from human resources department. There is another type of group, who are the middle and lower level managers reporting to the higher management. Because of the multi-level hierarchy in ASDA, the command group (group of supervisors reporting to the upper management) is present in the company and it is very strong. The people who are in the command group may have the influence over other lower level employees, and the employees tend to perceive them as the influential personalities in the company.
Apart from the three primary employee groups, there are also other natural groups present in ASDA PLC. The task group is active in the company whenever there is special activity on the shop floor. Because of the interaction scope provided by the company, there are also friendship groups and interest groups present in the company’s work force (Mendes, & Stander, 2011).
LO 4.2 Discuss the factors that may promote or inhibit the development of effective teamwork among the employees of ASDA PLC
The employees get attracted to the groups naturally, which helps them in achieving their personal goal as well the company gets its overall goal accomplished. In any kind of company, the role of teamwork is seen at a higher level. ASDA has a number of formal and informal teams in its organisational structure. The formal teams are given the tasks which are aligned to the overall organisational strategy and the bigger goal of the company. The competition in the retail sector is actually based on the productivity of the employees. If the company has a group of well organised employee force, who are working together harmoniously then the tasks will be smooth ride for everyone, and company will flourish.
The main driver of the teamwork is the availability of a common goal. Everyone in the team must be given the chance to understand the common goal of the team and the company. Regular attempts must be taken by the ASD supervisors to make sure that people are at the same platform in terms of their understanding of the company’s objectives. Another major factor of teamwork is the compensation or the incentive. If the supervisors and managers spell out the incentive of the teamwork, then employees will be more interested in performing tasks with equilibrium. Role of communication in the context of ASDA PLC is very crucial, as the employees are in direct touch with the customers. If the employees and their respective teams are properly communicated about the plans developed by the deciding authorities, then everybody will feel involved in the decision making process. Resultantly the company will reap the benefits of teamwork (Drew, & Coulson-Thomas, 1997; Sell, & Cleal, 2011).
LO 4.3 Evaluate the impact of technology on team functioning within ASDA PLC
ASDA PLC deals with a very heavy volume business operation. The employees at ASDA are the prime asset of the company. In most of the cases, the employees interact with the customers, and in some they need help of technology to get in touch with the customers. The usage of technology between the team is also very helpful in breaking the boundaries of communication. The implantation of information technology helps in the recruitment process, which is useful the recruitment staff to get a centralized idea about potential recruits. At the same time information technology in other areas of business will help in redundancy of human labour requirement. The redundant work force can be utilized in a better way, by engaging them at a different place of operation. The management can have a better control over the tem functioning and productivity, by being able to have access to scattered information at one place. There are various new electronic gadgets available in the technology space, which can be given to the employees to make them empowered with multi-tasking aptitude. The gadgets can also help in creating a smoother operation. Tablets and smart phones for employees have become necessity in the retail sector. The communication electronics gadgets help in maintaining continuous and effective flow of employee contact within the employees and also with the supervisors (Grint, & Woolgar, 2013).
ASDA PLC has gone through a lot of changes in its organisational structure and culture, after the American retailing giant Walmart Stores Inc., has taken over the operation. Organisational culture was hybridised because of the mixture of two different approaches. The role of organisational culture has been very influential in determining the employee behaviour. The employee behaviour is a crucial aspect in determining the performance of the company. The managers at ASDA PLC are the influencing factors who take care of the employee productivity and their daily activities. They motivate the employees towards better performance. The organisation has applied various concepts of motivation through its managers and has implemented a number of steps towards better employee management. The company encourages mutual understanding between the employees and the teamwork in the work force.