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The assignment involves reflection and application of theories of corporate management in action to day to day real life issues in an organisation. It highlights the learning of models and frameworks and how the theories led to my personal and professional development and helped me in my working practice.
I have been working in Budgens, a UK based chain of supermarkets and convenience stores. It specializes in high proportion of fresh foods apart from other beverages, grocery & household items. The company operates one its store through a franchise in Enfield, a town in North London in the London Borough of Enfield. It is owned by Mr Sanjiv Shah, a successful entrepreneur who took over the store in January 2005. I joined the store as a warehouse & customer assistant in August 2009 & have been serving till present.
Our tutor Mr. Victor Murambiwa, introduced the first session with meaning about management and introduction to corporate management.
Management is the process of bringing people together to fulfil goals and objectives of the organisation. The corporate and organisation management means the act of planning, organising, resourcing, directing and controlling a group of people or an organisation for accomplishing a goal. (Henry Fayol, 1949).
My job position at Budgens involves managing the warehouse and people under me. My job involves planning, organising the work schedule, what to order, directing the people, controlling the excess orders and ensuring that the work is completed.
After learning the real meaning of corporate and organisation management about how we manage the activities, it helped me in my working practice and managing my day to day affairs.
The first lesson also covered the meaning of globalisation, importance of globalisation and international business environment and theories of international trade. The unit covered the positive and negative effects of globalization and examples of various multinational companies such as Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Apple Inc, General Motors, Samsung, Toyota, Sony etc.
We learnt that globalisation is the domination of the economy of world by multinational corporations by imposing free trade policies. After conducting a research and findings from books about globalisation regarding the drivers and effects I understood the concept in depth.
We learnt that it is a free movement of goods and people between and within national boundaries. The advantages of knowing the culture of other countries, import of new technology, direct foreign investment, access to foreign products etc. We also learnt about the government intervention in globalisation and role of custom duty, taxes, royalty, regulations (Martin, 2004).
Budgens is owned by Musgrave Group which is Ireland's largest food and grocery distributor. The company operates not only in Great Britain but also in Ireland & Spain. The products are exported and imported across the national boundaries. As a warehouse assistant, we also order products from suppliers in other countries. We offer world food items and thus operate at international level.
I understood the concept & impact of globalisation and it helped me in day to day affairs at Budgens. Since we were importing certain products from India, we had to face the legal and political laws prevailing in the country. The lesson helped me in knowing importance of our foreign based suppliers & regulations we should follow while doing international trade. It also helped me in overcoming challenges of managing an international business and pursuing a global strategy.
GIBBS Model of Reflection
Our tutor had already informed us about the assignment and how we were supposed to include a piece of reflection after each class. For that he had distributed a student log (Appendix 1) which is attached as an Appendix, reflecting my personal experience and theories learned.
To guide us more about reflective style of learning he taught us the Gibb's Model of Reflection (1988). The model helped us in relating things learned to situations in our working practice. The model focussed on 6 stages:
Description. It involves describing the experience about what happened.
Feelings: Our thoughts and feelings about things we observed and learnt.
Evaluation: Evaluating the positive and negative aspect, the good and bad things about the experience.
Analysis: Critical analyzing what sense we make out of our experience.
Conclusion: It involves what other things we could have done and what we could have avoided
Action Plan: If the situation arose and happened again, how would we do it differently? And how will we put into action this new understanding.
The model helped me in writing this assignment. It helped me in reflecting all my theories learned into professional life. The use of log helped me in sharpening my planning and organising skills.
The model has inspired me to note down all new things I learn in my everyday life. I note it down in my personal diary. The diary reflects my personal observation and feelings and experiences in the daily world. I applied the same theory at Budgens, when I was given new responsibilities. I shared my personal experience with my other subordinates by maintaining log of old job responsibilities.
Business Strategy & Stakeholders
Business strategy means taking strategic decisions to meet the needs of markets and fulfil organisational goals. It involves forecasting and planning long-term.
We also learnt about the business strategy and how by pursuing an effective strategy an organisation survives and prospers. The tutor covered the following topics related to business strategies which are discussed below:
Types of Strategies
Corporate Strategy: A strategy drafted with overall purpose to meet stakeholder's expectation. A company's strategy is always stated in its mission statement.
Business Unit Strategy: A strategy involving planning about how a business competes successfully in a market. It involves decision making about choice of products, meeting customer needs, eliminating competitors, creating new opportunities etc.
Operational Strategy: A strategy concerned with issues of people, processes, resources etc.
After learning the different business strategies and impact of mergers, acquisitions and joint venture I realized the importance of long-term and effective strategies affecting business. My job at Budgens involved taking strategic decisions for smooth running of the store.
By strategically thinking I came to know about where the business is trying to get in long-term, which markets we should compete, how can we compete better than our rivals, what resources we can procure to fulfil our goals, which external factors affect our store and what are the values and expectations of our stakeholders.
In order to analyze the strength of businesses' position and factors affecting, our tutor taught us various tools for strategic analysis such as:
PESTEL Analysis : A tool to understand the environment in which a business operates. We covered the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors that affect any business.
Porter's Five Forces Model: A technique to indentify forces which affect the level of competition (Porter Michael, 1949). The five forces are described as
Threat of new entrants
Threat of substitutes
Bargaining power of buyers
Bargaining power of suppliers
Rivalry between competitors
SWOT Analysis - An assessment of internal business position and external influences. We learnt the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in an organisation. The importance of SWOT Analysis and its role in planning a strategy.
BCG Matrix : We learnt about business portfolio and how new strategies can be made for adding new products to the portfolio and when products should be retained. As per the BCG Matrix model there are 4 strategies-
Company can invest to increase its market share.
Company invests just enough to sustain in present position.
Company can reduce investment to maximize profits from other units.
Company can sell of or end a product line to divert resource elsewhere.
I applied these tools learnt at Budgens to know the store position and factors affecting our business. I came to know about the strength and weaknesses and threats acting as barriers to our business. I realized new opportunities available for our store to prosper. These tools helped me and my top management team to plan a strategy to fight competition.
We also learnt about the group of people who affect and are affected by achievement of a firm's goal. We learnt the main stakeholders in any business are :
Shareholders who look for high profits, dividends, capital gain etc.
Employees who look for high salaries, job security, promotion, benefits etc.
Customers who look for low prices, better quality, good service, proper supply.
Suppliers who look for regular orders, fast payment, fair prices etc.
Creditors who look for fast debt payment & credit worthiness.
Society who wants company to follow ethics, protect environment, take social responsibility etc.
Government, who want company to follow rules, offer jobs, pay taxes and contribute to economy.
Competitors who want company to have low market share.
I realized the importance of stakeholders of our store Budgens. How our business affects people, society and government and economy. I learnt about the needs and expectations of our suppliers and customers and staff and society related to store.
Ethics & Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility is about how a company follows a code of conduct, behaves ethically and follows law and rules considering welfare of the society.(Kotler, 2005)
Our tutor taught us about importance of social responsibility and how company is obliged to all stakeholders and should take decisions in wider interest. Th tutor highlighted the business ethics If the company follows ethics it attracts conscious customers.
Budgens also follows ethics and has social responsibility. I found out how we support the society by following Fair Trade Policy in selling coffee, tea and other beverages. We also offer environmental friendly products and our stores are powered with green renewable energy. Our logo follows green color which spreads the message of greener and healthy environment. We support society to follow healthy lifestyle by offering organic products. We also ensure that waste materials are recycled and we do not exploit customers by monopolistic situation.
Value Chain Analysis
Value chain analysis means identifying activities that are undertaken by business and which are best offered by others. (Porter, 1980)
The lesson on value chain focused about activities of two types - Primary and Support. Primary activities are those related to receiving and storing raw materials, manufacturing products, distributing products to buyers, marketing and advertising activity and after sales service after the product has been sold. While support activities refer to acquiring of resources, recruiting, rewarding and motivating staff, employing advanced technology and other activities to increase efficiency.
The value chain analysis highlighted that through market segmentation and employing leadership or differentiation strategy a company can gain competitive advantage.
The same strategy I applied at Budgens, we divided the market, targeted customers having similar interest and using cost leadership techniques of reducing costs and through product differentiation created a separate image in the eyes of people.
Marks & Spencer Case Study
Marks & Spencer (M&S) is a major British retailer with stores around the world. It sells various items such as clothes, food & beverages, home ware items, furniture etc.
Our tutor took a case study where we covered topics of corporate management in action related to M&S. We discussed about the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the retailer and undertook PEST, BCG Matrix model and indentified the strategies followed in achieving its goals.
We related how M&S opened stores in countries all over the world and supported globalisation by using resources and importing technology. We evaluated the stakeholders affected by the business of the company.
We identified how the company follows business ethics and is socially responsible to its stakeholders. The company offers fair-trade products, environmental friendly textile dyes and ensures proper waste management. We learnt that many of the stores were run by generating power from wind turbines and other renewable sources of energy.
The tutor asked us to plan a strategy so that the company can overcome its threats and utilise new opportunities.
McKinsey 7S Framework
Mckinsey 7's model includes 7 elements which are interdependent on each other and how a change in one affects all the others.
The 7'S includes
Strategy : The planning process followed to achieve goals.
Structure : The organisational structure and concept of who reports to whom.
Systems : The day to day activities & operations.
Shared Values: The goals & core values of the company in form of mission statement.
Style : The leadership styles followed
Staff : The employers, employees and their capabilities.
Skills: The actual skills and competencies of people working.
I related the 7's model to Budgens to examine the effects of changes in all the 7 elements. I realized how the model can be used during a merger or an acquisition. I applied this theory to know how these seven elements need to be aligned and taken into consideration before a change is imposed.
All these models and theories helped me in developing my critical thinking and analytical skills. It led to my self-awareness and now I could explore and identify new challenges and solve issues at my workplace. It overall led to professional and personal development and learning through reflection helped me in sharpening my management skills. (Word count = 2196 words)