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Agricultural age: Society is changing day by day due to many influential factors. Organisation as a part of society has been changing its face. It is not philosophical to say that only the word change is not changing. Change comes as breeze and it is not devastating. Breeze uses to provide relatively calm atmosphere and we can call it as organisational stability. Agricultural age of 1700 in UK was one of such period denoted by Goodman (1995). During this period wealth was measured in form of agricultural products and the exchange system of that period was barter system. Two influential factors in the local markets are Customer and labourer. The external factor affected this agricultural age was the weather.
Industrial age: Breeze gave way to strong winds and the organisation was greatly affected by the strong wind of industrial revolution which started in the 1800s and it lasted till 1945. It was the age of inventions and innovations. Machines were introduced and organisations were able to make mass production. Organisations were restructured as mechanistic lines described by Burns and Stalker. During the world wars, organisations could not meet the demands as there was a "supply gap". Most of the organisation in this period was task oriented ones and their aim was to increase the production to meet the demands. Tailor's idea of scientific management and Ford's idea of assembly line production were introduced bureaucratic structures in organisation.
Technology Era: After 1945, we had seen great advancement in technology; it provided greater opportunity for organisation to introduce new methods and practises in the organisational setups. Most of the organisations adopted best technology to deliver quality products and serviced to their customers. As there was mass production, organisations were planning to enter in the international markets. In this era of technology we can see a great shift of manufactured related business to service oriented business. These were mostly the additional services to their products or independent services like financial services, insurance services, real estate services or health services. Goodman described this age as value oriented age.
Knowledge Era: We are all part of this great era of knowledge and information. Every organisation now recognises the fact that knowledge is power. Science and technology make everything possible now. Pace and scale of change in organizations are noteworthy as said by Osterweil and Whitehead (1996). Global competition is so challenging for organisations and everyone is adopting the best information technology to survive in the market. Service related industries are increasing and growing faster and most of the organisations are introducing knowledge based services to their customers. We can see a great shift from traditional way to dynamic way of organisations where the opinions of everyone are taken into consideration and the employees in the organisation can share their foresight, creativity and energy for the growth of the organisation.
System Approach Theory: Actually this approach has been used in the field of natural science and physical science. It considers the organisation as both whole and part in which one part of the organisation directly or indirectly affects other part of the organisation as well. It provides multiple channels of interactions (Mullins, 1993).
Contingency theory: This theory considers the organisation as open system in which its effectiveness is based on the situational variables the organisation faces at different times. It may differ from organisation to organisation. All the successful organisations have not the same structures and they follow different structures even within the organisation (Mintzberg, 1979). This theory emerged in the 1960s and it was more influential than the system and approach theory. It was really the rejection of One Best Way Method which was adopted by some managers and theorists.
"The bureaucratic system of organization is primarily characterized by the existence of a series of relatively stable vicious circles that stem from centralization and impersonality" (Crozier, 1964, p 193).
Bureaucracy can be defined as pyramidal hierarchy which is strictly functioned by the rules, protocol and procedures. This concept is initially formulated by Max Weber who has seen highly developed and motivated division of labour and the authority based administrative power and rules. The persons involved in this system work as "offices" than individuals who are ruled by personal allegiance and social customs. Max Weber considered it as a form of legalistic domination. It is quite shocking to know that power in bureaucracy setup is centered at the top level management in the latter period. It was what happened in Soviet Union.
Leaders or managers became dictators in bureaucratic organizations due to many reasons. Bureaucracy was greatly affected by the managerial cliques, individual power seekers and the occupational force groups. Robert K. Merton points out its failure as it is always blinded with procedures. Some of great advocates of bureaucracy are Carl Max, Fayol, Taylor, Gantt and Max Weber. Let us analyze the strengths and weaknesses of Bureaucracy.
Strengths of Bureaucracy
As Weber had seen it, it was a great improvement over feudal system. Strengths of bureaucracy are numerous. The right form of bureaucracy can be seen in Military, Trade unions, Government organizations like Police department and health department and other private sector companies. Some of the strengths are given below.
Division of Labor: It actually boosts the day to day activities of the organization. Division of labour enables the employees to concentrate on their particular tasks. It makes the masters of their work. It improves the overall performance of the organization.
Hierarchy for officials: Bureaucracy has a hierarchy where everyone is given special authorities and rights. This hierarchy shares power among the employees and this hierarchy maintains an order which is good for better performance in the organization.
Defined norms and rules: It is a great organizational setup which is intended to fight against corruption. Defined norms and rules would avoid corruption and self ruled activities. Thus individualized acts and decisions are ruled out from the organization.
Promotion of employees by seniority: No one in the setup is promoted by favourism. People are promoted to the higher posts by their qualifications and seniority. This helps the organization to maintain good quality culture in the work place.
Disciplinary control: One of the other good qualities of bureaucracy is that if a person is abided by the rules and regulations of the organization, it provides the opportunity to take disciplinary action against that person.
Weaknesses of Bureaucracy
As we know, in the bureaucratic organizations, most of the decisions and implementation are on red tape due to the strict adherence to rules, procedures and regulations. As it has much strength, it has a number of weaknesses as well. Let us look into the weaknesses of Bureaucracy.
Cage of control: It does not give any personal freedom or creativity to the employees of the organization. It is always blinded with rules, procedures and regulations. Employees are under series monitoring and can not have the freedom to do the right things at the right times.
Red Tape phenomena: As we have seen in many bureaucractic organizations, most of the decisions are on the red tape due to complexity of procedures and the level of hierarchy. Most of the decisions are not implemented on time. Hectic procedures make everything complex.
Unchanged forms: It is very difficult in this sort of organizations to change their forms and strategies. They are hesitated to accept changes. Thus we can not find any sort of change in its organizational forms.
Division of Labour: Delegation of work or task would be difficult in the bureaucratic setup as most of the employees would be given particular tasks. They will not volunteer to do other's tasks. It is one of the problems in bureaucracy.
Hierarchy of power: It makes the things so complex. Files or decisions are to be passed one level to another. The performance of the organization can be affected by the absence of any one in the hierarchy of power.
Bureaucracy and the Business World
Recent report of United Nations Development Programmes says that weak bureaucracy affects and delays the human development plans of United Nations. It is proved that bureaucracy in organization can actually help the organization to achieve its organizational objectives effectively. Most of the organization in the current business world is following this organizational set up. We can overcome the errors and the shortcomings of bureaucracy by some important steps and they are given below.
Form a small team to reduce the bureaucratic effects in the organization
This team has to discuss how changes can be introduced into the organization
They need to implement the changes which they discussed in a proper and effective way
It is good for the organization to adopt bureaucracy in their organizational setup and they can overcome the short comings of bureaucracy by the above mentioned steps.
The Important Changes in Super Market Industry
"The challenge of change- managing it, enacting it and leveraging it-has become one of the most important topics on today's corporate agenda". (Mark C. Maletz, 2006)
The beginning of super market can be traced in the 19th century co-operative movements. During co-operative movement, the local retailers assembled in a common place to sell the food items under the same roof and it was the initial form of today's supermarkets where customer is able to buy any grocery items. Shops started offering variety of grocery products from the beginning of twentieth century. First of such store was opened by Tesco at Burnt Oak. Sainsbury and Spencer followed the path of Tesco by opening their shops around the different parts of United Kingdom.
United Kingdom's government had taken decision to promote agricultural products by offering subsidies after the Second World War. It was a great boost to the Super market industry and it was indirectly provided retail liberation. There was an immense growth happened in the agricultural sector after the post war hardship and it created new waves in this industry. Most of the super market chains extended their shops during the 1960s and some supermarkets became the part of national food chains. Then Tesco introduced the new idea of Superstores by opening a store at Crawley, Sussex. It directly popularized the idea of one shop for all things.
Recent Changes in Supermarkets
According to the recent Market research surveys, 76% of food industry is dominated by the top supermarket chains. 8% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of UK is generated by this sector .Leading Super market chains respectively are Tesco, Sainsbury, ASDA, Marks and Spencer, Iceland, LIDL, Somerfield and Morrison. Economic recession affected the performance of all super markets. Famous retail shop Woolworth known for its gift items has closed due to debts. In the last Christmas most of the supermarket made great profits and it is good sign for this industry. Some of the new approaches taken by these supermarkets to increase their sale are online marketing, home delivery services, introduction of better customer services and ethnic products.
Online Marketing: As everything goes online, supermarkets should use that facility properly. They have to sell their products online and thus customer can save time by ordering the products from home. It will attract more customers.
Home Delivery: Once the customer orders the products through phone or internet, supermarkets should deliver the products on time to give better customer satisfaction. The concept of home delivery is best approach in this recession hit market for survival.
Introduction of better customer experience: Customer should be attracted towards the shops by the behaviour or attitude of the employees. Super markets should provide them better customer experience.
Compare and Contrast
Customer satisfaction is the ultimate objective of every supermarket and it is rarely seen in the super markets. Tesco is one and only supermarket provides better customer experience. It is very poor in LIDL as there are only few trained customer support agents in the floor. The staffs of LIDL need an intensive training to improve their behaviour and attitude towards the customers.
ASDA is the pioneer in online shopping. Their delivery service is excellent in the industry. They take orders online and deliver that product as soon as possible. Other supermarkets are not so success in delivering the orders on time due to lack of communication between the employees.
LIDL: An Introduction
It is one of the largest and fastest growing supermarket chains in Europe and it is owned by Dieter Schwarz, a German. It has the man power of 151,000 and the largest supermarket chain in Germany. LIDL was founded in the year 1930. The company started as fruit wholesalers and then they turned into general food wholesale. LIDL turned their whole attention to become larger supermarkets and cash and carry shops from the year 1977 under the leadership of Dieter Schwarz.
LIDL has more than 500 outlets in United Kingdom. It offers around 800 items including low priced frozen foods, wines, home appliances and garden items to its customers. LIDL became popular among the middle class of United Kingdom after the global economic meltdown. When people became more price conscious, it was a boon for LIDL which is known for lower priced items. According to the survey conducted by TNS, LIDL was the second best supermarket chain who got more business in the Christmas season during 2008.
Even though LIDL is performing well, it needs to do more things to attract new customer and provide better customer satisfaction. As we know, the recent surveys show that the rate of aging population is increasing in UK and LIDL has to consider that factor to increase their sale. LIDL can improve their performance by introducing certain things in their work place and some of them are:
Introduce Touch Screen device to locate Products: Most of the shops of LIDL are bigger and customer needs to waste time by looking a particular product in the shelves as there are no such arrangements. This touch screen device will inform the customer the information he or she needs on that product.
Introduce Self Check Outs: We can see long queues in front of the paying counters especially in the weekends. Introduction of self check outs will automatically reduce this sight of long queues in front of the counters. It will attract more customers as well.
Improve customer service: It is the expectation of every customer that they should be served with smile. LIDL has to increase their customer service by training their employees properly. All the employees have to be given intensive training to improve customer experience.
Introduce More Ethnic Products: As UK is being multi cultural, we can see different people from different countries. LIDL has to introduce more ethnic products to attract ethnic groups to its stores. The introduction of their products will definitely bring them into LIDL shops.
Kotter Model in the improvement of LIDL's performance
We can implement these changes using this good model which is proved to be one of the best models to bring drastic changes in the organisations. We will introduce self checkouts, touch screen device, better customer service and ethnic products in our shops using Kotter Model. The bellowed mentioned chart shows how we are going to implement this model in our organisation to improve the performance.
Introducing Touch Screen Device, Self Check outs, Ethnic Products and Better Customer Service.
It is one of the great responsibilities of LIDL's management to access what are the things to be changed and how to change those effectively. They need to consider the resources, skills and infrastructure available for the implementation of these changes. Once the changes and the solutions are sorted out, it is a great task of LIDL's management to convenience the key stakeholders of the organisation. Organisation needs the support of these key stakeholders to implement changes effectively. As we know there are two types of stakeholders; key stakeholders and non key stakeholders and stakeholders of an organisation can be of customers, employees, suppliers, distributors, shareholders, external pressure groups and government.
Identifying the Key Stakeholders of LIDL using Stakeholder Analysis and Force Analysis
Stakeholder analysis brings out the important stakeholders who are influential in the changes, the organisation is planning to implement. According to this analysis, the key stakeholders are the ones who are affecting the success of change. It brings out the stakeholders who are interested in change and the stakeholders who are against these changes as well. The stakeholders of LIDL are listed below with their attitudes towards change.
Important Stake Holders
Influential Stake Holders
Employees of LIDL
Pressure group( Environmentalist etc)
According to the above chart, we have identified the important stakeholders for change and some are very crucial as well. They are so influential in the changes occurring in LIDL. They are:
Employees: They have to be updated with these changes. They should be ready to accept these changes and they have to work together for the success of these changes. Their readiness and acceptance are crucial.
Customers: Backbone of any business is its customers. The changes are all meant to attract more customers and they need to be satisfied by these changes happening in the organisation. Their demands and needs should also be considered for these changes.
Supplier: As we are introducing more ethnic products in our shops, the role of suppliers is crucial. Our changes should bring more income to our suppliers as they are bringing the products on time.
Competitors: The success of our business depends on the strategies of competitors as well. We need to have keen eye on the developments in the shops of our competitors and thus we can also make necessary changes in our product line as well.
Financial Institutions: We need more money to implement these changes and we need to submit a good plan to these institutions. Some other key stakeholders in changes are Owner of the firm, distributors and the workers in call centre.
Involvement of Key stake holders in the process of Change
Employees: They will be given good training to adopt with theses changes in the organisation. They will be trained to solve the issues if it comes especially in operating self check out machines and touch screen product locator device.
Customers: Customers would be educated on the changes happening in the organisation through booklets, leaflets and advertisements. Thus the customers will come to know about introduction of ethnic products, touch screen machines and self check outs. It is good to introduce the ethnic products in the reduced prices for the first two weeks to get the attention of the customers.
Suppliers: As they are introducing ethnic products, they need the support of the suppliers as well. Suppliers should be given the detailed plan of profit they are getting from these changes. Thus we can make sure their involvement in these changes.
Financial Institution: LIDL has to submit a detail plan of Return on Investment to the financial institution as they are funding the new projects. Interest rates and other scheme pattern should be considered. A detailed plan would ensure their involvement.
Competitors: A detailed study has to done on the promotions and offers given by the competitors. Thus we can make our offers and promotions better than them and we can face the challenges from them.
The owners, distributors and the call centre executives are also involved in the changes. Owner would be satisfied as they are getting more profit. Distributors would be given more increments or bonus to make their involvements in this change process. Call centre executives will be educated properly about the new changes in LIDL.
The changes that are occurring in organisations are evolutionary. Some of the changes are unplanned and gradual. Most of the changes in an organisation affect their strategy, mission, vision, leadership and culture. Two types of changes can be seen; planned and unplanned, revolutionary and evolutionary.
As we introduce Kotter Model in our system to implement these changes and provide more competitive edge to our organisation. We will create a new vision to our organisation in order to gain more competitive edge. We will communicate this new vision of the organisation to the employees through training program. They also will be aware of the changes which are going to happen in the organisation. This training program enables the employees of LIDL to get rid of the obstacles of changes.
Kotter Model always aims at short time wins. By the introduction of touch screen board and training program for employees, we also aim to have short time wins in the organisational setups. Short time plans enable us to take corrective actions if our implementation is not working properly as we have seen in Kaizen model of improvements.
As Kotter model encourages to hire new people to achieve this vision if necessary. Hiring of new agents is always the prime change we can see in the Kotter Model. In the case of LIDL, there is no need to hire new employees as we are providing effective training. We can educate the vision of organisation and force them to act according to the new vision of the organisation for the better growth of the organisation.
We can implement these new approaches by educating the staffs and implementing this new device in their shops. This will force the employees to take new approaches in their behaviour and attitude towards the customers. Once we implement this new system of change in LIDL, it will be quite promising in the future of the LIDL. As we know, the strength of any organisation is their man power. If the employees are working hard to achieve the organisation objectives, then organisation can face any challenge they are coming across. Thus the introduction of these changes would definitely help LIDL in the long run.
We can implement the changes we discussed above through five phases. It is good to implement this on different phases for the effectiveness of implementation as shown in the above chart. Let us each phase and its time frame with its implementation cost.
Money to buy the products
Purchase manager, finance manager
Finding the suppliers
Finance Manager and Team
First Training section for Employees
Second training sections
Bid for Touch Screen product locator and Self Check out machines
Purchase manager and Finance manager
Buying the machines
4) Fixing the machines in the stores
Technicians from the company
Customer care manager
Evaluation of sales
Customer care manager
Phase 1: This phase includes four stages of implementation process and they are given below.
LIDL has to conduct a market research to know the famous ethnic products and the demands and needs of the customers as well. LIDL can hire the service of a marketing agency for this purpose and the timeframe given for this survey should be a week. LIDL has to fix 5000 pounds for this market survey as its cost. The marketing agency needs to interview the customers in the ethnic group and the local region to know their needs and demands. Total budge for this survey is thus 2000 pounds only.
Once they get the final data on the needs and demands of customers from this survey. They need to finalise the products to be introduced in their shops. Finalisation of products should be done by store manager as they have experience on this field. This process has to be completed within a week of time.
They need to buy these new products from their suppliers. They can either go with the current supplier or find out the new one according to their demands. In order to buy the new products they need to spend around 25000 pounds. Purchase manager will be responsible for buying these new products to the stores. This process takes one week
In the fourth week, new products should be displayed in the shelves of the store and so that the customer can buy those products.
Phase 2: This phase includes four stages where the touch screen product locator and self check out machines are implemented.
In order to make this big purchase of machines, LIDL needs to advertise the bid for these machines. This process will take two weeks. LIDL should wait for at least two weeks to get the good responses.
Once they get the bids from manufacturers of these machines, a team includes the marketing manager and purchasing manager to scrutinize the bids and select the appropriate cost effective bid to buy these machines. Cost expected in buying the machines is 500000 pounds
Training has to be given to the floor managers of every shop of LIDL to operate these machines if any problem occurs. Training has to be done from manufacturer of these devices. This process of training the floor managers will take another one week
In the fourth week, the touch screen product locators and the self check out machines have to be fixed in the shops and it should be fixed in the proper places. So that customers would use these machines properly.
Phase 3: This phase of training the staffs to increase customer experience has two stages and the person responsible for this will be the HR manager.
LIDL needs to hire the service of professionals to train the employees. One full day training section is needed to teach good manners in work place. We have to divide the employees into different clusters and each cluster will be trained separately and thus it will not affect the day to day activities of LIDL. This process of training will take two weeks and the cost expected is 5000 pounds.
Second Day training is need to teach the employees on the working of newly fixed machines and this training will be given by the experts from the manufacturing company and the cost of this training will be 5000 pounds.
Phase 4: It is another phase where the organisation needs to advertise the newly arrived products and changes in their shops and the person responsible in this phase will be Media Manager.
Advertisements have to be made through TV, Online, Emails, magazines, daily newspapers and leaflets. Thus customer would know the recent changes happened in the organisation. It would attract more customers as well. The cost expecting will be 10000 pounds as advertising is also costly.
Phase 5: It is an important phase where the feedbacks are evaluated and changes made in the implementation if anything goes wrong.
Feedback: LIDL has to get the feed back from the customers on recent changes they have made in the organisation to know whether these are meeting customer expectations. Feedback forms should be given with some kind of free coupons to force the customers to fill the feedback forms. Person responsible for this process will be customer care manager.
Evaluation: Once they get the feed back from the customers, the team of marketing manage and customer care manger should evaluate the feedback given by the customers and decide whether to make changes again or not.
Achievements of LIDL by these changes
By training and the implementation of these machines, LIDL can gain great and positive response from their employees and customers. Customers would be satisfied by these changes in the behavior of employees and the assistance of these machines. They can attract more customers as customer can pick the desired items directly without wasting their time by searching on it in the shelves. As LIDL gets more business, their profit will increase and then can become number one in the Super market industry. It would yield great result in the progress of LIDL to become the leading super market chain in United Kingdom. .