The following is the analysis of the case study of FIRST Choice Plc, which is one of the biggest companies of UK. The report will be focusing on the external environment and organizational culture and business strategy and change and will be covering various aspects about the subject.
a. Give examples of Social, technological, economic, political and legal factors which have affected the way FIRST behaved.
Concept: includes the cultural aspects and include health consciousness, population growth rate, age distribution, career attitudes and emphasis on safety.
Effect: The Company was successful in building strong team of employees by balancing the social factors.
Example: As FIRST Choice has gained the reputation of being the number one transport services within the UK, maximum number of customers prefer travelling with the transport services that are provided by FIRST Choice because of higher safety and security. The employees are highly trained about the safety precautions that should be taken by the drivers to ensure safer journey.
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Concept: include ecological and environmental aspects, such as R&D activity, automation, technology incentives and the rate of technological change.
Effect: The Company was able to make good business by advancing the technology.
Example: The technological factors have been extremely good as their main success was fully dependent on their higher-level technology. Since the existence of First Choice within the market they have been hunting for newer technologies so that they wanted to be different in the market and this helped in their technological growth. They have introduced smart card system for easy payment systems and also the company alerts their passengers about the schedules through mails. Also they have introduced lower floor buses so as to help the older and disabled people to travel with much ease.
Concept: include economic growth, interest rates, exchange rates and the inflation rate. These factors have major impacts on how businesses operate and make decisions.
Effect: The Company was doing good business and the economic conditions were stable.
Example: The economic factors of the company has been very much stable because of their rapid growth and success within the country. With the advancement in technology and employee standards they have been very much successful and the economic conditions also has been very much stable.
Political Legal Factors
Concept: how and to what degree a government intervenes in the economy. Specifically, political factors include areas such as tax policy, labour law, environmental law, trade restrictions, tariffs, and political stability.
Effect: The Company was very much concerned about the political stability within the country.
Example: Political legal factors has been very much effective as some of the rules were against FIRST Choice and some were favouring FIRST Choice for example the taxation policy has helped FIRST Choice because travelling in private cars proved to be very much expensive and travelling in busses and trains proved to be very much cheaper, same way the rules about the CO2 were negatively effective because they had to invest heavily in advancing the technology and adopting newer technologies to follow the control of CO2 within the country.
b. Using a SWOT Analysis, analyze the current relationship between FIRST Choice and the environment
Concept: This section of the analysis shows all the good and strength points of the company.
Relationship with the environment: These strengths could become the competitive advantage of the company.
Example: First Choices main strength is the management that had. The staff and the management were very hard working people with one aim of making the company a huge success. Their main strengths were when they adopted newer technologies and made efforts to reduce the CO2 level and training the employees regarding the safer journey of the passengers.
Concept: This section of the analysis shows the weaker sections and drawbacks of the company.
Relationship with the environment: This section could be the major problem for the company.
Example: The main weakness was that they did not had proper facility for the older and disabled passengers as they had difficulty in travelling and later when they realized this and developed newer busses with lower floors for their easiness.
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Concept: This section of the analysis shows that the opportunities that the company could get in business.
Relationship with the environment: The company should make use of the opportunities to extend its business.
Example: With the level of travelling increasing within UK it is more likely that First Choice will be very much successful in the near future. With the oil prices coming down, and taxation policy going up the company can expect big profit margins.
Concept: This section of analysis shows major threats that could be imposed by the competitors into the market.
Relationship with the environment: This could impose severe threats and problems for the company.
Example: The only most important threat to all the business is the level of competition that they are facing within the market. With regards to First Choice, there are several local and international private companies coming up within the UK market that are posing huge competitive threats to the company.
c. Prepare a set of guidelines that the management of FIRST Choice could use on how to conduct a SWOT analysis such as one you have just undertaken.
The firs thing that FIRST Choice needs to do is have a thorough analysis of environmental factors so that they can know what they are lacking behind.
The company needs to have group meetings whereby the management need to talk to employees to know their problems.
The company need to collect the data and review with a group of senior officials and then plan for the next step of analysis.
d. Explain the organization culture in terms of 'shared values' and 'taken for granted assumptions' in FIRST Choice. You should illustrate your explanation with ONE example of each element for the case study. For each example, you should say why it illustrates this aspect of organizational culture.
Building organization culture is a very tough job and maintaining that same culture for longer period of time is another toughest job. FIRST Choice has made sure that they offer the best services to the customers and for this they have made sure that they assure the maximum safety and security for the passengers and they have offered special training for the drivers on safer driving and passenger safety. FIRST Choice made sure that every employee has the 'can do' attitude so that they can offer the best services to the customer. FIRST Choice also made sure that the services they offer satisfies the customers and that the customers do not leave the bus, tram or train with complains.
e. Explain the type of culture that FIRST Choice has using as a recognized model of organizational culture. Give examples to justify why you have chosen this type of culture.
FIRST Choice uses role culture, which is a highly structured environment where clear objectives, goals, and procedures exist. An employee is judged almost solely on how well they meet these objectives and goals. In a functional stage role cultures operate highly efficiently and include built-in checks and balances of power. This culture rewards dependability and consistency and, due to its well-articulated procedures, produces little stress.
f. Using the type of culture you identified in part (e) above, assess the relationship between organizational culture and organizational behaviour in FIRST Choice.
As it is stated above that FIRST Choice uses role culture, with the help of this culture they have made it very clear that the behaviour of the employees should be managed so as to build a sound and strong organizational culture because the employees represent the company.
g. To what extent would the management approach in FIRST Choice be different if the company has adopted a different culture? Again, make use of the same model that you used in part (e) above.
FIRST Choice has made good use of role culture, and if the company tries to adopt different culture, for example achievement culture where people work hard to achieve goals and better the group as a whole. This culture generally consists of highly motivated people who need little to no supervision. Rules and procedures are limited as they may interfere with the accomplishment of work. The best tools and methods for producing results are utilized, and when one goal is met, everyone quickly moves on to another.
SECTION 2: BUSINESS STRATEGY AND CHANGE
a. Briefly explain four possible strategies, which organizations may adopt. In each case, indicate the business environment, which would be appropriate for the strategy concerned.
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The four strategies that the organizations would adopt are:
Diversification (New Products/New Market): Diversification is a high-risk growth strategy, largely because both the products and the market are unproven territory for the entrepreneur. Though trailblazing emerging products and markets can be exhilarating, it can also be terrifying given the fact that neither the company nor anyone else can rely on prior experience for reassurance.
Market Development (Existing Products/New Market): A more common scenario is one in which a small business owner attempts to develop a new market for their existing products and services. The new market can be geographical (e.g. foreign export) or an untapped segment of a domestic market. It's even possible to develop a new market for existing products by adjusting the product's packaging or expanding the product's distribution channels.
Product Development (New Products/Existing Market): A growth strategy based on product development is the mirror image of a market development strategy. Instead of pioneering a new market with existing products, the company attempts to roll out a new product in a market with which they are already familiar.
Market Penetration (Existing Products/Existing Markets): Businesses that find themselves in a situation that involves neither new markets nor new products are forced to grow through a market penetration strategy, a strategy that is designed to give the business a greater percentage of market shares.
b. Which strategy did FIRST Choice produce to 'transform travel'? Explain the connection between 'business strategy' and 'strategic choice' of FIRST Choice and identify four benefits that FIRST Choice gained from this strategy.
The FIRST Choice Company had produced Climate Change Strategy to change every possible thing in the company to achieve success.
Business Strategy: is the direction and scope of an organisation over the long-term, which achieves advantage for the organisation through its configuration of resources within a challenging environment.
Strategic Choice: This process involves understanding the nature of stakeholder expectations (the "ground rules"), identifying strategic options, and then evaluating and selecting strategic options. (HT Graham and Roger Bennet, 1998, (Human Resource Management), Pg. 186)
The four benefits that the company gained from the climate change strategy:
They were successful in emission of low CO2 to have environmental pollution control
They wanted to give best services with the cheapest rates and so they planned to buy lesser fuel consumption vehicles.
They were successful in offering the best services to handicapped and older customers by introducing the low floor busses
They were successful in offering the best services by providing higher class training regarding safety and precautions to the drivers whereby winning the confidence of the customers for safer journey.
c. Which alternative strategy could have FIRST Choice followed? Compare the two different strategies in terms of influence that each would have on the behaviour of the organization.
Product elimination strategy can be used because they can eliminate products that have become unpopular with the buyers and bring only losses. Such unsuccessful products also damage the image of the business. Thus, the 'Product Elimination Strategy' may be adopted by FIRST Choice to avoid loss of profits as well as reputation. No doubt that the climate change strategy would bring good results to the company, but at the same time the company needs to change their outdated products because there will be several services and products which maybe quite old and customers might not prefer them to use anymore.
Inference: The main reason for selecting the alternate strategy is that in case if one strategy does not work then the other strategy could be ready for a try so that the company can benefit from it.
d. Assess the factors that FIRST Choice should consider before changing its business strategy.
There are several factors that FIRST Choice need to consider before changing its business strategy. The very first thing they need to consider is the environmental changes and the impact of environmental changes. They need to conduct PEST and SWOT analysis before attempting for any change. They need to review their employee's status and see to that if the employees are ready to undergo any change so as to have a successful new strategy implementation. The above stated factors should be examined and analysed before changing the strategy because when the company does the in depth analysis then they will know what exactly they have to do and based on the findings the strategies should be set.
e. Describe the key issues that FIRST Choice must consider while managing its business strategy.
Managing the business strategy is one of the toughest jobs for most of the managers because even after implementing the right strategy and if the strategy is not managed properly, then the expected results will not be seen. The management of FIRST Choice need to have a close contact with the strategy that they have implemented and see to that everything is going on according to the plan. FIRST Choice should also make sure that the employees are given the right information about the new strategy that the company has adopted and give proper training on how to get adapted and utilize the new strategy. FIRST Choice also need to have regular monitoring and evaluation process about the new strategy and see to that if any additional planning is required to make the strategy successful.
f. With reference to 'forces for change', explain why the strategy of FIRST Choice may have to change over time.
Change is the essential part of human life and so does the organization. Every organization needs to undergo change because one strategy cannot run for life long, so the organizations need to undergo change from time to time. Only those organizations are successful who consider change as the major function of their organization and they need to change according to the market demands and environmental changes. If the company is stuck to one single strategy and continue for longer period of time then there are many chances that the company would face loss. Hence change is compulsory for every organization and they should change their strategies at regular intervals so as to be more successful within the market.
g. Choose ONE of the following: stakeholder power; business goals; organization culture; business ethics; social responsibility. Explain how the factor you have chosen may impact the management of change in FIRST Choice.
Organizational culture is the personality of the organization. Culture is comprised of the assumptions, values, norms and tangible signs (artifacts) of organization members and their behaviors. Members of an organization soon come to sense the particular culture of an organization. Culture is one of those terms that are difficult to express distinctly, but everyone knows it when they sense it. For example, the culture of a large, for-profit corporation is quite different than that of a hospital which is quite different that that of a university. The culture of an organization can be said by looking at the arrangement of furniture, what they brag about, what members wear, etc. similar to what it is seen can use to get a feeling about someone's personality.
If the organizational culture is not balanced, then the company will not get the expected profits and hence organizational culture should be balanced and taken great care if the company wants to achieve success in future. (Dezenzo Robbins, 1998, (Human Resource Management, Pg. 131)
h. Explain the role that the management of FIRST Choice could play in dealing with the change situation.
Presently the company is using 'The Climate Change Strategy'. The management of FIRST Choice will have a big role to play in dealing with the change situation. The first important thing is the communication; they need to provide adequate information to the members on the need for change in order to gain their support. Make the purpose of the change clear. Fear of change can be as disturbing as the change itself. The second is the participation; they need to involve everyone in planning and making the change. It is much easier to support something they have a stake in. If possible, committees using small groups of people should be set up to review and make recommendations for change. Surveys and newsletters are also tools that can be used. The third is the support; they need to be prepared to spend extra time with members who have difficulty accepting the change. Ensure that they, as the person initiating the change, are seen as trustworthy and credible.
i. What advice would you give to the management of FIRST Choice to help them analyse a change situation and to overcome any resistance to change?
Change is the necessity within the organizations. Change should be done on regular intervals and at the right time. Finding out what changes the company should undergo is the main question. Once the change has been finalized, and then overcoming resistance to change is the biggest issue for most of the business managers. The management should give clear information about the change that the company will be undergoing to all the employees of the company. They need to explain in detail about the change so that the employees get ready to accept the change. Finally it can be advised that the company do a thorough environmental scan so that the company can be ready with alternate plans and strategies against the resistance to change.
The above report has been discussed about First Choice Plc where the report has been discussed about the business strategy and change and has answered many questions relation to the case. Finally it can be said that business strategy and change is one of the most important aspects of the organization that should be given higher priority in order to be very successful in the business market.