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FIRST Choice plc is the UK's Largest Surface transportation company. It has revenues of over 5 billion Euro a year. It employs over 135,000 staff throughout the UK and North America and moves more than 2.5 billion passengers a year.
FIRST is the largest UK rail operator carrying almost 270m passengers every ear. This is one quarter of the passenger network.
First is the leader in providing reliable, safe, innovative and sustainable transport services. In this report will discuss about the company behaviors, culture, and put a SWOT analysis for the relations between the company and environment.
Also, will discuss about the organization culture in terms of shared values and taken for granted assumptions in FIRST.
Factors have affected the way FIRST has behaved
There are many factors have affected the way that FIRST Choice behaved such as the following:
Social factors are factors what is occurring socially in the markets in which you operate or expect to operate, cultural norms and expectations, health consciousness, population growth rate, age distribution, career attitudes and emphasis on safety. Social changes affect the people environment. Many more people now have free bus passes. Local Authorities pay the costs of these passes. People travel more but are more aware of how this affects the environment. These statistics show a positive picture for First. The market is growing and more people are realizing the benefits of a more environmentally-friendly form of transport.
Social and cultural forces at local, national, and often regional levels have profound influence on the way organizations conduct their work and on what they value in terms of outcomes and effects. For example, the mores of an indigenous culture have a bearing on the work ethic and on the way in which people relate to one another. Undoubtedly, the most profound cultural dimension is language.
Social factors at FIRST:
To be a global business and to be local in its approach, FIRST has appointed people in their regions so that local issues are dealt with by people that largely live and work in that location. That to ensure a clearer understanding of what needs to happen and a more prompt response.
The Older people in the UK are rising and the local authority is paying FIRST for providing the service to them. Many elderly people prefer to travel by bus because it is convenient and safe. this will keep FIRST business going up.
By listening to their customers and what they need, FIRST has responded to increased demand in Neath valley in Wales by working closely with the Neath Port Talbot Council to run improved services.
Also, the same as per the demand of their customers FIRST has implemented the provision of high quality Yellow School Bus transport. First designed special pilot services with the student in mind, based on the lessons learned from its US operations.
Technology is the developments happening technology-wise to a company.It will impact the products or services of the company.Things that were not possible five years ago are now in the mainstream.Technological factors helps helps First to improve services. First has introduced ftrs. These are highly advanced buses that look like trams but do not travel on rails. These carry more passengers and are more efficient. Other technology can make travel easier: Both the types and the level of technology in the society give insight into understanding an institution. Institutions dealing with Western paradigms are dependent on the state of national infrastructure, e.g. power, water, transport; those which concentrate on indigenous research paradigms may have totally different dependencies. Thus, it is important to understand the level of relevant technology in the institutional context and whether such technology is defined by computer literacy or by highly developed indigenous methods of verbal and nonverbal communication. It might also be helpful for an assessment to include a consideration of the process by which new technology comes into use, both to understand how difficult it is to acquire needed research technologies and to develop an appreciation for the society's willingness to embrace both new knowledge and change.
Technological Factors at FIRST:
To provide the best solutions for the market place, FIRST introduced the services of buses that lower the floor for easy entry. These provide better accessibility for disabled and elderly people who are the main customer of FIRST Choice in UK.
The introduce of (ftr) Future - these are state-of-the-art articulated vehicle that look like trams but have the flexibility of a bus and use normal roads. These future vehicles are capable of carrying more people per journey.
First has the set up ground-breaking alerting services for passengers, journey check and journey alert. These enable passengers to receive up to date train information by text or email. This helped their customers a lot in planning for their journeys.
The use of prepaid smart cards to make payment on buses, which is very helpful technology used by FIRST. It is easier and faster way to receive payment.
In the economic environment, the organizational analysis should centre on those aspects of the economic system that directly impact the type of project being considered. For example, inflation, labour laws, and opportunity costs for researchers in public institutions directly impact organizational activities.
Economic Factors at FIRST:
The Future vehicles that First are going to introduce, are necessary as they are more popular with customers resulting in fewer car journeys. Most important it will reduces the amount of fuel used, reduces CO2 emissions and means less impact on environment.
The strategy that FIRST implemented of Climate Change. It sets targets to reduce CO2 emissions in the short and long term along with plans to achieve these targets. It identified some risks of climate change included the vulnerability of road and rail infrastructure to flooding and storm surges along the coast. This strategy identified ways of managing these risks by working with transport network providers to monitor and maintain road and rail.
Training and development of FIRST Choice is a core part of Human resource strategy. This enables employees to develop their skills, interests and academic qualifications. Attending the training centres in UK will help the economy of the country to grow and also get benefit of its people.
The revenue of FIRST is over 5 billion Euro a year and also it employing over 135,000 staff thought the UK and North America which is very good for UK and North America in their people employment.
The high taxation in UK for fuel, keep the people use the bus transportation instead of using their own cars.
Political factors include policies and laws implied by the government time to time. It includes to what extent government and its bureaucracy supports and contributes resources to the institution. The political context usually entails resource trade-off decisions at the government level.
Political Factors at FIRST:
FIRST is a global company in UK and North America, this keep the relationship between these countries and UK, strong.
Employment in FIRST from North American helping local people to survive will support the economy of that country in their employment planning and keep a healthy relationship between FIRST management and the government of those countries.
Legal factors are the factors happening with changes to legislation. Legal factors that affect business often link to political ones. This may impact employment, access to materials, quotas, resources, imports/ exports, taxation etc. First complies with all UK legal requirements and where it can, it does more than the law requires. For example, First is already taking steps to reduce its carbon emissions ahead of the government's 2010 targets. Many changes in the law stem from government policy. Many of these laws are Europe-wide, for example, the standards for bus transport emissions. First makes sure that all its buses meet these requirements. Legal changes that affect business are closely tied up with political ones.
Legal Factors at FIRST:
Many changes in law stem from government policy. Many of these laws are Europe-wide, this affect FIRST business such as the law of standards for bus transport emissions kept FIRST makes sure that all its buses meet this requirements.
FIRST is preparing to meet the future legal changes. Starting in 2010 it will need to buy carbon credits which will permit it to general specific quantities of carbon emissions. FIRST already preparing a budget for it.
SWOT Analysis (relation between FIRST and Environment).
Strengths can serve as a foundation for building a competitive advantage. It can be converted to opportunities that are available in the External environment.
FIRST's strategy relates to its transportation plans and takes into account the entire PEST factors in its environment.
A company's weaknesses are a lack of resources or capabilities that can prevent it from generating economic value or gaining a competitive advantage if used to enact the company's strategy. There are many examples of organizational weaknesses. For example, a firm may have a large, bureaucratic structure that limits its ability to compete with smaller, more dynamic companies. Another weakness may occur if a company has higher labor costs than a competitor who can have similar productivity from a lower labor cost. The characteristics of an organization that can be strength, as listed above, can also be a weakness if the company does not do them well.
FIRST's is actively encouraging people to use the bus instead of their own cars to reduce CO2 emissions. This is acceptable by people and FIRST's is getting benefit from it.
Public transport weak in cross city directions resulting in increased traffic congestion.
The implementation of Climate Change Strategy which planned to create less pollution.
lack of integration with the Highways Agency
Making public transport easily available through its Park and Ride schemes.
The set up schemes using the Future vehicles which look like trams but have the flexibility of a bus and use normal roads. This reduces the amount of fuel used, reduces CO2 emissions and means less impact on the environment.
Threats can be an individual, group, or organization outside the company that aims to reduce the level of the company's performance. Every company faces threats in its environment. Often the more successful companies have stronger threats, because there is a desire on the part of other companies to take some of that success for their own. Threats may come from new products or services from other companies that aim to take away a company's competitive advantage. Threats may also come from government regulation or even consumer groups.
Opportunities are external situational factors that are helpful to the company.
Some Changes in Government legislation bring chances especially Environmental Impact.
The legal changes stem from government policy, such as the standards of bus transport emissions.
The people are now more mobile and travel more
Also, the past of an initiative called Carob Reduction Commitment, FIRST need to buy carbon credits which it need a special budget.
First's aim to reduce its CO2 emissions by 25% for its bus division and 20% for rail by 2020.
People are more aware of the importance of the environment. They prefer goods and services that are environmentally friendly.
Bad weather (climate) can be threats for transportation.
Not good rods
The road and rail infrastructure to flooding and storm surges along the coast
A new competitor
The strategy of reducing CO2 emissions from its bus and rail divisions by 25% and 20% respectively by 2020.
Guidelines to FIRST Management to conduct SWOT analysis
The SWOT analysis is commonly used for evaluations; it supports the strategy planning process. It may also play a crucial role during the drafting of any strategy.
The Management of FIRST Choice has to take the benefits from conducting a SWOT analysis:
The company can use SWOT to identify possible strategic approaches, such as expand their transportation business in other regions and desitnations.
Determining external opportunities and threats, FIRSTS can take use of the new laws publishing by governments in UK and North America, especially the laws related to environment.
Determining internal strengths and weakness, by this, FIRST can know its employee abilities, training and development strategies can be implemented for them.
Also, SWOT analysis can show the company budget spending and how strengths of their financial source and how it can implement a financial strategy which can deal with any external factors need new budget.
First's Management can set together with their employees and see the target achieved for a year and what the points required more attention or support from the management.
The management also can study the markets and opportunities available to increase sale and get more customers.
FIRST Culture in terms of "Shared Value" and "taken for granted assumptions"
Shared values are the identity by which an organization is known throughout its business areas. These values must be stated as both corporate objectives and individual values. Every organization and every leader will have a different set of values that are appropriate to its business situation.
It's important for FIRST to build a great business is to find people who are component and really care about the same thing that FIRST Management care about.
FIRST management has to ensure of its employee's understanding of organization's values and vision which requires the organization to have clearly defined values.
Defining shared values is more than putting words on paper. Most organizations have values statements or mission statements; yet many do not follow them. Winning organization create successful cultures in a systematic way using various approaches that may include visual representations, training seminars, and/or socializing events.
FIRST wants to lead the way in transforming the way people travel and the way they feel about public transport. By aiming for the top in everything they do and helping each other-they can deliver the highest levels of safety and services and give greater customers and employee satisfaction.
FIRST employee are having the responsibility for safety, they have developed strict operating practices abased on the latest industry standards. This helps to achieve the highest levels of safety for the customers and staff. FIRST management has put in place all the policies, procedures, training and support.
FIRST employee must remain in touch to understand what people need and deliver it in a simple way to achieve the goal of their company in delivering the perfect journey.
First make sure to continually review and achieve the above standards to ensure their staff, customers and stakeholder's expectation are exceeded and the environment they live is enhanced.
Taken for granted assumption is tends to lock people in constrained, unimaginative, pattern of thinking & relating to the world.
The more that people make sense of things in particular ways the more likely it is that they will continue to make similar sense going forward. In other words, the ongoing sense-making process creates expectancy - or a generalized tendency to think and act in certain ways. And it is here that we find the essence of what we think of as organizational culture (or the "deep culture" of the organization).
On the one hand, these help to reduce internal complexity and uncertainty by 'codifying' norms of behaviour, expectations and so on. However, the patterning that helps people to create a sense of meaning, and that allows them to negotiate their way through the organizational world in an 'orderly' way, can also constrain their ability to act in other ways. Established ways of thinking and acting tend to trap individuals - alone and collectively - within their own, socially constructed worlds and prevent them from noticing and engaging with other emerging possibilities.
At First, the idea of sharing information is the best things that FIRST Management provide to its staff when they feel safety they will give greater customer services. FIRST Policy is to put their employee satisfied so that they can provide better help and support to the customers.
Model of Organizational Culture at FIRST
Organizational culture is the way that things get done around. The measurements of organization will be in respect of:
Feedback - quick feedback means an instant response.
Risk - represents the degree of uncertainty in the organization's activities.
Using these parameters, able us to suggest four classifications of organizational culture:
The Tough-Guy Macho Culture. Feedback is quick and the rewards are high. This often applies to fast moving financial activities such as brokerage, but could also apply to a police force, or athletes competing in team sports. This can be a very stressful culture in which to operate.
The Work Hard/Play Hard Culture is characterized by few risks being taken, all with rapid feedback. This is typical in large organizations, which strive for high quality customer service. It is often characterized by team meetings, jargon and buzzwords.
The Bet your Company Culture, where big stakes decisions are taken, but it may be years before the results are known. Typically, these might involve development or exploration projects, which take years to come to fruition, such as oil prospecting or military aviation.
The Process Culture occurs in organizations where there is little or no feedback. People become bogged down with how things are done not with what is to be achieved. This is often associated with bureaucracies. While it is easy to criticize these cultures for being overly cautious or bogged down in red tape, they do produce consistent results, which is ideal in, for example, public services.
Uncertainty and risk are something that some people hate and some people thrive on. In either case, it is another motivating force that leads people to focus on managing it.
Where the risk is low, people may be willing to take risks up to their acceptable limit. Where they are high, the risks need to be managed or accepted. High risk companies are more likely to include people who enjoy the frisson of taking a gamble.
Feedback and reward
Actually, after I perused the case study so many times, and searching for many several models which concerned about the cultures, I have noticed that FIRST have used Work-hard, play-hard culture.
The Work Hard/Play Hard Culture is characterized by few risks being taken, all with rapid feedback. This is typical in large organizations, which strive for high quality customer service. It is often characterized by team meetings, jargon and buzzwords. I believe all of this is apply on FIRST choice as FIRST wants to lead the way in transforming the way people travel and the way they feel about public transport. They were striving to deliver the highest levels of safety and services and give greater customer and employee's satisfaction. FIRST values are what bind them together; they unite the organization and create the unique culture. In fact, they are having their own conviction that they should always strive to bring FIRST values to life every day in every thing they do. As well as FIRST is organizing weekly meeting for it's employees and all department in order to discuss some matters relating to them and sharing the ideas which could be useful for them to deliver good customer services.
Relation between organizational culture behaviors in FIRST
Organizational culture is an idea in the field of Organizational studies and management which describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values (personal and cultural values) of an organization. It isthe specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization.
Organizational Behavior (OB) is the study and application of knowledge about how people, individuals, and groups act in organizations. It does this by taking a system approach. That is, it interprets people-organization relationships in terms of the whole person, whole group, whole organization, and whole social system. Its purpose is to build better relationships by achieving human objectives, organizational objectives, and social objectives.
Culture leads to the behavior of the organisation where the experiences, beliefs and values become the part of the organisation's standards. They are interrelated and supportive each other.
Organization Culture & Organization Behaviour at FIRSTs:
FIRSTS want to lead the way in transforming the way people travel and the way they feel about public transport.
FIRST management's aim is to be the top in everything they do.
FIRSTS Managements and staff helping each other so they can deliver the highest level of safety and service and give greater customer and employee satisfaction.
They share the success of their company and reach their destination as the number one public transport provider.
FIRST's value is what binds them together; they unite the organization and create the unique culture. This strives to bring its values to life every day in everything they do.
FIRST have put the following brand values to achieve as succinctly as possible, they aim to be transparent in their dealings with others, so it is clear what they are striving for and how they intend to achieve it:
Every employee has a responsibility for safety. FIRSTs have developed strict operating practices based on the latest industry standards.
They aim to deliver the perfect journey by offering personalized service in a simple, distinctive, accessible way.
FIRST employee must remain in touch to understand what people need and deliver it in a simple way.
FIRST aim to be the most progressive public transport provider. Forward thinking innovative and possessing a 'can do' attitude are qualities they value in their employees.
FIRST is a progressive firm with organizational behavior consistent with the organizational culture. Managements need to implement the change effectively to continue its growth in future.
It is extremely important to know what type of behavior culture has the greatest impact and how culture works to control the behavior of members of that particular organization. The culture will affect the organization, just as the opposite is true. Behavior is a learned habit, and the process of socialization that teaches new employees the habits of those workers already there is one of the major parts of organizational culture. As we noticed that from the case study the pure fitness between the employees and customers, this is resulting of the same culture and tradition that bind them together. The behavior of individuals within a culture will depend greatly on the behavior that is encouraged by the higher ups, and by the general organizational culture that any corporate entity has.
These are only a few of the factors of organizational culture that affect organizational behavior and vice versa. The two influence each other, and often times the culture will help to dictate the behavior and the behavior will come back around to reinforce the organizational culture. The relationship between culture and organizational behavior is undeniable. Relating to case study, we can analyze that, actually in FIRST choice the organizational behavior consistent with the organizational culture ,i.e, work hard play hard culture, which made FIRST a progressive company, in addition to the professional manner of the employees have effected on the customers dealing. FIRST'S customers now feel safer, satisfied and feel comfortable while dealing with them, so that is why the behavior of the employees in any particular organization is necessary which could effect directly on the others relation.
Approach at FIRST Choice
FIRST as transportation has to seek its customer's feedback so that they can get developed as per their customers demand. If this feedback is immediate or shorter-term, it will quickly correct any ineffective behavior and hence lead to a consistent culture.
FIRST produced a Climate Change Strategy that shapes every action the company takes. This is part of their vision-to transform travel. It wants to change how people feel about public transport by delivering the highest levels of service and customer satisfaction. As FIRST follows a work hard play hard culture, it followed a high quality service.
If, FIRST didn't care of their customers opinions and feedback, it may lose them and they can go with another transportation company. FIRST has to be different from its competitors. They have to create culture of possibility. It provides all service possible for its customers. They can't achieve these by saying no as NO cuts off all possibilities.
There are some things which a FIRST managements and employee should take into account:
Change is not about things or procedures or systems. Change is about people.
Effective change is in most cases a step by step process.
It is important for the decision maker (at any level) to have the impression that she/he has decided to start the improvement. Be aware that having an impression is different from what really happens.
Cultural in an organization is not static; it is dynamic and can be changed in small steps.
Think about what you want to achieve
Immediately think of different ways to achieve this and think about different solutions
Immediately start thinking of breaking down the change in small steps.
Select a small issue to be improved and - most important of all - immediately involve those people who are executing the job now and who will have to do in the future. They will have very valuable experience and very valuable ideas. And don't forget that change is about people.
Share the appreciation for the results with all who contributed. People will love that and might be willing to cooperate with you on future actions.
IF FIRST fail to develop these it may face so many problems and it may be down in its customers view. The competitors then will find it easy to success.
Alternate Types of Culture could be used by FIRST:
There many alternative cultures that an organisation could adopt. The affects are shown below if they are adopting an alternate culture.
Tough-guy macho culture:
This has rapid feedback/reward and high risk, leading to:
Stress coming from high risk and potential loss/gain of reward.
Focus on the present rather than the longer-term future.
Actually this type of culture it could be effect on FIRST choice in many several aspects such as, as it's quick feedback, high risk so it's means the management of FIRST becoming much more aggressive so that there is much less staff involvement and more short- term decisions in response to change.
This has slow feedback/reward and low risk, leading to:
Low stress, plodding work, comfort and security. Stress may come from internal politics and stupidity of the system.
Development of bureaucracies and other ways of maintaining the status quo.
It can be effect on First's working as it has slow feedback and reward. We all know that FIRST always thinking a head especially in their planning to build up their image and to improve their services in order to meet all the needs and wants of customers. However, if FIRST has adopted this kind of culture, absolutely the production will reflect negatively on them.
FIRST as a transportation company it deals directly with customers. In this report, we discussed about FIRST development and growth, its culture, behavior, and about FIRST's strategic Choice and what would be in the 21st Century.
Also we talked about People in First as the firm places high value is on teamwork and open communication between employees at all levels.
Everyone at FIRST has the opportunity to contribute ideas to the decision.
Also the training and development is a core part of the human resource strategy at FIRST. They aim to help employees to reach their full potential and believe that investing in them will provide direct business benefits.
FIRST is also an Environment Friend. FIRST is actively encouraging people to use the bus instead of their cars to reduce of CO2 emissions.
FIRST values are what bind them together; they unite the organization and create the unique culture. All should strive to bring FIRST values to life every day in everything they do.
From this report, I can say that FIRST is a very successful organization as its aims to build a strong relationship between its employees and also its customers. FIRST management thinking is bright and it all lead to achieve the goal of organization and get big profit as they want.