Understanding The Cultural Web Of Interflora Commerce Essay

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Diversity of experience, opinions, and views within the organization .interflora had followed a strategy for many decades, leading to homogenous way of looking at things .measuring the nature and extent of diversity is important .was not taken into account.

Power .who has the power to effect change? Directive style may be common in hierarchical organization but for flatter power structure a more networked and learning organization is desirable (collaboration and participative). Interfora was akin to flatter organization such directive style was inappropriate especially, clubbed with coercive

Capacity in terms of available resources

Personality types / capability to manage change is ability to adopt different styles in different circumstances.

Has dough managed effectively in the past? Experience of change .he was experienced senior executive for many years and successfully served previous organizations

Have interflora members accustomed to changes in the past / little experience of change .i

Readiness for change - interflora felt the change, it understood the future threats from its competitors .however, the Styles of managing change is not mutually exclusive

From the above analysis of context and style of change, it can be argued that interflora's dominant style was directive. It chairman appointed chief executive dough .since, dough's power rested on his position, his authority. He directed interflora towards clear goal his style had elements of coercion. (Use of powerful language, dictatorship style). This was antithetical to the culture and context of Interflora .

Forcefield Analysis for Interflora

Pushing Resisting

Morden Management thinking. Forceful management.


Standard Corporate image. Not buying flowers independently.

Consistent opening time. New way of communication.

Consistent quality of service.

Dictatorship policy.

Cost cutting measures (no more buying

Flowers independently)

The aspects of current situation that will block change (change inhibitor)

Lack of experience in change.

Less commercial acumen. ( naïve organization)

Aspects of current situation that will aid change (change facilitator)

sFlexible approach and structure,

Informality and networking.

Friendly work place.

Closeness among members.

Highly homogeneous culture.

What needs to be introduced or developed to assist change?

Encourage processes which unlock the knowledge of individuals.

Encourage sharing of information and knowledge.

So that each member :

Become sensitive to change around them and helps identify opportunities and required changes.

Becomes capable of taking a holistic view of environment rather than a functional or operational view.

Avoids power plans and blocking routines.

Workers on the basis of a shared vision of the future.

Supports other organisational members

Can cope with ambiguity and contradictions.

Personality analysis

Top management

Difference between leadership and management

Leadership is a multidirectional influence relationship and management is unidirectional authority relationship. "Leaders and followers work together to create real change".

Dough McGrath

(source: adapted from: C.Bowman, 'Strategy Workshop and top team commitment to strategic change', Journal of Management Psychology Vol 10, 1995 pp42-50) [1] 

The new CEO Dough McGrath was a "big strong man", the board members thought that he is the right person, who can force the change, so that interflora can win the race of modern competitors. Dough had the capability and courage to bring change but he was not collaborative with the members, he thought David (chairman) is with him he don't need any one else. He was unable to understand the members and started forcing the change on them. A good leader is one how "ask question and hear them" (Carly Fironi CEO HP).

Debate VS dialogue

Debate (Dough)

Dialogue (members)


Finding out



Winning or loosing





Respect or reverence

Providing a point: Defending a position

Listening: Exploring new possibilities

(Source: Danae Zohar. (1997) Rewriting the corporate brain. Using the new science to rethink how we structure and lead organisation.)

David Parry

The chairman of Interflora David Parry was a good listener and a cosy person till Dough came, after his appointment David's "thought and Views changed" as the members says he was now a corporate man, he was influenced by the new CEO and started behaving and acting like Dough. He started acting like a corporate man and did not care about the members and did not listen them anymore.

"He was a big guy; he gave me impression of being strong (David Parry)

"She (Rosemarie Watkins) was mad". (Doug McGrath)

Interfloa was a cosy association till Dug came inn1996.

His mission statement was single mindedly looking to the future of flower business.

Doug didn't know "he was playing with fire".

It was a big family, everyone knew each other.

He ditched the old family values and behaves like a modern corporate.

Doug and David wanted -consistence opening time and quality of services.

Carry a standard corporate image.

David Parry (chairman) became the corporate man.

David thought and views changed.


Cost cutting measures (not buying flowers independently)

Policy 1997- (communication program)

These changes were expensive for small florist like marry (she wanted to be out).

In the first meeting with the members Rosemary was put down for asking question out of turn and everyone was shocked.

Doug surveyed 611 members and thought others views will me the same.

He missed 2000 of them.

Bev & Rosemary appointed a lawyer.

Later Jeff Bristor joint Bev & Rosemary and took the leading position.

Jeff was ambitious man he played the political game, the leader of opposition.

"I planned the strategy" (Jeff)

Change the board, was not the original intention

Bev views were over ruled.

Biggest gathering in interflora history.

Main Rebel members

Rosemarie Watkins

Bev Wood

Catherin Vickers

Jeff Bristor

"It was like a big family" (Rosemarie Watkins)

"They were actions, not prospects" (Catherin Vickers)

"This Conference became known as Dug & Dav Show" (Rosemarie Watkins)

"He didn't understand us" (Bev Wood)

"It (interflora) is like a disease once you are involved in it you can't get out" (Rosemarie Watkins)

Jeff Bristor-

Family atmosphere implies sharing of joys and sorrows together it means if one of them is had understood the urgency and significance of future change, it would have been a chain reaction. The major change would have happened very smoothly na din very less time.


Tightly packed members of interflora resembles arrangement of molecules in soild .hence conduction of energy would have been fast and effective


From family to business not business to family

How it could be managed

Levers of strategic change

Micheal beer and nitin nohria observed 2 approaches

The combination of Theory E and theory O

At first stage it is theory E i.e. change is based on pursuit of economic value associated with top -down, emphasis on changing structures and systems

Second stage should be followed well with theory O i.e. change based on developing organizational capability, learning, participation and experimentation.

In short, combining directions from the top with participation from below.

Managing Evolutionary strategic change

Interflora required transformational change, but incrementally. This could be done firstly, by making interflora capable of continual change: a learning organization.

1. Empowering interflora: - the need was acceptance of commercial acumen for it sustainence in competitive market. Rather than top-down management, there is the need here for people throughout the organization to accept the responsibility for contributing strategic ideas, for involving and for accepting change as inevitable and desirable.

2. A clear strategic vision:- it was the responsibility of interflora CEO to encourage members to come up with new ideas with coherent view of long term goals. By providing very clear guidelines, vision, mission - around which these ideas can cohere.

3. Continual change and a commitment to experimentation with regard to organisational process throughout organisation.

The second way of changing conceiving of strategic change as evaluation is in term of the movement from one strategy to a changed strategy but over time, perhaps many years.

1. Stages of transition: - identifying interim stages in the change process is important. For example, in terms of change context (interflora) there was insufficient readiness to make major changes initially. It was therefore important to establish these conditions before other major moves were taken.

2. Irreversible changes: - it may be possible to identify changes that can be made that, whilst not necessarily having immediate major impact, will have long term and irreversible impact.

3. Winning hearts and minds: - Interflora culture change was likely to be required in any transformational change. This could be problematic that for revolutionary change because members may simply not recognise that there is problems regard to status quo. There was a need for multiple leavers for change to be used consistently: education and participation as style of managing change to allow members to see the need for change and contribute what the change should be.


Soild organization like interflora where members emotional bonding was the embryonic force that drove them together, it was highly inappropriate to try to disintegrate the informal closed network . in fact , it was the family cosiness of interfolra that was the core competences and it could have played successful role as change facilitator . the final goal was not build corporate image coercively but to overcome any future threat from competitors .the question is not whether they can formally organizise themselves but how commercial acumen could be trickled down creating an innovative business strategy to maintain the top slot in flower business . this unboundedly required incremental change , with full consensus and commitment of fellow shareholders. The senior management must have encouraged the ideas to emanate from below . it is universal rule of manangement that policy impementors should have crucial role in policy formulation, its they who know real problems and it is they who bring about actual change in organization . in case of interflora , it was those thousands florists.


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