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A phenomenal development in the concept of globalisation has been observed over the last couple of decades. Globalisation can be explained as a multidimensional concept that is expressed through several ways by many theorists. The significance of globalisation cannot be denied hence it has increasingly gained ever- growing supremacy that in the modern businesses today. Due to the increasing significance, need and requirement of globalisation to be adapted by organisations / and businesses, the author of this report is particularly interested in further exploring the concept of globalisation in context to financial institution such as Barclays Bank plc. The author also understands that globalisation had been explained with various perceptions where as parameters of the concept are hard to define because of several factors influencing the conceptualisation of globalisation. For example, the political, environmental, social, technological, legal etc. factors influence how firms globalise and operate their businesses. Therefore, this research study is also interested in identifying a valid explanation of globalisation that must be adapted along with the subsequent practices.
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In addition, it has also been observed that globalisation brings in new challenges and transformations that must be adapted by businesses in context to new risks and opportunities at the same time. Therefore an important question that emerges here is that how does globalisation influence on an organisational capacity of defining its business. In order to explore and examine these questions pertaining to and dimensions of the concept of globalisation, the author chooses the subject of globalisation to be explored in context of UK financial sector.
Reasons for choosing Barclays Plc.
Due to the global economic recession, the most affected business sector has been the financial sector. As evident, the recent economic recession claims high influence on the banking sector of the world. The after effects are established leaving the stakeholders of the global banking industry with high concerns such as whether or not the returns on their investments made into the financial sector and specifically financial institutions will be returned. Secondly, stakeholders are also equally concerned with business challenges faced by financial institutions such as Barclays plc. These challenges have been observed as loss of customers, high employee redundancy, loss of market share, loss of global supremacy of the bank in the global financial sector and so on. It has been further observed by analysts that these challenges are a result of misconduct of US Federal reserves (Protchard, 2008). According to the bank these challenges are likely to result in increasing inflation affecting the financial assets of the bank and financial sector. The increasing challenges thus claims immeasurable influence with an increasing deteriorating circumstances leading the stakeholders in a grey area concerning the future of the bank and investments made by the stakeholders in the bank.
Summing up the challenges, this research study aims to explore and identify the effect of globalisation on the bank in context to the challenges while redefining its business. The particular reason for choosing Barclays Bank plc is that it is one of the leading banks across the globe that has been successfully adapting globalisation long before other businesses had realised the opportunities to globalise their business operations. Secondly it is also intended to assess that how does a global giant redefines its business in order to address the challenges posed by globalisation. This particular bank has also been chosen because it operates in the global financial sector that has been immensely affected by the global economic recession.
Introduction to Barclays Plc.
Barclays Bank plc is one of the major global banks that have been providing financial products and services in commercial, and investment banking and retail banking for over a period of 300 years. It is listed on New York and London stock market, whilst operating in 50 countries across the globe including United States, Asia, Africa and Europe. Employing 156,000 people across the globe and serving 48 million customers, the bank has developed its to business clusters that are: a) Commercial Banking and Global Retail and b) Investment Management and Investment Banking. These business clusters are made up of world-class financial and businesses brand portfolio. During the worst period of recession i.e. 2008, the bank announced a profit of £ 6.1 billion before tax (Barclays plc Sustainability Review report, 2008). The bank is headquartered in the UK and is called as Group Centre facilitating functional operations (Group.Barclays.Com, 2009).
Research objectives and research questions
This paper aims to discuss tasks of defining an organisation mission influenced by globalisation. The objectives of this study are:
To identify globalisation influencing on how firm redefine its business.
With in the same context, what remains compelling now and what must be adapted and
Why redefining business mission and subsequent practices is significant and must be adapted.
To make recommendations.
The research questions are:
What is globalisation and how does it affect the businesses in redefining their business?
What factors are influential upon management’s decision on redefining businesses due to globalisation?
Overall research approach and research framework developed to address the project objectives and research questions
The overall research approach (Walsh and Wigens, 2003) that has been adapted by this study is explained as: a) identify research subject, b) obtain and review contextual / background information of the subject, c) identify research questions, d) define research strategy, e) identify the process and techniques of collecting data, f) carry out pilot study, g) analyse and interpret data, and h) draft research report.
The data sources used for the purpose of this study are primary and secondary, where as the research strategy is the case study and survey strategy. Deductive approach of logical reasoning has also been implied along with using qualitative data analysis techniques. The research study has been underpinned by appropriate theories.
PART 2 – Information gathering and business techniques
The data and information that has been collected concerns the subject of globalisation and its impact on the business operations of Barclays bank plc. The primary and secondary data sources enabled the researcher to collect information regarding impact of globalisation on business operations of the bank. The researcher also concentrates on evaluating current business operations of the bank by means of using three business research tools, which are Porter’s value chain analysis model (Katisioludes, 2006), Porter’s five forces analysis model (Ahlstrom and Bruton, 2009), and Porter’s model for competitive advantage (Porter, 1998). Utilization of these business tools directed the research study towards making analysis and evaluation of the current business global practices adapted by Barclays bank plc. Once the process of analysis and evaluation is completed, the generated information was drawn to identify those factors that influence business operations in context of globalisation as well as impact of globalisation on the bank. This information has been further used to recognize and determine the need to redefine the business mission and subsequent strategies and practices. The last step was to make recommendations through which the bank can possibly address to the changing needs of the global market specifically customers and stakeholders.
The chosen business techniques
Sources of information
The research data has been obtained from primary and secondary sources. Primary data source is formed of survey research study that has been carried out for the purpose of this specific study. In addition to primary research data surces, secondary data sources are formed of academic books, research journal articles, online newspapers, company published reports, independent reports published by organisations such as Datamonitor etc.
Description of the methods used to collect information, including online access
The data has been collected through implying two research tools i.e. a) survey research questionnaires and b) using and reviewing secondary sources to obtain background information regarding the context of subject of globalisation and Barclays Bank plc. The survey questionnaires are designed as open-ended and semi- structured in order to draw in-depth analysis concerning the participants’ experiences, viewpoints and opinions along with addressing the research questions. The strength of survey questionnaires lies in drawing out perceptive responses, exceptional characteristic and contradictory (if any) views of the participants. Secondly survey research method also draws out interpretive standpoint of the survey participants (Mack and Woodsong, 2005; Marshall and Rossman, 2006). This technique of primary data collection is cost-effective and efficient. The primary data was collected through a self-administered e-mail platform and the survey participants were randomly selected. An estimated number of hundred employees of Barclays Bank plc were contacted and invited through e-mails to participate in the survey research study. The purpose, objectives and outcomes of the survey research were explained. Only 35 of these contacted employees replied positively, demonstrating their interest and commitment in participating in the survey research. A pilot study was first conducted through inviting 10 respondents. The comments and feedback (explaining the validity and viability of questions, ease of understanding the questions, possible interpretations of the questions by the participants etc.) of these respondents were valuable in reforming the final survey questionnaire. Once the final questionnaire was designed, it was sent to all survey participants through e-mail. The respondents were provided with a period of four weeks to fill in the questionnaires and return it to the researcher’s provided e-mail address.
The secondary data was collected through reviewing research journal articles accessible through databases such as Emerald, Sage Journals, Informaworld, ScienceDirect, Willey Science, Datamonitor etc. Secondary data was also collected through reviewing reports published by Barclays Bank plc, along with reviewing online newspapers. The data was reviewed and analysed to extract valuable information concerning the subject.
Research limitations while gathering information
While collecting the information certain limitations have been encountered by the researcher such as possibility of biased reviews regarding the organisational performance of the bank that is likely to mislead the researcher while forming opinions. Secondly while carrying out the primary research, it is expected that the survey participants may be influenced by certain factors that can affect the quality and validity of their replies. Lastly the researcher aimed to contact at least 75 employees in order to draw significant research findings, however due to limited survey population it is expected that the research findings and analysis may not be viable due to the fact that sample population may not represent the actual population. Drawing on these limitations, it is expected that the data validity can be challenged.
Identification of any ethical issues that arose during information gathering and how such issues are resolved
While carrying out the primary research, researcher was particularly focused towards maintaining the integrity of the collected data. This means that all the data and information collected as a result of primary research must be protected against any misuse of information. For example the research explained the survey participants that the collected data will only be used for the identified purpose and objectives. In order to maintain the researcher’s claim, it is crucial that the data stays with the researcher where as the name, contact details such as email addresses etc. of survey participants are kept confidential. The data integrity has also been maintained which means that data has been interpreted and analyzed through avoiding any biased views of the researcher towards the studied organisation and collected data. Secondly, while referring to the secondary data collected for the purpose of this study, the researcher was particularly focused towards ensuring that all the previous research studies used for this study are appropriately and sufficiently referenced, credited and acknowledged. For this reason, the researcher ensured that all the data provided by previous researchers have been appropriately referred and acknowledged. For that reason, this report is free of plagiarism, where as all the previous research studies have been appropriately referenced and credited.
An explanation of business techniques that have been used, including a discussion of their limitations.
The business research techniques that have been used for this research study are case study and survey strategies, qualitative data analysis techniques and deductive approach of logical reasoning.
The case study strategy is explained as strategy of carrying out research including practical examination and analysis of a specific contemporary phenomenon as explained within its real-life business scenarios through implication of multiple sources of data validation (Robson, 2002). The limitation of this strategy is to draw perceptive meaning out of the collected data that can vary from researcher to researcher. The perception of the data can also be influenced by the context of the research subject (Yin, 2004). The survey research strategy is explained as carrying out survey research by means of involving a sample of population to answer provided questions. The limitation of this strategy is that the researcher is solely dependent upon the data provided by the survey participants, hence the research findings and analysis is a result of data provided by the participants that may not be validated if required.
The data analysis technique adapted by this research study is qualitative data analysis technique. The qualitative technique enables the researcher to determine information that is extracted according to the constructivist perspective or participatory perspective or even both. Constructivist perspective has been explained as research built upon several interpretations of various understandings collected by the researcher with an ambition of establishing a theory or research pattern. On the other hand, participatory perspective has been explained as constructing upon issue- related, change oriented or combined perspectives (Creswell, 2003). This research study adapts the constructivist perspective of data analysis technique. The limitations of this technique experienced by the researcher are a) difficulty in making structured comparisons while analyzing and interpreting data, b) process of data analysis is dependent upon the skills of the researcher, c) time-consuming process and d) relatively less easy to generalise the data.
In addition to above technique, deductive approach of logical reasoning has been implied by this study. This approach is directly associated with research environment. Deductive approach of logical reasoning has been utilised by means of using following pattern: a) making observations, b) observing research patterns, c) testing hypothesis and d) testing the theory involved (Miles and Huberman, 1994; Cooper and Schindler, 2006). The limitation of this approach as experienced by the researcher is that conclusions are made based on assumptions drawn through empirical evidences that can be different within the context of different research environments.
PART 3 – Results, analysis, conclusions and recommendations
A description of the results that have obtained and any limitations
This section of the report aims to present all the collected data and information, based upon which, analysis and research findings have been presented in the following section. This section identifies global challenges faced by the bank while operating globally. Upon identifying these challenges, the adapted practices of the bank are examined in redefining its global business mission resulting in subsequent strategies and practices. The limitations faced during the data collection and data analysis process are same as identified in the previous section of this report.
Challenges faced by Barclays Bank plc as a result of globalisation
Globalisation has been explained as a multi- faceted phenomenon carrying different viewpoints as has been realised by the review of the literature (e.g. Rapley, 2004; Meffert and Bloch, 1991). This means that the dynamic nature of the phenomenon is likely to raise challenges such as global warming, carrying out ethical business, addressing social responsibility issues, paying back to the communities where the business operates and so on. These challenges were not known about 50 years ago before the advent of globalisation. Similarly, even though Barclays Bank plc has been increasingly expanding its global business, nevertheless the aforementioned issues increasingly and continually keep challenge the bank. In addition, other economical challenges such as poverty and taking strategic steps to combat poverty require competent economic policies to be adapted that supports the business policies at the same time (Fischer, 2003). Therefore, Barclays is increasingly challenged to not only deliver business performance excellence but it is also challenged to serve back the communities by means of addressing issues such as fighting poverty with in the communities where it is operating. Secondly the economic challenge faced by the bank is addressing to the issues of credit crunch. The recessed economy restricts economic development of countries where it is currently operation. As a result of which, management has to take decisions such as job redundancies. For that reason it is argued that despite of the fact that globalisation fosters equality, the results of integration of global economy, and the consequences of flow of capital across national boundaries is likely to threaten the global financial structure of the economies (Fischer 2003; Lloyd and Demos 2001; Baldwin and Winters 2004).
Another issue that is faced by the bank is technological advancement, which is considered to be a dominant driver for the changes experienced by the bank in the due course of process of globalisation (Mulgan, 2007). The same researcher states that those organisations which were household names with in last 20 years time of time period, are now web- based organisations with established and fundamental fears that Internet could further advance into more commercialised and develop in to inaccessible commodity then it can be realised today (Mulgan, 2007). Upon identifying these challenges, the researcher now aims to examine the business operations of the bank in context to creating its value chain and competitive advantage. This identification leads the researcher towards assessing how the effect of global age, and globalisation resulted in defining the business mission and subsequent strategies and practices by Barclays Bank plc.
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In context with the above challenges faced by the bank due to adaption of globalisation as a fundamental business need, the research study now aims to analyse and evaluate current value chain of the bank and industrial competitive forces in order to identify how these challenges influence the redefinition of business mission and subsequent strategic practices of the bank.
Implying the value chain analysis as proposed by Porter (Katsioloudes, 2006), following findings and analysis has been presented. The data of Barclays Bank has been extracted from Barclays Bank PLC Sustainability Review (2008) and primary data collected through survey research questionnaires (see appendix 1).
Suppliers of the bank are required to attend to challenges such as supply chain risks, business integrity, human rights and environmental issues so that a sustainable supply chain steering group can be established that will be accountable to improve business processes, tools and techniques along with addressing training and development needs of its employees as well as supply chain partners in order to operate successfully in the global market.
The UK and the European business operations of the bank equalized operational carbon emissions as well as reduced energy consumption per employee by a rate of 2.1 per cent. The same carbon operations had been executed and practiced across the global operations by the end of year 2009. Secondly the bank demonstrates its commitment to stabilize economies those extending beyond its own operations and procurement strategies so that a distinguished role of the bank can be recognised in developing long-term relationship with its customers and stakeholders.
The bank capitalizes on the advantages laid by new regulations on the banking and financial sector to secure a handful of distributors. Previously, the bank was connected to one provider and regulated by the legislative requirements, however today it is tied to 6 distributors such as fund managers, life insurance and so forth.
Marketing and sales
The bank has been observed and reported to be supporting small and medium enterprises in the UK even though the local economy had been under financial distress that resulted in an increment of 6 per cent in its lending to the small and medium enterprises. In context of its global operations, the bank also announced and executed a debt repair line for South African customers who were facing financial difficulties. Further on with an ambition of attending to the changing customer needs and demands, the bank has been increasingly observed and reported to be developing its customer relationship along with investing in innovation and technologically enabled and advance services and products. Customer relationship have been improved through implying customer relationship management practices, however drawing on the collected data, such practices needs to be further developed and improved.
Due to innovative products and services offered by the bank during the recessed economic situation, the bank reported an improvement in its financial records. For example during the year 2008, more than 57,000 employees of the bank were engaged in volunteering and fundraising activities with a purpose of serving the community such as collecting donations for charitable causes. In addition to this, the market share of the bank’s mortgage lending also increased from 8 per cent to 36 per cent, whereas the income rate of the bank also increased up to £ 23.1 billion by the end of year 2008.
As suggested by the value chain analysis model, the above strategic system obtains further support through business infrastructure of the bank that has been assessed below: (Data source: Group.Barclays.com, 2009; Primary research see appendix 1)
The bank has also been reported to form partnerships and alliances with micro-finance firms, technical providers, local charities and government so that the needs and demands of its customers and stakeholders can be addressed. The bank also cultivates a performance- base management system supported by organisational culture that regulates and facilitates target- oriented performances to be delivered by the employees and subsequently the bank.
Human Resource Management
The bank also practices diversity (cultural, ethnical and gender- based) while recruiting employees across the globe, solely based upon their talents. Secondly, the hard efforts and good performances of employees are rewarded and recognised. Most importantly the bank reports that women fill 25 per cent of senior managerial positions. This proportion has increased from 2 per cent from year 2007 up to 25 per cent during the financial year 2008. An estimated number of hundred and fifty three thousand employees are employed by the bank across the globe. Most importantly the bank claims to practice work- based diversity.
The bank employs technology- based equipment in order to generate clean energy, reducing gas and carbon emissions along with reducing use of electricity and water. In order to further reduce the consumption of paper, it offers mobile banking services in India, UK etc. In South Africa, the bank offers services and products that help government welfare beneficiaries to obtain inclusion in the financial system.
Barclays Bank plc also adapts to industrial best practices in supply chain monitoring in order to evaluate supply chain verification along with deploying tools and techniques that are aligned with adapted business strategies. The supply chain stretches across 50 countries where the bank operates. The strategic intent is to employ competent supply chain management practices so that the strategic and long-term business benefits can be obtained.
Upon assessing the value chain of the bank, their researcher and now aims to examine five competitive forces responsible for redefining business strategies. In order to do so Porter’s (1998) tool of assessing five competitive forces have been implied:
The force of threats of new entrants has been evaluated at a moderate level because the bank obtains its increased share of 36 per cent mortgage market in 2008, which is an increase from just 8 per cent market share in the financial year 2007. The bank had also obtained higher customer satisfaction rate in the UK raising from 64 per cent in 2007 to 67 per cent in 2008. Nevertheless, the bank also demonstrates increasing potential to bring this force to minimum because of the strategic practices it has adapted such as business diversity, employee diversity, environmental consumption, inclusive banking and strategic supply chain management initiatives.
The industrial force of bargaining power of suppliers has been evaluated to be low due to the bank’s policy of development and deployment of supply chain through carrying out strict screening policies so that the business vision of the suppliers are in line with the business vision of the bank. It has also been observed that because of its dominant market presence, strategic market positioning along with bank’s investments made into developing its supply chain, Barclays is privileged to be the first choice of suppliers thus making this force low.
The bargaining power of buyers has been evaluated to be at a modest level because buyers have other substitutes (banks, and financial institutions etc.) to attend to their banking needs. These needs can also be addressed by the competitors such as ABN Amro, Lloyds TSB, Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered and so on. It has also been assessed that this force can be lowered through bank’s continued commitment towards addressing customer demands and conducting ethical business.
The threats of substitutes have been evaluated as low because of the distressed economic situation that makes it intricate for the substitutes entering into new markets that are regulated by cash starved economy. On the other hand, emerging economic nations such as Brazil, Russia, China and India could be a potential market for substitutes that are likely to promise positive results. This can induce competition for the bank with in the emerging / and developing economies.
The industrial force of market rivalry among the financial organisations has been evaluated as extremely high because of the volatile banking sector resulting from mergers and business acquisitions, business alliances etc. that had been recently experienced by banking giants such as HBOS and Lehman Bros. In addition to this, the global economic distressed situation increases rivalry among financial institutions, services and products that are offered in the market since they are closely associated with economic conditions and interest rates, governed by the individual governments.
A critical analysis / evaluation of results including an explanation of significant research findings
Competitive advantage of Barclays Bank plc as a result of redefined business mission, strategies and practices
Utilisation of competitive advantage model as proposed by Porter (table 3.1) while evaluating the bank’s competitive advantage demonstrates that the bank keeps an ambition of producing innovative and unique products and services by means of using innovative and technologically enabled organisational resources. In addition the organisation resources and subsequent competitive advantage that has been achieved by the bank adds value to the business by means of the adapted practices of supply chain management (section 3.1.2). Along with, the bank also provides inclusive banking services and products. Inclusive banking has been explained as “helping those who are excluded from the financial system to join and benefit from it” through opening 1.77 million accounts for low-income customers (Barclays Bank PLC Sustainability Review 2008, p12). The bank also concentrates to exercise ‘sustainability strategy’ by means of demonstrating its commitment towards stabilizing and developing those economies where the bank operates. In addition the bank also concentrates on carrying out ethical business (such as reducing water gas and electricity usage, lowering down carbon emission, making communal investments, practicing diversity at work etc.). In particular the bank has also been observed as developing relationships with its stakeholders (employees, customers, shareholders, supply chain partners, business creditors and investors, community etc.) Conclusively the competitive advantage of the bank has been assessed as to differentiation and focused according to the Porter’s model of competitive advantage as illustrated in the table below.
Table 3. 1. Porter’s model for competitive advantage
Competitive scope – Broad target
Competitive scope – Narrow target
3.2.2. Drawing on the above analysis and evaluation, following factors have been identified that influences the redefinition of business mission and subsequent strategies and practices:
The global economic recession that had influenced almost all the industrial sectors along with banking and finance sector, had immensely threatened industries resulting in bankruptcy, losing customers, losing market share, reduced global dominance along with business sustainability and growth. As suggested by analysts, the world is experiencing financial storm, further warning that US Federal Reserve has allowed the inflation genie out of the bottle and let its credibility fall below zero” (The Sydney Morning Herald business 2008, p.1). The chief equity strategist of Barclays bank explains current economic situation as ” inflation shock underway” further predicting “a negative impact for financial assets” (The Sydney Morning Herald business 2008, p.1).
Barclay’s Bank further requires providing its clients and customers with innovative and competitively priced products and services so that the economic recession is cushioned otherwise cutthroat industrial competition could immensely effect the performance of the bank. This factor thus influences the bank to redefine its
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