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Case Study Organisational Culture Marketing Essay

2681 words (11 pages) Essay in Marketing

5/12/16 Marketing Reference this

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Henry Mintzberg (1989) refers to culture as organization ideology, or “the traditions and beliefs of an organization that distinguish it from other organizations and infuse a certain life into the skeleton of its structure.” On the other hand, Edgar Schein (1992), however, argues that the culture should be reserved for a “deeper level of basic assumptions, values, and beliefs” that become shared and taken for granted as the organization continues to be successful. Although, for convenience, we are going to define organizational culture as a system of shared orientations that holds the unit together and give it a distinctive identity.

TAJ HOTELS RESORTS AND PALACES

Taj group of hotels is the first India chain of luxury five star hotels. It has a very wide national presence, and is also present internationally in various locations of tourist importance. The Taj group of hotels is known for its Indian hospitality all over the world. In spite of catering and accommodating mostly the foreigners, The Taj group of hotels has been able to distinguish itself from other hotels because of its traditional Indian roots well reflected in its day to day operations.

The mission statement of Taj states:-

“Embrace talent and harness expertise to leverage standards of excellence in the art of hospitality to grow our international presence, increase domestic dominance, and create value for all stakeholders.”

While interviewing various people the following questions were asked to understand the culture of the organisation:-

What did you hear and learn about The Taj Hotels before experiencing it yourself?

How do you think is it different from the other hotels you have visited/ stayed in or worked with?

How is the overall attitude of the employees of the organisation?

Do you think that the organisation’s environment is progressive, keeping in mind its mission statement?

If you have to identify one thing (concept, practice, symbol, sign etc.) which binds this organisation together, what will you say it would be?

The people interviewed for the understanding of the culture of this organisation were the present employees, ex-employees and people who have stayed in the hotel. The following are their responses:-

Ms. Yamini Amdoskar (Executive Housekeeper, Taj Vivanta, Goa)

What did you hear and learn about The Taj Hotels before experiencing it yourself?

As I was born and brought up in Mumbai, Taj has always been a familiar name to me. I had heard that Taj was a very employee friendly organisation as it is a Tata enterprise.

How do you think is it different from the other hotels you have visited/ stayed in or worked with?

I have not worked with any other hotel chain, but as far as I have discussed with other colleagues of mine, who have worked with other hotel chains, say that Taj is very employee friendly, but in certain cases this is the reason, as to why the employees sometimes, don’t perform as per the standards because they are aware that the organisation is going to be lenient in its approach towards any kind of guest complaint.

How is the overall attitude of the employees of the organisation?

The overall attitude of employees is very friendly. People here have time during the lunch or dinner hours to sit and talk. The locker rooms also have people from different departments, sitting and discussing their professional and sometimes their personal life as well.

Do you think that the organisation’s environment is progressive, keeping in mind its mission statement?

Taj talks about achieving better tangible results by enhancing the intangible assets, which means the employees. I think that here in Taj, the employees are been taken care of quiet well, so that they can perform for the better tangible outcomes.

If you have to identify one thing (concept, practice, symbol, sign etc.) which binds this organisation together, what will you say it would be?

I would say it will be the desire of all the employees to collectively delight the guests.

Mr. Sumit Banerjee (Bar Tender, Taj Hotel Delhi)

Q. What did you hear and learn about The Taj Hotels before experiencing it yourself?

A. I heard that Taj was a kind of laid back property. It did not concentrate much on the guest satisfaction and sticking to the prescribed standards of service.

Q. How do you think is it different from the other hotels you have visited/ stayed in or worked with?

A. I have worked with the Welcome group of hotels before I joined Taj. I think that the culture in the Welcome group was strictly professional, sometimes, the employees were even told to give straight forward rude replies to the guests, which is never seen here in Taj. Also, in Taj, one can see that some of the employees have been working here for as long as 35 to 40 years, in the Welcome group of Hotels, this was never seen.

Q. How is the overall attitude of the employees of the organisation?

A. The employees seem here to be quiet forthcoming. They seem to be taken care of quiet well and they also seen to be pretty satisfied with their work.

Q. Do you think that the organisation’s environment is progressive, keeping in mind its mission statement?

A. I feel that, sometimes, the utter professionalism is missing in the organisation. If Taj wants to be able to increase their dominance in national and international markets, it has to make sure that the employees give their hundred percent and hence, they must be more proficient in what they do.

Q. If you have to identify one thing (concept, practice, symbol, sign etc.) which binds this organisation together, what will you say it would be?

A. I would say, that one thing would be the feeling employees have in them to serve the guest.

Mr. Prateek Sadhu (Ex- Chef de partie, Taj Hotel, Delhi)

Q. What did you hear and learn about The Taj Hotels before experiencing it yourself?

A. I have always heard that the Taj was that it is a luxury chain with a history which includes not just iconic buildings but also people.

Q. How do you think is it different from the other hotels you have visited/ stayed in or worked with?

A. I have worked earlier with the Oberoi hotels, where the standards are above everything, even above the guest. Here in Taj, I guess the one who is the top most priority for the company is its employees.

Q. How is the overall attitude of the employees of the organisation?

A. The attitude of employees here is collaborating. In spite of situations with high pressures and rush hours with many orders all at the same time, it is amazing that employees don’t end up in ugly altercations, or any other kind of tensions. They mostly manage to do things with ease. However they sometimes fret over extended working hours and night shifts, which is not very common in other chain of hotels.

Q. Do you think that the organisation’s environment is progressive, keeping in mind its mission statement?

A. I think that environment of the company is pretty good, as far as the mission statement is concerned. After all, one can see that there is value being created for all its stake holders.

Q. If you have to identify one thing (concept, practice, symbol, sign etc.) which binds this organisation together, what will you say it would be?

A. I guess, it will be the core value of ‘Joy at work’.

Ms. Sasha D’Souza (Ex- Spa-attendant, Taj View Hotel, Agra)

Q. What did you hear and learn about The Taj Hotels before experiencing it yourself?

A. I knew that Taj was an employee centric company, but on the other hand was also a successful luxury brand.

Q. How do you think is it different from the other hotels you have visited/ stayed in or worked with?

A. I have not worked with any hotel before this, but I worked with other Spa saloons, and compared to those spa saloons, Taj here has given more freedom to the employees, so that they can go out of their way to delight the guests.

Q. How is the overall attitude of the employees of the organisation?

A. The employees here, on an average are helpful and supportive. In spite of the competition with their colleagues, there is a mutual trust and bonding between them.

Q. Do you think that the organisation’s environment is progressive, keeping in mind its mission statement?

A. I believe that the organisation sometimes lacks the urgency in work, as far as the back of the house areas are concerned, although sometimes, even front of the house employees show the same attitude which is detrimental for the achievement of the mission statement.

Q. If you have to identify one thing (concept, practice, symbol, sign etc.) which binds this organisation together, what will you say it would be?

A. I think it would be the duty of the employees to serve the guests. I have seen that the hoteliers here, in any condition are united to give the best to the guest of the hotel.

Mr. Imran Khan (Guest, Taj Coromandel, Chennai)

Q. What did you hear and learn about The Taj Hotels before experiencing it yourself?

A. I have heard that the Taj was a very hospitable organisation, and my friends had always told me that although Taj has beautiful modern and contemporary buildings, the most important aspect of this hotel chain was its hospitability by its employees.

Q. How do you think is it different from the other hotels you have visited/ stayed in or worked with?

A. I have stayed in various chains of hotels. As far as the products are concerned, they all have been almost same. The only thing which is different is the service provided by the employees. The employees here seem to co-ordinate very well in order to offer a smooth service to its guests.

Q. How is the overall attitude of the employees of the organisation?

A. It is clear that the employees here strive to give their best shot at whatever they do for their customers. They are courteous, polite and friendly.

Q. If you have to identify one thing (concept, practice, symbol, sign etc.) which binds this organisation together, what will you say it would be?

A. I would say it would be the brand Taj and its value of excellence.

Culture of Taj

From the above inputs from the interviewees, the culture of Taj can be summed up as:-

Understanding and helping the employees.

Cooperation for smooth operations.

Commitment to the job.

Respect for the fellow employees.

Ethical practices

Open and clear communications

Challenging oneself to perform better that the last time

Team co-operation

To enable the employees and organisation to flourish and prosper.

To first ensure the comfort of employees so as to escalate the similar comfort to the guests through the services provided by them.

Trust and belief in the system and oneself.

Independence to think out of the box and give agreeable services to the guests.

Freedom to go beyond the standard procedures in case it is required.

Functional and dysfunctional aspects of the culture at Taj

The mission of Taj is “Embrace talent and harness expertise to leverage standards of excellence in the art of hospitality to grow our international presence, increase domestic dominance, and create value for all stakeholders.”

Keeping in mind the above statement, the functional aspects of the culture of Taj can be summed up as cooperation, teamwork, respect for employees, clear communication, and openness to changes, and adhering to ethical practices. As the above practices are harbinger of higher employee satisfaction, the mentioned practices help in ’embracing the talent’ of the human resource available with the organisation. Also as the interview responses have suggested, the one thing as per the present and ex-employees, which binds the people together in the organisation is desire to delight the guest, which shows that they all strongly believe in ‘leveraging the standards of service’, which is also visible in the fact that the employees are given opportunity to take a different route from the prescribed standard procedures so as to help in offering personalised and customised services to the guests.

The overall satisfaction of the customer is the key to strong business and hence in profitable monetary outcomes, which in turn will help in ‘increasing international presence and domestic dominance’ of the organisation. If the organisation flourishes in this way, there will be happy customers, happy employees and financial profits leading to ‘value for al stakeholders’.

There are certain aspects in the working culture of Taj which are dysfunctional, in the process of realisation of the mission, like the liberty given to the employees to change the standards as sometimes, either the understanding of employee is not correct and he might deliver undesired service to the guest, or there can be times that an employee may use the authority for his own personal benefit. Also as the culture gives high importance to employee satisfaction, there can be times when employees may refuse to work under a difficult situation or crisis, if he/she is not satisfied. Or as one of the interviewee had pointed out, the employees lack the sense of urgency in their work, reflecting unprofessional conduct and become complaisant with their performance. All this might lead to unsatisfied customers and hence impedes the growth of the organisation.

Action Plan to change Dysfunctional aspects of culture into functional aspects

In order to change the dysfunctional aspects into the functional aspects, the following steps can be taken into account, in order to achieve the mission:-

The culture can incorporate higher levels of professionalism.

The employees must be trained and guided to work in times of crisis and difficult situations.

Employees must be ready to forgo their comforts for delighting the guests as and when a need for it arises.

Employees must be flexible in their work approach.

The authority to bend the specified rules must not lie with all the employees but only with the selected managers or supervisors.

Lot of customization or personalization of services might lead to an impression of unorganised and non-standardised services. Hence, personalization of services should be done in selective cases.

A standardised protocol must be established for the times, when a service is being provided after tweaking the standard procedures.

Establish a clear authority-responsibility relationship amongst employees to establish accountability for a sub-standard service provided.

Employees responsible for poor service must be dealt with in a stricter manner.

Thus by retaining the functional aspects of their culture and reducing the dysfunctional aspects to the minimum, Taj can not only achieve its mission but can also go on to become one of the best hotels in terms of products and services offered at par with its international competitors, and be a benchmark for its domestic counterparts.

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