Organizational Theory Applied To The Retail Industry PART i Introduction Antonios, as it will be referred to for confidentiality purposes from here on in, is a retail shoe store that operates in Fredericton, N.B. It is part of an open system. This company originated in Montreal, Quebec. The head office is now located there and retail outlets are located throughout Canada, the United States and parts of Europe. The market in which this company operates may be considered a division of the fashion industry.
This industry is known for being highly competitive and dynamic. Also for obvious reasons many companies within it concern themselves with company image. This particular shoe company has been in existence since the early 1990s. Antonios has grown significantly and is currently a leader in the shoe industry, even on an internationally level. It produces quality shoes at a reasonable price. From its beginnings until now Antonios has been operating in the formation stage. This company has met with great success, though, and has grown quickly. It now faces the task of moving into the growth stage.
Antonios must be careful in managing every aspect of its company now in order to survive. Since the industry in which Antonios operates is very image oriented a key issue in moving from the formation to growth stage that must be discussed is company culture. In this situation managed (as it is referred to in its most popular definition) means changed. In order to manage the company culture through the move from stage to stage in the life cycle of this organization the culture within the current stage, the formation stage, must be discussed. The culture, in my opinion, must be managed as it currently has a negative impact on the organizational effectiveness.
The organizational effectiveness as a result of culture must analyzed in order to determine if in fact it does have a negative impact on the company, if so, it must be managed for the sake of the companys survival in the growth stage. PART ii Analysis of current company culture The current culture existing in Antonios organization is effective according to most of the strict definition meanings. It is not particularly strong, this is because most organizations which are young or have constant turnover (Antonios finds both of these things to be true for itself) are said to have weak culture because members will not have shared enough experiences to create common meanings. Antonios culture fits well in to the big picture of the organization as it is aligned with company strategy, environment and technology where company image is everything. This companys culture has both good external and good internal fit.
It emphasizes individual initiative, risk taking, high integration, tolerance of conflict, and high horizontal communication. Employee input and opinion is taken seriously, Dress is of importance while in the store and approach and attitude towards customers is very important. These company policies fit well, given its competitive environment, resulting in good external fit. Good internal fit is evident when a companys culture is well matched with its technology. Antonios would most likely use a mass production technology according to Woodwards contribution to technology theories in the study of Organization Theory.
This type of technology is characterized by large-batch or mass production. The organizations culture fits well with its technology as it encourages adaptability to its environment and most importantly its customers. From this we can conclude that Antonios has a high degree of overall complexity, a high degree of formalization and a moderate degree of centralization. In this case and many others, though, formalization may be replaced, to a certain extent, by the company culture. A strong culture increases behavioral consistency.
Predictability, orderliness and consistency are all promoted by the culture at Antonios, formalization could do the same. As mentioned above though Antonios is currently in the Formation stage and does not have the strong culture it desires, in some cases culture is pushed and may not be seen as a reasonable move on the part of the company by some employees. This culture promotes predictability, for example, by stressing the importance of the Antonios image as far as the way employees should look when in the store and the approach they should take towards customers in the store. If a customer goes into Antonios she could predict a well dressed, attractive employee who will do almost anything to satisfy her needs to approach her promptly. The ultimate source of an organizations culture are its founders, it all begins with them.
In this case a young man came over from Italy to Quebec, Canada. He was a very good looking man who knew a lot about style. He came from a wealthy family and is now a millionaire. Italians are known for their high quality shoes and their taste for high quality fashion. The Antonios culture is very much consistent with the organizations founder.
The founders background being what it is, is an advantage in this case, given the industry at hand. The push for this type of company culture must be handled carefully, though. Antonios sustains its culture mainly through selection and occasionally uses top management. The selection process is the main force that is keeping the Antonios culture alive. When an individual approaches a particular Antonios location for a prospective employment opportunity the staff and manager pay particular attention to appearance and personality and in some cases is the deciding factor in employing a certain prospect.
Only those who fit with the Antonios image will be hired. In some cases the top management is also used to keep the organizations culture alive. When employees are initially hired they are shown a video of Antonio himself. He gives a brief history of the organization and a basis of how things are run. He also states his expectations of each employee while they remain with the company.
The company culture is evident in this video as only good looking well dressed people appear in it and back drop for the video is lavish. Supervisors are also used to instill company culture. Each time the supervisor for the Atlantic region came from Halifax to inspect the location in Fredericton, while I was employed there, he would meet individually with each employee and comment on how he thought they were performing based on their physical appearance and how their weekly sales were with respects to each section of the store ( accessories, bags and shoes ). This the main problem with Antonios culture at present. All emphasis is placed on appearance.
In order to illustrate the problem with company culture a personal example will prove useful. When I first started as a part-time employee at the Fredericton location the manager was on the verge of either quitting or being fired. No one was sure what would come first. He was chosen for his position as manager no more that a year ago on the basis of only his appearance and communication skills as a sales associate at sports store near Antonios in the mall. John, as he will be referred to, had no prior managing experience, did not take any responsibility for paper work or duties for store upkeep.
Many hours were allocated to part-time employees such as myself as John did not want to work them. He was profusely late and did nothing once he a …