can influence decision-making. It also encourages low level managers to behave like entrepreneurs. Business leaders are able to create a corporate culture to achieve a corporate objectives and strategy of the company. It is important that the corporate culture of a business is understood by all the people that work in the organisation. It is usually transmitted to new members and reinforced informally, by stores, symbols and socialisation, and more formally through training.
Advantages of a strong corporate culture.
. It provides a sense of identity for employees. They feel part of the business. This may allow workers to be flexible when the company needs to change or is having difficulties.
. Workers identify with other employees. This may help with aspects of the business such as team work.
. It increases the commitment of employees to the company. This may prevent problems such as high labour turnover or industrial relations problems .
. It motivates workers in their jobs. This may lead to increased productivity.
. It allows employees to understand what is going on around them. This can prevent misunderstanding in operations or instructions passed to them.
. It helps to reinforce the values of the organisation and senior management.
. It acts as a control device for management. This can help when setting company strategy.
Figure 1.8: Types of business culture.
Culture, presented within Tesco plc.
Tesco has achieved its position as Britain's leading food retailer by offering excellent value and service to its customers. Underlying its business success is a commitment to upholding certain values, working principles and culture within the organisation, and to seek continuous improvement in its ethical performance. As a measure of its achievement to date, in 1997 the company came top in the Christian Aid league table for ethical commitment.
Tesco must serve its customers by providing the goods they want and the service they expect. By meeting customer needs better than its competitors do, Tesco earns profits and creates value for its shareholders.
Customer service is at the heart of Tesco business culture. The base line is quality and value, but customers also look for a shopping environment which is attractive, well planned, and enjoyable. They also expect staff to be helpful, responsive to their needs, and sympathetic to their problems.
Tesco is constantly seeking new ways of meeting customer needs. These include introducing Customer Assistants dedicated to helping customers at every point during their shopping, establishing a Customer Service Centre to deal with customer enquiries, providing facilities for customers with disabilities, and organising customer question times when Tesco can hear customers views.
Tesco employs 154,000 people in the UK and 27,000 in Ireland and Europe. It is constantly told by customers that its staff are the company's best asset. This means that the company must motivate and train its employees to give the best possible customer service, and provide opportunities for all members of staff to develop their talents to the full.
The company believes that the welfare and safety of its employees is of paramount importance, and applies high ethical standards to protect workers' rights and reward employees fairly for their work. Full and part-time staff have had their benefits harmonised, including salaries, purchase discounts, pensions and profit-sharing. The company has a national agreement with USDAW, the shop workers' trade union.
The approach of Tesco to worker welfare goes beyond its own employees. The company insists that its suppliers meet certain employment standards in matters such as fair pay or minimum working ages. Tesco believes it can play a positive role in influencing working practices around the world.
Like other large companies, however, Tesco recognises that its wider reputation depends on other things, such as its staff relations, its attitude to the environment, its support to the community, and its relationships with its suppliers. Also, as a leading food retailer, the company must ensure that it provides products, which are safe to eat or use, as well as giving customers advice on matters such as healthy diets.
Health and safety
Tesco customers rightly expect that their purchases will be safe to eat or use. The company applies the highest standards in meeting these expectations and makes special provision for those with special dietary needs. Following government recommendations on the nation's diet, Tesco was the first retailer to promote healthy eating.
Tesco is committed to protecting the environment and to using its commercial strength to put its principles into practice. In many cases, the company's standards far exceed legal requirements. Its environmental policies cover matters such as recycling of packaging, working with suppliers to minimise the use of pesticides, energy conservation, and the siting and design of its stores. Tesco also works closely with environmental organisations in areas relevant to its business.
The company aims to set the highest standards of animal welfare in the industry, and has introduced a code of practice on the treatment of animals to which all its suppliers must adhere. The company is also funding research to improve understanding of animal welfare, and will continue to promote and implement high standards in order to improve animal husbandry still further.
Relationships with suppliers
Tesco has relationships with thousands of suppliers in the UK and overseas, and works closely with these suppliers in order to ensure that products are of the highest quality and delivered in the best possible condition. By working in close partnership with its suppliers, Tesco is helping them to meet its own high standards, not just in efficiency and product quality, but also in environmental protection, animal welfare and employment practices.
Tesco is very much part of local communities throughout the UK and is committed to playing a positive role by working with community organisations. The company's community contribution covers support for education, groups dedicated to helping people with disabilities, and a wide variety of other organisations. The company has introduced schemes which enable its own staff and customers to help raise money for good causes.
Each large supermarket retailer in Britain has its own corporate identity and culture. Often these are very similar, yet each organisation seeks to present its own individual image. Of the types of cultures that I have discussed above, I think that Tesco displays many of these differing forms, especially customer driven or customer orientated, task culture, competitive culture, innovative culture and positive culture. It is often said that in business "the customer is King" and this is very true of
Tesco, which operates in a very competitive market. It must be very heavily customer orientated as satisfied customers will usually regularly return, but dissatisfied customers may not .... and go elsewhere! It is also very innovative, always encouraging new ideas and products, e.g. the possible introduction of car sales. Tesco used to be a food retailer, but now it also sells clothing, electrical goods, books and stationary, computers, mobile phones, etc. It has a very positive culture as it is always searching for new opportunities for its staff and also its retail products.
Its success is now a good indicator of how this blend of business cultures has led to market growth and market leadership.
The efficient communication of information is particularly important for organisation that operates in competitive markets. Relevant and accurate information is needed to plan and manage efficient production, marketing, distribution and cost control. Information - whatever it is nature and purpose - must be communicated as efficiently as possible.
All people in an organisation are part of an information flow - they are involved to varying degrees in providing and receiving information.
However, there are three main levels at which information is required:
. operational level
. middle management
. senior management.
At the operational level - on the factory floor, in the office or at premises where
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