Your ability to identify and retrieve valid information to inform your analysis and interpretations will be assessed, as will your ability to communicate in writing with sufficient clarity to convey the research you have undertaken will also be plopped through this assessment. Assignment Task – Critically evaluate how you think the HER practices before and after the takeover have been influenced by national culture, organizational culture, or other organizational characteristics. Critically discuss the implications of the use of an international business strategy and the HER challenges that you foresee that Retailer will face?
In so doing, make recommendations on how these challenges should be addressed? Case Description – Retailer is an international retail organization founded in the 1 9205 in the Netherlands. Currently, Retailer has more than 00 stores, most of which are located in the Netherlands. Retailer is still expanding through increasing the number of stores, on average opening thirty new stores a year in the Benelux (an economic union that comprises three neighboring countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg).
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The company as approximately 1 0,000 employees, 80% women and 20% men; the average age is thirty-five. More than 75% of the employees work part time. In the Netherlands, Retailer is seen as a typically Dutch retain organization, which takes good care of its employees. Retailer performs well ND won several awards between 2004 and 2008, including prices for logistics and marketing, and the best Dutch employer award. Retailer started in 1920 with providing good products for everyone, using low, uniform prices aimed at serving both poor and rich people.
This basic business idea is still central to the organization, as its mission is to make daily life easier and more pleasant for people by providing a range of basic products. Convenient, practical, and high quality products for daily use are sold at a low price. Retailer distinguishes itself from other retailers by selling its own brand. All products are developed by the organization itself and represent Retailer’s vision of simplicity, surprising solutions, high quality, and low prices.
Their wide assortment focuses on household products, clothing, and food but also includes other basic articles such as cosmetics, curtains, and home office supplies. Retailer’s primary target customers are women between the ages of twenty five and fifty, but its stores attract a much broader group of customers; most Dutch people regularly visit a Retailer store. Retailer is a centrally managed company. It consists of headquarters, the food division, a striation center, and the sales division.
This combination of divisions and a focus on household products, clothing, and food formal unique combination of branches for one company to manage, This case study focuses on the sales division (the stores), in which is the key division of Retailer, which the largest part of the employees (about 85%) work. Since the end of the sass, Retailer has become part of a larger corporation of different retail companies. Mr. Thee De Varies, HER director, signals that to date, this has not affected daily operations that much.
He describes how the culture, management, and HER raciest of each separate company were kept, to preserve each company’s unique identity, style, and brand. For example, Retailer has a unique culture ad a separate collective bargaining agreement tailored specifically to the needs of the company. The unique culture of Retailer has been made explicit in “seven culture keys”, formulated by the management team and reflecting desired behaviors of employees: client orientation, respect and trust, pro- activeness, results orientation, energy, working systematically, and loving the job.
Culture is seen as important as it forms the key to the success of the many; new employees should fit in the culture; and there is an emphasis on colonization processes and on promotion from within. Dry Varies describes the culture in the stores as a family culture. This unique culture attracts many job applicants who like to be part of this family. Also, De Varies signals that employees are very loyal and committed to the organization, and most are reluctant to leave the organization even if they have job opportunities elsewhere. Turnover is thus very low, on average 5% a year. De Varies sees that people are proud of Retailer.
For example, at parties held when the stores et their targets, De Varies always sees employees being very proud and showing this pride to others. Conversely, Mrs. Jeanine Jansen, a HER manager, also sees a downside of the low turnover rates as it can lead to inflexibility. The HER Context in Retailer – HER director De Varies describes that Retailer is known for the social nature of its HER policy; an important aim of the HER policy of the organization has been to keep employees committed and satisfied and to make work enjoyable to increase performance. Above average salaries and benefits are offered, and employees have high employment security.
In case f necessary downsizing, Retailer as always chose to retain as many employees as possible, which has led to a minimal amount of compulsory redundancies. People typically choose to apply for a job at Retailer as the salary levels and the benefits are good and because of the good reputation of Retailer. The jobs are diverse, and working times are flexible. A full time job is thirty five hours a week, mostly scheduled in four days. Retailer also sees the downside of this relatively luxurious position Of employees as been that certain types of changes are more difficult to implement.
The workforce is seed to having a lot of benefits, and workers are in many was less flexible because of this. For example, although their contract states that full-time employees have the right to choose only one particular day a week of, employees tend to resist changes in their working hours when changes are needed in the stores, which leads to resistance we someone needs to be transferred to a different department or store. The aim of the HER strategy is striving for top performance by having an enjoyable job.
The culture keys of Retailer guide the content of many HER practices such as selection, training and development and performance appraisal. Store managers are responsible for selecting new employees. HER managers assist only when needed ad are involved in selecting store managers. Formal guidelines for selection and colonization have been written up a general booklet that is being used, but De Varies sees that store managers find it even more important that those people are selected who fit well into the culture and into the group of people working in that store.
We selecting full-time employees, Retailer uses a future-oriented approach; they select people with the potential to grow to higher functions within the store ad anticipate on which knowledge and skills will be needed in the Store in the future. Each new employee participates in an introduction program, which highly emphasizes Retailer’s culture and desired behaviors and habits within Retailer. Each new employee receives information about the culture from the regional HER manager about the type of work, the products, and departments within the store.
For all levels of staff, Retailer has developed job-specific training programs. There is a strong focus on employee development. Employees have development opportunities linked to their specific jobs and tasks ad eave considerable freedom in making choices regarding their development. The development options are linked to the different culture keys. Retailer strongly prefers internal development and promotion of employees. As Retailer combines different branches (fashion, household products, food and catering) in one firm, it is difficult for the organization to understand for an outsider.
Appraisal is not that strict in Retailer, which stems from the “social orientation” at Retailer. In the last few years, a matrix has been developed that provides insight into which skills and behaviors are expected in each of he different jobs in a store. Rewards are set in a collective bargaining agreement, which includes a basic salary and a yearly increase in salary based on tenure in the job. The Takeover-Len the last few years, increasing market pressures in the Dutch retail market occurred that have forced Retailer to work more efficiently.
Retailer had to cut their already relatively low prices to keep profits up. Retailer was recently taken over by a United States-based investment firm with a lot of experience in the US retail industry. De Varies has been advised that the predominant approach to HARM in the US and the Netherlands shows some differences and he makes a note to research this further to advance his understanding. In addition there may be some differences that are specific to these two firms.
The investment firm that took over Retailer uses a shareholder approach, which focuses on increasing shareholder value instead of focusing on the benefits for a range of stakeholders – such as employees, customers, and so on – as is emphasized in the stakeholder model that had been followed at Retailer until then. The previous CEO of Retailer was replaced by a new CEO who was selected by the investment firm and who was supposed to implement a new shareholder based strategy in Retailer. The takeover as further accelerated the changes that started in Retailer as a result of the increasing market pressures.
As a result of the takeover, Retailer is now more centrally managed than before, with an even stronger focus on profits. Retailer is tightly managed on output, costs and efficiency. This increasing focus on efficiency and performance already starts to have an impact on Retailers culture; it is becoming more businesslike and tougher compared to the family-type social culture had before. Jansen also sees that the culture as hardened. “If you don’t perform well, you get fired”. De Varies also signals some positive aspects of more closely monitoring employee performance. In the past, people who didn’t do their job well Were not detected as nearly everyone received a good appraisal each year. The true performance and differences between employees becomes clear now, as we need to assess their performance more strictly”. On management levels, the takeover as ad consequences in the form of higher pressures from the top, with store managers having less freedom in nagging their stores. De Varies describes how the amount of control has increased: ‘The focus on procedural control instead of results control; both what and how is determined by them”.
A couple of management and HER practices have been centralized. The successful set of values and HER practices that were closely aligned with each other and with the specific nature of Retailer were changed into the values the investment firm have successfully introduced in retail companies in the past. The new values include passion for customers, striving for a continuous improvement, fulfilling performance locals, and working together as a team. To achieve full flexibility, part-time workers are now often scheduled to work six days a week, a few hours a day based on busy store ours.
Many part-time workers, often mothers with small children, experience difficulties with arranging childcare because of its large spread of working hours. The investment firm has also introduced increased control and centralization of HER practices, which has consequences for a range of HER practiced. For example, general retail training programs that have replaced the company-specific training programs of Retailer and a tankard appraisal procedure and form have been introduced, in which employees will be evaluated on competencies that are more standard in the US retail sector but differ from competencies employees are familiar with in Retailer.
De Varies does not understand why a new HER policy and values are needed. Also, the role of the HER managers is changing. Jansen signals that HER managers used to be mainly involved in soft issues. Now HER managers are also involved in financial figures. HER is now becoming more involved in the operation, for example by being involved in the sales figures, which determine the availability of staff. Adapted from Hill et al. , 2012 and Sitting and Bowen, 2009) Advice and key questions you may have in relation to the assignment When is the submission? You are required to submit two hard copies of the assignment by 4. Pm, Monday, 1 lath May 2015 to the undergraduate office. Please ensure that your name and ID number is clearly detailed on your assignment. What is the format and word count? This is a group assignment. Please use size 12 font (Arial Narrow/Times New Roman), 1. 5 line spacing and ensure that your project is a maximum of 3,000 words in length. The executive summary is included in the word count while he table of contents, reference list and appendices are not. The word count should be clearly indicated on the front of the assignment. What are the marking criteria? This assignment is worth 25% of the overall grade.
The assignment will be assessed using the conceptual equivalents scale for undergraduate students. Please refer to the undergraduate Student Handbook 2013/14. In order to achieve high grades you will need to have undertaken high level reading, demonstrated an understanding of the assignment task and demonstrate an ability to critically analyses and discuss. You need to go beyond providing information which merely outlines or describes a situation without analysis or critical discussion. A reasonably satisfactory answer is likely to make use of a largely descriptive account of relevant concepts, theories and models.
A good answer will take a more critical approach to these, identifying their possible strengths, weaknesses, advantages, disadvantages, and underlying assumptions. An even better answer will also suggest possible ways of addressing these limitations, in the particular context of the case study organization. Your assignment should contain an introduction, main body ND conclusion, along with a list of references. The majority of the word count should be on the main body where you substantively address the assignment task. You must cover each part of the assignment task.
The introduction should give a brief account of the context for the paper. Do not merely repeat what’s in the case study description. The introduction should also briefly explain to the reader the main topics to be covered in the main body (reflecting the assignment task). The main body should contain a discussion of the main points relevant to answering the questions. These should be tortured as a succession of topics with a logical flow and connections between each Of the topics discussed, to produce a logical reasoned argument.
The paper’s conclusion should briefly draw together the key points from the main body discussion, and relate these directly to the assignment question. The conclusion is also the place to very briefly summaries the recommendations. How much research is required? Your ability to analyses the case study is a primary concern in assessing the report. You need to draw out the key issues and provide a strong rationale and argument for why you see items as key issues and how you propose leaning with these.
You must clearly and concisely communicate your arguments to the reader. Please ensure that you draw strongly from high quality international, academic journals. Primary references are preferred (e. G. Journal articles and specialist books) and secondary references (e. G. Textbooks) should be used sparingly. Journals: The following are some of the most useful academic journals that publish articles in this field and which you should draw on strongly when undertaking the assessments: The International Journal of Human Resource Management Human Resource Management
Human Resource Management Journal Journal of World Business British Journal of Management British Journal of Industrial Relations Management International Review Personnel Review Employee Relations: an international journal Work, Employment and Society New Technology, Work and Employment Journal of Industrial Relations Industrial Relations Journal Industrial and Labor Relations Review If you require further guidance on the types of sources that you should be using please contact the management school library or the module coordinator for advice. The weekly readings will also be of great utility.
Remember that an argument is a series of points that support a point of view and progress logically to a conclusion. It is of course important to always be cognizant and give due consideration to counter-perspectives/views. What referencing format should follow? Your series of points should be supported by references. Use practical examples where appropriate. Ensure that all references used in the assignment should be consolidated in a Reference List at the end Of the assignment, in a consistent format, and in accordance with the format outlined in the Student Manual (Harvard Referencing System).
You may also sis to add appendices to the report (not mandatory). Do not include data in the appendices of the report that is not referred to in the main body of the report. The appendices should be consistent with and used to complement the discussion in the body of the report. What are the expectations about group work? It is expected that each student identifies a group by the Friday of week 3 of term (Friday, 20th of February 2015) and emails the Lecturer at grading. [email protected] AC. UK with the student names and ID numbers.
As part of the assignment each team will have to develop a ‘Team Charter that must be vomited with the final case study report on the 1 lath of May 2015. The team charter is developed as a mechanism to allow group members discuss and agree on a common group goal(s), how you intend to divide the work, minute taker, the roles of each member, communication channels, deadlines, rewards, grievances procedures etc. Further detail on this will be provided in class and a template will be provided. Peer evaluation will be used where each individual will have to reflect their own contribution and learning, and that of their peers.
Each individual must email their evaluations to the Module Coordinator by the Assignment Submission Date of the 1 lath of May 2015. This is a key part of the assessment. You will be provided with the peer feedback to assist your own learning and development and should be useful in improving your contribution to group work in the future. Peer evaluation may be used to award differential marks in the case of it being clear that there were discrepancies in the contribution of group members. In such instances, the team charter will play a vital role. Are there any mechanisms for getting feedback prior to the final submission of assignment?