This report was commissioned by the retail firm “Cunninghams”. The purpose of the report is to provide management with solutions to the communication problems they are experiencing at their Palmerston North outlet.
National retail firm “Cunninghams” has recently purchased “Drake and Dawsons” a family retail business in Palmerston North. Staff of Drake and Dawsons has been retained. A new manager has been transferred from Auckland to oversee operations at the outlet. Management are experiencing problems in the new outlet.
Issues have been written in order of most important to least important. We have concluded that communication channels are ineffective and we have recommended the use of a specific management approach to improve communication channels and feedback. Differing cultures are causing confusion; we recommend utilising face-to-face training techniques and applying social settings for integration purposes to open up communication channels. Outlet management require more support from higher management in organisation integration process; we recommend the use of relaxed targets involving sales expectations.
There is a lack of two-way communication between the staff and management. This is shown in the case study where management are watching staff and giving one-way commands. This has been caused by the failure to open up communication channels where there can be active discussion and feedback. The approach of management by wandering around (MBWA) can facilitate “face-to-face sessions giving people the opportunity to ask questions, offer opinions and give and receive feedback” (Howard, 1998, p. 16). This approach will be effective for increasing the frequency of interpersonal contact, getting instant feedback and breaking down status barriers. This method can be time consuming. Formation of weekly staff meetings would be a faster method for delivering information to staff and getting feedback, but due to the formality of the process, will lack in forming better interpersonal relationships. The use of memos and postings, while being the most efficient option, would most likely lead to further alienation of management due to the lack of participation by staff members.
Differing Organisational Cultures
There is a lack of understanding by management that there exists within the acquired business a deeply rooted, "family-oriented" culture. This is also the case with the new employees’ lack of knowledge in the more structured policies, procedures and demands of a large company’s culture. As stated in the case study, employees are just so entrenched in their patterns of behaviour that they seem unable to understand what management requires of them. This has resulted in ineffective communication between staff and management due to lack of understanding for the others organisational culture and core values. Understanding “Family-Oriented” Cultures
An informal meet-and-greet would allow management and new employees’ time to interact socially in a neutral setting; this would be a platform for gaining knowledge regarding personal background and values. This informal approach can be extended with the continued use of MBWA practices. The ability to be in touch with your workers on a human level will open communication through the understanding of individuals, their value system and their motivations.
Understanding Large Organisational Cultures
On-the-job training is a way to physically show employees what is expected of them in regard to their behaviour at work. A great way to influence the behaviour of employees is by “modelling”, “where someone demonstrates through day-to-day personal behaviour what is expected of others” (Schermerhorn et al., 2011, p. 322). This form of training allows for instant feedback leading to modification and refinement of behaviour techniques (Truman, 2009). This training will take place at another of the Cunningham branches