Free Culture And Leadership Research Paper Sample
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in International Online Retail Stores
in International Online Retail Stores
What type of structure will be best suited to a multinational Internet retailer? Why?
Internet retailers should define different core competencies required for certain activities and thus be divided accordingly. Different functions require different core competencies. Similar type of professionals should also work together.
So, internet companies should have separate divisions for software development, for distribution floor operations. These divisions could actually be completely independent of each other. Some functions could even be farmed out.
At the same time, the organization should be as flat as possible. Almost everyone could consult the CEO as done in Amazon and Apple . Of course, employees should approach this openness with extreme caution, lest they raise the ire of the CEOs. The company benefits much from this kind of openness as many employees could have great ideas that can be useful. A flat organization also helps in exposing the people of the organization to what the CEO does and believes.
While the divisions are independent from each other, they should also be aware and in tune with each other, especially the managers. This could be ensured by regular meetings and updates.
The “campus” style of organization that Apple and Microsoft follows might be a bit extreme and extravagant. A more austere version might be more useful.
How would you recommend building a culture that was inclusive of diverse cultures and accommodates highly creative technical staff?
Leaders play a crucial role is building and sustaining a culture of an organization. They define what the values and modes of behavior that the company should abide by. His own behavior and actions define all of these. Leaders can either be tyrannical or be nurturing. Both can be effective. Many celebrity CEOs are tyrannical. The companies the lead perform spectacularly during their time. Unfortunately, the companies deliver lackluster performance when they lead. It is important that leaders be nurturing of their employees. The most important thing that they should establish in an organization is a culture of discipline. This would ensure that everything he has shown and done are inculcated into every one in the organization.
Strict hiring standards should be followed. Amazon purposely hires the most intelligent graduates of nearby universities in Seattle. Sometimes, they recruits from the top graduates from Silicon Valley. It’s hiring of good people was not accomplished by accident. Amazon looked for them and paid them competitive salaries.
Hiring good people is just one step. Training them in the company’s core competence areas is another. Employee must live the company’s values, work ethic, and drive for excellence. Kroger and Best Buy continually train their employees so transitions do not affect the overall image and performance of the company.
The company should codify everything that it does, beginning with the mission and vision of organization. All the values that the company espouses should likewise be codified. All of these should be inculcated into the employees. Some kind of ritual like reciting the values, beliefs and other things periodically. Employees could even be checked on the spot to recite for everybody else to hear. These are some TQM (total quality management) techniques used by Japanese manufacturing companies. Other techniques include encouraging employees to give feedback on how processes can be improved. All of these activities should be undertaken in a spirit of cooperation and perhaps even fun, since the company would involve a lot of very creative and intelligent people.
These values should be translated into doable actions or behavior that employees could apply. These codes of behavior should be written into policies that could be applied for each of the different stakeholders—customers, suppliers, co-employees, community, government, shareholders, etc. A separate policy for each stakeholder should be written and provided to each employee. Ethics need to be built-in to the policies. Best Buy provides a good model on how these policies are written. The company has a diverse, multi-cultural and highly skilled set of employees. The expertise of its multi-cultural retail outlet sales team is one of Best Buy’s claimed advantage. The company has been able to keep its highly qualified employees through the years.
Employees should be provided with fair, preferably above industry average, income and benefits package. Highly qualified people are targets of piracy by competing companies. However, a good income package may not be enough to keep people. Again, ethics play an important role, especially with regard to the treatment of people. Often, people leave because they have been treated badly, made fun of, or shouted at and humiliated in public. Highly intelligent and ambitious employees are usually self-driven; they can do without helicopter management. Provided all other things equal, it is how people are treated that sometimes could make the difference as the experience of Amazon and Apple have shown. In this regard, how Best Buy had broken down its values and policies provide a good model. It has stipulated a specific value and behavior expectations on how employees should treat each other. “Responsibility to Each Other: Honoring Our Differences; Harassment-Free Workplace; Information Privacy; Health and Safety; Environment; Wage and Hour Standards; and, Asset Protection.”
How would you measure the success of your organizational design in structure and culture?
There are norms and benchmarks that have been established in the industry, set mainly by Amazon. Performance measurements can be used as indicators of how effective the structure have been. Most of these measures are with regard to timing and cost management.
The timing of developing software is most critical in online operations. This is after all the heart of online retail’s operations. It takes abo ut six months from conceptualization, writing, testing and full launch. Sometimes, this might have to be faster. Empowerment and cooperation of critical employees is most important here.
Delivery of services and products to customers is another. It is a test if the all the software and distribution center systems and procedures are working and if the people are performing their jobs correctly. A high level culture of quality is needed to achieve this. Employees need to be empowered to make certain decisions on the spot to solve certain problem.
Cost is another measure. All discount retail companies are targeting the lowest cost position. Economies of scale plays a role but also the negotiating skills of the managers. Managers need to be tough and firm when dealing for the best bargain from suppliers. Performance is measured by comparing actual costs with those of competitors.
Feedback from customers is another form of measure. Online retail companies ask company to rate performance of the company’s products, image and even customer service. The ratings are summarized almost in real time. These information are regularly reviewed and acted upon by management as a matter of course.
A unique measure that Amazon uses is the number of pages that managers submit in reports. Contrary to common practice, managers are required to submit long, detailed discussions of their plans, activities, and accomplishment written reports. The use of PowerPoint presentations are not allowed. This policy ensures that the manager has carefully thought out everything and written a plan with details like flow charts and other schemes. It also ensures that should there be any changes in personnel, somebody else could take over without having to change the operations.
Employee retention is one way to measure the effectiveness of an organization. Non-performing and unwanted employees are quickly let go. However, efforts will have to be made to keep performing employees. This measure is an indicator of how conducive the company’ culture to retaining employees regardless of the pressure at work.
Amazon.com. (2015). (Amazon.co) Retrieved Feb 11, 2015, from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/
Best Buy. (2015). 2014 Annual Report. Minneapolis, MN, USA: Bet Buy. Retrieved Feb 18, 2015, from http://investors.bestbuy.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=83192&p=irol-reportsannual
Best Buy. (n.d.). Best Buy Code of Ethics. Minneapolis, MN, USA: Best Buy. Retrieved Feb 11, 2015, from https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/26171/code.pdf
Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great (Kindle ed.). New York, NY, USA: HarperBusiness.
Isaacson, W. (2011). Steve Jobs. New York, NY, USA: Simon and Schuster.
Kroger Co. (2014). Policy on Business Ethics. Cincinnati, OH, USA: Kroger Co. Retrieved Feb 5, 2015, from http://www.thekrogerco.com/docs/default-document-library/ethicspolicy
Schonberger, R. J. (2008). World Class Manufacturing. New York, NY, USA: Free Press.
Stone, B. (2013). The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. New York, NY, USA: Little, Brown and Company.
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