Organisations and Behaviour .Gregg’s Plc.
Principle Outcomes Assessed:
• Understand the relationship between organisational structure and culture.
• Understand different approaches to management and leadership.
• Understand ways of using motivational theories in organisations.
In this unit you will learn about the behaviour of individuals and groups within organisations. You will explore the link between the structure and culture or organisations and how these impact and influence the behaviour of the workforce.
The structure of a large multi national company such as Unilever with thousands of employees worldwide will be very different from a small local business with 20 employees.
The way in which an organisation structures and organises its workforce will impact on the culture that develops within the organisation. This system of shared values and beliefs will determine and shape the accepted patterns of behaviour of an organisations workforce. The culture in organisations that differ in size, for example or are from different sectors of the economy can be very different.
The structure and culture of an organisation are key factors which contribute to motivating the workforce at all levels of the organisation. The Japanese were instrumental in developing a culture of “Kaizen or continuing improvement through teamwork” in their manufacturing industry. This culture has now been exported around the world and encapsulates the way in which structure and understanding of culture contribute to patterns of behaviour in the workplace.
This unit will develop you to understand the behaviour of people within organisations and of the significance that organisations design has on shaping behaviour.
Case Study Assignment
Gregg’s The Baker – The Real Deal?
Gregg’s Plc emerged in the 1960s when Ian Gregg developed his father’s bakery business into a multi-store chain. Today it is a byword for low prices. While sandwiches at Marks & Spencer hover around the £3 mark, at Gregg’s £1 is the starting point and £1.99 a gross self-indulgence.
With over 1,600 shops across Britain, Gregg’s has far more outlets than Starbucks, McDonalds and every other food-related chain. It is highly profitable, with profits in of 2013 of £51 million; a slight fall on 2012.It is the biggest bakery chain that employs over 20,000 staff throughout Britain.
A November 2009 article in The Times put the company’s success down to four things:
• Understanding its value proposition
• A focus on men, with ‘blokey’ products such as pies
• Great locations
• Unerring Brutishness, so that even Chicken Tikka will be in the form of a (British) pasty
• Recognising and valuing its employee’s all levels.
Actually that does a disservice to the core strengths of Gregg’s, while ignoring some strategic mistakes. Among past mistakes was a move to Europe, to Brussels to be precise, where several outlets were opened and flopped. To management’s credit, that attempt at market development was not repeated. Another error was an attempt to go upmarket – to produce posher sandwiches at premium pricing points. Best forgotten.
Long-standing core strength has been the Gregg’s culture. When most plc bosses focused on ‘shareholder value’ in the 1980s and 1990s, Ian Gregg made clear his contempt for making shareholder profits the main objective. He believed success comes from focus upon staff and on customers. Get them right and profits will come. He told his shareholders that they were his third priority. “Recognising the contribution staff makes at every level is key to the running of any business”
The benefits of this history were clear to ken McMeikan the Chief Executive who was in charge from 2009-2013. When he first took over he visited many shops and several of Gregg’s regional bakeries. The Guardian wrote, in 2010 that:
“The most striking thing, when Ken McMeikan, the chief executive of Gregg’s, shows me around the company’s large bakery just outside Leeds is how unintimidating he seems. Workers smile and say hello. Women are standing on either side of a conveyor belt, icing cupcakes in neat coils, and they laugh as they remember how they tried – and failed – to teach McMeikan how to do it once. “What I liked, as soon as I took over,” says McMeikan as we wander over to where two men are loading trays of chocolate muffins on to a trolley, “is how there isn’t an ‘us and them’ feeling.”
Mc Meiken 45, served in the Royal Navy as an electronic welfare operator and he says” every member of the ships company played a vital part” “Recognising the contribution staff make at every level is key to the running of any business”. Mc Meikan was replaced by Roger Whiteside in 2013, who had worked at Greggs in a Director role and was seen as his natural successor. Greggs have set targets to involve two thirds of their staff in contributing their views on issues affecting them. This might suggest that only a minority currently are involved in having their views or ideas recognised.
Putting this into practice, includes making unannounced visits to at least half a dozen stores by Whiteside to” listen to ideas from his 19,000 staff and to let them know how much their ideas are valued” He also looks at the way customers are greeted, speed of service and presentation of products as Gregg’s standards are high. He joins team meetings in the stores to listen to ideas, as well as keeping them informed of the company’s plans for expansion. One key strategy of refurbishing Gregg’s shops with new layouts giving space for seats and extended range of sandwiches, drinks reflects feedback from staff and customers ideas for improvements. Greggs during 2013 have already made store improvements throughout the country after listening to employees.
Whiteside like Mc Meikan works several full shifts in Gregg’s shops doing everything from serving to sweeping floors. This is another way of “keeping in touch with the front line”
The health and wellbeing of our people is of paramount importance to Gregg’s. They have robust Health & Safety controls in place, designed to protect their people at work.
They want employees to feel rewarded, valued and engaged in the business. We want all members of our Gregg’s family to share in our success when our business is doing well, that is why every individual working at Gregg’s is eligible for profit share, paid twice a year.
They also offer SAYE (Save as You Earn) schemes, an annual Employee Opinion Survey where we encourage their staff to tell us what it’s really like working for Gregg’s and how they can improve, plus we have a wide range of family friendly policies which recognize family rights and help our people achieve a sensible flexible work-life balance.
Gregg’s promote equal opportunities and encourage diversity and inclusion via policies that ensure they do not discriminate on the grounds of age, gender, ethnic origin, religion or disability
They want to train and develop employees at every level to ensure they are successful in their roles and can progress within the company. “We offer a wide range of training and skills courses and are very proud that a high number of new appointments are internal promotions, says Mc Meikan”
Mick Duffy, 60, lives near the bakery and is retiring at the end of the month after 41 years with the company. He started frying doughnuts, and is now in charge of the bakery’s recycling services – stale bread is sent to make animal feed, and he even saves the metal handles from plastic tubs to recycle (a tonne earns £10). The shops, too, don’t throw many away – unsold pastries and sandwiches are given to local charities and hostels at the end of every working day. “When I joined, I found it strange because even though Gregg’s is a plc with 19,000 people, it still felt like a family business,” says McMeikan. “It’s because of people like Mick, who have been here for years.”
It is proving hard to find anyone who has anything bad to say about Gregg’s, though the turnover of staff can be high in some areas, so not everybody can be happy working there. Workers in its shops are paid above the minimum wage, but not by much. Still, Joe Marino, general secretary of the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union, says he has no problem with the company. “Turnover of staff is often high in retail, but Gregg’s have fairly decent terms and we hold them up as the example. We don’t hear the horror stories we do about other companies.”
One thing that hasn’t changed, says Ian Gregg (now 71), is the company’s sense of social responsibility – 10% of the profits are shared among the staff every year. The business has been based on the philosophy of “look after your staff properly and they’ll look after the customers, and together, they’ll look after the business. I don’t know why more companies aren’t like that.” He also set up the Gregg’s Foundation, its charitable arm, in 1987. “It seemed the ethical thing to do,” he says. “I had worked in Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester and Leeds, where you did see a lot of urban poverty. If your business is doing well within a community, you should put something back into it. It’s enlightened self-interest.”
Gregg’s are reorganizing there supply chain, and have stated in there 2010 annual report that “they will ensure there supply chain team supervisors will share important information to them” Does suggest there has been some communication issues with previous reorganizations or takeovers of smaller chains.
The foundation gives £1.1m to local charities, especially in the north-east. There is even a hardship fund, where individuals can apply, through social services or a housing association, for up to £150 to buy essential appliances or children’s clothes.
Whiteside talks passionately about Gregg’s’ breakfast clubs. The company spends £225,000 a year funding free morning meals in 135 primary schools. It provides the set-up costs (catering toasters, plastic plates), puts the school in touch with a local Gregg’s, which donates the bread, and gives money each term – usually around £500, but up to £1,000 – for juice, fruit, milk and cereal. The scheme started in Newcastle and has gradually moved south, running only in schools in disadvantaged areas; another 20 clubs are to open in the new school year.
Back in Leeds, meetings with all the employees, he says all businesses should have a social conscience. “The reality is the government hasn’t got the money, there are going to be some very painful cuts. Unless businesses that are strong and growing are prepared to do something, there’s going to be a gap,” he says. “There has never been a time in this country where we’ve needed businesses to do more.” It is easy to forget that Gregg’s is still just a business, with a bottom line and shareholders to protect, but it seems like a good way to run a company, and perhaps it is showing the way, one sausage roll at a time.”
(Sources: The Guardian August 11th 2010; The Sunday Mail May 29 2011, Gregg’s website February 2011; The Times 2009) Annual report 2013)
Understand the relationship between organisational structure and culture. (LO1). Produce a report between 1500 and 2000 words to:-
o Compare and contrast Gregg’s organisational structure and culture with another organisation of your choice. (1.1)
o Explain how the relationship between Gregg’s organisations structure and culture can impact on the performance of its business. (1.2)
o Discuss the factors which influence Gregg’s Chief Executive behaviour at
Understand different approaches to management and leadership. (LO2).Prepare a PowerPoint presentation to:-
o Compare the effectiveness of different leadership styles in different organisations. You should use Gregg’s as one of the organisations. (2.1)
o Write a two page report-style document (must not be shorter than two pages) explaining how organisational theory underpins the practice of management.(2.2)
o Extend your report by two pages in length, by evaluating the different approaches to management of Gregg’s Plc and other different organisations.(2.3)
Understand ways of using motivational theories in organisations.(L03)
o Write a two-page report-style document discussing the impact that different leadership styles may have on motivation in organisations in periods of change. You will need to research examples, which could be your own organisation, and reflect the impact of changes on employees.(3.1)
o Compare the application of different motivational theories within the workplace. Using the Gregg’s case study compare Whiteside’s approach compared to other businesses.(3.2)
o Evaluate the usefulness of a motivational theory, such as used at Gregg’s for managers. (3.3).
Understand mechanisms for developing effective teamwork in organisations.(L04)
o In a report of not less than 2500 words, explain the nature of groups and group behaviour within organisations.(4.1)
o Extend your report, by discussing factors that may promote or inhibit the development of effective team work in organisations. (4.2). Be sure to include examples from both small and large organisations.
o Evaluate the impact of technology on team functioning within a given organisation.(4.3) Write a memorandum to the Chief Executive of Gregg’s Plc to what extent technology has benefited teams throughout the organisation .
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