Managing Agile Organisations & People – Assignment guidance January 2021

Getting started:
1. Choosing your company:
a. Possible local company examples:
1. Consider your employer: Public sector employer or private sector employer
2. Other local companies: Nestle Trinidad Limited, T&TEC, Carib Brewery, Guardian Life Group,
Republic Bank Limited, First Citizens Bank Limited, UTC, Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage and
Finance.
What are the sources of information for local companies? Company websites, Facebook page, CEO reports,
Administrative Reports which are published, Newspaper Articles which may be online.
b. International Company examples:
1. US Coca Cola
2. Progressive Insurance, Mutual Benefit Life.
3. British Airways, Singapore Airlines
4. Standard Chartered Bank
5. Google, Microsoft
6. BP Amoco, UK GlaxoSmithKline
7. TESCO Supermarket Chain
8. RyanAir
9. US Southwest Airlines, American Airlines
What are the sources of information for international companies? Company websites,
Facebook page ,CEO reports, Administrative Reports which are published, Newspaper
Articles which may be online.
10. Case studies from the ABE Guide: 3M, Tesla, Nespresso, Apple, Samsung, Phizer,
UK GlaxoSmithkline.
2. Name of organisation – Full name, LTD, LLC, PLC
3. Size of the organisation – Local, regional, International, how many branches? Where is the
headquarters? How many employees?
4. Main markets: Local markets, regional countries, international markets? How many? List the markets
5. Examples of products and services: List the types of the products and services offered with a
description of each (product portfolio or the service portfolio) How are they delivered? Physical
storefronts or online?
6. Key competitors: What are the rival competitors to your chosen company? Indicate the extent of
industry rivalry? Mild, moderate, high rivalry.
7. Main customer segments: Nike – football market, soccer market, cricket market, golf market.
Levi’s Jeans: 7-8 jeans for men, 6 jeans for women.
Although not indicated, include an organisational chart within the one page. This charts
attempt to show the reporting lines and the spread of the organisation. Indicate whether the
structure of the business is Tall, Flat, Matrix, Divisional, Functional. Deadline to submit
company profile and Task 1 for a review: Sunday 7th February, 2021
Remember your role as
Advisor to the Board of
Directors of the selected
company
Recommended structure for task 1
2.0 Evaluation of the impact of competition, globalisation and digitalisation on management practice
Paragraph 1 – 75 words, 3 references
 Define what is management– accomplishing organisational objectives through the use of planning,
organizing, leading and controlling (POLC framework p 29 in ABE manual). Explain what is the POLC
framework
 Explain that management practices must be agile (adaptive) in order to respond to changes in the
external environment (for example PESTLE changes such as globalisation and digitalization require the
organisation to adopt change management approach to accommodate such changes), and competitor
changes (as identified in the Porter’s Five Forces framework) would also require that the organisation
be adaptive
 Make the case that the company has to be agile to changes in the macro (PESTLE) and micro
(Competitor) environments. Provide a few of benefits of organisational agility.
2.1 Impact of competition on management practice
Paragraph 2 – 170 words, 3 references
 Define what is competition
 Explain that competition requires management to consider approaches to remain competitive.
 Choose one from the following management practices in responding to competition:
1. Strategic alliances p 14 of ABE manual – alliances can achieve economies of scale and counter
competition through faster innovation. This can be useful to defend against rivals with lower
prices and better innovations. There are different types of alliances you can explore (shared
supply alliances, complimentary alliances, vertical partnerships etc…p 15 ABE manual).
2. Outsourcing p 16 ABE manual – contracting out activities to a third party who can perform
the function more cheaply. This can be useful to defend against rivals with cost advantages.
3. POLC model (organising) p 29 ABE manual – organising involves efficient use of resources and
budgeting, which can help to keep costs down in a competitive environment.
4. POLC model (leading) p 29 ABE manual – consider how different leadership styles such as
transformational, charismatic, participative (ps 35-40 of ABE manual) can be used to defend
against the competition. Effective leadership can be useful in creating an internal cost conscious
culture, which can combat competitors with lower prices. Effective leadership can also drive
innovations.
5. Employee development – an emphasis on training and development programs by
management can unlock employees’ potential which can improve innovates rates and beat
competitors
6. Increase marketing and promotional activities (revising their marketingplans) – analysing the
competitor strategy (price, service, product) to determine their value proposition and designing
a value proposition which exceeds. Increase promotional campaigns to attract, lock in and
extend customers in the market.
 For the one management practice that you have chosen:
o Define what it is
o Research how this management practice can be used to mitigate competitive threats and what
are competitive benefits of using this management practice (for example, as stated above,
strategic alliances can reduce fixed costs and lower prices which can combat competition, an
engaged workforce can produce more ideas for innovation which can deter competition,
alliances enable access to partner’s resources etc..)
o Provide a real world example illustrating how your chosen company has faced/is facing
competition (whether rivals have lower prices, better innovations, faster time to innovations
etc…) and how management of your chosen company has used/is using this practice to mitigate
competitive pressures
o What competitive benefits your company has enjoyed from using this management practice
o Make a judgement – has this management practice been effective or not? Has it successfully
combated the competition. Provide evidence to support your judgement.
Paragraph 3 – 170 words, 3 references
 Identify another management practice from above to combat competition and:
o Define what it is
o Research how this management practice can be used to mitigate competitive threats and what
are competitive benefits of using this management practice
o Provide a real world example illustrating how your chosen company has faced/is facing
competition
o What competitive benefits your company has enjoyed from using this management practice
o Make a judgement – has this management practice been effective or not? Has it successfully
combated the competition. Provide evidence to support your judgement
2.2 Impact of globalisation on management practice
Paragraph 4 – 170 words, 3 references
 Define what is globalisation – integration, interconnectedness among countries and continents
 Explain why globalisation requires management to consider approaches to remain competitive.
 Choose one from the following management practices in relation to globalisation:
1. Strategic alliances p 14 of ABE manual – globalisation increases the number of markets and
countries to operate in, however there may be trade barriers and government restrictions that
prohibit entry of foreign companies (for example China). Strategic alliances may be used to
partner with another company in a foreign country to gain entry into that country. For example,
Motorola established an alliance with Toshiba to entry China previously. Note – if you have
chosen to discuss strategic alliances at section 2.1, then do not discuss strategic alliances in this
section.
2. Offshoring p 16 ABE manual – globalisation opens up markets and countries, enabling
multinationals to offshore production to countries where labour costs are cheaper. Offshoring
can enable companies to keep production costs low and counter cheaper foreign products that
have entered the domestic market due to globalisation. Note – if you have chosen to discuss
outsourcing/offshoring at section 2.1, then do not discuss in this section.
3. Ethics and ethical decision making (p17 ABE manual) – globalisation requires that companies
cater to the different ethical proclivities of customers from different countries and continents.
For example, eastern countries prefer loosely defined contracts and emphasis on trust, whereas
western countries prefer explicit contracts and emphasis on legality. Therefore, globalisation
would require that business organisations cater to such ethical differences. Research eastern
and western ethics and how this can be used by companies to cater to global ethical differences
(please research by reading journal articles and e-books).
4.Corporate social responsibility (p18 ABE manual) – globalisation may place the organisation
on an international stage and focus the spotlight on the manner in which companies care for
the environment. Therefore, globalisation may cause managers to ramp up their CSR
commitment.
5.Concern for national cultures – Hofstede (1991) argues that cultures differ according to 6
dimensions across countries. Americans prefer status, accomplishment and individualistic
lifestyles, whereas the Dutch are more concerned about wellness and whereas the Japanese
are more family oriented. In a global marketplace, companies would have to cater to such
national differences by offering different products – glamourous for the US, health products for
the Dutch and family sized (larger) products for Asian markets. Research how an understanding
of national cultures as espoused in the Hofstede’s framework can be used my managers as a
strategic response to globalisation. For example, companies would need to practice cross
cultural training of their staff operating in different cultures.
6.Concern for legislative differences across countries – Americans drive on the left hand side
and Europeans drive on the right hand side. Companies would have to cater to these
differences in a globalised environment. For operating in different world markets, companies
would need the various legislations:
 Government regulations for entry eg tax, use of local labour
 Employment law or human resources legislation
 Health and Safety
7. Consider other management practices in relation to globalisation – your ideas here
 For the one management practice that you have chosen:
o Define what it is
o Research how this management practice can be used to respond to globalisation and what are
the benefits of using this management approach in relation to globalisation
o Provide a real world example illustrating how your chosen company has faced/is facing
globalisation issues and how management of your chosen company has used/is using this
practice to mitigate pressures from globalisation
o What benefits has your company enjoyed from using this management practice in relation to
globalisation
o Make a judgement – has this management practice been effective or not as a response to
globalisation. Provide evidence to support your judgement.
Paragraph 5 – 170 words, 3 references
 Identify another management practice from above in relation to globalisation and:
o Define what it is
o Research how this management practice can be used to respond to globalisation and what are
the benefits of using this management approach in relation to globalisation
o Provide a real world example illustrating how your chosen company has faced/is facing
globalisation issues and how management of your chosen company has used/is using this
practice to mitigate pressures from globalisation
o What benefits has your company enjoyed from using this management practice in relation to
globalisation
o Make a judgement – has this management practice been effective or not as a response to
globalisation. Provide evidence to support your judgement.
2.3 Impact of digitalisation on management practice
Paragraph 6 – – 170 words, 3 references
 Define what is digitalisation
 Explain why digitalisation requires management to consider approaches to remain competitive.
 Choose one from the following management practices in relation to digitalisation:
1. Creation of a digitalisation strategy (expand)
2. Human Resource Management activities which involve:
– Training of end users to use the technology
– Hiring of new employees: data and knowledge workers, IT technical staff
– Orientation IT training for new recruits
3. Promoting entrepreneurial training amongst staff – encourage staff to develop new ideas
4. Organisational transformational processes:
– Organisational restructuring – move from tall structures to flatter organisational structures
– Re-engineering business processes using IT to create competitive advantage eg customer
service, order taking, fulfilment and tracking
– Organisational change management. – getting staff to respond and utilise the new
technology
5. Infrastructure development, implementation and configuration:
– Deciding on what parts of the IT infrastructure to outsource eg website development,
hardware, call center operations
– End user testing and training of end users
– Maintenance of the IT infrastructure eg vendor agreements etc
 For the one management practice that you have chosen:
o Define what it is
o Research how this management practice can be used to respond to digitalisation and
what are the benefits of using this management approach in relation to digitalisation
o Provide a real world example illustrating how your chosen company has faced/is facing
globalisation issues and how management of your chosen company has used/is using
this practice to mitigate pressures from digitalisation
o What benefits has your company enjoyed from using this management practice in
relation to digitalisation
o Make a judgement – has this management practice been effective or not as a response
to digitalisation. Provide evidence to support your judgement
Paragraph 7 – 170 words, 3 references
 Identify another management practice from above in relation to digitalisation and:
o Define what it is
o Research how this management practice can be used to respond to digitalisation and
what are the benefits of using this management approach in relation to digitalisation
o Provide a real world example illustrating how your chosen company has faced/is facing
globalisation issues and how management of your chosen company has used/is using
this practice to mitigate pressures from digitalisation
o What benefits has your company enjoyed from using this management practice in
relation to digitalisation
o Make a judgement – has this management practice been effective or not as a response
to digitalisation. Provide evidence to support your judgement.
Please note you are required to conduct extensive research by reading journal articles, e-books and other
published sources of information. The ABE manual merely identifies certain key points to discuss, however
wider reading is required to write an intelligent response to this task.
RECOMMENDED STRUCTURE FOR TASK 2
TASK 2 (25 marks):
a) Explain the characteristics of ‘lean’ working. (5
marks)
b) Evaluate whether lean working could be adopted by your chosen organisation and the related
challenges that may arise as a result.
(20 marks)
3.1 Characteristics of ‘lean’ working – 1 paragraph, 200 words, 4 citations
 Define what is lean working – use an academic reference. The core idea is to maximize customer
value while minimizing waste. Lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources
where the concept took growth in Toyota Production Methods. Lean working describes a business or
that holistically applies Lean principles to the way it plans, prioritizes, manages, and measures work.
The goal for lean working is to maximize customer value. While Lean thinking can greatly improve the
productivity and function of a team or department, lean implementations that spread across the entire
organization can have the greatest impact on the customer.
 Characteristics of lean working include:
o Specifying value of each specific product or service: Value is what the customer is willing to
pay for (the set of product attributes, features and functional needs of the customer the
product satisfies). It is critical to discover the actual or latent needs of the customer. Sometimes
customers may not know what they want or are unable to articulate it. This is especially
common when it comes to novel products or technologies. There are many techniques such as
interviews, surveys, demographic information, and web analytics in determining what
customers find valuable.
o Identifying the value stream for each product or service: The goal is to use the customer’s
value as a reference point and identify all the activities that contribute to these values.
Activities that do not add value to the end customer are considered waste. The waste can be
broken into two categories: non-valued added but necessary and non-value & unnecessary. The
latter is pure waste and should be eliminated while the former should be reduced as much as
possible. By reducing and eliminating unnecessary processes or steps, the business can ensure
that customers are getting exactly what they want while at the same time reducing the cost of
producing that product or service.
o Make value flow without interruption: After removing the wastes from the value stream, the
action is to ensure that the flow of the remaining steps run smoothly without interruptions or
delays. Some strategies for ensuring that value-adding activities flow smoothly include:
breaking down steps, reconfiguring the production steps, leveling out the workload, creating
cross-functional departments, and training employees to be multi-skilled and adaptive.
o Let the customer pull value from their supplier: Inventory is considered one of the biggest wastes
in any production system. The goal of a pull-based system is to limit inventory and work in
process (WIP) items while ensuring that the requisite materials and information are available
for a smooth flow of work. In other words, a pull-based system allows for Just-in-time delivery
of raw material supplies and manufacturing where products are created at the time that they
are needed and in just the quantities needed. Pull-based systems are always created from the
needs of the end customers.
o Pursue perfection: Wastes are prevented through the achievement of the first four steps: 1)
identifying value, 2) mapping value stream, 3) creating flow, and 4) adopting a pull system. It
makes Lean thinking and continuous process improvement a part of the organizational culture.
Every employee should strive towards perfection while delivering products based on the
customer needs.
 Define each characteristic and explain how this characteristic can benefit the organization (some
benefits of lean are: time reduction in completing processes, costs savings, greater efficiencies in
performing business processes, inventory savings, greater employee morale and satisfaction as well as
mostly importantly improved value proposition and increased customer satisfaction).
3.2 Evaluation of how ‘lean working’ could be in used in the company
Choose 2 options from Kaizen, JIT and TQM. For each form that you choose, write one paragraph using 200
words and 4 citations.
Kaizen practices – page 53 ABE guide: which involves a continuous incremental (small and ongoing)
improvement approach which centers upon learning mistakes and pursuing innovation in improvement.
Managers play an important role in developing and facilitating these with their staff. This then supports
continuous incremental improvements leading to the elimination of waste and inefficiency, good
housekeeping and the standardisation of practices. Refer to Akoko (2008) study of the 3 types of managerial
capabilities required when implementing Kaizen practices.
 Define what is Kaizen
 Identify some of the lean principles embodied in Kaizen:
o Elimination of waste such as (1) movement: unnecessary movement is reduced by having
materials when needed (2) time: no waiting around (3) defects: zero defects to avoid waste or
rework (4) over processing: doing more to the product than necessary
o Standardisation of processes
o Continuous (incremental/small changes) improvement
o Research other principles of Kaizen
 Select one of the above lean principles of Kaizen and define
 For this one principle, identify an internal activity or departmental function of your chosen organisation
where it can be adopted
 Explain why it should be adopted for this activity or by this department within the organisation – for
example the production department of your organisation may have a problem with high levels of
scrap/defects; high levels of returns in the customer service department due to errors/lack of
standardisation; high levels of idle time of vehicles in the fleet department, all of which would suggest
the need for waste reduction, standardisation and improved efficiency in these areas
 Explain how this principle can be adopted/implemented for the activity or department
 What would be the potential benefits to your company from the adoption of this lean principle
Just In Time Working and Supply Chain Integration – page 52 ABE guide: originated from a Japanese
production philosophy, made popular at Toyota which saw stock as inefficient. Its central aim is to increase
responsiveness to customers (either internal or external), by providing them with just what is needed, in the
right quantities and at the right time. Understanding of customer needs increases and flexibility is improved to
meet changing demands. Shorter lead times, less handling of goods and reduced stock levels also improve
quality control and cash flow.
 Define what is JIT
 Identify some of the lean principles embodied in JIT:
o Shorter lead times
o Less handling of goods
o Reduced stock levels
o Improved coordination between the firm and supply chain partners
o Research other principles of JIT
 Select one of the above lean principles of JIT and define
 For this one principle, identify an internal or external activity or departmental function of your chosen
organisation where it can be adopted
 Explain why it should be adopted for this activity or by this department within the organisation – for
example the order processing department of your chosen organisation may have a long turn
around/dispatch time resulting in lags/delivery delays to the customer; poor coordination across the
supply chain resulting in raw material supplies sometimes arriving too early or too late for production;
higher inventory levels than rivals which would suggest the need for adoption of JIT in these areas
 Explain how this principle can be adopted/implemented for the activity or department
 What would be the potential benefits
Total Quality Management (TQM): TQM describes an approach in which all members of an organisation work
together to improve processes, products, services and the culture of cooperation in which they work. Discuss
how the 8 elements of TQM on pages 54 and 55 could be applied in your organisation in implementing TQM.
 Define what is TQM
 Identify some of the lean principles embodied in TQM:
o Internal collaboration and cooperation
o Culture, work ethic, ethos of improvement
o Employee involvement
o Research other principles of TQM
 Select one of the above lean principles of TQM and define
 For this one principle, identify an internal activity or departmental function of your chosen organisation
where it can be adopted
 Explain why it should be adopted for this activity or by this department within the organisation –for
example poor internal collaboration among the marketing, R&D and production departments resulting
in slow new product development rates; floor shop employees who are disempowered from making
decisions that improve service quality; culture of competition and blame in certain departments. These
would suggest the need for adoption of TQM in these areas
 Explain how this principle can be adopted/implemented for the activity or department
 What would be the potential benefits
3.3 Implementation challenges of lean working with strategies to overcome
Paragraph 1 – 200 words, 4 citations
 Identify that lean working being introduced into your organisation could be met with challenges
 Chose 1 from the following challenges:
o Low levels of employee development (solutions: implement quality circles, employee
empowerment programs, allocate budgets for training of staff in lean techniques, effective job
design)
o Task oriented organisational cultures (more focused on getting the task done than on people),
rules and procedure bound cultures that do not support lean philosophies (solutions: align
culture with strategy, encourage cross functional collaboration, encourage flexible working,
teams)
o Resistance to change from employees and other stakeholders (solutions: change management
tools such as change agents; multiple, open and honest channels of communication; incentives)
o Poor leadership (solutions: obtain buy in, approval and commitment from leaders)
o Tall and bureaucratic structures that create delays, red tape, inefficiencies (solution: adopt a
flatter, more flexible and responsive structure)
 For one of the challenges identified above:
o Define what is
o Explain how this challenge could prevent the adoption of lean principles
o Provide a real world example illustrating this challenge at your chosen organisation and how it
has/can negatively affect the adoption of lean
o Recommend one solution to overcome this challenge
o Define the solution
o Explain how the solution can work at your chosen organisation for overcoming this challenge
Paragraph 2 – 200 words, 4 citations
For another challenge identified above:
o Define what is
o Explain how this challenge could prevent the adoption of lean principles
o Provide a real world example illustrating this challenge at your chosen organisation and how it
has/can negatively affect the adoption of lean
o Recommend one solution to overcome this challenge
o Define the solution
o Explain how the solution can work at your chosen organisation in overcoming this challenge
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