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Big Box Retail Conflicits

In: Business and Management

Submitted By PhilDnld
Words 3092
Pages 13
Big Box Store Communications and Role Conflicts
Phillip P. Donald
MGT415:Group Behavior in Organizations (BFK1602B)
Thomas Tonkin
February 2, 2016

A big box retail store, is exactly as it sounds it is a large retail store with the physical design and layout to mimic that of a large box. The style of the stores is very generic and usually emvolpe a 50,000 square foot area. These large retail stores sell a number of items everything from food to electronics. These companies like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and target are generally located in suburban areas and can sell items at a lower cost, because they buy items in high volumes. They are able to buy in high volume simply due to the fact that they move product faster than the smaller stores due to having discounted prices. In this paper I will explain and look into how a major big box retailer operates and the role conflicts that develop within the group and the communication issues they face when running the day to day operations of these retail giants, then make recommendations on how to reduce role conflicts and communications within the organization. When people are put into a setting that is diverse and forced to work with individuals, there will always be conflict. This happens because people have different views, beliefs and work ethics. So when people are put together in this melting pot type of environment conflict will appear and conflict is not always bad. However, bad conflict can influence the group and cause tears in the cohesive nature that needs to exist in order to continue with productivity on a day to day basis. Group conflicts happen at all levels of the company. In the case of big box retail stores, conflict can happen between the store manager and the other managers. The managers can have conflicts with hourly employees and the employees can have conflicts with one another and even the customers. Group conflicts can happen for many reasons, the two main reasons this happens is because people are put into roles that they are not use to playing and a break down of communication amongst the staff and management. Conflicts like this will cause the store and staff to suffer decreasing productivity and morale. A Store manager’s role in the store is to ensure everyone is doing their jobs. The store manager does this by providing support and the tools needed in order for the other managers to complete their task and keep the store running at a productive level. Conflict can arise between the management staff when the store manager is not doing this or is perceived not to be doing so. This will cause the management staff not to trust the guidance and the leadership of the store manager. Once this occurs the management staff is working with their own agenda and not what is in the best interest for the group and the store. Recently, I interviewed an ETL at a target location here in Memphis, Tn. During the interview I asked this manager about any conflict he or she might have had with their store manager. The employee stated that there had been some conflict within the store and felt that the store manager hadn’t always given the proper guidance and tools needed in order to complete the task. When this happened the manager became overwhelmed and stated that the staff around them became overwhelmed as well. This caused a lack of productivity and created more conflict between all levels of the staff. On the reverse hand the employee felt when the store manager was giving the proper guidance and tools needed the store was able to meet the goals needed and the staff did not feel overwhelmed. Other conflicts can arise on a manager to manager level in a big box store. Big box stores have a number of managers that manage the different departments within the store. There are sales floor managers, grocery managers, logistic managers, loss prevention managers, customer experience managers and human resource managers. Each manager is in charge of a certain department within the store and sometimes the task that a manager has to accomplish can impede on another manager’s area. Or the task can require one manager to use a portion of the other manager’s staff to complete the task or project that needs to be accomplished. An example of this type of conflict would be, that if HR (human resources) does the scheduling within the store they might not schedule enough people on a closing night when the sales floor manager has to set a new ad for the following business day. That means that the sales floor manager will not have the proper amount of people to set the ad. This causes unneeded stress on the manager and the staff that are trying to set the ad. If the ad is not set properly than the store could lose money on projected sales that the ad was going to produce because of the sales the ad would have displayed within the store. Leading to a loss in productivity and profit for the business week that the ad covers. This also causes a conflict between the HR manager and the sales floor manager because the HR manager did not fully support the needs of a follow manager. Making any future interactions between the two less than friendly and hard to work around. The other type of group conflict that can arise is a conflict between the manager and the hourly employee. This can happen for many reasons and it is not always for good ones. The staff member may simply just not like the manager because of their back ground, race or beliefs. Or even because they just simply do not get the persons’ personality and what they perceive as mean and unfair the manager may perceive as fair and just across the board. For example, a staff member can’t understand why a manager always picks him or her for a certain task and never seems to pick anyone else. The staff member can perceive this as if the manager is picking on them and now the staff member begins to do less and less on other task because they are disgruntled with the manager. However, the manager does not perceive this as picking on the he staff member they simply pick this staff member each time because they do the task the best and the quickest. Staff to staff conflict can be a huge problem especially in a big box retail environment. Considering that the staff is from all different kinds of back grounds, but a diverse staff is a good staff because your staff must mirror that of your customer base in order to make them feel more comfortable. Staff to staff conflict comes in many different forms. It can be because they used to date or they have a problem with a certain race or because they think the other person gets special treatment. In these case it is up to the management to resolve the conflicts so it doesn’t impede on day to day functions and cause the business to suffer because personal issues amongst the staff. Another form of conflict that you will have at a big box store is that of morale within the store if the morale is low the company and the staff will suffer as well as the customer base. Morale can suffer for many reasons and the main reason would be that of intergroup conflict. When there is intergroup conflict the staff, customers and the ‘productivity of the store will suffer. It is up to the manager to resolve any issues that may arise during an intergroup conflict. In order to fix conflicts in the work place a good line of communication is needed in order to help reduce the amount of conflict and stress within the location. According to Susan Tardanico of Forbes, there are five habits that every leader should have in order to have these clear lines of communication. The first habit is to stay away from the old saying, “Do as I say not as I do”. By following your own advice and doing as you say the employees will respect you more and this will lead to less conflict, because they know not only are they doing what you are saying you are as well. The next habit would be to make complex ideas and procedures easy to remember and follow, because your staff and the people around you are bombarded by information on a daily basis and making it simple and less complex is going to make things easier and more cohesive in the long run. The next would be to find your own voice and what this means is to be yourself, don’t be fake and by doing so you will show that you are a real person who cares, this will reduce problems in the long run. The next would be to remain visible let your staff know you are there. It may be easy to just send emails but that is no way to lead and leading in this manner will only lead to problems and cause conflict in the workplace. Workers already have some conflict with management where ever you go but showing that you are on the floor and working with them will help with conflicts between management and the staff. The last habit that is needed is to remember to listen with you eyes as well as your ears. Your body language stays a lot when you are listening and people can tell when you are truly listening to them. Those where some of the good habits when communicating, there are a lot of bad forms of communication that are commonly done in the business world and especially in big box retail stores that lead to conflict within the work place. Employees in a big box retail store need to be kept informed about all aspects of the store and procedures that involve the process they are involved in. This is not always the case; a lot of the time information is not being passed along. It may be passed along to the different section leaders within the store. Yet, the leaders of those sections may not be passing the information along to the staff under them in their section. When this happens the expectations in the sections are not being meet and this causes conflict between the staff and the section heads, because the staff has no idea what the expectations are and how to meet them When expectations are not met productivity goes down due to the fact that the staff may have to redo projects that were originally done. Another issue in a big box setting is that the employees are not getting quick feed back from the management staff. People like to be recognized for the good times they do or would like to know when they could do something better and without this feedback the staff can not better themselves and or feel like they are not appreciated. When a good employee is not appreciated their motivation goes down and when the motivation goes done so does their work ethic. I experienced this with my employees and soon adopted a policy in my work section to provide short weekly feedback and then a more detailed one at the end of each month this helped my staff have a purpose and a direction. This also gave them the opportunity to change any unwanted behaviors and improve themselves before the end of the month. I found that this reduced conflict amongst the staff and myself. It showed I appreciated them and I was interested in their future. This policy gave me a motivated, productive and almost conflict free work environment. The next issue I would like to discuss is that of intergroup conflict. Intergroup conflict is described as a conflict between two or more individuals and or groups and can consist of violence, discord or psychological tension amongst the members. A group is normally cohesive in nature, however a difference in beliefs or standards can cause conflicts and bring down the productive of the group. Some examples of intergroup conflict are conflicts that are race related, religious based, sexual orientation and not limited to gender based conflicts. These types of issues are highly present in a big box environment. Simply because these work places are a melting pot of different types of races, beliefs and religious beliefs. When there is excessive intergroup conflict the members that are alike tend to stick together. When this happens you have a segregated workplace. A work place that is segregated can not function as a whole and the productivity and the profit of the big box store goes down and even drives customers away. In order to reduce intergroup conflict, the manager of the store and the members of management must get to the core of the problem and communicate with the staff members that have the issues before the entire store is affected in a negative manner. Communication is the key in order to fix the situation. Intergroup conflict will always exist but understanding and fixing the conflict is what will make the conflict dissipate. HR (human resources) may be needed in order to get to the bottom of the situation. When I had this issue within my work place I discussed it with our HR department and a group decision was made to take the groups that were having the conflicts and divide them into a more diverse working unit. This allowed the members of the conflict to actually work side by side with one another. When a group is diverse it may be needed for the members to work side by side in order to get a feel for one another. By doing this the conflict was reduced within the store and gave each member of the conflict a different view on the opposing group and helped give a new insite and appreciation for all parties involved. The key to resolving excessive intergroup conflict is finding one key interest that the group has and playing to that interest in order to get the conflict resolved. I did this at my store by dividing the staff into groups that did not work together in order to make them work together in a team athmosphere. Diverse groups will not always see eye to eye, so it is the mangers job to help the situation and point the members of the group in the right direction. How a group communicates plays a big part on how a diverse group will strive and succeed in a business environment. For instance, group diversity can cause intergroup bias that reduces communication and disrupts information processing (van Knippenberg, 1999; van Knippenberg et al., 2004). On the other hand, diverse group members may interact to develop collective knowledge (Sole & Edmondson, 2002). Therefore, the lack of cohesiveness in a group could hinder the way the group communicates with one another. So finding common ground in a diverse group becomes even more important. One thing that I did in order to promote communication within the diverse group of managers I worked with was to have each one of them stand up and introduce themselves in a meeting. While they were standing each one told the rest of the group who they were, how long they had been with the company and what their hobbies were. I found that this did a couple of things it started to build common ground with the other managers. Removed any tension that someone may or may not have had because now they had all spoken to one another. In all this made our diverse group more cohesive and the group strived together and our chain of stores became number one in the region. Lack of cohesiveness in a diverse group, can create tension and a lack of productivity and with tension no members are able to step into their true roles for the task at hand and the group will not respect one another. I recommend an open line of communication in order to increase cohesiveness in any group no matter the size of the organization. Role conflicts can be everywhere work, home or even amongst friends finding solutions to resolve the conflicts will always be key in any situation in life. In the role conflicts you experience in a big box retail store can be hard but it comes down to knowing your needs and expressing them in a health and non-violent way. If this is not done, then a group will divide and begin to have more and more intergroup conflicts and diverse members will feel as if they are left out of the loop all together. Lack of cohesiveness is massive in a store that is over 50,000 square feet with over three hundred employees. But by communicating ideas, establishing needs and getting the right information to the right employees the team will mesh and be productive. Cohesiveness comes down to a few things, know your staff, communicate clearly, establish needs, provide the resources needed to fulfill the job and be clear with expectations. This goes for every business, school or home. By doing these things any group can succeed no matter how diverse.

References:
- Losh, S. (2011). Group behavior in organizations. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
- American Psychologist, Vol 68(7), Oct, 2013. Special Issue: Peace Psychology. pp. 527-542.
- Ronald J. Fisher. "Intergroup Conflict." Morton Deutsch and Peter T. Coleman, eds., The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice San Francisco: Jossey-Bas Publishers, 2000, pp. 166-184.
- Impact of highly and less job-related diversity on work group cohesion and performance: a meta-analysis; Management; Volume, March–April 2001, Pages 141–162
- Hewstone, M., Lolliot, S., Swart, H., Myers, E., Voci, A., Al Ramiah, A., & Cairns, E. (2014). Intergroup contact and intergroup conflict. Peace And Conflict: Journal Of Peace Psychology, 20(1), 39-53. doi:10.1037/a0035582
- Penrose, J. M. (2015). Understanding and Using the Relationships Between Business and Professional Communication and Public Relations. Business & Professional Communication Quarterly, 78(4), 494-510. doi:10.1177/2329490615593370
- Lata, D., & T. J., K. (2015). Unearthed: The Other Side of Group Cohesiveness.
- http://www.forbes.com/sites/susantardanico/2012/11/29/5-habits-of-highly-effective-communicators/#323108d525fc
- http://stephenjgill.typepad.com/performance_improvement_b/2008/12/communication-problems-in-organizations.html…...

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The Box

...The Box Suddenly, his cell phone in his robe pocket vibrated. He answered the phone, and heard the familiar voice of a client, a client that held a heavy wallet, “Mr. Jenkins, how are you?” “Ms. Chambers, it’s good to hear from you.” “Listen, Orson, I think I have to drop the November contract. Well… I don’t really want to say the reason… But I just don’t think it will work out, my apologies.” “Well…” “Goodbye!” With this, she hung up swiftly. He used to be a very busy man, but now, he seemed to be cut off from reality, everything around him seemed dead A six feet young man in his bathrobe was strolling around his apartment living room; he was wearing a hotel flip-flop; his dark green eyes were stern; he kept scratching his neatly combed dark blonde hair; his eyebrows were knit together tightly; his hands were rubbing his temples constantly, as if thinking of something important. There, in the middle of his living room, was a glass coffee table, on top of it was an ordinary paper box ---- a plain light brown cardboard box held together with tape, no address was written on it. It seemed to have popped out from nowhere. Orson was thinking of the day when he found a box sitting on his coffee table, he remembered that he ignored its existence and kept on reading his emails. He remembered one of his clients from Russia made a call and told him that she couldn’t make to the meeting, that was the first unusual call he got after that box appear......

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The Effect of Big Box Firms on Small Domestic Businesses

...INTRODUCTION Due to the introduction of the Big Box Format, many small business owners have been forced to close their doors, consequently leaving them in limbo with regards to how they are supposed to support their families. The Big Box Format of conducting business has stiffened competition in business as a whole. These Big Box Organizations have the ability to use their vast amount of resources to exploit market opportunities and neutralize threats, as well as take advantage of the economies of scale and scope. Subsequently, this report touches upon the large scope effects of the Big Box Format; as well as addresses certain strategies that small businesses could apply and if they are realistic. Big Box Firms are organizations that undermine local business as well as entrepreneurialism and innovation. They are composed of Firms that occupy a minimum of 50,000 square feet of land containing a wide variety products available for sale (Investopedia, 2013), therefore many consumers consider Big Box Firms as one stop shop. Subsequently, the Big Box Firms apply predatory marketing strategies, in which they highlight their ability to offer cost savings as well as convenience. FINDINGS Modern Concept, Classic View Although the Big Box format of conducting business can be considered somewhat of a modern business concept, the Big Box format contains certain elements that relate back to classic business theories. The way that these Big Box firms conduct business,......

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