Sainsbury's organizational structure.

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Task 3 (E4, C2, A1)

Sainsbury's organizational structure

Businesses are structured into different into ways according to the way they operate and according to their culture. The structure of business can affect the way it works and performs. You need to understand the differences between the following types of structure:

* Tall

* Flat

* Matrix

* Hierarchical

Flat and tall structure:- The term 'scalar chain is a rather old fashioned one and stems from the days when large organizations were bureaucratic, with lots of layers between the top and bottom. Scalar chain refers to the number of levels within the structure or hierarchy of an organization. The scalar chain set out the authority, responsibility and the framework that determined superior and subordinate relationships. The idea of setting out everyone's role and position is to make it clear who is responsible for what, and that there is clear line of authority.

Matrix structure:- A matrix structure can be used to combine the grouping method we have identified. In such a matrix it is probable that each member of the organization will belong to two or more groups. A matrix is thus a combination of structures, which enables employees to contribute to a mix of activities. The matrix enables the organization to focus upon a number of aims at the same time, and gives it the flexibility to respond to new markets where there is an increase in demand for its goods and services.

Hierarchical: - Hierarchical is the traditional way of developing an organization that was so popular for much f the twentieth century. The hierarchy in the business is the order or levels of management, from the lowest to the highest rank. It shows the chain of command within the organization (i.e. the way authority is organized). Orders pass down the levels and information passes up. It is generally held that, the greater the number of levels in the hierarchy, the less effective the communication process is.

Organization Structure of Sainsbury's

The organizational structure of Sainsbury's is hierarchical because there is series of levels of people and the level above controls each level. Each level is the responsibility of the level above. For example senior managers are responsible for the line managers and line managers are responsible for sales assistants. The diagram below shows the downward flow of communication in Sainsbury's.

I think Sainsbury's structure is between hierarchical and tall structure. Tall structure has many layers but not as many layers as matrix structure and as less as flat structure and this means the information is not a s fast in flat structure and not as slow as in matrix structure. Due to fast flow of communication it is easier and clear between each layer. This when decisions are made they will be specific to order instructions.

Strengths of Sainsbury's structure

* It gives them a greater sense of unity and purpose as they can see themselves as members of a team.

* It is easier to get help, as they can ask experienced colleagues or take more difficult problems to boss.

* It makes easier to carry out joint projects as everyone involved is working together.

* There are economies of scale as specialist staff can do more work efficiently.

* Communications from top to bottom are better, as there are definite channels through which orders can flow.

Weakness of this structure

* Hierarchies usually have tall organizational structures with seven or eight levels of authority. This means that there is long chain of command.

* Each employee is concerned mainly with his or her own function, or specialized work, and often has only employees in other departments.

* There is natural tendency for managers to protect the interest of their own department. This may make them more concerned with office politics than with the interests of the whole firm.

* The hierarchical system emphasizes status. This creates divisions in the firm, which are reflected in separate car-parking spaces for managers, longer holidays for white-collar workers and separate canteen for blue-collar workers.


(Diagram taken from AVCE Bus. Pg 82)

Management is the process of influencing people so that they will perform a variety of tasks in effective manner. It is therefore crucial to have a strong leader who can inspire and motivate the employees. In big organizations such as Sainsbury there are many different style of management that could be used but there are three basic categories of management styles. These are:

* Autocratic Management

* Democratic Management

* Consultative Management

Autocratic management

This is often referred as an authoritarian management style. The autocratic management style is one where the manager is used to give instructions. Telling his employees what to do rather than asking their opinions. The manager is the only person contributing to the decision making process. The managers are used to hold on to the power, and do not understand how the process of 'empowerment' might work.

Democratic management

This style management involves empowerment. Individuals and teams are given the responsibility to make decision, usually within a given framework. The team is then responsible for the decision that it chooses to make. The manager with this style will feel comfortable allowing others to make decisions. However, they will be confident that empowered individuals and teams will use the responsibility given to them.

Consultative management

The managers in this style management are ones who seek to consult other people before making a decision. This type of managers wants to draw on more sources of opinion that just him or her. The consultative managers will have listening skills and also the ability to create the right sorts of channels to consult other people. In an organization with consultative management, there will be a series of mechanism (e.g. news, letters, suggestion boxes etc) that makes it possible to get the feel of the concerns of other people involved in the decision making process, as well as to draw on their expertise.

Sainsbury's management style

From my interview with John Davies manager at the Oadby branch (Leicester) I found that Sainsburys operate in a democratic management style as team managers are arranged so ideas and problems can be put forward and dealt with a s a team. These meetings are mostly informal. Although John believed that the company is operated in democratic style, so I talked to employees lower down in the company and asked them about their opinion. I got a different reaction from them; they thought that Sainsbury's is operated in more of an autocratic management style, whereby managers tell people what to do instead as asking their opinions. This is interesting to look at, the managers believed that employees are responsible to make their own decisions and employees believe that mangers order them to do things. I also think that in some situation Sainsburys use other styles. For example if an employee is underachieving and not contributing as much s he or she should, it is not other employees who have to make the decision on if the guilty employee is worth keeping in the business or not. That decision will be down to the manager. There are several managers spreading up the hierarchy. This means that every manager (expect the chairman) has some decisions made for him or her and other decisions they have to make. Also these decisions are made for them so are going to involve them or are going to be straightforward decisions that they have no say in it.
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As I said before that with the views from employees at Sainsbury's I found that the decisions are made in head office where departments managers are not involved, they pass the message to the store where department manager discuss the matter with their assistant managers or supervisors where other employees are not involved so in a nutshell we can say that employees are not involved in any discussion between managers and supervisors as they are told to do things and managers are not involved in discussions made between CEO and directors. So in the end we can say ...

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***** Parts of this are excellent showing good evidence or research into the theory and what the actual situation at Sainsbury's is. Other parts look lifted from textbooks.