Interactions between the Environment, Technology, and Human Resources in the Organisation
Casual Togs faces the challenge of establishing advantage in a highly competitive environment amidst the various problems and issues that affect the company’s operations, performance, and outcomes. Henceforth, this discussion is an analysis of Casual Togs’ circumstances based on developments in the external environment and tensions within the internal environment. This discussion also explores other aspects of the organisation such as issues concerning technology and human resources.
The objective of analysing Casual Togs is to determine the interactions between the environment, technology, and human resources in the organisation that affect management and organisational performance. Doing so would necessitate information and background about Casual Togs, which will be used to analyse the company’s environment and performance. Data or information would be gleaned from a case study of Casual Togs, which describes not only the organisational structure, but also the factors and aspects of the company that affect its performance.
Consequently, outcomes of the case study analysis will be used to formulate solutions and develop a set of recommendations that would address the issues and problems at Casual Togs. In this way, I would be able to appropriately apply learned theories and concepts in management and organisational structure in the case study analysis.
Conflict in the workplace is another issue that Casual Togs faces resulting from the structure of the organisation. Without clear lines of function and responsibility, people in the organisation, particularly Geldmark’s subordinates will assume the same roles leading to conflict. When Geldmark told department heads that they should act as they see fit, he failed to mention the laws, policies, and limitations of taking action especially when it would significantly affect the company’s performance. Furthermore, Geldmark did not establish a system or scheme to help department heads make informed decisions. Decision aids play an important role in helping managers or department heads make efficient decisions without the influence of their biases or personal views and opinions.
Structural Analysis. Improvement of performance and outcomes at Casual Togs was brought about by changes and developments in the company’s external environment, which consequently affected its internal environment. Some aspects of the organisation’s operations that affect its performance include technological facilities and human resources operations, as well as a favourable environment for expansion.
Competition in the company’s external environment forced Casual Togs to look for ways to improve its operations and services to compete with upcoming new brands and existing medium to large companies in the same industry. Casual Togs used to be one of the major competitors in the women’s apparel sector. The company’s success was primarily due to the owner and principal stockholder, Cy Geldmark’s efforts. Geldmark is highly experienced because of his apprenticeship background and he introduced an innovative approach – the mix and/or match concept – that allowed the company to grow during its early stages. Casual Togs’ commitment to quality services is also one of the reasons why the company initially grew and competed in the industry.
Despite Casual Togs’ initial success that allowed the company to expand continuously for five years and develop production plans in southern states, the organisation eventually succumbed to tight competition in the industry. Casual Togs’ business model, which is illustrated by the mix and/or match concept failed to sustain the company’s revenue due to new developments and trends in the women’s apparel sector. Eventually, the company failed to cope with the changes in and the transformation of Casual Togs’ external environment. Fast fashion now defines the business model of companies or organisations in the apparel industry, which increased the demand for stylish clothing produced within the shortest amount of time, usually before trends change following the selling seasons. Casual Togs’ failure within this context reflects the company’s inability to innovate and anticipate future trends in the market. The absence of a culture of innovation in the company and its lack of initiative in predicting future trends prevented Casual Togs from evolving alongside changes in the marketplace environment.
Apart from distribution and delivery, Casual Togs still need to address issues regarding manufacturing and production, which are also essential elements of logistics. The company prioritises the quality of its goods and services, which is why individual workers at Casual Togs exert personal effort to create garments. As mentioned in the case study, quality checks take time. Although the quality of goods and products is highly important to add value to Casual Togs’ services and to satisfy the needs or demands of consumers, inopportune quality checks and individual work would not help the company meet consumer demand in a timely manner. Casual Togs’ logistics strategy, at the moment, is incapable of addressing consumer demand. Nonetheless, the company has adopted technological facilities that would help Casual Togs make necessary improvements. Casual Togs’ commitment to quality is one of the company’s strengths and reflects its ethical standards and culture. Casual Togs may use quality as a selling point for the company. With appropriate marketing and promotion of Casual Togs’ commitment to quality, it may be able to draw consumers that value quality of clothing over fast fashion.
Casual Togs’ indistinct organisational structure brought about conflict in the organisation. Furthermore, changes in the marketplace environment aggravate conflict in the workplace because of existing risks and threats that affect the company’s position in the marketplace. The need to make changes and transition to cope with the ever-changing marketplace environment as well as the unclear roles and responsibilities at Casual Togs lead to disagreements, especially among department heads, managers, and other leaders in the organisation.
Structural Changes Proposed. To deal with human resources issues such as the lack of clear roles, especially in decision making, the escalating conflict among people in the company, and the lack of an efficient set of Human Resources Management (HRM) strategies, Casual Togs would need to restructure the organisation, implement conflict management and resolution practices, and redevelop HRM strategies to address the needs of human resources, such as the addition of employee retention and promotion schemes.
One of the primary issues that present challenges to Casual Togs is decentralised decision-making. Geldmark, albeit having adequate experience to establish and manage a firm, informed his subordinates that they should make decisions as they see fit and that he would support whatever decision they would make. Although effective leadership encourages distributed decision-making towards the goal of empowering leaders or managers in the organisation, centralised decision-making must still overcome Casual Togs, especially because of its precarious position in the market due to tight competition. Hence, Geldmark should have set limitations or boundaries in his subordinates’ control or authority to make decisions. Furthermore, Geldmark should have clarified what kinds of decisions his subordinates can make and assume the final say when it comes to decisions that would significantly affect the entire company. Following this argument, Casual Togs should adopt a traditional hierarchical organisational structure to centralise decision-making. In this way, decision-making and implementation would be controlled at the executive level where greater thought is put into the welfare of the company. A traditional hierarchical organisational structure is more efficient especially when an organisation or company is aiming for specific results, which defines Casual Togs’ goals and objectives. Casual Togs also need to adopt a departmental organisational structure, which is important when it comes to issues that concern different departments such as human resources, finance, and logistics, among others. Department heads must also be able to make decisions concerning operations and people in their respective departments.
Based on the abovementioned proposal for Casual Togs, the company must then adopt matrix management structure. Matrix management combines the traditional hierarchical and departmental structure. Hence, decision-making is centralised in the organisation. At Casual Togs, for instance, Geldmark and other stockholders in the organisation would make final decisions. On the contrary, when it comes to projects in the organisation that are expected to yield specific outcomes, then the department heads or project managers would make and implement decisions. Figure 1 below illustrates the matrix management structure that would fit Casual Togs’ needs.
Figure 1. The Matrix Management Structure
As illustrated in Figure 1, the Chief Executive – Geldmark – makes the decisions and works with department heads or functional managers to identify and address important issues that concern organisational operations and performance. Nonetheless, Geldmark may also share decision-making with department heads or project managers if plans or initiatives concern issues or problems related to a department or aspect of the organisation. In the case of Casual Togs, Geldmark may share decision-making with Andy Johnson and his team. Johnson works with Sol Green and Bill Smith to make informative printouts of daily sales and sales forecast, which are important in allowing Geldmark to make decisions. Geldmark, however, needs to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of people in teach department or team so they can work together better and avoid conflict. Geldmark’s guidance is much needed particularly in Johnson’s team since Joohnson, Green and Smith disagree when it comes to writing the reports. To address this problem, the HR department must also develop and implement conflict resolution practices to manage this type of issue in the workplace.
Casual Togs must also develop and implement a rigid structure for hiring personnel. Relying on family and friends has its advantages. For one, hiring family and friends allow leaders in the organisation to easily delegate tasks and resolve conflicts internally. Nonetheless, it also has its disadvantages especially when the company may improve its performance if it looks into other opportunities outside its network of family and friends. Casual Togs needs to branch out from family and friends especially because the company is missing out on good opportunities such as more affordable raw materials by limiting staffing to family and friends. Another issue that relates to HR is the lack of retention and promotion strategies at Casual Togs. Andy Johnson worked in the company for 15 years. Despite his contributions to the organisation, Casual Togs never promoted him. To address this issue, Casual Togs needs to develop and implement robust hiring and recruitment, retention, and promotion strategies or schemes. Figures 2 and 3 below illustrates a streamlined HR approach when it comes to hiring and recruitment, retention, and promotion.
Figure 2. Hiring and Recruiting Personnel
Figure 3. Retention and Promotion
Leadership Style Issues. A primary leadership issue at Casual Togs resulted from Geldmark’s decision to relinquish his power in making and implementing decisions. As formerly noted, Geldmark told department heads to act as they see fit. Sharing decision-making and responsibilities with other people in the organisation characterises democratic leadership style. Democratic leadership is ideally advantageous because it provides opportunities for people in the organisation to take responsibility and assume important roles. From the perspective of these people, democratic leadership empowers them as a professionals.
On the contrary, Geldmark’s leadership style is problematic because of the lack of guidance from him to help department heads make efficient decisions and consciously work towards the accomplishment of organisational goals and objectives. Although Judy is Geldmark’s sibling, she interferes with various aspects of the organisation. Another concern is that managers or department heads often get into shouting matches when one of them do not agree with one another. Developing and implementing policies in conflict resolution may address this problem but it also relates to leadership at Casual Togs. One of the reasons why Judy interferes with other people’s affairs in the organisation and why decision-making is stunted by disagreement among department heads is because of the lack of clear roles and responsibilities for members of the organisation. Judy does not know her place in the organisation. Although she is a stockholder, she cannot interfere with decision-making when it concerns specific plans or initiatives that concern a group of people or a specific department at Casual Togs. Similarly, the department heads in the organisation argue with one another because Geldmark told them to take action as they see fit without forming limitations that would guide their actions and decisions.
Considering leadership problems at Casual Togs, Geldmark must assume responsibility in resolving conflict in the organisation. For one, Geldmark must be stern in communicating with Judy. Geldmark must also be clear with Judy about her roles or functions in the organisation. Similarly, Geldmark must also work with HR to define roles and responsibilities in the organisation for each department or individual. In this way, department heads would better understand their roles and responsibilities. Nonetheless, democratic leadership would still be advantageous to the organisation as it empowers employees. Improvements in leadership would then depend on Geldmark’s initiative to define roles and responsibilities and to guide his subordinates, especially when it comes to decision-making that would affect the operations and performance of the organisation.
Recommendations to Reduce Behavioural Issues. To reduce behavioural issues in the organisation, Geldmark must restructure the organisation as formerly noted. Clarifying roles and responsibilities, as well as limitations of authority, is highly important to avoid conflict in the organisation. Furthermore, Geldmark must take on the leadership role consistently. It is not enough for Geldmark to tell his subordinates to make their own decisions. As the owner and executive of Casual Togs, it is Geldmark’s responsibility to help his subordinates make decisions based on available data. Furthermore, it is Geldmark’s responsibility to ascertain that his subordinates are working towards the accomplishment of organisational roles and responsibilities.
Adopting a matrix management structure would also help the organisation address and reduce behavioural issues in the organisation. In matrix management, Geldmark would make the final decisions based on the recommendations and reports of his subordinates. Nonetheless, department heads and managers would still be able to make decisions particularly when it comes to smaller projects with specific expected outcomes.
Improving the company’s logistics is also important. Doing so would not merely improve the delivery of goods and services but would also increase morale when this leads to a decrease in returns. Hence, addressing logistics issues not only improve services but also the behaviour and outlook of human resources in the organisation.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The foregoing discussion is a structural analysis of a company – Casual Togs. Geldmark, the owner of Casual Togs, is knowledgeable about women’s apparel and has contributed to the company’s success for the first five years. During these years, Casual Togs expanded and was able to acquire and develop properties and infrastructure to improve and widen the reach of its goods and services. Nonetheless, changes in the marketplace environment forced the company to transform and implement necessary changes. Moreover, internal problems or issues such as those that relate to leadership and management, logistics, and HRM also pose threats to the organisation and prevent Casual Togs from coping with the ever-changing marketplace. Democratic leadership is prevalent in the company so Geldmark shares decision-making with department heads but this arrangement does not work for Casual Togs because Geldmark does help department heads make better decisions for the organisation. Casual Togs also grew in terms of infrastructure as the company acquired properties including technologies for production. Nonetheless, the company’s logistical structure is not enough to match logistics of fast fashion companies. For this reason, Casual Togs receives returns for its late delivery items. Another issue is the escalating conflict in the organisation.
The foregoing discussion includes a proposal and recommendations to address the internal and external issues that affect Casual Togs’ performance. One of the major resolutions include the implementation of HR practices that would improve hiring and recruitment, specifically through the expansion of networks outside Geldmark’s family and friends, retention, and promotion. Another strategy is to adopt a matrix management structure that shares leadership roles between the owner or executive and his subordinates. In this way, Geldmark would be able to clearly define roles and responsibilities of his subordinates, which would then eliminate conflict. Implementing conflict resolution strategies may also be adopted in the organisation. Improving logistics through the completion of the company’s warehouse and the acquisition of more technologies to reduce time of production and quality checks would also help Casual Togs regain its market share.
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