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Since 1930, Publix has been focused on providing a wide variety of grocery related products to customers in: Florida, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. The main focus of their strategy has been to create neighborhood stores in these states to become a part of the community. This is when consumers will have greater amounts of loyalty to the firm. As they believe that every Publix location, is providing them with the best products at affordable prices. (Mujtaba, 2007, pp. 23 -- 32)
However, during the last several years is when the overall amounts of competition facing the company have increased exponentially. This is because firms such as: Wal Mart and many foreign-based supermarket chains have been entering markets that are dominated by Publix. In order to compete, the firm has been focusing on: providing customers with private label products, moving into specialty markets and offering competitive prices. This has helped the company to deal with these challenges. (Mujtaba, 2007, pp. 23 -- 32)
The side effects of these actions are that the firm is facing increasing amounts of pressure to keep labor and employee compensation costs down. To fully understand how the company can address these issues requires: examining employee negotiation strategies to address potential conflicts, how evidence-based management can be applied to the work environment, analyzing the blocks / stages / methods for creative decision making and environmental / strategic factors that will affect the design of the organization. Together, these different elements will offer the greatest insights as to how Publix can adapt to competitive pressures they are facing inside the marketplace. (Mujtaba, 2007, pp. 23 -- 32)
Discuss how you could apply negotiation strategies to address potential conflicts in the workplace.
There are several different strategies that can be used in the workplace to address potential conflicts to include: integrative, continuous and intermittent negotiation. Integrative negotiation is when there is a focus on creating win more -- win more situations. This is where both parties want to walk away from the process, feeling that they received something more for their efforts from negotiating. The way that this could address potential conflicts in the workplace, is to offer both sides some kind of benefits from working together in solving their problems. (Spoelestra, 1999, pp. 1 -- 16)
In the case of Publix, this could be used to deal with specific employees issues inside every location. For example, an employee who has a problem with their supervisor could go into a process of integrative negotiation. This is when they can discuss their issues and how this is impacting their ability to work. Whereas, the manager will have a chance to express their concerns and explain why they engaged in specific actions. Once both sides have presented their case, is when the employee could be transferred to another manager with a verbal reprimand for their actions that created the problem. This helps both sides to feel, as if their views were respected with the each party receiving something more they are walking away with. (Spoelestra, 1999, pp. 1 -- 16) (Berman, 2011, pp. 1 -- 34)
Continuous negotiation is when there is a process of regularly working with a party to find solutions for a host of challenges. This is regardless of the difficulties facing each side, where a relationship will remain in place at all times. As far as Publix is concerned, the company has been losing market share to: Wal Mart, wholesale clubs and dollar stores. As a result, the firm has been trying to lower costs and increase their sales. To achieve these objectives, they have been asking employees to pay for: greater amounts of their health care costs and they are trying to limit the rate of increases. As a result, the continuous negotiation strategy is used by managers when working with employees to deal with these issues. This is when both sides will continue negotiations regardless of challenges they are facing, in an effort to achieve their overall objectives. (Spoelestra, 1999, pp. 1 -- 16) (Berman, 2011, pp. 1 -- 34)
Intermittent negotiation is when a problem will arise that could threaten the relationship between the two parties. To deal with these challenges, some kind of drastic action must be taken during the process. In the case of Publix, a situation could arise at a location where an employee was wrongfully terminated or was harassed. This can hurt the relationship between managers and employees (which will lead to a decrease in sales at a particular location). Once this happens, is when there will be an atmosphere of animosity inside the store. To prevent this situation from spiraling out of control, management will negotiate with employees agreeing to: terminate the supervisor that created the problem and establish polices to preclude this from occurring in the future. This is showing how the process, is designed to address problems that could be having an impact upon employees. (Spoelestra, 1999, pp. 1 -- 16) (Berman, 2011, pp. 1 -- 34)
Determine how evidence-based management could be applied to the work environment of Publix.
Evidence-based management is when there is a focus on numerical data and current evidence to support decisions that are being made. As far as Publix is concerned, this approach can help direct issues in the workplace by: evaluating the data and the latest facts to make prudent decisions. The way that this can be applied to a work environment is to see the impact of select employees on an organization and everyone around them. (Buss, 2011, pp. 3 -- 16)
For example, executives at Publix will make decisions about a store manager's bonuses based on their productivity and sales. At the same time, the company will look at recent complaints and accommodations for this individual to decide if they should receive promotions. This helps managers to objectively reward each store manager based on their ability to meet predetermined criteria. Over the course of time, this will ensure that all of the managers are effective at reaching their organizational objectives. (Buss, 2011, pp. 3 -- 16) (Berman, 2011, pp. 1 -- 34)
Analyze the blocks, stages and methods of creative decision making to determine the best approach Publix should follow when making managerial decisions.
In creative decision making there are a number of elements that will have an impact on the situation to include: blocks, stages and methods. The blocks are various techniques that are used to frame the discussion and the arguments presented. The stages are the steps that company is taking to address these issues and rectify the situation. While the methods, are the kind of approach that is used to reach out to the other party. A few of the most notable include: mediating, role playing and using various forms of rewards and punishments. The combination of these elements will help managers to use a host of tools to: reframe the argument, move negotiations forward and address the overall issues. This is when they will be able to more effectively understand the views of both sides and introduce solutions that will change their focus. Once this occurs, is the point that the various blocks will be reduced, with each party changing how they are looking at the problem. (Trumper, 2008, pp. 70 -- 94)
The way that this would apply to Publix is to provide a basic foundation for: understanding the issues and working with employees. This will take place, with the company using different blocks to see the views of employees and managers. Once this happens, is when managers will refocus the arguments of each side to advance the discussions forward. During the process of working with the two sides, is when the various methods will be utilized as a tool for dealing with potential conflicts. (Trumper, 2008, pp. 70 -- 94) (Berman, 2011, pp. 1 -- 34)
For example, suppose that there is a dispute between Hispanic and African-American employees at a particular store. Creative decision making will play a role, in defusing the situation by using various blocks to see views of each side. This will help negotiators to relate to both parties. Once this takes places, is when the process will move forward by utilizing these blocks to show the beliefs of the other side. This is when the various methods will play a role by establishing a framework for the discussion. Under this process, each party will agree to follow specific ground rules and abide by the decisions. This is the point that the company can address the dispute and create policies for avoiding these challenges in the future. (Trumper, 2008, pp. 70 -- 94) (Berman, 2011, pp. 1 -- 34)
Discuss the environmental and strategic factors that affect Publix.
The biggest environmental factor that will have an impact on Publix is the retail markets have become increasingly competitive. This will place pressure on the management and employees to increase their sales. In order to achieve these objectives, everyone must do more and sacrifice for the benefit…[continue]
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