I. Nature of the Organization Kmart, affiliated with the Sears Holding Corporation, competes within the retail industry. As part of their mission, Kmart is committed to building lifetime relationships by offering quality products and services at discounted prices. Kmart’s products range from groceries to clothing, and services varying from layaway to leasing. Kmart aims to give their customers the well-rounded experience from the moment they walk through the door to thanking them at the end of the transaction.
Since Kmart is part of a holding corporation, the organization is structured differently to operate Sears and Kmart. Nonetheless, Kmart’s operation structure is basic. The CEO and chairman, Edward Scott Lampert, delegates tasks to the regional managers, who pass it along to district managers. Then, the district managers assign the job to the store managers. The responsibility falls on the store manager to get the assistant manager, leads/supervisors, and lower level employees motivated to follow corporate policies and reach goals. The output goals are structured to meet a certain amount of sales for each day to reach the overarching annual goal. Each store has a different goal based on their size and traffic level. II. Team Function
Each store is comprised of several teams, such as security and safety, training, etc. As an active employee, one of the specific teams that Kmart values is the Ad Set Crew, a project or task force team (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012). The main purpose of this group is to set several thousand ads every Sunday on sales, price drops, clearance, and member’s (Shop Your Way) only deals. Before the store closes on Saturday evening, employees pull the expired ads in order for the Ad Set Crew to place new ones up the following day. At 4:00am, each member is assigned to a different department based upon their preference, experience, and job title. For example, a sales associate in soft lines would be in charge of clothing, jewelry, and sport memorabilia.
Then, the associate will take the sale sticker as shown in Figure 1 and match it to the product’s label by looking at the department’s number, plan, and sequence. The associate will continue to place all of these stickers in their designated location until there are no more. After the completion of each department, the members will evaluate their work by doing an audit. The associate will take a retail merchandising unit (RMU) and scan each individual sign. Once each department is finished, the team will start scanning the products on the end caps and mid-way aisles because they are not corporate assigned. Therefore, the employees will have to request a sign if the product is on sale. III. Stages of Group Development
The team is formed by the store manager. He/she picks employees based upon their work ethic and employee’s needs. Since numerous associates have young children, they volunteered to work in the morning to have the remainder of the day with their family. Others prefer to work in the morning because they can work another job later that day. If the team is understaffed, the manager will schedule individuals to work, which rarely happens. When the team was first formed several years ago, the team exhibited the storming stage (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2012).
Individuals would verbally fight over desired departments and ideas of how to set the ad within the time limit. The team was not very effective. The ads did not get done until the afternoon, and many of them were placed on the wrong shelf to meet their quota. Therefore, more stress was placed upon the team. However, the pricing lead manager quickly made changes to motivate employees. She reinforced goals by placing breaks after a certain level of progress to motivate employees to work faster (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012). In addition, she made the group work as a team. Before the employees were in charge of setting and auditing their assigned department.
Now, the group helps one another to finish the task. As a result of her actions, the team entered into the norming stage (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2012). The team worked efficiently while enjoying their work. After several months of working, the group began to perform as well-functioning team (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2012). They began to quickly recognize the location of the signs and adapted to changing demands. Customers viewed the stickers with the right price, and the company began to increase sales because lost profits of improper placement. In the adjourning stage (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2012), the team is able to quickly do their jobs on a strict time limit. Then, the team continues to come together every week to carry out their job as well as bring in new members to continue progress for the long-term. IV. Role Dynamics
Each week the expectation of the team members vary due to the employee’s time within the team. For new members, they often face role ambiguity (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012). They are uncertain of their role, and consequently lack confidence in the job assignment. Since most of the members know what they are doing, they often leave the newbie by themselves with little instruction. Thus, they are expected to learn on their own. Others are overloaded (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012) with too much work.
At times, employees do not show or call off, leaving the rest to do their work and their coworkers. They quickly feel overwhelmed and their attitude affects the working environment. Yet, others are under loaded (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012) because they are not trusted to do larger departments or are not competent enough to quickly set their ad. As a result, conflict occurs because employees feel the work should be distributed evenly amongst everyone. In spite of that, the pricing lead manager negotiates (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012) with the employees to figure a fair system to ensure the employees are working to their fullest potential. V. Diversity Dimensions
The Ad Set Crew is diversified in a couple of ways. First, the team consists of employees of all ages from 18 to 86 years old with e¬ven numbers of both genders. Moreover, the team is a combination of managers, leads, cashiers, and sales associates from various departments. Thus, the team has several years of experience with Kmart. The more experienced employees are aware of planograms and product location, which makes setting the ad much faster and accurate. VI. Personality Traits, Values, and Attitudes
The team member’s personality traits work well with each other. The ad pricing manager can be viewed with the extraversion trait. She is an outgoing individual, who is assertive in leading the group to complete the job. The people following her guidance are a mixture of being agreeable and conscientious. As a whole, the members are trusted employees who are hard-working and dependable to complete their assignment.
On the other hand, they value the project differently. Some of the employees only view the job as a job, and try to complete it as fast as possible while others take their time to correctly place the signs. As a whole, the group is classified to have terminal values, concerned with the end goal. VII. Member Perception
During the job, employees immediately form perceptions (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012) of their coworkers. The associates with the larger departments are considered to be the hardest working while the others with the smaller sections are considered social loafers. Moreover, the slowest performers are viewed as lazy, even though they might have a lot of ads that do not have an active plot. On the other hand, the faster performers might be placing the ads in the wrong place. VIII. Motivation Theories
This group is mostly governed by the goal setting theory. According the Organizational Behavior textbook, employees are more motivated to work “when goals are both clear and properly set (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012).” Before the group divides into their section, the pricing lead manager has a meeting to discuss how many signs need to be set, who does what area, and approximately what time they are supposed to be done. Thus, the employees know the goal to strive for within their shift. IX. High Performance Model Comparison
The Ad Set Team can be considered a high performance team compared to Figure 2 (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012). The group works together as a team to accomplish setting the ad every week. By scanning every sign, they are able to gather data and compare to past weeks to measure improvement on job output. The team comes up with areas to improve productivity after completion in order to take action the following week. The changes can be measured by conducting another audit. The cycle continues because every system is imperfect and new obstacles constantly reappear.
In conclusion, the overall effectiveness of the team can be improved by having a standard amount of employees every week in order to better allocate the group throughout the store. Moreover, new members of the team should be trained beforehand to ensure quality work without overwhelming the other workers. By having proper communication with walking talkies, the associates would be able to ask for help faster as well as keep everyone on the same page.