1. Introduction to Tesco

1.1 Background

Tesco is one of the largest retailers in the world that is renowned for its business excellence and success. This success has not come by chance but it is the result of effective business strategy for securing employee commitment (Cook, 2008). The retail organization has set clear vision which is centralized for Tesco and also supported by employee involvement (Kunerth and Mosley, 2011). All aspects of business are regularly monitored in order to encourage workforce for achieving the centralized business vision.

Whysall, (2004) defined employee commitment as a psychological state of individual workforce which works as a strength for an organization as a feeling that employee is responsible enough to achieve organizational mission (Whysall, 2004). A case study of Tesco has been selected for this study which demonstrates the way in which Tesco work. The retail sector in Britain has become more challenging and competitive and therefore, it is essential to evaluate the impact of employee commitment in retail sector. This research will assist retail entities of UK in following the success by developing appropriate strategies for workforce engagement.

1.2 Rationale of the study

This subsection contains the justification for undertaking this study which is essential to be done before progressing with a research idea. The key issue in this research is to analyze the impact of employee commitment for a retail entity in UK. As employee engagement is an abstract attribute for an organization therefore, it is difficult to measure. In present time, the significance of employee engagement is recognized by various companies but various retail organizations are not giving preference to workforce involvement and communication for securing employee commitment. Therefore, it has become essential in such a contemporary era of competition, to identify the impact of employee engagement in organizational success. Thus, this study can be justified as by reviewing and analyzing the case study of Tesco, impact of employee commitment is evaluated. This research would shed light on the methods of achieving organizational excellence through staff commitment.

1.3 Research aims and objectives

It is essential to pre specify the aims and objectives of a proposed study, so that its viability can be judged through feasibility analysis. Aim can be defined as an ultimate goal which can be centralized in context of entire study (Scandura and Williams, 2000). Objective on the other hand, can be heeded as break up of aim statement. Achieving all the objectives can result in attainment of aim. Key aims and objectives of this proposed research study is given here under:

Aim- To analyze the impact of employee commitment through involvement and communication in the retail industry: A case study of Tesco

Research objectives: In order to achieve the above mentioned aim, following research objectives have been proposed

  • To understand meaning and significance of employee commitment in UK’s retail sector
  • To identify the ways by which Tesco attains employee commitment through communication and employee involvement
  • To examine the role of employee engagement and communication for securing employee commitment in Tesco, UK
  • To recommend the ways of improving employee involvement and communication for achieving maximum employee commitment to retail organizations

1.4 Research questions

  1. What is the meaning and significance of employee commitment in UK’s retail sector?
  2. What are the ways by which organizations attain employee commitment in retail industry?
  3. How employee engagement and communication assist Tesco in securing employee commitment?
  4. How retail organizations can improve process of employee involvement and communication for achieving maximum employee commitment to retail organizations?

1.5 Structure of dissertation

This research is bifurcated in five chapters which are drafted and presented in systematic manner in order to attain the goals of this research. A brief introduction to each chapter of this research has been given under the following heads:

Chapter-1 Introduction

This is the first chapter which contains basic information about research idea along with reasonable justification of the same. Further, research aims and objectives have also been provided in this chapter in order to assist readers regarding the significance of the study.

Chapter-2 Literature review

It is essential to undertake a critical evaluation of similar previous studies for providing insightful information to readers. Therefore, in this section, key topics have been identified on the basis of objectives in order to study under relevant area. This section has been added in this research in order to cross check results from analysis with literature to ensure that the analyzed data is grounded in reality.

Chapter-3 Research methodology

After reviewing the literature enough knowledge is gained, based on which the study can be progressed. A blueprint has been prepared in this chapter which deals with various aspects of research methodology such as philosophy, approaches, research design and methods in order to analyze the data.

Chapter-4 Data analysis and interpretation

In this chapter, the data is analyzed by using various statistical tools and techniques as descriptive design has been applied. The analyzed data has been presented with the use of tables and graphs along with interpretation. The abstract findings have been retrieved in this section by interpreting the data for ease of readers to understand results of analysis.

Chapter-5 Conclusions and recommendations

This is the final chapter of this manuscript which is the most useful part for audiences as they get results and their implications in this section. Thus, in chapter-5, conclusions based on analyzed data have been presented. Further, recommendations have also given to beneficiary parties to this study.

CHAPTER-2 LITERATURE REVIEW

In this chapter, an extensive review of literature has been conducted and critical analysis of the same has been done to present conclusions of secondary data. On the basis of above given objectives, below mentioned headings have been found under which the study has to be done. Thus, exiting studies related to these topics have been reviewed under these heads in order to gain insightful information related to this research. It gives specific boundaries to the researcher in order to make the content of research relevant and insightful (Scandura and Williams, 2000).

2.1 Meaning and significance of employee commitment

In present era of intense competition, every business enterprise is facing new challenges regarding gaining competitive edge, higher productivity and business excellence. Unless the employees are committed to an organization, an entity cannot achieve its goals and objectives in efficient manner. Schaufeli, (2012) in his study described the term commitment and asserted that it can be heeded as willingness of social actors to devote their energy and loyalty to social system, the attachment of personality system to social relations, seen as self expressive (Schaufeli, 2012). Thus, commitment of a person includes something of the notion of membership that demonstrates present position of an individual. In present era, commitment in professional terms is associated with employees.

Tims and et. al., (2012) defined employee commitment as a psychological state of employees that characterizes their relationship with company and has implications for staying in the same organization for long run (Tims and et. al., 2012). Thus, from the above definition, it can be stated that commitment is a type of motivation and general attitude which can lead employees to behave in a particular way. Ludwig and Frazier, (2012) described organizational commitment may have three dimensions which are presented in the form of three models, Affective commitment, Continuance commitment and normative commitment (Ludwig and Frazier, 2012). Many researchers have been identified the Affective commitment as an orientation of employees for organization and it explains that such commitment propels employee to continue his/her service in the present company because he/she wants to do so. Harter and et. al., (2002) explored in his study that an Affective approach is a relative strength of individual’s identification with engagement in a particular organization.

Continuance model on the other hand is not based on will of employee to continue his/her services in similar organization (Harter and et. al., 2002). Rothmann and Welsh, (2013) explained the model of continuance employee commitment and asserted that unlike affective commitment model, employees do not stay in a particular organization because of their will but the reason of the same; is lack of other alternative opportunities in the market (Rothmann and Welsh, 2013). However, they are bound to maintain a link with organization and it can be sub- divided into high sacrifice commitment. The third model of organization/employee commitment is normative commitment that is developed on the basis of earlier experiences that are influenced by social and cultural experiences. According to Sonenshein and Dholakia, (2012) the normative aspect inculcates the perception in individuals for moral obligation to remain in a particular company. Thus, these three are common types of employee commitment models which entail why employee stay in a particular company for long run (Sonenshein and Dholakia, 2012).

Commitment of employees is very essential for an organization because increased level of workforce commitment lead to several favorable outcomes to a company. Taipale and et. al., (2011) provided in his study that employee commitment is an important issue to a business enterprise which can be used to analyze anticipated performance, absenteeism and behavior of employees. Thus, it is a psychological commitment that significantly affects organizational excellence (Taipale and et. al., 2011). According to Sparrow, (2013) involvement of employees is most essential element for a company’s success and for retail sector; employee commitment is of greater status. Further, by analyzing the business strategy of several leading retail organizations, he found that commitment was one of the common phenomena used by UK’s leading retail organization in their value and other objective statements (Sparrow, 2013). Tesco’s core values also include commitment to using its scale for good by being responsible retailers. Thus, organizations like Tesco enjoys long term success with focused business and employee commitment (Whysall, 2005).

Menguc and et. al., (2013) also revealed in his study that employee commitment is an important instrument for a company in order to improve its performance in terms of higher profitability or working effectively. In retail organization, employees are directly contacted with customers at their physical store therefore workforce commitment seeks to generate higher profitability with business excellence to an organization (Menguc, B. and et. al., 2013).

2.2 Methods of attaining employee engagement

Employee engagement is a major business concept that described level of enthusiasm and dedication of workers in a job. Billett, (2001) described emotional connection of employees to actively participate in the business activities of an organization as employee engagement. Thus, it is a property of relationship between an entity and its employees. An engaged employee outperforms in enthusiastic manner in order to assist company for achieving business objectives (Billett, 2001). There are various ways which are used by corporate for achieving employee engagement such as taking feedbacks, focusing on organizational level and defining realistic goals. Kinnie and et. al., (2005) in his study suggested the methods of increasing employee engagement and asserted that managers need to start the engagement programs at the top level. According to him, UK’s leading retail organization’s success is significantly based on employee engagement programs because they have realized the importance of employee involvement in initial stages (Kinnie and et. al., 2005).

Retail stores such as Harrods are one of the best examples of organization who has obtained the benefits of employee engagement. Shuck and et. al., (2011) asserted that Harrods has successfully used the methods of engagement such as internal employee magazine, morning briefing, intranet, quarterly employee forum and other engagement programs (Shuck and et. al., 2011). According to Crabb, (2011) the common methods of employee engagement are described under the following heads:

Improving business communications

Crabb, (2011) also identifies the impact of business communication on employee motivation and described the relevance of improved process of circulating the information in a company. He further stated that by improving communication and knowledge among employees, employee engagement can be secured by companies. It outlines the aims and objectives of an entity and also informs all employees regarding corporate and business strategy (Crabb, 2011). Thus, by informing the staff members regarding day to day operational plans, a radical improvement can be encouraged for engaging more employees by retail enterprises.

Living the brand values

In UK, both customers and employees are brand conscious it motivates both of these recognized parties to behave in a particular manner. It is one of the best methods of attaining employee engagement in this dynamic business environment. According to James and et. al., (2011) leading retail enterprises in UK such as Tesco, ASDA, Harrods, Waitrose have gained the benefits of brand values that is perceived by its employees. Thus, organizations should make sure that everyone must understand the models of brand values for securing high level of employee engagement (James and et. al., 2011).

Changing the leadership

Many studies suggest that employee engagement programs are significantly based on management approach in an organization. Changing leadership is one of the most common ways which is used by companies for involving workforce in management activities effectively. Transactional, (2012) recognized changing the leadership as the top most relevant technique used by companies for securing employee commitment through their engagement. He further explained that creating an environment where employees are encouraged for making more decisions on their own. Leaders in an enterprise create the business vision but lower and middle level employees should be delegated more leadership responsibilities. Modern leadership styles such as transformational can assist employee to build a vision by engaging all employees through personal leadership (Transactional, 2012).

Re-structuring the organization

Hennig-Thurau, (2004) suggested in his study that by restructuring or changing business environment, too much hieratical organization structure cannot work. The companies which are not yet successful in involving employees in organizational process can change structure of their enterprise in order to reap favorable outcomes for securing high level of employee commitment and engagement (Hennig-Thurau, 2004). Thus, by using these methods most of the retail organizations including Tesco achieve employee engagement.

2.3 Role of employee engagement program for achieving employee commitment

Generally, engagement and commitment terms are used interchangeably by management and professionals. In practical application and systematic study of human resource management, employee engagement and commitment are distinctly referred. According to Mathis and Jackson, (2011) commitment is related to employee satisfaction along with identification with organization whereas employee engagement involves employee putting discretionary efforts towards attainment of organizational goals (Mathis and Jackson, 2011).

According to Stredwick, (2013), an informed and engaged workforce results in many tangible and intangible benefits to the company. Tangible benefits of a company as concrete in nature and therefore, they can be seen as increasing profitability, asset, and market share of an enterprise (Stredwick, 2013). Ulrich, (2013) argued that employee engagement can give more intangible benefits to an organization which are abstract in nature. According to him, engaged employees are committed ones who assist an enterprise to achieve its targets and to live its values Ulrich, (2013). Thus, it is a recognized democratic process for retail companies in UK by which these companies are making their brand image stronger.

In order to achieve employee commitment role of engagement is very significant because employee engagement and commitment both are interrelated and show positive relation between them. Nahrgang and et. al., (2011) recognized the positive strong relationship (Nahrgang and et. al., 2011). Thus, it can be said that higher the degree of engagement in any organization, higher would degree of correlation between staff engagement and organizational commitment and asserted that both have be the staff commitment towards organization. He further stated that employee engagement provide following benefits to the company:

  • It brings innovation right across the workplace that directly supports the needs of customers of retail organizations and the goals of trust in them
  • Employee engagement is essential for higher rate of staff retention and lower absenteeism as people feel valued and rewarded as their ideas are broad (Cook, 2008).
  • It also assists in improving productivity that improves customer satisfaction and deliver cost savings to the companies
  • Provides an improved working/corporate environment that is based on calm efficiency and a respect for the contribution of others (Armstrong and Taylor, 2014).

The above mentioned discussion shows that employee engagement provides all such benefits which are major characteristics of organizational commitment too. Thus, it can be said that employee engagement plays significant role for an organization to achieve organizational commitment (Baldoni, 2013).

2.4 Role of organizational communication in securing employee commitment

In retail sector, employees are considered as a public face of a company who are responsible for interacting with customers and other stakeholders. Tims and et. al., (2012) concluded in his study that effective communication is essential for satisfying key stakeholders of an organization such as employees and customers and creating a healthy and interactive corporate environment. Employee relationship management is one of the most essential roles of human resource department of retail sector (Tims and et. al., 2012). Many studies have concluded that communication is the most effective way of maintaining relationships with employees. The Macleod Report also published its findings in report “engaging for success” which has been very influential in Human Resource Management (Meyers and et. al., 2004). According to Kunerth and Mosley, (2011) business is benefited by involving in all aspects of decision making which requires communication. Although even after effective communication some people/staff members cannot be linked in employee participation program (Kunerth and Mosley, 2011) Change is one of the crucial aspects for manager which is difficult to manage because it creates fear among employees for change in the work or designation Harter and et. al., (2002) provided in his study that contemporary managers focus on making effective communication plan for employee participation but change in an organization many a times creates hurdles for them (Harter and et. al., 2002). Kurt Lewin also provided that an organization has to follow the three step change model including freezing, transformation and unfreezing. He also revealed in his study that Change management process itself involves communication to employees regarding reasons of implementing change, so that change agents can be identified. Thus, in crucial times, communication is used as weapon for securing maximum commitment from employees and other staff members (Lewin, 1947). The importance of communication to an organization is listed below:

  • It promotes motivation among employees by informing and clarifying the doubts of employees regarding their roles and responsibilities
  • Organizations find communication as a source of information, so that decision making process can be effectively executed and alternative course of actions can be analyzed which are identified by workers by their participation (Klein and et. al., 2012).
  • For altering attitudes of individual employees associated with a particular organization, communication is used as a strategic plan
  • All functions of management can be effectively performed by managers by using appropriate communication in the organization. It also plays significant role in coordinating the activities of management such as planning, controlling, organization and staffing (Mello, 2014).

Thus, from the above listed points it can be stated that organization communication and employee engagement are related. Effective communication in an organization involves participation of all level of management therefore, information and communication structure of an organization plays significant role in employee commitment (Purcell, 2003).

2.5 Improving process of employee involvement and organizational communication

Crabb, (2011) in his study provided that organizational commitment can be secured by companies up to desired extent by focusing on two major elements of strategic management. Strategic management is one of the major fields of concern for an organization which can be successfully implemented by improving communication and employee engagement (Crabb, 2011). Shuck and et. al., (2011) also supported the statement and revealed that two major elements which contribute in success of any organization are internal communication and employee involvement. Middle level managers were identified as vital group of people which support both employee involvement and improved organization communication. He further recommended that retail organizations in UK are facing intense competition and they need to recognize the vital role of middle managers. Most of the companies fail to achieve high level of employee commitment because of inability to use middle management as a weapon to increase organizational effectiveness (Shuck and et. al., 2011).

Most of the researches show that large enterprises including multinational retail chains use multiple layers of management and actions of staff members are determined by primary boss. If there is lack of real employee engagement and in-depth understanding of what is expected to be done then organizational commitment cannot be achieved. Thus, active support of middle level management is vital for improving the process of communication within an organization. However, in two-way or horizontal communication system contribution of middle level management is not significant (Purcell, 2003). Companies may also look for early wins that show organization’s vision in action of the corporate. It is evident that strategic actions based on the objectives of Human Resource Department of a company can assist in improving the process of organizational communication and employee engagement. According to Rothmann and Welsh, (2013) following elements have been recognized which can assist in employee engagement process in a retail organization:

Talent spotting

It is the best way of improving employee engagement because this involves identifying talented people who can make important contribution to the organization can assist company for motivating talented people by gaining maximum participation from them. Talented employees like to be recognized which stimulate them to work with total enthusiasm. They find it as an opportunity and feel as inherent part of the organization. Rothmann and Welsh, (2013) also recognized the benefits of spotting talent in enterprises that employees can be pushed in right direction of organizational success (Rothmann and Welsh, 2013).

Mentoring and coaching

In an organization, mentoring and coaching takes place through structured feedback through informal communication. Leaders act as coaches and mentors who can help the line managers and other employees to develop managerial, problem solving and interpersonal skills. According to Kinnie and et. al., (2005) it also builds relationship among employer and employee and reinforces trust in the company. Thus, this can be used in business process of an entity for bringing high degree of workforce engagement. Ultimately, improvement in engagement programs of the company would assist in securing organizational commitment among employees (Kinnie and et. al., 2005).

Support networks

It is a common practice of companies that managers meet employees regularly, take feedback and share their views and ideas. However, effective meetings are still lacking in the corporate world because this practice is taken just as a responsibility for both employees and managers. It is essential for managers to organize these meetings on regular basis and share insightful ideas and consider the issue of employees. Reilly, (2014) concluded the significance of support network in his study and revealed that employee engagement programs cannot be successful until and unless support networks of an enterprise are strengthened by leaders. They are required to share strategic and operational level plans, so that active participation of workforce can be achieved (Reilly, 2014).

Hendry, (2012) recognized the way of improving communication in an organization for achieving employee commitment and stated that it is essential for understanding the common mistakes in organizational communication. Manipulated information, wrong delivery and inability to maintain confidentiality in important areas are some of the common mistakes that are committed in modern organization (Hendry, 2012). However, use of internet technology has reduced such mistakes considerably but yet effectiveness has not been achieved. Efficient use of Information Technology can assist the company in improving its organizational communication. According to Mikes and Landry, (2014) an organization is required to implement reliability, excellence that requires a master plan including well designed change management and milestones. Thus, by improving quality of meetings, creating opportunities for informal interaction among managers and employees and involving employees in decision making can assist in improving communication in an organization (Mikes and Landry, 2014).

REFERENCES

  • Billett, S., 2001. Learning through work: workplace affordances and individual engagement. Journal of workplace learning.
  • Crabb, S., 2011. The use of coaching principles to foster employee engagement. The Coaching Psychologist.
  • Harter, J. K. and et. al., 2002. Business-unit-level relationship between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes: a meta-analysis. Journal of applied psychology.
  • Hennig-Thurau, T., 2004. Customer orientation of service employees: Its impact on customer satisfaction, commitment, and retention.

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