The Role of Culture in the successful implementation of Strategy
Organizational culture describes the collectively shared values and norms of a company’s members and it’s a key building block to the company’s design. Employees learn about their company’s culture through socialization which is a process where employees internalize a company’s values and norms through immersion in the day-to-day operations. (Rothaermel)
When I worked at Tractor Supply Company, culture was at the top of their list. The store culture which basically follows the vision of customer service is key. TSC believes in customer service and seeks to hire employees that do as well. “As a company focused on living out our Mission and Values, Tractor Supply is committed to “work hard, have fun and make money by providing legendary service and great products at everyday low prices.” This mission statement is supported by 10 values – ethics, respect, balance, winning attitude, communication, development, teamwork, change, initiative, and accountability – that drive every business decision we make and the way we interact with our customers and team members.” (TSC)
The socialization process of embedding that culture came through several methods. At TSC all new employees receive training, which includes their beliefs in customer service and creating a caring environment. In addition, all management members attend additional training so that they can work with employees to promote the culture of the store. Because this really is a vital part of driving profit by engaging customers, TSC does hit culture hard. Stores are visited monthly as well by district managers who also seek information on if the store is holding true to company values and culture.
TSC takes it a step further and within the customer surveys that are offered after every purchase, they embed questions that address store climate. TSC uses that data to see if customers feel welcome, receive what they needed and are likely to return to the store. The surveys help determine if employees were welcoming and how much time they spent helping a customer.
Because the retail industry is very competitive, this culture is important at TSC. It’s what sets them apart and brings customers back into the store time and time again. I do think it’s an effective culture that does contribute to the TSC’s competitive advantage over big box retailers that may not welcome customers or spend as much time with them to answer questions.
Rothaermel, Frank. (2018) Strategic Management: Concepts.. 4th Ed. [Columbia College].
Tractor Supply Company. (2020). Mission and Values. https://corporate.tractorsupply.com/company-overview/mission-and-values/default.aspx
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The chapter describes the role of culture in the successful implementation of the strategy.
Consider an employment experience of your own or of someone you have observed closely (e.g., a family member). Describe to the best of your ability the values, norms, and artefacts of the organization. What was the socialization process of embedding the culture? Do you consider this to be an example of an effective culture for contributing to the organization’s competitive advantage? Why or why not?
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