The Organizational Culture of Quinlan's
Quinlan has been UK’s foremost retail giant for a long period of time.
By end of 1998 there was evidence of a crisis and since then the
company has been on a decline. The company has been ignoring market
changes and trying to maintain its corporate image and identity. This
has caused the customers to drift to more fashionable brands causing
huge loss of business to Quinlan. Presently the company is on a
restructuring exercise to improve sales with particular emphasis on
customer satisfaction and marketing.
Organisation culture at Quinlan’s
Organisation culture can be defined as the set of key values, beliefs,
understandings and norms shared by members of an organization (Daft,
Management, 2003, p88). It guides the behaviour of its employees that
includes routine behaviour, norms and dominant values. As Schein
pointed out culture can be analysed at three levels – visible
artifacts, expressed values and underlying assumptions (University of
Leicester, Management, People and Organisations, section 13). Visible
artifacts are observable outcomes of cultural norms and assumptions.
Examples of artifacts include the language spoken, dress code, the way
employees think and other behaviour observed by anyone.
Organisation culture is shared by everybody in an organisation and
determines to a great extent how people think, behave and where they
place their priorities. In the Quinlan’s case study, the organisations
expressed values and beliefs have been cultivated by the founder Sir
Thomas Quinlan himself. These beliefs are the guiding factors that
influence how people think and feel within the organisation. Let us
take a look at some of the beliefs and assumptions that have been
shared by the employees of Quinlan:
a) Goods produced are of a high quality – Right from the days of the
founder attention was paid to the quality of goods, and the company
thought that this would communicate what the customers wanted.
b) Loyal customers – The company boasts of a solid ‘middle England’
customer base that has been around for over 70 years and helped the
company to sail through recession periods. It has become a much loved
corporate among the British public.
c) Employee oriented culture – Sir Thomas Quinlan himself cared about
his staff very much, with the company offering high remuneration and
benefits to its employees. Unions didn’t exist. High performers were
rewarded handsomely. Those who worked most of their lives were even
rewarded with a pension.
d) Prestigious brand name with long lasting reputation – The company
has been the retail giant for many years with a much loyal customer
base. Sales as well as profits were growing over a long period of time
even during periods that the competitors were struggling.