Assignment Context and Business Scenario B&Q B&Q had concerns about the ageing population, predicted labour shortages and increased competition between employers for younger workers. The company began to recruit older staff despite possible disadvantages in recruiting older people. A 1993 report stated that older employees were more reliable, loyal, conscientious and hard working. But younger employees were seen as more motivated to learn new technologies. Other studies claimed that older workers were poor performers, some with physical weaknesses, absenteeism and higher turnover. Another worry was the relationship between older and younger workers, particularly if a younger manager was in charge. The company opened a new store in Macclesfield in 1990, staffed solely with workers over the age of 50. The results showed that the Macclesfield store had done better than other stores, with higher profits, much reduced staff turnover, over 30% less absenteeism and almost two thirds less ‘shrinkage’ (stock loss because of damage or staff or customer pilfering). B&Q has now extended its policy to respect diversity in its workforce. The culture and structure of the company now reflect its broadening diversity policy. Although the company is still hierarchical, a Diversity Manager reports directly to the Chief Executive. The company Board also takes an active interest in the diversity strategy, which has now been extended to include people of diverse cultures and also people with disabilities. Staff are encouraged to use their language skills with customers. Employees feature heavily in the company’s advertising campaigns and the company is also providing in-house training, apprenticeships and qualifications. It is also widening communication channels by providing opportunities for staff to meet with the Chief Executive, who runs a company blog. Company knowledge is available to staff through video presentations. B&Q runs an employee recognition scheme, winning the prestigious international Gallup Great Workplace Award for the fifth time by 2013. What you must do All of your four answers should be focused on the case study. Task 1 As a management consultant you have been asked to identify the current culture and structure at B&Q. It is suggested that you compare these with at least one other organisation. In the light of its broadening diversity policy, show how the relationship between B&Q’s structure and culture has impacted on its performance. Relate the factors influencing individual behaviour at work to B&Q’s diversity policies. Task 2 Examine the effectiveness of the leadership and management style at B&Q. Compare this with leadership and management styles in other organisations. Explain how the leadership and management style at B&Q is supported by organisational theory. Extend your analysis by using relevant theories of leadership and management. Use a range of theories and other sources of information to evaluate different approaches in other organisations. Task 3 During this period of change, examine the impact that the leadership style at B&Q could have on the motivation of its workforce. Compare the effects of different motivational theories in the workplace. Evaluate the extent to which motivation theories can be useful to managers. Using theory, develop your analysis of the possible effects of different motivational strategies on the workforce, and make recommendations for the most appropriate. Critically evaluate the extent to which the application of motivation theories might be helpful to managers, and also their limitations. Task 4 Using theories about the nature of groups and group behaviour in organisations, independently evaluate the factors that could help or hinder effective teamwork in B&Q. Evaluate the possible impact of technology on team functioning at B&Q. Examine the technologies being developed at B&Q. Use lateral and creative thinking to suggest how such technologies could further promote team functioning at B&Q.