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1. Identify the external and internal forces, strategies, interests and/or issues giving rise to the need/potential for organisational transformation in Conagra Brands.
2. Drawing on one approach from “Burnes, B. (2017) Managing change (7th ed.) Chapter 11 A framework for change: Approaches and choices (pp399-419).”
a. Discuss why you have chosen this approach and why it is appropriate;
b. Provide an overview of how transformational change could proceed under this approach;
c. Discuss relevant strategic and political competencies that could assist this approach to transformation, how you could contribute and how you could improve your capacity to contribute.
 

About the Company

The aim of the report is to integrate the knowledge from transformation, global strategy and business analytics of ConAgra Foods. It includes the clear understanding of all the three aspects and highlights the issues faced by the company. Moreover, there are certain frameworks that are used in the assessment to give clear understanding regarding the aspects. This report will help the company in identifying all the possible aspects that are essential for the betterment of the company. This analysis will be beneficial for the company at the time of the expansion of the business.

ConAgra Brands is a North American packaged foods company with the headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. The company produces and sells the product under the various brand names that are available in restaurants, supermarkets, and food service counters. It combines a rich heritage of making good food with a sharpened focus and entrepreneurial spirit. The company came into the existence in the year 1919 by Frank Little and Alva Kinney. The portfolio of the company includes emerging and iconic brands who continue to evolve to provide the contemporary choices for every occasion (ConAgra Brands, 2018). Some of the emerging brands consist of Hunt’s, Healthy Choice, Reddi-Wip, Bertolli, Frontera, Healthy Choice, Slim Jim, and many others. A ConAgra food has a strong business to business presence for supplying sweet potato and frozen potato products along with the other vegetable, spice and grain products. 

Organisational transformation exists when there is a change in the way the business is conducted or in the event of a re-engineering or restricting activity. Most of the business gets affected due to the external and internal forces (Waddell, et.al, 2016). Some of the forces which lead to the transformation in the ConAgra foods are discussed below: -

External factors directly or indirectly create the impact on the organization which leads to the changes in the strategies of the company. Some of the important factors are discussed below: -

Marketing conditions: - The marketing conditions never remain constant due to quick changes in the needs, desire and the expectations of the customers. These marketing conditions affect the working of the ConAgra foods. The change in the taste and preference of the foods forces the company to bring changes in the food that they offer to the customers (Management Study Guide, 2018). This factor forces the company to bring the changes in their working and to bring something new which is liked by the consumers.

Organisational Transformation

Competitors: - The competitors are also involved in the external factors that affect the working of the company. The competitors of the ConAgra Foods include Kraft Foods, General Mills, TreeHouse Foods, Lancaster colony and many others. Out of these competitors, the company who give tough competition to the ConAgra foods is Kraft (Forbes, 2012). These competitors make the company bring the changes in their way of working and conducting the business in the competitive environment. 

It is not necessary that the changes in the organisation takes place due to the external factors but it might occur due to the internal factors. ConAgra foods might also get affected due to the internal factor that takes place within the organization.  

Systematic forces: - There are numerous numbers of companies who operate the business in several subsystems. These subsystems are interconnected with the business and the manager of the company has to divide the employees so that the work can be performed effectively. This is the only reason due to which the ConAgra foods have divided the workforce according to the task and work that needs to be done by the employees. For instance: more than 9,500 employees transitioned to TreeHouse Foods (ConAgra Brands, 2018).

Nature of workforce: - The nature of workforce is one of the internal factors which fluctuate with the change in the generation and time. ConAgra Foods consist of more than 13,000 employees in the company which include people belongs to a different generation. Considering the new generation the employees are educated enough due to which they have faith in the human values and question authority of managers. This leads to the problems for the managers to manage the workforce and this behavior also leads to high retention in the company.

The company identified and analyzed few issues which affect the working of the company and leads to the organizational transformation. Some of the issues due to which the company brought changes in the business are discussed below: -

The cost structure refers to as the relative proportions of fixed and variable costs that a business incurs. This is an effective tool that helps the company in determining the prices with the use of the cost-based pricing strategy. The uncompetitive cost structure shows that the company is facing problems related to the price while competing with the competitors (Strategy&, 2018). Moreover, due to this the company is not able to register the growth over its competitors. Considering the same, the company decided to reset the cost structure that helps the company in growing the business.

Issues that lead to the Organisational Transformation

Strengthened capabilities: - Every company has the capability to achieve the growth in the business. ConAgra Foods is now willing to strengthen its capabilities by providing proper training to their employees which ultimately helps them in achieving the growth in the sales of the company. The company is more focused towards the growth-oriented capabilities so that they can register the leading position in the market. ConAgra is currently taking the help of PWC Strategy&, a consultancy firm that helps the companies to form the practical strategies for attaining essential advantage (Strategy&, 2018). 

ConAgra Foods had formed different strategies to bring the organizational transformation in the business.

  • Realigning operating model: - An operating model is a visual representation that represents how the company delivers value to its external and internal customers. Through this, the company will be able to generate satisfaction among a maximum number of customers.
  • Acquisition: - Company formed the strategy to acquire the on-trend brands such as Frontera Foods, Red Fork, Boulder meat snack, Salpica brands and many others. This will help the company in registering the growth (Nutraceuticals World, 2016).

Framework for change shows the four approaches determined by Burnes. The image shows four approaches to change that is emergent change, bold stroke, planned change, and kaizen or Tayloristic (Burnes, 2017). Moreover, the image reflects the four quadrants that are for the small-scale change and for the large-scale change.

Out of this approaches the approach that has been selected is “Bold Stroke”. This approach has been selected because the approach focuses on the change in the structures and processes of the company. The approach related to the situation when the focus is mainly on the changes in turns and processes at the level of the entire organization (Burnes, 2017). Similarly, ConAgra foods have brought changes major changes in their business processes and structure due to which this approach is most appropriate one. These major changes include spinning off a vertically integrated potato business, resetting the cost structure, relocating headquarters, acquisition of few on-trends brands along with this the company realigns its operating model. The company takes the major steps when they found the serious trouble and needs to act quickly to realign itself in the dynamic environment. ConAgra Foods brought major changes due to which this approach is most suitable one.

The transformational change can be proceeding under the approach of bold stroke. Organisation transformation includes the re-engineering or restricting the activity of the company. When the company predicts any possibility of the crises then they make their structure and business suitable for the external environment this leads to the transformation of the company. This approach reflects that the company brings the major shifts in the structure on the organizational level. ConAgra Foods can make the major changes in the organizational considering the approach as a reference. The bold stroke is included in the large-scale transformation which shows that under this approach the company brings the major changes in the organization.

Strategies for Organisational Transformation

It is essential for the organizations to bring the transformation after considering the competitive and tough environment. This is the fact that to bring the changes many individuals with different capabilities are involves in the work of transformation within the organizations (Crawford and Nahmias, 2010). There are different types of strategic and political competencies that support the company to bring the changes in the organization. Out of these, few are discussed below: -

Strategic competence: - It is the ability of the organization to acquire, store, recall, interpret and act on the information that is related to the longer-term survival and well-being of the firm (Fernández Genao, 2010).

  • Meta-level Strategic competence: - This competence gets integrate rationality with intuition to bring faster reactions that are essential for the company to survive in the complex and turbulent times. This competency helps the ConAgra Foods to detect the weak signals and to indicate the need for change.
  • Competency of responding in difficult times: - The strategic competence includes the capability of responding in the difficult times of the company. This competency is essential for the success of the changes in the structure and processes. The manager of the ConAgra Foods has to ensure that they are able to respond when they found that external factors affect the company and this capability helps them to take a step at the same time.

Political competence: - Political competence in the organization is the sense of understanding what you can and control in the business. These political competences are important for the leaders in the organization as this capability give support to the leads to takes the steps which lead to change (Johnson, 2008). Some of the political competence that guides leaders are given below: -

  • Decision-making capabilities: - This capability helps the leader to decide when to take the action as there is a specific time for every action to make it successful. This decision brings the change in the business activities. The leaders of the ConAgra Foods have to decide the perfect time while bringing the changes into the organization structure and processes.
  • Identifying the employees who resist changes: - Whenever a change takes place in any company there is resistance towards the change by the employees. Bold stroke approach reflects the major changes in the ConAgra Foods which affect the employees of the company. The leader of the company should have capabilities to identify who the entire person who can actually resist the changes which will take place.
  • Engage others to join: - The leader of the ConAgra Foods needs the capabilities through which they can motivate or influence the employees to join the activities that are taking place while the transformation in the structure and process of the business. These capabilities will assist to conduct this approach (Johnson, 2008) 

The capacity of the contribution of the manager, leader or employees in the organizational transformation can be improved with the help of the development of the strategic and political competences.

Training: - Training at every level helps the company in makes the employees understand that changes are required for every business considering the external and internal factors. ConAgra foods can provide the personal development training to the employees through which they will able to develop the skills.

Delegate of authority with responsibilities: - The manager of a company should delegate the authority with responsibilities which helps in improving the skills of decision making. Along with this, they will be able to improve interpersonal skills which are essential for every employee.

The global strategy is defined in the business strategy that indulges businesses, companies or firms that operate the business in the competitive environment (Johnson, 2016).  

A PESTLE analysis is a framework that is used by the marketers to evaluate and monitor the macro-environmental factors that create the impact on the working of the company (Kotler, 2015). ConAgra foods also make use of this framework to analyze the factors that might affect the working of the company.

Political factors: - Political factors affect the long-term profitability of the ConAgra Foods in the market. The company deals in processed and packaged goods in more than dozen countries which show that the company exposes itself in front of different types of political environment and system risks. It is essential for the company to analyze the market before making expansion in the country. The change in the tax regulation and tariffs related to the customer goods affect the working of the company as they have to pay the high amount as a tax on the import and export of goods (Fern Fort University, 2018). The pricing regulations on the consumer goods also affect the ConAgra foods due to which they are not able to generate appropriate revenue.

Approach to Change

Economic factors: - The United States is by far the largest economy in North America and the largest national economy in the world. The GDP of North America was $21.2 trillion (Nominal 2016) with the GDP growth of 2.9% (2012-2013). This shows that the ConAgra Foods can easily generate the profit due to the high purchasing power of the customers in North America. Along with this, the people of North America are literate and skilled which means the company has to pay high wage rates.

Social factors: - ConAgra Foods might face the problem of the change in the customers taste and preference for the food which forces the company to bring the changes in their packaged food. In addition to this, there are numerous customers who stay only at home meals instead of packed foods. Along with this, the consumers who are buying the products on the daily basis they are seeking for the cheaper brands to make it affordable for them. Further, along with the cheap products the customers are also looking for healthy food (Armstrong, et.al, 2015). ConAgra has invested in the Healthy Choice brand which fulfills the needs of the consumer for the healthy products.

Technological factors: - Technology with the innovation is the cornerstones of the US economy and the company has a vast opportunity in North America to adopt the technology for making the use of the business activities. The advancement in the agricultural technology is increasing which gives an opportunity to the company to increase yield and to reduce the costly inputs like nutrients and pesticide expenses. Moreover, the company has used different technologies in the manufacturing of products as well. For Instance; recycled Polylactic Acid (PLA), this PLA shrink the film contains over 50% post-industrial recycled materials (Fern Fort University, 2018). This PLA helps the company in reducing the waste from landfill, greenhouse gasses and the energy consumption. The technology supports the company to achieve the growth in the international markets.

Legal factors: - It is essential for the ConAgra foods to accomplish the legal obligations which might affect the working of the company. In North America, it is essential for the company to resolve the issues related to the product safety, consumer rights and laws, equal opportunities, health safety (ConAgra Brands, 2018). It is essential for the ConAgra Foods to follow the guidelines related to the safety and quality of the products that the company is offering to its customers. Moreover, the company has to follow the Stock Retention Guidelines, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration because the lack of legal obligations might affect the working and reputation of the company in the market.

Bold Stroke

Environmental factors: - The environment sustainability is one of the important external elements that can affect the working of the company. Agreeing to this, the ConAgra Foods believes in creating Good Food, Strong Communities, and Better Planet. Considering the prediction of the population of 9 billion by the year 2050, the company is focused towards the minimizing the use of the resources (water, energy, materials, etc.). The company submitted approximately 58 projects to improve the energy efficiency, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, elimination of waste and to conserve water. In addition, the vision of the company is to involve the employees that help in bringing sustainability in life (ConAgra Brands, 2018).

The opportunities and threats of the company is one of the external factors that affect the international business activities of the company. 

  • The company has an opportunity to acquire more production plants that helps the business to form a strong recognition of brand in the market.
  • ConAgra Foods has an opportunity to improve its financial position by raising debts for the company.
  • The company has the opportunity of expansion of product and services that help the company to achieve success.
  • The company can expand the business in the international market where the company has vast opportunity to generate profit. The potential markets where the company can expand the business include market of Europe and Asia (ConAgra Brands, 2018).
  • The import of the raw material from different countries is affected by the taxes and duties which is a threat to the company.
  • The competitors are giving strong competition to the ConAgra Foods which affects the current strategy of the company. Moreover, the prices kept by the competitors are one of the threats to the company (Adam, 2012).

Bartlett & Ghoshal’s gathered the business activities on the basis of global integration and the local responsiveness. Companies who are highly global integrated perform business activities with the motive to reduce the cost as much as possible (Bartlett and Ghoshal, 1988). Companies who are highly locally responsive put in extra efforts to adapt the products and services to fulfill the needs of the local customers (Harzing, 2000). These two factors clustered four different types of strategies that are Multi-domestic, Transnational, Global and international strategies which help in international operations (Verbeke, 2013).

Considering the Bartlett & Ghoshal’s typology the best strategy for the company is a Global strategy. ConAgra Foods is one of the highly recognized companies in North America so, through this strategy, the company can offer its products across the world. This strategy will help the company to enhance the efficiency in order to reduce the cost as much as possible (Harzing, 2000). Maximum numbers of global companies are centralized due to which the subsidiaries of the company depend on the headquarters. This mode is also known as the hub-and-stroke model (Business to you, 2017). This strategy is appropriate for the company because the strategy includes high integration and low responsiveness. This high integration helps the company to reduce the cost of the products which helps the company in making a high profit. In addition, the company can consider few needs of the local person to satisfy them. Further, it is suggested to the ConAgra Foods to expand the business in France, a country in Europe. There is the possibility of a hike in the packaged food market of France (Euromonitor International, 2017).

There are different viable options for internationally growing their core businesses in a distant new market. Some of them are discussed below: -

  • Strategic alliance: - It refers to as cooperative agreements formed with different firms with the objective of earning a profit. The strategic alliance takes place mainly between the firms in the industrialized nations. The company can form these alliances for short span of time which is beneficial for the ConAgra foods in identifying the aspects related to the market. There are numerous benefits if the company gets involved in the strategic alliance as they will be able to exchange the technology advancement, will provide an opportunity to the company to remain in the global market as a competitor and give an opportunity to the company to develop different skills. ConAgra Foods can adopt this strategy for the entry into the distant new market.
  • Joint venture: - It is a business entity created by two or more parties and this agreement is characterized by shared ownership, returns, risk, governance, and others. ConAgra Foods can perform the core business activities by forming a joint venture with the firm who is already present in the market of France. The joint venture will be beneficial for the company as they will able to get the detailed analysis of the France market. Moreover, the company can share the profit and loss equally.
  • Franchising: - It refers to as a system in which the semi-independent business owner pay the fees and the royalties to the parent companies in return the owner gets the right to become identified with the trademark. This will safeguard the company to spend the whole amount which might be invested by the company in the whole owned subsidiary.

ConAgra Foods will find the some ethical and cross-culture challenged which might affect the working of the company in France due to which the company should try to mitigate the risk before entering into the market of France (French, 2015).

Language: - The culture of France is essential to be considered by the company who is performing the cross-border moves. The people of France are extremely proud of their language and they are passionate about the good food and wine (TFM Group, 2018). Thus, the company might face the issue of language while dealing with the companies available in France.

Business Meetings: - France companies are not different from American countries in the meeting but the gap between the traditions might resist them to get involved in the meetings. The business meetings of France are often creative and informative that gives the opportunity to both the parties to learn. It is suggested to the company to respect the traditions of France that helps the ConAgra Foods to get involved in deals (Understand France, 2018).

Illegal Immigrants: - France is dealing with the issue of illegal immigrants mainly from the Spain and Italy. This is the fact that the company is trying to expel these immigrants because these immigrants are affecting the new businesses in France. ConAgra Foods will face this issue while conducting the core business activities as these immigrants will steal the ideas of the business. These immigrants work as an employee with the new start-up and then steal the business tactics which affect the business survival in France (Understand France, 2018). It is essential for the company to resolve the issue before entering the market. The company can check the documents of identity and birth certificates of employees as this will give the assurance to the company that they are hiring a genuine person. The number of illegal immigrants is predicted between 200,000 and 400,000 (Understand France, 2018).

Racism: - In France, most of the companies discriminate the youngsters on the basis of black and Arab but this is not true that France is a racist country. Considering the analysis, the country is positive for immigrants than the other major countries which include the USA. According to the recent study, there are 32% of the French (vs. 67% of the British) thinks that they are too many immigrants (Understand France, 2018). ConAgra food does not believe in racism and the company believes in skills and abilities while hiring the employees in the organization.

Business analytics refers to as the skills, technologies and the practices that the company conduct to improve the performance (Evans and Lindner, 2012).

The organizational strategy is the sum of the actions that is formed by the company to achieve the long-term goals of the company. ConAgra Foods has brought many changes in their strategy from past few years and still, the company is willing to bring the changes in their strategy.

  • ConAgra Foods is aiming to develop a supplier diversity programs to improve the services that they are offering to customers. The objective of the company is to form the right mixtures of the suppliers that help the company to create a success in the market. In the year 2014, the company decided to incorporate more suppliers by tracking them. The company was willing to provide a real solution to the business for which the company restructures their supplier diversity program. This strategy of the company helps them in forming good terms with those who can provide quality products.
  • Another strategy of the company is to improve the profitability and for this, the company is focusing on core business and optimizing its product portfolio which helps the company in enhancing long-term performance. The company has the plan to segregate ConAgra into two public companies; Lamb Weston and ConAgra Brands. The separation of the business into two parts will increase the shareholder's wealth and operating performance of the business. The company is putting the efforts to enhance the scale of the Frozen food which helps the company in growth profile (Seeking Alpha, 2015). These were the strategies which were formed by the company which leads to the changes in the business.

Business analytics is categorized into 3 types which are strategic analysis, tactical analysis, and operational analysis.

  • Strategic analysis: - This analysis deals with the pre-project work and this process helps the company in identifying the business problems, strategies and goals. This analysis offers the management information reporting that helps the company in making the effective decision.
  • Tactical analysis: - It includes the knowledge of the specific business analysis technique to apply at the right time.
  • Operational analysis: - It focuses on the business aspects by leveraging information technology. It is also a process of studying operational system with the objective to identify the opportunities related to the business improvement (Turban, Sharda, and Delen, 2011).

There are different types of tools and procedure that are present but it is totally depended upon the current business activities of the company.

The business intelligence is required to run the business while business analytics are required to bring the change in the business (Heinze, 2015). ConAgra Foods make use of the data in its management of the business intelligence.  The company makes use of the operational database management system (DBMS) to maintain the data related to order entry, manufacturing and purchasing (Chen, Chiang and Storey, 2012). BI application can read the data directly through the operational DBMS as long as simple reporting and the small database is applied. Data has been extracted from its operational database as well as purchase data has been extracted from external data vendors and this data is read through the BI DBMS. In addition, the BI application can prepare the reports as well as carry out some advanced analyses that are based on the data. The company can make use of the BI application to read the data that is essential for the management.

Strengths

  • The research and development help the company to achieve the success so one of the strengths of the company is its research team.
  • ConAgra foods have strong financial arrangements which help the company to maintain its business operations effectively (Fern Fort University, 2018).
  • The company is experiencing high brand recognition in the markets where the company has its operations.
  • The company has diversified the portfolio of business and broad vision due to which the company has its expansion plans.

Weaknesses

  • There are gaps in the product range that are sold by the company and the expectations of the customers and this lack are giving an advantage to the competitors.
  • The company has not been able to deal with the challenges by the new entrants in the same market due to which the company has lost its market share. The company should build the internal feedback mechanism which might help the business to counter the challenges (Fern Fort University, 2018).

Opportunities

  • The company has a great opportunity to take the advantage of the technology in gaining the market of the new product category.
  • The company should develop its market that will enhance the competitiveness of the company as compared to its competitors (Harvard Business School, 2006).
  • The company has an opportunity to invest the amount in the online channel which helps the company informing customer base. Moreover, the company will be able to know more about customer needs with the use of the big data analytics.

Threats

  • Lack of the skilled labor in the global market might affect the revenue growth of ConAgra Foods.
  • Inconsistent supply of the innovative products might affect the sales of the company which is a threat.
  • The strength of the local distributor is increasing every day which is a threat to the company (Harvard Business School, 2006).

Strategic use of the business analytics helps the company to improve the organization's decision-making capabilities. Decision-making capabilities in the business are becoming important for the growth of the business. Business requires the data with the help of which they can make the effective decision for the company. The decision makers get the data with the use of the business analytics and they make use of the capabilities while making the decision. It is difficult for them to consider all the parameter before making the effective decision (Turban, Sharda and Delen, 2011). While making the decision the decision makers can give the proper reasoning behind the use of the data by the company.

The business analytical techniques allow understanding and stimulating the demand, efficient allocation of resources, lower distribution cost. These techniques give an opportunity to the decision maker to understand the data and to make the decision accordingly. Considering the data related to the demand the decision maker should be capable to analyze the right time to take a decision. Therefore, the data improve the capabilities of decision making that is to make the right decision at right time (Shmueli, et.al, 2017).

The decision makers should have the capability of the intuition. This capability will improve after the use of the business analytics as the data and details will help the decision maker to predict the condition of the market. According to their prediction, they can make intuition related to the changes that are going to take place (Chen, Chiang and Storey, 2012).

The threat of New entrants

The new entrants in the packaged food industry bring innovation along with them which might affect the working of ConAgra Foods. In addition, these entrants can give the threat of pricing of products, value proposition to customers, cost and many others. The company can resolve all the barriers with the help of big data, the company can extract the data related to the number of new entrants in the year, the advanced technology available, details of suppliers and many others (Fern Fort University, 2018). Though, this is also the fact that these new entrants extract all the data before entering the market so this big-data is leading to the new entrants in markets.

Bargaining power of suppliers

The suppliers of the consumer goods make use of their power in negating and getting high prices for processed and packaged goods. The suppliers also show their power to the ConAgra Foods which might affect the pricing strategy of the company. Over here, the company can make use of big-data in analyzing the number of suppliers that are available in the market so that they can form tie-ups with other suppliers.

Bargaining power of buyers

The customer of the company often keeps high expectations due to which they opt for the best available product at the minimum prices. ConAgra Foods keep the most powerful and smaller customer base (Pringle and Huisman, 2011). The bargaining power of the customers is high which means they can easily switch. The company can overcome the situation and can add new customers with the help of big data. Big data helps the company in analyzing the details related to the needs of the customers which helps them in bringing innovative products at low prices to satisfy the customers.

Threats of Substitute products or services

When in the market substitutes of the products are available then the company face the competition in the sales and revenue. ConAgra foods face high substitutes of the product with the rise in the substitutes of the products (Fern Fort University, 2018). The company deals in the packaged products so the substitute of the products will be fast food available in the market. Big Data helps the company in analyzing the available substitutes of products and the form in which they are present. Moreover, they will analysis that is it possible for the company offer the same products as a packaged product or not.

A ConAgra food operates its business activity in the highly competitive market. The competitors of the company include Kraft Foods, General Mills, TreeHouse Foods, Lancaster colony and many others. Big Data helps the company in the analysis the strategies used by the competitors in the market to achieve the success (Proctor, 2014). Moreover, the extracted data will also guide the manager for the new strategy against the competitors. The extraction of the market data will help the ConAgra foods to acquire the largest market share.

Conclusion 

It can be concluded at the end that there are 3 aspect transformation, global strategy and business analytics which are discussed in the report on ConAgra Foods. The report includes different frameworks and approaches that are used for the evaluation of every aspect of the company. These frameworks help the company in analyzing the aspects in the perspective of the company. The aspects of transformation include the use of bold stroke approach, business strategy aspect includes PESTLE analysis, Bartlett’s and Ghoshal’s typology is explained and business analytics aspect include SWOT analysis and Porter’s five force framework. The above-discussed frameworks are important for analyzing the integration of the knowledge components. 

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