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N201 Management

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Article 1

Innovation and changes are not the new topic for researchers in business and academic fields, which mainly have been analysis on the influence of them on the future of every business as well as what they would bring to the organization as whole. Retail industry seem to have quite a characteristic that everyone need to be outstanding among the crowd to win and survive in such a competitive world. Globalization has been playing a major role in making challenges become more complex than ever, while innovation and change are among the most effective tools to succeed in those kind of uncertainties. A study by Pantano (2014) called innovation as a driver for all retail industry, which is needed to break the competitiveness of the market due to the globalization around the world. The researcher has found that more and more customers are looking for a better shopping experience in their decision making process, which have shaped the understanding of the innovations ideas to fulfill the market’s desire. Majority of consumers are interested in new technologies to enhance their shopping experience with tools to compare, search, and taste or try the product, reduce store waiting time / queues  ...etc. Thus, companies are investing heavily in new technologies and software to adapt with the market behavior, while those technologies are various depend on their own nature of business in retail, for example fashion retail companies are now trying to build their online platform to boost up their sales via online shoppers. There are many reasons to illustrate the influence of innovation and change of an organization, however some might found the change to be better and some would hurt the company more, thus every new innovations require serous procedures of studies as well as research to be done in advance in order for leaders to make the best possible decision. While, Balasescu (2013) suggested that the innovative concept of social media and mobile technology have a significant impact for retailers, because mobile commerce has become an important channel for retailers to reach out to broader customers in a more effective way including communication and very marketing purpose. The study also outlined the important of how cultural changes within the organization is very crucial for retailers in to day business climate as the consumer behavior change, every aspects of the daily operations and practices must change accordingly as well include changing internal culture, better staff training program to keep track with the changing preference of customers in order to build a loyalty and satisfaction. One thing that have become a trend for every industry is the environmental friendly business that people are now paying more attention and value on those businesses who are supporting welfare and sustainability of the environment. For example, the French beauty brand Lóreal has innovated a sustainability program for the next decades by introduce products that would not cause any deforestation or forestry related materials in order to achieve zero deforestation in 2020. The initiative gains a great support from various group of people and especially be able to attract lots of attention from both existing customers and new customers of Lóreal. These type of new innovation proof that the brand could integrate itself into a bright future with sustainability and environmental friendly development, which have put Lóreal shines in the beauty market around the world and remain one of the largest beauty company in the world. One more study have also shown several important aspects of retailers in order to succeed inside the competitive environment, which researchers have conducted studies based on 3 major retailers around the world such as Nordstorm, Gap and Body Shop. All retailers have chosen similar pathways to develop its brand together with new innovation of products / services and organizational changes. First of all, they have shaped their cultural aspects within their organization by developed a great leadership style across their company, for instance allow every employees to be part of large decision making process as well as let everyone participate effectively in perusing company’s goal. New innovation of a better quality and service have also key aspects of why those companies became so success globally, because being fashion retailers they must attain effectively the quality of their products, especially with new initiatives. The third element is the structure that would drive the growth and sustainability of the company in a long run, which require a great effort of leaders to change cultural practices of the employees into a standard that adapt with the environment of their organization along the way of the development (Vere & Kleiner, 1997).

All the three journals have proof that innovation and change have been an important aspects that require deep understanding from both professionals and academics researchers as it has a complicate character according to the different of business.

Article 2

The strategic CSR integration framework presented by Marques-Mendes and Santos (2016) provides a vision for companies to evolve in embedding SD in the firms’ DNA. Beyond that, Marques-Mendes and Santos (2016) have also elaborated a roadmap that consists of several majority levels and related activities, which acts as an excellent point of reference for this research project and the two fields in focus. 

Social collaboration and (SD) project portfolio management, as described in the aims and objectives of this study, are about a pro-active approach towards SD. Therefore, the appropriate entry point in the framework provided by Marques-Mendes and Santos (2016) is the “strategic innovation” stage (the 3rd out of six levels). This stage describes a leadership style that is promoting CSR (or SD) because the firm and its management have understood how CSR (and SD) can foster innovation that emerges from the relationship between a company and its stakeholders (Marques-Mendes and Santos, 2016). The company further pursues related initiatives using dynamical structures and varying action plans as described by Marques-Mendesand Santos (2016), in which this paper assumes that project portfolio management can become active to drive initiatives more efficiently. CSR, at this majority level, is the first time associated with innovation. This association is where the current study argues that social collaboration plays a crucial role to utilize the creative potential inherent in a (cultural) diverse workforce effectively.

“Strategic integration”, the fourth stage in Marques-Mendes and Santos’s (2016) model, goes a step further. This majority level builds upon formal structures, stable resource allocations, cultural values characterized by openness, trust, a firms’ self-motivation towards pursuing CSR objectives and also includes audits or assessments to validate the progress and goal achievement (Marques-Mendes and Santos, 2016). 

This stage is where it is supposed that (SD) project portfolio management unfolds to its full extent, as further described in a study that differentiates between three theatres. Rangan, Chase, and Karim (2015) are explaining a lack of coordination and coherence of SD programs in companies, which hampers related efforts, proposing a solution by differentiating between theatrescalled “philanthropy”, “operational effectiveness”, and “business model transformation to create shared values” (Rangan, Chase, and Karim, 2015). Whereas projects in the second theatreoften (not necessarily) increase revenues or decrease costs, the first is rather detached from business performance (at least concerning the direct impact (Rangan, Chase, and Karim, 2015). The latter, on the other hand, is usually about entirely new (or adapted) business models that take social or environmental issues as a starting point (Rangan, Chase, and Karim, 2015). Hence, the third theatre is closest to “CSR innovation” as discussed by Dobers and Halme (2009). Beyond that, projects in these theatres can facilitate each other, or even span several theatres, as also explicitly stated by the authors, although that firms often struggle in aligning projects across or even within these theatres (Rangan, Chase, and Karim, 2015). Hence, implementing such a portfolio management will probably support strategic integration and interrelates directly with the ideological, procedural, and consequentialist dimensions and the related six CSR development phases presented by Marques-Mendes and Santos (2016). Achieving coherence by “pruning and aligning programs within theatres” and “developing an interdisciplinary CSR strategy” as described by Rangan, Chase, and Karim (2015, p. 44-48) ensures a strategic fit between CSR (or SD) and company strategies and a more intense involvement of the top management as suggested by Marques-Mendes and Santos (2016) in the first two variables of the procedural dimension. “Developing metrics to gauge performance” as described by Rangan, Chase, and Karim (2015, p. 45-48) directly relates to the consequentialist dimension and its first value of assessing “consequences, benefits, and impacts” as described by Marques-Mendes and Santos (2016). Finally, coordinating programs across theatres” as suggested by Rangan, Chase, and Karim (2015, p. 47-48) makes an appropriate resource allocation and integration of CSR (and SD) activities into business practices possible as discussed by Marques-Mendes and Santos (2016) in the fourth variable of the procedural dimension.

The final stage is about “transformation”, which is grounded in an extensive internal alignment of corporate and sustainable development strategies and a visionary approach, and further characterized by a deep-rooted culture of openness and self-motivation that originates from social vocation to pursue CSR (Marques-Mendes and Santos, 2016). At this level, “CSR innovation” as described by Dobers and Halme (2009) is most likely to emerge, and this last stage is where the entire potential of social collaboration is expected to take effect. A study byBouncken, Brem, and Kraus (2015) underpins the creative potential inherent in culturally diverse teams to foster innovation (which this transformation stage is about), but also highlights related challenges, taking cultural differences discussed by Hofstede or Hall and Hall as a basis. As stated by the authors, cultural diversity can increase creativity because of different perspectives and the variety of individual knowledge, but, different values can also lead to mistrust and jeopardize team morale (Bouncken, Brem, and Kraus, 2015). Hence, whereas diverse cognitive styles, knowledge and motivational factors encourage creativity and innovation, differences in the context of time, context, and space can also compromise efforts (Bouncken,Brem, and Kraus, 2015). The risks are particularly crucial considering the importance of trust, openness, and motivation as mentioned by Marques-Mendes and Santos (2016). Beyond that, also differences in power distance, individualism (vs. collectivism), and exerting dominance over from one over another culture can hamper the entire process (Bouncken, Brem, and Kraus, 2015). The analysis provided by the authors underpins the tremendous potential for corporate sustainable development trough social collaboration within a culturally diverse workforce, but it also highlights key elements that call for consideration to avoid adverse effects. Considering these findings is crucial when initiating a discourse as appropriate measures must go in hand with establishing shared values as suggested by Marques-Mendes and Santos (2016) concerning the ideological dimension.

Hence, embedding both approaches (social collaboration and (SD) project portfolio management) in the organizations’ DNA as described above, is expected to support a firms’ evolution in moving from a “talker” to a “walker” as stated by Marques-Mendes and Santos (2016, p. 371-372). Doing so closes the gap between thought and action, a common issue not just mentioned by Marques-Mendes and Santos (2016) but also ascertained in other studies such as by Ramus and Montiel (2005) who are discussing the frequently encountered gap between policies and the actual implementation. This literature review provides firsts insights how the two ingredients can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of corporate sustainable development and provides the theoretical starting points to derive an appropriate questionnaire.

Additional literature will have to be taken into consideration and included in the research project. The necessity to consider various leadership styles is becoming apparent (e.g. transformational to initiate and moderate the discourse (related to social collaboration) vs. transactional to decide upon and implement initiatives (related to project portfolio management). Besides that, social networks and related practices to facilitate contribution and foster creativity in the context of SD call for further investigation.

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