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The overall chaotic situation of Asda by mid-1991 is described in detail by a research study conducted by James Weber and Michael Beer published by the Harvard Business School in 1998. Before 1991, Asda was one of the most successful retail businesses in the United Kingdom It had a competitive advantage due to its unique superstore structure and its low price leadership in the market…
(Weber and Beer, 1998a: p. 1). That was precisely the state of affairs at Asda when Archie Norman entered into the scene as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
The main reasons of the problems that Asda and Archie Norman had to face were due to complex organizational inefficiencies that they had to solve as soon as possible, right away, in order to survive, and at the same time Asda had to become an efficient organization once again. Among the different reasons behind Asda's failures by mid-1991 were the following: Asda as an organization with its own culture had become a bureaucratic and hierarchical institution beginning in the 1980s. As a direct result of this rigid functioning structure in the company any kind of innovation was stopped from being encouraged or implemented. Without any innovation Asda was unable to keep its competitive advantages in the retail market in the United Kingdom. (Weber and Beer, 1998a: p. 6). So Asda and Archie Norman had to face the challenge of transforming the superstore in relation to its management style of doing things as well as implementing a sense of culture based on the core values of Asda. Management and leadership had to change significantly in order to create a new productive and efficient organization.
Norman was clear about the fact that beyond the immediate financial c ...