Work Culture for Business Sustainability in Retail: Morrisons Case Study

Evaluating The Significance of A Learning Work Culture for Long Term Business Sustainability in The UK’s Retail Industry: Morrisons Case Study

Abstract

Introduction: In the competitive business arena, firms are required to develop their skill set in a manner such that they are able to their productivity matches the current customers’ expectations. Morrisons relies heavily on the productivity level of its staff, thus have included learning session at workplace. The aim of the study is to assess the impact of learning work culture of Morrisons on business sustainability. However, the objective is to examine how effective has been the learning work culture of Morrisons on its market sustainability. Literature Review: Learning work culture the knowledge base of the staffs driven towards meeting the organizational objectives. The staffs are required to hone their skill set, although the involvement of the leaders in this aspect is quite significant. Morrisons has its own training academy wherein its employees are trained in respective job lines. The leaders of each of the departments are even trained so as to channelize the efforts of the employees to practise learning culture at work. Methodology: As positivism is scientific by nature, the same has been chosen here.  In order to avoid biasness, simple random sample selection process is considered while the interviewees are asked questions on a personal basis. 80 employees and 5 managers of Morrisons has been surveyed and interviewed, respectively.

Findings: The chapter has briefed the fact that learning work culture is correlated with business sustainability. The employees were of the opinion that their potency has increased as a result of the current learning work culture at Morrisons. However, in future events the brand should overcome the identified flaws. Conclusion and Recommendations: Learning work culture helps in building organizational sustainability by increasing the productivity level of the staffs. However, Morrisons learning session lacks practicality thus requiring the future efforts of the brand to follow a practical training or learning session. The organization can even inculcate the organizational habit of knowledge sharing for market sustainability.

Chapter 1

Introduction

1.0 Background of the study:

The fact that learning can be undertaken at workplace and that it is crucial for building working knowledge and skill is an age old fact. However, presently the interest among the employers, policy makers and researchers is how learning can be facilitated at workplace so as to develop the efficiency level of the staffs to meet the exact market demands (Kolb, 2008). As learning culture at work is not new so, there has been an interest in its learning throughout the present study. The changing political, social, economic and cultural market conditions have presented sustainability threats among several corporate. While the smaller firms are being unable to suit themselves with the changing market structure, giant retailers are even trying hard to maintain its current market position (Argyris and Schön, 2008).  Although, technological advancement have facilitated firms in quicker service delivery or in developing quality offerings, sound technical knowledge will only result in non-utilization of the machinery. Learning work culture thus integrates how to make fullest utilization of the available resources so as to meet market necessities.

There is no single definition of workplace learning as it has acquitted broad variety of several meanings. Bateson (2012) has put forth that workplace has become a site of learning that is linked with two varied purpose: while one is the enterprise development via contribution made to production, effectiveness and innovation, the second is individual nurture thorough contributing to knowledge, skills and capacity. The latter aspect is considered to help in furthering employees’ own learning skills and also as citizens of workplace society. The better are the market knowledge and practical ability of the staff, higher will be chances of reducing service quality gap (Boud, 2009). Lower the gap, higher will be the chances of customer satisfaction from the current offerings. Increased customer satisfaction eventually leads to brand equity, thereby, strengthening market position of the organization.

Organisational learning can be accomplished through encouraging change and innovation in an effective work environment. Hence, the learning work culture and the business sustainability have become a severe issue in the competitive business organisations. In other words, the effectiveness of workplace learning can be achieved mainly by how the broader sets of interests are promoted (Beckett and Hager, 2010). It also relies on the motivational skill set of the employers to engage its staffs in a unified learning workplace culture. As mismanagement or reluctance is commonly seen among staffs of large business houses, learning work culture might thus face failure (Arthur and Aiman, 2011). As the staffs’ productivity is linked to organizational effectiveness, dissatisfied or incompetent employees would automatically drop the overall performance level of the corporate. In eventual instance, the market existences of retail firms are threatened.

Workplace learning is thus often featured and promoted to be advantageous for both the employers and the staffs. Bojanic (2011) acknowledged it’s undertaking to ensure development in performance and productivity and to potentially develop opportunities for personal and professional development. Driven by the latter desire, the staffs will be encouraged to be involved in skill development session in turn brightening the future of the organization in the market. However, besides the latter merits, learning work culture facilitates a movement towards an equal and socially inclusive society where there will be better jobs and more skilled labours to occupy them (Fouberg, 2012). The availability of skilled labour is thus considered to facilitate the organizations in involving efficient employees who would serve their purpose of serving the needs and customers expectations.

However, Hitt (2007) noted that the learning potential is not simply met by recognizing that it occurs at work rather it requires both learning and development. Both the employers and the staffs should not feel reluctant to embrace learning work culture, rather should work hard towards its effective fulfilment. Considering these aspects, the present study would analyse the significance of learning work culture over the business sustainability in the retail organisations. The case of Morissons, the UK based retail organisation has been taken into consideration so as to judge how effective have been its current workplace place learning culture. An evaluative approach is undertaken to determine the impact of the learning work culture at Morrisons on its market sustainability.

1.1.1 Company Details

Morrisons: Freshness, service and values, is what it strives to achieve (Hodgkinson, 2008). The company is mainly a food service retailer serving UK’s customers via as much as 500 stores, 160 M locals and online home delivery system.  The brand mainly deals in food and grocery segment that are all fresh and sold through own   manufacturing facilities. Kim (2013) determined that the purpose behind choosing to sell via own manufacturing units is to keep a dedicated control over provenance and quality. The in-store staffs are trained in delivering quality offerings to the customers. The company boasts of having more skilled colleagues preparing food in store than any other retailer

Each week Morrisons experiences several visiting traffic that are offered great services by the staffs. The reason behind traveller attraction is mainly for following competitive, permanently low prices and price matching facility (Redding, 2007). However, initially, the logo of Morrisons served as its unique market identity. See below the logo of Morrisons:

Figure 1: Morrisons logo

(Source: Shrivastava, 2006, p. 28)

Later, the brand strived their efforts towards inducing a learning-work-culture at work thinking that it would help in serving customers’ demands, more efficiently.  On-job training is commonly practised at Morrisons, keeping in mind the necessity of sharing an uniform culture, values, rules and regulations at workplace. However, as of May 2014, its market share was the smallest (11%) of the Big Four supermarkets (Beckett and Hager, 2010).  Several retail giants who were ahead of the present brand included:  Tesco, Sainsbury’s and ASDA. Following a drop in sales in 2014, the grocery brand had undertaken several brand rebuilding measures that included a dedicated workplace learning culture.

However, similar to the common mismanagement and other issues faced by large retail corporate due to the inclusion of workplace learning, Morrisons effectiveness is yet to be judged. The current study will deal closely over the impact of learning work culture on market sustainability, focussing on Morrisons.

1.2 Rationale for the study

Unlike the workplace status in earlier times, the present picture is quite different, at least with the growing incidence of learning work culture within firms. The fierce competition has threatened the market sustainability of the firms, mainly for the fact that the consumers’ switching power is low. As a result, in case of any deviation between reel and real product or service quality, the customers soon prefers to switch over to some other convenient substitutes. A learning work culture can be implemented at various organizational levels. However, presently it has been noticed that several organizations are facing sustainability threats as a result of lack of learning culture at own workplace. Similar lag is considered to drive down the efficiency and productivity level of the staffs eventually leading to loss of customer base. Lower revenue or poor market reputation thus results in market sustainability threat.

The reason behind the creation of a learning work culture is to cope up with the upcoming challenges of the business environment. The frequent alteration in customers’ perception level and entry of new rivals has increased competition among the existing players to maintain its market position. As of May 2014, the market contribution of Morrisons was the lowest among the top 5 retail giants of UK. Inability to generate enough customer traffic was one of the prime factors that resulted in drop in its yearly revenue. Eventual drop in market revenue might threaten its existence. Thus, the research outcome will assist business firms like Morrisons to induce the learning work culture within the organization so as to reduce any customers’ expectation gap, thereby, ensure long term market existence.

 Several commentators have acknowledged the essence of involving both formal and informal training at workplace. While formal training helps in shaping the basic organizational and job knowledge, informal training develops the practical ability to handle any sudden issue or any other workplace situations. Periodic learning process is expected to drive the efficiency level of the staffs towards better job performance. In eventual cases, the organization’s chances to flourish are even increased. However, informal learning overlooks a variety of problematic issues. In other words, over-valuing of informal learning reduces the chances of expansive participation resulting in fewer opportunities for the employees to be a part of the formal ‘off-the job’ training. Often, the informal learning sessions may be too narrowly focussed so that the employees only learn only a part of the task or superficial skills which may not be transferrable. Morrisons even practices informal training sessions. However, skills developed via such sessions may be unconscious and not be recognized. This does not build confidence nor leads to development.

Nevertheless, a good mix of formal and informal training session is considered to advance the chances of high employee efficiency. Rising productivity automatically leads to increasing organizational productivity and strengthening its market base. However, the possible reluctance among the staffs to engage in learning work culture should be borne in mind. Larger organizations such as Morrisons also feel the pressure of driving the attitudes of all its staffs towards following a common values, rules and cultural guidelines. Any form of mismanagement or staff dissatisfaction thus leads to drop in productivity level which is correlated with market sustainability. The study also highlights the current situation at Morissons, UK. On the basis of present learning processes, few strategic initiatives can be recommended to enhance the market sustainability of the retail organizations in the long-term.

1.3 Research Aim:

The aim of the research is to evaluate the essence of learning work culture for ensuring long-term business sustainability in the retail market of UK. An assessment of the impact of the current learning work culture at Morrisons on its market sustainability is also made throughout the study.

1.3.1 Research Objectives:

Here are the objectives that will be evaluated in the research:

1.4 Research Questions:

Tangent with the research objectives, the following are the research questions:

  • What are the aspects of learning work culture that impacts organizational sustainability in the market?
  • What are the factors that impacts business sustainability in the retail market segment of UK?
  • In what ways do learning work culture impacts business sustainability index?
  • How can Morrisons advance its learning work culture to strengthen its market sustainability?  

1.5 Research Significance:

Morrisons is operating among fierce threat from its competitors such as Tesco and other retail giants. One cannot ensure long term business sustainability or market dominance solely based on the strength of innovative products lines. Although, innovative product lines are purchase decision making factor for few mass, substantial portion chooses a brand based on its service delivery at every consumer touch points. Learning work culture is thus an essential component for practise within organizations. Doing so is considered to assist in building the efficiency level of the staffs to deliver supreme performance. Considering the fact that job performance is linked to customer attraction, it further helps in ensuring long-term market sustainability.

Several on-the-job and off-job trainings together forms learning phase of the staffs. However, the basic of work culture is dependent on the leadership styles, rules and regulations, firms’ strategies and values that should be reflected in the training sessions. Conversely, an influence of staff learning attitude is yet another critical challenge for the organizations to identify. In first hand, the marketers fail to decide upon the factors influencing work culture. Secondly, the staffs frequently feel reluctant to embrace learning work culture thinking it to be an additional burden or an eventual deviation from the current job satisfaction.

An incidence of staff dissatisfaction arising out of imposition of a learning work culture is considered to result in drop in their productivity level. Reduction in employee efficiency is correlated to organizational efficiency, thereby, threatening its market sustainability. Mismanagement arising out of not following a common work culture or values across all the branches is frequently visualised in large business houses. Morrisons is not an exception to the same. Similar such learning work culture issues can thus limit its future market sustainability. The current job will thus study whether and how learning work culture impacts long-term sustainability, with respect to Morrisons. 

1.6 Research Hypothesis:

H0: Effective learning work culture positively influences business sustainability.

H1: There is no relationship between leaning work culture and business sustainability.

1.6 Dissertation Snapshot:

The structure of the dissertation is as under:

Chapter Number Chapter Content
1. Introduction Besides introducing the topic, the chapter involves the aim, objectives and research questions. The latter mentions provide a direction to the study. Rationale and company overview is also included herein. 
2. Literature Review Past studies on the present subject has been incorporated within the chapter. However, several critical theories have even been included so as to arrive at an authentic conclusion in the final stage. Details of Morrisons are provided so as to meet the research objectives.
3.Research Methodology The chosen research paradigms are detailed in the current part. However, justifications behind its choice have been provided for the readers to know its impact on meeting research aim and objectives.
4. Results, Analysis and Discussion The primary findings are detailed herein. However, while the quantitative findings are illustrated, the interviewees’ responses are narrated in the same manner as accumulated. Data triangulation process is also conducted so as to evaluate the link between both the data types’.
5. Conclusion and Recommendations After evaluating the research subject in all the latter chapters, final inference has been drawn herein. The objectives are linked and strategic recommendations to overcome any identified flaws at Morrisons have ended the chapter.

Table 1: Dissertation Structure

(Source: self-developed)

 1.7 Chapter Overview:

The part includes a brief overview of the essence of learning work culture in modern organizational context. Its impact on long term business sustainability and work performance is also highlighted. The aim and objectives provides a direction besides acknowledging what will be evaluated in the following chapters. Finally, the dissertation structure mentions the future content of each of the following chapters.

Chapter 2

Literature Review

2.0 Introduction:

Over the last few years, there has been enormous shift in the political, social, cultural and technological landscape of the organization. Although, several analysts considered that the change is a much welcome alteration, the marketers are finding it difficult to include necessary changes within its workplace operations. The organizational workforce is thus required to develop their skills so as to meet the changing service quality expectations of the mass. In this regard, Craven (2014) reflected that firms are supposed to extend their motives in developing a culture, where learning is highly appreciated and recognised as a technique to enhance business outputs. Doing so will help the employees to augment their productivity level, thereby, strengthening the companies market base.

Galbraith (2012) noted that employees are considered to be the assets of the organizations as their actions or productivity helps in meeting the tactical objectives of long-term business sustainability. However, coordination and communication in-between the authorities and the staff are highly necessary so as to effectively imbibe learning work culture at work. On the contrary, there are chances of staff dissatisfaction as a result of the new corporate learning. The topic will deal closely on the extent to which learning work culture influences business sustainability.

2.1 Significance of learning work culture:

The present generation of employees are growing in the world of constant change. The impact of innovation and change is felt on new technology development, mode of service delivery, product building and customers’ expectations (Hernon and Altman, 2008). However, as the firms are finding it difficult to adapt to the changing market conditions, the marketers are relying on practising a learning work culture. Most HR professionals acknowledge the fact that learning work culture is essential for organization’s health or sustainability but cannot define what it means to have an effective learning work culture.

Ambrose and Kulik (2009) mentioned that learning culture refers to a set of organizational values, conventions and practices that stimulates individuals or the entire organization to increase knowledge, ability and performance. It supports skill and knowledge development, thereby, reducing customers’ expectation gap. Lower the gap, greater will be organization’s chance to strengthen market position. According to Bersin & Associates, the organizations’ supporting a High Impact learning work culture tends to significantly outperform their competitors in areas such as:

  • 35% more likely to be the first in the market
  • 32% greater staff productivity
  • 30% better response to customer preferences
  • 25% improved ability to deliver quality offerings
  • 53% more likely to possess skills to meet future market demands and
  • 19% more probable to be the market share leader (Anderson et al. 2006).

As a result of employees’ commitment towards inventive development and sharing knowledge based information’s, firms are able to meet the changing customers’ feelings. As a result of repeat visit by the mass, the firm is able to enjoy greater ROI and ensure long term success. Bauer and Mulder (2007) added that engaged employees enjoy to work and chooses to retain themselves. Retention of skilled staffs eventually proves beneficial for the company, thereby, allowing the business process to be more streamlined and efficient.

However, Beatson et al. (2008) noted that learning culture alone might be ineffective as it needs to be aligned with the organizational goals. Only then an integrative workforce culture can be practiced to meet the single business aim. Morrisons have introduced a training and skill development initiative to enhance its staffs’ commitment towards the organization. However, the same lacks practicality.

2.2 Factors impacting learning work culture and organizational sustainability:

2.2.1 Factors impacting learning work culture:

  • Organizational Climate:

The learning process alters depending on the organizational climate. Bernolak (2007) responded that the basics of work culture include the current leadership style, management process, rules, strategies and organizational values. The latter elements bear an influence on the employees’ perception of learning work culture. While some organizations might favour informal learning session, few others might rely on theoretical aspect of learning. However, alterations in organizational climate promote the importance of periodic learning process to meet the changing needs. Thus, organizational learning process can be deemed to be a pertinent factor impacting a learning work culture.

  • Situations:

Employees’ participation rate in the learning work culture is dependent on elements such as their current social values, education, cultural values and experience (Billett, 2011). Often the leaders’ might feel reluctant to be a part of any training sessions thinking that it would be derogatory for their post. On the contrary, few other junior members might feel obliged to learn and share knowledge to heighten their productivity level. Thus, learning attitude is driven by the circumstances. However, Blau  and Boal (2007) pointed out that few personal and biological factors even impacts the learning ability of the staffs. It could thus be a critical challenge for the HR managers to achieve a combination of both dependent and independent variables while practising a learning attitude at work.

2.2.2 Factors impacting business sustainability:

  • Technology:

Inclusion and effective implementation of advanced machinery is highly crucial for developing quality offerings at faster speed and lesser time (Bloomer and Hodkinson, 2010). Although, firms might have to recruit fresh skilled staffs or shell out additional reserves for technology purchase, yet it will eventually assist in increasing organization’s productivity level. The chances of market sustainability are thereby increased.

  • Social Responsibility:

Consumers are presently having a purchase intention towards the recyclable products or organic foods. Green packaging have increased relevance in modern context upon which businesses sustainability depends (Claxton, 2012). Similar to eco-centric strategies of Morrisons, all other organizations are supposed to make responsible efforts for preservation of the resources. By considering social parameters while doing business, greater customer satisfaction can be attained.

Cohen and Vigoda (2009) however, considered the significance for firms to offer highest attention to customer requirements. By offering innovative product lines or offering optimum service quality, firms can experience high purchase rate. Higher the purchase, greater will be ROI and stronger will be its market base. However, frequent changes in product lines are costly, especially for smaller firms.

2.3 Critical aspects of learning work culture:

It is commonly visualised that organizations valuing training outperform those that do not. A study conducted by a research firm McBassi & Company stated that institutions that have greatest commitment to the human resource enjoy high financial rewards. Argyris and Schön (2008) reflected that an organizations orientation to learning sets the context for how the staffs would behave and prioritize. In eventual circumstances, the staffs perform as expected from them, thereby, meeting the organizational goal. Although, the path to learning work culture varies with respect to each firms, all learning culture share few common aspects, as under:

In a learning culture, information’s are not kept secret instead are made readily accessible (Bateson, 2012). Information sharing and communication facilitates in increasing the knowledge base and skill set to ensure greater productivity level. Information sharing even facilitates both the managers and the employees to share a common frame of reference needed to meet the single organizational goal. Any information that is hoarded by the management or employees will only complicate the process of following a single unified objective.

  • Learning is emphasized and valued:

Boud (2009) pointed out that training and learning are high priorities in a learning organization. Not only by stressing upon the practise of learning culture, firms are even supposed to invest in staff training and learning. Like for example, by 2005, GE estimated that it was spending about $1 billion per year on training and related activities. Although, the money had to spend from the additional reserves, the session had helped in enhancing the competency level of the employees. Successful implementation and follow of a learning session can be possible mostly if the leaders value the process. The staffs will eventually be encouraged to involve themselves, thereby, building their productivity level.

  • Mistakes and failures are not punished:

Craven (2014) identified that in a learning culture it is okay to learn from mistakes. Even if the staffs after providing any fresh suggestions or their activities do not produce expected output, they should be encouraged rather than be punished. The latter will only stifle them to engage in training or learning session, any time further. However, future effort should be to ensure that the mistake is not repeated instead a positive lesson is learnt from the same.

  • Learn constantly:

The aspect of learning should not be practised sporadically rather should be a part of the culture (Galbraith, 2012). A critical aspect of a learning work culture is that it is a reflex or a habit rather than being just a session for meeting any current need. However, in most cases the aspect of learning is undertaken to hone the staffs’ ability to recover from any sudden threat. Actual practise includes the necessity for the managers to communicate and practise a constant learning session and to lead by example.

Thus, with the constant vigour to learn new things, the entire organization will come to know that, ‘this is just the way that things are done here’ (Hernon and Altman, 2008). That is when learning will become a part of organizational culture.

2.4 Impact of a learning work culture on business sustainability:

Creativity and innovation in product manufacture and service delivery is highly necessary so as to assure new direction for business growth. With the participation of all the members in the learning session, soon they will be aware of the expected output. A learning culture that is aligned to the organizational goals is expected to deliver fruitful results as the efforts of the employees’ will automatically be driven towards its attainment (Kolb, 2008). Business sustainability is thereby attained.

By workplace culture will only encourage the entire organization to operate in tangent to attain sustainability and business goals. However, the primary task necessitates that the organizational values are reflected in the decision making, management practices and operational procedures (Bauer and Mulder, 2007). It will facilitate in developing a workplace culture of shared values and clear expectations of attitudes and behaviour, linked to the attainment of a common organizational goal. Bernolak (2007) further added that a culture that respects and values different views, suggestions and employee participation is expected to support greater commitment to social sustainability and encourage staff loyalty and commitment. While the customers mostly favour socially sustainable companies, loyal staffs are often able to deliver optimum productivity. Customer centric attitude of the staffs helps in strengthening the market base of the firm. A pictorial representation of the impact of learning work culture on business sustainability is illustrated underneath:

Figure 2: Impact of a learning work culture on business sustainability

(Source: Billett, S., 2011, p. 214)

Learning work culture supports performance reviews and goal setting to encourage consistent behaviour and procedures. While the potential reward system supports suggestions that are implemented to achieve sustainability targets, reinforcing the values within teams will even help in embedding the desired
workplace culture. A desired change management strategy is considered to be effective in shifting the attitudes and transition of the employees, teams and organization to a desired state (Bojanic, 2011). By performing respective job roles, the common aim will soon be met.

However, organizations are supposed to ensure the fact that the learning is practised on a continuous basis so that the employees are able to inculcate the values that should abided throughout their course of journey within the organization. Long term business sustainability is thereby ensured.

2.5 Learning work culture at Morrisons:

The learning work culture at Morrisons is dependent on the four pillars of: values, leadership, talent and performance (Duboff, 2012). The staffs are to undergo a training program that includes the later building blocks, so as to build their capability or productivity level to become the food specialist for everyone, thereby, strengthening its market base.

Values:

The current food brand makes sure that all its staff follow a common value of dedicated and quality service across all the departments. In doing so, Morrisons trains its leaders and other staffs on what specific values to imbibe and ways to implement the same into actions (Dunn and Thomas, 2014). Doing so is expected to channelize all their actions towards a common goal.

Leadership:

The company makes sure that the leaders work as per the current company’s values, considering the fact that they will are ones to direct the activities of their subordinates. The leaders are separate trained on issue handling or on some of the commonly required skill set so that it is furthered passed on to the staffs.

Talent:

Morrisons stresses on talent and skill development of its staff for which it has separately created training days on food processing (Fuller and Unwin, 2013). As the company highly believes on their staff’s potential, the current training program is designed in a manner to select, develop and grow the best people for the business.

Performance:

The training program (learning work culture) that are imparted to the staffs are designed in order to build their productivity level: grow business, strengthen Morrisons culture and meet the vision of being the food
specialist for everyone (Garavan et al. 2010). The brand expects that staff development is directly linked to customer satisfaction thus have designed its training program to ensure delivery of superior service quality.

The training program of Morrisons is detailed in the form of running an academy vested with the objective of supporting the staffs at all stages of their career.  As a result of its dedicated effort, the food brand could design 3 million training days in the last 12 months for the specialist staffs in areas such as: wine, food matching, production, cheese and floristry (Garrick and Usher, 2011).  However, the brand has even furthered its learning work-culture training efforts in either retail skills or computer service, as a part of the Retail Skills Training Program. The latter training program is a part of QCF Level 2 diploma course that can further be increased to a full apprenticeship.

Quite recently (January 2012), Morrisons had launched the M Futures cohort Foundations Degree candidates in partnership with Bradford University and Elmfield Training (Hawkins, 2007). The partnership have proved worthy for the firm as the staffs are imparted with work based training including access to several resources such as: online support and on-job coaching. As a part of its leadership training session, Morrisons recently launched a coaching class for its colleagues (4500 managers) from separate departments. They are trained on Performance aspects so as deliver better results along with sharing work pressure.

However, the brand has not restricted itself in imparting training to a selected few but aims to even develop its senior management team to be able to become the potential executive directors (Kanungo, 2012). It thus strives to widespread its Coaching and Performance program to incorporate similar values and ideologies across its entire departments. Besides providing in the industry leading apprenticeships, Morrisons even operates in tangent with the Government so as to enhance their value in modern market setting.

Kofman and Senge (2006) however criticised the current training program of Morrisons on the note that it is quite descriptive and lacks dynamism. In other words, the training sessions are not designed to handle critical real-life situations or are not inclusive of any form of practical training. Inspite of learning the skills of delivering effective services, the staffs might not posses the practical ability of handling any real-life workplace situations, thereby, leading to customer dissonance. Its Apperentichip sessions are mostly aligned with meeting the corporate vision, rather than developing the self-dependency of the employees (Malcolm et al. 2011). There is thus a need for advancement in its learning work-culture program. 

2.6 Impact of learning work culture on workforce of Morrisons:

The building blocks upon which the training mechanism is created have advanced the scope of the firm to install apt customer handling and managerial potency within the staff. Morrisons Academy is successfully designed so as to bring out the best within the employees at all stages of their career. Maria (2013) responded that training module have facilitated the organization to ensure that all staffs follow an integrated approach of sharing common values, thereby, abide by a single organizational developmental policy. However, the influence of the building blocks of learning ahs been mentioned underneath:

Values and Engagement:

Staff retention report at Morrison has revealed that around 85% of them have retained themselves in 2012 that is a rise of about 7% from 2010 (Marsick and Watkins, 2011). It is has been possible mainly as a result of practise of smoother communication and engagement policy frequently undertaken by the leaders. The leaders on the other hand are trained to follow an integrative work culture, whose result has been high staff retention. Matthews (2009) added that as a result of sharing a common approach and vales across all departments and branches, all efforts are channelized towards attainment of common goal. The chances of deviation from attaining the standard benchmark are thereby lowered.

Leadership:

As leaders are considered to be the main driving force for the organizations, the leadership practise at Morrisons is aimed around bringing  out optimum productivity from the staffs, thereby, meeting respective performance (Meyer and Allen, 2011).  An effective leadership program is expected to hone the skill set of the managers to drive the business towards its desired goals, similar to what is practised at Morrisons.

Performance:

The current performance toolkit that is being served at Morrisons has played a crucial role behind each day’s delivery of quality service results. In other words, the performance toolkit has acted as a measure of the actual productivity of the employees against the benchmark (Miller, 2011). The staffs are thus made known of the service quality expected from them, thereby, meeting customers’ expectations.

Talent:

The training or skill set developmental program at Morrisons has experienced desired success in the form of rise in the productivity level of the staffs. Mowday et al. (2007) acknowledged the present vocational and performance related training initiatives of Morrisons aimed at making the employees capable in in-store management, floor management, dissonance handling and meeting mass expectations. The departmental leaders are also made known about the employee handling and directing their efforts towards the delivery of optimum results.

Noe and Schmitt (2006) mentioned that since the introduction of Morrisons Academy in 2009, its productivity level rose by 6%. Effective training has advanced group work mechanism, thereby, facilitating in meeting the set organizational goal. Morrisons mostly relies on the capability of its’ staffs. Thus, food sourcing, production, storage and supply training conducted have helped in serving best quality materials to the mass. However, Spencer (2010) criticised the fact that the learning session lacks practicality and is more theoretical by nature. The staffs are hardly practical trained on grievance handling or independent solution to any sudden issues.

2.7 Recommended policies to include learning work culture:

There are several steps that can be incorporated within businesses to practise an effective learning work culture among the staffs. Thomke and Hippel (2014) acknowledged the primary essence of paying heed to the creative ideas and thoughts of the individuals who are delivering an original idea. By encouraging the creative thought of the individuals, the leaders might be able to nurture a learning work culture within the organizations.  However, prior to the implementation of the thoughts, a detailed assessment of its pros and cons is supposed to be made, to test its implementation feasibility (Usher and Solomon, 2009).

The workforce can also be included in the decision making process so as to practise a learning work culture at work. Brainstorming for idea generation could thus be an effective step to build the skill set and employee’s productivity level. Also, the introduction of reward or recognition will inculcate a competitive spirit among the staffs to showcase successful results via learning work culture practise.

However, Bersin & Associates have pointed out few other measures to integrate learning work culture for business sustainability:

  • Integrate learning as a part of organization’s strategic success:

Valkanos and Fragoulis (2007) identified the significance of implementing the learning process with talent management so as to support capability building. Instead of separately practising learning work cultural initiatives, the initial training session could thus be mingled with the latter so as to support capability development. The recommended initiative will thus facilitate in bringing about an overall development of the staffs, aimed at meeting the organizational goal, thereby, strengthening market position.

  • Learning to a part of the organization’s leadership culture:

By the use of leadership development programs, the leaders and the management can be encouraged to shoulder the ownership of the learning culture (Van der Krogt, 2008). As the leader’s channelizes the efforts and action of the staffs, the former should be empowered to remain dedicated towards the practise of learning work culture. However, similar to the leadership program at Morrisons, firms should primarily ensure that the departmental heads possess’ necessary job skills. Only then the leaders will be able to embed learning work culture. Future business sustainability will thus be ensured.

  • Make work educational:

Embedded learning approach could be followed to maximise experimental and reflective learning (Warde, 2006). The recommended strategy is considered to drive the staffs’ motivation level to reflect on how they learn by putting them to work on real business problems. The self-reflection procedure is considered to advance the learning spree among the employees, thereby, honing their capabilities for independent problem solving. Learning through practical experience can thus be considered as a potential tool to know about the common business issues and strategic ways to overcome the same. Customer satisfaction and business sustainability can thus be ensured.

  • Knowledge sharing an organizational habit:

Knowledge sharing is a crucial aspect to embed learning work culture within organizations. However, often the staffs are reluctant to communicate and share ideas lest out of fear of losing their unique capability. Winer (2009) thus recommended the need for incorporating incentives and opportunities at each stage of learning and performance management process. Driven by the inclination to achieve reward and recognition, the staffs will prefer to share knowledge and include optimum productivity. While newer strategic working process will surface, optimum productivity will help in strengthening market base of the firm. In eventual time period, organizational goals could be met easily.

  • Performance management to be made a key developmental driver:

Firms could even redesign its performance management process by allotting equal weight to coaching and development (Winer, 2009). Engaged staffs could be marked higher than the ones who are reluctant. The coaching session will promote the chances of honing the skill and knowledge base, thereby, comparing the actual performance with the set benchmark. The actual learning can thus be measured eventually determining the exact mentoring needs for specific candidates. Doing so will facilitate in reducing any performance flaws within the staffs, thus building their productivity level.

 However, it is highly necessary to fit the learning culture to the business strategy (Warde, 2006). Companies wanting to excel in product innovation should place adequate importance on staff empowerment. On the contrary, firms supporting high employee productivity should focus on building trust. Morrisons lies in the latter category thus necessitating the follow of apt practices to ensure high impact learning culture.

2.8 Conceptual framework:

The conceptual framework illustrated below explains the process by which learning work culture impacts market sustainability.

Figure 3: Conceptual framework

(Source: self-developed)

Learning work culture is dependent on the circumstance and organizational culture that includes the leadership style, regulation and strategy. The current organizational culture impacts both job satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Both the latter attributes are related business sustainability. In other words, business sustainability can be ensured via the actions of satisfied and motivated staffs and customer satisfaction.

2.9 Summary:

The chapter have detailed past literatures on how a learning work-culture impacts business sustainability. It can possibly be inferred that the current practise promotes the chances of gaining experience from each incident, thereby, improve the service delivery procedure. However, staff dissatisfaction is the common problem of practising a learning work culture. It might result in a drop in organizational productivity. However, the building blocks of Morrisons learning work culture includes: values, leadership, talent and performance. Their current procedure has facilitated the business in drive the skill set of the entire staff base, towards effective performance. The recommended measures are expected to facilitate the brand in advancing the chances of strengthening its market position.

Chapter 3

Research Methodology

3.0 Introduction

In order to maintain the quality of the study, apt choice of research paradigms is of utmost importance. Ketchen and Bergh (2012) signified that methodology in a research provides a specific design to conduct the study and resolve the research problems. As the authenticity of the conclusion is dependent on the research methodologies, it is necessary to opt for one that links with the framed research objectives. Herein, several justifications behind the choice of specific research methodologies have been detailed so as to educate the readers how the same will facilitate in meeting the aim. The chapter ends with mentioning the time frame set for completion of each research activities.  

3.1 Research Proposition:

The current study delves into detecting the impact of learning work culture on market sustainability of the retail firms in UK market. Research aim, objectives and questions developed in the primary chapter; need to be resolved systematically by the inclusion of primary and secondary subjects. Kothari (2011) determined that sample size below 35 can be authenticity issue, so herein the chosen quantitative sample size is 80 employees of Morrisons. On the other hand, 5 managers of Morrisons have been interviewed. In order to remain biased free during sample selection, probability sampling is considered to choose the employees, while purposive sampling process is conducted for the choice of the managers.

Deductive research approach, descriptive design and positivism philosophy is considered here. Keeping in mind the essence of accumulating the data within the specified time frame, online survey questionnaire and interview session is conducted. Finally, few ethical principles have been followed so as to maintain the authenticity of the subjects.

3.2 Research Onion:

The layers of the research onion help in conducting the study in a methodical manner. By unfolding each layer of the research onion, researcher is able to arrive at an authentic conclusion on the study. See below the illustrated view of the different layers of the research onion:

Figure 4: Research Onion

(Source: Brannen, J, 2009, p. 12)

Post confirming the philosophy and the approach, the final layer is the data collection. The data collection is the innermost layer as it ends the study. The collected data is finally evaluated to meet the research objectives. Although, Cameron (2009) mentioned that the data collection layer should be the primary step of research process thus should be the outermost layer rather than the innermost layer, other practitioners have confirmed its correct placement. Herein, the researcher has followed the placement of layers in the research onion so as to arrive at a proper conclusion for the study.

3.2 Research Philosophy: Positivism

Research philosophy is commonly of three types: positivism, realism and interpretivism. Being a positivist, the researcher has included positivism philosophy. Positivism has been used as understanding staff motivation, staff behaviour, decision making etc are social facts and can be studied using scientific techniques (Corner, 2012). In the current study, the researcher has studied facts relating to the work place learning and its impact on business sustainability. The positivism theory have thus facilitated in acquiring detailed and accurate knowledge on the subject, thereby, meeting the research objectives.

3. 3 Research Design: Descriptive

Research design is of the following types: descriptive, exploratory and explanatory. Unlike the available research designs, descriptive design supports the usage of detailed approach. Besides gaining the background knowledge on the subject, descriptive research design supports the inclusion of theories related to the current issue and its probable impact on the organization (Freshwater, 2007). Descriptive design supports quantitative data collection and analyses with the help of statistical tools, graphs, charts and tables. The involvement of quantitative data will facilitate in including a detailed knowledge regards how learning work culture have impacted the staff performance level and thereby, organizational sustainability. Descriptive design also helps in the in-depth explanation of qualitative data conducted in this research. The managers review thus accumulated will advance the chances of gaining an in-depth opinion on the extent to which Morrisons have strengthened its market position via learning work culture.

3.4 Research approach: Deductive

Inductive and deductive are the common forms of research approach. Herein, as no new theory is developed, deductive research approach is used. Deductive research approach is also known as an waterfall model wherein, both the data types are evaluated in order to analyse the research subject (Johnson et al. 2007). Deductive approach has been considered suitable because actual research starts with a theoretical study in the form of literature review. Primary research is conducted and findings have been observed, presented and explained. Existing theories are tested based on the findings and either confirmed or modified. In line with research questions, the researcher have incorporated relevant details on how the factors supporting the market sustainability, the impact of learning work culture and how the same facilitates in improving the market standard of the brand.

As no new theories are built, inductive approach is not followed.  With the inclusion of the secondary details, the researcher will evaluate the same and thereafter arrive at a proper conclusion on the subject. Also, the inclusion of both quantitative and qualitative details, the conclusions arrived at is accurate and valid.

3.5 Research Strategy:

The common forms of research strategy are: case study, experiment and focus group. However, herein case study approach has been selected as the entire study is conducted keeping in mind the effectiveness of learning work culture on a specific business firm. Nothing new theories are created here so experiment is not considered. The choice of case study approach have helped in giving a detailed picture of the current market status of Morrisons, besides mentioning how the firm has been able to strengthen its market share by the inclusion of learning work culture a workplace. The actual efficiency of the staffs of Morrisons for building the competitive market edge is even judged, thus justifying the choice of case study approach and not any other research strategy.

3.6 Data type:

The common forms of data types are: primary and secondary subjects. While primary subjects are raw data, secondary details are processed information’s. Miles and Huberman (2006) determined that the choice of data type influences the conclusion. Herein, as both the data types are supposed to be included, the researcher has accumulated from the same from the defined sources. From the secondary data collection sources, the researcher is able to gain detailed and proven facts on the current research subject. The accumulation of the same is considered to assist in gaining detailed information’s on the subject. As the secondary subjects are proven facts, accurate information on the essence of learning culture on organizational effectiveness and sustainability is accumulated.

Contrary to the nature of secondary details, the primary subjects are raw facts but are unproven and personal opinions of the respondents (Morgan, 2007). Considering the essence of accumulating personal opinion on the effectiveness of learning work culture at Morrisons and its current market status, primary details is accumulated. In eventual process, the chances of arriving at a detailed conclusion are thereby increased.

3.7 Research analysis:

Research analysis is of two types: quantitative and qualitative subjects. Morse (2007) specified that unlike quantitative research analysis, qualitative subjects are detailed and narrative by nature. However, while the quantified details could be accumulated in a substantial amount, the interview details are length and thus its sample is only handful. In the current research, the employees of the case study brand are surveyed by sending over the quantitative questionnaires to them. Questionnaire survey used also helps in the saving time and money, and yields substantial data without the involvement of the researcher. Also, similar questions make it easier for the researcher to code them, classify, integrate and present using a uniform statistical technique. In eventual case, the chances of detailing the research subject are heightened by the inclusion of substantial response on the current subject.

The qualitative subjects collected from the managers are considered to help in gaining an insight of the influence of learning work culture on customers’ participation, motivation and efficiency level. The narrative details thus accumulated will advance the chances of acquiring subjective data on the impact on the current status of Morrisons as a result of its current learning work culture.

3.8 Data collection process:

 Data can be collected from both primary and secondary sources. Ramos (2009) stated that unlike secondary sources, primary details are raw by nature and even original as it is collected from the sample. Considering, that the study requires the collection of both data types, the researcher have accumulated the subject from the chosen sample and from past publications. However, Ketchen and Bergh (2012) signified that the choice of data collection method should be considered keeping in mind the time taken in completion of the same. For accumulating the quantitative subjects, the researcher conducted an online survey of the close-ended questionnaires. The samples will fill-in the same and return in the same manner. However, the qualitative subjects are gathered from the managers via the personal interview session. So as to acquire first-hand knowledge of the gathered information’s, the researcher made a prior appointment of the managers and accumulated the required knowledge on the subject.

In addition to the data collection process, information has also been collected from secondary sources. The secondary sources of data collection include books, journals, website and annual corporate publications. Although, secondary data’s is developed quite late in the past, yet these are proven facts will help in meeting business objectives.

3.9 Sample size:

The sample size is supposed to be apt so as to ensure correct amount of data collection for arriving at a detailed conclusion. Kothari (2011) mentioned that sample size below 35 can raise authenticity issues with regards to the collected data. However, too high number of sample takes substantial time to accumulate the responses. Thus, keeping in mind the time frame allotted to complete the data collection process, the researcher chooses to survey 80 employees of Morrisons. The choice of 80 samples is expected to facilitate in maintaining the integrity of the study. However, the entire employee base of Morrisons was the population who could not be included due to limited time frame.  However, surveying 80 samples would be hassle free, instead substantial information’s can be gained on how they have been impacted by the current learning culture at Morrisons.

The interview session is time consuming as each of the respondents is interviewed on a personal basis. So as to limit the time consumption, only 5 managers of Morrisons are interviewed. Each of them has been personally asked to respond on the subject and their responses have been noted down for mention within the study. As the mangers would be having detailed knowledge on the subject, 5 of them have been purposely selected for the interview session.  

3.10 Sampling choice:

Sampling process is of two kinds: probability and non-probability sampling process. Herein, both types have been considered. Cameron (2009) responded that unlike non-probability sampling, probability sampling allows equal chances to the entire population to be a part of the study. As time frame was a constraint, so it was not possible to include the entire employee base of Morrisons to be a part of the study. So as to remain biased free, the researcher has included simple random sample selection procedure that randomly selects sample from the entire population. Simple random probability sampling has been used because it is the simplest and easiest form of sampling. Herein, the researcher has thus selected the chosen employees of Morrisons at random, each being able to give biased free opinion on the impact of learning work culture on their efficiency level.

Contrary to the nature of probability sampling, Cameron (2009) determined that non probability sampling has a chance that the chosen sample may not represent the overall population because random selection is not possible. In the current study, purposive sampling technique is used to choose the qualitative sample. Purposive sampling facilitates in accumulating data from the respondents having prior knowledge on the subject. Thus, the managers would be able to give detailed knowledge on the effectiveness gained from the inclusion of learning work culture on its business sustainability.

3.11 Accessibility Issue:

It is not possible for the researcher to personally visit each of the samples to accumulate necessary quantitative and qualitative subjects. The same is even time consuming. Thus, online survey session is conducted in order to save time in quantitative data collection. The chosen approach have facilitated in timely collecting the data which would otherwise have been time consuming.

Secondary data accumulation is yet another issue. The availability and incorporation of substantial data is time consuming and illogical. Thus, the internet has served as an effective source for gaining data. Thus, the required secondary subjects relating to the essence and impact of workplace learning culture on staff performance and organizational productivity is included by surfing the web. The internet has thus served as an easy medium of accumulating the literature subjects.

3.12 Data analysis:

Respondents from the 80 employees of the case study brand were completely filled up and returned by the respondents have been properly screened and processed using MS Excel. However, the responses has been calculated using percentage system and then illustrated via graphs and tables. The illustrated view is considered to facilitate the readers to gain an overview of the possible conclusions. Primary findings have been explained and discussed in context of research aim, objectives and secondary data previously collected.

However, the interviewees’ responses cannot be quantified and thus detailed in the same manner as accumulated. Data triangulation is made to detect its link with the secondary subjects. The chosen data analysis plan is thus expected to reveal authentic data regards the impact of workplace learning culture on organizational sustainability.

 3.13 Research Ethics:

So as to maintain the authenticity of the collected subjects, research ethics are supposed to be maintained.  In this regard, Corner (2012) reflected that the most common way of to define ethics as norms for conduct that separates between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. The fact that the respondent’s opinion will be used merely for academic purposes was clearly said by the researcher. Respondents were free to determine the answer and biasness has not being meted out against the respondent. Individuals’ not wanting to respond was not pressurized to answer. Actual name of the respondents was also not used for confidentiality purpose.

Besides the latter specifications, the company details have been destroyed after the completion of the study and also not made public. Relevant secondary subjects have been included without any form of manipulation to the same. The research instruments have even not manipulated for any kind of facility to the researcher.

3.14 Limitations

Limited time frame is the major limitation of the study as it affected all other activities of the research. Had the researcher got enough time, data collection and literature review could have been performed in further detail. The restricted study has impacted the conclusion to some extent. Also, the interviewees were initially reluctant to allot interview dates. It was time consuming to coax them to allot dates for the current session. Finally, there are chances that the interview results are biased as the managers are the stakeholders of the organization.

3.15 Time frame

The time frame illustrated in the appendix is for the readers to know the time allotted for completion of each research activities. Also, the time setting helps in preventing from overshooting the deadline for completing the research.

As selection of topic hardly takes time, so a single week has been allotted for it. Data collection and analysis is undertaken in 2 weeks as it is time consuming process. However, other research activities is planned to complete within a single week so as to meet the research deadline.

Chapter 4

Results, Analysis and Discussion

4.0 Introduction

The chapter includes the illustrated view of the quantitative details accumulated from the chosen sample. Considering the fact that similar details can be quantified, the researcher has used graphs and tables for illustrating the same. The readers attain the facility of easily identifying the possible conclusions, although the actual inference is derived in the following part.

However, the qualitative subjects is narrated and triangulated with the secondary subjects. As the current data type cannot be quantified for being descriptive by nature, the researcher chose to detail the same for readers’ convenience.

4.1 Part A: Quantitative Response

1. Do you favour the current inclusion of learning work culture at work?

Table 2: Favouritism towards learning work culture

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Yes 48 80 60%
No 22 80 28%
To some extent 10 80 13%

Figure 5: Favouritism towards learning work culture

Findings and Analysis

Not all respondents had similar opinion on the subject. While 60% of the employees responded on a positive note, 20% of them did not favour the statement. On the contrary, 13% of the sample determined that they somewhat favoured the learning work culture within organization.

 Few of the respondents who did not favour the subject were possibly reluctant to include the culture at work. Thus, they did not favour the current notion of including a learning session within organization. However, most employees knew the merits of learning work culture thus favoured its implementation at work. As it helps in developing staff productivity level, employees favour the same out of lure of reward or promotion. Anderson et al. (2006) in section 2.1 reflected that a high impact learning work culture has 32% greater chance of building staff productivity. It is thus favoured by most of the employees.

2. Tick a single aspect of learning work culture that mostly appeals to you?

Table 3: Appeal from work culture aspect

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Shared and easily assessable information’s 21 80 28%
Learning is valued 20 80 25%
Mistakes are not punished 21 80 26%
Never-ending learning process 17 80 21%

Figure 6: Appeal from work culture aspect

Findings and Analysis

Several aspect of learning work culture could be considered to be influential. While 28% of the sample responded in favour of sharing and easy accessibility of information’s, 25% were in support of the fact that learning is valued. Besides the latter response, 26% sample responded that mistakes go unpunished in a learning work culture while 21% reflected that it is a never-ending process.

Learning work culture is inclusive of several features that has a wider appeal on the staffs. It is basically a never-ending session thus there are chances of learning. Throughout the working tenure of the employees, the staffs have the option to carry on inculcating fresh new values and theories. Mistakes are also not punished for which there is no fear of facing humiliation for any error. However, the fact that the same supports easy accessibility of information is quite appealing. Bateson (2012) in portion 2.3 noted that information sharing and communication facilitates in increasing the knowledge base and skill set to ensure greater productivity level.

3. How far do you agree that a learning session should be aligned with corporate objectives to meet organizational goals?

Table 4: Need for alignment with organizational goals

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly Agree 19 80 24%
Agree 27 80 34%
Neutral 8 80 10%
Disagree 12 80 15%
Strongly Disagree 14 80 18%

Figure 7: Need for alignment with organizational goals

Findings and Analysis

15% sample discarded the present notion and stated that learning culture has noting to do with organizational goals. While 18% strongly supported the latter statement, 10% chose not to comment on the topic. Contrary to the latter fact, 34% of the respondents stated that organizational goals should be a part of learning work culture. 24% even supported the latter sample.

The detractors of learning work culture had responded on a negative note. The latter thus pointed out that there is no necessity of aligning the learning session with the organizational goals. However, in support of most of the sample, Beatson et al. (2008) in section 2.1 acknowledged that learning culture alone might be ineffective as it needs to be aligned with the organizational goals. Only then an integrative workforce culture can be practiced to meet the single business aim. In eventual case, the chances of enhancing firm’s productivity level increases.

4. Rate a single factor that you consider to mostly impact business sustainability.

Table 5: Factor impacting business sustainability

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Technology 29 80 36%
Social Responsibility 21 80 26%
Attention to customer requirements 30 80 38%

Figure 8: Factor impacting business sustainability

Findings and Analysis

None of the sample responded on a similar note. While 36% employees of Morrisons that technology impacts business sustainability, 26% mentioned that the social responsibility is highly necessary. Most of the sample responded in favour of maintaining a proper attention to customers’ requirements.

As determined by the sample, all the mentioned factors impact the sustainability level of the business. Firms are required to include latest technology for faster and accurate product or service delivery. Also, by being socially responsible, the customers will develop an inclination in favour of the brand, thereby, ensuring repeat visit. However, most important attention should be given to customer requirements. Doing so will facilitate in meeting their needs, thereby, positioning the brand to be unique in the eyes of the mass. Cohen and Vigoda (2009) in portion 2.2.2 reflected that higher the purchase, greater will be ROI and stronger will be its market base. Thus, the latter factor is quite essential than the rest.

5. Are you of the opinion that the organizational climate impacts your learning process?

Table 6: Impact of organizational climate on learning process

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Yes 38 80 48%
No 27 80 34%
To some extent 15 80 19%


Figure 9: Impact of organizational climate on learning process

Findings and Analysis

19% sample chose not to respond, possibly as they were unsure on the current subject. However, 34% employees disregarded the present statement and mentioned that organizational climate do not impact learning work process. On the contrary, 48% of the sample identified that learning session is dependent on the organizational climate.

For respondents who negated the statement, it can be inferred that no rules, values or strategies impacts their learning phase. They are possibly not an ardent follower of organizational values and norms. However, in the opinion of most of the employees, the learning culture is dependent on whether the brand is following an informal or formal work culture. Bernolak (2007) added that the current leadership style, management process, rules, strategies and organizational values bear an influence on the employees’ perception of learning work culture (see section 2.2.1). Thus, organizational learning process can be deemed to be a pertinent factor impacting a learning work culture.

6. Tick a single situational aspect that commonly influences your learning spree at work.

Table 7: Situational aspect impacting learning culture

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Social values 20 80 25%
Education 19 80 24%
Cultural Values 24 80 30%
Experience 17 80 21%

Figure 10: Situational aspect impacting learning culture

Findings and Analysis

Several of the situational aspects seem to impact learning work culture. The respondents favoured several aspects. 25% of the employees identified that education influences learning work culture. 21% were in favour of experience, while 30% were in support of cultural values. 25% sample however responded in favour of the social values.

The learning spree is guided by several situational aspects, not one. The current social values and education level of the staffs impacts their motive to learn. Also, the level of experience that one has influences the employees’’ intention to learn or to not accept the same. A common reluctance is found in the leaders, thinking that they do not need anything to learn due to their experience. However, education is a pertinent aspect impacting learning work culture. Billett (2011) in portion 2.2.1 noted that a common feeling among the junior staffs is to constantly learn occupational tactics, so as to increase their productivity level. Thus, the perception towa5rds education mostly impacts the organization’s learning culture.

7. How far do you agree with the fact that an effective learning work culture influences market position of the brand?

Table 8: Impact of learning work culture on market position

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly Agree 23 80 29%
Agree 26 80 33%
Neutral 4 80 5%
Disagree 17 80 21%
Strongly Disagree 10 80 13%

Figure 11: Impact of learning work culture on market position

Findings and Analysis

It was not easy to derive any findings from the respondents’ opinion. 21% disagreed the current fact and 13% even strongly supported the latter statement. 5% were neutral on the subject and thus did not respond on any way. However, against the latter responses, most of the sample felt that learning work culture impacts market position and 29% even strongly supported the latter fact.

Not all had similar opinion meaning that few were in a doubt over the influence of learning work culture on market sustainability and its position. The entire population thus did not wholly rely over the effectiveness created by learning work culture on staff productivity and market position. However, as per the notion of most of the sample, it can be inferred that learning session is correlated with market position.  Kolb (2008) in portion 2.4 noted that workplace culture will only encourage the entire organization to operate in tangent to attain sustainability and business goals. With the enhancement in skills and competency of the staffs, the customers’ expectation will be met. It eventually strengthens the market position of the brand.

8. In what ways do you consider that learning work culture impacts business sustainability?

Table 9: Relation between learning work culture and business sustainability

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Following a common cultural values 20 80 25%
Abiding by a single norms 25 80 31%
Skill development as per the requisite job role 18 80 23%
Implementation of an integrative attitude 17 80 21%

Figure 12: Relation between learning work culture and business sustainability

Findings and Analysis

Learning work culture impacts business sustainability in several ways, as responded by the sample. While 31% of the customers determined that it helps in abiding by a single norm, 23% employees favoured it impacts the chances of skill development as per the requisite job role. 25% of the sample favoured the aspect of following common cultural values while a smaller unit (21%) supported the chance of following an integrative attitude.

Learning or skill development session is correlated with business sustainability on several occasions. It helps in skill development as per the requisite job role.  The skill set building furthers the chances of meeting organizational values, thereby, ensuring business sustainability. Also, as integrative work is considered to work better as a result of sharing knowledge within teams. However, Bauer and Mulder, (2007) pointed out that work place learning facilitate in developing a workplace culture of shared values and clear expectations of attitudes and behaviour, linked to the attainment of a common organizational goal (refer to section 2.4). As a result market position of the brand is strengthened.

9. Do you favour the fact that the learning session facilitates in enhancing your productivity level, thereby, strengthening the market position of the firm?

Table 10: Influence on staff productivity due to learning session

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Yes 35 80 44%
No 27 80 34%
May be 18 80 23%

Figure 13: Influence on staff productivity due to learning session

Findings and Analysis

It was a difficult task to attain any concrete response on the current subject. 34% sample disregarded the current statement and mentioned that learning culture bears no influence on staff productivity. However, considerable mass favoured the notion. 44% employees noted that their productivity is enhanced due to learning session, thereby, strengthening the market base of the firm.

The detractors of a learning work culture responded negatively. In the opinion of the latter, learning sessions are mere waste and in no way impacts the productivity level of employees. Their efficiency is heightened by other factors, but learning sessions. However, in the opinion of most of the mass, the skill and knowledge development helps in efficiency building. The efficiency can be made effective use while delivering services, thus attaining the satisfaction level of the customers. Market positioned is thereby strengthened as a result of the customer centric attitude of the employees.

10. Which of the current training session at Morrisons have appealed to you the most?

Table 11: Appeal created by training sessions of Morrisons

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Value development 17 80 21%
Leadership building 21 80 26%
Performance management 24 80 30%
Talent enhancement 18 80 23%

Figure 14: Appeal created by training sessions of Morrisons

Findings and Analysis

Several of the training session of Morrisons can be deemed to be appealing. 21% employees’ responded in favour of value engagement and 26% supported the leadership building technique of the firm. On the contrary, 30% favoured in the performance management process while 23% relied on the current talent management activity.

All staffs have favoured one or the other training sessions of Morrisons. Talent management and leadership building academy of the brand have facilitated the employees in honing their skill set, thereby, ensuing that they function as per desired. However, the performance management activity has facilitated most of the employees. It has possibly prevented them from deviating from any set benchmark. Garavan et al. (2010) in portion 2.5 added that productivity level is built on parameters such as grow business, strengthen Morrisons culture and meet the vision of being the food
specialist for everyone. Performance is subsequently improved.

11. Are you content with the current learning session conducted by your brand?

Table 12: Satisfaction from the learning session of Morrisons

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly Satisfied 15 80 19%
Satisfied 26 80 33%
Neutral 11 80 14%
Dissatisfied 16 80 20%
Strongly Dissatisfied 12 80 15%

Figure 15: Satisfaction from the learning session of Morrisons

Findings and Analysis

Not all the staffs had equal level of satisfaction. There were few samples who were against the notion. 20% employees were dissatisfied while 15% was strongly dissatisfied. Against the latter statement, 33% were content and 19% were strongly content with the current learning practise at the workplace of Morrisons.

Most staffs are content with the current learning session at Morrisons. While the leadership training have installed a set of common values and norms that the employees are supposed to follow, the values and engagement session has inculcated a feeling of being worth to the company. The performance measure has even helped in constantly delivering quality service. However, Spencer (2010) criticised the fact that the learning session lacks practicality and is more theoretical by nature. The staffs are hardly practical trained on grievance handling or independent solution to any sudden issues (see section 2.6). The dissatisfied employees has similar notion to state.

12. Rate a single measure by which your brand can advance the chance of integrating learning culture at work.

Table 13: Future advancement in learning session of Morrisons

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Encouragement of creative thoughts 16 80 20%
Brainstorming for idea generation 17 80 21%
Making work educational 15 80 19%
Organizational habit of knowledge sharing 20 80 25%
Trust building on the employees 12 80 15%

Figure 16: Future advancement in learning session of Morrisons

Findings and Analysis

There were several measures that Morrisons could inculcate at work. 20% pointed out those future efforts should encourage on more creative thought from the staffs. Brainstorming (21%) and trust building on the employees (15%) is yet another suggested recommendations. However, most of the sample relied heavily on organizational habit of knowledge sharing for better inculcation of learning work culture at Morrisons.

Learning work culture can be better inculcated by trust building on the staffs or encouraging creative thoughts. However, most employees favoured the need of knowledge sharing habit. Winer (2009) responded in portion 2.7 that while newer strategic working process will surface, optimum productivity will help in strengthening market base of the firm. Thus, knowledge sharing should be an essential aspect of learning work culture.

4.2 Part B: Qualitative Response

1. In what ways can you integrate a learning work culture within the organization?

Responses:

The managers had mixed responses on the subject. 2 managers reflected that the organizations are required to have greatest commitment to the human resource, thereby, inculcating the learning work culture at work.  In eventual circumstances, the staffs perform as expected from them, thereby, meeting the organizational goal. However, in section 2.3 the managers reflected that in order to involve learning work culture within organizations, by sharing the information and making its’ easily accessible. Bateson (2012) in the same section reflected that by sharing and communicating the knowledge, the staffs will easily inculcate the feeling within its’ workplace. However, another manager pointed out the necessity that learning is emphasised and valued. By emphasising on the learning process, the staffs will resume to value the same, thereby, embracing the subject at workplace.

A single other manager pointed out the fact that the staffs should learn constantly. The periodic learning session is expected to constantly build the potential of the employees to give in productive labour. Galbraith (2012) in portion 2.3 supported the latter aspect by mentioning that the critical aspect of a learning work culture is that it is a reflex or a habit rather than being just a session for meeting any current need. Thus, by periodically stressing on the learning process, the employees will be moved to practise the same at workplace. However, the final interviewee stated that the leaders or higher authorities should themselves be the supporter of learning work culture. Doing so will motivate the departmental heads to drive its employees to inculcate the practise at work, thereby, ensuring business sustainability.

2. Can you identify the factors that influence business sustainability in UK retail sector?

Responses:

All the managers had varied opinion on the subject. It was rather difficult for the researcher to easily arrive at a concrete conclusion on the subject. 3 respondents pointed out that business sustainability is mostly impacted by technology or being socially responsible.  Fresh technology inclusion is considered to drive the ability of the workforce towards productive labour. Higher the productivity better will be the chances of the firms to meet customer satisfaction. Also, by considering social parameters while doing business, greater customer satisfaction can be attained. Cohen and Vigoda (2009) in portion 2.2.2 noted that similar to the eco-centric strategies of Morrisons, all other organizations are supposed to make responsible efforts for preservation of the resources. By being socially responsible, the firms’ can enhance its perceptions among the target mass. In eventual instance, the customers will to revisit or stick to the brand, thus enhancing its market strength.

A single other manager determined that business sustainability can also be gained by providing highest attention to customer requirements. By offering innovative product lines or offering optimum service quality, firms can experience high purchase rate. However, the final two interviewees stated that learning work culture even impacts business sustainability. Billett (2011) supported the latter fact by determining that learning attitude is driven by the circumstances and is dependent on elements such as: social values, education, cultural values and experience (see section 2.2.1). the latter factors thus drives business sustainability in the UK retail industry.

3. In what ways do you consider that learning work culture persuades businesses’ to strengthen its market base?

Responses:

The managers had mixed feeling on the subject. 3 interviewees determined that creativity and innovation in product manufacture and service delivery is highly necessary so as to assure new direction for business growth. Kolb (2008) pointed out that a learning culture that is aligned to the organizational goals is expected to deliver fruitful results as the efforts of the employees’ will automatically be driven towards its attainment (see section 2.4).  The activity of the staffs that is aligned to business objectives is considered to help in meeting the same, for organizational benefit and market sustenance.

However, 2 other interviewees had several other points to state. Contrary to the latter opinion, the primary task necessitates that the organizational values are reflected in the decision making, management practices and operational procedures. Thus if the organizational values respects a learning work culture, the firm will be able to successfully implement the practise at work. Similar statement has also been mentioned by Bauer and Mulder (2007) in section 2.4. The staffs will eventually be inclined towards effective performance, in line within business objectives. In future case, the chances of attaining customer satisfaction are ensured, thereby, strengthening the market base of the firm. However, the latter 2 managers also reflected that the learning culture aligned to customers’ needs and expectations also facilitates in building sustainability of the brand in the market. The training and reward system that is aligned with the business objectives is expected to hone the potential of the employees towards desired performance. In eventual instance, the chances of the market sustainability out of repeat visit is ensured.

4. How effective has been the current learning work culture of Morrisons?

Responses:

The managers offered several responses by identifying both the merits and demerits of learning work culture at Morrisons. 2 interviewees noted that smoother communication and engagement policy frequently undertaken by the leaders. The leaders on the other hand are trained to follow an integrative work culture, whose result has been high staff retention. Matthews (2009) in portion 2.6 reflected that as a result of sharing a common approach and vales across all departments and branches, all efforts are channelized towards attainment of common goal. The chances of deviation from attaining the standard benchmark are thereby lowered. The leadership program has facilitated the authorities in driving the efforts of the employees towards value driven performance.  A single respondent reflected that the training or skill set developmental program at Morrisons has experienced desired success in the form of rise in the productivity level of the staffs. Mowday et al. (2007) acknowledged the present vocational and performance related training initiatives of Morrisons aimed at making the employees capable in in-store management, floor management, dissonance handling and meeting mass expectations. The departmental leaders are also made known about the employee handling and directing their efforts towards the delivery of optimum results (see section 2.6).

The final 2 manager have however criticised the learning and work culture at Morrisons. They pointed out that the same lacks practicality and are more theoretical in nature. It should have included practical training session on grievance handling or independent solution to any sudden issues.

5. What could be the best possible approaches by which you can advance the learning work culture at work?

Responses:

The managers had varied opinion on the current subject as the suggestions were dissimilar to each other. A single interviewee acknowledged the essence of listening carefully to the suggestions or creative inputs offered by the staffs. The same is considered to motivate them to remain engaged and be a part of the learning process. Their inclusion in the decision making process of the firm is considered to inculcate a competitive spirit among the staffs to showcase successful results via learning work culture practise. However, Valkanos and Fragoulis (2007) in portion 2.7 reflected upon the significance of implementing the learning process with talent management so as to support capability building. Doing so will help in meeting organisational goal, thereby, enhancing competitive market edge. 2 other managers pointed out the essence of making learning a part of the organization’s leadership culture and to make work educational, respectively.

The latter approach is expected to embed the leaning approach in a manner such that it helps in maximising experimental and reflective learning. The learning process is considered the skill and knowledge base of the staffs to solve the practical work related issues. However, the final two managers acknowledged the significance of making knowledge sharing as an organizational habit. Both the leaders and the staffs will acknowledge the current approach, thereby, feeling the need to implement the shared opinions at work.  By the implementation of the best practise, organization’s productivity will rise, thus strengthening its market base. On the contrary, Warde (2006) in portion 2.7 determined that as Morrisons stresses on staff productivity, its focus should be on trust building. In eventual instance, the staffs will be encouraged to put in additional labour thus facilitating the chances of enhancing the market base of the firm.

Chapter 5

Conclusions and recommendations

5.1 Linking with the objectives:

To evaluate the various aspects so as to integrate a learning work culture within an organization

From part a, question 1 it can be inferred that the employees were favouring learning work culture for the fact that it in helps in improving their productivity level. Better productivity will help in ensuring market sustainability. However, the common elements impacting the learning work culture are that it is easily shared and assessable and a never-ending process (question 2). It can also be inferred from the statement of Bateson (2012) that information sharing and communication facilitates in increasing the knowledge base and skill set to ensure greater productivity level. However, from question 3, it can be inferred that the learning session should be linked with the organizational goal so as to ensure that the activities of the staffs facilitates in meeting the organizational aim.

The managers and Galbraith (2012) in part b, question 1 stated that the critical aspect of a learning work culture is that it is a reflex or a habit rather than being just a session for meeting any current need. Thus, by periodically stressing on the learning process, the employees will be moved to practise the same at workplace. All latter factors will thus promote the chances of the integrating the learning work culture at work. H0 hypothesis is thus satisfied.

To identify the factors impacting business sustainability in UK retail industry.

From part a, question 4 it can be inferred that the common factors impacting business sustainability are technology, social responsibility, and attention to customer requirements. The latter factors will drive the sustainability of the business, by increasing ROI and its market base. Cohen and Vigoda (2009) also supported the latter statement. However, the organizational climate also influences the learning process of the organization (question 5). Rules, values or strategies impact their learning phase. On the contrary, from question 6, it can be stated that the situational aspect even influences the staffs decision making to learn from work. Thus, the social values, education and experiences also drive the staffs learning intention.

Cohen and Vigoda (2009) in portion 2 reflected that similar to the eco-centric strategies of Morrisons, all other organizations are supposed to make responsible efforts for preservation of the resources. By being socially responsible, the firms’ can enhance its perceptions among the target mass. The latter factors thus impacts market sustenance in UK retail industry.

To identify the relationship between learning work culture and business sustainability index

The respondents in question 7, part a reflected that learning work culture commonly influences the market position.  The staffs’ efficiency helps in building an effective approach of operating within the current market environment. However, in question 8 it can be stated that the learning work culture helps in abiding by a single norms. Doing so will facilitate the mass to channelize their efforts towards meeting the common organizational goals. Also, the responses of Bauer and Mulder, (2007) it can be pointed out that that work place learning facilitate in developing a workplace culture of shared values and clear expectations of attitudes and behaviour, linked to the attainment of a common organizational goal.

It can even be inferred from the manager’ opinion in question 3, those organizational values respects a learning work culture; the firm will be able to successfully implement the practise at work. Thus, it can be finally inferred that learning work culture correlates with business sustainability. H0 is met.

To recommend on the issues of learning culture to improve business sustainability of Morrisons

From the respondents’ opinion in question 10 (part a), it can be inferred that most of them were satisfied with the performance management. Garavan et al. (2010) added that productivity level is built on parameters such as grow business, strengthen Morrisons’ culture and meet the vision of being the food
specialist for everyone. Performance is subsequently improved. However, not all employees are content with the current learning facilities at the brand. Thus, in order to better its market position, the organization can include an organizational habit of knowledge sharing. This will help in building the competence as per market necessities.

However, Warde (2006) in question 5, part b mentioned that as Morrisons stresses on staff productivity, its focus should be on trust building. In eventual instance, the staffs will be encouraged to put in additional labour thus facilitating the chances of enhancing the market base of the firm.

5.2 Recommendations:

Based on the research findings and the analysis of the collected in the previous chapter, the following recommendations regarding improvement of work culture for better sustainability of Morrison’s.

Practical implementation:

As mentioned in the previous chapter that the learning work culture of Morrison’s is based on the theoretical knowledge gathering process where lack of implementation of the theoretical view could limit the effectiveness of the learning process of the organisational staffs in actualizing the knowledge. Therefore, practical implementation of the collected information and planning could be one of the potential improvement measures of the learning work culture of Morrison’s. It has been proven that implementation of theoretical proposition delivers a real view and experience regarding what could be achieved through implementing the theories. As a reason, the practical outcomes are quite distinct from the theoretical bases due to fluctuations of different circumstances while implementing the knowledge. This could lead to enrich the experience and knowledge level of staffs to enhance the quality of performance further. Moreover, practical knowledge in the domain of responsibility could also add value to the performance resulting better career prospect in terms of job satisfaction and financial promotions.

However, in this context, it could be suggested that proper training module needs to be introduced from the end of the organisation to help the staffs gathering practical knowledge in proper way so that it could further be utilised in quality delivery. As a result, enriched performance attracts potential customers where consistency could help to retain the customers for longer in the firm through creating sound loyalty. Thus, long-term sustainability of the organisation could be ensured through practical implementation of the gathered knowledge.

Knowledge sharing habits:

Knowledge sharing process has been proven to be one of the effective learning processes where the individual and the knowledge and experience of the same are generally taken into consideration as the key source of data and potential knowledge. It is not possible for each of the company staff to gather information regarding all aspects of the organisational performance. In that case, opinion of the expertise in the associated domain could help the others to gather knowledge regarding the other departments and anticipated responsibilities with outcomes derived. In that case, the work place atmosphere needs to be realised in such a way that both the leaders and team members could share knowledge and personal views with others within the team and with the other teams. This could also thrive a healthy working atmosphere motivating the staffs to effectively concentrate on the team efforts and output.

Such initiative about the knowledge sharing process among the organisational staffs could also realise effective coordination among the staffs enriching the final output with quality assurance. In this context, the knowledge of marketing department could help the others to deliver maximum satisfaction to the customers that in turn could be transformed into loyalty. As a result, a sound loyalty base in the organisation ensures the longer sustainability of the business with competitive positioning among its rivals.

Staff empowerment:

Staff empowerment enables the employees of the concerned organisation to perform acceding to the knowledge and skill the staffs possess. Empowering staffs for a certain responsibility to make decision could motivate the employees of Morrison’s to enrich the performance realis8ing the same as important for the firm. Moreover, staff empowerment enables the sale to develop personal skills and knowledge to perform better for higher profitability. As a result, the overall output of the firm in terms of sales activities and customer service delivery could further be improved through personal development activities. This could lead to incorporate innovation in performance of staffs while motivating the same to ensure growth in career. However, in some times the empowerment could be misinterpreted and the organisational rules are violated. In that case, Morrison’s management needs to define the extent to which the staffs can enjoy the flexibility.

Referring to the above context, it could be suggested that the management of the organisation needs to provide the flexibility to the team members to perform according to knowledge and best understanding to attract creativity in performance resulting delivery of quality products and services to the customers. In this way, the brand could attract potential and significant amount of revenue with long term loyalty of potential customers. Therefore, staff empowerment enables attaining long term sustainability with competitive advantage of unique service provision.

Periodic Leadership training:

It has been observed in the previous section that the organisation only consider few leaders to conduct the learning process while the few number of leaders are undertaken for the training and development. In that case, it could be predicted that such initiative could create the discrimination between the leaders within the organisation. However, the same could cause the poor working condition due to unhealthy competition between the staffs. Therefore, referring to the convenience of the firm, a periodic training session could be conducted by Morrison’s to incorporate all departmental heads to treat the leaders within the firm equally for better productivity and good team culture.

Moreover, incorporating all team heads of Morrison’s could delegate the task of training the team members where the burden of the team output could be effectively handled by the efficient leaders of different departments. This could lead to enhance the quality of each team output through expertise performance delivery resulting maximum customer satisfaction. As a result, the long term sustainability in customer relationship as well as significant and competitive market share could be maintained over the competitors.

5.3 Limitation of the study:

The entire dissertation has been prepared on the basis of the Morrison’s where the study has been conducted considering a broader area of operation. This could lead to create difficulties in deriving the overall outcomes from the current study. The entire study has been prepared on a single organisation where such initiative does not deliver the benchmark of the organisational learning process. The organisational learning process has been evaluated on the over performance of the firm where the learning process in different departments under the supervision of the different department heads are different in nature.

5.4 Future Research Scope:

Based on the above limitations the study could further be conducted through incorporating several considerations. The study could further be conducted with narrowing down the focus of the study to a particular department or segment to analyse the concerned facts under the research in detail. Moreover, one of the potential rivals of Morrison’s could be considered in case the same study will be conducted in future. Such comparison could set the benchmark of a standard learning process to implement it in future in the organisational process for workforce motivation.

 

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