Case Study: Enhancing Performance of New Line Managers Within

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Enhancing performance of new line managers within ‘One Unilever’ concept

Multinational Management Autumn 2008

Guillaume Beaulieu Karol Misztal Lukasz Jablonski

Dr. Joanna Scott-Kennel

Mathieu Latour Tomas Mudra

Executive Summary
In today‟s turbulent environment and globalized economy, the preparedness and responsiveness to changes are important for companies to sustain their competitive position. This paper addresses the issue of corporate change at Unilever. In particular, it investigates the impact of the change on lower managerial layers. It also seeks for solutions leading to increased performance and simplicity stated in One Unilever strategy. Drivers of employee efficiency during corporate change Based on academic research, high support to employees going beyond their usual workload is needed during corporate strategic changes. To be able to operate effectively in a new situation, employees should be supported in areas of communication, learning, work design, decision-making process and cross-business interdependencies. Case: Unilever One of world‟s largest FMCG companies was facing turnover and profit declines after entering the new millennium. Aware of the organizational structure of their more successful competitors, Unilever realized the need to make its decisions faster and thus less costly. Therefore, Unilever decided to adopt a simplified and centralized corporate structure, supported by new IT systems, and light weighted by outsourcing of non-core functions. „One Unilever‟ strategy was accepted and put into action. A change that looked straightforward at the top management meetings turned out to be not that easy to implement. The issues of decision-making confusion, work overload, and functional coexistence instead of cooperation, have not been completely solved up to the moment. Hands-on recommendations Applying Bain‟s RAPID framework tweaked to needs of Unilever is recommended to ease decision-making process which is „at the heart and in the veins‟ of the corporate change. Introducing organization-wide support for cross-functional interactions will additionally support teamwork, creativity and engagement of new line managers. Execution of those recommendations should allow Unilever to successfully finalize the ongoing implementation of „One Unilever‟ strategy and reap the benefits of a lean and agile organization. ii

Table of Contents

Introduction ...........................................................................................................................1 Support for employees in the corporate change situation ...............................................2 Keeping the employees engaged in the change ................................................................2 Work redesign ................................................................................................................4 Accelerating the decision making process .......................................................................6 Unilever case study .............................................................................................................8 Company profile .............................................................................................................8 Reasons for change .........................................................................................................9 Promotion to managerial positions ................................................................................ 10 Job profiles of line managers......................................................................................... 10 Solutions and recommendations ...................................................................................... 12 Decision-making ........................................................................................................... 12 Work redesign...
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