This paper will describe the culture and the organizational characteristics of a chosen organization, Publix Supermarkets. Detailed throughout will be the common characteristics of the organization as it operates on a day to day basis. Specifically the system based on individual units, rules and norms expected of the associates and supervisors as well as the hierarchy will be established for the reader to garner a better understanding. Furthermore, the communication networks, organizational orientation, approaches to and by leadership members, as well as the decision making and communication procedures put forth by members of management will be analyzed. This paper will describe which 4 of these listed characteristics are most influenced by communication between members and levels of Publix Supermarkets. The author has been employed with this supermarket chain for more than 7 years and has ample knowledge and understanding on the organization as a whole.
Common Characteristics of an Organization Publix Supermarkets is a grocery chain unlike many others for a variety of reasons. Founded in 1930 in Winter haven, Florida by George W. Jenkins, Publix is known for its customer first atmosphere and pleasurable shopping experience. The grocery chain whose motto states they will never knowingly disappoint their customers operates in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee and currently has more than 1000 stores in operation (Publix.com).
Jenkins’ supermarket chain has continued to grow on their customer friendly business sense. Publix has since become a Fortune 500 company and is privately held and owned by its employees. For as well as they treat their customers, the chain treats its associates and management staff just as well if not better. Publix workers who have been with the company a base number of years receive shares of stock for every 1000 hours worked, and can purchase more shares of stock at almost any time during a given year. The grocery chain is also well known for its high ranking employee benefits and treatment in the employment world. Rules/Norms (Written and Unwritten)
Outside of the big green P logo, the Publix atmosphere is what customers relate to with the chain more than anything else. Communication with customers is a major asset in following proper Publix protocol. The smiling helpful associates, clean stores, and consumer friendly set up of product is where Publix truly prides itself as an organization. Each experience ends with a friendly cashier and bagger, and the bagger will always bring the customer to their vehicle and help load product into the car for them. Believe it or not this all relates to performance evaluations that are done quarterly, where associates are evaluated on their behavior amongst the customers. Customer intimacy is something Publix takes very seriously.
The Publix image extends onto its associates as well. All employees are expected to show up to work on time and be clean shaven in full clean uniform attire. Each department and job class has their own specific uniform; however all include proper hygiene, reasonable hairstyling, and proper equipment to perform their tasks to better serve the shoppers. Publix is an organization that understands how to promote their brand by utilizing all available options to do so. Clean stores and clean happy associates promote the “Publix Way.” This plays a major role in nonverbal communication between Publix associates and their customers.
Aside from dress code and customer relations, two major elements, there are many other standards Publix employees are held to. A good example of one unwritten Publix rule would be: communication between associates when out on the sales floor during business hours must be respectful, and if at all possible must include the customer. Also, outside from positive communication both verbal and nonverbal with customers and fellow associates employees are expected to communicate both effectively and respectfully with management teams as well. Hierarchy
The Publix store level hierarchy is something that runs seemingly parallel in each department throughout the store. Each department and sub department have their chain of command as follows: part time associates, full time associates, assistant department manager, and department manager. The two major departments, grocery and customer service, have the most associates, in order to better supervise their employees there is a position called a team leader that fits into the hierarchy between the full time associates and the management team.
Publix is a company that only promotes from within. This is a big selling point for associates and applicants alike. Knowing that the opportunity for advancement is always there is a major asset for the associates in the store. Communications between the different levels of the chain of command are fluid. The associates can go to their department managers, or team leaders, with any concern or idea. The department managers at store level then communicate with the store’s assistant manager and store manager about the associate’s ideas and concerns. Communication Networks
The information Publix gathers through their retail channels is usually information based on product analysis and placement that they can pass down to the management teams at store levels to assess further. Ultimately the store will take the advice of corporate and try to taper the information in the way it works most effectively for each store. Each store can take the same information and depict it differently. Information about new products, events, or openings may not influence all stores, or influence them all at the same level.
There are times, during major events like hurricanes, holidays, or back to school time, where Publix store level employees must take the information sent to them by corporate including sales figures and forecasts in order to build the proper displays and floor models for customers to browse. Having product out that customers take interest in can help drive sales. The communication between the different levels of Publix Supermarkets goes hand in hand with communication networks at the store level. Leadership Approaches
A major tool in the line of communication at Publix is how they allow anyone who is willing to step up and be a leader, do so. When every associate feels that sense of empowerment in their employment it urges them to lead in a different way, work harder and do a better job to lead by example. Publix pushes their associates to be role models both in the stores, and in the community. The management teams are in place to ensure guidelines are followed, but showing quality leadership through positive communication means so much more.
Communicating with leaders is always a situation associates take very seriously in any industry or business. This is no different in the retail world at Publix. Associates voice their concerns and feelings to their leaders, whether it be management, team leaders, or even fellow associates who take on the responsibility of leading a specific group. At Publix supermarkets the communication had with leadership is always something associates should come away from feeling they were heard out and understood, good virtue for any organization to sustain. Conclusion
Publix through the years has become one of the most widely respected organizations in America. This is due to the quality product and customer service put out the grocery chain, but also playing a role in the respect factor is the culture of the organization. This of course starts at store level and works its way to the corporate ranks, and is in large part to do with positive, effective communication. Publix supermarkets are known throughout the world a company that is great to work for, just as much as they are to shop at.
Through utilizing all of the common communication characteristics Publix has continued to promote a very associate friendly atmosphere through the years. The supermarket chain takes pride in the fact that each associate understands their value to their company and takes pride in hiring quality applicants. Publix utilizes its rules and norms, hierarchy, communication networks, and strong leadership approach in all day to day activities in order to remain a successful industry leader.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 3 January 2017
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