Kudler Fine Foods is a chain of upscale epicurean food shops located in San Diego, California. It was founded in 1998 by Kathy Kudler in response to her personal frustrations about the lack of a convenient, one-stop shop for gourmet cooks. The first store opened in La Jolla and was greeted with immediate success. Since then Kudler Fine Foods has expanded to include three different locations in the San Diego metropolitan area and has even more growth plans set in place. This paper will examine the apparent culture at Kudler Fine Foods as well as the organizational structure.
We will also examine and analyze Kudler Fine Foods organizational performances which can be traced to the leadership style evidentially reflected in the employee motivation at Kudler and discuss what things are happening external to the organization that may drive change at Kudler. Culture Culture is a concept that every being in existence possesses. Culture goes far beyond that of individual; culture is an ever present and an ever changing concept within the realm of Corporate America.
This type of business, as well as who is in charge of overseeing the business helps to determine the organizational culture. Organizational culture is a collection of shared values, ideals, beliefs and morals that help to conjoin the members within the organization. The culture within each business affects the employees’ attitudes toward the company (Balkin & Gomez – Mejia, 2002). Organizational culture exists on various levels. The levels of organizational culture are: visible culture, espoused values and core beliefs.
Visible culture is considered to be a tangible concept. Visible culture encompasses, but is not limited to what is heard, felt and seen. Espoused values are values that are not as easily identified as the elements within the visible culture. The level of core beliefs is the last organizational cultural level. This level is the most abstract of all levels. The core beliefs are basic beliefs present in an organization that provide the moral structure within the organization. Kudler has an organizational culture that operates on the level of core beliefs.
Kathy Kudler’s desire to develop a business was centered on a vision and the need for convenience. Kudler, who is a passionate gourmet cook, experienced frustration and anguish as a result of extensive travels to various establishments to procure gourmet items. With that in mind Kudler believed that others expressed the same sentiments. Kudler designed her company to satisfy the needs of the customer. The core beliefs of the company encompass quality, convenience, variety, superior service, and elite products.
Kudler makes sure that the individuals hired have a passion and commitment to fulfill the mission of the organization, and stand behind the core beliefs set forth. This way of thinking has contributed to the success of the company in providing exceptional service to customers. Organizational structure informs outside people and organizations the line of authority. There are two dimensions for organizational structure. There is the vertical dimension and the horizontal dimension. “Vertical dimension of organization structure indicates who has the authority to make decisions and who is expected to supervise which subordinates.
The horizontal dimension is the basis for dividing work into specific jobs and tasks and assigning jobs into units such as departments or teams” (Gomes-Mejia-Balkin, 2002). Kudler Fine Foods has a vertical dimension of organizational structure. Kudler Fine Foods demonstrates all the characteristics of the vertical dimension of organization structure. These characteristics are: 1. Unity of Command 2. Authority, Responsibility, and Accountability 3. Span of Control 4. Centralization This is demonstrated by how the organization is ran. Currently Kudler Fine Foods has three locations.
Each location has a store manager, two assistant managers, and four department managers who have staff that reports to them directly. Department managers make the decision on what products and quantity that will be purchased for their department. They are also responsible to ensure the freshness and quality of the product that is sold in their location. If there is a complaint about the freshness of the products it goes to the store manager to discuss with the department manager who will investigate and discipline any employee that is in violation of Kudler Fine Foods freshness policy.
Span of control is the limit of subordinates that a manager oversees. In each of the Kudler Fine Food store has approximately 32 employees. Department Managers oversee about half of the store employees, the Store Managers directly oversee about 18 employees directly and 15 employees indirectly. Kathy Kudler makes all the final decisions on what products are available in the stores what type of promotions they are offering as well as being in the stores for portion of her day every day of the week. She is very hands on and does all the major purchases for each of the stores.
Customers are her first and foremost concern, this is evident by the details she has placed in each store based on high quality of food stuffs and the best customers service in the industry. Kudler Fine Foods faces many external forces that require management to identify, evaluate, and implement change when necessary. The external forces vary in size and scope, and include competition, technology, economic conditions, and regulatory changes. Kudler Fine Foods market position is very concentrated in a one part of California; however, they are established in a very populated area.
They compete with a number of competitors who offer substitute products like Albertson’s, Ralphs, Vons, and Whole Foods, but their greatest head to head threat is Cardiff Seaside Market. Cardiff Seaside Market offers comparative products but the owners are satisfied with their current location and are not looking to expand so they do not present a long-term threat. This does create a window of opportunity for a new startup to come into the market territory of Kudler Fine Foods but the new player would have to bring an advantage, either costs or specialized products Kudler cannot match (University of Phoenix, 2008).
To keep ahead of the competition, Kudler needs to evaluate its technology on an annual basis. The system configuration and database inventory need to be reviewed and updated to keep up with existing technology. This includes implementing competitive intelligence in which competitors are identified, monitored and evaluated using databases storing their product line and the associated prices (Turban, Rainer, & Potter, 2003). This would allow Kudler to identify product gaps and price differences leading to opportunities to introduce new products or set competitive prices.
Implementing competitive intelligence can also help Kudler stay competitive and profitable during economic downturns like those experienced in 2008 and 2009 as customers look to cheaper substitute products offered by the major grocery chains as spending habits change. Because Kudler Fine Foods imports most of its product line, trade barriers, restrictions, and foreign taxation can present challenges. According to International Trade Administration (n. d. ), “unfair foreign pricing and government subsidies distort the free flow of goods and adversely affect American business in the global marketplace” (Import Administration, para. ).
Kudler must continually assess the global marketplace, use technology to store international intelligence, and adjust their product line accordingly to keep prices competitive when global conditions change. Kudler Fine Foods has a very established but generally young workforce. Non-management level employees consisting of clerks and shelf-stock individuals have been be at Kudler for 2 to 3 years on average meaning Kudler has a very low turnover rate. The work environment is not stressful, but when an employee is late, does not show up, or is fired, the remaining staff must pick up the slack (University of Phoenix, 2008).
There are also a number of specialty roles at Kudler such as the bakers, butchers, and wine stewards, each demanding higher salaries than the clerks and shelf-stock staff. These specialty positions are more difficult to fill due to the required skills and qualifications when either a new store is opened or the employee in one of these roles quits (University of Phoenix, 2008). The store managers and directors of the respective areas also demand higher salaries to retain and manage Kudler. These positions require the ability to make decisions, implement change, and multi-task to obtain the corporate objectives.
All of the store managers and directors report to Kathy Kudler, the founder and President, who manages most of the financial aspects of the business along with making the final decisions regarding ordering and inventory (University of Phoenix, 2008). To alleviate the concern that Kathy manages most of the finances and key decision making, a new system for tracking orders will be implemented. This will help automate and track ordering creating less reliance on Kathy and more visibility into what is being order and the impacts it will have to inventory levels.
Kudler Fine Foods reliance on Kathy goes beyond the inancial and inventory decision making as she also hire and fires employees while also ensuring vendors receive payment. Her goals is to grow the company over the next 10 to 15 years and sell it leaving her creation behind where new owners will be in control of the company’s direction and vision. Kathy Kudler finds herself firmly embedded between the two different leadership styles. The first being Autocratic which means simply they make the decisions without input from others. The second style is Democratic which gathers input from others to make a unified decision.
Kathy has a unique style which comes from her simple love of baking and enjoying people. This style is semi-appropriate for the size of company she is managing. Kathy obviously cares deeply for her staff and her business, however as the business grows and the demand for an established mission and goal that will satisfy all of the businesses needs the style will have to be adjusted. The sweet and sour story of Peoplesoft Inc. rings eerily similar and without that firm hand and sufficient knowledge of how to properly manage a medium sized growing company one can only assume that there will be trouble ahead.
The kind, sweet and loving attitude is just not big business appropriate. Kathy seems to enjoy spending time at her store working side by side with employees on occasion. This makes her available to staff and makes her seem approachable which is a very desirable aspect of a manager. Showing subordinates that one is available and not above and beyond the actual workforce tends to humanize a leader and institute a sense of understanding. Managers can help sustain and mold the culture by their use of signals and symbols.
Effective leaders articulate a vision for the organization that the employees find exciting and worth fighting for (Gomez-Mejia 2002). Conclusion Kudler Fine Foods is a gourmet food store that has a defined organizational behavior system. The organizational culture operates under a core belief system whose outcomes quality, convenience, variety, superior service, and elite products. The organization structure is a vertical dimension, which consists of unity of command, authority, responsibility, accountability, span of control, and centralization.
Kathy Kudler has set up this structure so that the stores would have the best employees, best service, and the best quality. In order for Kudler Fine Foods to remain competitive Kathy will need to ensure that she keeps introducing new products and maintaining the high quality service. Kudler Fine Foods imports many foods from other countries so they need to ensure that they can get their products to the store as quickly as possible so that the standards that has been set forth by the mission statement are met.