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Produce a SWOT analysis of the organisation taking into account both Refer back to your SWOT analysis what does that tell you about the current

AQA June 2005 Unit 2 & 3

Pre Release Case Study



    ? General Advise on pre-release case studies

    ? T Terminology

    ? L Levels of response

    ? C Context

Pre- release and the specification building the links

Analysing the case study

Revision questions

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General Advice on Pre-release case studies

    If this is the first time you have come across a pre-release case study DON‟T PANIC. The thought behind them is to give you enough preparation time to fully analyse and understand a complex

    business scenario, something that QCA and the examination boards knew you would not be able to

    do in the time allowed for an examination.

The Case Study is your friend

    Don‟t file the case study away in your folder, treat it as a pet it needs taking out on a daily basis and exercising. The more you read it the more familiar and confident you will be with it. Equally don‟t

    rely on your teacher or handouts to be able to cover everything that within the case it is designed for you.

The first read through

    As you will be aware the pre-release is quiet a size and at first this might be daunting it doesn‟t need to be. Break the case in to sections that you feel happy with. After you have been through it a

    number of times you will begin to see the obvious links to the areas and topics of work that you

    have covered in preparation for this paper. You may find it helpful to number each paragraph to

    allow you to develop a structure for the case.

    Once you feel you‟ve got to grips with the general theme of the paper try the following

    ? Produce a SWOT analysis of the organisation taking into account both internal and external


    ? Identify the main characters of the case study, build a picture up of how they operate look

    at their management style, the way they communicate and how they relate to the other main


    ? Try and sum up the whole or part of the case study in simple bullet points or spider graphs

    to allow you to remember the main points easily (never answer in bullet points)

    ? Produce a glossary of terms for everything that is covered in the case. Ideally you will

    already have done something like this by looking through the specification (

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    Terminology Levels of Response and Context

This is a really useful method to increase your grade; if you follow the above acronym (TLC) it will

    help you to ensure that your answer is picking up marks.


Draw a full and detailed list of the terms that come up through the case study. By doing this it

    allows you to:

    ? Understand what is going on

    ? To answer any questions that relate to it.

Highlight or underline all the terms in the case study, when you have finished a well prepared case

    study will have as much of your notes and comments on as the original authors (remember treat it

    like a pet once a day every day). If you are unsure try TT100.BIZ JARGON BUSTER

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Levels of response

This is probably the most difficult yet important part of your whole AS/A2 course. Examiners will

    look at your answers and mark them against a pre-given mark sheet. Familiarise yourself with what

    this looks like ( assessment material). Bear in mind that 60% of AS marks are for

    level 1 and 2 Knowledge and Application and that 40% are for levels 3 and 4 Analysis and


A very and simple overview is as follows

Level 1 Knowledge

    Do you understand what is going on (highlighting the importance of terminology) a good definition

    will pick up marks for this level

Level 2

    Application can you apply that knowledge to the case study this raises the issue of context

    which we will cover next.

Level 3 Analysis

    This is asking you to consider the positive and negative aspects of the issue or for you to play two

    factors of against each other. A very useful tool to use here is to play devils advocate. What might

    happen if you didn‟t take a particular course of action allowing you to analyse the possible

    outcomes of an issue. A question style favourite at this level is „To what extent do you ….‟ This

    should lead you to answer in the form of developing two sides to an argument.

There is no need to develop more than two key areas fully.

Level 4 Evaluation

    In very simple terms this is the conclusion to your answer it will highlight the most important

    factors and sum them up ideally coming to a decision or judgement.

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    It is essential that you take into account what is happening in the case study. Many students start merrily writing away about a particular topic in excellent detail and depth that bears no

    appreciation of the organisations circumstances. The end result is that they can only achieve lower marks than a student who has considered the context of the question in relation to the case study.

Consider the following key areas

What type of business is it?

    ? Ownership

    ? Control

    ? Size

What is the financial situation of the business?

What type of market are they operating in?

    ? Size

    ? Share

    ? Competitiveness.

    Refer back to your SWOT analysis what does that tell you about the current environment.

    What management styles do you see - are they appropriate for the circumstances? It is unlikely to refer to a style in itself it is up to you to interpret the case study. Look at how they communicate or deal with other member of the business.

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    Pre- release and the specification building the links

As well as getting to grips with the case study it is essential that you have a copy of the

    specification, if you have not been given one you can find one at

As you go through the case study the links between what you have been taught and the main

    features of the case study should become apparent. By looking at the two pieces of information

    together it will ensure that your preparation time is being used effectively.

The examination questions will deal with the two units separately, one set of questions will address

    Unit 2 People and Operations Management and the second set will focus on Unit 3 External

    Influences and Objectives and Strategy.

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Case study analysis and interpretation

AS Module 2 People

11.1 Management Structure and Organisation

    Organisational Design

Span of control

    There are two instances in the case where span of control is referred to. Firstly, when Jack moves

    the restaurant to larger premises, there is mention of the „need to hire 24 chefs‟. There is no

    mention of a head chef or supervisory levels, but we are told that the 24 chefs will be organised into

    four separate sections. Therefore, can we assume that Jack is responsible for overseeing all the

    chefs? This would imply that his span of control is very wide. Obviously, this could have many

    consequences which should be considered. It also suggests that the structure of the restaurant will

    be relatively flat, having only 2 layers (3 if including waiting staff).

Secondly, page 6 outlines the organisational structure of Wei Foods Ltd. The Works Manager has a

    span of control of 5 this is ideal. However, the case tells us that there will be 80 factory workers

    and 60 others „with maintenance, administration, supervisory or managerial jobs‟. Studying the

    organisational chart, there is an absence of supervisors which again raises issues about span of

    control and the problems of managers having too wide a span. Again this structure is quite flat,

    having only a few layers. Therefore, appropriateness of the structure could be questioned as 140

    people could be organised into a more effective structure. The lack of clear defined roles may be a

    contributing factor to the argument that Ling has with the Works Manager in paragraph 24.

    Areas for revision Limitations of the different types of organisational structure, the implications of narrow and wide

    spans of control.

To support your revision of this area visit the Coca Cola case study

Delegation and consultation

    Delegation refers to the passing of power and authority down the hierarchy, but at the same time the

    responsibility still lies with the superior setting the task. Throughout the case, there are indications

    that Ling is not effective in her delegation. In paragraph 21, Ling retains responsibility for

    checking production, hygiene and quality standards. As these are key areas to a business in the

    food industry, Ling could have created a distinct role within the organisational structure to oversee

    these standards. As Managing Director, it could be argued that this is not really Ling‟s role. The

    incident with the Works manager in paragraph 24 again supports the argument that she is not

    effectively delegating as she is accused of „undermining the authority of management‟.

    Areas for revision The concepts of, and differences between, delegation and consultation. Also the advantages of

    effective delegation and possible disadvantages. The consequences of ineffective delegation can be

    applied to the case study.

    11.2 Motivation

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Motivation theory

    Throughout the case there are some indications of various motivational theories. In the kitchen in

    Jack‟s restaurant there is mention of the kitchen being too crowded and unsafe to work in

    (paragraph 5). This could be linked to Herzberg‟s two factor theory, as the hygiene factors are

    obviously not in place, causing dissatisfaction amongst Jack‟s workers. Later in the paragraph, Jack makes changes to operations in the kitchen and increases wages by 20% - possibly supporting

    Taylor‟s perspective on motivation (this also gives us some hints about Jack‟s style of leadership

    see later in this document). The fact that a special crew is employed to carry out preparatory work

    could have a positive effect on chefs, raising their self-esteem which is part of Maslow‟s hierarchy.

    This „special crew‟ is the first sign of specialisation, again referring to Taylor‟s Scientific

    Management. All of the changes are indicative of Mayo‟s Hawthorne Effect, as the low staff

    turnover suggests that Jack‟s employees are motivated by the interest he has shown in them.

Later in the case, as we see Ling becoming a successful entrepreneur, the conflict between Ling and

    Jack highlights the determination of Ling. The fact that she is willing to make a loss in the test

    market for her Chinese dishes, may refer to the top level of Maslow‟s hierarchy of needs (paragraph

    15). Later again, when the offer from Carrefour is made, Ling is fully focused on making this new

    venture a success and is willing to take a large risk even if this is against the wishes of her husband.

    As Jack mentions, their businesses are already making sufficient profits for their family‟s needs. Self-actualisation and the motivation „to become everything that she is capable of becoming‟ may

    account for the willpower and drive of Ling.

Referring again to Scientific Management, workers on the assembly line at Wei Foods Ltd

    complain to Ling that their work is boring. Being an advocate of specialisation, an outcome of

    Taylor‟s work was the assembly line. Monotonous and repetitive tasks are typical of those set for

    workers on an assembly line in order to maximise productivity. However, one of the drawbacks of

    this system of production is low workforce morale and the related consequences of this.

Areas for revision

    All motivational theorists, especially their limitations and how they contrast against each other. For

    example, having put right the hygiene factors, Jack then goes on to increase wages. However,

    Herzberg felt that financial rewards were not a motivating factor. Low labour turnover suggests

    that Jack did do something right in this case. Remember, one motivational theory will not fit all

    organisations; their effectiveness depends on many other factors.

To support your revision of this area visit the Polestar case study

    Leadership and Management styles Throughout the case we can see an increasing difference in Jack and Ling‟s own leadership styles.

    We see a developing Ling approach her staff with a caring, involving management style. The

    contrast between the two is perhaps emphasised most in paragraph 9, as Jack and Ling differ in

    their approach to the dismissal of restaurant staff. Again, towards the end of the case, Jack offers a

    sensible, cautious approach to the offer from Carrefour, whereas Ling is more determined in her

    manner and willing to take a larger risk. Here Sam Yip is the calming influence, logically asking

    for forecasts of the economic climate.

In paragraph 24, the Works Manager is fuming when Ling asks staff about reasons for

    dissatisfaction. His outburst at Ling may suggest a problem with ineffective delegation by Ling.

    Interestingly, the Assembly Manager has set up a quality circle that Ling had no knowledge of

    because of a lack in communication by the Works Manager. There is talk here of cell production

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(possible links here to motivation in practice job enrichment/empowerment). With these two

    employee‟s approaches, we can apply McGregor‟s Theory X and Y to the two managers approaches.

    This could also be linked to leadership styles and worker motivation.

Areas for revision

    Cell production and links to motivation in practice. McGregor‟s Theory X and Y and the various

    characteristics of different leadership styles. It may also be useful here to think of links between the

    different types of organisational structures which are conducive to the leadership styles.

To support your revision of this area visit the Arcadia case study

    11.3 Human Resource Management

Workforce Planning

    The absence of any kind of market research raises issues about the lack of objectives for the

    restaurant at Chinatown. The move to the larger premises is a result of the success of the restaurant

    at Lisle Street; as the original business become very profitable Jack assumed there was an

    opportunity to extend this success by moving to the larger premises in Chinatown. The huge

    capacity here and the excess capacity the restaurant first experiences again reinforce the lack of

    clearly defined objectives. The assumption that the capacity at the new premises will be largely

    filled highlights Jack‟s lack of business experience and knowledge.

As the concept of workforce planning is fundamentally based on anticipated demand and company

    objectives, Jack‟s forecast of needing 24 chefs and 50 waiting staff seems rather arbitrary given the

    absence of market research and competitor analysis. This decision has disastrous consequences as

    Jack and Ling have to make staff redundant (paragraph 9) indicating that workforce planning may

    have been of use to Jack and Ling here.

    Later in the case, at Wei Foods Ltd, 140 staff „are budgeted for‟ (paragraph 18). The wording here suggests some planning has been undertaken, although we are not told what these figures are based

    on (it could be that the supermarket has researched potential demand for the Chinese meals).

    While there seem to be sufficient factory workers to cope with fluctuations in demand, it is not

    entirely clear where sixty indirect workers will be efficiently used within the business. Again this

    may indicate a lack of effective workforce planning, although some planning is evident here.

Areas for revision

    Workforce planning: the main concept behind it is meeting demand with supply by assessing future

    labour needs. Be aware of the limitations of any type of plan or forecast and, for analysis purposes,

    the usefulness of workforce planning.

To support your revision in this area visit the Wincanton case study

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Recruitment and training

    Ling recruits an experienced production engineer „with enormous experience in the mass production

    of food‟ (paragraph 16). This can again be linked back to the idea of workforce planning, in that

    Ling is recruiting externally to fill an existing skills gap. The advantages of external recruitment can be discussed here. For example, in this case a specialist has been brought in to work on a

    specific project; he is well experienced and fully capable in this area. The Production Engineer is responsible for making some very important decisions in the setting up of Wei Foods Ltd. Later in

    paragraph 23, it becomes apparent that he working on a consultancy basis, as Ling calls him back in when the factory comes close to maximum capacity.

    Recruitment is again referred to in paragraph 24, as several staff leave and need to be replaced. As a consequence of these employees leaving, productivity and production suffers as training of new

    employees takes place. This again refers to the disadvantages of external recruitment, if indeed we assume that new factory workers are recruited externally.

    Areas for revision The reasons for, and advantages and disadvantages to a business of, recruiting internally and


To support your revision in this area visit the McDonalds case study

And Travis Perkins

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