The COVID-19’s Impact On The Starbucks Homework Essay Sample

Executive Summary

Starbucks is an innovative American company which specializes on selling coffee, primarily through its iconic cafés. Using a vertically integrated supply chain, Starbucks controls its supply chain fully, from working directly with farmers to grow coffee beans and their processing to logistics and distribution to sales to consumers. Starbucks specializes on offering high quality of coffee beans and products alongside a premium customer experience at its stores. It is a combination of a variety of factors including successful supply chain management, processes, as well as direct elements such store locations, layouts and utilization of technology which are discussed in this paper. Starbucks’ supply chain is a model example of value and optimization, streamlined to the maximum and implementing modern technology and processes to ensure that the widespread distribution network allows for delivery of its products. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on Starbucks like many businesses in the restaurant industry, but the company has quickly adapted due to the flexibility and adaptability of its business model and supply chain integration, positioning the company for a successful future going forward.

Introduction

Starbucks is a universally known brand, an American coffee and casual dining company which has become synonymous with coffee consumption in the 21st century. Starbucks is based in Seattle, Washington where it opened its first store in 1971. The foundation of Starbucks’ business model is based on selling high quality coffee beans and equipment. However, but the late 1980s, the company under new ownership began to operate cafés alongside sales of beans and equipment. The company rose to prominence exponentially, going public in 1992 and opening stores around the world by 1996. In the 21st century, Starbucks is present in virtually every industrialized country in the world and has become the largest coffee-house chain with approximately 28,000 locations (Starbucks, n.d.). The company is well-known for its modernity, high quality of products, and innovation, both in product offerings and services as well as operational processes and corporate social responsibility.

Design of Good and Service

In modern day, Starbucks has a two-tier business model. The first focuses on the high-quality coffee beans products on which the company was founded. These are sourced directly from farmers and sold under the Starbucks brand, offering a wide variety of flavors and choices. Coffee beans are sold both in retail stores and Starbucks coffeehouse locations. The second and most profitable element of the Starbucks business is its coffeehouse locations where it offers casual dining or takeout for various types of coffee made in-house along with condiments and other foods combined with the service of convenience. In its service model, Starbucks seeks to provide the Starbucks experience as a lifestyle. Starbucks coffee, although expensive, is available to everyone, but has been associated with a certain classes of individuals (young and urban populations) and the coffeehouses have become a common place to conduct both personal and business-related meetings as well as a location for study and creativity in popular culture. Starbucks has adopted a model employed by a few other brands where customers can be comfortable in stores, thus spend more time and indulge in more company products. However, the company is also conscious of busy consumers that may require coffee ‘on-the-go’ and thus offers a robust drive-through and carry out service where consumers can get their coffee without leaving their car (Paryani, 2011).

Starbucks Order Process
Figure 1: Starbucks Order Process (Paryani, 2011).

The company emphasizes a premium design for its products and services, which is its main differentiation strategy that is also reflective in pricing. However, Starbucks carefully monitors that its good and services are representative of the high-end brand image. It maintains a specifically designed quality management system in place that begins with examining sources of its coffee beans, ordering only from farmers that have been certified under its Starbucks Coffee and Farmer Equity (CAFÉ) program for quality. However, it extends to high quality of consumer offerings, product design, and quality of service offered at its coffeehouse locations, crafting a dedicated culture of premium and warmth through employee service and design (Paryani, 2011).

Raw Materials Required

Starbucks understands that the quality of coffee in the consumer products can be affected by issues or mishandling activities in the supply chain, which is the reason why Starbucks largely manages its own supply chain from start to finish (Paryani, 2011). The process begins with coffee farms, which are carefully selected and vetted to meet the company’s large supply needs. For the majority of its coffee products, Starbucks uses Arabica beans, which are considered to be high-quality with rich and acidic flavors but are relatively common and easy to grow.

Starbucks has a well-developed CAFE program in place as it allows the firm to manage various practices and elements such as waste and agrochemical management, workers’ rights, and economic transparency, in line with the company’s stance on CSR and high standards. Starbucks has Farmer Support Centers around the world, close to areas where major partner farms are located, and company agriculture experts work closely with the local farmers to increase the size and quality of the harvest as well as ensuring environmental protection through advanced soil-management and introducing new varieties of disease-resistant trees. Starbucks is committed to providing its suppliers with training and education programs (Starbucks, 2018). This direct interaction with initial growers is rare for a corporation the size of Starbucks, and often contributes to quality as suppliers feel as an integral part of the supply chain. Thus, the supply chain is less susceptible to disruptions and there is competent planning due to close communication, ensuring the correct number of workers and plants are available for harvesting.

Process Analysis

Farmers handpick the beans or use dedicated practices as to not damage the product, and it is shipped to one of Starbucks logistics centers. A test batch of beans from every shipment is verified for quality, but less than 1% commonly fails to meet the quality standards. From there, the beans are shipped to roasting sites. The company maintains only a handful of roasting facilities in comparison to distribution as this allows the company to maintain close control over the process. Starbucks seeks to manage the roasting process carefully to ensure quality and consistency, so that all beans are roasted and packaged in the same way, so that the coffee tastes the same in all of its coffeehouse locations (Sargent, n.d.). Starbucks utilizes a dark roast process for its high-quality coffee beans which differentiates it for the majority of other coffee sellers. Through using dark roast, it is meant to amplify the acidity and premium origin of the beans, although some groups of coffee enthusiasts dislike this. However, dark roasting is significantly more expensive than lighter roasts of the beans, an area where Starbucks cannot easily cut costs.

A significant aspect of the Starbucks experience are its coffeehouses which undergo a significant design process. The company processes are efficient to ensure quick preparation and output of coffee and other products while still maintaining quality. Starbucks optimizes capacity and capacity utilization with processes that meet changes in demand. The company always seeks to maximize cost-effectiveness in its efficient workflows and processes (Paryani, 2011).

Location Strategies

Location is a key element for a global business such as Starbucks. It must consider the locations of its farmers as climate may impact the growth process while trade regulations affect shipping logistics. The company commonly selects farmers close to its biggest regional markets. Starbucks must also consider the locations of its plant facilities and distribution centers. The firm strategically selects locations based on cost structure, short lead time for production, and decreased delivery times for distributions. The United States which is the company’s biggest market and has the largest number of stores, it is competitively beneficial to maintain plants and distribution centers locally despite higher costs. A similar approach is being taken in China going forward, to ensure supply chain viability in expanding markets. Finally, Starbucks must select store locations, which it heavily relies on for technological data and market research. Some locations seemingly have multiple Starbucks stores within a few block radius while other cities only have a few. Starbucks looks at its key demographics which are urban populations, primarily millennials and young adults, college degrees, and median household incomes, which are all factors considering that Starbucks offers premium products, and targets locations with more affluent populations (Bean, 2019).

Layout Strategy

Demographic factors considered by Starbucks for store locations
Figure 2: Demographic factors considered by Starbucks for store locations (Bean, 2019).

Starbucks approaches the design and layout of its stores with significant dedication, implementing commonplace staples mixed with locally relevant cultures. However, there are numerous elements of its stores that Starbucks utilizes and wants for the experience to remain consistent across the board around the world. Most stores will have the traditional coffee bar and a lounge with traditional warm colors and softness of the palette. However, local elements are incorporated such as types of furniture and seating arrangements (Stinson, 2014). The layout design of the cafés maximizes workflow capabilities while also supporting an atmosphere of friendly ambiance that matches the organizational culture. The focus of Starbucks on the premium customer experience, therefore space utilization is not maximized but rather there is comfort and privacy which allows the company to raise prices as a result (Gregory, 2017). The stores are designed specifically to entice consumers, get them to remain in the store for longer, and to purchase more while there. The company positions advertising in key locations, uses lighting that guides customers through the store, and makes the coffeemaking process largely transparent as most of the machines are in customer’s view behind the counter (Peterson, 2015).

Typical layout of a Starbucks store
Figure 3: Typical layout of a Starbucks store (Paryani, 2011).

HR Involvement

As a strong customer-oriented business, Starbucks attempts to maintain a strong, cohesive, and friendly culture in the company. It is a powerful element of the business that is reflective in their employees which contribute strongly to the environment in the stores. HR involvement plays a critical role in maintaining this culture as Starbucks invests heavily into developing frontline employee worker training. Furthermore, managers and executives that are hired also undergo significant cultural training in addition to the traditional job requirements. Starbucks values employee performance, maintaining strict measuring and monitoring of employee performance, but also offering numerous benefits, rewards, and better pay than most counterparts in the industry. Starbucks baristas are known to be one of the most skilled employees for casual dining. HR also involves itself in times of crisis, recognizing the errors of the company and making appropriate changes (Leinwand & Davidson, 2016). For example, when a few years ago, a scandal erupted when store managers called the police on a pair of black individuals that were in the store without buying anything, the company implemented mandatory HR training, shutting down stores across the United States for an entire day for that exact purpose. Cultural inclusiveness and appropriate conduct with customers is something that the company takes seriously and seeks to maintain its reputation.

Inventory Management

Starbucks’ inventory management is a carefully monitored process which is closely integrated int the firm’s supply chain. It combines manual record keeping alongside automated tracking. The company’s larger supply hubs typically use automation more comprehensively while local locations track manually based on demand. However, since major reforms in the late 2000’s Starbucks attempts to minimize stockouts and ensuring a continuous supply of coffee beans to the stores, alongside with on-time deliveries. Supply adequacy and automation, with the implementation of scheduling, are the primary aspects of Starbucks’ strategy on inventory management, helping to streamline processes with some elements of flexibility in operations management (Gregory, 2017).

Distribution Process

Upon approval, the beans are shipped to a roasting facility. Starbucks currently has 5 regional facilities in the U.S, two in Europe, and two in Asia, with one recently announced in China. There, the beans are roasted using proprietary processes that optimally extract flavorful oils which provide the well-known and rick aroma, acidity, and flavor to Starbucks coffee. It is also at these facilities that the roasted beans are bagged in either consumer packaging or special Starbucks Reserve packages for its coffeehouses.

The beans are then shipped to a distribution center, some of which are company owned and others are third-party operated. Starbucks has 48 local distribution centers, 33 of which are in the United States. The company makes up to 80,000 deliveries per week globally to its numerous stores, with a significant majority of operating expenses falling on transportation and logistics due to the widespread territory. Starbucks utilizes a hybrid distribution strategy for its products (“Distribution”). The majority of products are sold directly to consumer through company-owned stores as prepared coffee, and in some cases, packaged bags of coffee beans for home preparation.

A model demonstrating a small portion of the Starbucks distribution network
Figure 4: A model demonstrating a small portion of the Starbucks distribution network.

However, Starbucks also sells products in supermarkets and retail under its brand name packaging, as well as numerous distribution agreements with suppliers such as hotels, airlines, and business offices. Starbucks has recently partnered with beverage giant Nestlé for a multi-billion-dollar deal to distribute and sell Starbucks coffee outside the company stores. The key is to utilize Nestlé’s strong distribution system in place, particularly in markets where Starbucks has not been as successful or simply focuses on its coffeehouses rather than retail products (Kestenbaum, 2018).

Technology Use

Starbucks takes advantage of modern technologies both in its supply chain management and consumer service. The company uses a digital technology system in its supply chain management. The automated IT system monitors demand, inventory capacity, and scheduling in live feedback, adjusting operational and distribution plans. Management tools also take advantage of digital technology to improve efficiency and agility vital to organizational success (Sargent, n.d.). Starbucks understands and demonstrates the relationship between data, technology, and business aspects of the company better than most. In 2008, when Starbucks underwent a significant revamp to both its consumer side business and streamlining supply chains, it was done through data analytics. Starbucks utilized big data to decide store locations, track delivery times, and other aspects which the company capitalized on to optimize processes. Starbucks actively uses artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT), and the cloud for a wide variety of business operations such as consumer personalized targeting, insight driven product development across channels, sophisticated long-term planning, dynamic menu creations, and optimized machine maintenance among other capabilities (Rahman, 2020).

Starbucks has been actively using reinforcement learning technology, a system which learns to make decisions in complex, volatile environments based on feedback, both for its supply chain management as well as the consumer Starbucks mobile app. Recently Starbucks have increased the consumer technology aspect but creating more personalized experience on its app as well as introducing highly innovative technologies (Sokolowsky, 2019). Based on blockchain, Starbucks has introduced its ‘bean to cup initiative technology in partnership with Microsoft that also underlies its commitment to transparency and commitment. The technology will essentially allow consumers as well as participants in the supply chain, such as farmers, to track the whole logistics path from where the coffee beans originated to the time when they hit the counters of the coffee chain (Mearian, 2019). Furthermore, Starbucks will expand its technological capabilities in the midst of the pandemic when more individuals rely on digital ordering, with Starbucks taking advantage of its personalization algorithms to drive business

COVID-19

Similar to many other industries and companies that benefit from in-person consumer spending, especially given the experience aspect of the coffeehouse service model, Starbucks was negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine. In most locations, it was forced to close the in-dining locations. Although not clear yet, it is likely that the supply chain and logistics have been affected as well. However, Starbucks is known for its innovation and adaptability. It has only lost 5% annual revenue since the beginning of 2020 due to its ability of fast tracking mobile ordering, delivery and pickup services that it has invested in the past few years as a counterpoint to the comfortable locations where people can spend time (Wilson, 2020). It has already shifted its strategy towards this business model that will likely be prevalent for the next years, focused on convenient coffee buying with drive throughs and curbside pick-ups. Starbucks plans to close 400 traditional coffeehouses but open over 300 strictly delivery and pick-up locations this year (Toplin, 2020).

Food supply chains have been among those with the biggest disruptions. However, Starbucks largely relies on non-perishable ingredients and agricultural production is expected to fare relatively well. Starbucks has announced its commitment to work with farmers, particularly expanding its outreach in Asia where coffee farmers are currently under crisis. Despite the pandemic, Starbucks is optimistic on increasing its revenue and operating income in both domestic and international markets by fiscal year 2022, in comparison to pre-pandemic levels (Bajpal, 2020).

Analysis of Operations

Starbucks utilizes one centralized system of supply chain management and logistics across the globe, providing the ability to operate and manage multiple global distribution centers with complete oversight. Furthermore, to increase quality and safety, Starbucks implements a simple scorecard system which consistently evaluate the supply chain efficiency in categories of safety, on-time delivery and order fulfillment rates, end-to-end supply chain costs, and enterprise savings (Matthews, 2015). As evident from this discussion, Starbucks build long-term, mutual relationships with suppliers which it sees as key to its growth and success in providing high quality coffee products. However, the company continues to use strict vetting and monitoring to promote long-term quality while focusing on sustainability as the core of its sourcing and supply chain operation management.

The sheer extent of Starbucks’ supply chain combined with efficiency and sustainability in its operations often makes it a model example of SC management. It is considered by many experts the main reason to the company’s success, even more so than its brilliant marketing for a common beverage. Starbucks utilizes a vertically integrated supply chain, allowing it to control every step of the supply chain processes from the planting of coffee plants to the cup of coffee sold to a consumer at its store. The supply chain is inherently complex, but Starbucks has revamped it into a streamlined, cost-effective, and consistent process based on simple operating structures and metrics, that allows the quality and taste of Starbucks coffee to remain the same, no matter where in the world the beans originated or where a consumer buys the cup of coffee (Sargent, n.d.). It is a vital demonstration of the value chain model in which elements that aid in achieving a competitive advantage are emphasized, meanwhile wasteful activities are eliminated. As more value is created, it is passed to consumers, consolidating a firm’s competitive edge.

References

Bajpal, P. (2020). How Starbucks (SBUX) Is getting itself back on track in China in wake of COVID-19. Nasdaq.

Bean, J. (2019). Analyzing and predicting starbucks’ location strategy.

Choudhury, N. R. (2020). Food Sector Faces Multipronged Consequences of COVID-19 Outbreak. Global Trade.

Distribution. (n.d.).

Gregory, L. (2017). Starbucks coffee’s operations management: 10 decisions, productivity.

Kestenbaum, R. (2018). Nestlé and Starbucks agree to a $7b distribution deal, but will it work in the long term? Forbes.

Leinwand, P., & Davidson, V. (2016). How Starbucks’s culture brings its strategy to life. Harvard Business Review.

Matthews, C. (2015). What can we learn from Starbucks’ supply chain management? Maistro. Web.

Mearian, L. (2019). From coffee bean to cup: Starbucks brews a blockchain-based supply chain with Microsoft. Computer World. 

Paryani, K. (2011). Product quality, service reliability and management of operations at Starbucks. International Journal of Engineering, Science and Technology, 3(7), 1-14.

Peterson, H. (2015). 5 ways Starbucks entices you to spend more money. Business Insider.

Rahman, W. (2020). Starbucks isn’t a coffee business — It’s a data tech company.

Sargent, M. (n.d.). Supply chain putting the star in Starbucks.

Sokolowsky, J. (2019). Starbucks turns to technology to brew up a more personal connection with its customers.

Starbucks. (2018). Starbucks farmer support centers.

Starbucks. (n.d.). Company information.

Toplin, J. (2020). Starbucks is closing up to 400 North American stores and replacing them with takeaway-focused locations. Business Insider.

Wilson, M. (2020). Starbucks is about to look a lot different—and COVID-19 is only part of the reason why. Fast Company. 

HR Management In Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Introduction

Employees are critical to achieving sustainable competitive advantage in work organizations. Therefore, human resource practices need to be integrated with the corporate strategy and the human resource specialists should help organizational controllers to meet both efficiency and equity objectives. The management of people is no different from the management of other resources of an organization but in practice what makes it different is the nature of the resource, people (Abowd & Barry 1991). A human being is potentially a creative and complex resource whose behavior is influenced by many diverse factors originating from either the individual or the surrounding environment. This article will evaluate the role the human resource manager needs to take when there are changes in external environmental factors and what human resource practices will help an organization gain a sustainable competitive advantage. The article will also explain whether compensation packages negotiated through collective bargaining agreements are a major cause of an organization’s ability to compete in many sectors of the international market.

Role of Human Resource Manager when there are changes in external environment factors

Like other management functions, human resource management is influenced by several external factors. External factors influence management activities like planning, strategy formulation, and also personnel management. The economic environment factors influence the human resource management activities because they determine the number of people unemployed and have a difficult life because of poverty. Economic factors also include issues related to how many people have jobs, their salaries, and how productive they are (Brewster, Sparrow & Vernon 2007). These economic factors have a direct impact on an organization and its human resources. Labor productivity is one of the biggest economic challenges facing many organizations.

When human resource management is affected by economic factors which may result in low labor productivity, he may downsize the organization. The human resource manager may decrease the organization’s personnel so that fewer employees are left. This leads to many employees being retrenched. In a very competitive environment, organizations need to cut costs. The human resource manager will retrench employees because their salaries and wages make up the biggest part of an organization’s expenses. In Europe and North America, most of the large corporations also cut their workforce as global competition and high wages make it harder for companies to make a profit (Burke & Cooper 2005). The role of the Human Resource Manager should be to help the organization be more effective with fewer employees and to make sure that the organization focuses on the most important parts of the business that will keep it ahead of the competition. For example, in a free enterprise economy like the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), the success of a company depends on its strategy to compete with other firms. Thus, Human Resource management ideally becomes an instrument to increase an organization’s competitiveness. The major constraint and also driving force for human resource management that results from this type of economy is the survival and the financial success of a company.

The political environment also plays a major role in how organizations function. This is the environment, or the conditions created by the government in power in the country at a certain time (Beardwell & Claydon 2007). Every organization is run according to the laws and regulations of a country’s government. Trends in human resources are driven by training, legislation, and national needs. Government legislation may include labor relations Acts and Employment Equity Act. Government can impose new restrictions that affect a firm’s ability to operate effectively. Generally, new and unwelcome regulations are imposed either to raise revenues for the government or to encourage particular aspects of development. Human resource managers should invest in understanding government priorities, and this will help them predict government regulations. For example, if the government is concerned with unemployment, it may impose local employment requirements. If human resource managers can predict likely regulations, they can plan for them (Bratton & Gold 2001).

The social environment also affects the Human Resource function in an organization. The social environment is created by people who live in a particular area or community. Customers and employees of the organization, with their attitudes and values concerning work, products, and business, their education and skill level, and their expectations are all part of a social environment. To be successful, the organization must balance the needs of employees and customers with its own organizational goals. Human Resource Managers need to be sensitive to workers’ personal circumstances. For example, if a single parent’s child is ill, the manager should allow extra time off. Managing diversity should become an essential part of Human Resource management. Every individual is unique but at the same time share characteristics with other people. Diversity in the workplace means recognizing in a positive way that groups of people have common characteristics and that others have distinctive characteristics (Budhwar, Schuler & Sparrow2009). Characteristics like age, what people believe in, level of education, and cultural traditions divide employees and thus the human resource manager has to respect the different characteristics and at the same time help to create unity among the employees.

Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Every competitive firm attempts to beat its competitors. This competition to gain a superior advantage is the heart of the market economy. Making human resource management practice a competitive advantage involves a set of actions. Instead of thinking in isolation, Human Resource practitioners need to think about what they can do in comparison to what the organization’s competitors do. They must continually monitor what the competitor is doing and try to counter those actions. For example, if a competitor is continually poaching away talent, the human resource manager must react to block their actions.

The sustainable competitive advantage arises when a firm “creates value for its customers, selects market in which it can excel and present a moving target to its competitors by continually improving its position” (Legge 2004, p.68). A company that relies on innovation, high-quality production, and excellent customer service is likely to gain a competitive advantage against all odds, even in a congested market. Unique talents among employees, including superior performance, productivity, flexibility, innovation, and the ability to deliver high levels of personal customer services are ways in which people provide a critical ingredient in developing organization’s competitive position (Legge 2004).

An organizations human resource manager should come up with strategies, policies and practices which are unique in order to have a competitive advantage. One of the keys to achieving competitive advantage is the human resource manager’s ability to differentiate what the business supplies to its customer from those supplied by the competitors. Such differentiation can be achieved by having higher quality people than those of competitors. It can also be achieved by developing and nurturing the intellectual capital possessed by the business and by functioning as a learning organization. Knowing the economic value of the firm’s resources is necessary to human resource manager. In other words, “resource-based approach of competitive advantage should focus on the relationship between a firms internal resources, its profitability and the ability to stay competitive through its strategy formulation” (Price 2007). A resource is considered as an internal strength if it is immobile, difficulty to replicate, have no close substitute, be rare and create value (Michael 2006).

Clearly recruiting the best people and then applying value initiatives in the form of training, job enrichment and internal labor market development can propel an organization to the forefront of its industry by facilitating superior performance (Price 2007). Practitioners, academics, and policy makers have advocated approaches designed to make United States firms more competitive with foreign firms. One accepted key to a strategy of competitiveness is the development and implementation of human resource management policies that encourage employees to be more productive. In this policy, managers are covered more by formal and progressive human resource management policies than are the non-managerial workers. However, in some areas like the availability of complaint resolution system, non-managerial employees are more covered. In these firms in United State, unionization has a substantial and persuasive impact on many human resource policies. Union effects are greatest in policy areas that are subject to collective bargaining. However, unions do not seem to pose a substantial barrier to the implementation of certain human resource management policies, such as employee involvement that are asserted to improve the economic performance of firms.

Effects of Compensation Packages negotiated through Collective bargaining

I agree with the statement that compensation packages negotiated through collective bargaining agreements are a major cause of organizations inability to compete in many sectors of the international market. Collective bargaining aims at achieving better compensation packages, better working conditions and more job security for workers. The globalization of production and the search for larger and larger markets have created unparalleled conditions of change for employment conditions and for trade unions at the bargaining table (Schuler & Jackson 2007). Collective bargaining ensures that the employees are well paid, they get accrued vacation pay, health care benefits and they get employee security and protection plan benefits. Employees are also entitled to any commission due and any other compensation to which they are entitled under the collective bargaining agreements. These compensation packages negotiated through collective bargaining agreements hinder firms from competing in many sectors of the international market.

Some organizations pay the employees below the market level, especially when experiencing a shortage of funds. This makes the company to only attract those workers who have low skills and thus this reduces the organizations competitiveness. Some employers hire illegal immigrants at below-market rates because of the large number of individuals who want to work in the United States. This results to the likelihood of higher worker turnover. The organization also experiences problems in attracting and retaining workers when the labor market supply tightens.

Compensation competitiveness is difficult to achieve. The main reason for most organizations is the general unpredictability of operating budgets which often negatively impact the agency’s ability to refund employee salary increases (Sparrow 2009). Most human resource managers address pay competitiveness issues from a tactical perspective focusing on individual situations as issues present themselves. Traditional pay structures with pre-determined pay steps and timing intervals are still common in many organizations. Many organizations use these structures for delivering base salaries and salaries increase. This makes these organizations unable to compete in the international market because compensation packages negotiated through collective bargaining are high compared to what the organization is paying.

When union workers push wages significantly above the competitive level, it will be more difficult for employers to compete effectively. Thus higher wages lead to employment reduction. The discipline of market force is eroded when the wages for all workers and firms in an industry are centrally set. As wages are pushed up, the costs both union and union employers will raise. As a result, there will be less opportunity for firms to expand and hire workers willing to work at a lower wage (Turnbull & Blyton 1992). Higher wages will encourage the substitution of capital for labor and make it more difficult for domestic firms to compete in international markets. Some firms will move production operations to other countries, where the services of workers of similar skills are available at a lower cost. Thus, when unions with a substantial degree of monopoly power can push wages to higher levels, their actions will cause high rates of unemployment growth as experienced in the European countries in the last two decades.

In large countries with substantial differences in skill levels among workers and regional variations in the cost of living, centrally determined wages will lead to a substantial excess supply of workers in some areas and excess demand in others. By pushing wages up, lower-wage and lower-skill workers are priced out of the market and rendered less competitive. Furthermore, the centralized wage-setting largely removes the incentive of capital to move toward low-wage regions. Workers in Southern Italy have fewer skills and education than their northern counterparts. With centralized labor contracts, however, wages in the various job categories are the same in the two regions. As a result workers in South are less competitive and the incentive for capital to move towards that region is reduced. In recent years, the unemployment rate in southern Italy have ranged between 15 percent and 25 percent, two or three times the rate of the north.

The large firm sector usually recruits employees from new graduates and promotes them within the internal labor market of the firm (Sparrow 2009). The small firm sector depends more on family workers, retired people from large firms, and part-time workers or housewives. This is because the compensation rates for these people are less compared to those set through collective bargaining. The company, therefore, ends up hiring inexperienced people which thus reduces its ability to compete in the international markets.

Compensation packages negotiated through collective bargaining will be high thus making it hard for most organizations to hire experienced people. This will result to an organizations inability to compete in the international market with those firms that have a good reputation for compensating their employees fairly. This is because an organization with a reputation for paying significant incentives is far more likely to attract a greater number of applicants than a company that does not pay incentives. Moreover, within the total pool of applicants, the percentage of those willing to work hard will be higher for the well-paying institutions than for those badly paying organizations.

One of the most important considerations for multinational enterprises in the design of their compensation programs is the problem of comparability (Dessler 2008). The problem of comparability has two significant components. The first component is maintaining comparability in salaries and benefits for employees who transfer from one country to another and secondly, is maintaining competitive and equitable salaries and benefits among various operations of the organizations. In a globally competitive economy, recruiting and holding on to the best employees requires developing a compensation strategy and policy that will minimize problems associated with such comparisons (Sparrow 2009).

The task facing human resource and rewards practitioners is made more difficult because much of their armory is based upon and targeted at a job–based systems. These include the payment systems that compare different jobs in terms of their complexity and place labor market valuations on jobs by comparing like with like and selection system that matches the person based on assumptions of predicted performance. Organizations for example are experiencing high levels of rewards failure because most of their pay systems do not reflect strongly enough strategic thrusts towards quality, team working and competition based on time (Dickmann, Brewster & Sparrow 2008).

The balance between the monetary and non-monetary rewards offered by an organization is likely to depend on a range of internal and external factors like the financial state of the company, competition within the labor market, and the policies of its rivals. For example, during boom times there is likely to be a greater emphasis on monetary reward particularly if rival employers are offering relatively high wages. Two-thirds of the German workforce is covered by collective bargaining. As a result, there is a high degree of standardization in conditions of employment within industries (Dessler 2008). However, in the context of recent national and international economic developments, employers have argued that regulations of collective bargaining are too inflexible and do not consider specific economic conditions of the individual companies.

Conclusion

Good human resource management becomes an important cornerstone of an enterprise competitiveness strategy. Human resource policies, functions, and practices should contribute to the creation and sustenance of the enterprise’s competitive advantage (Harzing & Ruysseveldt 2004). Thus the development of the culture of productivity and creativity, the building up of shared values and mutual trust, multi-skilling, and continuous learning must always be a priority goal of human resource management functions. The best way to create a strong human resource that can lead to a competitive advantage is through recruiting and maintaining employees with both soft and technical skills. With this, the employees will be able to compete effectively with others in similar organizations. This article has explained the functions of human resource managers when there are changes in the external environment. It has also explained the human resource practices that would help an organization gain a sustainable competitive advantage. The article has also given an explanation on how compensation packages negotiated through collective bargaining agreements cause organizations inability to compete in many sectors in the international markets. When an organization conflicts with its employees over salary packages, the likely outcome is a decline in production, poor service delivery, hence failure in the overall performance of the said firm.

Reference List

Abowd, J., & Barry, R. (1991) Immigration, trade, and the labor market. Chicago. University of Chicago Press.

Beardwell, J., & Claydon, T. (2007) Human Resource Management : A Contemporary Approach, 5th ed. Chicago. Prentice Hall.

Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2001) Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice. Chicago. Routledge.

Brewster, C., Sparrow, P., & Vernon, G. (2007) International Human Resource Management, 2nd Ed. New York. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Budhwar, S., Schuler S., & Sparrow, R. (2009) Major works in international human resource management. London: Sage Publications.

Burke, R., & Cooper, C. (2005) Reinventing human resource management: challenges and new directions. Chicago. Routledge.

Dessler, G. (2008) Human Resource Management, 11th ed. Chicago. Prentice Hall.

Dickmann, M., Brewster, C., & Sparrow, P. (2008) International human resource management: a European perspective. London: Routledge.

Harzing, A., & Ruysseveldt, J. (2004) International human resource management. Chicago. SAGE.

Legge, K. (2004) Human Resource Management: Rhetorics and Realities (Management, Work and Organisations), Chicago. Palgrave Macmillan.

Michael, A. (2006) A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice (10th ed.).

London: Kogan Poole, M. (1999)Human Resource Management: Critical Perspectives on Business and Management. Chicago. Routledge.

Price, A. (2007) Human Resource Management , 3d ed. Chicago. Thomson Learning.

Schuler, R., & Jackson, S. (2007) Strategic human resource management. London.Wiley-Blackwell.

Sparrow, P. (2009) Handbook of International Human resource Management: Integrating People, Process and Context. Chichester: Wiley.

Turnbull, P., & Blyton, P. (1992) Reassessing human resource management. Chicago.SAGE.

The Link Between Poverty And Criminal Behavior

Deviance mainly refers to the contravening of norms and standards as set out in a particular society. Crime, on the other hand, involves the violation of laws set by the government aimed at controlling erratic behaviors. Crime thus represents a form of social deviance since it involves breaking the law by engaging in acts sanctioned under the justice system (Goode, 2016). Therefore, while some aspects of deviance and crime overlap, there are significant differences in their perceptions and interpretations in a community.

Crime, as a subset of deviance, attracts punishment under written laws since society views the violations as significant ones. In contrast, instances of deviance do not necessarily require any form of punishment. For instance, some groups view prostitution as deviant behavior but do not consider it illegal, thus, it cannot attract punishment under the law. Apart from that, deviance ranges across different backgrounds, whereas crime remains constant globally (Goode, 2016). These differences mean that while some communities may perceive a particular behavior as unacceptable, others view it as a regular aspect. As a result, the differences and similarities between deviance and crime mainly involve subjectivity but contain unique aspects that set them apart.

The concept of “rough division of labor” used by sociologists to study deviance and crime refers to the differences in specializations. While some sociologists may specialize in criminology to study the behavior of individuals, others that specialize in deviance study the social dynamics that underline the conditions, behavior, and beliefs of a community (Goode, 2016). Therefore, each group utilizes a unique way to understand the ideas of crime and deviance in their respective social groups.

The concepts of deviance and crime, therefore, overlap in some ways but contain significant differences in their interpretations in sociology. While instances of crime attract punishment under set laws, deviant behaviors do not necessarily require any form of punishment. Additionally, criminologists focus on understanding the behaviors of individuals, while sociologists that study deviance focus on understanding the role of social groups in the formation of such laws and beliefs. Consequently, both deviance and crime represent a deviation from societal norms but become separated only by the degree of nonconformity to acceptable behavior.

Reference

Goode, E. (2016). Deviant behavior (11th ed.). Routledge.

error: Content is protected !!