Work, Change, and Competition: Managing for Bass

By David Preece; Gordon Steven et al. | Go to book overview
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Changing the organization


This chapter is organized into two main parts: organizational restructuring and the launch of the New Retailing Initiative (NRI). With respect to the former, this consists of a consideration of how various options for organizational restructuring emerged in the company, along with a detailed review of those options and the rationale put forward by the Change Team as a basis for choosing between them. We also look at the decision-making process here and at some of the differences between what the Change Team were arguing for and what the Board and senior managers decided to do—and why there was a gap between the two in some instances. The NRI section outlines what this involved, and focuses upon the processual aspects of implementation, with particular reference to the teamworking, empowerment and cultural dimensions.

The genesis of the organizational options

The Board and the Change Team recognized that there was now a need to develop organizational options which would underpin and support the Sheffield ‘Tailored Approach’ or Charrington pilots then under evaluation, on the basis of what were by then good odds that one of them would be adopted for implementation throughout the whole pub estate. This need was rooted in the fact that in the corporate plan just published (1993), Bass Taverns was required to deliver by the end of the 1997/8 trading year the sum of £272 million profit and a return of 15 per cent on the market value of its asset base. It was the contention of the Change Team at the time that, on the evidence thus far, the trials under evaluation in Sheffield and in Charrington, if applied nationally, were incapable of delivering the shift in the performance curve necessary to attain these goals in the time-scale. As they stood, it was argued, they were simply not radical enough in terms of ‘setting the people free’, or in terms of removing the burden of ‘overhead shackle’. To do nothing was certainly not an option. It would be necessary to develop radical structural alternatives which would have a chance of achieving these very stretching goals through being in sympathy with and intensifying the impact of the pilots. This quickly became seen as a ‘key results area’ by the Bass Taverns Board.


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Work, Change, and Competition: Managing for Bass


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