In the global environment of today, many companies have to work, develop and compete for survival in the same market, attempting to secure their own operation and amass larger profits. This process is accompanied by a variety of internal and external forces and interactions, all of which contribute to each company’s particular identity and public image. While some organizations manage to further develop, adapting with the times or even becoming trendsetters, others are driven out of business due to mismanagement or other factors. One such company is Kodak, which manufactures traditional photography-related products. In the previous decades, it has been regarded as one of the most successful and prosperous companies in the industry, being the first to offer both professional and consumer-grade materials for analog photography. The development of digital technologies and computers, however, did not foretell the company better prospects, as it quickly started becoming outclassed. Organizations connected with digital photography outpaced Kodak, and the major need for traditional photography was eliminated. Pushed out of its primary market, Kodak struggled to adjust to the approaching changes, being almost driven to complete bankruptcy. The narrow niche occupied by the company gave it no ability to properly adjust to the changing environment and shifting market trends. This evaluation will therefore focus on analyzing the corporate aspects of the company using two different models, as well as giving a possible recommendation for expansion and development. First, a cultural web framework will be applied to understand the values and company culture at Kodak, followed by a SAFe model to measure the options available to the company.
Conduct a cultural web for Kodak and draw conclusions in terms of how the culture at Kodak shaped/influenced the strategy and decisions at Kodak at the time of the case.
The historic roots and legacy of the company are both very important to Kodak, which is reflected not only by their brand image but by the moments in the company’s history they wish to remember and broadcast. George Eastman, the founder of the company and the creator of one of the first photo cameras is seen as an especially important figure and the Kodak website discusses his personal history at length. The man is well regarded for bringing the first camera to consumers with no photography experience and making the process more accessible and available to the general public. The global availability and simplicity of use are still being hailed as the major advantages of the product, stemming from the values and thoughts of George Eastman himself. The fact that the company itself has been a leading innovator in early photography is also widely told and advertising, making it apparent that Kodak is highly proud of its legacy. The attitude displayed gives more context to the company’s current inability to adjust to changing trends, as it is too hung up on the deeds of the past to move forward.
Rituals and Routines
The Kodak company focuses on combining innovation with tradition, offering both cutting-edge photography equipment and items inspired by the more traditional approaches to photography. The store spaces seek to combine and utilize contrasting and contradicting elements, creating a brash a unique style for their customers. Stores are designed both as a place to relax and a professional environment to conduct business (Reines-Straz.com, Kodak Stores Worldwide). By including seating space and food items as a part of decorum, the Kodak company builds familiarity and a sense of belonging in its visitor, which can be beneficial to promote their line of work.
Photography-related materials are used as a way of representing the company, with the film reel being most apparent. Old-school goods, modernized to feel more unique are also a big part of the brand image. The company takes a proud stance, describing everything on its website and a confident yet charming and concise manner. The bright colors are used to create an image of friendliness and better connectivity as well as to bring attention to their products.
The organization of the company, is pretty straightforward, with executive leadership being comprised of the CEO and his vice presidents (Kodak – Executive Leadership). Each of the presidents and executives is delegated to his own parts in the company controlling the production of chemicals, film, photo cameras, or other types of photographic equipment. While the management of the company is traditional, it also encourages diversity and innovation in its workers, promoting a better, more healthy, and engaging work environment (Careers at Kodak).
The company highly values quality and hard work emphasizing that each employee will have ample opportunity for creative development. as seen in most reviews about the company’s operation the management in control systems is overly laid back, more focusing on letting the employees control their workplace processes themselves (Kodak).
The power structures in the organization are described by former employees as rather rigid. The level of upwards mobility is rather low and most of the employees do not see an ability to professionally rise to higher positions. However, the management itself is unstable as well as the company experiences rather turbulent times. With a lot of layoffs and changes, the leadership and management are constantly being changed as well as providing a lesson sense of stability in the workplace.
What strategic growth options would you advise Kodak to consider?
For Kodak, I think it is important to consider developing the company in spheres that still use the traditional method of photography and film on a regular basis. The medical film where their services can be used for screenings and other types of technical fields that require photography-related products would be a great asset to invest in Kodak (Kodak acquires Algotec for $42.5 million 2015). Further investing in Medical X-Ray film and screening equipment for hospitals and clinics can be a great business opportunity for the company, allowing it to both continue working in the field it is most suited for and find relative success.
Evaluate the strategic options presented to Kodak using the SAFe (Suitability, Acceptability, Feasibility, and Evaluation) model.
Sustainability-wise, the prospect can be rather advantageous to the company’s development and continued work. Due to the specificity of the field, Kodak occupies, Medical equipment and film products can be great at utilizing the company’s strength for further expansion. As seen by the company’s previous endeavors and by the general focus of its work, I think that producing medical equipment is reflective of its general strengths as a brand.
The change in direction will likely be a beneficial one that is not likely to be a source of large risk. Judging by the company’s recent financial issues, changing the direction of the operation is much needed, as Kodak is currently unable to fully support its operation on a large scale. With a variety of product lines and specialties, it does not have sufficient staying power to further develop and compensate its employees. The increased focus on a singular field, then is more likely to succeed, especially with the need for high-quality equipment all around the world.
With the company having previously worked with medical professionals and healthcare organizations to develop their products, the process of shifting the focus towards them would be feasible. The recourses needed to produce medical screening equipment are just an extension of the product lines the company already focuses on, and the necessary experience has already been acquired.
Taking into account the current state of the company, its management practices, and the need to better adjust to the current market environment, a more forward and directed direction for change would be a good solution to the emerging problems in its operations. By carefully examining the strengths and weaknesses of the company, its current state, and the possible ways of improving its status, I have come to the conclusion that the medical industry and professional equipment would be the best prospect for further expansion.
Kodak. Working at Kodak: 151 Reviews about Culture | Indeed.com. Web.
Reines-Straz.com. Kodak Stores Worldwide. REINES & STRAZ – Architecture Interiors Planning. Web.
Careers at Kodak. Kodak. Web.
Kodak acquires Algotec for $42.5 million. The Engineer. (2015). Web.
Kodak – Executive Leadership. Web.