Management Research Project: 7- Eleven Singapore

Abstract

The research is prepared upon 7-Eleven Singapore, which is a well-known and the biggest convenience store chain in Singapore. The store has occupied a special position in the global as well as Singaporean economy for having up to 400 store chains, special management assessment, contextual diversification including exciting, café, kiosk, MRT station, and hospital storing concept, etc. Operating under the shade of licensing agreement of Dairy Farm International, 7- Eleven is being at the front-ending place of the country’s franchising world with more than 18 years duration from 1988 at Upper Changi Road. However, taking a deep concentration on the overall company background, policy and performance, this research study will focus on basic recent issues, theoretical analysis to clarify those issues, adoption of proper research instruments for deep analysis vision, the discovery of research outcomes and projected suggestions to overcome the required difficulties.

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Introduction

Background of the study

The research project is required to be established on one of the famous brands of Singapore named 7- Eleven which is now greatly popular for not only carton milk but also for other daily food needs of people ranging from snacks to tasty quick meals to exclusive cash cards and billing system. The company is running all of its daily operations as a convenience franchise retailer with a theme of winning customers. It is a sister concern of a top retail group of Singapore termed Dairy Farm International while it is liable for various franchising tasks involving ordering, managing inventory, varying cash and supplies, different repairs and maintenance and other manageable in-store expenditures (Dairy Farm Group 2008). The company is committed to delivering better training and job development scopes, employment uniformity, discount, and other welfare offer for internal workers, outpatient and inpatient media exposure, compensation, and sufficient bonus planning. Despite all of those employment facilities, the company is not experiencing a completely satisfactory employment environment because of some management difficulties. Therefore, this study will try to discover those difficulties faced by the management through traditional stages of research (7-Eleven 2009).

The rationale for the research

Because the franchising environment of Singapore is getting to be highly competitive, new and mega-retailers have to place concentration on different issues to gain a mega customer base. For this, the management decision-making process needs to be more specialized than before. Therefore, the basic issue for arranging this study is to make a deep insight upon such managerial process of 7- Eleven and realizing the necessity to reform some of those sectors with modified versioning by human resource management, change management, organizational behavior and cross-cultural management (Stone 2008).

Research questions and objectives

Three major problems that can recognize that by studying the present situation of 7- Eleven are issues regarding leadership, communication, and internal motivational process (7-Eleven 2009). Such as:

  • Lack of leadership: – At present, the store is suffering from the desired level of adequate leadership Some nooks and corners of such criteria are being pointed below-
    • The present OD or Operational Director occupies a simple secondary educational level.
    • Similarly, the DM and AM or District and Area Manager only occupy that educational certification.
    • The company’s operating director has been working for the previous 2 decades.
    • The company’s leadership is being unsuccessful in delivering any improvement-related response.
    • OD does not maintain proper employee relationships rather than because of childish treatment with employees tells off them in front of other employees during the meeting.
    • The practice of the top-down approach.
  • Lack of motivation: – In addition to crisis in leadership, 7- Eleven is also suffering from motivational problems, like:
    • At first, 7- Eleven personnel are not sufficiently motivated.
    • Secondly, that personnel generally work 6 days a week rather than 5 days, which creates extra physical and mental pressure and workload on themselves.
    • Thirdly, workers have no leverage hour for taking their meals while they are working individually. However, that case is not occasional rather than regular.
    • A single employee has to bear extra working burdens ranging from serving customers, handling their complaints, inventory arrangement, receiving, management, etc. Such pressure and lack of specialization would make them reluctant to perform their regular responsibilities.
    • While employees are working on MC, present employees have to maintain their responsibilities for another 8 hours regardless of substitution.
    • This company is suffering from the problem of teamwork while another problem is co-ordination and cordiality. Most of the Branch Managers of the company work only during their formal office period while the MC personnel also follow the same policy.
  • Lack of communication: – Passing with the mentioned difficulties, 7- Eleven is now suffering from some other communicational problems, such as:
    • Use of viral communication network or by mouth-to-mouth.
    • Communication via SMS or a mobile phone;
    • Each manager at the shop level cannot communicate between 4 hundred stores and HQ without a mobile phone.

All of those issues will evaluate under certain considerations along with the theoretical background. Such a task is important since all of those issues are closely interrelated with company performance, managerial formulation and alternative strategic scenario, organizational behavior of employees with their motivational motto, identification of exercised communicative ways with customers, internal employment environment, analysis of employee performance, and so one.

Scope and limitations of the study

As Singapore is the country where the projected 7- Eleven stores are expanding at an increasing rate of more than 550 stores within the coming 3 years, essential information has been easy to collect for this expansion. Some concrete data have been gathered to make specific results (Anon 2009).

Some limitations are

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  • Time limitation for making an extended research work;
  • Lack of co-operation of 7- Eleven employees in responding;
  • Lack of understanding by the respondents and tendency of becoming biased;
  • Limited budget and planning framework for the study.
  • Clutter of unnecessary information in secondary sources.
  • Lack of reliable sources of information;
  • Complicated analysis procedure and complicated isolation of irrelevant data from relevant ones;
  • Supportive barriers from private and press channels.
  • Complex analysis of results not only interview basis but also analyzing other materialistic issues of the company.

Literature Review

Overview of the topic

This section of the report will incorporate writings, research and scholarly opinion and theoretical aspects regarding description, measurement, and evaluation related to the presented problems and objectives of the study. Traditionally speaking, this review will emphasize theories of three specialized disciplines.

Motivational theories

Various types of motivational theories are applicable to solve the workplace motivational lacking of employees. Among them, Hertzberg’s two factors motivational model is more appropriate for 7- Eleven cases. According to this theory, there are two factors regarding maintenance and motivation as-

Motivational theories

The central and local management of 7- Eleven needs to understand the maintenance and motivational factors for each employee. Robbins & Judge (2008) argued that organizations must realize that lack of fulfilling maintenance issues including food, shelter, working balance would create a negative attitude while proper fulfillment of those variables takes them in a neutral state of mind. On the other hand, offering the employees various motivational derivatives like- cash and non-cash promotions, holidays, performance recognition, and participation in decision-making would result in a higher level of satisfaction. Non-meeting of such issues would not create extremely negative, rather than an indifferent state of mind.

Cross-cultural management

At this type of strategic implementation, 7- Eleven would practice inter-cultural training and the iceberg model. According to this model, management should be alert enough about the hidden mistakes in decision-making along with visible problems. Unnecessary cautions and default judgment would force to sink under loss. Therefore, cultural training should make for studying the internal difference of people staying in different countries. Ewton (2006) stated that this strategy is helpful enough for removing the iceberg fears to become successful in the long run.

Change management

Hayes (2006) stated that to implementing a change management strategy, management would need to adopt the Kaizen method incorporating group work, individual discipline, quality factors, and improved morale and improvement guidelines. Kaizen has also a vision of screening the ADKAR model that focuses on employment specialization. Sound communication with staff is also required for this proposition (Ewton 2006). All of those tasks have integrated with some stages as below-

  • Addressing complex issues of employee success through which employees would place their duties in the company. According to Vyom Bhuta with Gantthead, there are 8 steps to gain critical success which are-
    • Setting up of a change management program by considering risk, assessment, and knowledge (Griffin 2006);
    • Securing of supportive and commitment program through visualization of change assistance factor.
    • IT should place at an important place of planning and training program along with cost comparisons and leverages.
    • Mapping out the ways through which management would direct the employees’ consequence of change.
    • A pilot program should introduce to let the staffs know the process well.
    • Designing for wise implementation times;
    • Giving assurance about sufficient level of “Angel User” training by focusing communication and training in an integrated way;
    • Prefer any individual angle.
  • It should monitor the staff in an open and flexible way, which is related to behavioral change (Hayes 2006). The example suggests that most mechanistic firms suffer from the antagonistic problem. Reasons for negative employee behavior should be investigated by taking positive actions involving co-working with workers to take personal responsibility at each phase (Crossculturalmgt 2009).
  • Next, it must establish contingency strategies to handle the crisis moment or system breakdown. Sometimes resistance management is effective but most of the time it cannot be applied. Workers would be non-responsive towards changes while outsourcing would be applicable. Therefore, management needs to be supportive enough to convert individual resistance. In the beginning, no employee would gain the complete trust of authority while a contingency plan would be effective enough for placing advantages for staff with a new commitment for the project. Ewton (2006) also stated that Organizational culture is a highly influential fact, which takes a major concern in shaping the behavior of staff with the smooth lining of demonstration of loyalty for both company and employee.

Research Design/ Methodology

This section of the study is considering the formulation of a complete process, framework, or blueprint for conducting the entire research project. However, such process flow will focus on various details and procedures for obtaining the information needed to solve the appointed problems. Therefore, the stated marketing research design involves several components regarding designing of descriptive research modules, essential identification of information, specification of measurement and scaling process, construction and pre-testing of a questionnaire, specification of sampling process and size and development of data analysis technique (Malhotra 2009).

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Research approach

Marshall & Rossman (1999) argued that it is essential for establishing a specific approach for generating an important qualitative methodology. Therefore, an approach requires a certain design, which is an overall strategy preferred for obtaining information delivered for answering the research question. Thus, it will emphasize the pattern of research design and data collection techniques. Additionally, it would develop upon logical order, not judgmental biases. In approaching, will be dependent on measurement process of data collection which is an ultimate result of research outcomes (Malhotra 2009).

The interviews

Malhotra (2009) defined an interview as a purposeful discussion between two or more people in a reliable and valid way. The interview will be dependent on the below-

  • What data will be extracted from the respondents;
  • Who are the target audiences and what is the reason for selecting them;
  • How to evaluate and backing up the interviews to deciding upon the necessity for piloting the interview?
  • How to make understand the purpose of the interview and what will be the venue of the interview?

Therefore, the selected questions will be clear and non-threatening with a wider avoidance of complications, double-barreling, leading format. Additionally, it will not focus on the sales personnel’s personal life by giving them adequate assurance to be confidential about the data and information gave by them. 7- Eleven staff have initially been selected as participants since they have been considered as a viable source of information about internal difficulties and accomplishments regarding management strategies involving leadership, communication, and motivation. The vital issues, which will be going to explore via the interview are as below-

  • The motivational intensity in terms of working hours, group discussion, and participation, durability, group behavior, an extension of decision-making rights, etc.
  • Evaluation of working environment, training and non-financial motivation, management practical orientation, employment duties, and responsibilities ;
  • Job enrollment and employment attitude of internal bodies

Reliability and validity of interviews

The reliability and validity of the interview session are mostly easy to judge by analyzing the reason for selecting the interviewees. Here, 7- Eleven employees have been selected because it the thought and belief of us that a discussion with top-level decision-makers would create a situational bias and unrealistic working proposition of the company. In the case of 7-Eleven Singapore, interviews with general employees would be fruitful enough because they are the reliable source of information because about internal affairs. For example, what are the inner problems and lacking that the company would have to overcome along with formulation of perfect planning for overcoming those forthcoming complexities (Malhotra 2009)?

Data analysis

During the span of an interview, all the data will accumulate before a real analysis will occur and it would be pre-approved by the interviewer as well as a senior staff of the store. While such approval would obtain, all the irrelevant data that has been gained during the preliminary period will be eliminated so that those would not be responsible for creative biases (Malhotra 2009).

Here, the simple way of qualitative data analysis will be followed that generally incorporates the use of excel software for analyzing quantitative data. Such analysis will generate some graphical representations of the projected findings of this report (Malhotra 2009).

Contingency plan

The projected survey interviewing outcomes would not be sufficient to make further analysis or to draw a successful conclusion. For this, a contingency plan should be prepared to face any kind of unforeseeable situation. As a result, an informal observation method should adopt for carrying out the research work within a shorter period. It will also assist the researcher to realize an actual perception of the store employees who have observed. Malhotra (2009) argued that a proper integration of all other secondary sources regarding newspapers, journals, or the internet should make to make the plan more successful.

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Secondary research

Zikmund (2008) stated that there are two types of data, primary and secondary. For conducting this study, both types of data would use while various sources have been utilized for gathering secondary data, such as newspaper, magazine articles, business weeks, books, business journals, company publications, online articles and the similar.

Primary research

Primary data is the unprocessed information, which will collect through quantitative research in order to quantify data by applying some sort of statistical analysis. Here, a casual survey will conduct where various types of information will obtain based on questioning the respondents. Therefore, 15 surveys would perform which will adjust with the referencing file, which would name as 7- Eleven working environment survey. Different employees of the company have been chosen as respondents who will be asked a variety of questions in terms of their behavior, attitudes, intentions, awareness, motivations, demographic and lifestyle characteristics. These questions will ask through a written format and the responses will obtain in a structured way. That means, here the questionnaire has design in a prearranged order, which is direct in nature. Most of the questions will ask in a fixed- alternative way that requires the respondents for selecting from a predetermined set of responses that mostly takes the popular shape of the Likert scale (7-Eleven 2009).

Analysis and Findings

Now, the actual analysis may take several findings of the following forms-

  • Referring to the attached questionnaire, we can firstly understand that most of the employees of 7- Eleven are working for a little period-of-time ranging from more than 1 and within 3 years. This trend is showing that most of the experienced workers are not greatly interested to continue their career with this convenience store as-
Time span of working with 7- Eleven
Graph: Time span of working with 7- Eleven
  • Most of the employees of 7- Eleven believe that the company is quite ruthless in scheduling its working hours for the employees. In this regard, most of them strongly believe that the company does not pose reasonable working hours and days which clearly indicates that the company needs to restructure its working schedule to gain employee satisfaction. The result of reasonability variation of working hours and days is-
Reasonability variation of working hours and days
Graph: Reasonability variation of working hours and days
  • The ultimate result of employee dissatisfaction is their unhappiness and discomfort about the company. This statement is also applicable for 7- Eleven, which can be understood by the following diagram that depicts most of the staff are disagree with the happiness-working environment of the store, the second major portion is undecided about the fact. Such outcomes pose the necessity of immediately increase employee motivation to stick with the company.
You are happy working with 7- Eleven
Graph: You are happy working with 7- Eleven
  • It tends to ignore the perception and decision of employees who could take a vital role in making influential managerial decisions is another managerial problem of the company. In other words, most of the staffs of the company do believe that management is indifferent in adopting their suggestions seriously and showing appropriate action over it, such as-
Management concern of treating employees
Graph: Management concern of treating employees
  • In addition, general employees do not have the rights to be engaged in making decisions that can influence any aspect of their own jobs. It can be clarified from the survey outcome that most of the employees feel strong visible obstacles in top-level decision-making affect individual tasks while other major portions support this situation of restricted employee rights. It is as below-
Involvement in decision-making
Graph: Involvement in decision-making
  • About 54% staffs of the store are not satisfied with their present job environment. It is the disability of the management bodies that they have established a scared and complex environment, in which the responsible employees do not feel comfortable and flexible in working. This situation can be shown as-
Management creation of open and comfortable work environment
Graph: Management creation of open and comfortable work environment
  • 7- Eleven is fortunate in engaging committed, passionate and dedicated personnel as a regular workforce, most of them are aware enough about their job responsibilities and requirements. Passing on the same way, they are conscious about company expectations from them on a routine basis. This proposition is highly optimistic for the company to generate a better output and performance for the long- run as-
Employee understanding of job requirements
Graph: Employee understanding of job requirements
  • Since 7- Eleven has a reputation of offering sophisticated training and career expansion scope, regular employees are also agreed upon this positive performance of the company. From the environmental survey, it has clarified that a lion share of the employee group believes that they have adequate training and development programs for providing a better output from their performing job. So, the company’s human resources are skilled enough for delivering a professional performance as-
A training program to make a better performance
Graph: A training program to make a better performance
  • Similarly, the training program is standard enough which motivates the employees for making better performance. Therefore, about 82% of staff agree that 7- Eleven offers a development program that would nourish their performance. The result of such other outcomes are-
Effectiveness of training
Graph: Effectiveness of training
  • This analytical review suggests that despite being qualified, 7- Eleven employees are not well recognized by the management. For this reason, about 78% of staffs pay disagreement in the managerial ability for proper recognition and treatment of employee efficiency. There are also few other employees who are undecided and strongly disagree with this matter as-
Management recognition and use of employee capabilities
Graph: Management recognition and use of employee capabilities
  • Most of the staff of the company believe that the management does not treat them properly although a major number of employees do not agree with this statement. Whatever there is a controversy, it is true that 7- Eleven is not completely successful in maintaining proper employee treatment in terms of non-financial motivation in which respect is vital. The diversified perception of employees can be understood by the diagram below-
Employee well-treatment by management
Graph: Employee well-treatment by management
  • Although the employees are guided by better training for generating better output initially, they are not further motivated to improve their skills. In this regard, about 54% of employees think that they are not influenced to establish modern and more effective paves to perform their duties as-
Employee motivation to develop work-related efficiencies
Graph: Employee motivation to develop work-related efficiencies
  • Most the employees of 7- Eleven prefer to accomplish their tasks in-group while it is effective in improving their performance and make an easy solution for projected complications. However, controversy is also seeming here as-
Teamwork for solving problems to accomplish the task
Graph: Teamwork for solving problems to accomplish the task
  • Management is inflexible for which it is reluctant in understanding employee’s necessity in balancing their personal and job life. The company’s internal policy is based on rigid management procedure, which is not conscious about human rights for which employees generally demand a suitable working schedule that would make a good balance between job and personal affairs. As a result of such practice, employee dissatisfaction would occur while the entire scenario can be shown as-
Management flexibility in balancing work and personal life
Graph: Management flexibility in balancing work and personal life
  • Eventually, the survey has tested the impact of viral marketing in influencing others to join at any 7- Eleven store. However, it has been identified that most of the working staff are posing a strong view for others not to join and attach with this company. Although other visions also exist, employee’s negative perception towards this convenience store can be realized which should be improved immediately as-
Employee recommendation for accomplishment
Graph: Employee recommendation for accomplishment
  • At present, almost all of 7- Eleven Singapore stores offer full-time retailing services beyond hospital shops containing limited operating periods. It offers different sets of convenience services and items involving cash and phone cards, E- Z link cards, auto passes, parking coupons, UPS courier services Budget print, telephone and utility payment services and the like ((7-Eleven 2009).
  • As we have already noted that 7- Eleven is a convenience store, which is famous for its diversified operations and integrated employment opportunities. Such as, café concept for attracting tourists, a Kiosk for offering the customers to have a quick drink, instant snacks and enjoying newspapers, MRT station stores for offering a quick shopping opportunity, and hospital stores for serving patients all days long (7-Eleven 2009).

Recommendations

As we have identified a number of problem issues in the management of almost all at 7- Eleven stores, some suggestions could be made to overcome such problems, such as-

  • 7- Eleven should modify its regular working hours so that it would not create any pressure on employee’s personal life. In short, it should design a liberal working hour on both employee and company profitability.
  • It should concentrate on motivational factors to account for which management needs to change its present outlook. Several programs would adopt here including management’s cordiality in hearing employees seriously and react over that, giving them the opportunity in taking a significant role in making decisions about their tasks, etc.
  • Management should also develop a free and flexible working atmosphere where it will treat each employee’s potential completely. This simple shot of non-financial motivation will provide morale support towards the staff in a path-goal of self- actualization.
  • This store chain should establish new and innovative ways, which will be able to provide employees various incentives to perform their tasks well.
  • The strategy of teamwork needs to develop since most of the staff feel comfortable in doing so. In this regard, cooperative management technique would be effective while each project will place in-group, then the employees will solve them by multi-tasking under the moderation of operational management;
  • The theme of leadership needs to modify. Corporate leaders need to be educated enough to handle all sorts of responsibilities by introducing a participative approach where the advice and feedback of each individual will be treated with respect with a motto of proved democracy.
  • There is a need of developing an effective communication network both inside and outside the company. Adoption of modern IT support would be effective through continuous networking via the internet, extranet and intranet. Integration of e-commerce approach in terms of m-commerce would help staffs to link each time along with aware target customers about new arrivals of the company (Laudon & Traver 2002).
  • Each individual staff needs to be personally motivated. 7- Eleven needs t shorter lengthy working period from 6 to 5 days. Other factors concerning timely meal break, proper direction, contingency planning, etc. should be renovated.
  • The company needs to develop specialization skills. It means that no staff will have to bear all the responsibilities recording from customer to inventory dealing. Each worker needs to pose with a single task to carry out all time. Such a step would be effective in increasing employee’s capability in that criteria by lessening the burden of works.

Conclusion

At the ending part of the report, it can mention that no company is beyond of problems and no strategy is completely effective in overcoming those barriers. The Singapore franchise 7- Eleven is no more exceptional since it also incorporates some managerial difficulties despite being proving top-class customer service. Mainly it suffers from motivational, leadership and communicative problems, which can clearly address by cross-cultural, alternative management and conventional motivational theories. Employee survey has used as a research tool for practical perception testing of corporate staffs that are the most eligible sources of information. Graphical representation of the response of each questionnaire has explored some positive and negative organizational contexts of the company. Here, we have come to know that this store franchise keeps more working hours, lacks employee recognition and support, avoids feedback generated from them. On the other hand, the organization poses a standard training program, prospective employees who prefer to work in a group and the like. However, all of those aspects reveal some weakening points, which should be modified immediately. Among those, most important are related to change in leadership pattern, motivational practices, and e-commerce orientation in communication. Therefore, it can be expected that, if all such steps would take a shape of reality, soon 7- Eleven would be remembered among those all-rounder companies, which have proven their efficiency not only in serving externals but also in internals who are the strongest backbone of the company.

Reference List

7-Eleven (2009) Redefining the Convenience Store. Web.

7-Eleven (2009) Proprietary Brands. Web.

7-Eleven (2009) Our Network. Web.

7-Eleven (2009) From convenience to lifestyle stores: Redefining the Convenience Store. Web.

7-Eleven (2009) 7-Eleven Management Trainees. Web.

Anon (2009) About 7-Eleven. Web.

Crossculturalmgt (2009) Recent Articles. Web.

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