MBA7061 - Strategic Management and Operations of Waitrose


  • Unit No: 4
  • Level: High school
  • Pages: 12 / Words 3031
  • Paper Type: Assignment
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  • Downloads: 722
Organization Selected : 'Waitrose'
Question :

There are following questions that fulfil the requirement of the brief are given below:

  • Differentiate the role of a leader and the function of a manager.
  • Apply the roles of a leader and the function of a manager in the given consideration
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the role of leaders and manager pay in the operations function of the company.
  • Give an understanding of relationships in leadership and management in contemporary business.
Answer :


The planning and coordination of all the activities in a business to achieve defined gaols of the organization is referred to as Management. Operations are tasks consisting of one or more components that are performed to turn inputs into desired results. The company being discussed here is 'Waitrose', a chain of British supermarkets, headquartered in Bracknell, UK and founded in 1904. This report examines the application of roles and functions of leaders and managers and the application of different theories. It also talks about the key approaches to operations management and the factors impacting the same.


P2. Examine examples of how the role of a leader and the function of a manager apply in different situational contexts.

Managers and leaders play important roles of setting the rules and guiding other employees in any organization respectively. While managers plan, organize and create goals, leaders create vision and motivate employees to work towards achiveing them. In context to “Waitrose”, different issues have come up that are leading to reduced productivity and a low performance among the employees. When such situations arise, managers and leaders have different roles to play in order to overcome them.

  • Communication gap – Waitrose has a large workforce and employees with different cultural backgrounds which makes communication between different people difficult. Gap in the communication between employees can wreck the growth of the organization. Experience of fear and doubt, having a wrong attitude are observed as reasons of communication gap. Since one of managers' many functions is “Planning” so the manager at Waitrose should plan communication training sessions to help employees work better with each other and with the customers. They should also hold small interactive sessions so that the co-workers know each other. Leaders need to make sure that employees have healthy communication with each other.
  • Staff turnover – Staff turnover in any company is a cost to the company and is not considered to be a good sign. Waitrose has seen a growing number of employees leaving the company reason being a bullying environment in some branches and lack of consistency too. The company has been struggling with this issue for the last 2-3 years and is not able to retain the employees. Managers' function in the company is to look after the employees and conduct guest lectures addressing the issue, hire the right people and fire the ones who don't fit. The role of the leader needs to make sure that the employees are motivated and are satisfied with the work they're being assigned. Leaders should assign responsibilities according to their qualifications, specializations and experience.
  • Interpersonal Conflicts – Waitrose has different teams consisting of people with different backgrounds working together under one roof. As a result, there are conflicts among employees frequently. The manager's function in the company is to resolve the conflicts by speaking to employees who are involved in a conflict and separately and motivate them to ignore the conflict and co-operate with each other. An effective leader's role is to raise teams that work together. He needs to be informed of all the issues within the team and should address the conflict positively so that employees stay focused on their work.

Therefore, to sum up, organizations face different situations on a day to day basis. The managers and leaders are responsible for the smooth functioning of the teams within the company and to resolve any issues that come up.

P3. Application of different theories and models of approaches.

Leadership can be defined as the measure of leading people in an organization in order to achieve goals and objectives. Leadership means setting a clear vision to influence the employees ' behaviours, guiding and motivating them in different ways. In context to Waitrose, the leadership styles are described below:

  • Situational leadership – It refers to when a leader needs to adjust his style to fit the level of development of the team members that he/ she is trying to influence. As in Waitrose there is situation of communication gap among the employees thus leader should opt for strategic leadership style where he develops a strategy to overcome the gap. Similarly, a leader with coach-leadership style will help employees when a situation of interpersonal conflict arises.
  • Systems leadership – Referred to as a set of skills and capacities that any organization or individual can use to support the process of systems-level change. Leaders in Waitrose create situations and conditions where employees at all levels are able to work productively. Working in difficult situations like staff turnover and interpersonal conflicts, systems leadership has proven to be a really useful tool in Waitrose.
  • Contingency leadership – This type of leadership states that a leader's effectiveness is dependent upon how appropriately the leadership style opted by him/her matches the situation. Leaders in Waitrose not only depend on their abilities but also the type of leadership style they use. With a problem of communication, leaders should have a style of interacting with the employees and addressing the issues prevailing within the teams.
  • Task-oriented approach – It is referred to an approach where an employee pays attention to the tasks that are needed to be performed in order to meet certain specified goals. Waitrose deals with situations like staff turnover can by assigning tasks to the employees on the basis of their capabilities and interest.

The application of chaos theory and management by objectives.

Chaos theory proves to be extremely useful in guiding employees' behaviors in an organization. The theory states that initial small conditions have big impact on the project outcomes. In simpler words, chaos theory deals with uncontrollable or very difficult to predict things. With the help of this theory, the respective organization's managers can guide the employees in order to understand them more efficiently.

Management by objectives is a strategic model that focusses on the improvement of performance in an organization by defining clear objectives that are agreed by both the management as well as the employees. Waitrose has a definite and clearly described set of objectives that the company aims to work towards. Through management of objectives, the company is able to express its individuality and priorities. For example, Waitrose has set objectives of achieving new target of hitting the win rate of 20%.


P4. Key Approaches to Operations Management

Operations management is referred to as a set of applications used by companies to increase their effectiveness and efficiency. Operations Management comprises of a number of theories and their applications within and across organizations. Some key approaches used by Waitrose are described below:

  • Six sigma – It is a statistical and data driven approach for the continuous improvement elimination of defects in a product, process or service. Waitrose uses six sigma to check the ongoing processes and understanding customers and their preferences. The company especially uses six sigma to eliminate waste from their system so that more efficient products are manufactured. The organization, by using six sigma over the years has been successful in reducing a considerable amount of waste.
  • Lean Manufacturing – It refers to the manufacturing and production of products with high quality with zero elimination of waste. The term was coined out in the Japanese industry. Waitrose focuses on standardization and follows the process of planning, doing, checking and then acting. The company follows the process of lean retail like using sophisticated algorithms to buy the right quantity of merchandise. Lean retail has helped Waitrose in reducing overstocks, out-of-stocks and returns.
  • Just-in-Time – Also known as Toyota Production System, it is a method focussing mainly at the reduction of flow times within a production system. Waitrose follow Just-in-Time by making the inventory readily available so that the product demand is met without having any excess quantities left. This enables the merchants to minimal stock supplies while ensuring that the stock does not get over at peak times.
  • Total Quality Management – This is a process of primarily focussing on the process to improve the quality of the products manufactured/ produced through continuously improving the internal processes involved in the production of the goods and services. Waitrose pays attention to the end result which is customer satisfaction. Therefore, products of high quality are produced by conducting regular inspections of the processes involved in the manufacture of the product.

P5. Explanation of Importance and Value of Operations Management

Operations management is an area of management that helps in achieving the goals and objectives of the company by improving the productivity of the employees at the same time. The company's goodwill is improved and there is a positive rapport of the company in the industry. Operations Management helps in the complete and effective utilization of resources without any wastage. The motivation of the employees goes up as high-quality products are produced by the company.

For example- When Waitrose came up with the idea to produce and launch a new product in the market, there were decisions that needed to be taken such as purchasing raw materials at low rates but producing high quality products, hire skilled and qualified employees who will work on producing the desired product. Manufacturing units needed to be set up which requires high cost. The company needs to work on distributing the products across all stores for them to be able to available to the customers.

Operations Management will not only help improving the productivity of the employees but also manufacture high quality products. Since Waitrose focuses on using the resources available in the best way possible, it improves the overall chances of high quality products being produced and also the chances of customers getting satisfies increases. This will also result in high profits for the company. The efforts put in by the work force is adequately and effectively utilized that are needed to convert the raw materials into final goods and services.

The methodology transforms the raw materials like labour, building, land, materials etc. that provide value to the customers. All organizations today, including Waitrose strive to provide maximum value to their customers for the money that they pay to purchase the product.

Operations Management by the the use of different approaches like six sigma, lean manufacturing, just-in-time and total quality management that are based on different concepts and help in the final high quality production of the goods and services. The operations manager at Waitrose ensures the proper management of all the activities that are a part of producing high quality goods. Operations management is a vast area covering distinct aspects like procurement, supply chain management,production, customer service, IT, quality assurance etc.

Managing operational tasks in an effective and efficient manner can help increase the productivity in an organization dramatically. Operations are activities that are not aimed at producing anything new but to maintain an existing system.

It was earlier believed that operations management is of not very importance in an organization. But today it is considered as one of the main aspects of producing a product in any organization and for it to function smoothly. It serves as a crucial part in an organization as it handles issues like design, operations and maintenance etc


P6. Assessment of Factors impacting upon Operations Management

The objectives that are set by the company for the functioning of the operations are affected by a number of factors that are internal as well as external. Some of the factors that have an impact on Operations Management are described below in context of Waitrose-

  • Culture and values – In context to Waitrose, the company has a set of values that guide its commitment to empower all people who work there and in ehichever part of the business they work in. The company has a healthy culture and treats its staff fairly.
  • Sustainability – Food offered by Waitrose reaches a million people. Therefore the company is passionate about every step involved in the journey. In order to be sustainabe, the company makes sure that all it's fish is sourced from farm or fisheries that are well managed.
  • Ethics – Ethics refers to the way in which an organization responds to internal as well as external impulses. In context to Waitrose, it has a fair and ethical relationship with its customers as well as suppliers. The company became the first company who supplied fairtrade bananas exclusively in the UK in 2007.
  • Human Resources – The quality and the capacity of the workforce at Waitrose are key factors that can affect the operational objectives. There are chances of the productivity getting affected by the investment done training the workforce.
  • Economic Environment – Waitrose has in past, experienced sudden changes in the demand from the customers that affected the utilization of the resources and also the productivity of the workers. The company has seen occasions where changes in the interest rates impacted the cost of financing capital investment in operations.
  • Efficiency of the competitors – Waitrose has equal to more efficient competitors in the market that have in some way shaped the brand as it is today. Competitors pose pressure or competition on the operations of Waitrose in turn the brand delivering comparable performance.
  • Legal changes – Different government policies affect the operations of an organization. These laws can either impact the business of the organization in a positive way or in a negative way. They also impact the processes and practices of the business. Waitrose ensures that they work on operations to minimize the hazards to safety and health in their workplace.
  • Innovation – In the competitive marketplace today, no company can survive without innovation. With the marketplace evolving constantly, Waitrose is working to make sure that they are at the forefront of the market with innovation and introduction of new technologies that enhance the way people shop. Waitrose Hot Ideas is new programme set up to identify and then develop technological innovations that will help create a unique experience.
  • Suppliers – Waitrose seeks suppliers who offer quality materials along with high standards of preparation and cooking skills. The ingredients should be simple, recognisable and if possible sourced from local region. The products offered should be visually appealing and should have an appropriate packaging.

To meet it's stakeholders expectations and to create a lasting value, Waitrose maintains an ongoing communication with all its stakeholders. By involving stakeholders when decisions are being made, the company is able to understand their expectations and build trust and strengthen its ability to operate globally while maintaining a healthy relationship with the stakeholders.


From the above report, it has been concluded that both management and operations play a vital role in the functioning of an organization. Sometimes, situations or issues can come up within the premises that need to be addressed by the manager and the leaders in the company. Different theories and approaches of leadership can be applied to maintain a smooth functioning within the organization. The company referred to in this report uses different approaches of operations management to reduce the amount of waste generated during the manufacturing of the products. There are different factors that have impact on operations management which can be either internal or external. Thus, operations management proves to be a very important aspect within an organisation.

This Might Interest You


Books and Journals

Gao, J. and You, F., 2015. Optimal design and operations of supply chain networks for water management in shale gas production: MILFP model and algorithms for the waterenergy nexus. AIChE Journal. 61(4), pp.1184-1208.

Heizer, J., Render, B. and Munson, C., 2016. Operations management. Pearson Australia Pty Limited.

Hitt and et. al., 2016. Resource based theory in operations management research.Journal of Operations Management. 41. pp.77-94.

Hoyos, M.C., Morales, R.S. and Akhavan-Tabatabaei, R., 2015. OR models with stochastic components in disaster operations management: A literature survey. Computers & Industrial Engineering. 82. pp.183-197.

Hübner and et. al., 2015. Operations management in multi-channel retailing: an exploratory study. Operations Management Research. 8(3-4). pp.84-100.

Merigó, J.M. and Yang, J.B., 2017. A bibliometric analysis of operations research and management science. Omega. 73. pp.37-48.

Prashar, A., 2015. Assessing the flipped classroom in operations management: A pilot study. Journal of Education for Business. 90(3). pp.126-138.

Reid, R.D. and Sanders, N.R., 2019. Operations management: an integrated approach. John Wiley & Sons.

Schönsleben, P., 2018. Integral logistics management: operations and supply chain management within and across companies. CRC Press.

Uhl, A. and Gollenia, L.A. Eds., 2016. A handbook of business transformation management methodology. Routledge.

Walker and, 2015. Theoretical perspectives in operations management: an analysis of the literature. International Journal of Operations & Production Management. 35(8).

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