Alpha is a successful company and one of the largest supermarkets in the UK. The supermarket chain employs a large workforce to provide human resource functions in stores across the country. The success of the company is a result of shifting to a cost-leadership strategy at the beginning of the 21st century, coupled with a focus on improving customer service. The strategy enabled Alpha supermarkets to dominate the UK retail industry prompting continued expansion. However, the expansion was halted after faults began to emerge in its change management and leadership development strategies that contributed to a decline in levels of engagement and motivation.  

Change Management

            Change in an organization ought to be introduced and implemented with the knowledge and support of all the stakeholders. Support in this context is achieved through active engagement in the process of making decisions to ensure the needs of all the stakeholders are well articulated (Frank & Harrington, 2017). The Lewin’s change management model supports this assertion by advocating for a three-prolonged strategy of change management to ensure inclusion and engagement. Essentially, the change process has three stages, namely unfreeze, change, and refreeze.


            The unfreezing stage is preparation for change by informing the relevant stakeholders of the essence of the proposed change. In the organizational context, inform the employees, investors, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders why the old ways of doing things are inadequate to achieve organizational goals amid changes in the competitive environment (Miller & Proctor, 2016). At this stage, the board of directors of Alpha supermarkets would have engaged the employees to explain why delayering, standardizing processes, policies, and procedures in addition to redefining the role of the HR is essential to achieve competitive advantage. Essentially, communicate that the changes are essential to lower operational costs to enable the supermarket chain to counter the threat posed by the entry of the German ‘discounters’ Aldi and Lidl amid static growth in the industry.

The proposed change is implemented in the second stage after gaining the support of all the stakeholders. Achieving consensus is essential because change inevitably impacts the stakeholders; hence, it is important to ensure that each stakeholder understands and embraces the proposed changes (Frank & Harrington, 2017). Also, patience is essential because implementing change may take time as the stakeholders will need time to embrace new processes and developments. For instance, the managers would have required a month to get used to the new organizational structure and familiarize themselves with the requirements of new job positions. Also, the extended role of the HR and policy and procedure standardization, should have been communicated to the subordinates. It will help to prepare them for the changes in their daily routines.

Refreezing is the final stage of successfully implementing change in an organizational context. Refreezing is essential after the proposed changes have been accepted, embraced, and implemented by the respective stakeholders. The objective is to maintain and sustain the implemented changes by refreezing the organizational processes and systems impacted by the change (Miller & Proctor, 2016). Based on the case study, the managers ought to have accepted and embraced the new hierarchical organizational structure that introduced store-level management to control operational costs while improving performance.

Leadership and Management Development

            Leadership and management development focus on the unique development needs of leaders and managers in an organizational context. Leaders establish the direction of the organization, create a culture of performance, align the inputs and contributions of the stakeholders as well as inspire and motivate the organization to achieve a well-defined vision (Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2017). Meanwhile, managers execute the vision of the leader with the resources and inputs provide by managing teams and solving organizational problems. Therefore, leaders and managers receive different training to enable growth and development by focusing on their distinct roles and duties in the organizational context.

            Evidence from the case study indicates that a two-month two-tier leadership and management development program could have resolved the issues highlighted above. Essentially, one tier for the Managers of Managers and another tier for People Managers. Each tier will comprise of 16 hours of training and development delivered weekly in 2-hour sessions held each Friday. One hour of theoretical training with external coaches and another to practice using real-world business scenarios (Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2017). Evaluation at the end of the training and development program will help to assess the skills gain and knowledge imparted learning and practice. The focus of the first tier (leadership development) will be to equip the store managers and senior store managers with skills to provide leadership, coaching, guidance, and support the delivery of the “Alpha” standard. Meanwhile, the second tier (management development) will equip the section/line managers with people skills as they are in direct contact with the subordinates. People skills such as cultural intelligence, emotional intelligence, communication skills, and interpersonal skills are essential when managing a culturally diverse workforce.

            The role and duties of each category of managers will be clearly defined and explained to ensure delayering the organizational structure improves organizational efficiency to lower operational costs. Also, managers will be introduced to standardized policies and procedures to help them learn how to implement new policies to enhance operational efficiency. In concise, the two-tier leadership and management development program will equip store managers, senior managers, and section managers with the skills necessary to implement the layered/hierarchical organizational structure through standardized policies and procedures (Frank & Harrington, 2017).

Engagement and Motivation          

            Engagement refers to the level of participation in the process of making decisions by the employee. The concept is closely linked to motivation as active participation in the process of making key organizational decisions bolsters employees’ sense of belonging, thus motivating them to achieve organizational objectives. Although there are several motivation theories, Vroom’s expectancy theory best explains the high employee turnover as a result of declining levels of engagement and motivation among employees across the stores. The expectancy theory suggests that employees are likely to work hard to achieve organizational objectives if the outcome includes a reward that commensurate their efforts (Hiriyappa, 2018). Evidence from the case study indicate declining engagement in Store A and store C, while motivation is moderate across all the stores. Reports from section managers in Store A and Store C indicate that the senior managers’ response to suggestions and organizational problems is poor.

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            Lack of engagement by the senior managers, coupled with no rewards and bonuses for the demanding nature of the role of the section managers, explains for the high turnover relating to this management position. The section managers often work long shifts in addition to performing filling vacancies for absentees, recruiting, training and development, performance evaluation, and addressing issues affecting general assistants (Hiriyappa, 2018). Besides, standardization of policies, processes, and procedures hinders the efficiency of the section managers in recruiting and training general assistants. Standardizing the wage budget limits the flexibility of the stores to recruit and retain competent staff. Depending on the region of operation, the cost of highly-skilled labor varies widely. Therefore, a fixed budget does not allow section managers to hire or retain highly-skilled employees as the company cannot meet their wage demands. As a result, performance is affected as well as the morale of the section managers (Frank & Harrington, 2017). The challenges often cause section managers to seek better employment alternatives, leading to talent/skill drain.

            The company can improve engagement by establishing a two-communication strategy to enable the section managers to collaborate with the senior managers. The senior managers will be expected to respond promptly to issues raised by the section managers as well as articulate their suggestions as part of feedback in the decision-making process (Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2017). On the other hand, the budget should reflect the unique market environment conditions of each store. Therefore, options should be included, albeit with approval by senior managers, to allow section managers to hire and retain competent staff. Also, the section managers should receive bonuses and rewards for the additional tasks they perform beside the official duties and responsibilities. The section will be motivated to work long hours as well as fill vacancies for absentees as they stand to earn payment for overtime.


            Alpha supermarkets’ control of the UK market is undermined by faults in its change management and leadership development strategies that contributed to a decline in levels of engagement and motivation. A leadership and management strategy is essential to equip the leaders and managers of the organization with skills and knowledge to effectively implement change. Also, remuneration for section managers should include rewards and bonuses for working overtime and replacing absentees. In concise, improve the welfare of the staff to recruit and retain essential talents to fulfill current and future staffing needs.                               

Reference List

Frank, V. & Harrington, J., 2017. Change Management: Manage the Change or It Will Manage You. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.

Hiriyappa, B., 2018. Management of Motivation. London: PublishDrive.

Iszatt-White, M. & Saunders, C., 2017. Leadership. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Miller, D. & Proctor, A., 2016. Enterprise change management: how to prepare your organization for continuous change. London: Kogan Page.