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  • Subject Name : leadership

Investigating Aspects of Leadership

Table of Contents

Executive Summary.


Case Overview..

Leadership at Suma Wholefoods.



Executive Summary of Suma Wholefoods Case Study

The report puts forth an understanding of different aspects of leadership in the case of Suma Wholefoods. Suma Wholefoods is a whole food collective found in the year 1975 in West Yorkshire, by a group of liberally-minded workers, making it a worker-owned and managed corporation. The report presents an overview of the different aspects of leadership, which are ethics, power and motivation in the context of Suma Wholefoods. Further, in the report, the leadership at Suma wholefoods has been evaluated and analyzed. The report discusses how business focus on fulfilling corporate social responsibility and aligning the organization with corporate governance standards have worked as a distraction in the organization for the leaders to look into important matters like ensuring customer satisfaction and gaining a competitive edge in the industry. Further, it has been discussed whether business issues or ethical issues, which must be addressed first. Also, the leadership at Suma whole foods making use of different types of leadership tactics and power influences have been analyzed. At last, the ways utilized by Suma whole foods to develop a thriving workforce has been presented. The conclusion sums up the entire report.

Introduction to Suma Wholefoods Case Study

Suma Wholefoods is an organization which was founded in 1977 by a group of like-minded liberal people, who held a strong inclination in the belief of generating a better way to operate and with determined efforts they came up with it. The company has grown strong over its evolution from 1977 till now. Today, they are delivering a whopping 7000 different natural, vegetarian and responsibly sourced products to various communities and business across the United Kingdom as well as globally all over the world. Their kind is one of the largest operating in Europe. They are determined and making consistent efforts in supporting the suppliers and customers along with working for the betterment of society (Suma Wholefoods, 2020).

Case Overview

The case of Suma Wholefoods has been presented here. This is a UK based wholefood organization making use of a collective approach for organizing its operations and managing them effectively and efficiently. The section of the report discusses how leadership and its aspects of motivation, ethics and power are instilled in the organization. Leadership is the process of influencing socially, the behaviour and attitude of others at work to maximize the potential of their efforts in a view to take the organization closer to the achievement of organizational goals, effectively and efficiently (Kruse, 2013).

As per the case study, the leadership of Wholefoods can be seen in the way in which the company has been organized as a corporation which is led by liberally-minded workers who own and manage the business, influencing and taking ahead all the workers by influencing their behaviour and attitude to work in a certain manner which aligns their efforts in one common direction towards the achievement of organizational goals and objectives.

The attributes of an organization like equal pay to all workers, collaboration and involvement of everyone in decision-making processes, and multiskilled people working across different work areas as per people specialization to make productive and constructive use of the different types of expertise and experience possessed by workers of the organization for realizing organizational success in the form of achievement of expected results, shows how employees are engaged and a feeling job satisfaction is instilled in them by the management at Suma Wholefoods. The study has also mentioned that these factors work as big motivating variables for every worker in the organization since every person is paid the same compensation without any discrimination, and their opinion is encouraged and valued by the company in decision-making processes of considerable importance.

Motivation is the process of stimulating others to get the work done from them effectively and efficiently in the light of achievement of organizational goals. It is the process, which gives rise to, guides and helps maintain the goal-oriented behaviour of workers in an organization. Theory Y of motivation is employed in the company, since workers possess a natural liking for their work and are expected to self-manage, to gather information and take necessary decisions accurately (Murayama, 2018).

Diversity is valued at Suma Wholefoods, and all members are committed to maintaining ethical values in the workplace. Ethics are a set of moral principles which affect how people make decisions and lead their life and work (BBC, 2014). At Suma Wholefoods, ethics are demonstrated by the workers through their values of integrity, which help them maintain honest and transparent with suppliers and customers, building trust in the society, welfare, by production of 100% vegetarian products, and cooperation through collective decision-making (Suma Wholefoods, 2020).

Every worker, from trainee to manager, is empowered in the company. Power is an influence, energy, clarity and confidence which increases as more support is provided to others, it constitutes the highest form of leadership (Miller, 2018). The case study also states that members are expected to work and manage the business at the same time. Power is demonstrated in the way each worker holds a say in decision-making and works across multiple roles yearning to take up roles of high responsibility.

Leadership at Suma Wholefoods

  1. Emphasis on corporate governance and corporate social responsibility has led to distraction for leaders to concentrate on key business issues such as gaining a competitive edge and serving the customers well.

This statement is not true because when a business engages itself to address the social and environmental concerns in interaction with different stakeholders, along with their business operations, the employees, customers, society, suppliers and government are benefitted by the business putting efforts in enhancing business processes and standards to bring along some changes in the behavior of workers of the organization, hence generating a positive impact on the society. Corporate social responsibility is defined as the efforts made by a business to fulfil its duties towards the stakeholders at large by making use of eco-friendly materials and techniques for producing goods and services, providing the best quality of products to consumers at affordable prices in the right time and place, generating employment opportunities for unemployed youth of the country, thereby uplifting the economy and adhering to the guidelines and standards of corporate governance (Valluri Change Foundation, 2019).

Through fulfilment of corporate social responsibility, a business can strike balance between social, environmental and economic imperatives, achieving the objectives of triple bottom line approach along with addressing the concerns of stakeholders through such initiatives. Emphasis on corporate governance and social responsibility, itself fulfils the objectives of a firm to achieve customer satisfaction by serving them well and providing them goods of high quality at reasonable prices, along with gaining a competitive edge in the industry among the rivals by showing the business as a good corporate citizen which takes care of the environment as well as society by abiding by corporate governance standards and guidelines, thereby establishing a special place for the business and its products in the minds of target customers (Valluri Change Foundation, 2019).

Since Suma Wholefoods has access to a strong workforce with possession of diverse skills and expertise, it builds and generated strong leadership, enough to achieve sustainability in the organization and fulfilment of expectations of customers, gaining a competitive advantage over and above the competitors. With the help of corporate governance and social responsibility, a leader can easily fill the gap between actual and expected results of the business and achieve its objectives, thereby satisfying the needs and wants of customers and fighting competition to become the industry leader easily (de Sousa Filho et al. 2010).

Therefore, a business must put and address ethical issues first and then the business issues, because addressing ethical issues and problems makes solving of business concerns easier. When a business satisfies the customers with its products and services and meets the standards of corporate governance, its goodwill and reputation in the market rises, simultaneously overcoming any issues undergoing the business effectively and efficiently. Business cannot address business issues without solving ethical ones by building customer belief and loyalty in them, to achieve long term sustainable goal of the organization (de Sousa Filho et al. 2010).

  1. Types of power and influence tactics used at Suma Wholefoods as a part of leadership processes

In its initial years of operation, Suma Wholefoods made use of a pluralist strategy which made use of fully directive participation on the part of the leaders and workers, however, it was not fully effective. Free rider effects and waste of time, proved the ineffectiveness of combining participative style and supportive style of leadership. At present Suma Wholefoods is making use of transactional and transformational leadership styles as a part of unitarist strategy of leadership, but these tactics were also not effective enough to guide the direction of business operations (Jones, 2000).

Suma Wholefoods analyzed the recommendations of workers to develop a new leadership strategy which combined pluralist and unitarist styles. This new power influence in the organization, led to motivation and empowerment for diverse workers and their opinions, and values, simultaneously making use of unitarist style to create and extend the sharing of sustainability. This strategic tactic favours pluralism since the organization is committed to it. Suma Wholefoods plans to use future leadership strategy for meeting worker aspirations (Jones, 2000).

The future leadership strategy sought to be undertaken is contingency leadership framework. Here, Suma Wholefoods has made use of two influential tactics, the first one recommending the use of a blend of supportive and transformational styles of leadership. This recognizes the need for motivating employees intrinsically through sustainable development and extrinsically through rewards and appreciation. Secondly, the company adopts a mix of transparent and transactional styles of leadership. This strategy would enable democratically elected leaders to easy decision-making processes by taking decisions on behalf of the workers. Transparency in operations through leadership would further enable workers to develop an understanding of management decisions and generate a sense of belongingness towards the company (Jones, 2000).

When workers see these powers as a social influence on them, they rule out the coercive and legitimate positions promoted by these leadership styles. Thus, social and expert power influenced these leadership styles. Power plays a major role in the development of an effective and efficient organizational structure. This is so, because of the whole idea upon which Suma Wholefoods has been established- worker participation and management of business. Effective management at Suma Wholefoods employs social power tactics and influences directed towards the organizational goals and helping the workers accomplish those goals (Jones, 2000).

Social power is distinct from negative personal power. The power influences like referent and expert must be used by Suma Wholefoods constructively to provide a sustainable direction to employee efforts and values in the achievement of goals of the company. Participative, supportive and transparent leadership styles employed by the management, encourage employee engagement in decision-making, values their contribution, presents a big picture of the company to the workers and supports their work processes and activities. This opens up the venues for effective communication and participation of all workers in the organization through the best use of power and influence tactics as a part of leadership by Suma wholefoods (Jones, 2000).

  1. Ways in which Suma Wholefoods aims to build a thriving workforce

Suma Wholefoods provides workers with a workplace where there are no bosses, everyone be it manager or worker gets equal pay and say in decision-making. At Suma Whole Foods, the vision and mission of the company includes, not only supply of good quality vegetarian food to customers and maintaining sustainable development, but also the way motivation is provided in the way this organization is run. This company is a cooperative of liberal-minded local people, laying down its foundation on the values of integrity and equality, where everyone is a manager as well as a worker, both owning and managing its operations (Suma Wholefoods, 2020).

At Suma Wholefoods, the people do not have any superiors, it is the workers who give direction to the operations of the company. These workers are the ones who take all the decisions of the firm collectively, and therefore this form of engagement develops a sense of belongingness in them towards the organization. Employees are self-motivated to work and carry a high level of self-esteem seeing themselves as their boss. The company makes use of Theory Y of motivation, given by Mc Gregor, therefore, workers at Suma Wholefoods consider work as natural play, they possess die-hard commitment and are self-directed to accomplish organizational goals and objectives. Since, the organization rewards and appreciates good performance of employees, these fulfil higher-order needs of self-actualization of the employees, due to which they put forwards their full potential productivity for realizing quality outcomes. These people are creative and seek responsibility on their own to help the firm grow and develop in the industry (Granite state college, 2020).

Maslow’s need hierarchy theory of motivation plays a significant role in the operations of Suma Wholefoods. The worker’s basic physiological needs of food, shelter, clothing, education are taken care of by the management of the firm since everyone is given equal and adequate pay. Safety and security needs of workers are realized by them owning and managing the operations of the business as the owners, which ensures job security. Also, Suma Wholefoods is the biggest equal pay corporation operational in Europe, where all workers work as a team with honesty, integrity and harmony, thus establishing them as a complete family, fulfilling their social needs (Suma Wholefoods, 2020).

Esteem needs are accomplished when high-performance of workers is rewarded and appreciated, providing them with higher status in the company. And at last, self-actualization, comes through inner-fulfilment of every individual at work, through doing all they are capable of doing, from working across multiple functions, from truck delivery to management of firm’s accounts (Granite State College, 2020).

Therefore, employees and managers at Suma Wholefoods are highly motivated to put their best foot forward and realize high levels of productivity by making optimal utilization of available resources and expertise, to deliver work as per expectations and achieve organizational goals and objectives effectively and efficiently (Suma Wholefoods, 2020).

Conclusion on Suma Wholefoods Case Study

The report presents different aspects of leadership employed at Suma Wholefoods. Suma Wholefoods is a collective organization owned by workers who own and manage the business delivering vegetarian products to customers. Motivation is generated by a company employing theory Y of motivation and fulfils the need hierarchy theory of workers, making them take up responsibility in the organization and realizing personal needs and power through engagement in decision-making. Management focus on corporate governance and social responsibility helps in achieving customer satisfaction and a competitive edge, which is why the firm must address ethical issues before business issues. The power and influence tactics of leadership make use of transformational, transparent and transactional styles to influence workers.

References for Suma Wholefoods Case Study

BBC. (2014). Ethics: A general introduction. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/introduction/intro_1.shtml

de Sousa Filho, J. M., Wanderley, L. S. O., Gómez, C. P., & Farache, F. (2010). Strategic corporate social responsibility management for competitive advantage. Brazilian Administration Review, 7(3), 294-309. Retrieved from https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1807-76922010000300006&lng=en&nrm=iso

Granite State College. (2020). Theories of motivation. Retrieved from https://granite.pressbooks.pub/mgmt805/chapter/theories-of-motivation/

Jones, D, R. (2000). Leadership strategies for sustainable development: a case study of Suma whole foods. Business Strategy and Environment, 9(6), 378-389. Retrieved from https://sci-hub.tw/https://doi.org/10.1002/1099-0836(200011/12)9:6%3C378::AID-BSE260%3E3.0.CO;2-F

Kruse, K. (2013). What is leadership? Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2013/04/09/what-is-leadership/#446697f05b90

Miller, R. (2018). What is power, really? Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/rickmiller/2018/10/25/what-is-power-really/#12aafc5d42a7

Murayama, K. (2018). The science of motivation. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2018/06/motivation

Suma Wholefoods. (2020). Our Co-op. Retrieved from https://www.suma.coop/about/our-co-op/

Suma Wholefoods. (2020). About. Retrieved from https://www.suma.coop/about/

Suma Wholefoods. (2020). Our Values. Retrieved from https://www.suma.coop/about/our-values/

Valluri Change Foundation. (2019). CSR and the role of leadership. Retrieved from https://www.valluricf.com/blog/uncategorized/csr-and-the-role-of-leadership/#:~:text=A%20properly%20implemented%20CSR%20concept,and%20reputation%2C%20enhanced%20customer%20loyalty%2C

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