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A business, like all other institutions, faces many issues regularly. With the change in times and trends, the issues faced by the organization also changes. As a result, the organization has to improve and also innovate the methodologies they use and the theories they apply. It is to note that not all methods or strategies work for all problems. The problem and its solutions are specific and cannot be generalized. For different fields and markets, solutions and project management vary accordingly. The final section evaluates the data and strategies, concluding with recommendations to implement them. For research, a company, namely Amazon, has-been selected. The purpose of the project is to produce a better understanding of the business sector and the issues related to it.
The primary aim of the following project is to explore the current and contemporary issues that affect the business sector. The initial section of the project presents the research and findings on the said issues. Following that, the project discusses the numerous research strategies that are either in practice or can be practised to mitigate the discussed issues.
The first objective of this research project is to identify the problems that arise in the management of projects. Understanding and improvisation of strategies and solutions to elucidate the difficulties is the secondary objective of the project.
For research about the topics of the present project, an organization has been selected for reference. The case study has been done onAmazon.com Inc. It is a multinational technology company that currently deals in the sectors of e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming and artificial intelligence. As stated by Maeder et al. (2019), a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data has been used in the project. The project is done through the use of secondary data. The descriptive method has been used in the research procedure. To give a better understanding of the workings of the company, a mixture of data is used. The time, manpower and financial limitations restrict the use of primary data. The descriptive method has been applied for the project as an intervention in the process to measure the outcome is not suitable for our project (Smajlovi? et al. 2019).
Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational technology company that focuses on e-commerce, digital streaming, artificial intelligence and cloud computing. At present, the company is considered to be the most valuable brand on the globe. Founded in 1994 as an online marketplace for books, the company has expanded into several categories. The company is the world’s largest Internet company, online marketplace, cloud computing platform, AI assistant provider and live-streaming service as of 2021 (Zhang et al. 2019). The revenue of the company as calculated in 2021 is US$ 469.822 billion. Amazon holds total assets of valuation US$ 420.549 billion in 2021 (Amazon, 2022). It has been noted that the net income of the company in 2021 was US$33.364 billion. A total of 1.6 million people are employed by the company as of 2021 (Amazon, 2022).
Based on the above figure, it has been identified that Amazon has earned huge profit from their online stores and they offer exclusive offers to their customers. This can help to improve their overall business development in this present era.
The twenty-first century is an age of rapid change and development. Be it in the mundane day to day life or the methods of governing a state, nothing is as before. Business and its management are no different. It is to note that in a single generation, businesses have had to adapt immensely. The development of new marketing channels such as the internet is one key change. As influenced by Ferreira et al. (2021), decisions of investment and utilization of new technologies are to be made often. The scale and stakes of competition have also risen very high. Once, companies need only to compete with their local rivals but now they compete on the global stage. Similar to this adaptation and revolution of business methodologies and procedures, the problems and challenges related to the sector has changed dramatically. In the following section, some of the contemporary and current issues affecting the business sector are described.
It has come to notice regarding the great human tendency of experiencing discomfort when it comes to uncertainty. The complete human populace, especially the business leaders, experience strong discomfort when they face uncertainty. An American business consultancy firm that has its headquarters in Denver Colorado has reported this finding. The reason for the uncertainty is wide-ranged, varying from global to local, from environmental to economical. The faltering of the global economy and any possible recovery makes the future uncertain. Credit markets, environmental issues and concerns or the introduction of new regulations also gives rise to uncertainty (Martínez-Alonso et al. 2019). As a result, the organizational viewpoint is hampered. Corporations show a tendency to focus on short-term goals and plans in the time frame of six to twelve months. It has come to the surface that numerous companies do not even have a vision for two or three years into the future. This poses a high-risk factor to the companies.
Another issue considerably similar to Uncertainty is failure to Plan properly. Most organizations do not have a definite and clear plan regarding their financial and managerial procedures. This situation of unplanned management worsens the cash flow due to the wastage of money on diversions and minor issues. The reason for the continuation of this problem even though it's fairly simple to understand is the difficulty. As mentioned by Henao-García and Montoya (2021), planning at such a humongous scale is difficult, time-consuming and has no visible financial returns. The difference between the results of practising proper planning and not coming to the forefront only in the longer timeframe. Organisations need to revise their plans according to economic and business conditions. Following any major changes in the conditions, the planning committee must revise to ensure their survival in the future.
The avoidance of responsibilities among the top tier of organisations lead to the faltering of the organisation. An organisation comprises a diverse group of characters who have their own specific set of strengths and weaknesses. A workplace has a variety of personality types including thinkers, doers, leaders or nurturers. Rather it can be said that a good team has a good balance and mutual respect for the different working styles (Liu et al. 2020). But for a group of people to work as a team, the presence of an intuitive and strong leader is essential. Leadership styles vary from person to person. It has been observed that most of the successful business leaders in history were not considered to be ‘nice’ by their peers. A certain set of characteristics has been attributed to a good leader in the book Emotional Intelligence by revered psychologist Daniel Goleman. According to “Daniel Goleman”, the leaders who are most likely to be successful in difficult times are those having strong social skills and empathy. Successful leaders are also capable of embedding the seeds of inspiration to perform highly in others. Thus, it can be concluded that an outstanding leader has three key qualities to success (Hang, 2018). They are emotional self-control, social awareness and empathy. Ineffective leadership hampers the growth of an organisation. It may even lead to the complete failure of the organisation.
Any organisation, irrespective of the services, methodology or scale, depends on its employees. It is safe to say that a corporation is nothing without its staff. Hence, without doubt, it is possible to say that management of the people is essential for any organisation. Every major or minor organisation in the current times consists of a Human Resources (HR) department. As per the notation of Anderson and Adams (2019), the organisation needs to find the right people with the proper skills and competencies. It is also to be noted that with the emergence of a new generation in the effective workforce, certain trends are changing. A rise in the concern for the emotional wellbeing of the employees and the importance of individualism is some of the concerns of the Human Resource department. There is also the erosion of corporate loyalty and power dynamics in an organisation.
With the increase in understanding of the effects of actions on the society and environment, outlooks and procedures must be changed. Some factors that earlier organisations need not be concerned about were environmental effects, sustainable growth and waste management. The effect is visible in the manufacturing and the service sectors, irrespective of the scale of the organisation (Wu, and Gereffi, 2018). Keeping up to date with Health and Safety legislation, employment laws and environmental laws are overwhelming. Even the most minuscule of businesses must revise their waste management plans or face heavy fines and legal actions. With growing awareness among the consumers and shareholders, companies need to be more transparent in their operations now. Growth in the global market also means the organisations need to comply with not only region-specific but international laws.
With the introduction of ground-breaking technological advancements, companies have either the option to embrace the changes or be left behind. Integrating the new advancements in the procedures and innovating accordingly is the need of the hour. There exists also the problem of information overload which increases the difficulty of decision making tenfold.
Effects of the issues on the selected organisation
Since the beginning of the global pandemic of 2020, the global markets have been cloaked in uncertainty. The global economy plummeted with international business and trade being restricted due to health concerns. The social distancing norms, however, boosted the growth of the e-commerce sector. Net sales US$ 280,522 million in 2019 rose to US$ 386,064 million in 2020. The net income also boosted from US$ 14,541 million to US$ 22,899 in the year 2020 (Amazon, 2022). Amazon also revamped their leadership with the founder, Jeffrey Bezos stepping down from the position of CEO to become the Executive Chairman following the third quarter meeting of 2021 (Amazon, 2022). He was replaced by Andy Jassy. There have been allegations and controversies regarding the poor working conditions in Amazon warehouses. The opposition to trade unions in USA and UK have also been criticised. There have also been issues regarding the company not complying with sustainable growth and carbon emission standards.
The previous section titled Literature Review discussed the issues affecting the business sector in detail. Now, with a better understanding of the problems in the management of the business, the proposed strategies to mitigate such issues shall be discussed.
Introduction of Key Performance Indicators relevant to the organisation is a possible solution to handle the uncertainty. Monitoring of KPIs frequently gives an accurate image of the happenings in the business. This may include keeping records of the number of units sold, the number of visitors on the websites, reviews and feedback received. Keeping up to date with such data allows the organisation to be flexible and apply changes at a rapid pace based on solid information. As obtained by Bittar Rodrigues, and Prideaux (2018), monitoring also enables the organisation to spot a better opportunity or a possible collapse and take actions accordingly. The organisation, in this case, Amazon, can utilise the information for various purposes. They can identify trends or demands in a region and serve accordingly. It is also possible to offer the users a better, more personalised experience through the received information.
As a company grows, a single person can't bear the responsibilities of all the different kinds of issues presenting themselves. It is, thus, a better option to delegate responsibilities to different people who are better skilled in that sector. Apart from CEOs, a large organisation such as Amazon needs a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or at least a Financial Consultant to manage the finances. The company should also invest in a proper Human Resource department to bring in new people with the proper skills. The HR department also plays an important role in maintaining the morale of the current employees and the stability of the organisation.
In these uncertain times of change, employees need a leader who is capable of giving a sense of security. Communication and empathy are essential for facilitating a solution to this problem. The organisation can prescribe leadership skill improvement courses to embed the importance of regular meetings and open discussions (Rialp-Criado and Rialp, 2020). Company targets, results and progress on different initiatives can be discussed with the team during meetings. Larger organisations such as Amazon can consider making regular posts on the company network to make the employees feel more connected.
Be it, employees or consumers, rewards and perks are something everyone seeks. Financial incentives, additional paid time off and flexibility at the workplace significantly boost results. Improving benefit packages and healthcare plans are key factors as well. A major change that our selected company, Amazon and its contemporaries can implement is flexibility in working hours. This tends to improve the work-life balance of the employees with family-friendly hours and job sharing. It is recommended to ensure that every staff member receives dedicated annual appraisal and career development support. Staff feeling more valued tends to be more loyal and committed to working for the company’s purpose. The Prime membership offered by Amazon with all its benefits is an example of this strategy.
A key strategy to mitigate the problems regarding regulations and laws is the formation of the role of a Compliance Officer. In the case of large corporations such as Amazon, a team for Compliance Operations is more suitable. The role of this team is to stay up to date with the detailed issues affecting the business regionally, nationally and globally. They are also responsible for keeping the organisation in compliance with the change of regulations. Amazon promises to reach its goal of zero carbon emission by 2040. They are also taking steps to promote a sustainable future by reducing water usage and converting to renewable energy. The steps are taken per the rise of environmental concerns and the responsibility of large organisations in building a sustainable future.
It is an undeniable fact that technology is changing the face of the globe. Embracing the change is less of an option and more of a requirement now. The future direction of a business may well be decided on the technology they choose to utilise. Amazon started in 1994 as an online marketplace for books. Slowly they have entered all kinds of market categories, earning the title "The Everything Store". As of now, Amazon has gone beyond the limitations of being an online retailer. They provide cloud computing services, satellite internet, streaming services and manufacture autonomous vehicles and consumer electronics. Keeping with the current advancements, they have recently shown interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Space tourism.
Multiple project management methodologies are present and underdevelopment in business management. No one methodology can be considered superior although certain organisations prefer specific methodologies. The selected organisation (Amazon) can utilise the Scrumban Methodology; a hybrid of Scrum and Kanban methodologies (Albarqi, and Qureshi, 2018). In the Scrum methodology, work is split into short ‘sprint’ cycles lasting about 1-2 weeks. For sprint iteration, work is taken from the backlog.
The Scrum Master leads the team during the sprint and reviews the performance in a sprint retrospective. Necessary changes are applied before the next sprint is started. Kanban methodology is originated in the manufacturing industry. It involves a framework where tasks are visually represented on a Kanban table as progress is made. Work gets pulled from the predefined backlog continuously as the team progresses (Hassanein and Hassanien, 2020). In the Scrumban methodology, teams continuously pull from the backlog based on their capacity. With the use of progress limits (Kanban) during a sprint cycle (Scrum), a continuous flow is incorporated in project planning, reviews and retrospectives as required. In an organisation like Amazon where procedures continue non-stop on a global basis, a free and fast-flowing methodology like Scrumban is ideal.
Throughout this research project, many facts and figures regarding the business sector have come to light. In the introduction, we have discussed the aim and objective of undertaking the project. The following section, Literary Review, explored a complex business problem of managing current and contemporary issues. The various problems faced by a business were explored. Issues such as uncertainty about the future, improper planning and incapable leadership came to the forefront. The importance of staff management and regulations and compliance were focused upon in the later parts of the review. To get a better understanding of the concepts, we used the example of Amazon Inc. to relate to the issues. A summary of the organisation along with their financial review and goals were presented next. The general business issues with the specific case of the selected organisation have been discussed in the following part of the report.
Following this, the main findings of the presentation were listed. The main objective of this section was to propose business strategies to work around the problems discussed in the preceding section. The key findings of the project indicate the need for Key Performance Indicators in an organisation for the improvement of planning. The distribution and delegation of responsibilities among the senior personnel and the importance of proper leadership skills also came to light. The introduction of the rewards and benefits system and its advantages for both the employees and consumers is a crucial finding of the report. The organisation under focus in our report has successfully utilised this system to expand its popularity in the global market. The working process of a project management methodology in a business is discussed next. We conclude that Scramban is a preferred methodology for an organisation such as Amazon. The workflow of the organisation is ceaseless and involves a wide range of products and procedures. Hence, a hybrid of the two popular project management methodologies has been proposed. The findings also suggest that technological innovations play a major part in the rise and expansion of a business. Amazon did not confine itself to a single sector or idea. As a result, they have gained massive growth and presence in the global market. There are cases of many technology companies that suffered massive losses due to ignorance and lack of innovation. So, it can be concluded that innovation and flexibility is the key to growth. As a whole, it can be inferred that there are many strategies already in practice by various organisations to cope with the issues in the business sector. But in no respect can it be said that the strategies are complete and full-proof. Certain strategies should be revised or improvised while others may be introduced altogether for the better in the future.
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