Organisational Behaviour- Asda Stores Limited

Organizational Behaviour: The Case Of Asda Stores Limited


ASDA Stores Limited is a merchandise and grocery retailer operating in the United Kingdom. The company is formerly known as Associated Diaries and Farm Stores was founded in 1949 but changed its name to ASDA Stores Limited in 1965 (Matusitz & Leanza, 2011). Its headquarters is based in Leeds, UK. In 1999, Asda was acquired by Wal-Mart and is currently part of the largest retailer in the world. Asda employs approximately 178,000 people who work in its more than 500 stores in the UK. Currently, Asda is the second-largest retailer chain store in the UK (Data Monitor, 2012).

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Organizational Behaviour

Organizational behavior is the study and application of knowledge about how individuals, people, and groups act in organizations. It is concerned with what people do in an organization and how their behavior affects the performance of the organization (Harvey, Millett & Smith, 1998). Organizational behavior is an interdisciplinary field that draws on the ideas and research of many disciplines that are concerned with human behavior and interaction. These fields include sociology, psychology, social psychology, communications and anthropology (Robbins, 2003). When people interact in organizations many factors come into play. Organizational behavior attempts to understand these factors. An organization is made up of people from different backgrounds and cultural values that have to work together effectively. Organizational behavior seeks to highlight the understanding of behavior in organizations to develop competencies in forecasting how people are likely to behave. This knowledge helps in controlling behaviors that are not in tandem with the organizations’ objectives.

It is important for managers at Asda to understand organizational behavior. This is because organizational behaviour is important to a manager’s success which eventually leads to an organizations’ success. A manager who is skilled in OB will be able to work effectively with colleagues and employees in the organization thus influencing them to achieve the objectives of the company. Studying individual behaviours will help managers at Asda to understand how attitudes, personality, and perceptions influence work behaviour and motivation (Harvey et al, 1998). Individuals are the most important asset in an organization. There is a strong need to understand and predict employee behaviours because much of each employees’ time is spent working in the organization.

Organizational behaviour helps managers understand the type of behaviours that are critical for outstanding performance in an organization. For example, if an employee does not exhibit customer service behaviours, the manager should encourage the proper set of behaviours, in this case, proper customer relations. This, in turn, will improve Asda’s performance as customer relations are crucial for its success (Mullins, 2001). In addition, organizational behavior helps managers to become excellent behaviour diagnosticians. Managers must identify what drives employees’ current behaviours. The manager can then decide whether to maintain, improve or redirect employee behaviour. In turn, managers should assess the organizations’ behaviour and its impact on employees (Robbins, 2003). Asda’s recognition and rewards program needs to be assessed to achieve its organizational goals.

Teams and Groups

A team is a small group of people with complementary skills, who work actively together to achieve a common goal for which they hold themselves collectively accountable. At Asda, each department has various teams that work under it. It is important for a team to work together especially in the service industry such as hospitality where there is a direct effect on customer satisfaction (Mullins, 2001). Teams meet regularly to collectively examine important workplace issues. In addition, the employees discuss and develop solutions for problems relating to productivity and quality of their department. This in turn improves the overall performance of the team, the department and the entire Asda workforce. This is because it is assumed that every employee is dependent on his or her colleague to work together and contribute effectively to achieve Asda’s goals (Harvey et al, 1998).  In that way, tasks are accomplished faster when done by a team.

Every team member is assigned one responsibility according to his specialization thus the output is more efficient. Members of a team become multi-skilled after a long period of time. Team members gain from each other because they possess different skills and qualities. This transfer of skills is seen when one member has to fill in when another is absent from work (Wilson, 1996). Teamwork is also important as it improves relations among the employees – individuals work closely with each other knows each other better. Teamwork also reduces unnecessary conflicts among the employees as everyone tries to support their team members.

The Belbin Team Roles theory was first published in Meredith Beibin’s book Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail in 1981. Belbin Team roles are used to identify people’s behavioral strengths and weaknesses in the workplace. This information has been used to i) select and develop high performance teams, ii) build mutual trust and understanding, iii) build reproductive working relationships, iv) raise self-awareness and v) aid in the recruitment process of employees. Belbin team roles measure behaviour, not personality. According to Belbin (1981), team roles are a tendency to behave and interrelate with others in a particular way. Nine team roles were identified by Belbin that are currently used by thousands of organizations. By identifying our team roles, we can use our strengths to our advantage and manage weaknesses.

The Plant (PL) was the first team role to be identified. This individual is highly creative and good at problem-solving using unconventional ways. The Monitor Evaluator (ME) was the second team role that was identified. This individual provides a logical eye and makes important judgments where required. The third role was the co-ordinator (CO) whose role is to delegate work, focus on team objectives and draw out team members. The fourth role was the Resource Investigator (RI) who provides knowledge on the opposition and ensures that the team’s idea is known to others outside the team. Implementers (IMP) were identified as people who are needed to plan a practical strategy and execute it as efficiently as possible. Complementer Finishers (CF) were individual who polish and scrutinise work for errors at the end of a task. The seventh role was Team-workers (TW) who use their versatility to identify the work required and complete it on behalf of the team. Shapers (SH) were identified as individuals who provide the necessary drive to the team to ensure they do not lose focus or momentum. Lastly, Specialists (SP) were identified as individuals who possess in-depth knowledge about a key area (Belbin, 1981).

Belbin’s Team role theory can be used to assist a manager to identify successful teams. A manager can use the theory to ensure that each needed role in a project or team is performed by a member. It is possible to construct a team of less than nine individuals that still possess all nine roles previously described. Some individuals in a team can have secondary team roles or double up where necessary and perform two functions instead of one. In other words, a team can operate with only four members (Belbin, 1993). The theory also helps managers in clustering certain activities in one team member in a logical way. For instance, a team member can start out as being creative (Plant) and as time goes becomes the Specialist. Belbin’s theory assists managers in constructing well balanced teams that require less management attention and are less risk-bearing. For example, a team of nine people with unique traits portrayed in the theory can work with minimal supervision on projects assigned to them. The teams’ output is very high as they manage to meet deadlines and perform tasks. Lastly, Belbin’s theory helps managers to choose team members who perform activities they like most. These members will be motivated and will increase team performance. For instance, specialists are people with key knowledge in specific subject areas. They enjoy working on their subject area and do not find it difficult.

This Belbin’s theory is relevant to Asda managers because it helps in creation of a team consisting of individuals with diverse backgrounds, cultural values and skill sets. Various elements are needed in a team to ensure its output is optimal. Each individual is different from the other and their skills complement what the other does not possess. The theory also helps managers in balancing team members to ensure that certain team roles do not predominate in a particular department. There is an imbalance in a team that is formed from members of the same team role leading to the teams’ non-function and lower output. A manager at Asda can look out for such imbalances and correct appropriately.


Abraham Maslow developed the hierarchy of needs model/theory in 1943. The hierarchy of needs theory remains valid as a tool for understanding human motivation especially workplace motivation. He suggested that humans have a hierarchy of needs which means that all humans act in a way which addresses basic needs before moving on to higher-level needs. He represented this theory as a hierarchical triangle (Figure 1). Maslow’s theory consisted of two parts, i) the classification of human needs, and ii) consideration of how the classes are related to each other (Robbins, 2009). The hierarchy of needs theory suggests that each individual is motivated by needs that are innate.

Each need is satisfied in turn, starting the first and lowest in the pyramid which deals with needs necessary for survival. These are biological and physiological needs that include air, drink, food, warmth, and sleep. Only after these needs are fulfilled can individual progress to higher-order needs of safety. These include security, order, law, and stability. The next order to be attained is of emotional well-being that involves family, relationships, affection and workgroups. The next order of needs is esteem needs. These include achievement, independence, mastery, status, dominance, prestige and self-esteem. Lastly, the hardest need to achieve are self-actualization needs. Very few people manage to reach this level in their lifetime. The needs include self-fulfillment, realizing the personal potential, seeking personal growth and peak experiences (Robbins, 2009).

Figure 1: Maslow Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid

The expectancy theory was first proposed by Victor Vroom in 1964. The theory assumes that behaviour results from conscious choices among alternatives whose purpose is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Unlike the theory of Maslow that focuses on needs, Vroom’s theory focuses on outcomes as shown in Figure 2 below. Vroom realized that an employee’s performance is based on individual factors such as skills, knowledge, personality, abilities and experience (Borkowski, 2011). He suggested that individuals’ performance, effort, and motivation are linked. He described three variables to account for this namely expectancy, instrumentality and valence. Vroom’s theory states that an employee’s motivation is an outcome of how much an individual wants a reward (Valence), the assessment that the likelihood that the effort will lead to expected performance (expectancy) and the belief that the performance will lead to reward (Instrumentality).

Figure 2: Vroom’s Expectancy Theory Model

When basic needs of an individual are addressed, they are satisfied. A manager at Asda can ensure that the salary received by employees is enough to afford them basic needs like food, water and shelter. Provision of a safe non-threatening work environment is essential for employees to conduct their work. A manager should ensure that social needs are met through contact and friendship with fellow employees. Social activities can be encouraged to promote team work and friendships. Employees who excel should be rewarded by their managers as a sign of recognition and acknowledgement.

Vroom’s theory of expectancy can be incorporated into Asda by a manager. By providing supervisory support and correct information on the job, an employee will display expectancy which is the belief that increased effort will lead to increased performance. In other words, the employee will believe that if he works harder then things will be better. At Asda, a manager can increase the wages earned per hour during extra working hours. This will motivate employees to sign up for extra working hours. They will place an important value (valence) to additional time.


In conclusion, organizational behavior comprises of different concepts blended together to understand individual and group behavior. For an organization to meet its objectives, the behavior and interaction of its employees need to be considered. Managers play a big role in a workers output which is determined by their teamwork skills, the motivation of workers, and the application of relevant concepts to improve organizational performance. It is through the process of organizational behavior that efforts of employees are co-ordinated, guided and directed towards the achievement of organizational goals.


Belbin, R. M. (1981). Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail. Oxford, U.K.: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Belbin, R.M. (1993). Team Roles at Work. Oxford, U.K.: Butterworth –Heinemann Publishers.

Borkowski, N. (2011). Organizational behavior in health care. Sudbury, Mass, Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Data Monitor (January 22, 2012). Asda Stores Limited: Company Profile. Data Monitor. [Online]. Available at: (accessed August 9, 2012).

Fisher, S. G., Hunter, T. A. and Macrosson, W. D. K. (1998). The structure of Belbin’s team roles. Journal of occupational and organizational psychology, 71, 283-28.

Harvey, S., Millett, B. and Smith, D. (1998). Developing successful teams in organizations.          Australian Journal of Management & Organizational Behaviour, 1(1), 1-8.

Matusitz, J. and Leanza, K. (2011). ASDA: Organic Growth of a retailer in the United Kingdom? Journal of International Food and Agribusiness Marketing, 23:128–150.

Mullins, L. J. (2001). Hospitality Management and Organizational Behaviour, Fourth edition, Longman.

Robbins, S. P. (2003). Essentials of organizational behaviour. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Robbins, S. P. (2009). Organisational behaviour:  global and Southern African perspectives. Cape Town, Pearson Education South Africa.

Wilson, F. (1996). Great Teams Build Themselves. Team Performance Management: An International Journal, 2(2), 27-31.

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