Subject: Understanding Contemporary Organisations
Assessment 1 and assessment 2 are intended as a means for students to demonstrate their understanding of theoretical perspectives offered by the disciplines of business and organisation studies. Through an analysis of an organisational business model case (see below – Readycash), students are expected to address a range of key theoretical perspectives on processes and practices that relate to organisational structures, people management, marketing and finance. Students will draw on the Essential and Recommended Readings as set out in this Learning Guide as well as their own research.
Assessment 1 and assessment 2 require you to make use of the information provided in the business model summary below – Readycash, and demonstrate how your organisational design allows this business model to manage its resources and promote and support its products and services.
Readycash operates two lines of business. The first is the sale of second-hand goods and the second is short term finance to individuals.
The business is privately owned, has been operating since 1957, and now employs over 700 people. Its head office is based in Adelaide and it has over 100 stores throughout all states in Australia. Whilst new stores are continually being added the main growth area is the provision of online access to its two service streams.
The second-hand goods business buys items that people no longer wish to own. It also offers instant credit to people based on items they wish to leave, or pledge, as security until they can pay back the loan. When people cannot pay back loans for these pledged items they then become the property of Readycash and are added to the second-hand stock for sale. The categories of items are extensive and include jewellery, electronic goods, household tools, furniture and musical instruments.
The short term finance side of the business extends credit to individuals who need access to cash to cover their urgent short term commitments. This credit, ranging from $50.00 to $5,000.00, can be a one-off cash payment or set up as a line of credit based on the individuals needs and their ability to repay this loan. The loans attract an establishment fee of 18% and 4.2% of the initial loan is added to their monthly repayments. The term of these loans depends on the amount borrowed and the customer profile, it can be for a minimum of four weeks through to two years.
Both these lines of business operate from our store locations and increasingly our online platform. The online platform enables us to purchase second-hand goods and in this instance when buying an item we will establish the estimated cost and confirm this and finalise the transaction once we physically take possession of the item. For people buying goods online, we will ship those items to them once the transaction is completed. In both cases, Readycash will pay for the shipment costs. The online loans operations differ from the store operations because cash cannot be physically exchanged so customers do need to provide bank account details to enable electronic transactions to take place.
Each location is run by a store manager who supervises both lines of business and ensures that staff have the required expertise to undertake the work both efficiently and effectively. The store manager with the help of the HR department is also responsible for the day to day strong performance-based management of all roles in their location. Key skills for each location are for staff able to perform accurate valuations of jewellery, the comprehensive range of items people wish to sell or use to secure their loans, and the evaluation of credit risk for each individual seeking a cash advance/loan. In each store, all staff play an active role in growing the business and their customer management abilities are important soft skills they need to deploy and continually develop to mitigate risk and maximise repeat business. An indicator of success across all locations is that staff personally know some 80% of their store’s customer base.
Head office in Adelaide manages the following functions finance, human resources, marketing, online business, personal finance operation, administrative services. This is a competitive industry and also one that is highly regulated by the government. We adhere to the licencing requirements for second-hand goods dealers and pawn brokers, which differ for each state. We must also keep a detailed register of all items we purchase and sell and, in each case, undertake an identity check of the seller to minimise the chance that we will be purchasing and then on-selling stolen goods. This involves establishing and maintaining a good working relationship with the local police force in each state.
Assessment 1 Essay question (1500 words)
Your task is to create an organisational design for the Readycash business model. In creating your design, you will need to consider –
– the resources this organisation needs;
– the processes this organisation needs;
– where the resources and processes are going to be located; and
– how the resources and processes are going to be controlled.
Use relevant management and organisational theory to support your analysis and explain your reasoning as to why this company would structure its operations in this way. In your answer, you will also include a diagram of your organisational structure.
Assessment 2 Essay question (2000 words)
Based on your analysis of the Readycash business model, describe the value proposition of this company. Using your organisational design outlined in Assessment 1, explain how this company would promote the value of its business model to its internal and external stakeholders. Use relevant management and organisational theory to explain your reasoning and demonstrate how the key aspects of each dimension (structure, people management, marketing, financial management) and their interactions support this value proposition.
Assessment 3 Case study report
The group research report is intended as a vehicle for students to demonstrate their capacity to integrate and utilise the learning of the unit to better appreciate and understand the functioning of a contemporary organisation.
The group research report is designed to assist students to utilise and synthesise their learning in the unit so as to meet all of the unit learning outcomes:
1. Describe contemporary organisational structures.
2. Explain contemporary people management practices.
3. Outline marketing practices.
4. Explain financial practices.
5. Develop an integrated analysis of a contemporary organisation.
Form a group of 3
– Select an organisation to research
– Analyse your selected organisation in terms of its:
a. design and/or structure,
b. people management,
c. marketing and
d. financial practices
– Synthesise your analysis to demonstrate how your case organisation reflects their integration – how each interacts
and what their impacts are on each other
– Present your group findings in a written report (2,000 words).
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