Conflict Management and Organization Development

If we take a close look at the Schein’s three levels of the organizational culture, we can critically look at the similarities and differences between Pizza Express and Virgin. Firstly the surface manifestation of the artifacts, this would be tangible thing shared by the members such as behaviour attributes, language, and their dress codes. As you can see, there is a strict dress code for the workers at Pizza Express throughout their chains, and there is also a clear distinction between the managers and the employees.

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However, for Virgin Company like their Mega Record store, the employees also follow the same dress code but in a less formally fashion, only wearing polo shirts with company’s logo. There is no clear distinction amongst managers and workers. The behaviour attributes of the workers and the language they speak is completely opposite for the two organizations. In Pizza Express, both their behaviour and language is restricted by company’s policies and rules, so there is no opportunity for workers personality to be seen. However, for all Virgin Stores, the atmosphere is really lively, and there is a sense of fun from the workers approach.

They have no strict guidelines, which they have to follow so they are allowed to use their own judgments and tailor each service according to the customer’s needs. The next level is the values and norms of the organization. There is a similarity between the employees for both Virgin Company and Pizza Express, the vision and goal is clearly stated and understood throughout the organization so each and every individual can work towards achieving it. However, the two companies differ in their method in achieving this goal.

For Pizza Express, the machine metaphor is used so they can consistently provide high quality pizzas at every chain throughout the world. This is the “reassuring predictable” experience they are trying to achieve. The values for all Virgin companies are simple, and it is to challenge the industry norm and deliver a better experience and better value for customers. The employees all work towards achieving this but there are no strict rules and guidelines in serving the customers. Workers are encouraged to customize their services to the individual, so each customer can experience a difference service.

And lastly at the deepest level lies a core of beliefs and assumptions and according to Schein, this forms the core of an organization culture. And central to this inner core is their basic assumption about the organization’s identity, about what sort of an organization it is. These assumptions are often difficult to get at, because they are taken so completely for granted. Thus, for Pizza Express the belief in the company is that they want to remain the market leader in its sector by consistently delivering quality pizzas to the customers.

And for Virgin, by priding itself on challenging the industry norm as Virgin probably remains most people’s idea of the maverick, customer focused brand. This is the beliefs and assumption shared by all the people involved with the company. The success of Virgin Company has been built around its strong culture and this is what the brand has been known for. However it can risky if a company places too much emphasis on culture because culture is complex, and layered, and to some extent not predictable.

The process of working with it therefore always involves unpredictability, and demands creative improvisation. Any technique that is applied through strict guidelines is likely to be inadequate My own experience of working for a machine like organization was quite negative and was not very enjoyable. I was working for marketing Telecommunication Company where my job was to conduct market research on telephone. The company had a list of rules that employees had to follow; one of the many rules was that I had to register the time I arrived and left for work.

The method in which I conducted the research was also based on a strict format given by the company. So each and every single phone call was identical and questions were asked in a particular sequence. The phone calls were recorded so individuals cannot make up information conducted. The only motivation I had during work is I knew exactly how much money I was making because I was paid for each successful research. Personally, I find it very difficult to work in machine organization as I felt like there was very little creativity and decision making situation for workers.

It also felt like there was very little trust between workers and the employers as the telephone canvassers were constantly monitored from managers. After critically looking at both machine and culture metaphors, there are differences and similarities between the metaphor approaches in the theory of management. It also provides evidence to support the theory that there is particular theory that works best and that each type of metaphor has its advantages and disadvantages in management.

However, as our business becomes more dynamic and ever changing, we can probably see more organization working as culture metaphor firms, and become more flexible by limiting the rules and regulations, and move away from the traditional complex hierarchies.


William F. (1993) Conflict Management and Organization Development, Netherlands Ashkanasy N. (2000) Organizational Culture and Climate, United States of America Morgan G. (1997) Images of Organisation, London: SAGE publication RICKY CHEUK 025090723 2nd stage Marketing & Management