As the new CEO of David Jones, it is recommended that Zahra reinforces internal branding, leadership capabilities and undertakes a re-evaluation of David Jones’ company culture and employee skills to restore organisational stability and a favourable public image.
Reinforcing Internal Brand to Restore Image
One of Zahra’s primary concerns should be to ameliorate the damage of McInnes’ actions on the integrity of the David Jones brand in the public eye. This is a critical organisational behaviour issue due to the correlation between projected brand image and firm cultural identity (Gioia et al. 2000). David Jones employees, of which 79.5% are female (David Jones Limited 2010) may feel alienated from organisation’s identity due to previously unaddressed sexual harassment allegations. As recent research has shown that employee solidarity with an organisation impacts customer service delivery (Coget 2011), McInnes’ actions can obstruct consumers from forming favourable relationships with the brand.
It can be argued that the immediate resignation of McInnes has negated damage to organisational identity and customer brand loyalty (Lee 2010). However, resulting brand damage from McInnes’ actions may be counterproductive to their marketing strategy aimed at wealthy female consumers (Fenner and Schneider 2010). Hence, Zahra should restore David Jones’ image through reinforcing internal brand harmony amongst employees.
It is recommended for Zahra to restore David Jones’ corporate image through conducting an independent audit of their Code of Ethics and Conduct, establish new grievance procedures and provide counselling services to staff (David Jones Limited 2010, Korporaal 2011). These steps will not only reflect an improved image of social consciousness to the public, but also reinforce an internal cultural brand that shows concern for staff well-being, lending improved customer service (Tosti and Herbst 2009).
Building Leadership Credibility for Organisational Focus
It is also imperative that Zahra demonstrates leadership credibility upon becoming the organisational figurehead (Dierickx and Veneziano 2008). This is vital as the polarization between respect for his leadership capabilities in several turnarounds (Elliot 2004, Speedy 2009, Koons 2010) and disgrace following the scandal (Fenner and Schneider 2010) will have caused employees to dramatically lose confidence in executive management (Dwyer 2010). The result is a realignment situation (Watkins 2009) in which David Jones must regain the organisational focus and productivity lost from distractions with leadership competency concerns (Dwyer 2010).
Arguably, building leadership credibility is not a pivotal organisational issue for Zahra as he has already amassed influence at David Jones through twelve years of managerial experience (David Jones Limited 2010). However, despite Zahra’s managerial competencies, as CEO he must acclimatize to new responsibilities of determining strategic direction for growth (Lafley 2009) and sustaining organisational focus. Both require employee engagement and support, only possible through restored trust and leadership credibility (Eisenstat et al. 2008).
In order to build credibility, a strong coalition of employees and management endorsing Zahra’s leadership can be imposed (Kotter 1995). The coalition’s influence will reinforce Zahra’s competency with their colleagues, and help re-direct focus towards achieving David Jones’ objectives (Kotter 1995). Zahra can further increase his coalition’s influencing force by promoting potential high achievers from within the organisation (Lafley 2009, Watkins 2009).
It is also recommended that Zahra directly engage with employees (Eisenstat et al. 2008), particularly at the retail stores (Arrata et al. 2007). Through becoming deeply entrenched in intra-firm staff networks (Cao et al. 2006), Zahra stands to gain a reputation of genuine sincerity with his employees (Eisenstat et al. 2008) as...
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