Innovation at IKEA

One of the input components of congruence model evident in IKEA is task. The main task at IKEA is manufacturing of various types of furniture. The task of manufacturing furniture requires specific knowledge of carpentry. It also requires creativity. This implies that individuals undertaking this task must possess the right skills. The workflow in this task is not tedious because it only requires making the various parts of a piece of furniture and then assembling them. However, it requires an enthusiastic approach in order to maintain creativity. The other input component of congruence model evident in IKEA is people. The main categories of people at IKEA are the co-workers, customers, and the management. There is high level of interaction among the three categories because customers always visit IKEA’s warehouses not just to see the various designs of furniture, but also to experience the culture of IKEA. This implies that there is high level of interaction between IKEA’s customers, and IKEA’s co-workers and management. The culture of IKEA is yet another input component of congruence model evident at IKEA. IKEA has a culture of recognizing its employees as co-workers. This implies that IKEA recognizes the importance of its employees in making IKEA what it is today. IKEA leaders have a culture of providing assistance whenever they are needed and creating good working environment.

Based on Schein’s four key organizational culture factors, one of the factors that contribute to IKEA’s strong corporate culture is language. Instead of referring to its workers as employees, IKEA refers its workers as co-workers. By using, the word ‘co-worker’ instead of ‘employee’ is a form of language, which has helped IKEA to develop a culture of teamwork. Everybody at IKEA belongs to the same team where they all contribute towards achievement of a common goal. Myths and stories are also evident as some of the factors that contribute to IKEA’s strong corporate culture. In the case study, there is a short story of Kamprad, IKEA’s founder. The story describes him as a simple man who is very cost-effective despite his hefty wealth. He prefers to ride a bicycle instead of taking a luxurious vacation. This story indicates that IKEA’s culture is strongly founded on simplicity. Listening to, or reading this story makes one to know automatically that simplicity and cost-effectiveness are key aspects of IKEA’s operations. Moreover, IKEA’s use of names such as Klippan sofas and Palbo footstools for its products acts as a sign that it values its roots/history.

Based on the case study, the most probable organizational structure at IKEA is matrix structure. This is the most appropriate structure for IKEA because it allows use of teams in completion of tasks. At IKEA, workers are referred as co-workers; implying that all employees work together in accomplishment of various tasks. This also include the management, which contributes to teamwork through providing assistance at all times and creating good working environment for the co-workers. The environment in which IKEA operates is likely to be faced by a lot of uncertainty. Furniture industry can be compared to textile industry, which is highly affected by seasons and changes in tastes and preferences. These increase the level of uncertainty in this market. Matrix organizational structure becomes the most suitable form of organizational structure because it allows people working in an organization to share their strengths to maximize outputs during the times when the market environment is conducive, thus making up for the weaknesses that would have prevented the organization from taking advantage of favorable market environment.

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