Background About Tesco

Tesco Plc has experienced enormous changes in the leadership positions of the company which have affected their operations which contribute to the attainment of a competitive edge in the UK. Terry Leahy was the CEO of the company since the year 1997 and changed the entire structure of the company (Haddock-Millar and Rigby, 2015). Terry Leahy retained the longest period of leadership position in Tesco and increased the market share of the company. Under the stewardship of Terry Leahy, the company emerged as a market leader with well-defined vision and missions. He adopted a democratic leadership style and attributed to the four basic principles including clarity of purpose, delegation, consumer focused and simplicity (Haddock-Millar and Rigby, 2015).

Philip Clarke replaced Terry Leahy in the year 2011 and expanded the business of the company to an international level with enhanced market shares and increased number of investors (Zhao, 2014). However, the approach of Philip Clarke failed to transform the organisational strategy of Leahy. Further, Philip Clarke was succeeded by Dave Lewis who brought back the stability of the largest supermarket chain in the UK (Zhao, 2014). The changes were observed at each operational level of the supermarket. The changes include recruitment of more staff on the shop floor, reducing the range of products to avoid duplication and reducing the prices of the products (Zhao, 2014). These changes in the leadership of the company have led to the transformation of the different operating processes within the company. Thus, it is significant to study these changes in order to explore the impact of such changes on the competitive position of Tesco Plc.

Area of Research

This research is focused on the area of the retail industry in the UK and the leadership styles that impact their competitive position in the market. In this context, the changes in the leadership positions of the largest supermarket chain in the UK, Tesco will be will be critically analysed for the purpose of studying their relative impact on the competitive capacity of the company. The research will focus on the evaluation of the trends and challenges that were significant for the company during the changes in the leadership positions.

Aim and Objectives

This research study aims at critically analysing the relative impact of the changes in leadership on the competitive position of Tesco in the UK. The aim is to conduct a comparative analysis of the impact of changes in the different leaders in the competitive capacity of the company in the UK market. For the purpose of achieving the aim of the research, following objectives have been developed:

  • To explore the relationship between leadership and competitive position of a company
  • To analyse the impact of leadership of Terry Leahy on the competitive position of Tesco Plc
  • To analyse the impact of Philip Clarke’s leadership on the competitive position of Tesco
  • To analyse the impact of the leadership style of Dave Lewis on the competitive position of Tesco
  • To critically analyse the changing patterns of leadership and their relative impact on the competitive position of Tesco in the UK

Literature Review

The concept of the literature review is used to examine the viewpoints of different scholars and academicians. It facilitates in reviewing the existing literature on the subject of the research being undertaken. In addition to that, literature review helps in justifying the opinions of different researchers and also critically exemplifies the studies conducted by various academicians. It assists in exploring the gaps in prevailing literature and helps in determining the prime areas required to be addressed in the current research through further investigation (). In this regard, the following literature review seeks to examine the impact of the change in leadership on the competitive position of Tesco in the United Kingdom.

Overview of Leadership

            According to leadership is the quality of a manager or leader of an organisation who, with the help of his temperament and personality, leads towards the growth of an organisation (). In the views of Mekraz and Gundala (2016), leaders are the people who deal with the challenges of managing their organisation and also with the uncertainty and consistency in comparison to the other organisations (). On the contrary, in the literature, leadership requires an active vision with continuous efforts towards the growth of the organisation, building unique strategies, tendency to measure, learn, improve, and successful innovation (). The most successful business transformation reflects continuous changes in the leadership to suit to the changes according to the market and the industry. The literature reveals that the retail industry is exposed to significant changes from the external market, which makes it vulnerable to competition, especially in the supermarkets. As per Tesco’s Annual Report (2014), despite being the leader in the retail industry of the United Kingdom and undergoing rapid growing and expansion for offering services provided to the customers on a global scale in the countries like Poland and Thailand, Tesco has faced massive competition (Tesco PLC, 2014).

Competitive Advantage

One of the fundamental aims of the retailing strategy is to attain competitive advantage. Establishing a sustainable competitive advantage means a retailer builds a firm position of the organisation in the retail industry. The factors involved in gaining a successful competitive advantage include the loyalty of customers, location of the organisation, effective human resource management, vendor relations, customer relations, and unique services. Lawson (2015) explained the prime focus of Tesco on being the largest company in the retail industry by keeping the services simple and customer-centric.

reflects the leadership of Tesco, as it pays the highest prices for milk supplies out of all other supermarkets (. Providing its best services to the customers, Tesco, as a retail company, has grown regarding its leadership in the retail industry. There are several impacts of the change in leadership strategies of Tesco, such as introduction of  Tesco Clubcard, which has proven to be the single most significant factor in the company’s success. As per the views of ), the strategies adopted by Tesco involve attracting customers and gathering raw data of customers and converted it into profitable information (). According to Kroll (2012), in the current scenario, retailers need to keep a check on the customers visiting the retail stores and those who make purchases ().

Impact of Change in Leadership on Tesco’s Competitive Advantage

According to leadership strategy adopted by Tesco had a significant impact on the environment (). It has successfully reduced the intensity of carbon and the energy of operations in the United Kingdom by 50% (). This has led to a large savings for the company and has also reduced its vulnerability to the rising cost of its energy. The change in leadership has led towards the collaborative growth of Tesco, and the amount of energy in the supply chain of Tesco is found to be greater than that used in its operations. Organisational culture of Tesco is one of the strongest factors that helps in shaping the work process, work satisfaction, and work relationship in the company. Change in leadership at Tesco is one of the most prominent reasons that has resulted in the long-term success of the company. The target of Tesco involves reduction of carbon emissions from its supply chain by 30% at the end of the year 2020 (). Such targets have a great significance on the environment and help in the significant growth of the value of its customer franchise. In the perspective of Reeves and Deimler (2011), Tesco performs an informative analysis of the pattern of purchase for more than 13 million members through its loyalty card program (). The literature also enables us to understand the customised offerings for each segment related to customers, which has a great impact on the change in leadership in the competitive advantage of Tesco ().

Research Methodology

A research study is inclusive of the organised efforts for the purpose of undertaking an empirical enquiry for answering the research question with the help of gained knowledge. In this context, research methodology is considered as a crucial phase of the research study that presents a discussion on the tools and techniques employed in the research along with the justification for their application in the research (Flick, 2015). The research methodology provides a framework including the research design and data collection methods that have been used in the research. This framework proves useful in providing a direction to the flow of information and addressing the research problem in an effective and logical manner (Flick, 2015).

A research design is an essential component of the research methodology as it implements a strategy for integrating the different aspects of the study in a logical manner. There are mainly two kinds of research designs that are used in the research study including exploratory and descriptive. Descriptive research design is concerned with analysing the existing and examining the given situation for the purpose of development of a suitable theory (Supino and Borer, 2012). On the contrary, exploratory research design is a kind of research design which involves the general overview of the problem of the research. In the context of this research study, an exploratory research design will be used as it allows the collection of additional information on the domain of the research. This kind of research design helps in acquiring a general idea of the research problem and framing hypothesis with respect to the research study (Supino and Borer, 2012). The rationale for selection of this research design is to provide the final answer to the research question.

Research strategy

For the research work, it is essential to select its orientation and nature so that effective strategies can be applied. In this regard, this research work will undertake mixed research strategy in which both qualitative and quantitative measure would be taken into account. In this strategy, two different types of data, namely qualitative and quantitative data will be gathered in order explore he research aim in the most comprehensive manner. The overall span of the presented research work is quite high, which aims to measure the impact of leadership regimes and their changes on Tesco’s performance. In this regard, both quantitative and qualitative data will be required. In this relation, two different measures of data collection and analysis have been taken into account in the research so that overall effective and unbiased results can be availed. The mixed methodology also helps in having and well comprehensive and universally applicable results which is proven with the help of scientific methodologies as well as theoretical assumptions (Thomas, 2003). In the presented research work, the scope of the applications of both the methods is quite equal, which demonstrates that inclusion of both qualitative and quantitative methods will help the researcher to have thorough understanding of every aspects of the research context. Another rationale behind the implication of the mixed research study is that this strategy makes the research results more sound and reliable as in the method, both statistical and theoretical methods allows the researcher to have in depth study of the research problem in a detailed manner (Polonsky, and Waller, 2010). In the research work, the responses of the selected entity will be reported in the quantitative form, while these assertions and claims will be supported dually with the help of different theories and models. In this way, mixed research strategy adopted in the research work will allow the researcher to have comprehensive research on the proposed topic.

Data collection method

In the research work, it is essential to collect the most crucial and associated data or information on the basis of which the final conclusion and results can be revealed. In this relation, it becomes quite crucial to select the most suitable and applicable data collection methods and procedures. For the proposed research work, mixed research strategy will be taken into account in which both quantitative and qualitative data will be collected (Thomas, 2003). In this regard, there will be two different types of data collection tools used in the proposed research work. These data collection methods are:

  1. Survey through questionnaire:

This method of data collection will be taken for the purpose of collection primary and quantified information regarding impact of leadership change on the performance and competitive status of Tesco in the UK. In this method, the perception, experience and point of views of the selected entities on the specific research contexts will be collected with the help of some specific set of questions. For this purpose, a field survey will be conducted with the selected target population so that required information can be collected. For this research work, the impact of leadership on the performance of the company is to be judged so the survey with marketing and operation managers of Tesco will be conducted. This population can be considered as the most suitable and appropriate population for the survey as marketing and operations manager are the entities who observes the changes in the operations and competitive environment of the company after changes in the leadership. Owing to this reason, they can better provide required information on the basis of which final outcome can be assessed. For the proposed research work, a sample of 100 marketing and operations managers employed in different outlets of Tesco will be taken into account. In respect to this, for selecting the sample out of the entire population random sampling method will be taken into account in which there is no any specific criteria will be undertaken for selecting the sample. This method of sampling allows the researcher to eliminate the researcher’s biasness while sample selection so that more reliable and authentic results can be attained.

  1. Library research method

Along with survey method, library research method will also be taken into account for the purpose of collecting qualitative and theoretical data. In this method, different sources of secondary information including, books, journal articles, research reports and authentic online sources will be reviewed and studied thoroughly in order to have some crucial information related to the research context. This method will be selected in the proposed research work as this a less time-consuming methods for generating a large amount of data for researching any research problem. With the help of this method, different views of different scholars, researchers and authors will be explored for having in depth information regarding any specific research context (Walsh and Wigens, 2003).

Data Analysis

In the research work, data analysis is the subsequent activity of data collection process. The data collection and data analysis are two integrated process that work in alignment. Data analysis is mainly related to having personal insight into the data collection in the raw form and organising that data in structured form and then analysing that data in order to generate some meaningful interpretations out the data analysed (Supino and Borer, 2012). Data analysis process provides the ground to the research study as this is the process which directly determines the way to address the selected research problem and meeting the objectives of the research satisfactorily. The data analysis process proves highly supportive for reaching the desired research outcomes for any research study. For the data analysis purpose, there are varied methods available in the research methodology framework. The two most commonly used methods of data analysis are quantitative data analysis and qualitative data analysis. Quantitative data analysis is applied in those research studies which have numeric data for measuring the research aspect. On the other hand, qualitative data analysis methods are applied in those research studies where descriptive data is required to be analysed (Supino and Borer, 2012).

There are varied methods even under quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques. For instance, the quantitative data analysis can be conducted with the help of the simple graphical data presentation method and with the help of statistical methods using SPSS software. The qualitative analysis on the other hand can be done with thematic analysis method, meta-analysis, descriptive analysis, critical analysis. From among these alternative methods, the use of most suitable method is done in the research work in alignment of the data collection method used (Supino and Borer, 2012).

In this research study the data collection will be done with the implication of combination of data collection methods. The first data collection method will be survey which is primary data collection method and second data collection method will be literature search which is secondary data collection method (Thomas, Nelson and Silverman, 2011). Considering these two methods, for the data analysis approach, mixed methodology will be followed where the two methods namely quantitative and qualitative data analysis will be used hand in hand. Quantitative data analysis will be done for survey data under which graphical data presentation will be done to represent the survey responses and their analysis will be done in graphical form. Other than this, the analysis of the literature data will be done with the help of qualitative analysis method of descriptive analysis.

The use of these two methods of data analysis will be proved a supportive approach in this research study because the results of one research method will be used to verify the results of the other method (Mallinson, Childs and Herk, 2013). With this kind of verification, the validity and reliability measures of the research study will be maintained to a good level. In order to maintain the research validity and its significance the use of these two methods of data analysis is the best appropriate approach for this research study.

Anticipated challenges and limitations

A research project is a very complex process which requires consideration of some crucial aspects (Supino and Borer, 2012). In order to conduct the entire research work, several challenges are faced by the researcher. In the same context, in the following research also several kinds of challenges might be faced. The first key challenges might be related to finding the most relevant and updated data and information in research context. The subject of the research is related with a specific company and hence it might be a challenge to find out literary data in specific consideration of to Tesco leadership practices. The other key challenges that can be faced in the research study can be time consuming process of primary data collection. With the conductance of the survey with large sample, it might be a time consuming process to convince the research participants for contributing their value time in the data collection process (Thomas, Nelson and Silverman, 2011). The other key limitation of this research will be that it is related to only one company and hence its scope will be narrow. The outcomes of this research study will be applied on only Tesco and its leadership practices. The other organisations will not be able to apply the beneficial aspects of this research study in real world. The results of this research work will be restricted to only one organisation in terms of its implications. The other limitation of this research work is that it only relies on one method of survey that can provide biased results and it provides responses under the defined restricted options, whilst the use of interview method could provide more extensive and detailed information in the research context (Mallinson, Childs and Herk, 2013).

Ethical and Professional Issues

In the research study premise, consideration of the ethical issues is very much crucial for the maintenance of validity and reliability of the research study (Jonker and Pennink, 2010). In the same series, in the following research also, a good consideration has been given to the varied ethical aspects defined by the university in the academic conducts. The first ethical consideration that will be given value in this research study will be to have the written consent of the participants who will be the part of the primary data collection process. They will be given an initial draft of the research as well as the cover letter in order to acknowledge them with the context of the research and its purpose. They will be asked for reviewing it and will be given opportunity to have voluntary participation in the research. In the same series, the other ethical consideration that will be used in this research will be to maintain the confidentiality and security of the personal information of the participants. For securing this issue, the entire data collected from the participants will be kept secured in the password protected form and will not be disclosed to any other third party (De Vaus and De Vaus, 2001). The third ethical issue that will be dealt in this research study will be related to maintaining originality of the work. For such purpose the entire data and information is presented in the original language to avoid the issue of plagiarism. Lastly the ethical issue of credibility is also considered to be dealt in this research work. For such purpose, the research will give proper references of the authors whose work has been used for reference purpose (Daniel and Sam, 2011). Along with this, proper in-text citation will be given to show unique credit of each researcher. Overall, the consideration of all these ethical and professional considerations will make the research safe from any academic issues.