Channels of communication in the Kroger Company

channels of communication in the Kroger Company

The Company:

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The Kroger Company is considered to be one of the largest retail chains of food stores in the U.S. The major business activity is in food and drug retailing. Its headquarters are in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was founded by Barney Kroger in 1883. Now it has 2,300 grocery retail stores in over 31 states and many supermarkets, multi-department stores, price-impact warehouse stores and about 396 stores of fine jewelry. This huge organization has become efficient in communication by showing greater interest to their employees’ and their customers’ needs. The rapport is also maintained by being involved in the community and the modernization of operations which include consolidating Kroger’s four information system platform into two. Further the company has also a common enterprise system installed in stores. The company has all along emphasized management efficiency and can be seen as the ideal model for Porter’s theory on ‘Competitive Advantage.’ On one hand they have aggressively pursued the customer relationship management that resulted in a strong customer base. (Ziegler; Banaszak, 2010)

The Kroger Company was established long ago and has been witness to the changing economy and the changing business climate. The company has expanded, not because merely it opened a lot of stores, but also it acquired a lot of other business form 1950 — when it took over Henke stores, and a number of smaller stores. All these acquisitions brought changes in the way the company functioned and communicated. The major change and strategy that the company use was to convert all small stores to big stores in the sixties, and made it the supermarket type store. And then it became a leading food chain operator. (Ziegler, 1966) Formal communication strategies of the company are evident in its technical advances. Informal communication is not so evident. Informal communication and even formal communication are parts of the general organizational behavior.

Organizational Behavior:

The definition of ‘Organizational Behavior’ relates to the feelings and emotions of people at the work place. Thus the major concern is employee behavior. (McShane; Von Glinow, 2010) In the ambit of this also falls the study of how the organization accommodates and reacts to the f employee behavior. There is thus a need not only to stream line communication but also a lot of coordination, and collaboration and networking not to mention tem work if the organization is to succeed. But is the behavior of the organization restricted to its employees? Definitely not. The communication amongst the organization and its external environment and other organization and the communication between them are equally important. (McShane; Von Glinow, 2010)

Changes in the pattern of relations:

The importance of communication and organizational upheaval came on account of the globalization that caused the rapid expansion of the consumer markets, which progressively globalize and fragmented many new niche opportunities and the business to business transactions marketing and sales grew. This required that the internal hierarchies of organizations had to be restructured and employees and the components of the organization had to rapidly learn ad get trained to new adaptations and unlearn their old paradigms. Thus there came the great pressure on all organizations to create organizational flexibility and specialization. (Knoke, 2001)

On account of the transformation the global mindset is now important and as a consequence organizations now insist on learning, experimentation, and the knowledge acquisition on the part of the member. (McShane; Von Glinow, 2010) The other variables that are involved are emotions and attitudes. Thus it is recognized to day that emotions in the workplace and thus have to be channeled and the mind trained. Emotions are closely attached to the perceptions of ethics. Thus Job satisfaction springs from emotions and ethical values. Job satisfaction improves work behaviors and customer satisfaction. The organizations reputation thus is dependent on the perceptions of the community about the way the organization functions. (McShane; Von Glinow, 2010) There are the issues that have to be clearly sorted and address by the resource managers. The important task of monitoring the behavior of the employee and building rapport is to bring about the commitment of the employee to the organization. The organizations that consider humanitarian values and employee care have the largest loyalty. (McShane; Von Glinow, 2010)

Other factor that is to be considered is the individual perceptions of the work and the individual’s personal make up. Some of the considerations that are required to make an assessment of the individual in the context of the organization relate to the “individuals background, the moral intensity, ethical sensitivity, and situational influences, and the imbibed ethical perceptions of the workplace.” (McShane; Von Glinow, 2010) Employees with lesser sensitivity may not be concerned about ethical importance. (McShane; Von Glinow, 2010)

The Company Communication:

The Kroger Company seems to have had consideration of all these principles in all its mergers and acquisitions and has effectively use technology to bridge the gaps in communication. Kroger has changed the communication strategies by investing in logistics-related technologies and the optimum use of the internet by conducting reverse auctions and by the use of electronic merchandising and category management functions all of which has gone to create a logistics leadership. (Garrison, 2002)

Kroger attracts new technology. Back in 1992 over $120 million was invested in a satellite communications system and many other communication features like a new front-end scanners and in-store computers. The result was the ‘Efficient Consumer Response’ and quick system of order and restock of its goods. Further staff communication and interaction was minimized by 1996 when the customer self-scanning of grocery purchases was implemented. Thus the self-service checkout system avoided cashier involvement and employee numbers. It has also expanded to Online shopping with the help of Peapod Delivery System Inc., which takes care of the shopping as well as delivery service. Thus the Kroger-Peapod services available via the internet are the latest level of communication. (“The Kroger Company: Article by the,” 2010) Thus the direct communication and even interpersonal communication seem to be taken care of by using sophisticated technology and high training capabilities and seeing to it that the suppliers and the other components of the company stand up to these requirements.

Informal Communication:

The employees of the company have informal communication through a post forum called active where they have a Kroger Employee Forum — Where employees post their opinion and information anonymously or in the open. Kroger prohibits private communication between employees. (Activeboard, 2010a) One post states: “the managers don’t do any hard work I would like to a manager grab carts for an hour on 3 pm Saturday august 1st so they know why sometimes carts can get really low” is an eye opener. (Activeboard, 2010b)


In conclusion though the company may have paid heed in updating its technology and preventing informal communication officially it does go on in the message bards and employees respond to the company requirements and to their problems both in the formal and informal ways.


Activeboard. (2010a) “Ever work a day from hell in one’s department”

Retrieved 1 August 2010 from (2010b) “Lazy managers do not work.” Retrieved 1 August 2010 from

Garrison, Bob (2002) “Logistics Report Publication: Refrigerated & Frozen Foods”

Refrigerated and Frozen Foods. Retrieved 1 August 2010 from

Knoke, David. (2001) “Changing Organizations: Business Networks in the New Political

Economy.” Westview Press: Boulder, CO.

McShane, Steven; Von Glinow, Mary. (2010) “Organizational Behavior”

McGraw Hill. 5th Edition.

N.A. (2010) “The Kroger Company: Article by the”

Retrieved 1 August 2010 from

Ziegler, Norlinda; Banaszak, Karen. (2010) “The Kroger Co. Online Case

Study” Retrieved 1 August 2010 from

Ziegler, Raymond J. (1966) “Business Policies & Decision Making: Appleton Century

Crofts” Meredith Publishing Company.

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