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Managing Change in Small Bakeries: Strategies and Initiatives

Managing Change in Small Bakeries: Strategies and Initiatives

1.0 Introduction

Global market changes as well as large organizations’ competitive strategies tend to exert pressure on Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in terms of innovation and their capabilities (Paul, 2020). Thus, it is a continuous tactical and strategic battle for SMEs to compete in the ever-changing external environment and industries today (Bouwman, Nikou, and de Reuver, 2019). Businesses such as small bakeries should take advantage of the available opportunities for growth and sustainability in the long run. This report will examine the strategies used by a small family bakery to manage change, how it can tackle innovation and technology threats from larger organizations, and the initiatives that the bakery can learn from large organizations like Greggs.

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2.0 Strategy for Change Management2.1 Change Management Practices for a Small Bakery

Although the processes of change are complex in nature, priorities must be made clear for them to be manageable. The projects and programs of change must make sense from the very beginning (Belias and Koustelios, 2014). It is important for the bakery’s management to recognize that there is a need for change and that it is a slow process that occurs in stages. Change management is inevitable due to economic factors, globalization, technological advances, and a change in demographics. In order to survive and grow the family bakery should adapt to the changes in its environment lest they lose their competitive abilities (Belias and Koustelios, 2014). It is the responsibility of the bakery’s leaders to bridge the gap between the decisions of strategy and the reality of change implementation within the bakery’s structure and workforce. Some of the strategies that should be employed in the family owned bakery include:

2.2 Putting people first

In order for a change management to be successful, people should be prioritized. It is people who fuel the needed change and ensure that the momentum is sustained. The leaders should ensure that the employees within the bakery understand, believe in, and get involved with the change (McCarthy, Eastman, and Garets, 2021). By engaging the employees, the change processes would be much easier. This can be accomplished through proactive communication of change management creative the desire to change among all the employees. By following the Lewin change theory, this can be introduced in stages to ensure that the right environment is created (unfreeze), change is supported to desired levels (change), and then reinforcements carried to anchor the change (refreeze) (Memon, 2021).

2.3 Employee empowerment through communication: Forced Field Analysis

Communication is a vital part of managing organizational change effectively (Stouten, Rousseau, and De Cremer, 2018). A change vision will only be powerful if the communication supporting is powerful as well. An effective communication of change management offer clarity as to why the change is necessary and mobilize the workforce with a sense of determination for the needed change (Belias and Koustelios, 2014). The bakery would fail to drive change if the leaders to not communicate the needed change. Communication on change management is not a one-time information transfer. There is a need for commitment, consistency, and clarity. The employees should be engaged in a two-way methods of communication such as focus groups, surveys, and collection of informal feedback. When employees are involved in leadership, they feel valued, they will embrace the needed change, and will take part in making the change happen (Temitope, 2015). Through the two-way communication, leaders will be able to detect the barriers to change prior to those barriers becoming a problem, as identified by Mak and Chang (2019) in an analysis of the role of the forced field analysis in the implementation of change. The proactive identification of barriers would enable the family owned bakery to respond to issues creating resistance to change.

2.4 Lewin’s 3-stage Model of Reducing Change Resistance

The bakery’s workforce can understand better the rationale for change if the establishment prioritizes a clear, purposeful, and consistent communication. The commination strategy used will provide the context to understand the “what” and the” why” (Neill, 2018). With an effective communication, the most essential questions will be answered. The Lewin’s change model has three major steps that work towards ensuring a smooth transition from one change and position to the next. In Lewin’s 3-stage model, has the unfreezing phase that is meant to soften the attitude of employees and ensure that change is well understood. It communicated the need for change in order to make way for new behavior, fresh thinking, new processes, and a newer structure (Gearin, 2017). For instance, what might the change mean to the employees, how it would impact their work, and with a clearer and deeper understanding of the change, the workforce would ask how they could be a part of that change (Neill, 2018). The shift from a routine compliance to true belief and engagement on the part of the employees is powerful. Support from the employees would deter resistance to change that could hold back the bakery.

3.0 New Innovation and adoption for technology to tackle threats from larger organizations

Larger bakeries tend to implement innovation through developments in producing standard bakery products to highly creative cakes and artesian breads. In addition, pastry chefs in these large organizations can develop newer processes in order to gain a competitive edge (Taneja, Pryor, and Hayek, 2016). To tackle innovation and technology threats from larger innovation, the family-owned bakery can implement the following:

3.1 Performance excellence

To stay on top of its game despite the threats of innovation and technology from the competition, the bakery should maintain its performance excellence. In order to drive performance, the bakery should use a resource-based view which is discussed and conceptualized in two research streams (Taneja, Pryor, and Hayek, 2016; Kalinic and Forza, 2012). One research stream believes that the resources of an organization are rare, valuable, non-substitutable and inimitable, and drive performance differentials (Bouwman et al., 2019). One resource that the bakery has is its good reputation and its ability to make quality products. The other research stream believes that the resources of an organization are valuable and that the capabilities of the organization tend to drive performance differentials (Taneja, Pryor, and Hayek, 2016). Regardless of the location or size, the bakery should strive to innovate as well. It should also use standard bakery products because that, combined with the production of high quality pastries, will place the bakery ahead of the competition. Besides, it should also be ready to adapt to changes when necessary by cultivating their learning capabilities to survive the competition. A combination of capabilities and resources would drive organizational performance of the bakery.

3.2 Maintenance of Efficiency and effectiveness

A main issue for an organization is to foster productivity and to ensure that the business not only survives the competition but it also grows. Because the bakery is a small business, it has an advantage since it has the capability of being agile due to its limited bureaucracy (Qian et al. 2021). Consequently, speed is one of its key performance indicators which would dramatically support its quality products’ competitiveness.

3.3 Entrepreneurial tendencies

Being an SME, the bakery has an advantage of internal flexibility, entrepreneurial dynamism, and prompt responses to changing circumstances to enhance its innovativeness. In any organization, the people tend to be the source of competitive advantage irrespective of whether they are customer service experts, technological experts, or visionary managers (Qian et al. 2021). Even if the larger bakeries have implemented innovation and technology in their production process, the small family owned bakery can use its human resources to spell its success, particularly the entrepreneurial ones. An entrepreneur is recognized as a driver for exploiting the opportunities that emerge in the marketplace. According to Eglite and Kunkulberga (2017), the imperfections of the market can yield opportunities for entrepreneurs including externalities, inefficient firms, information asymmetries, and flawed pricing mechanism. New ventures and entrepreneurs tend to be instrumental in opportunities that are sustainability-oriented which helps SMEs such as the bakery due to their passion to invent, create, and use solutions and strategies of innovation.

4.0 Evaluation of Initiatives learnt from comparisons between Greggs and in-house bakers at various supermarkets4.1 Brand Repositioning

Brand reposition can help the bakery to maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Unlike in-house bakers in supermarkets, Greggs repositioned itself as a ‘food-to-go’ chain instead of a “take-home bakery.” Rather than looking at Tesco and Sainsbury’s as competition, the company took on Costa Coffee and Starbucks to target pastry fans and coffee drinkers. The premise behind this is consumers having access to affordable food at all times of day (Gilliland, 2019). Greggs also expanded its breakfast and hot drinks offerings in order to generate favor with the ‘balanced choice.’ Like Greggs, the bakery can implement an affordable price point which would help it to shake off its rather outdated image.

4.2 Finding demand

Because the habits of the consumers are constantly changing (Bertello et al., 2021), the bakery is bound to struggle. But like Greggs, it can buck this trend and see a strong turnover and an increased share investment. The main reason for this is the way Greggs meets the demand of the consumers (Gilliland, 2019). Rather than opening more branches in high streets and towns like supermarkets do, more Gregg’s stores have been opened in train stations, airports, and other grab-and-go places. The bakery can start by opening one branch at an airport or a train station as well.

4.3 Technology and innovation

Greggs is one of the companies that strives to prove how valuable it is to customers by focusing on in-store experience and technology. They have installed free Wi-Fi whereby although it is a simple feature, it is highly valuable which allows it to compete with others such as Café Nero and Starbucks (Gilliland, 2019). Although Greggs does not come out as the type of place to stay in and dine, customers are still encouraged to stay and linger. Moreover, the bakery focuses on refurbishing its branches and have introduced drive thrus. The refurbishments involve a streamlined and modern design that emphasizes is aspect of “on-the-go.”

5.0 Conclusion

Leaders of SMEs can create a work environment in which problems are converted into opportunities rapidly and small businesses can adapt to the ever-changing conditions of their respective industries. Innovations and technology is evident in the pastry industry and although a small family owned bakery cannot keep up with the technology and innovation implemented by the larger bakeries, they can implement other strategies to maintain its competitive edge. They can also learn from the initiatives implemented by companies such as Greggs.


Belias, D. and Koustelios, A., 2014. The impact of leadership and change management strategy on organizational culture. European Scientific Journal, 10(7).

Bertello, A., Ferraris, A., De Bernardi, P. and Bertoldi, B., 2021. Challenges to open innovation in traditional SMEs: an analysis of pre-competitive projects in university-industry-government collaboration. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, pp.1-16.

Bouwman, H., Nikou, S. and de Reuver, M., 2019. Digitalization, business models, and SMEs: How do business model innovation practices improve performance of digitalizing SMEs?. Telecommunications Policy, 43(9), p.101828.

Eglite, A. and Kunkulberga, D., 2017, April. Bread choice and consumption trends. In Baltic Conference on Food Science and Technology FOODBALT “Food for consumer well-being”. Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (Vol. 11, pp. 178-182).

Gearin, C. A. (2017). New higher education president integration: Change and resistance viewed through social power bases and a change model lens. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 39(5), 559-574.

Gilliland, N., 2019. What has contributed to Greggs’ high street success?. [Online] Available at: https://econsultancy.com/what-has-contributed-to-greggs-high-street-success/

Kalinic, I. and Forza, C., 2012. Rapid internationalization of traditional SMEs: Between gradualist models and born globals. International Business Review, 21(4), pp.694-707.

Mak, A.H. and Chang, R.C., 2019. The driving and restraining forces for environmental strategy adoption in the hotel Industry: A force field analysis approach. Tourism Management, 73, pp.48-60.

Memon, F.A., 2021. Improving Employee’s Engagement in Change: Reassessing Kurt Lewin’s Model. City University Research Journal, 11(1).

McCarthy, C., Eastman, D. and Garets, D.E., 2021. Change management strategies for an effective EMR implementation. HIMSS Publishing.

Neill, M.S., 2018. Change management communication: Barriers, strategies & messaging. Public Relations Journal, 12(1), pp.1-26.

Paul, J., 2020. SCOPE framework for SMEs: A new theoretical lens for success and internationalization. European Management Journal, 38(2), pp.219-230.

Qian, M., Liu, D., Zhang, X., Yin, Z., Ismail, B.B., Ye, X. and Guo, M., 2021. A review of active packaging in bakery products: Applications and future trends. Trends in Food Science & Technology.

Stouten, J., Rousseau, D.M. and De Cremer, D., 2018. Successful organizational change: Integrating the management practice and scholarly literatures. Academy of Management Annals, 12(2), pp.752-788.

Taneja, S., Pryor, M.G. and Hayek, M., 2016. Leaping innovation barriers to small business longevity. Journal of Business Strategy.

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