Hung Fook Tong
Hung Fook Tong Holdings Ltd
Management Function Analysis
The success of the company is attributable to its achievements in organizational stability and adaptability, as well as in the validity and reliability of its market intelligence.
The company is seen to emphasize more on the "Social" management approach rather than "Technical" management approach. Social management approach plays more attention to building up organizational and team culture and relies less on rigid structure and procedures that can delimit employee cooperation and collaboration. Emphasizing on culture rather than procedure would create a team of employees whose behaviour is more long lasting, more reliable, more predictable and more flexible, without loosing focus on the company vision and mission. In the highly competitive business environment, such an emphasis would enable the company to move faster than its competitors in different types of innovative changes.
The second observation is that the company through using qualitative research approach in evaluating consumers' feedback on new products provides the company with realistic, accurate and immediate check on innovative product ideas. Testing new products at retail shops is a good illustration of effective qualitative research on consumer behaviour.
Implications for SMEs
Human resource is an important asset of the company and as such, finding a way to enable the employees to give off their best to the organization has always been high on the agenda of organizational management. There cannot be a single success formula for effective human resource management and development, as there are a lot of contextual factors that are operating beyond management's control. The present case illustrates the shift of emphasis from technical management system to social management system to bring out the best from the employees, in preparation of change and innovation. The issue for SMEs are when there should be a shift and how much emphasis should be placed on the shift form technical to social approach. The simple answer to these difficult questions is that culture would best be evolved from practice. Practice would provide management with the opportunity to implement positive behaviour reinforcement and such reinforcement would help towards building up the desirable culture. As such, procedure and practice based on procedure appear to be the pre-requisite of culture building.
Most SMEs may not be willing to spend resources on quantitative market research, either the lack of funding or lack of expertise. However, they should appreciate the advantages and effectiveness of qualitative market research, which can take the form of observing consumer behaviour and interviewing for consumer feedback. Such an approach can help SMEs to obtain market intelligence that is real and has sufficient depth of investigation (compared with the use of questionnaires), and this method is much cheaper and more user friendly.