Candidate: Thu-Mai Nguyen Candidate no: 000222-329 School: Lamar High School Date of Submission
Business and Management Research Project (Higher Level)
RESEARCH PROPOSAL How can Avon Products Inc. modify their communication and leadership styles in order to create a more loyal and inspired workforce of their lower level employees?
and toys. that usually sell door-to-door or. • Interviews with district sales manager in order to discuss the reasoning behind Avon’s current methods and discover how communication and leadership works from a level of seniority Secondary: • Online or other possible research to discover press releases and reports from Avon that detail their workings. perfume. Methodology Primary: • Personal investigation in working as an Avon representative to witness training. is a multi-level marketing company that sells cosmetics.1 Their unconventional method is beneficial in increasing their numbers of sellers. It is known for its independent sales representative. http://www. Limitations
What is Direct Selling? Earnings Opporunities. online.html
. also their lowest level of employment. These are also practical perspectives to evaluate as they are controlled internally by Avon and can be beneficial while unimposing.Research Proposal
Research Question How can Avon Products modify their communication and leadership styles in order to create a more loyal and inspired workforce of their lower level employees? Rationale Avon Products Inc. I will analyze possible motivational theories in context to Avon in order to determine solutions that are applicable. Communication is necessary for all information transfers and leadership styles are important to how employees are motivated to work.avoncompany. and therefore sales revenue. • Review various sources on effective motivation and leadership styles to evaluate each one’s practical use. Theoretical Framework I plan to look at Avon’s current communication methods and leadership strategies to see how this affects their sales representatives.com/earningsopportunity/ whatisdirectselling. I chose to look at communication and leadership management as these two components are vital to a successful and satisfied workforce. But in managing their unique employee workforce Avon does not have the time and resources to ensure that each employee is satisfied and working at high productivity and/or high morale. communication methods and other employee management.
Limitations include that my recommendations may not be easy to implement for such a large company. 2010 – February 10. 2011 November 9. 2011 Personal investigation as an Avon sales rep Secondary Research of leadership and communication methods Various interviews
. 2010 – May 31. which will be considered in my suggestions. 2010 – March 4. Action Plan December 7. And my primary research may have intended or unintended bias in the results.2011 December 20.
Robert House’s Path-Goal theory. Although Avon has not expressed their desire to modify their current practices. This will provide the basis of my analysis and depict where I want to improve. and Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s leadership continuum about their primary ICT communication systems and laissez-faire and directive leadership. The possible solutions focus on expanding their communications network to include more face-to-face communication. and how successful it is now. Executive Summary
The introduction explains the background of Avon and how they currently operate in their management and communication networks. The research will be put into analysis as I look into Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid. and varied motivational rewards besides financial motivators. The findings include primary and secondary research about the details of Avon’s current working practices. and improving motivation and communication.1.
. As it is not practical for Avon to change their entire work policy by hiring each representative. my analysis will focus on what they can do at the moment in increasing morale. Mayo’s Hawthorne effect. more people interaction such as with training and reporting meetings. they are still presented with the problem of having self-motivated sales representatives leading to other problems.
com Annual SEC report. This easily allows employees to feel distant from the corporation. www. But this does not provide any job enrichment. the reps are seen as expendable. If there is any problem with any one rep it can be easily solved with the termination of him or her at little cost to Avon.youavon. In this perspective. As Avon has moved toward more advanced internal communications technology (ICT) network systems they are growing more and more dependent on these systems. Avon SEC filings
.3 This becomes the primary communication method from higher level management to lower level reps. Introduction
Background As Avon grew to be a successful global empire. they have had to compromise their working operations to manage all of their workers. Since they can only sell or recruit. trusting them to follow their policies. Avon communicates to their reps though their online account at www. their only job promotions include moving higher on the ladder of sales or number of recruits. it does not do much for their independent reps because they not valuable employees.2. Since Avon or their managers rarely communicate with the reps face-to-face or oneon-one it is quite difficult for Avon to implement a strong managerial style. Avon has done this to appeal to the sector of workers that wish to be entrepreneurial. Case Definition Although their methods are successful in terms of business growth. Avon has had to allow independent sales representatives who are completely independent from Avon and therefore must be his or her own boss. and send their majority of messages through this online account method.2 They also provide occasional classes with trained people on selling techniques. Although they may have had expected problems such as a constant labor turnover rate or upset employees.com where reps come to put in order and manage their account. Avon feels that it is worth keeping their hiring technique because they have such a large volume of workers that few employees leaving does not affect their sales revenue as there will probably be new reps that will join.
Online Account. or enhancement as they are simply increasing the amount of work and not enriching it. Avon has provided training through their online Beauty of Knowledge (BOK) courses that reps can access at any time. This has allowed them to successfully manage their business without the hassle of managing each employee.youravon. enlargement. As they cannot manage each and every worker. Their training is more of Directive leadership in the Path-Goal theory as they simply give the rules and guidelines on how to work and then let the reps work on their own. They provide resources to reps in the form of online training to teach the reps everything about how to work with Avon in terms of navigating their website and each person’s account information.
. the reps are not motivated to work toward job promotions or any kind of job enrichment. the more income they receive. This method cannot last long as a motivator besides to make the required income to survive. they more they sell. Beyond this method.Therefore reps are forced to work for themselves with only financial benefits. Again. Avon must use motivation methods that do not affect their working policies. This is why my research question focuses on: How can Avon Products Inc. as this cannot be solved by simply hiring the employees to be directly under Avon and allow them opportunities in other departments or non-financially based job promotions. modify their communication and leadership styles to create a more loyal and inspired workforce of their lower level employees?
38% from tone of voice. they have no way to ensure that the message is accurately received or read by the reps even though it is formal communication. such as dry cleaning or
. The only other form of motivation is with their products by providing them to reps for free or at a discount. or offering reps special discounts/sales not available to the public. and 7% from the words spoken. the reps usually have no involvement in decision making. there is not a large need to sell for income meaning they are left with even less motivation. Similarly. Avon uses directive leadership on the Path-Goal Theory because they give their subordinates orders that they must follow. This method treats the employees more as customers than sellers by replacing conventional fringe benefits with free or lower priced products. and in the case of Avon. On Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s leadership continuum. Poor motivation methods As reps must self-lead they must also self-motivate meaning they are reduced to financial motivators.Poor dependence on current communication By using their online method of communicating. Avon would fall under using the “Sells” method where they expect the workers to simply follow already made decisions. This can be done by offering reps special deals on new products to help in promotional selling. Vocal. Avon’s usual electronic messages cannot take use of vocal liking with a nice tone or visual like with good body language. offering specialty items Avon related items for entertainment. not by yourself” requires Avon to provide the necessary support. Their communication methods also disregard Albert Mehrabian’s Three V’s (Visual. and Verbal) theory that explains a message is only understood 55% from body language and facial expressions. As their support is currently in the form of online training and occasional group training meetings about sales. But Avon’s motto of the reps “working for yourself. The only way Avon combats their lack of fringe benefits is with their Avon Advantage where reps are offered certain discount of services. Reps may also be in the dark if they do not understand a new change or do not take the time to take in current announcements since it is simply their choice whether or not to listen to any communication done though the online accounts. These styles are some of the least productive because of how little involvement workers have in the decision making process. Avon does not have to implement a strong managerial style as it is left up to each employee whether or not it can be done by each employee. Weak managerial styles Avon’s policy of not hiring the reps directly under them allows Avon to leave leadership to the employees as each rep can be considered an entrepreneur. As there is a sector of reps working with Avon as a secondary job or not as a primary income method.
Main Results and Analysis
Annual SEC Report. related to running their business.
4. Avon SEC filings
. Lack of care in worker retention As mention before. there is little cost to Avon in losing a rep as they are constantly growing when more and more people sign up to sell. But Avon allows this because they do not provide the services. This can make reps feel unimportant and contribute to lower morale.tax services. Therefore Avon cares more about higher level management4 and is not dependent on any one rep.
For Avon to make its lower level workforce feel important and appreciated. it cannot be fully effective to all employees as district line managers cannot check if every rep received and understood each recent announcement.5 Here. motivation. Since the higher level managers are not explicitly the hired leaders of the reps. Bjorn. because it satisfies the natural human need to socialize. Avon tries to compromise the situation with their occasional training meetings or leadership parties so that reps can have some interaction with each other. and have more non-financial motivation.
5. Avon has to balance the needs of the reps and the needs to the business. Conclusions
In order to create a more motivated and inspired representative workforce. named the Hawthorne Effect.Although their communication allows Avon to reach all of their reps. Natural Business Styles in the Global Economy. Their large dependence on using their more advanced technology also leaves them open to security threats prone to using certain ICT methods. This is why Avon has compromised by utilizing online methods for their workers to do just about all of their tasks. His theory. But Avon can try using other methods that people naturally respond to for workers to feel more loyalty to Avon. Business Leadership and Culture. Avon’s strategies should be modified as such:
Bjerke. explains that non-financial motivators can work better than financial ones. This social aspect in now known to be integral in improving productivity. There is also no consideration for the Human Relations school of thought from Mayo. the inadequate leadership provided falls under Middle of the Road management under the Managerial Grid model. Avon will have to modify their methods by improving and adding new leadership. and communication policies. His experiments showed how production increases were because of the employees working together and collaborating innovation and creativity. Avon has continued their motivational practices because it currently works enough to maintain Avon’s success. Avon cannot put all of their effort into motivating all of their employees and cannot leave them with little support. People naturally work more productively and efficiently when engaging with others as this creates team spirit and group dynamics. Avon misses out on this opportunity with their workers being independent and not working collaboratively. 1999
. Cheltenham Edward Elgar. They cannot ensure if each employee is implementing a recent change or following a new policy.
can be more involved with all of their employees and make the reps feel that their actions are important and appreciated. Their communications needs to be strict enough to ensure that all workers have the necessary information needed such as product recalls or changing selling or pricing information. Avon needs to take a bigger part in motivating their workers besides using commission based paying methods.Communication needs to be expanded to include more available people-to-people conversations. Avon needs to recognize and implement more social motivators that people naturally require from interactions or from their peers.
6. The unofficial leadership from the upper level managers needs to be increased so that Avon Inc. Recommendations
Revision of communications network
If Avon wishes to remain with their online form of leading. They can also have social/celebratory events to promote the Hawthorne Effect but also use incentive programs by inviting people who met a certain quota or having the events for the highest selling district. Avon can still utilize their ICT methods through video-conferencing or online chats or phone calls. Increased managerial and leadership styles Leadership should be increased and expanded to more than just online resources and occasional leadership meetings. Modified motivation techniques Avon should be more involved in their workers motivation as each employee is different and the same financial motivation cannot work on everybody. That way workers will be motivated to work more effectively as it affects their own work practices instead of feeling like customers when simply offered products as rewards. Since people meeting together can be difficult through conflicting schedules or other common problems. 02-20-09. Avon should organize more leadership led by district line supervisors or larger managers so that more reps can attend as many times ensuring that as many of their workers will receive as much personal leadership as needed.In addition to their expansive ICT network of communication. Avon Products Inc. they can include forums or chat rooms where reps and upper level managers can meet to discuss topics. or other business tools necessary when reps fulfill certain qualifications. when a worker has a good selling period or meets some other requirements Avon can reward them by offering free shipping on returns or quicker delivery of products. 12-32-08
. But more effectively. For example. My specific recommendation is to allot a supervising manager who is available for online immediate conversing so that reps will have the option of speaking to higher level authority with immediate responses. Another way is to reward workers in aiding the hassles of their job when they are doing especially well. And if they choose to use their advanced technologies as their primary method of communicating.
Annual SEC Report. brochures. Avon should add more opportunities for reps to speak with people one-on-one. I suggest Avon to do specific fringe benefits related to their work processes such as allowing free samples. they should take steps to ensure information is not lost such as following up with emails or calls as well as using their online account method.
page 13. 12-09-10 Representative Online Account.com. Donna. Leadership Upline. Personal interview. 16.com.youavon. 1999 Glasgow. Edward Elgar. 198
. www. Corporate Responsibility Bjerke. Björn. Business Leadership and Culture National Management Styles in the Global Economy. Cheltenham. Avon compnay Avon SEC annual report. www.Avon company website.avoncompany.