Whole Foods Market’s Organizational Structure Analysis

Whole Foods Market organizational structure characteristics and features
Whole Foods Market signage in Unionville, Ontario, Canada. Whole Foods Market’s organizational structure addresses variations in regional markets and consumer preferences. (Photo: Public Domain)

Whole Foods Market’s organizational structure facilitates the company’s effectiveness to satisfy market demands. The characteristics of a corporation’s organizational structure influences business capabilities. In Whole Foods Market’s case, the organizational structure enables the enterprise to ensure that its systems or arrangement of resources and activities support business goals. Whole Foods Market’s organizational structure is a design or pattern that defines the interactions among workers and components of the establishment. With more than 400 locations in North America and the U.K., Whole Foods Market maintains an organizational structure that empowers the firm to flexibly address changes and differences in markets.

Whole Foods Market’s organizational structure is based on differences in market conditions across the United States, Canada, and the U.K. Also, business functions and products define Whole Foods Market’s corporate structure.

Features of Whole Foods Market’s Organizational Structure

Whole Foods Market has a divisional organizational structure. In addition, each division has a functional organizational structure. The following are the main characteristics of Whole Foods Market’s organizational structure:

  1. Four-tier hierarchy
  2. Geographic divisions
  3. Functional structure in each division
  4. Teams

Four-tier hierarchy. Whole Foods Market has a global hierarchy in its organizational structure. In this hierarchy, there are four main levels or tiers, namely, (a) global headquarters, (b) regional offices, (c) facilities, and (d) stores. This aspect of Whole Foods Market’s organizational structure has vertical lines of authority, command and communication. For example, facility managers report to regional presidents, and regional presidents report to the global headquarters. This hierarchy in Whole Foods Market’s organizational structure supports corporate monitoring and control over the entire enterprise.

Geographic divisions. Whole Foods Market currently has 12 geographic divisions for its operations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. This aspect of the company’s organizational structure involves regional offices. Each regional division office is responsible for adjusting business activities to regional market conditions. Thus, through geographic divisions, Whole Foods Market’s organizational structure maintains sufficient flexibility to address differences among regional markets.

Functional structure in each division. In each geographic division of its organizational structure, Whole Foods Market uses a functional structure. This functional organizational structure corresponds to business functions. For example, each regional division has a president and regional administrators, such as a human resource manager and a marketing manager. This aspect of Whole Foods Market’s organizational structure maximizes flexibility of regional operations because each regional administrative team implements mandates based on regional market conditions.

Teams. Whole Foods Market’s organizational structure also involves teams. While the company uses teams in various areas and levels of its organization, the store teams are the most notable. Each Whole Foods Market store has sales teams for different product lines and business functions. In some stores, teams compete in generating revenues. This aspect of Whole Foods Market’s organizational structure supports business profitability through sales talk and retail service directly provided to customers.

Analysis of Whole Foods Market’s Organizational Structure

Whole Foods Market’s organizational structure is suitable for supporting global business. The flexibility of the geographic divisions allows the company to adjust its business to varying regional markets. In this way, Whole Foods Market optimizes its supply chain and store operations. This organizational structure also enables the firm to optimize the ability to satisfy the preferences of its target consumers. Furthermore, because of the flexibility based on its organizational structure, Whole Foods Market minimizes waste and spoilage by offering only the products that target consumers want.

References
  • Child, J. (1972). Organizational structure, environment and performance: The role of strategic choice. Sociology6(1), 1-22.
  • Johnston, J. (2008). The citizen-consumer hybrid: ideological tensions and the case of Whole Foods Market. Theory and Society37(3), 229-270.
  • Johnston, J., & Szabo, M. (2011). Reflexivity and the Whole Foods Market consumer: the lived experience of shopping for change. Agriculture and Human Values28(3), 303-319.
  • Mackey, J. (2010). Creating the High Trust Organization – Whole Foods Market.
  • Markides, C. C., & Williamson, P. J. (1996). Corporate diversification and organizational structure: A resource-based view. Academy of Management journal39(2), 340-367.
  • Martin, R., Muuls, M., de Preux, L. B., & Wagner, U. J. (2012). Anatomy of a paradox: Management practices, organizational structure and energy efficiency. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management63(2), 208-223.
  • Corporate Governance – Whole Foods Market.
Tags:


COPYRIGHT NOTICE:
This article may not be reproduced, distributed, or mirrored without written permission from Panmore Institute and its author/s. Copyright by Panmore Institute - All rights reserved. Small parts of this article may be quoted or paraphrased for research purposes, as long as the article is properly cited and referenced together with its URL/link.