Supermarkets Restructure Information Flows

Supermarkets Restructure Information Flows: Three of the major UK supermarket chains have announced plans to change their organizational structure. How will this affect their information management?

Three of the major UK supermarket chains have announced plans restructure their organizations:

o   Tesco is removing team leader roles (with the exception of checkout and team leaders) [1].

o   Morrisons is creating team leader roles [2].

o   Asda is replacing department managers with section leaders and section managers [3].

In addition, the Co-Operative group are piloting new processes in stores which may result in restructuring [4].

Changing the organizational structure changes the requirements for information and information management in an organization.  The formal organization structure provides a means of grouping together resources such as people and processes.  The groupings provide units that can be assigned authority and responsible to co-ordinate and control activities of the unit.  The grouping determines the requirements for information.  Information is needed about the resources in each grouping and about the performance of each grouping.

The organization structure also determines the flow of information through the organization, through groupings and between groupings.  Changing the organization structure changes the flow of information in the organization, as processes are redesigned and reallocated through the new organization structure.

Increasing or decreasing team leader roles affects the lines of communication and spans of control in the supermarket stores.  For example, team leaders at Tesco are responsible for co-ordinating rotas and communicating information between their team and their section manager.  The removal of the team leader role may mean for example, that information about rotas will now be rerouted and information will be communicated between shop-floor staff and the section manager.  This reduces the levels within the hierarchy of the organizational structure and may enable closer direct communication between the shop-floor staff and their line managers.  However, the line managers will have a larger unit to manage than the previous team leaders, which will make it more difficult to collate and act on information from the shop floor in a timely manner.  The team leaders had responsibility for making day-to-day decisions on behalf of their team, the flatter organizational structure can make it more difficult for timely decisions to be taken, communicated and acted upon, reducing rather than improving customer service.

Organizational restructuring changes the location of where decisions are to be taken in the organization and changes the flow of information through the organizational hierarchy, which may improve of hinder the ability to act on information in a timely manner.

News Sources:






Further Reading: organizational structures are discussed in Chapter 1 and Chapter 9.


Please use the following to reference this blog post in your own work:

Cox, S. A., (2014), ‘Supermarkets Restructure Information Flows’, 11 July 2014,, [Date accessed: dd:mm:yy]


© 2014 Sharon A Cox