Acquisition of NBC Universal by Comcast vs Acquisition of Kmart by Sears

(Part 2)


Systems – Comcast created more rewards and recognition incentives to gain employee involvement with the merger. There were incentives based around the Olympics, which NBC had the rights for.
Style – Brian Roberts re-emphasized the need to have a work life balance. The change brought interest in Universal Studios. Each employee is given a one-day family of four pass for entry.
Staff – Both organizations, Comcast and NBC have a huge employee force. A re-commitment to excellence and quality was enforced in town halls, meetings and trainings.
Skills – To prepare employees for the merger, training on the new product Performance Starter was had. Roberts wanted the company to focus on customer service especially with the conversations of the merger. Letting the customers know that they are never too big to handle who and what’s more important, which is the customer. Comcast strives to create Уworld class experiences that people love and trust (, 3/29/14).
Superordinate Goals – Roberts understood how fast technology was advancing and had a goal to keep up. To re-enforce these goals many motivational videos were shown at all levels of the company goals. There were also quarterly taped town hall sessions discussing the state of the business and discussing the desires to be the best in their arena. There was a need to keep the employees in the loop, creating buzz and excitement for what was to come.
Kmart was operating in a state of loss; they had closed several stores and were losing competitively to stores like Wal-Mart and Target. ItТs funny because at one point of time CEO of Wal-Mart, Sam Walton once envied Kmart. Walton would walk the aisles observing the right things to do. However, Kmart found themselves with the need to keep up with the competition and find other ways to do so. In review of the changes at Kmart and applying the 7-s Framework to their merger with Sears the following observations have been made:
Strategy – Kmart and Sears wanted to reach other markets without creating a market for it, by merging with Sears they would gain customers from Sears specialty products and their auto center. Kmart had supercenters, which included grocery, general merchandise, deli, bakeries and pharmacies.
Structure – Kmart made the decision to decentralize the locations, allowing regional management to act in regards to their own stores, creating competition, which in turn would improve performance.
Systems – Kmart sought to gain more IT efficiencies. Because of the broadening of their product base and the intense amount of marketing required, it would force it to improve their systems. They would also gain better IT systems as Sears has always ensured to keep up with the time. The change brought on a re-designed Kmart website, that was more customer friendly and appealing.
Style – Eddie Lampert, CEO of Kmart led by making decisions that would benefit the customer. He liked to hire people that had no retail experience so he could mold them. He valued the view of the outsider.
Staff – Lampert wanted to make sure he had the right people for the job. Lampert valued quality and wanted to rebuild the reputation of both stores, re-enforcing this to all the employees was essential.
Skills – To prepare employees for the merger, training and awareness of both companies was essential.
Superordinate Goals – Lampert wanted to gain the market share of Wal-Mart and Target. They wanted to redefine their brands. By allowing loyalty cards use at both Sears and Kmart they bridge a gap between the two worlds, that would hopefully.
I chose the 7-S Framework honestly because none of the other models fit as many of the criteria’s as the 7-S. Comcast was easily identifiable to fit this model, however I had to do some research to ensure Kmart could fit as well.
SWOT Analysis
Strengths and Opportunities
Comcast is the largest cable operator in the United States
Comcast and NBC are not in the same market, no overlap so no need for major layoffs
Comcast has employees that can be trained in an efficient amount of time.
Comcast has existing cable channels such as Versus, E Entertainment and the Golf channel
The deal would bring local networks and various other TV channels
Availability to onDemand content come quicker
More programming
More enhanced technology
Better internet speeds
One Comcast way of thinking
Kmart doesn’t have a lot of stores that would need to transition, a lot closed before the merger.
Kmart has brands like Joe Boxer that appeals to its consumers.
Sears has a better line and it would improve for Kmart
Kmart and Sears have year round layaway, Wal-Mart and Target donТt.
Kmart’s website is user-friendly
Weaknesses and Threats
Comcast could be viewed as a monopoly.
Customers would fear change in pricing or price controlling.
Comcast does not have the best reputation in regards to service.
Comcast stocks dropped upon announcement of deal.
Comcast has to offer a lower broadband speed
Kmart’s prices don’t compare to Wal-Mart.
Kmart is known for bad service.
Kmart stores are not the cleanness in regards to image and quality.
Kmart employees are scarce and not always around.
Kmart stores look outdated.
Kmart doesn’t have a good marketing plan.
Kmart employees do not try to understand the consumers needs and wants.
Kmart has filed bankruptcy previously.
I think the Comcast and NBC acquisition has a better chance at succeeding than the Kmart and Sears merger. Kmart has a lot of changes that they will need to do, to date changing the way the company is run has not been effective. By changing the style regions are selfish and don’t have a whole company way of business. The style change has created an us vs. them mentality. Kmart doesn’t really have a brand, they used to be known for blue light specials, but that has since ended. They have to be able to find their identity in order to succeed. Kmart and Sears have both closed stores since the merger. On the other hand Comcast has thrived, there are still service opportunities, however they are using their resources from the acquisition to entertain another. Potential areas of resistance for Comcast is in the area of training, employees are given a host of products that they have to learn and it makes for a different conversation. Expectations to sell on every call could create unhappiness from the agents who are used to just resolving the issue. To counter this, expressing the importance of fulfilling a need for the customer and educate on right sizing. If the employees don’t do this the customer could go elsewhere for the service and the employees could miss moments of excellence with the customers.
For Kmart the area of resistance is merging two companies with two different ideals. Sears is viewed as the higher quality brand and it could make the Kmart employees feel less superior. If they encourage the one company train of thought, like Comcast does they will get better from each company. If they don’t do this employees can grow to resent each other and it could come out when a customer inquires about the other, which isn’t a good look.
In summary the 7-S framework would be a good change model to observe the changes of both companies. The criteria’s appear to have been met, the biggest opportunity shows in regards to the SWOT analysis, it appears Comcast is doing better with their change compared to Kmart’s.
Kmart by Sears