The Virgin Group refers to a number of companies that are operated as separate business entities, but which all originated or are otherwise connected with the brand that Sir Richard Branson created in 1970 (Virgin, 2007; Woodruff, 2007). The group has been considered a conglomerate for classification purposes, though in actuality, the set up is quite complex and defies definition. The brand is representative of a wide array of business types which in 2005 amounted to over 200 (IBSCDC, 2006). These have ranged from soft drinks to airline companies (Woodruff, 2007).
The Virgin Group, by their own admission, is committed to the development of new and valuable ideas. Once such an idea presents itself, Virgin seizes the opportunity that it affords. However, excellent management practices has also been cited as a major strength of this group, and is therefore one of the most significant components of its corporate rationale. The type of management highlighted in the Virgin Group’s rationale is heavily reliant on detailed analysis and research of any new venture that the group considers.
One of its most significant and effective strategies is to “put ourselves in the customer's shoes to see what could make [the market] better” (Virgin, 2007). The group is interested in such questions as the opportunity for creating competitive advantage within a market. It is also interested in the current satisfaction of customers within that market and the ability of Virgin to provide something of added value to the customers. The Virgin Group also acknowledges its reliance on the talents of its creative employees.
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It offers a high level of employee support to its 25,000 workers worldwide, and this is done through its forward-looking human resource management practices (Virgin, 2007). The Group hand picks employees and managers that are highly skilled, trained, and experienced in their specific areas. The organizational and corporate culture of the Virgin Group causes the many and varied companies and the workers therein to be treated more like a family rather than a hierarchy. Individual companies possess a high level of autonomy in controlling their affairs, yet each is willing to help the other for the sake of the Group as a whole.
References IBS Case Development Centre. (2006). The Virgin Group in 2005. ICFAI Business School. Retrieved on January 21, 2007 from www. ibscdc. org Virgin. (2007). “What we’re about. ” Virgin. com. Retrieved on January 21, 2007 from http://www. virgin. com/aboutvirgin/allaboutvirgin/whatwereabout/default. asp Woodruff, D. (2007). Virgin Group Ltd. Hoovers: A D;B Company. Retrieved on January 21, 2007 from http://www. hoovers. com/globaluk/sample/co/factsheet. xhtml? ID=41676
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