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Applying Management Theories to Les Mills

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MGMT101 Assignment 1: Les Mills Case Study

Les Mills began in the 1980s and has been exponentially successful, spanning across 75 countries at present. They are the world’s largest provider of exercise-to-music fitness plans. They are on their way to achieving their goal of being the ‘best in the world’ and changing the face of the fitness industry. This report will analyse the key issues of Phillip Mills’ Les Mills organisation through application of the management theories in relation to organisational behaviour, communication, teams, leadership, motivation, and human resources.

The Study of Organisational Behaviour

Like all organisations, productivity and organisational performance are a main focus for the Les Mills organisation. This is reflected in virtually every aspect of this organisation. People are viewed as the ultimate foundations of organisational performance, a resource put into the open system, which the organisation uses to create product outputs (Schermerhorn, 48). Les Mils would aim to have both high goal attainment and good resource use. Les Mils would take aim to take an ‘efficient and effective ‘ approach, they can achieve their goals by investing in their most quality resource, their workers, and have high productivity as an outcome. This is why Les Mills use a Total Quality Management approach, they have created this organisation wide goal to be the ‘best in the world’ and that is reflected in the commitment of all employees (Schermerhorn, 15). Every organisation has a number of different levels, with different levels of managers. Managers are vital as they are responsible and accountable for not only their own work but also that of the entire organisation or their area. Therefore Les Mills selects selects employees in an extremely careful manner, making sure they are committed to the “cause” and then trains them at all the different levels of the organisation. This in combination with their set, specific goals creates this sense of obligation, which creates almost robotic-like employees who will do anything and everything to achieve their goals.

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Les Mills’ recently updated their IT systems across multiple locations to ensure that their computer-mediated forms of communication were functioning effectively and that subsequently the organisation was functioning at its peak. Creating a central point of information allows all employees involved in the organisation, both nationwide and internationally, to be kept up to date on all organisational plans and actions (Meanger,2014). Emailing allows for quick, increased volume, real time, and collaborative communication. The Shannon-Weaver Model exhibits how the message channel can encounter ‘noise’ which can influence the message receivers’ perception. Noise is the barriers to effective communication. For computer-mediated communication like email, Les Mills will encounter noise in the form of semantic problems, cultural differences, absence of feedback, physical distractions, and status effects (Shermerhorn, 368). In saying this, computer-mediated form of communication will be successful when used in combination with other forms of communication as well as mediating the affects of the “noise” barriers. An issue with this model is that it gives no information on how to stop the modulatory effect of this ‘noise’.

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Working in Teams

According to the case study, different Club operation areas structure the Les Mills organisation. These are formal groups that work together to achieve particular objectives based on their interlocking roles. Les Mills as an organisation and individual workers benefit from the group formation. They determine cohesiveness in a group mainly through the severity of initiation. The initiation period of joining Les Mills involves lots of training including ‘Life Changing Staff’ training that creates passion, enthusiasm and commitment. This creates group cohesiveness as well as organisation wide cohesiveness. Les Mils work as a team more so than a group because of the purpose and mission they all aim to achieve, to be ‘the best in the world’. Employees “live by the brand” and subsequently problem solving becomes a way of life (Meanger, 2014). Les Mills work in team units as everyone has the same common goal and effectiveness is measure by the collective outcomes of the groups and the whole organisation.


Philip Mills would be classed as a leader as opposed to a manager as being the founder and CEO of the organisation he is the person who develops visions and drives changes as well as inspires all employees (Les Mills, 2014). As stated before, employees are at the heart of the organisation, and evidently they take on an employee-orientated style of leadership. The Michigan State studies show that employee-centred leadership rather than production-centred leadership, combined with general supervision will lead to better results. It is evident that this method of leadership is not for the benefit of the employees; instead this approach is taken to create high productivity. In saying this Philip Mills comes across as a ‘Team Manager’ with high emotional intelligence according to Blake and Mouton’s managerial grid, but could also be considered more of an ‘authoritative manager’ as he has concern for people, but his high concern for production overpowers this (Shermerhorn, 346). Employees are the means by which he accomplishes high production. A shortfall of this grid is that the managerial positions are polarising, and don’t factor in the negatives and positives of the different concern levels.



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