Every organisation has its different ways of working where individuals are working and follow the values, ethics, rules, regulation, beliefs, and ideology which are part of its organisational culture that decide the way people interact with each other. The culture of any organisation helps to attain the objective of the organisation. A well-cultured organisation helps its employees to stay loyal and motivated towards the management of the organisation.
The organisational culture sometimes also refers to a corporate culture. It can be easily identified by the ways the organisation operates its business, treats its employees and customers, and the people outside of the organisation. But a poor organisational culture destroys the image of a well-reputed organisation when the management has no control over its organisational culture and ethics.
Uber is an example of such organisations where the organisational people misbehave and did unethical practices within and outside of the organisation. These unethical practices of Uber employees destroyed its image among its clients. Uber was founded in March 2009 by two business partners Garret Camp and Travis Kalanick. Uber is also known as a technology company that provides innovative ideas about the riding and taxi hailing services.
Its provide facilities to its users in automating the taxi service function with the help of an application. Uber is also focusing on to initiate about to automate the car driving as well. They are already the most highest-valued start-up company in history. But from last few years Uber is suffering from a worst organisational culture and facing numbers of issues regarding its taxi services from its customer and people. In 2017, facing extremely unfavourable and bad organisational culture, Uber's board members forced its CEO to resign- to protect the Uber's business he co-founded.
A large number of complaints reported against the Uber that the working culture in the organisation is so toxic and inappropriate. A poor cultured organisation destroys all the plans and strategy of an organisation. Uber lots of opportunities outside if we analyse the SWOT and PESTLE analysis of the company. But they are still fighting with the poor organisation culture. To remove this tag of "toxic corporate culture" Uber introduced new rules and regulations and code of ethics for the employee which is formulated by Eric Holder. The PESTEL and SWOT analysis of Uber clearly shows that Uber is fighting with the internal weaknesses.
Uber’s inner weaknesses have a solid connection with its external factors that affect the organisation business operation and its image in public. If Uber wants to successful, it has to work to improve its organisational culture and remove internal weaknesses which are more affect its image in public. Uber is also facing the issues related to the ethical behaviour in the organisation. There are many complaints about the poor working environment, harassment with females and dunking during the work. These all allegations on Uber destroyed its image among its customers. If Uber wants to regain its image the whole organisation should follow the code of ethics that is equal for all the employees of the organisation.
Organisational culture is an important aspect of any organisation that includes an organisation’s expectations, value, beliefs, rules, regulations, experience, and philosophy that have been developed over time and shows the self-image of organisational people, internal working, and relations with the rest of world, and future expectations (Alvesson, 2012). The culture also includes organisational vision and mission, its values and norms.
A well-cultured organisation positively influences its employees towards the organisation goal and objective by influencing their behaviour in the organisation. The organisational culture sometimes also refers to a corporate culture. It can be easily identified by the ways the organisation operates its business, treats its employees and customers, and the people outside of the organisation. It can also be shown in the freedom of decision-making, generating innovative ideas and personal expression of the people in the organisation (Cork, 2011). A well-cultured organisational people are also committed towards the organisational objective and goals.
The main intention behind creating this company is to provide an on-demand and affordable car service to the people at a very low cost in comparison to expensive black car services that they had used in past. Uber is also a technology company that provide facilities for automating the taxi service function with the help of an application. Uber is also focusing on to initiate about to automate the car driving as well. They are already the most highest-valued start-up company in history.
2.1 Culture, Values and Ethos of Uber
The founders of Uber beliefs that Uber's organisational culture is transactional, competitive and individualistic, that will motivate and reward the most effective people in the organisation (Matherne and O’Toole, 2017). These tactics of Uber worked extremely well when they transformed a creative and good idea into a global online app-based taxi-service. Uber after that, continuously growing as a big start-up player in the global market and removing all the barriers raised by the competitors, local regulators and taxi commissions- regardless of a character for being “evil” (Bobker, 2017).
But from last few years Uber is suffering from a worst organisational culture and facing numbers of issues regarding its taxi services from its customer and people. In 2017, facing extremely unfavourable and bad organisational culture, Uber’s board members forced its CEO to resign- to save the company he co-founded (Burns, 2017). A large number of complaints reported against the Uber that the working culture in the organisation is so toxic and inappropriate. A poor cultured organisation destroys all the plans and strategy of an organisation.
However, the real powers of culture lie in the hand of leaders who held the value and ethics of the company and controlled all the activities of the organisation (Simha and Cullen, 2012). The main worry about the company is that people perception about Uber been that the drivers were potential sexual predators who might pose a danger to innocent users of the services (Browaeys, Price, and Roger, 2011). After investigating all the issues Uber seems to be having, it looks their main problem is that they do not have a positive organisational culture.
2.2 Cultural Sustainability in Uber
Over the last three years, Uber displays a culture that promotes crime, sexual harassment and overly-aggressive problems during the taxi service. The drivers of Uber were found drunk during the driving time and they often misbehaved with their clients. A woman employee of Uber Susan Flower, a former engineer of Uber posted a blog that was filled with stories that describe such types of criminal and sexual harassment issues associated with Uber (Cramer and Krueger, 2016). In addition to this negative interaction, she also blamed the worst organisation environment for women employee in Uber.
After a month-long investigation and research Uber created new cultural guidelines that remove the toxic workplace culture and solve these numbers of issues and problems related to their organisational working culture. The new guidelines formed with the help of Eric Holder (U.S Attorney General) and his organisation, Covington & Burling, after a sexual harassment charge surfaced. These new guidelines of Uber support by the board of members and it replace the 14 old cultural values, such as "let builders build," "meritocracy and toe-stepping," and always be "hustling". Some of the basic cultural principles, like being “obsessed” with the customer and being “bold” carried over to Uber’s new guidelines and others like “meritocracy” were renewed.
The Eric and his team suggest 47 recommendations to improve the image of Uber in the mind of people. These 47 guidelines include a change in senior leadership, enhance the board oversight, improve the internal controls with record-keeping of human resource, reformulate Uber’s 14 cultural values and training of senior leader, managers, employees and workers of the organisation. The Eric team also focused on changing policies and policies related to the employee.
To grow and realize its ambition Uber must short out these problems regarding their bad image in people’s mind. They must remove the bad culture from the organisation and protect the rights of women employees within the workplace. The organisation has to take strict action against those drivers who involves in any crime or sexual harassment (Prince, and Prince, 2011). Uber must collaborate and compete with other players in this field.
The aggressive individualism should be removed which is not suitable for the task of building the strong relationship among employees with its clients. The allegations of sexual harassment at the workplace by Fowler shows how managers use their power and position for their personal benefits and create a bad environment. A serious and strict action should be taken by the organisation to remove these bad allegations and create a good image in the mind of women employees, thus they can feel safe and secure during their job in Uber. The 47 guidelines of Eric can help the organisation to improve the workplace culture of Uber because it consists of a list of changes in the whole organisation from top to bottom.
Uber operates its market through a mobile app. Now in these days, the excessive use of mobile phones provides the opportunity to Uber to expand its market worldwide. The customer of the company request for a ride through the Uber app and the Uber drivers who run their own vehicles get the information with the help of Uber and routed for the trip. The worth of the company in 2018 estimated at $72 billion (Bhasin, 2017). But there are some factors that affect the business of the company can be categorized under external and internal factors. The external and internal environmental factors of Uber have a great impact on its business operations, strategic planning and marketing (Calo and Rosenblat, 2017).
Analysing these factors is crucial to understand the competitive advantage of it in global taxi hailing market. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the current status of Uber with the help of various tools and techniques. These tools and techniques analyse the external as well as internal factors that affect the organisation as a whole at the global level by SWOT and PESTLE analysis. SWOT analysis also provides an overview of the company’s strength and weakness with the threats and opportunities available in the market.
2.4 CSR activities of Uber
Uber wants to improve its image in the people, thus they more centric on their CSR activity by focusing on women employment generation and safety aspects of their clients. They provide more employment opportunities for women in the organisation and train their drivers for safety purpose (Deen, 2017). Uber is focusing on its employees through LOS UBER plan crating Hispanic and Latino experience for all Uber employees. Uber also provide a network that promotes the attachment of veterans for all employees at Uber.
2.5 Cultural and Ethical Behaviour in Uber
Uber is facing large numbers of allegations on their organisational working culture. In 2017, Uber fired 20 people from the organisation after an internal investigation. Uber that is known for its culture, now people described the company as an aggressive and unrestricted workplace culture. A company that established itself as the best start-up company in the USA is now struggling with repairing its "toxic culture" image (Duh, Belak, and Milfelner, 2017). The cultural and ethical behaviour of a company determined the ways of success. In the words of Peter F. Drucker, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast" which means culture determines the success or failure of an organisation (Fox, 2017).
2.6 Relationships between departments and people in Uber
A woman Susan Flower, a former engineer of Uber was posted a blog that was filled with stories that describe such types of criminal and sexual harassment issues associated with Uber. In addition to this negative interaction, she also blamed the worst organisation environment for women employee in Uber. Fowler also blamed that the “high performing” males harassed women employees in the organisation and also under-valuating the contribution of women employees (Lawler, 2014).
The managers and organisation do not give importance to the female workers. These issues leave a bad impact in the mind of customers of Uber and the service rating is tremendously decrease of the company overnight. A poor cultured organisation destroys all the plans and strategy of an organisation. However, the real powers of culture lie in the hand of leaders who held the value and ethics of the company and controlled all the activities of the organisation (Bornstein, 2016).
2.7 Personal Ethics, Values and Beliefs in Uber
The ethics and beliefs are the defining qualities of an organisational culture through which a leader can direct and control the activities of the employees and also navigate the product and profit. Uber is somewhere lack in its ethical and cultural organisational behaviour. The ethical failure in Uber is a big issue in the organisation. Although the company implement the suggestions of the Eric Holder report and implement a wide change in the organisation from top to bottom (Bensinger, 2017). There are many complaints about the poor working environment, harassment with females and dunking during the work.
The company has commenced a surprising experiment in behavioural science to slightly induce an independent workforce to maximise its growth (Elango, Paul, and Kundu, 2010). The company rarely discuss its internal issues or matters in public, but after these serious cultural and ethical issues they openly announced that company would change its corporate culture and would no longer tolerate any fraud, misbehave or any unethical issues (Duh, Belak, and Milfelner, 2017). Uber has also announced regarding to the pay issues with its drivers and fix these troubles by improving the relationship with them. The complaints were also reported about the drugs taken by employees during work hours (Leigh, 2017).
The serious allegations on the senior leaders of Uber force them to strictly follow the ethical behaviour in the organisation (Jordon, 2017). The allegations of Fowler badly impact the image of Uber and a large number of people deletes the ‘Uber app' from their mobile phones. It causes a huge loss for Uber including destroying its public image. This is a serious problem in Uber related to cultural and ethical behaviour. If the media accounts truly about their behaviour, it means they are behaving unethically. Therefore, it is their primary responsibility and accountability to transform the company ethically (Sawyer and Thoroughgood, 2017).
If the managers and leaders of Uber follow and set standards of their moral and ethical behaviour, the rest of the organisational people will unquestionably follow them with replication their values, attitudes and their ethical behaviour. As such, leaders who desire to have an organisation with an ethical climate must demonstration and set live examples of the desired set of ethics and behaviour that can be found legitimate and credible by other organisational people.
To create an ethical work environment, the organisational people need to take priority, the responsibility of their work, time, and dedication on behalf of the senior leaders of Uber (Hawkins, 2017).
2.8 Ways to overcome barriers for effective functioning of Uber
Uber should take the following steps to ensure that the ethical behaviour and culture is practised by its employees and senior leaders in the organisation for effective functioning:
- Zero tolerance approach against serious offences: Offence-related to sexual harassment should be considered as a zero-tolerance approach. This is worst for the organisation when a female employee blames a senior leader of the organisation about the sexual harassment. Uber should take strict action against such type of cases with zero tolerance policy (O’Brien, 2017). This type of unethical behavioural employee should be fired from the organisation with a strict punishment.
- Formulate a strict code of ethics: A strict code of ethics can be formulated and deployed at all levels of the organisation and sets expectations by which each member of the organisation is accountable for their job and maintain an ethical environment. No matter it is CEO of the organisation or the driver of Uber, it must ensure that everyone follows the code of ethics.
- Execution of the code of ethics: Uber can execute the code of ethics by enforcement to create awareness about its culture and leave a clear message that any misbehave or faulty behaviour of employees cannot be tolerated and will be punished considered as a serious offence (Vierling, 2017). Again, this must be enforced that every member of Uber can be treated as a common people in the organisation. Equality will be prioritized in case of any offence and this can be defined as the Uber’s tradition.
- Periodic training and ethics refresher course: Provide a regular training and a course to remind everyone about the ethics that how it is crucial for the feasibility and success of the organisation (Scheiber, 2017). Each employee of the Uber must complete this course as a condition of the continued program.
- Create a Self-regulating review board: This step helps those employees who the victim of any offence by colleagues and management and fear to convey it to top management (Salazar, 2017). Such a step provide a security to such types of employees about their privacy and ensure that complaints will be handled effectively and professionally by a self-governing organisation that provide justice to the victim without any partiality.
- Tip for informer: This helps employees to come forward with information without any about any offences from any employees or managers of the organisation
- 2.9 Theories and Models Apply on Uber
According to social learning theory, it is the responsibility and accountability of leaders and management in Uber to behave ethically and make ethics a way of life. If the managers and leaders of the organisation follow and set a standard of their ethical behaviour, the rest of organisational people will definitely follow the values, attitudes and their ethical behaviour (Lefkowitz, 2017). As such, leaders who desire to have an organisation with ethical and behavioural climate must display and set a live example of the desired set of ethics and behaviour that can be found legitimate and credible by other organisational people (Cherry, 2016).
To create an ethical work environment, the organisational people need to take priority, the responsibility of their work, time, and dedication on behalf of the senior leaders of Uber. Apart from this, numbers of ethical models apply to the cultural and ethical issues of Uber. These models are identified in the current scenario are as follows:
- Utilitarianism Theory: According to the Utilitarianism theory, business should spread happiness among themselves and in others as well. If we apply this theory in Uber case, the actions of the Uber did not make happy to everyone who was involved in the business operation of the company. The employee of Uber told that she was sexually harassed and the customers of the company were told that the company did not hire criminals (Friske, 2017). Drivers of Uber are sexual predators. It means that large numbers of peoples are not happy with the operation of the company. Although the main issue with this theory is that, the company is failed to maximise happiness neither in its customers nor in their own employees.
- Virtue Theory: The Virtue theory mainly focuses on the individual's character and his/her thinking. Thinking of an individual is a key factor of ethical behaviour rather than rules and regulations. The four key elements of Virtue theory are honesty, justice, courage, and temperance. Uber breach norms related to this theory. They are completely not fair and honest with their clients. Their good ideas for employer's benefits and they are doing partiality with the drivers' remuneration.
- Individualism Theory: The Individualism theory said that, "the only goal of business is to earn the profit.” Therefore, the only duty of a businessperson has is to maximize profit for the owner or the stakeholders. According to this Uber is not ethically wrong because it hiring more and more drivers and earning profit from last 9-10 years. Even Uber charges high fare from its client and pays the unfair amount to its drivers is not ethically wrong as an individualistic person because they are focusing on earning more profits for the company, which is the overall goal of the company (The Ethics Incubator, 2018).
- Justification Ethics Evaluation: Uber informed that they do not hire criminals and in fact, they do. They hire drivers having criminal records and they again committed a crime during their job. Therefore, these actions of the company are far away from the justified ethics. The pricing strategy of the company is also a breach of this theory.
- The principle of ethical universalism: Uber used an algorithm that supports surge price strategy. When the demand is high prices will be charged at the high rate and when demand is low, prices will be charged at the low rate. This has raised the issues of antitrust concern because there is a possibility that drivers of Uber raised the price artificially. This unethical practice of sage price goes against the principle of ethical universalism.
Swot analysis of Uber consists of the analysis of four criteria i.e. strength, weakness, opportunities and threats. The SWOT analysis helps the organisation to understand the different factors that affect the business operation.
Strengths: Strength of Uber consist a very low price charges from the customer with the minimum profit margin. It attracts customer towards the company and creates a competitive advantage over its competitors by increasing consumer awareness. Uber is also focusing on innovative and creative thinking such as Uber bikes and air services as well (Rosenblat and Stark, 2016). Uber has also known as a good brand image in the field of transportation and growing fast in the developing countries. It uses the advanced technology for communication with drivers and its clients that give an advantage over its competitors.
Weaknesses: The weaknesses of Uber indicate that it has a poor organisational culture that leaves a bad impact on the mind of the customer. It must improve its organisational cultural environment. The major problem with Uber is that it not charges flat fees where its main competitor Gett charges other fees and keep predictable prices. Another main problem with Uber is that it spread its business in developing countries but its focus on only urban areas. Uber does not provide its services in rural areas because it depends on the internet through mobile phones. Thus, it can only target those people having smartphones.
Opportunities: Uber has big opportunities in developing countries; in fact, it is more popular in Asian countries where most of the countries are in developing stage. These countries provide a huge market for Uber and it is also so effective in those countries because of its affordable price and low-profit margins. Uber can also start other alternative special transport facilities like ambulance and fire-brigade for emergency services.
Threats: Uber does not know when the government change the rules and regulations regarding transportation. Changes in government rules and regulations affect the whole business operation of Uber. The flat prices of its competitors like Gett, give strong competition to Uber in the market. The drivers of Uber are also creating a problem when they do not have a driving licence (Mangalindan, 2014). The lower profit margins of Uber also affect its profitability in this area of operation where other competitors charge additional charges with the fare.
SWOT Analysis of Uber
· Low fixed investment
· Low and unique Pricing strategy
· Growth rate
· Brand image
· Advance Technology
· Poor organisational culture
· Internet dependency
· Dependency on driver
· Only for smart people having smartphones
· Poor leadership
· Growth opportunities in developing countries
· Electric cars
· Automated Driving Cars
· Alternate transport
· Unorganized market players
· Government rules and regulations
· Customer’s brand switching
· Low-profit margins
· Special transport
4. PESTLE Analysis of Uber
Pestle analysis of Uber includes 6 factors that affect the business operation of the company. These environmental factors are Political factors, Environmental factors, Social factors, Technological factors, Legal factors and Economical factors (Dudovskiy, 2018). These are the external factors which are beyond of control of Uber.
- Political factors: Political factors are external factors that control the activities related to CO2 emission and pollution control regulations on the vehicles of Uber. Even though political factors are more supporting public transportation but still they care about the pollution and CO2 emission. However, Uber uses hybrid cars which are very low in CO2 emission and very less harmful to the climate.
- Environmental factors: Uber charges high prices in the night, in bad weather or in raining time, because of higher demand for public transport. Uber also charge high prices during pick time.
- Social Factors: Increase in income leads to a large number of increments in smartphone users and its lead to the higher use of public transportation through the help of these phones. These larger usages of smartphones provide a huge market for Uber.
- Technological Factors: Technological factors have a great influence on Uber's business operation. Innovation in automobile technology, advancement of internet use, and high-speed internet technology helps Uber to spread it business more.
- Economic factors: The increase in income of the people directly related to their buying powers. Opposite to this recession adversely affect the buying power of people. Fuel prices can also have an impact on the Uber business operation. These all economic factors are unpredictable for the Uber business operation.
- Legal factors: The government of any country has the power to ban the services of Uber. The last incident was in Germany when they ban the Uber taxi services after noticed so many criminal issues. The government can change the rules and regulation to the taxi services such as change fare slabs or limit the price of taxi services according to distance.
The PESTEL and SWOT analysis of Uber clearly shows that Uber is fighting with the internal weaknesses. Uber’s inner weaknesses have a solid connection with its external factors that affect the organisation business operation and its image in public. If Uber wants to successful, it has to work to improve its organisational culture and remove internal weaknesses which are more affect its image in public. The company have to also focus on the aggressive strategy which means Uber has a lot of strength and these strengths are well connected with its opportunities which prevailing in its outside environment (Verschoor, 2017).
The main advantage with Uber is that it is a customer-centric company and it is focused on unique ideas, innovating thinking and dynamic prices strategy that attract its clients towards the ride services. Uber has to also focus on maintaining a high degree of belief and trust in their employees because there are numbers of cases found related to its working environment where females were harassed and this leaves a bad impact in the mind of its clients. People hesitate to use its ride services because its controversies related to rape and sexual predators image of its drivers (Isaac, 2017). They have to ensure to their clients that they are safe and secure with Uber. From last couple of years Uber works on improving its image but still, they have to do lots of work on security and safety prospects.
The market share of Uber also can be increased by their strong strategies like low pricing strategy, innovative technology, creative thinking and resource utilization. The SWOT and PESTLE analysis clearly shows that Uber has a very high potential to achieve its goals and objective by increasing the number of its customer and increase its revenue as well. The distribution channel of Uber can also be increased by using alternative services like Uber bike and Uber eats and it can also target its competitors and parallel industry as well (Snyder, 2018). If Uber can remove its poor corporate culture and strictly follow the rules and regulations formulated by Eric, it can regain its place an image in the mind of people.
These above steps are so easy to implement in the organisation. However, implementing these steps will help the organisation to remove Uber’s toxic environment. The ethical environment of a company helps a person to become a much better person because the respect and care an employee gives to others or receive the same. An organisation survive so long if it creates a culture which includes trust, belief, value, moral, respect, care for employees, customers, and its stakeholders. Uber has to work very hard to achieve an ethical and behavioural working environment because of its past damaged image. If the managers and leaders of Uber follow and set standards of their moral and ethical behaviour, the rest of the organisational people will unquestionably follow them with replication their values, attitudes and their ethical behaviour.
As such, leaders who desire to have an organisation with an ethical climate must demonstration and set live examples of the desired set of ethics and behaviour that can be found legitimate and credible by other organisational people. To create an ethical work environment, the organisational people need to take priority, the responsibility of their work, time, and dedication on behalf of the senior leaders of Uber. Normally,
it is the responsibility of Uber to provide a healthy work culture to its employees and safe secure and a happy ride to its clients because it represents your culture ethics and responsibility towards community and people. And only a good working ethics and behaviour can help you to stay operate the business to your target customers and if they are not happy with your unethical practice you cannot survive anywhere in the world.
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