Discuss about the People, Management and Organisation.
The case of the Pluto telecommunications presented the firm level issues; mismatch of the roles in the sales, customer service and marketing team which showed differences in their working styles, approach and the output. There was incoherence which made customer touch points in the service delivery difficult to link the service gaps affecting organisational performance. The middle management seemed to be arrogant and uncooperative, while the top management is happy being in the London office showed three distinct sub cultures instead of a unified one. The company has witnessed rapid growth in last one year and the three departments with different goals have not been able to coordinate in essence and output delivery. The management pattern in not identifying the problem which exists between the departments shows the myopic attitude. The departmental heads are not able to relate to the other, resulting in the absence of inter departmental communication. The directors of the Pluto telecommunications also seem to be non cooperative and showed inability to voice honest opinions. This indicates problems in job design, organisational design, and the subsequent operations back end process that is evident from the organisational output.
The Pluto telecommunications analysed using the SOGI (Societal, organisational, group and individual) model reveals the following. The societal level though not important here, as Pluto telecommunications as a business entity needs to be ethical in treating its customers fairly and ownership factor missing in problem solving bring this dimension into discussion. The Pluto telecommunications will fit into Emery and Trists four type of environments as either ‘turbulent’ or ‘disturbed, reactive’ category which shows the fast growing firm, seeking constant growth,
Organisational culture: This is a concern area, as the absence of the unitary organisational culture fails to bind the departments, teams and the employees towards Pluto telecommunications goal. The presence of sub cultures and its evidence over the year has made a strong support to the manner in which the employees of Pluto telecommunications work and achieve their tasks. Thus the existence of the cultures in different teams/departments is a sign of the herd behaviour where in all the members of the group show allegiance of typical attitude that is affecting the tasks, its completion status (Hatch, 1997). The externalities has forced Pluto telecommunications to meet the goals, making it high performance organisation has essentially set aside the internal alignment due to lack of HR line manager and lack of control in devising these HR initiatives.
Group level analysis: Pluto telecommunications
The three departments which are subset of the marketing function failed to coordinate at least on one common ground which is lack of internal communication. The evidence is also in the organisational structure which shows that the departmental heads who reports to the Ms Tsang are not in talking terms, sharing reports. This issue of the differentiation is a problem that has made departmental identity and boundaries very tight and strict, drawing lines that are unable to stretch when the operational demand is more. It should be guided by the Leavitt’s diamond for better goal setting, operations and outcomes.
Figure 1: Leavitt Diamond (Huczynsk and Buchanan, 2013, p. 505)
Inability of the departments functioning to the maximum limit was due to lack of coordination, nonexistent of the design of the whole structure which is not a process centric one. So lack of integration in the activities which are not linked led to poor communication and setting a separate work culture. This fails in the Weicks (1976) loosely coupled’ elements and the resulting effect is evident in the customer frustration. The onus of shouldering responsibility is not there which shows that the top management is unable and unaware of the interdependence factor and does not acknowledge it. The above status is Mintzberg’s grouping by function at the extreme, where the specialisation based functions are finding the narrow path in Pluto telecommunications. It is hard to point this out, as even the top management failed to realise this and establish common activities that each department shares to be customer centric. Burns and Stalker issue of Mechanistic structure fits Pluto telecommunications. This inability to understand the flexibility problem
The Pluto telecommunications has distinct structure which is functional in nature in terms of delivery that has the homogeneity in the actions performed by all its members. Each of them are comfortable in achieving the tasks due to clear understanding of the departmental goals and achieve the own targets. Daft (1995) explained that in organisational structure that is very independent as it lacks cooperation and neither fosters it, which is why they are focussed on individual targets and display visible wealth to the world. The result is that the department consists of head with targets that are duly met which is why Pluto telecommunications had a wonderful growth in last one year.
Figure 2: The Five Phases of Growth (Greiner, 1998, p. 58)
Individual level analysis: Pluto telecommunications
The structure follows function and here the sales team has forced to team members to define their own space, delivery and the boundary. It has led to the engineering team to do the checking in pre installation phase, and the rest of the task is carried out by the sales employees of the Pluto telecommunications at the customer premises. Therefore the only link is the engineering team and not the customer service which is the logical choice after customer has the device installed and needs help in malfunctioning of the device.
The Pluto telecommunications groups are formalised in nature where the sales department has different teams as per service areas earmarked in Pluto telecommunications. The sales in Pluto telecommunications has an achievement and challenge element with the short time horizons, low patience it has housed people that are intentional (Allcorn, 1989) in nature. They lacked responsibility and it is evident from the output where the customer scrambles for solution. So this department has gradually accepted the performance based culture which led to Pluto telecommunications earning revenues from the new customers and orders. It also led to formation of the department adopting an elitist attitude compared to the other departments thereby defining their identity, the delivery through their function. Buchanan and Huczynski (2001) added that thus the culture element is more singular in nature as it is evident in the mismatch of the sales, customer service and marketing departments. Top management not voicing is a symptom of Groupthink where others kept mum and did not want to raise the issue and justify avoiding the confrontation.
Each of the departments thus shows unique identity and traits, which has more individualism that defines their structure and functional output.
The issue of the myopic leadership direction and inability to find integration of the functions and operations is an indication of the organisational ineffectiveness and inefficiency. The team is qualified with MBAs working while it is taken for granted that they accomplish without any supervision. However, they lack the analysis of the problem identification and exhibited lack of ownership (Shackleton, 1995). Shackleton (1995) agreed that this is typical of the highly specialised and compartmentalised structure defined strictly by functions and not process. Thus the issue of leadership within in being empowered to solve the customer problems for a department seems out of job description definition for many employees. Fiedler leadership contingency model when applied shows the LPC (least preferred co-worker) showed those different hierarchies’ leaders showing different level of interest, drive, commitment. The sales department leadership and style of working is more independent nature that lacks the essence of the coordinated approach to the work completion. The elitist attitude and display of wealth in the form of achievement is therefore a direct relation to the impression management. The leadership style of the woman director challenging the way past through the stronghold of the Pluto telecommunications existing directors is not expected. This culture of the male dominance in the decision making and a female finding problems challenges and questions the leadership style of the company (Steers et al. 1996). The delivery of the HQ in London marketing department strategies hence fails to meet the organisational effectiveness in meeting the customer demand set.
The individual level actions are subsets of the team based, group culture and the roles or tasks at hand are clear to the each employee (Fincham and Rhodes, 1999). The motivation level of the employees in the sales is driven by the fat incentives that they receive in closing a sale. So financial rewards are important and driving the sales employees of Pluto telecommunications. The extrinsic reward system showed the market based competition and the willingness to represent Pluto telecommunications as an individual and team to beat the competition. This is however; an individual gain as the efforts contributes to the achievement of targets and revenues to the Pluto telecommunications. Thus the challenge in the task supersedes the pay and is the motivating factor for sales to penetrate new markets faster than other competitors (Martin, 1992).
The customer service employees of Pluto telecommunications are more patient and had to resolve the queries of customer dissatisfaction, with coordination with the technical department in case the device is faulty. Stiff targets and penalties are forcing undue pressure on the motivation level to achieve the targets in this department in Pluto telecommunications. The use of warnings and recriminations are the failure of mismanagement of the aggregate work volume and employees at hand. The service quality standards and quality metrics defined being strict leaves lesser motivated employees in this department in Pluto telecommunications. The fine balance not present, will lead to Herzberg (1986) stated that forced targets do not support motivation.
Marketing department the chief architect of the total function lacks attitude and purpose in designing an equitable performance analysis. So not balancing the equity theory (Adam, 1963) for sales, customer services is stressing the motivation level and output. Locke (1968) goal setting theory seemed to have been missed as Pluto telecommunications managers especially the top management and the HR seemed to forgot that. Though the bonus, incentives do exist there seems to be lack in the PMS (performance management system) metrics that should be agreed by each department. The reward systems in Pluto telecommunications also needs visible recognition that was not evident and the (Peace and Porter, 1985) work on merit based pay systems will allow to have a longer impact on the employee motivation and the management seeking organisational commitment.
The goal for Pluto telecommunications is to change and become a flexible, adaptable and decentralised in terms of structure, design, culture and output. The competition from the market being stiff needs a ‘’work hard/play hard’’ approach which is to continue the existing high performance in sales and customer services department. Applying the Greiner’s (1972, 1998) organisational growth model, will lead us to adopting strategies to counter the leadership crisis at Pluto telecommunications. The direction and the goals being set at firm level, business level (verticals) can follow the participative evolution strategy as stated by Dunphy and Stance. This will have to be translated into job roles and targets. The crisis for the leadership in engaging more into operational tasks rather than strategy is an apt approach for Pluto telecommunications.
Figure 3: Scale of change and leadership style (Dunphy and Stace, 1988)
At steep growth level, there needs one to one communication between the team or group members on daily issues which managers heading functions need to engage. Shaking the bureaucratic attitude and the strict lines of control, need more delegation that will free the leadership of responsibilities in multiple verticals in the Pluto telecommunications management. Ellis and Dick (2000) argued that there needs more collaboration and coordination at this growth phase to succeed, which currently in cold phase is resulting in loss of control factor for all the head of the departments. As a leader, the task is to understand the driving and restraining forces in the work area, which can be done using Lewin’s force field analysis. Chmiel (1999) opined that this will allow segregating and focusing the time and efforts to convert the driving forces and restraining forces acting on the department and the counter strategies to eliminate them. This needs to be implemented with the analysis of the present state for all the managers in their respective work areas and also map the forces (potential ones) in the desired state which they want to achieve. This will result into the planning of actions for tactical, medium and long term that is vital to the streamlining of the issues and actionable solutions for that.
Segregate the briefing of the leaders of Pluto telecommunications and discuss one to one on their perception of the team functions. Present the new framework of the Greiner’s or Lewin’s force field analysis to be completed as a leader with their action plans. Discuss each departmental current state of analysis and ask for the plan of action for three, six and nine month’s time frame.
The orientation of the employees of the sales with the sales head, Pluto telecommunications head attending the goal setting, target achievement, team norms and rules (West, 1994), expected behavioural outcomes. Presentation of the new process mapping of sales (end to end) process will be outlined blurring the functional tags. This will include asking each employee to be a part of revamping ‘process owners’ with WBS (work breakdown structures) against time to be completed as per new job analysis and job description.
Repeat of the above activity for the customer service team, department in ditto.
Encourage pre and post team huddles to involve the management leadership to oversee the daily targets, the problems (pending issues, fresh issues), explaining the revamped reward strategy. The employee grievance session at one to one level, PMS review for each employee monthly basis, identify and delegate task to best performer, encourage employee engagement through job enrichment programme.
The above recommendations can be brought out into action needs a change management framework in order to break the old habits, attitudes and enable the employees to adopt the revamped programme for change. This is the first step and needs to address the query resolution and rebuttals which has to be completed in one week. The second week orientation of the managers, top management for the leadership change in behaviour and work processes will span over four weeks and monitored over additional four weeks. The work procedures and systems for interdepartmental reorganisation, process mapping of sales, service to be completed within first week. The PMS to be aligned with the work load, incentive plan to be finished within the fourth week of the new framework. The overall testing the organisational design effectiveness, reporting structures, communication flow (both ways), productivity and output (measured through lesser complaints), will be tested and fine tuned in application phase each time the changes are implemented in manager leadership level and employee level.
Address the query resolution and rebuttals
Managers to address employee queries
Discussion and negotiation in a participative style.
Training modules for process, product handling guidance.
Orientation of the managers, top management for the leadership change in behaviour
Aim to change leadership delivery
Participative, departmental cooperation
Training, role plays, situational enactment, coaching skills, mentoring, listening, delegating more
Work procedures and systems for interdepartmental reorganisation, process mapping of sales, service
Sub systems to be understood
Training of users in new roles, GUI, work procedures and systems
Participative, systems approach
Training, role plays, listening, adaptation.
OD (organisational development) framework
Organisational effectiveness in reporting structures, communication flow (both ways), productivity
Participative at managerial level
Testing, evaluating, adaptation, fine tuning.
Allcorn, S. (1989) 'Understanding groups at work', Personnel, 66: 28-36
Buchanan, D and Huczynski, A. (2001) Organisational Behaviour an Introductory Text 4th Edition. Prentice Hall
Chmiel, N. (1999). Introduction to Work and Organisation Psychology: A European Perspective. Blackwell Publishing
Daft, R.L. (1995) Organisation Theory and Design. Cincinati, Ohio: South Western College Publishing.
Ellis, S and Dick, P. (2000). Introduction to Organisational Behaviour. McGraw-Hill.
Fincham, R and Rhodes, P. (1999) Principles of Organisational Behaviour 3rd Edition. Oxford University Press.
Greiner, L. E. (1998) Evolution and revolution as organizations grow. Harvard Business Review, 76, 3, 55-68.
Hatch, MJ. (1997) Organisation Theory. Oxford University Press.
Martin, J. (1992). Cultures in Organisation: 3 Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
Mintzberg, H. (1979). The Structuring of Organisations. London: Prentice Hall
Shackleton, V. (1995) Business Leadership. London: Routledge
Steers, R.M., Porter, L.W. and Bigley (1996). Motivation and Leadership at Work 6th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill
West, M. (1994). Effective Teamwork. BPS Books.
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