Management Issues with Communication
There are many issues that any manager and especially a manager involved in a large company has to contend with. Many of these problems arise from different factors which determine how well the company will run. Some of these factors include the effects of the size of the company on the structure which is maintained or is to be maintained by the manager. The type of information system to be used by the company is also almost always a problem considering the huge debate around which method best enables the company to run smoothly.
Technology is one major hurdle that the management has to deal with, considering it changes overnight, and yet its need to be used in the management structures cannot be overlooked. There is also the setback brought about by the changes that are occurring in the company or rather the organizational change which might be undertaken might prove to be a problem for the management. This is because an organization is a complex structure which requires that the change is carried out in a particular manner such that the company in question is not negatively affected and the transition is not that bad. These are some of the problems that many managers have to contend with in their profession with many looking for clear ways of solving these issues without a glitch.
The aim of this paper will be to address these issues in a step by step mode which will allow us to understand how many of these queries can be dealt with efficiently. We are going to do this by looking at each problem on its own and understanding how the problem comes about and what methods would best suite any manager in solving them. We are also going to look at some examples of how a few companies have dealt with some of these problems such as the problem of internal business communication.
Part 1: John Caudwell Case
In this case, John Caudwell is the founder of Phones 4 U. He is requested by his retail managers to end the use of internal emails in the company, and after consultations with the staff, he decides to secede the use of internal emails. This is just one case of a company which has decided to end the use of this mode of communication between staff members. The question which comes to mind is why one would want to end this mode of communication, considering it seems to be quite effective in its use. The use of internal emails has several advantages, which is why they are employed in many companies.
Such advantages include the fact that information in the company becomes real time and the excuse that one did not read the memo becomes obsolete. The use of instant messaging allows workers to communicate at a much faster rate than without it, since it cuts out the need to send someone physically to others to give a particular message. The use of these messages is also less bothersome to the workers than using these physical methods or even using the telephone, not to mention that at the end of the day, it becomes much cheaper for both the company and the person. Real time emails are less tiresome in comparison with these factors as well, since it cuts the need to move from the work station for anything, which would be an advantage with the increasing of efficiency and the amount of work being covered by a single person.
However, the email has also brought with it some controversy within companies where the members send each other emails which latter on prove to be detrimental to their careers. There is also the inception of much easier tools to be used. Some of the companies that have taken down the use of internal emails point to the fact that many of the people in their offices were not using these email method anymore, and were in fact using tools such as instant messaging tools and internet social networks for this purpose. This makes the need for the system in the offices obsolete. There are others who claim that these internal emails may not be serving the main purpose they were meant to. The main reason most companies implemented the use of these emails was to increase productivity through ensuring efficiency which comes with increased communication. This may not be the case as some members use the emails for other factors apart from the ones that they are meant for. This ends up even reducing the efficiency the internal emails were meant for in the first place.
There are several companies which have shocked the business world by banning the use of internal emails at their workplace permanently. One of the most publicized examples is the information technology services company, Atos. The company made good its threat to ban the use of internal emails earlier on in the year by making good this threat and implementing it. This not only brought forward the debate of whether this mode of communication in the office was still relevant or if it had been surpassed by time. Some people were of the thought that this move would be a very bad idea, with some even describing it as stupid. This is due to the challenge that comes with ensuring it is fully implemented.
Many have heralded the move by the company boss, Mr. Thierry Breton, as being a game changer, either in the company’s future, or in the future of the email use. Success for this would mean that the use of emails not only in the office would be reduced, but also in the day to day lives of many. Failure on the other hand would mean that the company, which gives technological advice to other companies by the way, cannot live up to its word in the same industry it is expected to give advice on. Its implementation will not be a simple feat considering the company is stretched out to over 42 countries and is involved with high profile companies such as Fiat, Philips and Reuters.
Mr. Breton notes several reasons for carrying out this change in the company. First of all, he thinks the implementation of this process will increase the quality of work conditions at the company. The strategy follows the thoughts that most of the people working at the company are younger generation workers who do not require the use of emails. Most of these people conduct the same tasks expected of the emails via instant messaging and social networks. With their use of these different tools, on joining the company, they have to adapt to the use of the new system, which most of them have not worked with before. Mr. Breton also notes that most of his workers were spending a lot of time on these internal emails with very little time on management issues. On conducting a research at their work station on the number of emails the employees were receiving per day, they found out that the average was about 100 emails in a day. On a weekly basis, most of the workers would spend about 15 to 20 hours reading and replying their mails.
Another company that has been trying to rid its offices from the use of internal emails is the Notebooks and GottaBeMobile. The company’s story is not very different from the Atos story, with the reasons given by the Atos Company also coming up within this company. The CEO also felt that the use of emails led to too much spam or aimless mails in ones email, factors which led to the increase in time wastage. Both these two companies offer a good example of the changing working environment which requires that the organization keeps in touch with the changing technology for office use.
There are several tools that have come up which are considered a good source of fresh technology for companies which intend to shift from the use of internal emails. Communication in the office is of utter most importance and coming up with a different types of communicating means that the new tool has to be more efficient than the internal emails. There are of course the network brands such as Yammer which offer a social network for an organization, allowing for one to send messages to a particular person, a group of people or even the entire team. Tools such as Google Docs allow the effective working of different parties at different locations on the same document, which basically allows the company workers to work on much bigger projects in comparison to tools such as Yammer. For talking purposes, there is the use of tools such as Google Talk, a tool which allows the company workers to talk either one on one or in a group chat. The inception of such tools into the work place makes matters much easier while eliminating all the unnecessary stuff such as spam. A lot of time is saved since most of these tools are only used when there is need to do so, unlike in emailing where people spend more time emailing to each other.
Part 2: Management Structures Verses Company Size and Technology
The management of an organization is very important because it enables the distribution of tasks to members’ within the organization which enables them to operate. Every company has its own goals and expectations, and there is a person tasked with enabling them to get to their goals done. Management structures are the systems which are set up by the company to enable the distribution of responsibility to the various members of the organization. Every organization requires a structure, though this is variable with some features which are not constant. Structures are highly dependable on factors such as size of the company, the goals of the organization as well as some of the tools which they use to carry out various processes in their company.
Size of the company highly matters when it comes to deciding the kind of structure the company is going to incorporate. The size of the company is probably the biggest determinant of this, and it being so, ahs to be keenly observed to ensure that size does not meddle with the company’s goals. A small organization or business does not need to have a complicated structure. This is in accordance with the requirements that are brought about by the structure itself. Management structures are important for the duties to be relegated to each particular individual in the company. This means that if the company is small, there is no need for much relegation, with the responsibilities being shared out easily. In such cases, the responsibilities do not necessarily have to be given out as with the experience and expertise, but look at different aspects such as the availability of each person and likes. Small businesses do not require a formal management system and this being so, it may mean that the organization does not have very strict rules and guidelines to be followed. As a matter of fact, the rules which exist in these organizations are usually meant to enable the decision making process for the workers in the organization. These systems are usually referenced with organic systems. In smaller organizations, technology is not a problem.
In much larger organizations, things are not as easy and straightforward as in the smaller ones. Larger organizations are much more complicated and their structures are much more different, needing more work to be put in place. Here, technology also becomes a much more complicated issue as well since it plays a major role in how the company is going to run. There is greater need to think clearly of the structure that one wants to implement in this bigger companies due to the complexity of the numbers (Drinan, pg 73).
The main reason for bigger companies being tricky in how they are influenced by size is the factor that in a big organization, there is much more to be done. The structure is meant to increase efficiency through ensuring that work at the company is distributed to the right people, there is the need to be very selective with the staff. Bigger companies are complex in a few features in the structure. First of all, there is the difference in the ownership of such big companies. This difference in ownership usually provides the difference in the hierarchy of power, where the decision making process is dependent on several factors. In privately owned companies, the shareholders have the say on matters which concern the company. The top of the company is therefore chaired by these people, who are also the people responsible for controlling the top management. For a government-owned company, it is much different in management structure at the helm, with government officials holding the power of choosing whoever runs the company.
The bigger companies also have more work to be relegated, plus every other aspect of the company is bigger. These companies have bigger revenues and income, more workers, a lot more need for bigger production, and they are more in place to expand. The size of the company thus plays the role where all these features determine a more complex management structure. There is the need to fill these positions with people and knowhow, which means that the process of coming up with workers in itself requires people to carry out (Human Resource Department). Formality is keen in these organizations where one is expected to strictly adhere to the rules and regulations of the workplace while ensuring that the power hierarchy is followed when dealing with any matter.
There is a lot of specialization in such organization, which means that everyone is tasked with a particular task for which they were employed. With the hierarchy of power being very strict, information moves from up the ladder towards the subordinate staff, with the superiors holding power to ensure responsibility as well as control in the work place.
The structure of the organization is greatly dependent not only on the size, but the technology which is used. There is a clear association between the two, with the line not being as clear as to which influences the other more between size and technology of the company. As seen earlier, size of the company means that the technology that is used has to be capable of incorporating the required prowess such that it becomes reliable to all the members. Thus we can agree that size of the company is used as a main determinant when an organization is looking for technological systems used in the company.
When talking about technology though, there is a complication which arises with the identification of exactly what the effect of the technology has with regard to the structure considering this technology differs from the purpose it is being used for. Technology which is being used for the manufacturing process differs from technology which would be used in measures such as communication. For technology in communication, then it means that the technology does not have much effect on the structure, but has more to do with the number of workers in the organization and needs for the company.
Otherwise, technology is identified as a major change in the systems which are being employed in the company. Technology usually changes with time, and this change brings about a change in the management structure of the organization. For any advances which are made, there has to occur a change in the structure which culminates in increased efficiency and reduced costs for the company (Drinan, pg 81). The inception of new technology into a company brings about an end to many positions in the company, and thus the structure of power has to change. Size and technology go hand in hand in deciding the kind of structure that is employed to manage an organization.
In management of any organization, there have to be controlled procedures which enable the identification of the power hierarchy. A company has to be able to control its workforce for it to run efficiently and meet its goals and the needs of the customers. The positive effects of a good control system enable the company to delegate managerial issues with the workforce. The carrying out of this is done through certain steps which enable any manager to get a clear picture of what’s going on throughout the organization. First of all, it enables the establishing the standards, which is a basis for the establishment of representing performance. Standards are used for referencing of the actual performance. It is always advisable for any manager to have set standards which allow them to create a mental picture of the goals they intend to get in their workforce.
Part 3: Organizational Change
Organizational change occurs with the transition of a company from a current state and into a state which they require to be. For change to become effective the management has to come up with ways to ensure that the process receives little or no resistance from the workers as well as the keeping of costs as minimal as possible. All this is done while ensuring that the effects expected from the change that are being carried out are at maximum. In today’s world, there has come the need for most companies to keep changing which is due to the changing phases of the markets, and if these companies intend to keep themselves in the competition, they have to change as well. Thus, the challenges of running a company have increased threefold in the new century and call for the manager to be very careful. With the coming in of globalization and change in technologies, companies now have to be much faster in their response to change. Change in a company may refer to exercises which are much smaller such as the changing of the company’s software program, or a big change such as the changing of the company’s marketing strategy (Drinan, pg 117).
There are various reasons why a company undertakes changes. For us to go into the details of problems which are faced in the changing of a company there is the need to first look at some change precipitators and schematics. First, let’s look at the reasons why a company may change. As one writer puts it, companies change because the environment they are in changes. The changing environments under which companies conduct business are the main reason as to why they change.
Companies also change so as to incorporate new plans into their organization. This may not necessarily have to be a new feature which has come up in the industry, but rather something that the management feels is needed for the company to get to a particular point in revenues. Mainly, in the management of a company, a manager must be at a position to see new opportunities which are available for the company to expand, such as the case of Coca Cola Company entering the mineral water business. This was not a new product in the industry, but for the company, it was something they were yet to undertake, and the incorporation of such a move required them to refit and rethink their company strategies. This is usually the main reason for changes that are witnessed in the production industry, with many managers looking to grow the companies they run.
There is the other reason for change which is the opposite of change which is the change precipitated by some problem faced by the organization. Problems may arise which force the managers and the major players to change their systems so as to adapt and be at a position to survive their problems. In most cases, the problem is to be found in the finances of the company where they are facing low returns or even going through losses. In many of these situations, the workers are the most afflicted by such changes, with such problems seeing many workers being laid off so that the company can reduce its expenditure and costs (Drinan, pg 125). Though this type of change is not very common, its effects are adverse and usually indicate that there is a new feature in the market which has led to this change, including recession.
It is highly noted that most of the attempts by managers to change their systems meet a failure. There may be any reasons for this, with the managers in such positions being blamed. There are four areas in a company which are identified as a must deal, including; technology, strategy, structure and finally workforce. Though the change is carried out in a particular area of any of these, they are interlinked in that change in one must bring change in the other. If there are problems to be witnessed in the change by the mangers, these are the four areas which should be carefully observed by the managers.
There are several areas which bring about problems in the change process, which include lack of enough information. Information into the matter being changed is very important in that it sheds light on what the team can expect in carrying out the change. Lack of information into the matter may be detrimental to the process since it means that the management team is going into the change process without any clear picture which would enable them to make estimates and create timetables. Time is very important in the change of the organization since it coincides with costs.
The next step that might be expected in the making of changes in a company is the manager and his/her team not making decision upfront. This means that the manager and the team are not yet sure of what they are supposed to do, which forces them to go back to research every time a decision needs to be made on matters concerning the organizational change. The result of being so confused is that chances for mistakes increase with each query that arises as well as the factor that time is wasted with the manager needing time before coming up with a conclusive answer to the query.
In changes which require the training of many people, problems usually arise with mass training of the workers. This is a bad strategy which may lead to the creation of knowledge gaps in the workforce. In big industries, each worker needs to be trained such that they are capable of handling their responsibilities effectively. This requires each worker to be very specialized, and thus, mass training of the workers may lead to the change process backfiring on the manager and the team responsible for this. Mass training is mainly used either to save the time taken for the change, or to directly save costs which will be incurred in the process.
The promlem os liability commonly arises in the process of trying to make changes in a company. This refers to a case where there is one person who is deemed more knowledgeable and informed in the area and thus all the information is received from this person. Here, the person becomes a form of hero, and no one, not even the manager in some cases, dares to go against their word. In the changing process, there can be no clear cutway of doing things, mainly due to the fact that what worked in some other places does not necessarily have to work in the case scenario it is being retried (Drinan, pg 138). The belief that one is expert enough to provide all the information may lead to the eventual death of the company due to the fault lines which may occur with a difference from what they did before.
A mistake that is common to managers and their teams in enacting change is not measuring the success they are having in the act of making the change. In many organizational changes, the results are measured at the end of the change so as to decide how successful it has been. This is very common and most of the available examples of companies which have enacted change in their organizations, even the successful ones, indicate that they measure their results at the end of the process.
There is also the problem where companies have to use other companies’ strategies in trying to make their own change. Many companies try and copy the step by step process of another company that succeeded. Just like in the hero scenario, this is trying to bring problems which the company has not created but rather which were faced by other companies. It is not possible for a company to effectively follow what another company has done since both the times and the manpower in use are totally different, and the problems are bound to have evolved into another form.
These are some of the major problems which companies face when trying to come up with organizational change in their companies. There are however some measures that the manager can take to ensure that they are successful. Though as we have said earlier, it is not possible to come up with a concrete plan for changing an organization because of the fluctuation of market changes that take place every day, there are some constant steps which may enable the manager and the team responsible for the change to ensure they have a smooth change process.
One of these steps is to ensure they get all the right information on what is expected in the change process. Information may determine how successful the process becomes, and thus the team has to ensure they carry out all the research necessary, which is through the collection of data from previous companies which have carried out the same change versus the current market conditions.
It is important the organization does not follow the exact procedure used by any other person or company, and instead sits down and creates own plan for the change process. This enables them to place the current data in the market into use and avoid over or underestimation of anything.
Each process needs to be taken at a time. With time being of uttermost importance to the company, it is important that it is observed. Time will ensure that they stick to their plan, or timetable, which will save them costs, as well as keep their plans on track. Disobeying the rule on time brings about many negative effects for the process, and might lead to the eventual demise of the organizational change process.
Drinan, Tony. Issues in Management: Vce Business Management Units 3 and 4. Fitzroy, Vic:
Warringal Publications, 2000. Print.