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02/28/2012

Managing People And Organization - Case Study Of Saudi Telecom (STC)


MANAGING PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATION

 

Introduction

         This assignment discusses some issues on managing people and organization. This assignment presents the Saudi Telecom (STC) as a case study. Specifically, the assignment covers the people and organization within the Telecommunication Network Operations (NO) - Centralized Operation and Management (COM) Department. This paper provides a background to the company; description of the company’s business environment including the task and macro environments; description of technical core and work processes, structure, culture and management systems; and how the people are managed. Moreover, this assignment assesses performance and effectiveness and efficiency of the organization; analyses the factors listed above; and provides recommendations for changes.

What is the Organization?

            Saudi Telecom (STC) provides timely integrated telecom solutions that provide optimum value to all stakeholders. Moreover, it enriches people's personal lives and contributes to their business success by offering high quality communication services that reflect their true needs. STC is determined to deliver results on its journey to become a customer focused and competitive company. The company is confident of its large market share and believes that investors are confidently investing in the company.  Saudi Telecom is a company that people will be proud to work for.

            Saudi Telecom was established in 1988 and, since then, has delivered a range of positive results that have delivered a better service to more customers. This has been achieved through an ambitious transformation & restructuring program compound with an extensive expansion of our network and infrastructure.
            As part of corporate social responsibility, the Saudi Government announced that by the end of 2002, 30% of Saudi Telecom shares will be released for sale to Saudi citizens & organizations: Saudi citizens (20%), General Organization of Social Insurance (GOSI) (5%), and Pension Fund Organization (5%). By the end of the subscription period, requests for shares exceeded the number offered by 3.5 times. This move clearly indicates that Saudi people are confident of STC’s success and trust in its future.

            The author works in the Telecommunication Network Operations (NO) - Centralized Operation and Management (COM) Department. Under this department, the author belongs to the OSS COM Support division. Our job includes carrying out operations and maintenance of COM applications that support STC-NO users to perform centralized operation and management of remotely sited Network Elements efficiently and with minimum service outage. We make sure that the existing COM systems and tools are efficiently and accurately managed to enable full resources utilization, to get optimize performance, to minimize service outages and to help in expediting service restoration of STC Network. 

            The author finds it necessary to write about the organizational culture, performance and management within the Centralized Operation and Management Department. This is because the author is familiar with the structure and culture of the organization. The author has been working in the department for ___ years.

External Environment      

            The COM department has a complex environment. Due to this complexity, the department is considering all the factors that affect its task environments. Some factors such as political-legal and economic climates are encouraging to the growth of the department. However, the sociocultural climate is posing a challenge. Nevertheless, COM is generally having a stable environment.

            The political-legal climate of corporations in Saudi Arabia has been generally encouraging. This is especially for STC in which it reciprocates the government’s trust on the company by sharing 30 percent of its shares to the government. Likewise, the economic climate in Saudi Arabia has seen the growth of systems of wealth production, distribution and consumption. However, inflations and recessions affect the operation of COM. These are the factors over which we have little control.

            The sociocultural climate represents the attitudes, values, norms, beliefs, behaviors and associated demographic characteristics of the population within which an organization operates (Daft 1997, p. 78). As Saudi Arabia is a melting pot of other Asian workers (especially workers from the Southeast Asian Region), we are particularly faced with the problem of sociocultural differences between countries. In operating and managing COM applications that support STC-NO users, we have to consider our customers’ values and beliefs. To do this we conduct studies to identify the concerns of our customers.

            The technological climate includes scientific and technological advancements in the production of goods and services (Daft 1997, p. 77). Technology for COM is of particular importance because it has been and continues to be the main source of increases in productivity, which means it can either provide a competitive advantage to organizations that can use it effectively, or pose a threat to those that lack it. To remain competitive therefore, it is important that we need to understand current technology developments affecting their ability to offer desirable products and services.

Organization Structure

            The directors in the COM have a "functional" responsibility, that is, they are also ultimately responsible for the development of staff in a particular discipline. In the execution of this second responsibility, they are assisted by corporate functional discipline heads, who — like the directors — generally have dual role that combines functional with line-management responsibilities. The department introduced the team-leader in its structure to improve the company unit’s productivity and efficiency.

            The organization is largely based on asset management principles and provides a structure which is geared towards growth and value creation. It is focused on technical integrity of product flow assets, infrastructure and business processes. Moreover, single-point accountability for the day-to-day management, performance and development of all assets has been introduced and a number of management layers has been removed. The organization is based on “single-point responsibility”, and it has fewer layers then pervious structure.

            COM structure is mainly functional as well as team-based. Span of control is narrow and specialized; jobs are grouped according to resources used or output; promotion is within specialization; differentiated horizontally from other functions; and communication is vertical. Moreover, the organizational structure at COM is temporary. Jobs are grouped according to project objectives and are differentiated from other teams. It is the team which links members’ departments. Rewards are based on team success/failure

Organizational Culture

            The working environment and organizational culture within COM is generally one of trust. Unlike the other departments under STC, staff members of COM are having a high job satisfaction. The department director makes sure that human resource practices are clarified and harmonized and that human resource policies and procedures are applied consistently. There are space for ideas and new concepts within as well as outside of the COM.

            An interesting characteristic that reflects the culture of the COM organization is ‘games’. In organizational theories, games are defined as the systems of influence of an organization which are distinct from the administrative power structure or hierarchy. Among the games that have been observed in the organization are sponsorship games which are played to build a power base by using a superior. Another is the alliance-building games which are played amongst peers to build a stronger power base. I have also witnessed management versus staff games and whistle-blowing games which are played by a lower level employee who ‘blow the whistle’ on questionable behaviors. Although these cases are very few.

            The culture within COM organization suits the work processes and organization structure. A structure with a few level is suitable in an organizational culture where staff are working as a team. Through this structure, blatant hierarchy and power play are avoided in the department. A structure with many levels, on the other hand, would seem to heighten the games being played in the organization.  

Managerial Roles

            Managers at COM are aware that they must perform ceremonial and symbolic duties such as greeting visitors in the company because it is a part of their job as managers. These managers freely exercise their figurehead roles such as ribbon-cutting ceremonies and hosting functions in the organization. Moreover, they are responsible enough in motivating, training and counseling their subordinates. Managers in the department also forge links both inside and outside the organization. It is visible in their management that constant communication with both internal and external personalities of the organization is vital to maintain stability in the organization. It is important in the department to require managers of networking skills to shape and maintain internal and external contacts for information exchange.

            Managers at COM also seek and receive information from many sources to evaluate the organization's performance, its well-being and situation; build and use an intelligence system; bring external views into the organization and facilitate internal information flows between subordinates; disseminate information; lobby to other organizations under STC COM’s concerns; exude a positive disposition towards the objectives of the company.

            It is apparent that the managers at COM are sincere in improving the organisation’s productivity and employee satisfaction. Moreover, they are aware of their role as initiators of change. In taking corrective actions during disputes and crises managers are effective in solving conflicts by being fair. In general, managers at COM use their powers properly in deciding who gets resources, scheduling and budgeting.

Managing People

            Employees at the COM department are increasingly demanding change, choice, flexibility, and variety in their work; suggesting that with the empowerment of individual employees, the future for both the organization and the individual lies in developing the value of the individual as human capital. The value of human capital is enhanced by acquisition of higher performance potential such as new tasks, functions, and knowledge, skills, abilities, personal attributes.

            At COM, employees are given clearer direction on how to do their jobs well. Majority of the staff feels that their jobs at COM are meaningful ones. This is because of the clear relationship between their jobs and the goals of the department. The organization considers its employees’ skills and abilities in designing jobs for them. As a result, many employees are satisfied with the procedures and processes involving the completion of their work. COM also introduces to employees more challenging opportunities at work such as participation to interesting projects with increased responsibility.

            The company recently reviewed its compensation plans. It was decided that compensation must be linked in relation to sales and service performance. At COM, the management careful and fair in giving incentives for sales and service performance. Managers often use recognition system and intrinsic reward as compensation and motivation of maintaining superior service. Further, the department only hires those who are highly qualified employees and retains them for further improvement. COM also provides a training program to enhance their skills and abilities and productivity.

            The author has witnessed many training sessions take place in the department. However, the author finds that the training in the company is not effective because it happens once a year, or only when the company is doing badly in terms of sales. There is currently no formal system of employee training; hence, once they arrive on board, they automatically follow an unstructured plan of job shadowing.  Moreover, the training happens once a year because the company lacks funds. The company boasts its being one of the best telecommunication providers in the country. However, it seems that the company does not prioritise employee training. 

            COM satisfies the needs of the employees. These needs include flexible times, reward and bonuses, harmonious working environment, safety and other sociological needs. There is also an evidence of empowerment among employee in the department. This empowerment results to an increased competence, self-esteem and self-respect, which are very important to one’s well-being.  Creating an environment in the workplace that results in employees feeling better about themselves when they are in it results in love of their work. People who enjoy working are more productive.

            Every company has its own measurement and evaluation of managerial and employee performance in pursuing strategies and actions which enable it to achieve the organizational goals.  At COM, selection of performance measures is made in the light of the company’s strategic intentions that are appropriate in pursuit of the goals and remain competitive in the industry. At COM, performance management involves selecting the right measures to gauge business results, establishing standards, track actual accomplishment, and provide guidance to success.

Organization Performance

            COM tries to be innovative and is able to differentiate its product flexibility as well as the service delivery in the marketplace.  As business leaders nowadays are more aware of the quality service, in addition to sales result for their long-term health and profits, COM bases the performance of its managers and employees through service and product quality. The quality of products and services is seen as the most important factor affecting a business unit's performance, and see quality as the most effective way for business growth, expansion and gains in market share. 

Conclusion

This assignment found that managers at the COM department are aware of their roles. As illustrated by some researchers, managerial roles are not confined within the walls of their office. Instead, they perform multiple tasks from greeting the visitors to managing information to decision-making. This new organization enables managers to have multiple roles to improve the company unit’s productivity and efficiency.

In addition, this assignment found that since the COM organisation is fully based on asset management principles, it provides a structure which is geared towards growth and value creation. It is focused on technical integrity of product flow assets, infrastructure and business processes.

Further, the knowledge of the theories on personality performance and individual skills enable decision-makers manage an organisation effectively. Managers are interested in human behaviour because they desire to predict behaviours at work. By knowing how people react, managers can mold the behaviours that concern them such as absenteeism, productivity and turnover. Human behaviour at work can be viewed on either an individual or group level. Individual characteristics include attitudes, personality, perception, learning and motivation. Group characteristics include norms, roles, team building and conflict.

Having knowledge of these theories, managers are able to address issues on job satisfaction, job involvement and organisational commitment. Job satisfaction is the general attitude expressed about the task; job involvement is the degree an employee identifies with his/her job; and organisational commitment is the loyalty expressed for the organisation itself. Consequently, managers are able to design effective programs that increase employee productivity and consider the importance of employee appraisal.

Recommendation

COM should be aware of the nature of its organisational culture in order for it to determine what aspects of the organisation need to be evaluated. COM should recognise and understand the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that prevalent in the working environment. Managers should promote sharing, learning and consistency. Managers should continue practicing their three roles (interpersonal, informational and decisional) for a successful organisation.

It is important to have the right individuals to make up an organization’s workforce at the right time and right place.  To be able to do that, the organization must be able to recruit and retain competent individuals to match the constant changing job skills.

Organizations must realize that in order for them to recruit, develop, and retain skill employees for future missions, they need to unleash their human resource employee relation’s imagination to create capability and flexibility to institutionalize a well-defined system to expedite the handling of disputes and grievances. Therefore, it is imperative that human resource departments adopt a modern day progressive employee relation’s paradigm that embraces and enhances the recruitment, development, and retention of employees in concert with human capital strategic management planning initiatives.

 

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