Organization Development in the British Broadcasting Company

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Organization development can be explained as a structured process that an organization's culture goes through while adopting to a change by means of incorporating and using behavioural science technology, theory and research (Angle and Perry, 1983). Elaborating this concept further, organization development entails wide- ranging efforts that are made towards improving the issues and challenges faced by an organization with an ambition of solving problems. However the organization must possess required set of skills, competencies and capabilities to adapt to and manage the process of change with in its internal environment, mostly influenced by its external environment. While doing so, the organization may choose to get help from external or internal experts / consultants. The people / expertise required to adapt to and or manage the change are also called as change agents (Daniels and Bailey, 1999). The effectiveness of organization development is conditioned by means of: a) structured / organized efforts that have been planned, b) these efforts are made across all the levels of an organization, c) top- management shows its continued commitment and support, and d) people are involved in the development process as appropriate.

Upon reviewing the literature, several explanations of organization development have been studied nonetheless almost all the explanations share following common factors: organization development refers to changes that have been adopted by the organizations in its strategy, structure, processes working together for running a complete system, b) the concept is based upon the submission and transfer of knowledge pertaining to behavioural science e.g. development of leadership, development of group dynamics etc. c) organization development can be distinguished by means of its capabilities of transferring skill and knowledge so that the entire system is capable of carrying out and accommodating structured change as needed, d) while managing structured change process, there is an innate flexibility present in the organizational structure and culture that can be reviewed along with collecting new information, e) organization development entails the generation and successful strengthening of change by means of carrying out institutionalizing change, f) it aims to enhance organizational efficiency by means of assisting people of the organization to obtain desired set of skills, knowledge and competencies that are crucial to solving issues and challenges through entailing them in the process of change and also through fostering performance excellence resulting in financial returns, quality enhanced services and products, higher productivity levels, continued improvement and so forth.

This paper aims to: a) critically assess the literature on organization development and change management to understand the practical implications of the subject, b) assess the skills that are required by the change agent pertaining to required improvements / changes and to implement the identified practices / processes in a successful manner, c) assess the implications of the subject for the appropriate aspects learned from the examined organization i.e. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) through the exploration of encountered challenges, and d) make recommendations and evaluate them.

Section 1: The BBC environment

The British Broadcasting Company was formed in 1922 and initiated its broadcast at the national level by 1925. Initially, the broadcasting organization remained free forms any political influence. The organization was named as British Broadcasting Corporation by the year 1927, as it was granted with its first Royal Charter. The BBC was well- known for its 'honesty and accuracy in the news broadcast' during the period of World War II in 1940s. The company quickly became a national establishment in particular, the central role that it played in constructing the national morale along with reporting news during Second World War. The BBC is one of UK's the well- known global brands and its prime purpose is to produce the 'cultural content'. The British Broadcasting Corporation is a public funded enterprise that is funded through license fee charged by the entire UK household. The broadcasting organization enjoyed a golden era during the period of 1970s because of high number television sets that were sold then. Then came the era of 1990s, where the organization experienced massive technological developments. It was the same year when the BBC launched its first digital services known as 'BBC news online' that was also one of the most important and successful news websites with in the Europe (Schlesinger, 2010; Born, 2004; The BBC story, 2009). In terms of technological development, the BBC is seen as a significant inventor and the most significant single source of skilled broadcasting personnel found in the UK. The organization that is funded by the television license fee has been a foundation of the UK's broadcasting economy (Schlesinger, 2010).

Setting the context: The responsive attitude of the BBC toward its external environment

Technological changes adopted by the broadcasting organisation due to the rapid changed experienced in its external environment

The rapid changes in the industry, market and the business trends that were observed by the organization resulted in major changes that the organization adopted. However, these changes were slow and stable. The organization development had been noted through specifically concentrating on its direct business environment where as the organization at the same time made efforts to lead the contest of adapting to the technological interventions in comparison with its competitors (Born, 2004). The strategic approach was rather concentrated towards observing the current threats posed by the technology, rather than following the trends with out putting in much thought process behind the strategic decisions (Kanter and Raymond, 2003 a). From the period of mid 1980s until early 1990s, the development and adoption process of personal computers as well as their acquisition by every household was observed as rather a threat by the organization, however this threat was eventually transformed into opportunities that were envisioned by the visionary leaders. It was hence agreed upon that the BBC, now requires launching its first digital services in order to attend to the rapidly changing needs and demands of the market, industry and the stakeholders. The first digital services included the transmission of digital radio networks and digital TV networks. As articulated by Human Resource Management International Digest (2007, p.7) "digital age- (is) the time, in the not-too-distant future, when almost everyone in the UK will have equal access to portable and personalized digital services on demand, and the audience is no longer simply the passive receiver of content but also its co-creator". As a response to the emerging digital age, the strategic approach deployed by the organization was to recognize the shifts in the market along with the changing business needs and trends. The identified industrial and market trends as observed by the organizations has been explained and evaluated below (Kanter and Raymond, 2003 a,b; Dyke, 2003; 2005; Harris and Prosser, 2007):

The leaders working for the BBC had envisioned the needs for the technological changes rather than merely predicting them i.e. to look forward to the changing trends and then adopt to appropriate changes rather than only predicting them and following them, without going through a comprehensive cognitive process. This approach has evaluated to be strategic, resulting in long- term organization development, sustainability and success.

The participation of leaders, managers, and executives in evaluating the trends ahead of time was an essential part of the organization development strategy, because the former bureaucratic organizational structure some how may have resisted in certain manner (Human Resource Management International Digest, 2007 a, b). As an example, it has been evaluated that there must have been 'fight for resources' while undergoing through the change process. It has also been reported that while going through the change process, there was segmentation of creative workers and managers that was created (Dyke, 2002). This practice can possibly be a result of 'aftermaths of bureaucratic culture'. However due to cultural transformation, the 'end-users' were later on involved enthusiastically.

Due to the transformations in the organizational culture, the involvement of senior management also made sure that a diverse viewpoint of various technologies were entailed while adapting to the technological changes, so that the broadcasting of digital services of the BBC can be initiated.

While adapting to the change, the senior management kept a comprehensive and diverse approach at all the times so that all the probable elements of the change process such as accepting and or resisting the change from the people can be managed and handled accordingly.

One of the leaders that played their significant and persuading role during the change process resulting in organization development was of Brit (Dyke, 2002; 2005). Under his administration, the BBC signed a deal for three years with an organization named as ICL Technologies. ICL Technologies was the investor for the organization development at that time. This organization can be seen as one of the change agents in this case along with the leadership provided by Brit. The need that was realized for the digital broadcasting of the BBC digital services was realized because of the 100 per cent growth of European electronic commerce (e- commerce) (BBC prepares UK engineering companies for e-commerce explosion, 2003). The role of the leadership provided by Brit, thus had a foresight to capitalize on the explosion in the e-commerce European economy. However, it has been evaluated that the broadcasting of the BBC digital services, was not a swift change by any means, rather the "charter settlement left unanswered fundamental questions about the role of the BBC in the emerging digital environment" (Harris and Prosser 2007, p. 296). Further more, the technological development of the BBC was extremely conditioned by the deregulation and emergence / evolution of the "free markets" (Harris and Prosser 2007, p. 296). Conclusively, the technological strategy adapted towards a broader aim of organization development of the BBC, was quite distinguishing since execution of this strategy resulted in making the BBC's digital transmission as one of the leading online news channel with in the Europe by the period of late 1990s. The most prominent components of the technological development adapted by the company, that made their distinction against that of the competitors were: a) promotion of the fact that the digital channels shouldn't be paid for with no advertising, b) higher percentage of the required resources should be generated from the UK along with receiving a greater amount of resources than the regular TV / radio programmes, and c) the innovative digital channels should provide a wide range of genres that should be different from those broadcasted by TV / radio (Born, 2004). It should be considerably noted at this point that such technological changes called for a change in the culture of the organization. Before the period of 1990, the BBC was reported as a highly bureaucratic organization with a dominant culture fostering bureaucracy (Burns, 1977). It was then assessed that the technological developments require a conducive environment / culture that should be anything but bureaucratic.

The BBC adapts to the required organizational change

The following section identifies and assess the skills that were required by the change agent pertaining to required improvements / changes. This section also learns the implementation process of the identified practices / processes in a successful manner.

Taking a holistic view, the adapted changes were made under the umbrella of organization development resulting from a) technological development, and b) change management. However, this paper aims to examine and assess the change management practices that were initiated through training and developing its people, constructing 'internal market' and developing a post- bureaucratic organizational culture in order to accomplish the objectives of technological development.

2.2.1 Training and development programmes

The leaders / managers at the organization realized the significance of need and demand of the current times entailing the transformation of the culture through transformation of a command- and- control leadership in to a more facilitative style of leaderhsip and managerial style. As a result of which, the BBC organized and developed a team of hundred managers who possessed a facilitative style of leadership (BBC opts for blended learning 2005, p.1). The objectives that were aimed to be attained from the development of team of 'facilitative leaders' were obtianing: higher level of performance and productivity, communication of objectives in amore effective manner, and enahnced relationships among the teams. Apparnetly developemnt of such style of leaderhsip and teams required valubale organizational resources that were allocated and were called as 'blended learning'. The blended leanring prorgrammes / reosurces comprised of action-based learning, online tutorial courses, and classroom resources (BBC opts for blended learning, 2005).

2.2.2 Construction of 'internal market'

As it had been stated earlier, the former organizational structure of the BBC was highly bureaucratic. Under this structure, in addition to many other problems, one of the biggest challenges was the fight for organizational resources. Under the bureaucratic culture, the process of resource allocation for the production of TV / radio programmes was based upon specific rather personal preferences and remained under constant manipulation of customary strategies and culture. In order to attend to the major challenges, the strategic decision of creating 'internal market' was a rather a phenomenal method towards identifying the acceptable option of allocating budget. The introduction of 'internal market' referred to execution of a trading infrastructure where programmes were provided with the option of bidding for the resources subject to distribution, based upon the pre-determined strategy. As reported by Harris and Prosser (2007, p.294) "An internal market was established across the five output directorates of the BBC i.e. network television, network radio, news and current affairs, regions, external services". The objectives of creating internal market were attained by means of generating an internal market that supports the de- centralization of the organizational structure, suitable allocation of valuable organizational resources, development of a competitive advantage for the BBC, and most importantly diversification of technological, cultural and regulatory aspects of the organization (Human Resource Management International Digest, 2007 a, b). Nevertheless, the process of creation of the 'internal market' that was rather a major change adapted by the organization faced resistance as expected while adapting to any change (Cameron and Green, 2004). As an example, the creative team such as TV producers and managers at the BBC demonstrated their concerns regarding the impact of the new trading / bidding system on the creative skills of the organization (Katz, 2005). The reported complaints were that winning a bid for the resources through a trading system was a lengthy and inefficient procedure that it resulted in recruiting in- experienced or less capable actors at the last minute who fail to perform as expected (Harris and Prosser, 2007).

2.2.3 Development of the post- bureaucratic organizational culture at the BBC

Regardless of the fact that much resistance was faced while the organization went through the cultural changes, the people at the BBC recognized and acknowledged that the development of 'new market' (trading system) formed the crucial component for the renewal of Royal Charter, so that the organization can be maintained for its status of 'free from political influence'. As it had been mentioned earlier, that the organization is a public funded and a major part of its earnings come from the subscribers' license fees. For that reason, it was important that the process of resource allocation should remain transparent to its stakeholders and the public so that the renewal of the Royal Charter can be obtained. Hence, a major cultural change was adapted by the organization that is now reflected by means of a 'post- bureaucratic BBC' as explained here: "creativity has been marginalized. Amateurish but enjoyable collegiate discussions no longer happen. An underclass of jobbing producers, or even totally casualized researchers doing the hunting and gathering, are hired at short notice to deliver to a brief using their own recording equipment - it's a new type of alienation in the production process. The goal is for the BBC to be a global software house based on strong relationships with the gateways, not the workers" (Comments of an interviewee, recorded by Harris and Prosser 2007, p. 296). With a purpose of further recognizing the significant differences noted as an outcome of the cultural and technological changes adopted by the BBC, the following table presents the findings.

Bureaucratic attributes of the organization (Burns, 1977)

Post-bureaucratic BBC

(Harris and Prosser, 2007)

The process of resource allocation was based upon organizational customs and customary trends. Rather allocation of resources was a matter of personal choices, disregarding the common organizational interests.

The process of resource allocation is now based upon 'internal market' that supports a trading system as a result of re- structured management systems.

The BBC was the producer of the programmes that were broadcasted.

The BBC is now the broadcasting company only.

Previously, there was always a war between the producers and the managers.

Today, managers and executives work in more strategic roles such as facilitators and strategists.

Organizational norms, beliefs, customs and underlying values were exerted and practiced as ritual.

Underlying beliefs, values and customs are now flexible and have changed, along with learning from the mistakes that had been made in the past.

BBC Online today, is considered to be one of the most expanded, and famous online news channel in the UK (Spectrum Strategy Consultants, 2004).

Producers had the power of making dictation over the escalating budgets and costs.

"Commissioning cycle fits the money available to the demands of the audience as perceived by marketers and schedulers."

Section 3: Implications of organization development and cultural changes

The following section assesses the implications of the organization development and cultural changes for the appropriate aspects learned from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) through the exploration of encountered challenges.

Based upon the identified challenges (bureaucratic organizational culture and need to attend to the technological development) by the BBC prior to the implementation of change management programme required for the technological development of the organization (i.e. organization development), the paper now implies Edgar Schein's model of three levels of culture and cultural change as observed at the BBC. The aim is to identify why such resistance to change was encountered so as to conclude the lessons that have been learned by exploring the challenges while managing the change.

3.1. Edgar Schein's model

Edgar Schein's phenomenal proposition of management theory of culture has been found useful in understanding the underlying beliefs, values etc. with in an organization, thus understanding its culture. The theory suggests that a culture is comprised of three levels; a) namely artifacts and behaviours, b) espoused values and basic assumptions and c) beliefs. The upper most level of the culture i.e. the artifacts level is the mainly observable by means of dress code, spoken language, deployed technology, and physical layout of the workspace and so on in an organization. Even though artifacts level is noticeable nevertheless, it is quite difficult to understand. The reason is that this level is reflected through the 'corporate culture' known to all the people. They may be aware of their behaviour but may not be known to the rationale behind their behaviour and attitude. The second level that is beneath the artifacts level is the level of espoused values. At this level, behaviours of the people are determined based upon the organizational cultural values. Interestingly observed, such behaviours can be noted, however it should also be noted that there lies a difference between behaviours and values. As an example, an organization claiming to be providing quality- driven work culture and environment to its people and quality- driven services and products may not in fact fulfill it claims (Schein, 2004). The level lying at the bottom is the underlying basic assumptions practiced by the culture. At this level, lie the most underlying assumptions of an organizational culture. Such values are deeply rooted and are created as a result of customary trends when once or may be twice the solution for a problem was identified. Schein (2004) articulates that such values are very challenging to open up and thus change, because they have been created over a substantial period in time. Further on, such values play a strong role and leave a stronger affect on the culture of an organization. Therefore, in order to change any culture, all the three defined levels must be understood and open up.

3.2. Critical analysis and assessment of the cultural change and exploring the subsequent challenges

Through the application of the model of three levels of culture suggested by Schein (2004), the observations made through examination of the organization has been presented below:

In the bureaucratic organizational culture at the BBC, the behaviors and artifacts level has been evaluated as egotistical, lack of accountabilities resulting in playing 'blaming games', suggesting scapegoats, prejudiced toward the management with on the whole, and disintegrated organizational infrastructure. The espoused values level had also been evaluated to be disconnected (Human Resource Management International Digest, 2007 a, b). A wide gap between the documented organizational values that were promised and what was actually delivered can be evidently seen. As an example there was always a distinction of 'elitism' and 'fight for resource allocation' on the basis of established trends and personal choices. Thirdly, the underlying basic assumptions level has also been evaluated as 'bureaucratic' that was the main cause of the all the issues. Thus, in the case of the BBC the actual challenge was interpretation and unfolding of this cultural level that was basically generating further challenges and issues. The management of the BBC then, was formed of leaders who actually believed in the functional attributes of this system and transferred these beliefs, values and underlying assumptions to new recruits. Over a significant period of time, these values and beliefs transformed as the organizational culture, and no one actually questioned the bureaucracy. When the need for change was realized and recognized as being crucial for the survival of the broadcasting organization, most of the members of the management resisted the change. The problems were thus encountered as not empowering the subordinates because they feared that empowering the subordinates translates in to loosing their jobs. The resistance to change was also experienced by blocking the flow of information and knowledge accumulated by a small group of managers (Küng-Shankleman, 2000). The bureaucratic culture continued towards making deficiencies in the coaching and mentoring programmes that should be ideally made available for the development of the skilled people with in the organization. As an example, organizations who have effective change management programmes in place ensures the empowerment of its employees by means of delegating jobs so that the current managers can be promoted and the junior staff can be promoted to more senior roles. Further problems also emerged due to 'individualistic' organization rather than a 'collectivist' organization that resulted in focusing on personal achievements rather than team achievements. Another significant problem emerged due to the bureaucratic culture is realized in the conduct where personal interests supersede the organizational interests.

3.3. Outcomes of the organizational development and change

The organization development was the need of the time as a result of which, the organization went through a major change process. This step was undertaken so that organizational sustainability and growth can be ensured. Secondly the role of technological development to address the regulatory changes has also been assessed to be radical. The organizational reform was made possible under the leadership provided by Brit. As a result of which, the BBC was re- invented through replacing the command- and- control style of leadership by a facilitative leadership style. As reported by Reed (1995), the concept of 'internal market' didn't reach its full potential in terms of expected results. This was because this process failed to reposition the 'tribalist' loyalties that actually segmented the organization and also the process of creating 'internal market' failed to supersede the ritualized 'suppliancy' of the process of commissioning (Reed, 1995).

On the other hand, the technological development of the organization had been observed as being remarkable. The first digital transmission of the BBC services was aired in 1998 and its phenomenal success was reported by the year 2000. Due to the remarkable success, the budget for the digital services was set to be eight per cent of the license fee income i.e. approximately £ 2.3 billion. By 2002 five new digital radio networks were also established. The overall revenues of the BBC were also recorded as £ 3.5 billion per annum by the year 2006 (Born, 2004).

Lastly, the cultural change had also been tremendous. The strategic approach ensured that a cultural transformation from being bureaucratic to a de- centralised structure resulted in earning of 25 per cent quota of the self- governing producer. This was made possible due to the separation of a) broadcasting division from the production division along with b) segregating the division of broadcasting of the digital services. Such accomplishments indicate towards an effective execution and management of change programme (Harris and Prosser 2007). As identified by the same researchers, BBC possesses one of the "world's largest broadcast production capacity" (Harris and Prosser 2007, p.300) generating an annual revenue of £ 870,500 (for the financial year 2003) increasing up to £ 814,500 (for the financial years 2008) for the BBC Commercial Holdings Limited (Orbis, 2009).

Section 4: Recommendations and evaluation

The following recommendations have been made assuming the BBC may still be encountered with aftermaths of bureaucratic culture that can further lead to the political influence. The recommendations are also significant to be adhered to so that the current improvements can be sustained. Arguably, the organization does operate under political influence at present to certain extent, however it may not be reported or acknowledged, openly.

The BBC should re- structure a mission- oriented strategic organization development framework that has the capability of supporting its people to work as a team so that shared organizational goals can be achieved. This is important because shared goals would result in organization development (Human Resource Management International Digest, 2007 a, b). Secondly when people work hard towards achieving personal interests disregarding the shared interests, then organization development remains in jeopardy

Secondly, in order accommodate the extent of change to de- centralize the organization, it is imperative that the higher management is well aware of the fact that continued agreement and commitment of the people is crucial towards continuing the process of organization development. Obtaining the long- term commitment of the people of the organization ensures the management that the current structure is acceptable by the people and their efforts would result in organization development, sustainability and growth. Failure in doing so may result in waste of valuable organizational resources.

In order to ensure the development process, the management should make appropriate investments in training and developing people to ensure that they are equipped with right set of required skills and competencies to deliver performance excellence. It is possible that at this point, the previous organizational culture may reflect upon the current culture hence some managers may attempt to cut down on the training and development budget. If such misconduct occurs, the organization may end up in paying heavy price since the current organization development is a result of technological development that is constantly evolving and advancing.

Moreover, the process of continued monitoring and review should back up the current change that is enjoyed by the organization. Therefore, a comprehensive and well- organized performance management programme should be in place that ensures the organizational processes and systems towards accomplishment of defined accountabilities and goals.

In addition to above recommendation, it has also been recommended that continued monitoring and performance reviews will result in periodic comments and feedbacks received from the stakeholders specifically the shareholders and the employees. As suggested by Aris and Bughin (2005) people factor is the most powerful factor that ensures the effective execution of any change programme, and eventually development of an organization.