Investigating The Culture Within Altech Nestar Fleet Commerce Essay

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The concept of organizational culture has gained wide acceptance as a way to understand human systems. From an "open-systems" perspective, each aspect of organizational culture can be seen as an important environmental condition affecting the system and its subsystems. The examination of organizational culture is also a valuable analytical tool in its own right.

This paper presents the results of a study on organizational cultures in Netstar, contracts & billing Dept as the source. Data came from in-depth interviews of selected informants and a questionnaire survey. (Qualitative & quantitative research). Data on task, structure, and control characteristics were collected separately. Quantitative measures of the cultures of the employees, aggregated at the dept level. The organizational culture differences found resided mainly at the level of practices as perceived by employees.

"Culture" has become a fad, among managers & employees, with somewhat different concerns. Organizational/corporate culture has acquired a status similar to structure, strategy, and control. (Weick (1985) has even argued that "culture" and "strategy" are partly overlapping constructs. There is no consensus about its definition, but most authors will probably agree on the following characteristics of the organizational/corporate culture construct: it is (1) holistic, (2) historically determined, (3) related to anthropological concepts, (4) socially constructed, (5) soft, and (6) difficult to change)

Can organizational cultures be "measured" quantitatively, on the basis of answers of employees to written questions, or can they only be described qualitatively? In operational terms, the issue is whether employees in one division rather than another explain a significant share of the variance in employee's answers to questions dealing with culture-related matters. My hypothesis was that it would.

The hypothesis was that the analysis would produce a discrete number of independent dimensions and that these dimensions should correspond to issues covered in the organizational literature, since it was unlikely that we would find aspects of the organization that nobody had discovered before.

To what extent can measurable differences among the cultures of the organization be attributed to unique features of the organization in question, such as its history or the personality of its founder? To what extent do they reflect other characteristics of the organization, like its structure & red tape extract.

Surfacing of Organizational Culture

As organizational culture has become recognized as a significant phenomenon for understanding both managerial and organizational dynamics and development, two requirements have risen. On the one hand, we need a conceptual framework for comprehending culture and, on the other hand, we need methodologies for making culture visible. Initially describing what is becoming a major conceptual framework for culture work, and then outlining a workshop methodology for making culture visible. Case Study illustrates both the framework and one form of culture-surfacing methodology.

RESEARCH CONDUCTED, ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE WITHIN CONTRACTS & BILLING - ALTECH NETSTAR FLEET SOLUTIONS

Research selection tool,

Triangulation, Defined as the mixing of data or methods so that diverse viewpoints / standpoints cast light upon a topic. This discipline as it now exists has developed through a thriving interaction of quantitative & qualitative analysis.

Figure 1: Drawing upon 3 traditions for triangulated research

Constructionism

Empiricism

The triangle of 3

Polar Positions in

Research MethodologyRealism

Sayer's provided a solid foundation for the integration of quantitative & qualitative method. ( Olsen & Morgan 2004 )

Assuming communication is central to ones life of our culture. The study of communication involves the study of culture with which it is integrated (Shannon & Weavers Model 1949) out of book introduction to communication studies John Frisk 2nd edition published 1992.)

ACTIVE RESEARCH DOCUMENTATION

OUTCOME FROM PROJECT:

Research Theme :

Investigating the culture within Altech Nestar Fleet > improvement of internal communications & time management

<net results> improve the service delivery to clients and staff alike = overall business organizational success.

PHASE I (RESEARCH ACTUAL)

The assumption was and is made that the organizational culture is not effective. To establish and/or prove this, we must look at the barriers and drivers to see if they are effective or not.

Knowing the barriers, you will know what drivers to implement.

Current Organizational Culture:

Segmented

Limitations on growth

Detached working environment

Red Tape restrictions for operational improvement

Confinement of knowledge

Lack of communication

Autocratic Management style

Barriers:

Accountability

Lack of skills

Lack of empowerment

Attitude & mood

Climate

Staff performance

Staff motivation

Lack of customer focus & servicing

Time Management

Drivers:

Performance management

Acknowledgement & recognition

Responsibility

Rewards program

Open communication requirement

Job satisfaction

Flexi work / Flexi hours

Self assessment

PHASE II

Using quantitative & qualitative research

Quantitative Mode

Qualitative mode

Assumptions

Social facts have an objective reality 

Primacy of method 

Variables can be identified and relationships measured 

Etic (outside's point of view)

Assumptions

Reality is socially constructed 

Primacy of subject matter 

Variables are complex, interwoven, and difficult to measure 

Emic (insider's point of view)

Purpose

Generalizability 

Prediction 

Causal explanations

Purpose

Contextualization 

Interpretation 

Understanding actors' perspectives

Approach 

Begins with hypotheses and theories

Manipulation and control 

Uses formal instruments 

Experimentation 

Deductive 

Component analysis 

Seeks consensus, the norm 

Reduces data to numerical indices 

Abstract language in write-up

Approach 

Ends with hypotheses and grounded theory 

Emergence and portrayal 

Researcher as instrument 

Naturalistic 

Inductive 

Searches for patterns 

Seeks pluralism, complexity 

Makes minor use of numerical indices 

Descriptive write-up

Researcher Role

Detachment and impartiality 

Objective portrayal

Researcher Role

Personal involvement and partiality 

Empathic understanding

Axioms About

Positivist Paradigm (Quantitative)

Naturalist Paradigm (Qualitative)

The nature of reality

Reality is single, tangible, and fragmentable. 

Realities are multiple, constructed, and holistic. 

The relationship of knower to the known

Knower and known are independent, a dualism. 

Knower and known are interactive, inseparable. 

The possibility of generalization 

Time- and context-free generalizations (nomothetic statements) are possible. 

Only time- and context-bound working hypotheses (idiographic statements) are possible. 

The possibility of causal linkages

There are real causes, temporally precedent to or simultaneous with their effects. 

All entities are in a state of mutual simultaneous shaping, so that it is impossible to distinguish causes from effects. 

The role of values 

Inquiry is value-free.

Inquiry is value-bound.

For study / research purposes a team of 20 employees selected from the Contracts & Billing Dept were given the opportunity to take part in this task. For purposes of ethics the naming of employees will not be disclosed but will be refered to as Emp 1 to 20.

Quantitative Study Implementation

Quantitative research seeks to discover how many people think, act or feel a particular way (as opposed to why they do) and as such this form of research 

Questionnaire issued (answer on a scale Y/N )

Do you enjoy working for Netstar

Do you go the extra mile

Are you a team player

Do you put the customers needs first

Do you feel important in your job description

Do you need training / skills development

Does Netstar look after its employee's

Ratings: Yes No % Yes % No

1

2/20

18/20

10%

90%

2

10/20

10/20

50%

50%

3

15/20

5/20

75%

25%

4

10/20

10/20

50%

50%

5

10/20

10/20

50%

50%

6

16/20

4/20

80%

20%

7

8/20

12/20

40%

60%

Qualitative Study Implementation

 

"Those who are not familiar with qualitative methodology may be surprised by the sheer volume of data and the detailed level of analysis that results even when research is confined to a small number of subjects" (Myers, 2002).

Main Types of Qualitative Data Collection & Analysis

 

"Those who are not familiar with qualitative methodology may be surprised by the sheer volume of data and the detailed level of analysis that results even when research is confined to a small number of subjects" (Myers, 2002).

 

There are three main methods of data collection:

 

Interactive interviewing

People asked to verbally described their experiences of phenomenon.

Written descriptions by participants

People asked to write descriptions of  their experiences of phenomenon.

Observation

Descriptive observations of verbal and non-verbal behavior.

Interviewing - protocol followed

The researcher should control his reactions. The purpose of the interview is to find out what views people hold; their views should be unbiased by evaluative responses on the researcher's part.

The researcher should choose an interview environment and conditions in which the participants feel comfortable, secure, and at ease enough to speak openly about their point of view.

The researcher should avoid presenting "yes" or "no" questions which tend to stifle detail.

The researcher should consider to what degree the interview questioning is "recursive." As applied to interviewing, what has been said in an interview is used to determine or define further questioning.

All answers to questions were recorded & grouped > answers with same outcome together the findings were as follows:

Question 1,

Why do you / do you not enjoy working for Altech Netstar?

Like, due to the industry employed in (not necessarily the actual employer)

Dislike the way in which we are treated

Dislike the culture of "this is not my job" so contribution from others is non existent

Lack of understanding from Senior Management of what job functions entail, we get more work but no extra hands

No knowledge of work load / time management

No communication of process changes, sales package changes from HQ until it is too late

Reprimanding the wrong dept. Sales/Wip make mistake gets processed accordingly but end result wrong so Contracts & billing take the blame

Exciting industry with different daily demands

Question 2

Why would you go the extra mile for Netstar? What would influence your decision?

Team work

Manager getting hands in when overload is experienced and not just shouting

Suggest a reward for going the extra mile - time off / overtime / performance bonuses

Acknowledgement of doing a good job / pat on the back

Encouragement & support from management

Question 3

Why is it so important being a team player?

Sharing work load

Sharing responsibility

Happy working environment

Standing together when help is needed

Helping others in other dept's

Question 4

Why would you place the customer's needs above yours?

Pride in my work

Keep client happy, keep the client

Enjoy the thank you from clients

Know that you have done a good job

Responsibility and accountability

Taking ownership if it is your fault, if not correcting the problem otherwise it triggers on the next dept.

Question 5

What would make you feel important that you are contributing towards something within your working environment?

Acknowledgement of work

A "thank you"

Meeting target and being rewarded

Being included

Able to give suggestions

Being heard

Question 6

What is lacking to enable you to perform at your best?

Team work

Understanding our workload

Access to tools / security restrictions are a problem

Support from management

Responsibility to the direct dept who makes the errors

Communication & being open and honest

Training on systems, products (knowledge)

Assistance when help is required to perform a function within or outside of job descriptions.

Question 7

What tools are lacking to enable you to perform at your best?

Training (indepth)

Understanding of the full process

Support from Management

Lack of skills

Staff shortage

Question 8

Why do you think Netstar does/does not take employee's needs to heart?

Do not listen to the actual problems in the workplace

Don't care its all about get the job done no matter how

You are a number not a person

Don't reward the staff fairly - negative remarks on assessments

Lack of caring and understanding

Management are not approachable

Quarterly rewards are given - limited

Unfair favoritism

Good discount on Netstar products

Does not reward those that constantly achieve good results

Management don't listen to ways to improve business overall and working conditions

Immediate Conclusion - to gain service deliver, time management & high performance teams, the climate & culture of Netstar needs to be addressed.

People will perform if they are supported, managed & allowed to be part of the bigger picture - making suggestions that will be heard. Even if the idea's are not implemented at least they have been acknowledged for being innovative & are allowed to step out their box and be creative.

Communication is of vital importance, it must be constant between staff, teams, Dept's, line managers, senior managers & beyond. This must be enforced from Director Level and be filtered down.

Departmental Forum must be established to assist with the suggestions, problems & general discussions. This will contribute towards open channels of communication. The end result will be high performance teams being established and maintained. Thus impacting on overall business success in area's required.

Summary of outcome of research for presentation:

The Research Project role players:

Investigation took place through COP within ANFS to establish barriers, drivers for an effective organizational culture.

Rep 2

- Customer

- Service levels

- Motivation

- Communication

- Attitudes

Rep 5

- Customer

- Communication

- Accountability

- Empowerment

- Knowledge

FVP

Rep. 1

- Time Management

- Customers

- Communication

- Motivation

Rep 4

- Skills lost

- Time Management

- Management

procrastination

- Communication

Rep 3

- Quality

- Service

- Time Management

- Performance

- Recognition

1. Quantify & Qualify

1. Quantify & qualify

Customer Dissatisfaction (service,quality)

Pressure - Workforce (skills,motivation,accountability,attitudes)

Poor Time Management (performance,skills,knowledge)

Breakdown in Communication (service,performance,knowledge)

Hypothesis: >> Short Term strains / Financial strains / Customer base strains

>> Long Term rewards (Future Value Proposition)

Who will be involved in this project

Senior Management

Middle Management

Employees in dept selection

Timeline - implementation immediate

Which area of expertise

Training (writing skills, program knowledge, telephone manners

Time Management (top level filtrate to lower level recruit consultant)

Team building (motivation, trust, dedication, assistance)

Communication free flowing

Forum to be established

Rewards programs (investigate)

Barriers & Drivers (listed)

Implementation Success

- RO Invoice - Customer retentions up/service excellent/profits

- RO Sales - Marketing, word of mouth

- RO Equity - Secure brand value / competitive advantage

- RO Income - GP% Shareholders

- RO Innovation - Retention of staff, skills development & Motivation

Overall outcome of research survey & end result

Organizational culture - overall change & Implementation of:

Communication patterns & lack thereof

Training & skills development

Value & rewards programs

Departmental forums establishment & continuance

Establishment of an open door policy

Conclusion:

After concluding survey's within Netstar the culture stands as a losing organization with the following reasons behind the survey outcome:

Fuzzy Vision

Lack of Leadership skills

Discouraging culture

High bureaucracy

Lack of initiative

Poor vertical communication

Poor cross functional collaboration

Poor teamwork

Poor idea & knowledge management

The above factors influence the netstar map for organizational culture.

While identification of problems is certainly vital to solving them, sometimes the best prescription for a cure is to step back, gain a real understanding of underlying issues and craft a thoughtful, informed response. It seems clear that some general principles of corporate culture change do exist. But a successful action agenda will depend heavily on the dynamics of the individual culture. It is hoped that by sharing the stories of what has worked for others, change leaders may be empowered to develop unique solutions to address their firm's specific challenges.

Building organizational culture that stimulates creativity & end result

The purpose would be to present, by means of a model, the determinants of organizational culture which influence creativity and innovation. A literature study showed that a model, based on the open systems theory and the work of Schein, can offer a holistic approach in describing organizational culture. The relationship between creativity, innovation and culture must be discussed.The determinants are strategy, structure, and support mechanisms, behavior that encourages innovation, and open communication. The influence of each determinant on creativity and innovation is to be discussed. Values, norms and beliefs that play a role in creativity and innovation can either support or inhibit creativity and innovation depending on how they influence individual and group behavior.

"Netstar - An organization that strives to ensure employee interaction & satisfaction in the working place, achieving individual and company growth through service delivery & overall interaction > thus creating a well oiled machine with all parts (dept's) working together towards the same goal. This will be achieved when the culture is re aligned to meet future requirements, suggestive model to follow, Dension Model "

Mapping > new Organizational Culture

The Denison Model

Developed over 20 years of research and real-world application, the Denison Organizational Culture Model describes a theory of organizational behavior that links the strength of corporate culture to bottom-line performance.

The Denison Model

Denison model and survey has demonstrated the link between healthy cultures and growth in ROA, ROI, sales and market share. The knowledge that leaders gain through the process equips them to leverage company strengths and identify weaknesses that may hamper its long-term success.

The model highlights the four key traits of Mission, Consistency, Involvement and Adaptability that an organization should understand and harness in order to be effective.

Mission

Provide a purpose and meaning. Define a social role and external goals for the organization. We are to provide a clear direction with goals that define an appropriate action.

A sense of mission allows an organization to shape current behavior by envisioning a desired future state.

Adaptability

The demands of the business environment > action

A system of norms and beliefs supports an organization's capacity to receive, interpret, and translate signals from its external environment (market, etc) into internal behavioral changes that increase its chances for survival, growth and development.

Involvement

Get the people engaged, developed, and committed to the mission

Organizations characterized as "highly involved" strongly encourage a sense of ownership and responsibility. They rely on informal, voluntary and implied control systems, rather than formal, explicit, bureaucratic control systems. Out of this sense of ownership grows a greater commitment to the organization and an increased capacity for autonomy. Receiving input from organization members increases the quality of the decisions and improves their implementation.

Consistency

Define the values and systems that are the basis of a strong culture.

Consistency provides a central source of integration, coordination and control. Consistent organizations develop the mindset and systems that engender governance based on consensual support. Consistency creates a "strong" culture based on a beliefs, values and symbols that are widely understood.

Exit paragraph: Total Quality Management & Corporate Culture

There is a need for an appropriate culture to support the scope of Total Quality Management (TQM). Customer focus, systems approach, teamwork, involved management and continuous improvement are the aspects of TQM that facilitate improved organisational success, growth, and competitiveness. Many companies are now complementing continuous improvement with innovation, which is seen as the successful exploitation of new ideas. A clear synergy appears between these two corporate success factors as they are often integrated under an appropriate corporate culture for exploitation. The results of this can support substantial improvements in business performance and competitiveness of the company. With this in mind,

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