This paper is a compilation of my change management assignments, my literature review and finally my mini case. We were required to be as original as possible and only use references just gain an understanding of the topic or material to be used and I have done basically that. I did not really use material from online authors because I tried to follow the instructions as much as possible, so much of it is written in my own language and style, while not deviating from the essence of the required knowledge required.
On the mini case, I first gave an overview of the company before going into the main problems. These will be fully elaborated within the group when we analyze them together.
Finally, results of the learning tests and other required personal activity are included as appendices in the hardcopy document because it was rather impossible to copy the learning test into the document without distorting the real outcome of the results.
LEARNING STYLE REFLECTION
After reading an explanation of the learning styles after taking the test  , it says I have strong activist and moderate reflector preferences. The theorists and pragmatists views are stated as low and very low preferences consecutively. However, I do not believe this correctly portrays what learning and adaptive styles that I have though I agree that I have a combination of two or more, and some are much stronger than the other learning personalities.
To start with many of the questions have a hard line to them that does not put some level of tolerance into consideration. In some questions asked, I have been able to adapt to situations in very different environments and locations either on home or foreign territory and the situations have never been the same.
I recognize that I have a very strong reflector and pragmatist learning personality. This has primarily been shaped by the combination of learning institutions I have attended and the kind of person that I am. I also do not like to be held back by bureaucracies or 'military-style precision' and can be very eager to try out new things outside of my comfort zone. This is possible if the group or activity involved is open to mistakes and errors and are willing to help all participating members develop weaknesses into strengths.
Of particular importance in shaping a learning style is how the facilitator or teacher motivates a learning experience for each individual member of the group, class or team. In the past, this has greatly shaped my own learning styles to the current level. A teacher or facilitator that is biased, and does not encourage each member in a learning group to share individual ideas and opinions no matter how insignificant they may seem shuts out the confidence in expression. This is true also for a group leader and the members in a project assignment.
Learning in the Western world has opened my learning abilities to adapt to a defined structure like those of the theorists view, but have also encouraged the dynamic role of the activists view. Both in its own ways have a very positive impact in developing the confidence required to build a stable learning style. While it promotes the use of structure when having meetings for group assignments, it also tries to promote the need to come up with variations in ideas that can stimulate brilliant work without being a stickler for the rules of thumb.
In project groups in my first year when we had to make the business manual, we were compelled to come up with a structure and written rules and guidelines to help our developmental process. This pragmatic learning view was required to create cohesion among the different members from different backgrounds and establish clear lines of expectations. My previous practical experience helped create a good paper for a good grade but my learning styles was in conflict with other teammates from different backgrounds.
In the final year, project groups that we were required to form had grown beyond the dramatics of the first year and we had to apply more of the reflectors learning view and combine them effectively with the other three learning views to work together. Research work had to be backed up by stated facts and clearly organized in a logical manner that shows learning has improved over the years.
Today, my learning view and experiences have been shaped by a combination of all four learning styles. And whatever group or team I find myself in, it is easy to think about the goal of the project, the membership structure of the team and the best applicable method to adopt so that everyone has an equal chance and opportunity to benefit from the learning process. At the end, no one is more important than the other, and learning has to be achieved.
What more, in the working environment as future business managers, that is what essentially we would be doing, working in teams and managing those teams to deliver the best results in quality and on time. Most importantly, we would be required to carry everyone along and ensure that each individual's career goals are achieved within the learning process of the task, and the organization as a whole.
DEFINING MY LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS
LEARNING ORGANIZATION CHOSEN - GOLDMAN SACHS
a. It is a people-oriented organization that focuses on equity and fairness for everyone and provided the right finances to aid developmental growth for emerging nations that need it most.
b. The people have an open attitude that ensures there is little discrimination among the people they are required to serve. They also decide on the most favorable options for nations given the circumstances while interaction with the outside world is open and transparent.
c. People look forward to timely delivery of assignments with the awareness that they are creating an impact on the people of that nation, so they brainstorm on relevant decisions and not just coming in to earn an income and pay taxes. The staffs are highly intelligent, calculative, and reflective with matured thinking and not overly materialistic.
Step 2: In A Learning Organization,
Every individual is somehow stretching, growing, or enhancing his capacity to create solutions based on present challenges given and future upcoming tasks that are value based, appreciated and recognized.
People should feel they are doing something that matters to them personally and to the larger world, and not just coming into work every day because of the monthly paycheck or the other benefits of working for a big organization or boosting a resume.
People treat each other as colleagues. There is a mutual respect and trust in the way they talk to each other, and work together, no matter what their positions may be. This is very important especially where some people have an over inflated ego and try to manipulate every team or situation they are in.
Employees are invited to learn what is going on at every level in the organization, so that they can understand how their actions influence others; and how to exhibit the values of the organization in public when misperception occurs. Only with a sense of belonging can this happen where employees defend its management's choices.
Step 3: What would it bring meâ€¦?
It would make me comfortable that I am growing in the service I provide to the organization while being comfortable that my contributions have a positive ethical impact on the society.
It would make me see my job as something that matters most and not just an end to earn an income; it would mean I can be more people-oriented and customer-focused rather than on individual egoistic achievements. It would make me feel more a part of the organization than just an outsider.
Where people treat each other with mutual respect, there is no shame in failure, and each person will be encouraged to try again to achieve best results the next time. Usually, if done right the first time, the individual no longer needs monitored mentoring but encouragements and small celebrations for success. I would feel comfortable in this kind of environment because everyone will be an equal player.
Step 4: Top Five Elements
Listening more to what internal staff are complaining about especially with respect to customers' complaints and frustrations
Treating everyone equally irrespective of age, race, color, gender or academic achievements attained
Customer oriented by putting the customers' interests first rather than on profitability
Dependable and reliable in terms of career structure and
Mutual respect and trust among each staff
Step 5: What stands in our way â€¦
HR should restructure its policies to allow equal and fair play irrespective of job level
Pay attention to people's differences and career growth and not only staff productivity
Encourage individual creative suggestions and building an idea bank
Too much lengthy processes to get approvals
Having multiple office and country locations so it takes time for a chain of cycle to be completed
Step 6: I'd know we're making progress if â€¦
External customers begin to say positive things about the company's image
Staff does not seem demotivated coming to work each week.
There is a low turnover rate among members of staff
Bureaucratic times are shortened and ideas can be quickly discussed and tracked to be adopted as soon as possible.
Human resource staff become friendlier and open to favorable staff needs rather than being custodians of harsh 'janitorial' rules and regulations.
DRAWING FORTH PERSONAL VISION STEPS
STEP 1: CREATING A RESULT
What I am achieving now is what I have wanted to achieve in a long while since the last time I was in school, to get back to school in a properly developed environment and learn the crucial things I need for the next stage in my life. My life's goals have been thought out a couple of years ago when I needed direction for my life and it involves a four-stage process. At the moment, I have achieved one of it and I am in the process of completing the second part, both of which I worked on side-by-side.
For a little background, I applied to work at a dynamic international organization which has a lot of value and worldwide presence but was rejected based on qualifications, so I decided to take steps to correct my academic structure. Now that I know it and want it well enough, I am confident in the steps I have taken so far to achieving my goals for my career.
Nothing beats doing what you think is right and gives satisfaction and it includes going out of one's comfort zone to get it. That is what counts for me in my career. There is really no feeling involved except the feeling of achievement, but this is just the first step in the long chain of events. My personal vision involves getting the best quality education I can get to live a better life and contribute meaningfully to the society I belong to.
STEP 2: REFLECTING ON THE FIRST VISION COMPONENT
Yes, I know what I want specifically and clearly. I can articulate a vision that I actually want because I have taken steps to getting on that path and attaining some level of achievement on it. I have even celebrated some small milestones along the line when I achieved something related to it.
STEP 3: DESCRIBING YOUR PERSONAL VISION
Self-image: to be the kind of person I would like to be, my qualities would be empathy, confidence, high intelligence and knowledge-base, leadership qualities that are not egocentric, egoistic and full of arrogance and a lot of charisma.
Tangibles: The things I would like to own would be a lovely home with a family who is compassionate and shares the same values and ideals that I do.
I would want to have enough wealth to get the things I want and even enough to share with others who truly need them.
Cars, private jet, a cruise liner, are just a few of the many. As I get older and mature, some of these material needs will change over time.
Home: My ideal living environment is a green environment, safe and crime-free for children to play in. It would also include some ambience and a good swimming pool for relaxation with the family - the ideal way to get rid of tension and pressure from outside.
Health: A healthy lifestyle, constant medical checkups and good eating choices are my appropriate desire for health. Fitness includes aerobic exercises and keeping fit.
Relationships: I prefer to have true type friends who are committed to personal interests and wellbeing. Coincidentally, this kind of relationship with friends and family is greatly lacking since I came to study in the Western developed world where people are not capable of providing true sense of friendship, and are superficial in thinking and family ideals. In my home country, family and friendship values are the strongest and help people overcome difficulties faced in life. This is an essential component for every living individual.
Work: my ideal profession is in product development management capacity and I would like to be involved in the decision making process at executive management level.
Personal Pursuits: I would like to create a good personal achievement status; the quality of these pursuits should improve over time based on the people I meet in my career and the places I go to. Completing this current stage is the current goal. I am an avid reader and I read well outside my scope of knowledge.
Community: To use my knowledge and achievements to give back to the society in the best area of strength I find a need for in the medium to long term, in the current need of the society at that time.
Life Purpose: to be the best I can be in everything I do, and help others achieve their own goals in less the time it took to achieve mine.
REVIEW 1 - LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS
When individuals become a part of an organization, one of their core goals is to learn its values and what makes members of that organization unique, stand out and become exceptional. So while people project their strengths and accomplishments, they actually look to learn what knowledge and experience they can which will be useful in the next steps of their career.
In his article, the five core disciplines of personal mastery, mental models, team learning, shared vision, and systems thinking are used as a core basis for assessing learning by individuals within organizations. In my opinion, these are very good indicators to help measure individual talents and I can clearly identify with these practical concepts. Personal mastery is the beginning of the whole cycle because it is what individuals have learned when they carry out assigned tasks in teams kicks off the learning process.
So in evaluating the learning process for individuals in learning organizations, the team work structure gives the ultimate balance to an individual to learn quickly and give back into the learning process. Often times very quickly, teams develop characters of their own depending on the constant interaction between the members and if they are able to form a cohesion quickly and easily to achieve tasks given.
Notwithstanding, team work is a double-edged tool that sometimes can either overshadow individual contributions and harbor free-riders who hide behind the success of hardworking teammates, or it can boost individual confidence and contribution to individuals new to large organizations. The latter is especially useful when the individual is from a very different societal or cultural background and is new to the working environment. These two characteristics birth very different mental models that tend to multiply or repeat itself over time as old teams end and newer teams are formed for future tasks. This is where leadership plays a very important role either from the team lead or the management.
Personally, I have learned a lot of very different things by working in teams within the academic environment in the last two years and in the professional workplace. In the academic environment at undergraduate level, a lot of free riders exist who are lazy to take responsibility for tasks assigned. They find it easier to let team mates cover up at the last minute because of sometimes unrelated personal reasons. In the professional environment, where bonuses and promotions are based on performance appraisals, it is much more difficult to hide behind others. Therefore, learning organizations are those that have been able to improve individual performance with sound learning experiences over time and bring out the best value in them which then translates into value for the organization on a macro level.
REVIEW 2 - EVOLUTION AND REVOLUTION AS ORGANIZATION GROWS
In this article, Greiner articulates the changes that occur within organizations as they grow and how management reacts to external forces of competition when the organization seems to be stuck in one phase and is experiencing trouble. Grainer's model is a good way to evaluate any company at any operational stage from entrepreneurial to large complex multinational organizations spanned globally.
The evolutionary stages are usually characterized by periods of relative growth and peace where the company has a significant amount of market share and gains profits; this is a stage every senior executive likes its company to be in. on the other hand, the revolutionary stage is characterized by turbulence and instability. These shocks could come from the external environment such as the global financial crisis of 2008, natural disasters (environmental) such as the hurricane Sandy, a shortage of specialized skills such as high-level engineering and pharmaceutical research or even wars such as the rising Arab spring in The Middle East.
Even while these might be considered extreme scenarios, not every large multinational company in the global world today was fully prepared for the massive market that newly industrializing countries such as china posed to their businesses. The growth of China as a place for cheap labour and production costs with a massive consumer market created a large imbalance that toppled organizations from the comfort zone of evolutionary to revolutionary stage. Surprisingly, organizations that had surpassed the early phases of growth such as creativity and direction had to revisit and remodel its initial business concepts, process and entire strategy / structure model to stay competitive or lose marketshare and face bankruptcy.
In my current study program I have had to analyze different organizations at different stages of the Greiner phase of growth and analyze how best to get it out of its current impasse where it seems stalled. It would really be interesting to see how the eventual results play out based on our study concepts and the real business world. How organizations react to emerging global trends and whether decisions made will use key business processes and people to "regrow" from previously surpassed phases of the Greiner model to higher phases will form interesting case study for future generations of university students.
REVIEW 3 - BEYOND STRATEGY TO PURPOSE
One of the key significant ideologies derived from the entire article is that once a strategy has been defined, then a proper structure can be built around it. Once that structure has a solid foothold within an organization then systems can be implemented around it. This has influenced the role that senior management and top executives of large organizations in the present corporate world play in building good organizations. The old predictive and monotonous styles of business leadership and strategy are being discarded for the modern influences of technology, changing market forces competition and globalization in business decision making.
This means that the old framework of moving from strategy to structure and then to systems is being replaced by a new framework of purpose to processes and finally to people. So no longer are people built around systems and structures, but these structures and systems are built around people and the processes they develop. This paradigm shift focuses less on rigid systems and places emphasis on the fact that people are the scarcest resources that organizations have and their knowledge and expertise can be fundamental to restructuring or building organizations.
In a brief comparison, while the old framework views organizations as economic entities, the new framework views organizations as social institutions. This means that where the focus was once on profit maximization only, it is now tilting towards social interaction with its external market and personal fulfillment derived by its employees. So rather than acting as tools for shareholder profits, it is becoming an agent of social change for all stakeholders.
This means that the old function of developing only a strategic plan (short or long term) wrapped around formal structural designs is being replaced with a more realistic organizational purpose centered on effective management processes. So there is less controlling behavior from top management in a stiff hierarchy and more of developing capabilities within a team work structure in a flat but formal workplace environment.
Ultimately, this means that leaders now evolve to become instrumental in shaping institutional purpose rather than just being focused on designing and implementing unworkable strategy. This however does not mean that the leaders still do not retain control over processes. Leaders need to be the core link for embedding corporate ambitions, articulating its visions and creating the momentum that drives it. This they can do by instilling the organizational values and fostering individual initiatives.
REVIEW 4 - THE FALL AND RISE OF STRATEGIC PLANNING
In many organizations, strategic planning is still the order of the day and its management still allocates huge budgets to organizational restructuring through strategic planning. With the recent global economic crisis, many organizations have realized that doing thing as they used to is no longer sufficient to beat competition, especially with the big race to move production and operations into the exploding Asian market. To utilize this advantage for maximizing sales, increasing profits and producing cheaper, the obvious need to re-strategize is becoming necessary. But what is the best way around implementing this.
Change is the only sure thing in the business world, and organizations develop their strategy making process around changing trends. Again, what makes strategic change planning process successful for companies like Apple, which came from behinds the lines to lead the pack, and Nokia which is barely struggling to maintain its little market share in the mobile telecoms market.
Using Apple Company as an example, it has proven repeatedly that it uses strategic change to invent new products and categories and simply not rearranging planning strategies to suit market trends. This is obvious with the creative measures it infuses into its new product categories, and despite its high prices, it still maintains market lead for its brand of products. This clearly demonstrates that it dives into strategic thinking and innovation, has committed thinkers and juggles ideas into concepts. Clearly, this is strategic thinking in action and does not spend valuable time dwelling on the pitfalls or fallacies of planning.
Nokia, once a market leader in this industry (especially with its communicator series) is barely a contender and may not have effectively used strategic planning to its advantage. The key difference between successful and struggling organizations is in how they remodel and rework strategic planning to its market advantage.
According to the article, two key concepts are needed for progress - planning being used as strategy finders and planning being used as catalysts. Both can be used to maximize growth and profit. Whether it is by tilting towards left or right handed planner, organizations need to dive into strategic planning as a functional process, and not exaggerate it with bureaucracy, too much activity or waste time planning how to succeed. Finding the right niche in continuous strategic planning and thinking should be the goal for executive management in organizations.
REVIEW 5 - MINTZBERG'S MODEL ON ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES
Then structure of organizations that Henry Mintzberg formulates and relates to is absolutely significant, and in my opinion a true relationship that organizations pass through in its different stages of growth. From startups to mid-sized organizations and complex organic organizations, they all have one thing in common and that is the need to establish some formal structure as a base to run the organizations business dad-to-day activities.
However, what particular generic structure any organization adopts and operates with varies largely on the type of industry it functions in, and sometimes to a large extent the administrative experience of the helmsman at the head of that organization. Many times, organizations startup using simple structures and the direction of pressure it pulls towards even changes from time to time in a bid to find what bests works for it to achieve its organizational goals.
As organizations grow in size and business operations, different parts exerts its own force of pull in the direction that the pressure is greatest to standardize and develop a standard structure in. Over time, once this part has fully become stable, it eases into a settled pattern and another section within the structure exerts its own force of pull until it standardizes too.
Surprisingly, while it may seem an uphill task and can be frustrating to the employees of the organization within each of these specialized units, it is usually an internal process that sees the organization growing after it has overcome the difficult phase. Very rarely will all parts of the five structures exert a pull at the same time. If that happens, then it has reached a breaking point that might be critical to its continued existence.
As organizations further grow, and become larger, the pull of pressure cycle is repeated again until a growth pattern is achieved within the organization. At this stage, it is possible for a typical startup organization with a simple structure will expand to become a professional bureaucracy and further after each cycle of pressure pull exerted by each unit, department or section within an organization.
REVIEW 6 - BEYOND STRUCTURE TO PROCESSESS
The second in the discussed previous management role cycle, structure here is what most senior management often tends to do when there is a need to innovate and change existing processes when there is a reaction to market changes. Many times, this is characterized by reorganizing staff and job roles within the organization or downsizing. Cutting manpower and maintaining a strict hierarchy was often the imminent solution.
However, the article also highlights that after sometime, top management of organizations have begun to realize that even a horizontal work structure can make a lot of significant difference to an organizations structure. So it does have its own upside as boundaries were cut down to allow lateral access.
In today's world of business, more emphasis is continuously being placed on working in teams and team output and group collaboration. Individual effort at common shared tasks are no longer cherished because it is being discovered that teams can become very innovative at resolving big tasks more effectively and in many cases more innovative. Despite this, the article believes that small units do not necessarily guarantee innovativeness of the unit, but I think this is just an exception to the rule. It is very unlikely that every member of a 5-man team will be myopic in only one sense of direction. Diversity fuels a wide range of choices and often times, restructuring teams several times so that team members vary constantly from key tasks to other tasks can fuel a lot of insight that was not previously discovered.
One key aspect of this is that organizations tend to become flatter in structure, more horizontal and even more open which is a good thing for ideas to bounce around rather quickly than in an organization with high levels of bureaucracy and tight structure. Outsourcing has become a chief initiator of this process since external consultants have had to interact with in-staff to get solutions to problems. There is no limit to the amount of advantages that can be derived from this and even the article does not fully state everything however well it has done. I believe that the business world has moved forward significantly due to this model and record breakthroughs will always be derived.
Top management should not however be unwilling to shake up the level of comfort employees have become accustomed to when new teams and staff structure have to be reshuffled. If anything, it adds a whole new level of knowledge-share and wealth of experience in diversity for employees.
REVIEW 7 - STRUCTURE IS NOT ORGANIZATION: THE 7S FRAMEWORK
The two authors' framework  tries to tell us that organizations do not only function as structures but have other elements to how they work and these are made up of seven elements. Some of these elements are visible and obvious and can be observed and studied within a few hours to a couple of days such as structure, strategy and systems. Others are not as much visible and reside in the dynamic component of the people who work in the organization.
This means that when an organization's policies are being formed, it uses these visible or identifiable elements to project its image to the external environment. However, in my review, I think that the less physical elements of the 7S are greatly instrumental in how the visible aspects of the framework are formulated.
Each part of the framework cannot be separated in any form once an organization begins to reach certain higher levels other than the simple structure that Mintzberg projects and they are necessary for every piece in an organization to work together.
Therefore, the opinion that I hold on to is that the 7S framework is critical and important and needs to be taken into consideration on how best to utilize them before any organization can be successful. When an otherwise profitable organization faces severe business crisis like many did during the 2008 global financial crisis and they need to cut down cost and re-strategize, only by revisiting the strengths of this framework, or remodeling them will that organization be able to develop a better working model for itself.
REVIEW 8: SENGE'S MENTAL MODELS
So many different expressions such as paradigm shifts, perception, intuition or thought process have been given to mental models  . In my own basic understanding, it is about a person's thought process and how the things he sees or experiences functions in the real world. When people are employed in a formal working organization, much of the progress formed in creative thinking for solving business problems is shaped by some form of mental model.
To put it officially within specific business environments, it could be the general organizations' business culture also. When employees are taken in freshly into an organization, they usually get a walk-through tour on how the organization works, and how employees relate with each other and solve mutual business problems. This means they are being initiated into the company culture and values and with time they begin to think like the company or organization.
From my years of working experience in large multinational organizations as a full staff, and other times as a consultant, I have seen people adopt the corporate mental model of the organizations they serve wholly and loyally. This mental thought process has become ingrained into their full working capacity that even when in external environments, it can be portrayed visibly.
A very good example of this is the way students are shaped after spending four years studying within particular university environments. Students who attend Ivy League institutions have a mental model shaped by the professors and faculty that instructed them throughout their academic life and they come out with a big ego (referred in the positive here) in addition to the class of degree that they are awarded. Those who attended non Ivy League institutions do not have any lesser confidence but may be required to prove extra hard the quality of their efforts and contribution to the workplace.
What I have learned from this is how to be aware of real and perceived mental models shaping an individual's thought process when trying to solve a business problem. Implementing change management practices when trying to transform a business process, company product, management style or the entire business' public image itself requires a deft methodology so that the aims are totally achieved. If handled wrongly, the entire process may backfire and leave the organization worse off than the pre-transformation era. Again, as I build a career in management, it would be interesting to observe how much of these play out in the future.
REVIEW 9 - SOFT SYSTEMS METHODOLOGY
The soft systems methodology  clearly expresses one basic remodeling process - that rigid, pre-planned preempted business rules cannot always be applied to every business problem definition. Often times, most organizations have a clear methodological rules or structure that would be followed when there is a perceived crisis. However, what is most clearly ignored or underestimated are the people who are involved in the entire change restructuring process.
In all the earlier reviews done above one key aspect of any structure or systems is the people involved without which there is no progress for any process. People, primarily employees are the basic actors and the soft system provides an "escape" process that can be used in unusual business situations. One advantage is that this methodology works best is with startup entrepreneurial companies that are struggling to get out of the growth stage and into a higher stage of the Greiner model.
When sole entrepreneurs and small - medium enterprise owners first startup, they have a passion and focus on what the business intends to do, and very often hold on to the passion to keep it focused that way. However, as its clientele increases and market forces begin to stimulate more market share or expansion into newer markets, the business needs a clear cut structure because old informal methods no longer work effectively as before. The soft systems methodology uses the CATWOE Model to identify key stakeholders in the business entity, express the problems the business faces in real situations and critically examine its root problems.
Defining a root problem helps take a look at what exactly the main problems are and even synthesize many different approaches to resolving them. Of all the models and theories discussed, I personally enjoy using this model to get a quick overview of any business problem. In a business classroom, this model should be applied as the first step to organizations facing problems before it gets too escalated with complex, maybe unnecessary models.
In my approaching professional career, I would seek ways to use this model in any team, business or organization problems I am required to seek resolutions too, even if I have to do it personally first just to gain an clearer picture. Often times in business, the most expansive problems probably require the less complex solutions to make them right once again.
MINI CASE - MTN GROUP
The aim of this mini case is to evaluate the just one component of the organization where it has a challenge and how realistic change management principles learned in this course can be used to evaluate and create solutions to solve that particular gridlock that it faces among its employees.
I worked in this company for a period of 6 months between October 2011 and March 2012 as a FirstLine Support Administrator in the Service Delivery Department and part of my job role was to resolve client issues using a tracking system to give support to internal users and management. I also had to manage group metrics timelines for our team within a strict SLA environment and spot trends across regions and client base and give feedback observations and assessment to management.
I worked for The MTN Group Limited (Mobile Telecommunications Network) which is a global communications partner and leading provider of communication services, offering world-class cellular network access and business solutions. Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. MTN boasts over 152 million subscribers across its operations  .
The MTN Group operates in: Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Iran, Afghanistan, Benin, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Liberia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. (ibid)
Due to its sheer size and magnitude, my mini case will focus on only one country, MTN Nigeria which is the largest of the entire MTN business operations in terms of subscriber base (With over 35 million subscribers), income and earnings, staff strength and widest business coverage.
Products and Markets
MTNN products and services are primarily providing mobile network solutions in terms call and internet services, roaming and devices. For ease of clarity since they have so many products and services, these have been put into seven major segments
MTN Smooth Talk
MTN Booster Weekly
MTN PayGo Prepaid
MTN Booster Monthly
MTN TOP UP
Value Added Services
MTN Mobile Newspaper
Share and Sell
MTN Bulks SMS Service
MTN Back Up
MTN Mobile Internet
DSTV from MTN
Blackberry from MTN
MTN Hajj Offer
MTN Hajj Offer FAQ
MTN 3G Roaming
MTN Top Ten Up
Recharge/Pay Bills Online
MTN Global Top Up
Phones and Devices
MTN Education Bundle
Secure Connect & Leased Services
MTN Education Bundle
MTN Lyte Phone
Reward and Delight
Project Fame Opening gala
MTN App Competition
MTN 8th Anioma Cultural Festival
MTN Football Scholar
MTN Foundation, Sickle Cell Foundation
MTN Power of 10 Concerts
Sourced from MTN Nigeria webpage: http://www.mtnonline.com/sitemap
MTN Nigeria secured one of four licenses to operate digital GSM (Global System for Mobile Telecommunications) telephony on February 9, 2001, from the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Following this, on May 16 2001, MTN emerged the first telecommunications company to make a commercial call on its GSM network. Thereafter, the company launched full commercial operations beginning with Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, in August 2001.
MTN subsists on the core brand values of Leadership, Integrity, Relationship, Innovation and a Can do attitude. It prides itself on its ability to make the impossible possible, connecting people with friends, family and opportunities and enriching lives through its products and services. 
Number of Employees
MTN Nigeria (MTNN for short) has staff strength of almost 11,000 employees, made up of about 6,000 fulltime regular employees and the rest comprising contract staff, independent consultants, internship students and basic low level skilled staff working in support roles and as facility personnel.
However, they are not all in one single location but spread across its many regional and zonal offices across the nation.
MTNN's organizational structure is made up of the regular structure with a CEO and Executive positions for the key business components.
Brief annotation of the internal organization structure at MTNN
Key to chart above
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Information Officer
Chief Techincal Officer
GM - SD
General Manager - Service Delivery
GM - QA
General Manger - Quality Control
SM - SD
Senior Manger - Service Delivery
Business Risk Management
MTN Foundation (Corporate Social Responsibility)
The structure above just highlights one section of the organogram but it follows the same reporting line down the chain. Typically, is flows as shown below:
Chief Executive Officer (L6) --> Chief Information Officer (L5) --> General Managers (L4) --> Senior Managers (L3h)--> Managers (L3) --> Team Leads --> Graduate Staff (L2) --> Entry-Level Staff (L1)
The entire group corporate structure is shown in the chart below:
Figure 1: MTN Corporate Group Structure 
Stage of Development
At the moment, MTNN is a company in the high growth industry and from market opinions and individual unofficial surveys, it is doing profitably well. Currently, it is in the fourth phase of evolutionary growth - the coordination stage and has not gone through any periods of crisis yet. Due to the nature of business management practices, many 21st century organizations are learning practically from the downfall of many earlier big time companies and are using their failures as case study practices for building their own organizations.
Also, according to the Mintzberg typology, it operates a divisionalised form of semi-autonomous units within its organizational structure.
The main trends that have influenced the internal organization have come from a scenario where job functions and roles were initially compact and centralized in decision making. As the organization became larger in terms of staff strength and seconding roles (a term used within the company when key specialized staff are moved from one division, or country to another to disperse skill), there was a need to expand job role functions so that proper specialization could occur.
Also, with labour unions monitoring job transitions and workers welfare in the country, more of the contract and non-permanent employees have had to be converted into permanent staff roles with full benefits.
Regulatory agencies and the competition have spurred the need for innovation in internal structure because as demand from regulatory agencies increases, existing products have to be modified and enhanced. Fierce competition for market share from one of the newest competitors has even increased the need for relevant and useful newer products just to stay as an active player in the industry. Employee turnover to the competition is a big threat for all the major players, competition included so this has been shaped by motivating wages levels and benefits just to maintain key skillset.
CHALLENGE - 7S FRAMEWORK ANALYSIS
One key area within the company that needs to be improved is its customer relations sector. Due to the relative size of its subscriber base and market share, many customers of the company complain of not being able to reach online customer care staff easily and timely. There are two kinds of support staff - the internal customer support staff and the external customer care. The internal customer supports are required to provide support to the staff managing the external customers of the company.
The current strategy of the company is to maintain its market lead in the industry since it has already become the largest entity among six other players in the market. Its stable management practices, the rich mix of multicultural management board and
heavy staffing with young trendy professionals helps keep it ahead especially with attractive promotions
Decision making is distributed; the customer care staffs are limited in much functionality because of internal quality control reasons or fraud, so they escalate to FirstLine support for resolution. This is a specialized job function so there are only about 11 people managing and supporting over 4,000 employees who manage the entire 35million subscribers.
The pressure this generates on the limited staff is so much because performance and appraisal is measured on how much issues are resolved rather than on how much quality is given and customer satisfaction.
The staff of 11 tries to take on so much with enough time to give special attention to those who require intense problems to be resolved. Management does not think this is an issue and rather just increased the work time shifts into a 24 hour schedule with the hope of tackling these problems over a longer period of time.
Much of the business activity happens during daytime peak periods of normal business hours and not at night. Only routine functional enhancements by specialists are carried out at night, which is usually approved through an authorized change management process.
The style of problem management managed by the staff of this organization which is linked to its superordinate goals is something that needs to be reviewed and restructured so that the staffs doing this are not exhausted in their daily work life.
There is repetition of doing the same thing over and over and the staffs are not motivated or celebrated enough despite the fact that they are at the receiving end of complaints and verbal language hurled at them. Staffs in this department are highly discouraged and just pass through daily work life despite being the core support network across the entire business organization.
EMPLOYEES' MENTAL MODEL
Due to its relative size and structure, employees have developed the habit of hiding behind work processes to avoid taking responsibility for problems and issues when they come up. Buck passing is a common habit and because a lot of communication is done through internal mail, employees get protected from managers that defend their teams all the time even when the problem is obvious.
Because staff benefits are usually calculated based on individual appraisals and team performance so each team or department wants to take as little blows as possible and survive each year intact. The drawback of this is that problems are escalated often without reason to and senior managers have to often play mediator advocates to resolve issues. The general mental model subtly put is "do not drop thrash problems at my desk; I am not its custodian". Another mental model is that employees believe they have to do just enough for one day and do not want to go beyond a preset limit for extra work.
Appendix 1: LEARNING STYLE QUESTIONS
I often take reasonable risks if I feel it is justified
I tend to solve problems using a step by step approach and avoid any fanciful ideas
I have a reputation of having a no-nonsense direct style
I often find that actions based on feelings are as sound as those on careful thoughts and analysis
The key factor in judging a proposed idea or solution is whether or not it works in practice
When I hear about a new idea or approach I like to start working out how to apply it in practice
I like to follow a self-disciplined approach, establish clear processes and logical thinking patterns
I take pride in doing a methodical job
I get on best with logical, analytical people and less with spontaneous irrational people
I take care over the interpretation of data and avoid jumping to conclusions
I like to reach a decision after considering my alternatives
I am attracted more to new unusual ideas than to practical ones
I dislike situations that cannot fit into a coherent pattern
I like to relate my actions to general principles
In meetings I have a reputation for going straight to the point, no matter what others feel
I prefer to have as many sources of information as possible, the more the better
Flippant people who cannot take things seriously usually irritate me
I prefer to respond to events spontaneously, rather than plan things out in advance
I dislike having to present my conclusions under time pressure or rigid deadlines, when I could have spent more time thinking about the problem
I usually judge other people's ideas on their practical merits
I often get irritated by people who want to rush headlong into things
The present is much more important than thinking about the past or future
I think that decisions based on the analysis of the information are sounder than those based on intuition
In meetings I enjoy contributing ideas to the group
On balance I tend to talk more than I should and I need to develop my listening skills
In meetings I get very impatient with people who lose sight of the objective
I enjoy communicating my ideas and opinions to others
People in meetings should be realistic, keep to the point and avoid in indulging in fanciful ideas
I like to consider many alternatives before making up my mind
Considering the way my colleagues react in meetings I believe I am more objective and unemotional
In meetings I am more likely to keep in the background than to take the lead and do most of the talking
I prefer to do the listening than talking
Most times I believe the end justifies the mean
Reaching the group's objectives should take precedence over individual feelings and objections
I do whatever seems necessary to get the job done
I quickly get bored with methodical, detailed work
I am keen on exploring the basic principles and theories underpinning events
I like meetings to be run on methodical lines, sticking to the agreed agenda
I steer clear of subjective or ambiguous topics
I enjoy the drama and excitement of a crisis
APPENDIX 2: WEEKLY CLASS QUESTIONS
1. What is the best way to shape organizations values for the benefit of company survival to achieve ROI, especially after crisis periods such as the global economic crisis of 2008?
2. Knowing that implementation is as important as planning, why do strategic planning efforts fail to achieve the desired results even after long, careful man-hours have been put into defining and formulating them?
Week 5 - Structure is not Organization
1. Should an organization change its structure if it needs to change its strategy?
2. How can an organization achieve interactions and fit when trying to remodel its business strategy using the new view of organization diagram?
Introduction to Systems Thinking
1. How are systems thinking different from strategic thinking of Mintzberg from week 3?
Week 6 - Senge's Mental Models - putting strategic ideas into practice
1. Can an organization predict the outcomes of everyone aligning and adjusting to new mental models?
Ideas and excitement tends to build up when practical mental models cause a mind shift, and are being developed. Therefore,
2. How can they be managed effectively for organizational strategy?
Week 7 - Soft Systems Methodology - an application to a community based association
1. How can management apply a nicely developed conceptual problem to a real life spontaneous marketing / sales scenarios in different country branches (e.g. Unilever)?
2. How can software systems methodology be used effectively between theory and practice in an organization?