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One of the major challenges that virtually every big organisation faces is change. West, R. and Turner, L. (2004) suggests that "companies and organisations are undergoing significant changes in the twenty-first century". For every organisation to make it to the top (and stay there), the organisation must adapt to every situation it finds itself. This can only be achieved if the organisation changes its modus operandi and broaden its horizon to fit the present economic situation.
"People-U-Like" is a recruitment agency that is beginning to experience credit crunch, skills shortage e.t.c, and for these reasons and the fact that there are receiving increasing enquiries arising from international firms, is considering expanding into Europe.
After studying the brief history of "People-U-Like", I am suggesting that the company should move to France. This is because France is one of the most modern countries in the world and is a leader among European nations. For us to properly render quality service that the people would appreciate, we would need to purchase a company that has already built a name for itself in the country. Reason being that, we would save ourselves a lot of time and energy. Also, if we are able to buy an already existing organisation successfully, we can easily amend the culture of the organisation to suite ours.
However, we would have to employ some fresh capable hands and relieve some of the employees with bad records. Although this would cost us some money as we are going to have to pay them off, but it is better to have workers who are willing to help the organisation grow as that is what we need to stand firm in the market.
The manager of this new branch has to be someone from the corporate head office, who speaks French and understands how their market works. He/she would be required to go to France to hold meetings with the employees of the new branch, on behalf of the management, put things in place and return to the UK and give feed back to the head office.
The various communication & power gap, cultural differences, change management e.t.c. will be critically analysed in the main body of this report.
2. VARIOUS THEORIES AND HOW THEY RELATE TO PEOPLE-U-LIKE.
2.1. PEOPLE-U-LIKE AND ORGANISATIONAL COMMUNICATION THEORY.
Watson and Gallagher (2009) states that "organisational communication corresponds to the various methods organisations use to inform employees about matters management believes to be important".
There are a lot of theories on communication; however I have chosen to work with the Network Theory and Analysis (social network) in organizations. The social network analysis is the study of how the social structure of relationships around a person, group, or organisation affects beliefs or behaviours. It is the study of how relationships influence or affect the behaviour of people in an organisation. In general, network analysis focuses on the relationships between people. These relationships may comprise the feelings people have for each other or the exchange of information. "The network analysis helps to uncover the emergent and informal communication patterns present in an organisation, which may then be compared to the formal communication structures. Since the patterns of relationships bring employees into contact with the attitudes and behaviours of other organisational members, these relationships may also help to explain why employees develop certain attitudes toward organisational events or job-related matters." University of Twente (2010).
Relating this theory to People-U-Like, it suggests that the place employees take in the communication network/ position they hold in the organization influences their access to information, which can either work for or against the organisation. In this regard, most of the employees in the lower levels would have little or no access to information in the organisation and this might affect their overall productivity.
2.2 POWER THEORY AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH "PEOPLE-U-LIKE".
Power is "the capacity to impress the dominance of one's goals or values on others". Watson & Gallagher (2009).
One of the most notable studies on power was conducted by social psychologists John French and Bertram Raven in 1959, who identified five bases of power; Legitimate, Reward, Expert, Referent and Coercive.
Legitimate - This comes from the belief that a person has the right to make demands, and expect compliance and obedience from others.
Reward - This results from one person's ability to compensate another for compliance.
Expert - This is based on a person's superior skill and knowledge.
Referent - This is the result of a person's perceived attractiveness, worthiness, and right to respect from others.
Coercive - This comes from the belief that a person can punish others for noncompliance.
The kind of power exercised in People-U-Like is the coercive type. This type of power is based upon the idea of coercion. It involves forcing someone to do something that they do not want to do. The ultimate goal of coercion is compliance. This source of power can often lead to problems and in many circumstances it involves abuse. This source of power is problematic, and can be subject to abuse.
Threats and punishment are common tools of coercion. Implying or threatening that someone will be fired, demoted, denied privileges, or given undesirable assignments - these are examples of using coercive power. While one's position may give the person the ability to coerce others, it doesn't automatically mean that one has the will or the justification to do so. However, extensive use of coercive power is rarely appropriate in an organisational setting.
Relying on this form of power alone may result in a poor style of leadership. For our managers to be true leaders, we need a better source of power that can be supplied by a title or an ability to reward ability. Coercion would certainly work if the company has no intention of expanding, but since we are opening a new branch, we would have to be very smart. This we can achieve if our staffs are hard working and the working conditions are favourable to the employees. For us to get the desired results from our employees, we need to persuade them and not force them to do the work. Only then can we achieve our aim of rendering quality services that would attract customers.
2.3 THE ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE OF PEOPLE-U-LIKE.
Organisational culture is an idea in the field of organisational studies and management which describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values (personal and cultural values) of an organisation. It has been defined as the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organisation and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organisation. The organisational structure of People-U-Like is Unitary/Functional type of organisational structure. In this type of structure, everyone knows where they are and a line is drawn between the staff. The major demerit of this type of structure is that the departments might create barriers between each other, work to meet their own ends without necessarily working to favour the organisation.
Prof. Geert Hofstede (1973) conducted a comprehensive study of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. The diagrams below compare the various cultural issues between France and the UK.http://www.geert-hofstede.com/graphs/hofstede_france.gif http://www.geert-hofstede.com/graphs/hofstede_united_kingdom.gif
( Please find the explanation of the key points in appendix 3).
Comparing the organisational culture of France and the United Kingdom, it is quite easy to see that the two countries have different organisational cultures. While the Power Distance Index (PDI) in France is high, meaning that the less powerful in France believe that power is distributed unequally, the PDI of the UK is low, meaning that the less powerful in the organisation believes that power is distributed equally. This would affect the way the employees behave and view the organisational structure.
The IDV percentage of the two countries are high, meaning that they share the notion that every individual in the organisation is expected to look after him/herself.
While the MAS percentage of the UK is high to mean that the business environment is more masculine than feminine, that of France is low which means that France's business culture is the opposite of UK's.
The UK's business environment is tolerant to opinions different from what they are used to, but the France business environment is not. This would also reflect on the way we are going to break into the market and integrate our culture into the culture of the organisation we are going to build (buy or merge with).
2.4 IMPLEMENTING THE CHANGE
All of these things have to be properly sorted out to make our break into the market easy and rewarding.
To make it easy for us to break into the market, we need an appropriate change plan/programme.
Watson and Gallagher (2009), suggested that change is the process of "analysing the past to elicit the present actions required for the future. It involves moving from a present state, through a transition state, to a future desired state".
There are various reasons why organisations might need a change programme. These includes
Organisational growth or contraction.
Change in the business environment.
A perceived need to diversify.
The arrival of new personnel or the emergence of new outlook.
The introduction of new technology.
We need a change programme because we are moving into another country. To properly implement this change, we need to make sure that the people affected by this change, most especially the personnel who would be going to France to represent us, understands the need to expand and if possible, give the person a chance to be involved in the change process. Since our organisation would entail new actions, objectives and processes in France, we would need to encourage the management team (that would be leading the France branch) to use workshops to achieve understanding, involvements, plans and commitment. However, some of the employees might be resistant to the change. Some of the reasons responsible for this include fear of new programmes, economic fears, inconvenience, general dislike of the idea, competence fears, threat to inter-personal relationship, threat to status or skills.
(Please find attached, in appendix 1, the change programme proposed for the organisation).
Effective communication is essential, since "achieving change is facilitated by working with stakeholders to agree a clear and realistic set of desirables" [Molly, E and Whittington, R. (2005)].
Having analysed the situation, I recommend that:
We should buy a company in France. This would save us a lot of time and energy. It would also make our job easier, though it is going to be expensive. We would have to relieve some of their old staff, of their jobs and get new ones to replace them, in other to get new ideas and able minds.
Whoever is going to go to France (preferably, a bachelor or a newly wedded man) would have to be cajoled to stay in France for at least six months. However, if we cannot get a bachelor, arrangements would be made to relocate his family to France after a few weeks. This would afford us time to properly prepare for them.
For the communication pattern, I recommend that the communication system in the organisation should be flexible. Employees should be allowed to pass comments and opinions freely without fear.
Considering that the power distance percentage of France is quite different from the way it is done in the UK, I recommend that we work towards the system that is used there. The power gap should not be allowed to be too large. This would make it easy for the employees to work in a relaxed environment and make suggestions/opinions when needed.
The manager should practice the expert type of power. If he has knowledge and skills that enable him to understand a situation, suggest solutions, use solid judgment, and generally outperform others, people would listen and obey him. If he can demonstrate expertise, people would trust him and respect whatever he says. That way, his ideas will have more value.
The unitary/functional organisational structure used now in the head office should be used in the France branch as well.
If all of these things are put in place, I believe strongly that our purpose of expansion would be fulfilled.
Proper management of the branch we are about opening is very important. The management process must involve proper planning, controlling, coordinating, organising, leading, and/or executing to execute this. To get the best out of our proposed operation in France, the individual who is going to represent us must know what it takes to be a good leader.
(Please find attached the qualities he/she is expected to possess in appendix 2).
Proper communication, organisational culture/structure, power relationship and managerial process all work together, hand in hand to bring out the best in the employees of an organisation.