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In this assignment I will argue that how the paradigm shift happened in the organisation while facing recession in year 2008-2009.The purpose of this study is to share my real professional life experience in my previous company where I worked for 3+ years and to discuss how work environment had changed after making changes in the policies and structure of the organisation which resulted as high attrition rate in organisation.
Infosys is a global IT services and consulting organisation established in 1981 in Pune (India) which is listed on NASDAQ with more than 105,000 employees as on March 20th 2010 (2, www.infosys.com, 17th march 2010). Infosys has 50 offices and development centers in India, China, Australia, Czech Republic, Poland, UK, Canada and Japan. The main headquarters are located in cyber city of India, Bangalore. It has grown from a capital of US$ 250 (two hundred and fifty US dollars), to become a US$ 4 billion company with a market capitalization of approximately US$ 27 billion (2, www.infosys.com, 17th Mar 2010). Infosys has adopted the Global Delivery Model which emerged as a disruptive force in the industry leading to the rise of offshore outsourcing and became the first IT service organisation from India to be listed on NASDAQ. Infosys had established itself as a reliable brand for BFSI (Banking and Financial services and Insurance).
Infosys Work Ethics and Structure
Infosys management structure is hierarchy based and responsible for managing its business units. The top of the hierarchy is enjoyed by CEO of the organisation and he handles all management level issues in the organisation. President/COO comes at next level which is followed by the Directors and Group heads. Vice presidents of each Infosys Business Unit ("IBU") work at the 4th level. Each IBU's Vice President has a Group Project Manager a.k.a. GPM, Senior Project Manager a.k.a. SPM, Project Manager a.k.a. PM, Technical Analyst, Sr. Software Engineers and Software Engineer under him as explained in figure 2. All technical implementation done at the Technical Analyst level and management level work is done at the Project Manager's level. Here, the Project manager also plays the role of a SPOC (Single Point of Contact) provided by the organisation to clients for providing product services. SPOC is responsible for addressing the issues raised by clients. Fig 2.1 and 2.2 in appendix (i) can be referred for the clear view of the organisational structures.
Infosys, an organisation known for its employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction was the biggest assets for the organisation because Infosys worked on the basis of the theory that every employee contributes towards the welfare of the organisation if they feel comfortable and feel recognized at work place. The mission of the organisation is "To Achieve our objectives in an environment of fairness, honesty and courtesy towards our clients, employees, vendors and society and large" (2, www.infosys.com, 17th Mar 2010). It explains that the organisation relied on the employee satisfaction. It works primarily to make the employee happy to gain loyalty of the employees towards work.
The work flow in the organisation was setup in the manner where every person knew his/her job thoroughly. Communication was transparent and understandable. 360 feedback rule adopted by the company in its work culture so that low level staff can also give feedback for high level staff. This was inculcated to have a cordial understanding of the work force. All the employees were satisfied with the facilities and work given to them. Managers were more flexible towards the employees and employees were putting their best foot forward to achieve the goals. In case there was any problem that was resolved with a proper communication and this golden rule played a vital part of the work culture in Infosys. According to Calas and Smircich (1999), one perspective of the organisation as a culture has focused on the nature of communications in the organisation and how this communication affects organisational members. Organisation never faced any situation where employees felt dissatisfied with their work or their work culture. The management was responsible for carving the responsibilities of each employee.
Infosys had been ranked among the top 50 most respected companies in the world by Reputation Institute's Global Reputation Pulse 2009 and had also been voted as the 'Most Admired Indian Company' in The Wall Street Journal Asia 200 continuously for 10 years since 2000. Infosys was recognized and ranked among 'India's Best Companies to Work For ' in a survey by the Great Place to WorkÂ® Institute and conferred with the NASSCOM gender inclusivity award. Asset magazine acclaimed our Corporate Governance, acknowledging our corporate policies and practices as amongst the best in the industry. (6, www.infosys.com, 17th Mar 2010)
There were some excellent facilities provided to the employees in the organisation.
Flexible timings of work
Bonus, salary hikes and perks in regular intervals
Paid/unpaid leaves and those can be carry forward to next year if not used or those can be reimbursed by the end of year if not used by employee
Extracurricular activities (Indoor and Outdoor Games, Quiz, Health Club, Swimming pool, Indoor shopping complex and cultural competition programs)
Promotions were given on reasonable time. i.e. 3.5 years for Module leader and 6 years for Project manager
Above mentioned are some examples of excellent facilities provided by the organisation which made their employees fell at ease and it also attracted the talent outside the organisation due to its ethics which run on job satisfaction to its employees. The working environment of Infosys was very relaxed. Employees at low level can freely communicate to the employees at top level and there was no discrimination for the role level in the organisation. I worked as Software Engineer in Infosys and I had 8 junior members who worked under me never felt uncomfortable while talking to me or to any senior management regarding any issue which needed our guidance. Even I didn't face any sort of hesitation while speaking to my manager due to the work environment and ethics in organisation.
Infosys Work Paradigm
Fig. 1.1:- shows the previous and ideal work paradigm of Infosys
As per my observations, company was in a gear to deal with any variation in the market. Company was making profit even in the harder times because of its self adjusting work culture and co-operation from employees. I considered this organisation as a cordial place to work and can relate the work culture of Infosys to the functional paradigm where environment was self adjusting. Infosys had continuously achieved re-establishment towards a new equilibrium.
According to smith (2009), a self-adjusting system; always responding to external disturbances by tending towards the re-establishment of a new equilibrium. A World that is about as happy a place as it could practically be (Smith, 2009). It is possible to think of social entities such as individuals, groups, organisations, firms and nation states as if they were objects of varying size, direction and force, all having some degree of effect on each other and all sharing a social system that had a similar kind of stability to it, rather like a planetary system.(Smith, 2009)
The Functionalist paradigm considers the organisation as a stable and well established unit. This paradigm reflects on the all factors which keeps the organisation stable. In the case of Infosys, employee satisfaction was the main factor and responsible for its continuous stability in the market. Organisation work environment was constantly trying to achieve equilibrium that was balance. According to the functional paradigm, a stable organisation is the best organisation to work and trust. All small factors which help organisation to be stable must be included into the functionality of the organisation.
Implementation of Changes in the Policies
In Dec 2007, Recession hit U.S. (Borbelly, 2009) which affected many companies which were dependent on the U.S. market. Infosys is one of those companies where large part of the revenue is dependent in the U.S. market. The revenue declined which impacted its business. The organisation had to go through a sudden shock. Profits were low and cost of projects was high. This situation made the organisation management to re-think on the strategy of Infosys. Organisation management had to take decisions to recover from this situation. Management decided to implement bunch of policies changes in the organisation and cost cutting in 2008. The main purpose of the changes in the policies was to cope up with the recession which had hit Infosys because of the recession in US IT market. Below are some main policies which were changed and implemented during this time period.
It was made compulsory for every employee to complete 9:15 working hours daily in office and no flexible timings were given to complete the deadlines. It included 45 minutes lunch break. It was implemented to improve productivity.
Every employee has to complete the two academic certification (1 technical and 1 managerial) to gain CRR rating 1 which is criteria of further promotion of an employee. If an employee does not have CRR 1 then promotion would be on hold and will be postpone to next year. This Policy was implemented to restrict promotions and salary hikes.
Time span of the promotions was induced. Earlier employees has to wait 3 years to be Module Leader and 5-6 years to be Project Manager from software engineer but now this time span for Project Manager was 8 years
Structure of the organisation was changed at lower level. 2 more position was involved in between Software Engineer to Project Manager. Fig 2.2 in Appendix i can be referred for the changed structure.
No employee can go outside the working area (not even in library) within 9:15 hours (from 8:30 am to 5:45 pm) which mean employees cannot use the facilities provided by the organisation within this time. Employees were encouraged to complete the project in deadlines.
A fresher employee has to go through a foundation and technical training of 8 months which was earlier for 3 months when I joined the organisation. As per my observations, no one wants to go through a training of 8 months while working. This policy helped organisation to hold the salary hikes because trainees get low salary than the other employees.
There are some more changes which were implemented in the organisation which I cannot mention here due to word limit. Appendix (ii) can be referred for those changes.
The Paradigm Shift
The World before
The World After
The Chaotic Paradigm
Fig. 1.2: shows Paradigm shift
Impact of Policies Changes: Chaotic World
These policies were implemented for cost cutting in the organisation and to complete the projects on time. Chaos theory says sometimes small decisions and changes result in the big impact on the work culture of organisation. According to Thiétart and Forgues (1995), the chaos theory shows that any businesses are nonlinear dynamic systems, subjected to times of instability and stability, taking them toward.
The perception of management was that these policies will make employee concentrate on their work and overall these policies helped Infosys to survive in the recession and make profit. However, Infosys also had to face negative part of it. Implementation of these policies results the employees to face de-motivation and dissatisfaction. Before implementation of the policies, Infosys was a dream organisation for every employee but after implementation of these policies employees felt like forced to work. Infosys was known as the best employer and as I mentioned before employee satisfaction was the biggest strength of the organisation. But after these changes, whole scene had changed. I was feeling at that time "Did management think about the employees while taking these decisions and did I take correct decision to join this organisation"?
I sometimes tried to think differently and tried to cope up with the situation. With me, so many other employees were trying to adopt the changed environment but it was harder to work when things were totally changed and co-operation was not there. Covey (1989) explains how to think differently about you (intrapersonal paradigms) and how to think differently about working with others (interpersonal paradigms). Organisation didn't think about the loyal employees and I was still trying to think differently and taking these changes positively but things were getting worse and worse with the time because of changed environment. I sometimes felt that the management had taken the right decision by implementing the cost cutting and policies which were the only option for the organisation at that crucial time of downturn which affect business all over the world. However, as per the corporate rule if company gets diverted from its mission then it always seems to be on the wrong way. Before taking this decision management should have think about the outcomes of the changes and management should have been a bit concerned about those loyal employees who were working for them from last so many years.
The implemented policies regulations had a big depressing effect on the employees of Infosys and employees started feeling under pressure. The situation was chaotic and work environment was worse. We must look at the lens through which we see the world, as well as at the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world (Covey, 1989).Earlier Infosys was a steady and cordial place to work. But these small changes had made a big impact on the company and employees as a whole. The new environment is looking like chaotic and whole situation was changed in the organisation. Hence we can relate the current paradigm of the Infosys to the chaotic paradigm where small changes make big difference in the organisation.
As per my experience, this implementation results in the below outcomes:
Employee satisfaction was going down since there was not motivation to in work culture
There was no fun at work. Nobody was enjoying the work they were doing most of the employees were doing it for the sake of saving their job in recession
There was panic in the employees. Cooperation was not there and Environment became chaotic and workaholic
Attrition rate went high in organisation since so many employees left the organisation and I was one of them. It was 11% till Sept 2009 and it had been said that in the month of February 2010, 4000 employee may have left the organisation (6, www.economictimes.indiatimes.com) and 14,000 resignation letters are in the queue. This is a biggest impact of these small decisions taken by the management. Now attrition rate is going up to 21% (Current data is taken from the internal resources of the company and name cannot be disclosed)
Due to panic and workaholic environment, sick leaves and unpaid leave rose up
After all this, Organisation had made a bad reputation in their employees and no one wants to work there anymore. It had bad impact on the way outsiders looked at Infosys
Organisation was diverted from its primary mission.
Earlier the organization focused on satisfying the employees which could in turn deliver the best customer service outside the organisation
Practical Implications which the claims that 'feelings are involved in cognition ethics and actions' carry for any attempt you might make to bring about major changes in an organisation.
I always think and try to find out what went wrong with the process in Infosys and what I could have done if I was in the higher management and had been given the authority to change the things or handle this chaotic condition. According to Covey (1989, p. 28), the paradigms are the source of our attitudes and behaviors. We cannot act with integrity outside of them. We simply cannot maintain wholeness if we talk and walk differently than we see. I and all Infosys employees were breathing in the world which was self adjusting and balanced. All employees were habitual of a friendly and co-operative environment. But this changed condition made us all working under pressure and all expectations from the company went wrong. I wanted to change myself according to this situation but it was too late and the situation was too worse to change. So at the end, I felt like working at wrong place. I was literally thinking "Is this the same company where I wanted to work? Is there any growth left in this company for me? Is this my dream company?". Organisation had put itself into a deep trouble by shifting its paradigm. Infosys is the organisation which was well established with their world and their own paradigm. Higher management should have measured this situation before doing any changes. If I was in the higher management then I would have taken some slow but good steps to tackle with this situation. I could have spoken with my other management and board members and discussed the entire real factors which may affect the organisation and employees performance.
I might consider at that time the change in paradigm will make people changing to adapt the condition. The process of changing work culture and paradigm take time. Sometimes we need to take the time and effort to force ourselves to dismantle old structures (Anonymous, 2005). Feelings of employees are the vital part of any work culture. In Infosys, most of the employees were used to old paradigm and they did not want to change their world and I was literally a part of same culture. Management had to think about well maintained transition but they did not. It lead the situation being more chaotic in two years.
If I was in the management then I would have had conducted the surveys about the feelings of the employees about changing the work culture. It would help me generate new employee supported policies in positive terms. The lack of motivation in the employees affected the entire organisation and carved it in the chaotic place to work for. Some more positives could have been applied on it to deal with the conditions. Some sessions could be conducted to inform employees about the conditions and situations which might make the employees concerned about the company. The management didn't think positively about the employees' feelings and aim of the organisation was totally changed. According to Robbins (2007), manager's view of nature of human beings is based on a certain groupings of assumptions and that he or she tends to mould his or her behavior toward employees. I felt that organisation's management totally thinking about to make profits even in time of recession. If they had implemented the theory Y which is based on the positive assumptions, they could have survived the whole paradigm shift. Theory Y explains that managers base their assumptions on positivity (Robbins, 2007).
Many other managers of other organisations have observed the hazard of only considering employees as a simple production machines or an expendable goods. They have also realized that respecting people (i.e. considering their capability to think and not just to perform physical work) is the foundation of any durable improvement of the company's performance and management style(Yaw, 1999). So it is too significant to consider the employees' point of view while implementing the major change in any organisation.
If I was the manager I would have implemented some employee supportive sessions which may have helped employees to adapt the situation and would have tried to explain the situation. I would have asked them for their support to the organisation. Participative management can be taken as one good example of the employee involvement. As per Robbins (2007), In Participative management subordinates actually share a significant degree of decision-making power with their immediate supervisors. This could provide employees motivation by increasing responsibility towards the organisation and more involvement in the work rather than other facilities. Thus employee involvement program clearly has the potential to increase motivation (Robbins, 2007).
The changed policies made a big impact on the employees and made them leave. Implemented changes and cost cutting in organisation did not work for the organisation. Organisation got diverted from its primary motive of satisfying the employees. This turned the environment in a chaotic world where things were totally messed up. Two years ago, Infosys was known as a reputable and well known organisation for work ethics in line with functionalist paradigm, but now whole organisation was changed into chaotic place. It shows how decisions taken for benefit of the organisation and its people sometimes change the environment. Recession just became a reason of the paradigm shift and the whole organisation went through the huge impact and lead to bad reputation. Only things needed by the management were to take some time and take reasonable decisions and things would have been improved. To summarize in the end the event explores, in Infosys the formal rationality was becoming more competitive than substantive rationality; this affected the organisation and created chaotic work environment.
Books and journals:
Anonymous, (2005) 'Random observations From': International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Volume 54, Issue 1
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Covey, S. (1989) The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. 2004 edn. Free Press
Robbins, S. (2007) Organisational Behaviour.11th edn. Prentice Hall India, pp.172
Calas, M. B. and Smircich, L. (1999): 'Past Postmodernism? Reflections and Tentative Directions' Academy of Management Review 24(4). pp. 649-671
Smith, S. (2008) 'Three Paradigms: What World are we In and How Should I Manage for the Future?'
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Yaw, O. (1999) 'Importance of employee involvement in world-class agile management systems', International Journal of Agile Management Systems, Vol.1 No.2
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