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One of the most challenging features in organizations is change and how to cope with it, in respect to the organizations' competencies and strategic goals. Organizations need to find ways to confront environmental change, technological change, competition change, market change, culture change and many more. This can be a complex mission and one needs to be as prepared as possible for it. One of the most important aspects for an organization is to find the way to cope with the above.
In this analysis we will discuss change in MTN Cyprus Ltd, the types of changes the management had to face, what where the barriers of change and how they were overcome, the change leadership style of the CEO of the company and finally his level of leadership.
MTN Cyprus Ltd is a telecommunication provider, offering GSM and UMTS radio frequencies for mobile and broadband services. It was established in Cyprus in 2004, as Areeba after having successfully won the auction for the second mobile license in the island. It currently holds 25% market share, with over 200000 subscribers. The current CEO of the company is Mr. Bassel Jamaleddine. MTN Cyprus Ltd, is a part of the multinational MTN Group which operates in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
MTN Cyprus Ltd has established an agreement with a network provider in China, in order to swap and upgrade its current network in Cyprus. This swap of network would bring great change for the stakeholders of MTN Cyprus Ltd. With this network swap the company has set as goals to achieve higher network speed, larger network capacity, better quality of voice call, broader geographical and population coverage, and reduce or even eliminate the dependency of national roaming (from the existing provider) by early 2011. The vision of the company is to become the most preferred network provider in the Cyprus market  .
There were several types of changes to be confronted in the company and can be considered, both, proactive and reactive. The table below demonstrates the four types of changes in respect to timing and extent of strategic change  .
A part of the proactive changes regarded various factors that triggered the need for change, such as the limitations of the current network, in addition to the complaints by customers concerning the quality of their services, which contradict the vision of the company. This generated the urgency for the CEO of the company to implement planned transformational changes, which dealt with the general processes of the company, its values and behaviors. Some of the changes included the training of the technical team, top and middle managers, adjustments on the goals of the company, and regular meetings regarding various issues. In addition, the CEO implemented adaptation changes, regarding culture issues in the company, since many of the stakeholders were complacent in reference to the change, the training of the employees, daily processes and company resources. Finally, he adopted forced transformational changes through the swap of the network with visible performance outcomes.
Moreover, the barriers that the CEO had to face were many, and had to do with different aspects. According to W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, 2005, four organizational hurdles need to be overcome. These are presented in the graph below  .
Some of the above organizational hurdles that the company faced are described below:
Complacency: The people in the company were not convinced that there was intensive need for change, were pessimistic since they have seen change efforts fail previously (66% of change projects in the company were considered as failed), were not persuaded of the outcomes, did not trust the people implementing the changes, and finally believed they would find themselves in a loss position as a result of the change.
Limited resources: There weren't adequate personnel to cover both, the swap and the existing maintenance and support of the network. There was high dependency on the new network provider, until installation and training was established, there was lack of experience, the systems were cumbersome, not up to date, and there were budget issues.
Systems/Processes: The performance of the current systems is in conflict with new ones until swap and some after, too many decision making layers/high bureaucracy.
Politics: Both, internal and external stakeholders would resist to the change.
Culture: Inertia and pessimism by many people in the organization, Cypriot culture difficulty accepts change (See Appendix B, Table 2, Hodstedes' five cultural dimensions).
Selective perception: People in the organization interpreted the current issues in the company differently, this lead to the lack of urgency and misunderstanding of the problems and their assessment and confrontment. According to Kotter one person with passion equals to forty people merely interested. In addition, they saw the changes in the organization in their own way, some negative and some positive.
Furthermore, the company, in order to overcome these barriers decided to implement in each project, and in the specific project, detailed action plans, according to John P. Kotter's eight step process to transform the organization. According to Kotter in order to establish transformational change there is a need to act differently according to the stage we are. Many change initiatives fail and this partly due to the fact that "too many of us don't realize that transformation is a process, not an event"  . A table of the transformation process can be seen in Appendix A and described in more detail below.
The first step to this process is to "Establish a sense of urgency". Kotter mentions that in most companies when a situation emerges whether positive or negative it is very difficult to establish enough urgency in order to generate action. "Establishing a sense of urgency is crucial to gaining needed cooperation"  . "Increasing urgency, demands that you remove sources of complacency or minimize their impact"  . This can be done by examining market and competitive certainties and recognizing and arguing crises, likely emergencies or key prosperities.
The second step is "Forming a Powerful Guiding Coalition". In order to generate the change in an organization an initial group of people should be created and should be pretty powerful, in terms of the roles they have in the organization. This group of people, the "guiding coalition", ought to be around 3-5 people, regardless of the size of the organization. The aim of this stage is to put together as many people who believe in the change and to encourage them to work as a team.
The third step is "Creating a vision". "Vision refers to a picture in the future with some implicit or explicit commentary on why people should strive to create that future"  . The vision should be simple and easy to understand by everyone in the organization, to clarify the general direction of change and to be motivating.
The forth step is "Communicating the vision". "Employees will not make sacrifices even if they are unhappy with the status quo, unless they believe that useful change is possible"  . Therefore, it is very important that the vision is communicated to all the people of the organization by using all channels and opportunities, along with the strategies of the organization.
The fifth step is "Empowering others to act on the vision". In this stage Kotter suggests that organizations ought to get rid of obstacles that restrain the efforts of change, change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision, and encourage risk taking and nontraditional ideas, activities and actions.
The sixth step is "Planning for and creating short-term wins". Due to the fact that most organizations, and people in general, are very reluctant into taking long term change Kotter suggests that leaders actively organize and develop some short term benefits. Recognition and motivation should be given to the employees involved in the improvements. This will thrive motivation, and keep the effort lively.
The seventh step is "Consolidating improvements and producing still more change". Kotter says "Celebrating a win is fine, declaring the war won can be catastrophic"  . The words of the author clearly demonstrate that until the changes we have made are deeply sunk in the culture of the organization nothing is sure. Since, this is a long term process and generally new approaches are frail and subject to depression. Leaders therefore should use this feeling of victory in order to motivate and inspire for further long term results. Also, the hiring, promotion and development of employees who can implement the vision is necessary.
Finally, in step eight we have "Institutionalizing new approaches" where in this final analysis Kotter mentions that leaders should articulate the connections between the new behaviors and corporate success and develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession.
Moreover, in regards to the change leadership styles that the CEO of the company has appointed, I believe that he has used different types of styles. He adjusted the leadership style he would use according to the specific situation or people he dealt with. The graph below demonstrates the five change leadership styles  .
Some examples of the range of leadership styles the CEO of MTN Cyprus LTD used are:
He informed and explained the benefits regarding the new network to customers (high quality services) and employees (higher performance, effectiveness and efficiency, greater performance is also a motivation since the increase in salary is based on performance levels).
He brought the experts from abroad, in order to inform the people of the organization on the benefits of the new system, provide general information regarding its use, and to train the personnel.
Directive: He told the directors of the company and middle managers to go to certain "problematic" areas to see for themselves the actual problems, in order to understand that there is a drastic need for this change in the company.
Participative: He arranged meetings with all the top and middle management, in order to generate a dialogue, listen to what they have to say, receive feedback and accept suggestions.
What we learn from the above implementation of change leadership styles is that a variety of change leadership styles can be used concurrently depending on the stakeholder and the task that the leader has to confront  . The CEO of MTN Cyprus Ltd has taken that into consideration for successfully bringing change in the organization. In my own personal opinion the CEO of the company is an effective leader, since he catalyzes loyalty towards the goals and the stakeholders of the company, has strong chase of the vision, and has successfully managed to motivate the group into high performance standards.
Also, I believe that he is a transformational leader, since he has given a new, gripping vision to the people in and outside the company, he inspired loyalty to the competencies and the people of the company when many did not which successfully has lead to extraordinary performance by all. He is a motivator, he has the intellectual stimulation, individualized deliberation and charisma, and he has successfully brought change into MTN Cyprus Ltd, transforming the organization and brining a new era for the company. Many were the pessimists regarding the change, he was the one to believe in it, cope with change and bring victory. According to John P. Kotter, "Management is coping with complexity"  , on the other hand, "Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change"  .
Finally, order to get across the need for change a leader should confront the problem, rather than ignore it. "Give the work back to employees"  not just provide them with answers, promote team work, and instill self-confidence in order to take up responsibility. Leadership is not about people depending on you, but showing the way and supporting rather than controlling people. According to Roland A. Heifetz and Donald L. Laurie, a leader should encourage managers to bring out and deal with the conflicts instead of indulging in scapegoating or denial and to demonstrate that the solution to problems is collaboration amongst all people in the organization. Also, the authors encourage to "maintain just enough tension, resisting pressure to restore the status quo. Raise tough questions without succumbing to anxiety yourself. Communicate presence and poise".