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Pluto Telecommunications Case Study

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Updated: Aug 14th, 2019

Pluto telecommunication is among the leading companies offering telecommunication services in Ireland, ranging from event production and conference management to marketing support and project management. In the recent times, the company has been on the brink of crumble due to internal wrangles in some of its departments including sales, marketing, and customer services departments that have had several face-off incidences, attributed to bonus allocation and time pressures.

Each department holds an unpleasant opinion of the resulting to unhealthy departmental competition, loss of business and general customer dissatisfaction. Acknowledgement of managerial differences is vital in improving the working relations and increasing productivity (Buchanan & Huczynski 2007).

Analysis

In carrying out the analysis of the Pluto telecommunications company, Sogi analysis comprising of the societal, organisational, group and individual analysis is used. However, Pluto has been analysed with the exclusion of societal level.

Organisational analysis

Organization tradition

Organization tradition refers to the common practices carried out within different departments in an organization. These practices make the organization different from others, and aim at enabling it to have a competitive edge (Organizational analysis 2012). The culture fosters the beliefs and practices common to all the members of the organization, enabling them with a sense of belonging and the motivation to work more diligently as opposed to those who do not uphold this culture.

In Pluto, Ms Tsang strived to work towards a culture of unity and assumed she had achieved it. She was, however, surprised all her efforts had been thwarted by the disagreements among the three departments. The departments had developed other subcultures. Culture determines the interaction of the organization with the outside world and the mechanisms used in achieving its goals. Therefore, a strong culture serves as a hallmark in portraying the actual identity of the organization.

Having a dynamic culture alone does not guarantee success. There are some large organizations with strong cultures, but still suffered losses due to inflexibility in accepting changes especially those that threaten personal interest as explained in the Iron Law of Oligarchy (Michels 1911).

Organizations such as Hewlett Packard were able to make profits since their strong cultures were backed by flexibility towards change. Comparatively, Pluto telecomunications’ culture did not undergo the relevant transformation required, thus the problems it faces. Inspite of the organization’s adaptability culture, the subculture that cropped up served as a significant barrier towards the realisation of their goals.

Organization structure

In Pluto telecommunications, a hierachy development is observable in which members of each department report to a departmental head, who in turn reports to Ms. Tsang. Mathew Craven had the opinion that differentiation as the main reason for the problems; as stated in the contigency theory (Lawrence and Lorsch 1967).

Pluto is viewed as flexible and adaptive towards the various changes in technology a factor attributed to the presence of distinct groups in the organization. However, the organization is viewed differently in terms of differentiation due to the absence of integration within its units of operation as intense competition arises greater change and confrontation of conflict (Beer 1990).

The assumption by Ms. Tsang was that the company’s unity was deflated by the wrangles that arouse as a result of subdivision. Lack of integration is the main cause of parallel communication between the departments, for instance, when a new product was launched by the marketing department without communication to the sales and customer departments.

The inconsistencies in the dependence of the three departments have been underestimated by the organization’s senior management, and this has resulted into lack of communication between the departments (Lawrence & Lorsch 1967).

Functional categorisation has contributed to the narrow specialisation of the departmental heads, other than facilitating an outside the box thinking. This makes it impossible to establish clear roles of each department and with each department treats the other as a completely different entity.

When Ms. Tsang remained with the directors and asked them of the way forward, they could not talk infront of each other, a clear sign of group-thinking a problem similar to that faced by the CEO of Marks and Spenser, Sir Richard Greenbury (Buchanan & Huczynski 2007).

Organisational analysis is better viewed through the ‘SWOT’ theory that outlines its strenghts, weakness, opportunities and threats. Strengths are characterized by voluntary staff participation in programs, improvement of financial resources, good facilities and company recognition; this leads to incorporation of new programmes and increasd investment opportunities among other visionalised aspects (Rural development Initiatives 2001).

However, organisational analysis results to instability of the organistion making it handicapped by limitation in facilities, lack of expertise as people are used to overliance of one another and general decrease in funding especially from external sources (Rural Development Initiatives 2001). The behavoiur displayed by the espoused theory in Organizational analysis is that of being defensive, resistant to change and, employee to employee protection from the manager (Beer 1990).

Group level analysis

Group structure

Each of the three departments in Pluto telecommunications portray a different character from the others as a result of expansion of the organisation leading to the difficulty in internal communication.

The sales team group exhibits characters of a reserved group with each group being guided by its individual needs as a driving force towards achieving the set targets. This mode of operation hampers the spirit of team work and is the likely reason for the lack of cooperation between the sales team and both the customer service and marketing teams (Buchanan & Huczynski 2007).

The customer service department is rather bureaucratic in its handling of the employees. Its employees comprise of the receptionist and the company engineers, who are governed by strict rules and guidelines set by the organization’s top management. Their mode of operation is a forced type, whereby they have no choice but to work.

Their goals are driven by the organization rather than self-interest. In this department, communication is simply done via memos and emails; hence, it is more of institutionalised than the other two departments (Buchanan & Huczynski 2007).

The major challenge to these types of organisations is that they will encounter problems in adapting to new changes (Allcorn 1989). The marketing department on its side tries to work as a team. However, it displays an assorted relationship with its counterparts in customer and sales.

This is echoed by its opinion of the experiences and interactions of its counterparts in the two departments. Such attitudes and lack of a driving force towards cohesion by the heads of the respective departments is detrimental, not only to the organization’s unity but also on its reputation to the public. The lack of interraction leads to contradicting modes of operation, as was experienced by the customer service manager when a customer asked about the product launched by his company and he had no idea (Buchanan & Huczynski 2007).

Group culture

Each of the departments displays a totally different nature, in the way they carry out their activities. A look at the sales team creates an impression of an elite group whose culture is centred on competition and individualism. Their status is described by classy items, such as flashy cars and mobile phones, which drive a sense of pride in the team. As expected, arrogance and unwillingness to share with people of the other departments arises.

The customer service department tends to derive its culture from an institutionalised governance. It tends to shy away from speaking out its concerns, and it is obliged to follow the rules since the members presume to be safer that way (Allcorn 1989, p. 250). This authoritative leadership could suit engineers, but it might totally hamper communication between them and their colleagues, especially in circumstances where the style is informal to some extent.

In this culture, there is maximum monitoring of resources and staff are your most important resource. They react to people especially those in authority making it hard to accept change(Handy & Aitken 1986). The marketing department on its part has a tendency of avoiding interactions with other departments due to the nature of its work. This cripples the organization’s management efforts aimed at creating a unified body.

In such circumstances, each member becomes loyal to his department, more than even the organization itself. These subcultures ultimately lead to deraillance of the general organization’s objectives. These objectives are more often than not compromised as a result of unhealthy interdepartmental competition.

Individual level analysis

Leadership style

According to Allcorn (1989), there is no significant link between the leader’s characteristics and the organization’s performance. However, this is not the case as there is a sustantial evidence of highly successful organizations that are attributed to the strong and effective leadership. A critical analysis of the departments is likely to reveal huge differences in performances that are based on the qualifications of the leadership.

For instance, the marketing department, having the largest number of MBA graduates, is likely to achieve its goals quite easily as less time will be wasted on supervisions. Presumably, Ms. Tsang’s managerial challenges could be arising from leading the less educated or trained; and for this reason, she feels blamed for the disputes facing the departments. She tries hard, to show confidence as the only lady among gentlemen.

She is, however, betrayed by her anger outbursts, which exposes her weakness. Leadership should be the development of a vision on how the future should look like – giving directions on how to achieve it and enmesh all its members in its net (Buchanan & Huczynski, 2007, p. 360).

However, neither did Ms. Tsang nor did her directors raise any issue as apperrtains the vision, and also non of them had shown constructive participation. Ms. Tsang, therefore, needs to redefine her mode of leadership to a more transactive and transformative one. From this, she may manage to get the highest potential from her subordinates (Buchanan & Huczynski 2007).

Individuals and motivation

Motivation is a major problem facing the Pluto telecommunications company. As has been seen, the sales department seems to be enjoying the most out of its job with short timelines. The customer service team, on the other hand, experiences quite unfavourable terms as its timeline is usually dictated by the organization and takes unusually long time. Its motivation, usually comes from fear of not achieving rather than self drive.

This reward system, among the sales staff, has been more of a curse than a blessing to the organization because the competition has promoted individualism rather than teamwork. Studies have indicated that the “stick over carrot” system of motivation has severe long-term effects on the ultimate goal of the organization.

People tend to perfect on whatever they are doing if they are doing it in their own will and under positive motivation. However, if subjected to the pressure, they underperform and may not deliver much as stipulated in the McGregor X & Y theories.

The marketing department does not have clearly defined targets; it lacks a scale of measuring the contribution to the organizations overall goal. Setting goals that are specific is motivating than setting general goals (Locke and Latham 1990). If the marketing department members realised that they had a larger workload than the rest, they would develop feelings and become too personal, and this could make them fail to achieve.

Each department, in this case, is motivated in a different way. The sales department is motivated through extrinsic means customer service is forced to deliver through fear and marketing department is not motivated by unspecified goals. Since the extrinsic motivational methods influence the employees’ performance, they cannot be relied on to produce long-term goals.

This is partly because they are bound to transform with the adjustments in the operating environment. Also, they do not provide an environment of sharing ideas through teamwork as each person competes to be the best individually rather than as an organization (Buchanan & Huczynski 2007).

Conclusion

As a result of the expansion of the company, the challenges facing Ms Tsang and the company is as a result of the sub cultural divisions that have cropped within the organization’s departments, threatening to split it. It is said that unity is strength; therefore, the company will not be able to face the external factors with their internal misunderstandings still unresolved.

Their infighting weakens their bargaining prowess in the economic sector as has been clearly seen through their loss of customers. Communication- being an important tool in any organization- has been broken down as depicted in the open contradictions of the management. The different time orientation of each department has further led to the lack of understanding on the needs of each department.

Alternatives

Do nothing

This tactic is aimed at avoiding confrontations and losing of business by the organization. This would, however, result to more severe effects to the organization’s stability and may eventually break down the whole body in the long-run.

Openly confront Ms Tang

The directors have to move away from their group mentality and voice their opinions to Ms Tsang. This should be done tactically so as to avoid confrontation with each other. Having such open discussions will help in bringing the organization to its feet, in terms of communication and creating awareness on the needs of the other departments.

During discussion, people should control their emotions, while the members of the management should make sure they sort out issues at higher levels rather than doing it at personal levels. People tend to work effectively, and self motivated when their boss incorporates their views in making decisions for the organization (McGregor 1960).

Re-structuring the organization

The management should consider reconstructing the organization. One of the alternatives would be to convert the departments from process oriented to market oriented. This would allow flexibility within the organisation and so the ease with which the departments would interchange their roles.

This will also equip each department with wider skills in different fields, hence breaking the job monotony. This also makes the workers feel more involved and appreciated, which boosts their attitude towards work. This, however, poses a risk of decrease in communication at work and lack of specialisation. The restructuring process would further cost the company money, implying an increase in expenses of the organization. This also means that workers will have to be trained in whichever field they are allocated.

Introduction of the involvement culture

This involves participation of the employees towards the organization’s activities such as getting their views on both the internal and external factors affecting the organization. The organization should consider setting up service boxes where the employees, as well as customers, give their observations on what they suppose should be done in achieving the organization’s goals.

This helps in increasing the loyalty and commitment of the workers to the company. Pluto telecommunications should be encouraged to employ the aspect of adaptability culture. This will make it responsive towards the customer’s needs, whilst taking care of the employees’ welfare.

Changing and improving on the reward system

The rewards offered should not only result to short-term achievements, but should most importantly factor in long-term achievements alike. Efforts should be directed at coming up with intrinsic motivation factors, other than relying on extrinsic factors alone.

The organisation should as well come up with a flexible system in which the employees are free to decide on the best way of having their benefits, such as choosing from holidays, being given shopping vouchers, subsidising their medical fee or school fees for their siblings and so on. The employee’s needs should be listened to and possible ways of providing assistance explored. This gives the employee a feeling of self-worth and being appreciated (Buchanan & Huczynski 2007).

Replacement of the directors

Another option will be choosing on new departmental directors. This will clear the personal grudges carried by the current managers into their offices. It will once again open up communication channels between departments, while at the same time harnessing new skills and ideas from the fresh appointees.

The new appointees will be eager to make work in their new positions, and also willing to effect any changes. The main drawback, however, will be in the time they will take in settling down and strengthening the relationship with other employees (Buchanan & Huczynski 2007).

Organizing regular meetings and centralising departments

This will help in strengthening the communication between the directors and Ms Tsang, and will help departmental directors in knowing the progress of each department other than only their own; moreover, centralising the departments will make it easier to monitor their progress. This will also be easier for them to communicate personally and settle any disputes as well as share ideas on the way forward. However, this will mean constructing new offices and facilitating the movements (Handy 1993).

Recommendations

As an immediate cause of action to salvage the organization, the directors should voice their opinions and agree to correct on their mistakes. This should be done in a respective and constructive manner. Secondly, introduction of regular meetings will help in restoring the communication channel and possibly resolving the conflicts.

For the long-term cause; there is a need to modify the culture of the entity, to make it involvement focused, with the objective of creating a cohesive relationship among the three departments. Focus should be shifted from extrinsic motivational factors to intrinsic factors with clear goals and guidelines. Employees are encouraged to work together as a team through the introduction of a variety of motivational factors. Pluto ensures that each department understands the role of each other (Allcom 1991).

Plan of action

A plan of action involves organizing for the meeting of directors so as to discuss pertinent issues and resolve their individual differences. This should take around four days. It should involve establishing of weekly meetings aimed at assessing the progress of the organization and making relevant adjustments. This should take a number of weeks. Introduction of the involvement culture should take a few months (Buchanan & Huczynski 2007).

Bibliography

Allcom, S. 1991, Workplace superstars in resistant organisations, Quarum books, New York.

Beer, M. 1990, Organizational Behaviour and Development. Harvard University. Web.

Buchanan, D. A. & Huczynski, A. H. 2007, Organizational Behaviour, 7th edn, Prentice Hall, London.

Handy, C. B. & Aitken, R. 1986, Understanding shools as organizations, Penguin Books, London.

Handy, C. 1993, Understanding Organizations, Penguin, London.

Lawrence, P. R. & Lorsch, J. W. 1967, Differentiation and Integration in Complex Organizations. Web.

Locke, E. A. and Latham, G. P. 1990, A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

McGregor, D. 1960, . Web.

Michels, R. 1911, . Web.

2012, Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Web.

Rural Development Initiatives 2001, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Organizational Analysis (SWOT). Web.

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