This essay analyses Vodafone Group in relation to work motivation, power, politics and conflicts in the organization and finally organizational structure and organizational goals. Basically, management approach to employees determines how well they take to their work. Defining power balance in the organization, in the way organizational structure is set; helps focus resources on organizational goals as opposed to power struggles and derailing conflicts.
Human behavior unlike animal behavior often has a rationale behind it. It is widely accepted that even our instincts are based on a belief system or collective thoughts that inform our interpretation of situations. Vodafone appreciates that workers are intelligent beings out to self actualize through their every day work endeavors.
Fitzmaurice & Kuklewicz (2010, p.3) define employee motivation in terms of the liveliness, ingenuity and dedication that employees bring into an organization or company. In the wake of the modern work conditions, employee motivation is a major concern in many organizations. Employees feel secure, satisfied and ready to work if they are motivated to work.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow advanced the needs theory, in which he indicated that employees have hierarchical needs. The hierarchy is organized in five levels of needs; the physiological needs, security and safety, belonging, self esteem and self actualization as the highest need in the pyramid (Armstrong, 2004, p. 108). Maslow emphasizes that the lower level needs are the basic human needs which must be satisfied first before the next need levels.
The expectancy theory advanced by Vroom indicates that people tend to invest their efforts in order to attain desired performance. The strive to achieve desired level of performance because it leads to realization of personal expectations from employee (Armstrong & Tina, 2005, p.98).
The theory spells out three factors that influence an individuals’ level of motivation. The factors are expectancy, valence and instrumentality (Sandi, 2008, p78). Expectancy is the measure of outcome that an individual perceives his or her effort in a particular task will result into. Employees become motivated to work on a particular task if the effort they invest yields an outcome equivalent to the effort.
Vodafone appreciates that employees are the most important asset in an organization (Vodafone 2010). Therefore, it strives as best as it can to have operations streamlined in a way that they are a self actualization avenue for the employees. Secondly, in line with the expectancy theory, Vodafone provides a total package that is meant to satisfy the employee’s expectations materially and spiritually (Vodafone 2010).
Further, Vodafone keenly seeks to find out employee needs through regular surveys and strives to address them. All employees are allowed to join trade unions that ensure employee rights are appreciated by management (Vodafone 2010). By doing so, Vodafone strives to both legally and altruistically ensure it has a delighted workforce because only a delighted work force can delight customers.
Power, Politics and Conflict in Organizations
Just as it is the case in society, business organizations also have among its members different or diverse interests. Politics and conflicts are often driven by difference in interests or concerns. In organizations, the difference in interests often results into organizational politics and conflicts. Major conflicts in organizations are closely related to who has what power and what jurisdiction.
The word power is often associated with negative connotations. However, close inspection indicates or dissipates any such connotations. It is latently believed or subconsciously held, in many cultures around the world, that power makes individuals exploit, mistreat malign and even enslave others (Clegg et al, 2006, p. 40). Therefore, when some people get some position of power, they tend interpret it as a license to lord over others. Power is not bad in itself, it is the application or relation to power that demonizes it.
In actual sense, each individual has some form of power or capacity within himself or herself (Thomas, 2003, p. 7). Power basically refers to or is synonymous to authority, influence, clout and control. Having power over others does not mean having lee way to coerce, manipulate and dominate. In the real sense, power only means one has capacity, a talent, a skill, knowledge that others can rely on. Therefore, the individual can provide direction or influence others positively towards a goal.
There are different kinds of power; the most widely known ones being position power, legal power and personal power. In organizations, the basic struggle is striking a balance between personal power and position power. Conflicts are minimized in an organization if position power is pegged on personal power.
Organizations cannot survive without control. Control, which is one of the fundamental functions of management, ensures everything in an organization is done in an orderly way. It is only through managing power in organizations that control is achieved. Proper management of power in organizations means that each employee understands his or her position in the organization. Therefore, power distribution largely depends on the organizational structure.
Vodofone ensures a proper balance of power in the organization by focusing on meritocracy when recruiting employees (Vodafone 2010). Each employee who holds a given position has enough knowledge, skills and acumen to hold such a position. By so doing, position power is pegged on personal power thus reducing risk of conflicts.
Vodafone endeavors to empower all employees within its ranks. Empowerment of employees calls for power decentralization. When power is decentralized in an organization, it means the decision making process is decentralized as well (Clegg et al, 2006, p. 111). Therefore, the top management in Vodafone sets the strategic tone but the junior managers pick up the same and make strategic decisions in their areas of operation in consultation with the board.
Organizational structure and Goals
An organizational structure is a critical component that determines operations and power spread in an organization. For an organization to achieve its objectives, the organization structure has to be one that allows or facilitates the same. The organizational structure shows how power is shared and balanced in an organization.
It forms the central channels of communication and gives the basic reporting structure or official communication channels followed in an organization. The way an organization is systematically designed, planned and arranged determines how effectively and efficiently operations are done in the organization.
The organizational structure of Vodafone has been changing over the years in tandem with discerned organizational goals. For example, there were announced changes in the organizational structure of Vodafone in September of 2006 (Vodafone Group, 2006). Most recently, in 2009 the company announced major changes in its organizational structure in tandem with the changing market features and scope (Vodafone, 2010).
The top most management organ in the organization is the board. The board consists of representatives drawn from different operational areas in the organization. Each representative is a CEO of a given region. In each region, there are CEOs of different outfits in different countries. The different outfits take on structures that are most responsive to the host country characteristics. In early conception years, management in the organization was function based.
However, as the organization has developed and diversified a matrix organization structure has been developed. The structure infuses functionality, divisional differences, and geographical spread into one structure that best serves the interests of Vodafone as a group. The organizational structure is meant to reflect the global nature of the organization and the unique characteristics of the countries within which the group operates.
Vodafone’s top management has devised, in close collaboration with subordinates, various goals. Organizational goals are set with the aim of focusing organizational energies on a given success tangent. The success tangent or path is defined in each organizations vision and mission.
Vodafone strives to be the champion of best practices in development mobile telephony devices, building of masts and in the health sector. Its goals are in tandem with becoming the global leader that others follow when it comes to best practices. The key goals of the company are in tandem with being a leader in mobile phone development services, attracting new revenue streams, driving profitability up and to proactively manage costs, cut out unnecessary expenditure for growth.
As shown in this essay, power, organizational structure and employee motivation are intricately connected. The case of Vodafone illustrates clearly that the organizational structure determines power balance in an organization.
A proper balance between personal power and position power is achieved when employees are recruited and promoted based purely on meritocracy. Further, when the organizational structure is good and management is interested in employee welfare, employees become motivated to continue work towards the realization of organizational goals.
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Vodafone Group, 2006, News Release: New Organizational Structure at Vodafone, Vodafone. Web.