Business environment is experiencing rapid changes due to the dynamism brought about by the emerging technologies. According to Bradley (2005, p. 67), firms currently face a lot of challenge trying to manage changes within the external environment. With the stiff competition in the market, firms cannot ignore the need to adjust to the changing market structure as a way of retaining their competitiveness.
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They have to develop strategies that can help them achieve success in the market. Organisational development has been considered one of the best ways of achieving success in such a dynamic and competitive environment. This is so because it offers a firm a rare opportunity to embrace dynamism when addressing the market forces.
According to Cheverton (2004, p. 73), a firm that fails to manage changes in the environment may risk losing its market share to its competitors. This is what has been taking place at HTC. HTC was once one of the major Smartphone manufacturers and distributors in the world. It was very innovative in the market, and was always able to understand the changing tastes and preferences of customers in the market.
However, this has changed, and the firm is currently struggling to remain competitive in the market. About three years ago, this firm had a 25% market share of the Smartphone market (Doyle 2008, p. 87). This has changed drastically, and the market share has been reduced to only 5%, a clear indication that this firm is struggling to remain competitive in the market.
In this study, the researcher seeks to use organisational development to align human resource, processes, and strategies at HTC in order to bridge the gap. Particular focus when aligning the three factors will be to promote creativity and innovation not only in the manufacture of the products, but also in the marketing strategies. This new approach is expected to create superior marketing strategies for this firm in the market.
Background of Organisational Development
According to Cheverton (2004, p. 34), “Organisational Development is a planned, systematic approach of improving organisational effectiveness by aligning strategies, people and processes.” An organisation will always meet factors that would demand some changes in its strategies, processes or people working on various departments.
Whenever there is a change in any of the three factors, there will be a need to align the other factors in order to harmonise operations within the firm.
For instance, if a firm realises that it needs to introduce a new process in its manufacturing system, it will need to develop new strategies of production that are in line with the new process, and the employees may need some training in order to understand the new approaches to the changes introduced in the production process.
According to Dobkin (2008, p. 45), firms always face numerous challenges in managing the organisational change. Although change is a factor that cannot be avoided in any organisation in the current world, many people are always uncomfortable with it because of many reasons.
The management always view change as a way of expanding its expenditure even if its budget is limited. Some employees always fear change because they feel that they may not be able to adopt first enough to meet the new demands brought about by the change. It is therefore, natural that change will always meet resistance from the very people who are supposed to initiate it within an organisation.
However, it is important to understand that change is an integral part of organisational development (Gookin 2011, p. 34). The most important factor that an organisation should always understand is the right model to take when confronted with the need for change. One of the popular models is Kurt Lewin Model of Change in managing change. This is demonstrated in the figure below.
In this model, the management will need to determine when it is the right time to make the change. When this is determined, the organisation would need to develop an environment within the workplace that would be able to accept change when it is introduced. They should be informed that some of the old strategies may need change so as to prepare them psychologically.
When they are ready for the change, the management should introduce the new system into the organisation. It is normal that some of the stakeholders may take longer than expected to understand the new system that is introduced.
This may create a performance gap as some employees struggle to understand the dynamisms at workplace. The management may be forced to find the strategies of bridging the performance gap as a way of maintaining an effective product delivery in the market (Levinson, Levinson & Levinson 2007, p. 76).
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Background of HTC
HTC is a Taiwanese electronic manufacture that was founded in 1997 as a Smartphone and tablets manufacturer by Peter Chou and other business associates. It was one of the first firms to introduce Smartphone and tablets into the market. The firm experienced massive growth for the first decade that it was in the market.
In 2011, HTC had managed to become one of the major brands in the Smartphone market, controlling about 25% of the market share. Its products were popular in the market (McLeish 2011, p. 89). However, this changed two years down the line, and in 2013, the firm started experiencing serious problems with its marketing strategies.
In the first quarter of 2014, HTC is registering a loss for the first time in its operations (Ottman 2011, p. 52). Currently, its market share in the Smartphone industry has reduced to less than 5%, a clear indication that the firm could be in a free fall. Its stock has lost 90% of its value within a period of two years.
HTC is experiencing problems in the current market and the management is worried that it may be forced out of the market soon if the trend continues. In order to understand the internal environment that is affecting this firm, a SWOT analysis would be important (Paley 2006, p. 66).
The strength of HTC lies in its huge financial resources that have enabled it to run various activities despite the challenges in the market. This financial resource has enabled the management to develop some strategies that they hope will revive the firm. Their products are also classified as high-end, making it easy to convince customers to purchase their products.
However, the main weakness that is currently affecting this firm is the leadership. The chief executive officer has been unable to retain its top executive. Many employees are complaining of his leadership style that is oppressive and not futuristic. The market has opportunities that this firm should exploit. The growing relevance of Chinese market is a huge opportunity that this firm can exploit.
However, stiff competition from Samsung and Apple poses serious threats in the market (Paley 2007, p. 61). The dynamism in the market has also been a threat to this firm that is slow to change.
In order to understand the external environmental factors that could have led to the worrying performance of this firm, Porter’s five forces would be necessary. The customers are becoming very demanding because of the variety of the products in the market.
HTC has failed to convince the choosy customers that its products are the best. The level of competition has also become very stiff as Samsung and Apple entrench themselves as the market leaders (Brown 2011, p. 75). Suppliers are demanding for more as some of the raw materials used in this industry become scarce. This has affected efficiency of this firm.
New entrants into this market such as Techno Corporation is also posing serious threat to this firm, thereby reducing its profitability (Ranchhod & Gurau 2007, p. 24). HTC has also been forced to deal with the threat of substitute products in the market, making it difficult to increase its market share.
Organisational Development at HTC
HTC must embrace organisational development if it seeks to achieve success in the market. This firm was successful in the past, and this means that it has the capacity to become successful in the market if it is able to align people, process and strategies.
Organisational development is the only solution that this firm has in the market. In order to achieve this, the firm needs to understand the stages involved in organisational development (Rogers 2001, p. 88). Below is a diagrammatic presentation of the stages that this firm should take when using this strategy.
Stages of Organisational Development
The first step would involve identifying the need for change. HTC must appreciate that change is needed in this firm to enable it become a successful firm once again. The management, especially the marketing unit, should identify specific areas that need some form of realignment (Tsiotsou & Goldsmith 2012, p. 97).
In order to understand if there is need for change, it is important to investigate the internal and external environmental factors that may necessitate or facilitate change. In the external environment, technology is one of the most important factors which facilitate change. The emerging technologies are creating new approaches of handling various activities that HTC should be ready to embrace.
Activities of the competitors may also force a firm to review its strategies. Currently, HTC should be learning from Samsung and Apple to be able to embrace some of the best practices. Government policies and changing tastes and preferences of customers may also necessitate change. Among the internal factors, leadership can be used to develop an organisational culture that embraces change.
Leadership is also important in team development and motivation of employees within this firm. These are some of the factors that HTC need to address in order to bridge the performance gap and regain its competitiveness.
The second step would be to diagnose specific problems with the current system. For instance, it is stated that the marketing unit of this firm is in dire need of top executives who understand dynamism in the market. They should also identify the problems in other departments.
The diagnostic model shown in the diagram below was considered effective because it is holistic in nature. It seeks to identify forces that are for change, and those which are against change. It then devises a strategy to minimize forces that are against change as it maximize on forces that are for change. This makes it very effective. This would help HTC to revive its success in the market.
The next stage will be to develop trust with the clients. It is important for this firm to develop a new image in the market that will help it attract customers that are already lost (Viardot 2004, p. 83). HTC must be ready to change with the changing tastes and preferences of the clients in the market to maintain this relationship. This can be demonstrated using Lewin’s Force-field analysis
Source: (Rogers 2001, p. 89)
As shown in the diagram above, sometimes a firm may find itself in an awkward situation where forces for change are as many as forces against change. In order to maintain positive practitioner-client relationship the firm will need to make a wise decision.
The strength of this tool lies on the fact that it helps in weighing the forces in order to develop means of weakening forces against change while strengthening those which support it. However, some scholars have stated that it has a weakness of ignoring genuine opposition to change.
The fourth stage would be to develop a series of activities that shall be undertaken to address the problems that have been identified in the above sections. There are a number of internal and external factors that may define the action plan as shown in the diagram below.
There must be an effective communication between the firm and its customers. The firm must be able to deliver what customers desire (Ryan & Jones 2012, p. 68). Employees form very important part of the stakeholders and they have a role to play in this new strategy. Every employee should be involved in this strategy irrespective of the position held within the firm.
HTC must monitor activities of the leading competitors and use some of their strategies as a benchmark. The suppliers should be actively involved in this strategy by making them partners of the firm. When they become partners, they would consider developing friendly terms when delivering their products to the firm.
The stockholders need to be convinced that the firm need money to achieve success in the market. The employee’s union must be engaged in the firm’s strategies plans in order to make it appreciate the delicate position of the firm. The society should be involved as an integral part of the organisation in its quest to gain its competitiveness in the market.
The researcher proposes two main interventions at HTC that may help it gain its competitiveness. The first intervention strategy should focus on using emerging technologies in order to improve marketing strategies. The marketing unit of HTC must consider using social media marketing. This is so because of the popularity of the social media among the youth.
Facebook has about one billion active members, most of whom are the youth. This is the most attractive market segment for firms in the electronic industry.
The second intervention strategy will focus on employees and their union. HTC’s failure is partly due to the fact that it is losing its important employees. Employees should be made comfortable in the firm, and they should be made to feel that they are valuable to the organisation. With the right employees, this firm can achieve success in the market.
The firm should monitor the changes and stabilise those that are considered effective. The strategies that fail to deliver the desired results should be eliminated (Shankar & Carpenter 2012, p. 75). These strategies must be able to offer the firm financial strength and superiority in the market.
Conclusion and Recommendations
HTC was one of the most successful firms in the field of Smartphone and tablets production. It was innovating, and major firms always appreciated its capacity to develop superior products and to use effective marketing strategies. However, this firm is currently struggling to achieve success in a market that it once dominated.
Apple and Samsung have been able to surpass this firm in Smartphone market within a very short period of time. Its market share has significantly dropped from 25% to 5% within a period it was expecting to expand its market share. The recently released financial report in the first quarter of 2014 shows that for the first time HCT has become a loss making company.
As an organisational development practitioner, I believe that the performance gap can be bridged in order to improve performance at HTC. Based on the discussion above, there must be a complete overhaul of the top leadership of this firm, especially the chief executive officer, and senior marketing managers. This will help in rebuilding confidence among employees in this firm which will help in boosting their morale.
It will also improve customers’ confidence. The marketing unit of this firm should also realize that it cannot avoid social media, especially Facebook, Tweeter, and YouTube in its marketing strategies. Further recommendations on how to improve the performance of this firm are as follows.
- There should be an immediate replacement of the current chief executive officer with an executive from a different company. Employees have lost faith in him, and this means that he is not the right candidate to steer the needed changes.
- The management must address the employee turnover rates at this company. It should be able to retain some of its skilled and experienced employees who will be helpful when implementing change in the firm.
- The marketing team needs to re-evaluate its strategies in the market. The first step should be to hire experts who are able to use some of the new marketing strategies, especially in social media marketing. A good part of the profits should also be set apart for promotional campaigns.
- The management must embrace change. Change is unavoidable in such a dynamic industry. Other stakeholders should also be made to appreciate the relevance of change in the market.
- The researcher recommends further research in this field in order to develop new and more accurate organisational development strategies that can be used by other firms to address problems related to those of HTC.
Limits of knowledge
This research will form an important body of knowledge to the stakeholders at HTC or any other related firm. To other scholars, it will form a very important literature. However, it is important to note that extensive primary research was out of scope for the study.
List of References
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