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This paper presents an analysis of Fidelity Investments Group in terms of how it operates and ensures a competitive edge. The first section of this paper focuses on the mission of the organization, the industry in which it operates and its business environment.
The second section looks into the organization’s strategies and organizational structure. Further, the paper looks into organizational culture in fidelity investments. The second final section of this paper focuses on how strategic controlled is ensured in the organization.
Finally, this paper presents dimensions that are unique to this organization thus distinguishing it from others in the market. Based on discussed factors, recommendations are made in the conclusion in terms of how the organization could be improved.
Fidelity investments is an arm of Fidelity International that was founded in 1969 and has been in operation ever since. This firm specializes in capital management and offers diversified financial services to a myriad of customers.
Currently, fidelity investment is considered a leading global mutual fund management firm. Some of the other services offered by the organization include financial consultancy i.e. advising corporations and individuals in terms of capital planning and expenditure. The firm offers brokerage services, insurance services, wealth management services; retirement benefits management services and all securities related services.
The mission of the corporation is in line with becoming “a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals, institutions and financial intermediaries” (FMR LLC).
In line with the said mission focus, Fidelity Investments’ 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.
As Griffin (177) points out, there is a clear link between organizational goals and organizational planning. Fidelity Investments strives to be the champion of best practices in the provision of financial services in the market. Its goals are in tandem with becoming the global leader that others follow when it comes to best practices in financial management.
Currently, the focus of the company is on diversifying is services portfolio, attracting new revenue streams, driving profitability up and to proactively manage costs through cutting out unnecessary expenditure.
Fidelity Investments operates in a very competitive environment. Some of the key competitors of Fidelity Investments include state street corporation, Citigroup inc, Mellon corporation among numerous others (FMR LLC). Given it offers a diversified portfolio of services; it has competitors in several industries (FMR LLC).
In 2011, Fidelity Investment has been ranked as one of the 14 leading brokerage firms in the world. This kind of rating comes due to the kind of operational strategies that the company has put in place. Generally, there are two bases of strategy i.e. organizational resources and designs.
Griffin (78) points out that “the systems resource approach to organizational effectiveness focuses on the extent to which an organization can acquires the resources it needs”. Anchoring on both, the organization has been able to deliver value for customer’s money.
The organization has built an edge by attracting the best minds in the market into its pool of employees. When it comes to product offering, the company has developed services portfolios that are tailored to the needs of its customers.
In implementing strategies, their internal consistency thus plausibility and feasibility should guide the implementation process. Strategies have to be broken into specific actions that deliver on strategic objectives. There has to be interrelation and consistence in the specific actions flowing from each adopted strategy.
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Each strategy should somehow have a bearing on other strategies i.e. they should mutually and intrinsically be complementary towards the same goals. The intrinsic consistency of strategies translates into the internal consistency in the specific actions to be carried out during implementation.
This inner consistency and plausibility gives a sequence or order in which the implementation is to be done. In the case of Fidelity investments, the internal consistence has been achieved due to the synergistic approach adopted in the management of operations. At the organization, everyone matters and managers inspire everybody to operate excellently.
Organizational Culture and Employee Motivation
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. Fidelity Investments appreciates that workers are intelligent beings out to self-actualize through their every day work endeavors.
Armstrong and Tina (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.
Compensating employees is usually the highest cost in any organization. At Fidelity Investments, employee compensation is done in monetary terms or in the form of non-monetary benefits. The most commonly offered non-monetary benefits include items like medical cover, house allowance, entertainment allowance, and retirement benefits.
Armstrong and Tina (7) indicate that the employees in the modern world are more impressed with the non-monetary benefits offered by the organization than the weight of the salary package.
Some of the benefits employees appreciate most include “learning activities, flexible working hours, verbal praise, increased authority, and autonomy, time spent with the manager, time off from work, public praise, freedom to choose the tasks to perform and written praise” (Armstrong and Tina1). Monetary benefits are important but are no longer the topmost concern of employees. This is so given, more than they are with anything else; people are keener on comfortable working conditions.
One of the influential motivation theories is the needs theory attributed to Maslow. This theory contends that human needs are hierarchical and are consequently gratified in a hierarchical way.
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 and Tina18). 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 98).
The theory spells out three factors that influence an individuals’ level of motivation. The factors are expectancy, valence and instrumentality. 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.
Fidelity Investments appreciates that employees are the most important asset in an organization (FMR LLC). 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, Fidelity Investments provides a total package that is meant to satisfy the employee’s expectations materially and spiritually (FMR LLC).
Further, Fidelity Investments keenly seeks to find out employee needs through regular surveys and strives to address them. By doing so, Fidelity Investments strives to both legally and altruistically ensure it has a delighted workforce because only a delighted work force can delight customers.
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.
Therefore, when some people get some position of power, they tend interpret it as a license to lord over others. As demonstrated by Griffin (470), 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 (Armstrong and Tina 7). Power refers to or is synonymous to authority, influence, clout and control. Having power over others does not mean having leeway 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 in Fidelity are minimized because 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 (Griffin 472). Proper management of power in organizations means that each employee understands his or her position in the organization.
Management at Fidelity Investments ensures a proper balance of power in the organization by focusing on meritocracy when recruiting employees (FMR LLC). 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. Fidelity Investments 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. Therefore, the top management in Fidelity Investments 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.
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 Fidelity Investments has been changing over the years in tandem with discerned organizational goals. For example, there were announced changes in the organizational structure of Fidelity Investments in September of 2006 (FMR LLC). Most recently, in 2009 the company announced major changes in its organizational structure in tandem with the changing market features and scope (FMR LLC).
The top most management organ in the organization is the board whose head is the C.E.O of the organization. The board consists of representatives drawn from different operational areas in the organization. Each representative is a manager in charge of a given product brand. 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 its products, 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 Fidelity Investments 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 firm operates.
Strategic Controls in the Organization
Due to the nature of services offered, monitoring and evaluation are critical components of every operation. Strategic control consists in putting in place long term measures that would ensure deviations are identified and corrected.
As defined by Griffins (646), control consists in ensuring processes do not go out of bounds i.e. beyond limits. There are always changes in the environment. Therefore, in as much as one may have a great plan and strategies in place, the environmental changes require close monitoring.
Monitoring helps identify ways of improving on strategy or correcting deviations from strategy. Through proper plans, financial budgets and evaluative meetings, the organization keeps tabs on everything that happens in the organization.
Organizational Uniqueness: Managing Diversity
Due to technological changes especially in the communication and transport sector, the world has become one integrated market. Most organizations are keen on becoming global players. Globalization of an organization is the process of linking an organization to the worldwide market. This means that Fidelity draws its clients from all over the world. Further, the corporate clients that Fidelity Investment works with are also of international nature.
Just like in the case of McDonalds, as shown by Griffin (69), with the emergence of multinational trading, the issue of managing in a diverse cultural setting is poignant. Employees have to interact with many industry players from other countries and cultures.
Consequently, accommodation of difference is critical for maximization of productivity in a firm. At Fidelity Investments, respect and tolerance have been augmented as vital ingredients in dealing with individuals from other cultures and organizational types.
As shown in this paper, Fidelity Investments is an interesting firm that is on top of its game. It is well established and a trendsetter in terms of best practices in financial services. Power, organizational structure and employee motivation are intricately connected.
The case of Fidelity Investments 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.
Armstrong, Michaels & Tina, Stephens. A Handbook of Employee Reward and Management. London: Kogan Page Limited, 2005.
FMR LLC. About Fidelity Overview. Fidelity Investments. 2008. 5th May 2011.
Griffin, Ricky, W. Management. 10th Ed. London: Cengage Learning, 2010.