- Introduction: Saudi Telecom, Its History, and Change
- Ethical Dilemma and Where It Stemmed from Retrospect
- Impact of Saudi Telecom’s Values on Decision-Making
- Possible Way of Reacting toward the Problem
- Strengths and Weaknesses of the Proposed Solution
- Conclusion: Overcoming the Obstacles in the Global Market
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Introduction: Saudi Telecom, Its History, and Change
Saudi Telecom has been known in the environment of Saudi Arabia for quite a while. Operating in the environment of the telecommunication industry, as its name shows quite explicitly, the company has gained quite a reputation over the years of its hard and consistent work. In fact, the corporation had been retaining a monopoly on mobile phone services up until one of its key rivals, Etihad Etisalat, was granted a license and a permit to operate in the identified environment as well. In retrospect, one can assume that Saudi Telecom (ST) started its global expansion as a response to the emergence of new entrants, which were quite competitive despite seemingly lacking experience.
To get accustomed to the environment of the global economy, ST had to make a variety of changes to its design. The first and most obvious, the concepts that were lauded as the essential components of the company’s ethics and vision will have to be revisited with the needs of a wider range of stakeholders in mind. The requirements set by the shareholders will remain rather high, which means that the company will have to design an efficient marketing strategy that will help it remain competitive in the target market and maintain its share value at the required level. However, the importance of promoting diversity and customer satisfaction as the primary areas of work has clearly been the greatest challenge for the organization. Although the current approach aimed at catering to the needs of the Saudi Arabian population and the global one separately works fine for the organization, a different approach that will imply a more active cross-cultural communication will have to be considered so that all customers could enjoy the full range of the company’s services.
Ethical Dilemma and Where It Stemmed from Retrospect
Entering the environment of the global economy opens a plethora of opportunities yet also implies facing a range of challenges, the issue of diversity being the key one. It is important to make sure that the company should be able to market its products to a wider range of customers. In other words, appealing to potential clients by using the images and concepts that are inherent to their cultures is crucial. However, the application of the identified approach implies facing certain ethical dilemmas, as the experience of the Saudi Telecom managers shows.
Particularly, when entering the realm of the global economy, Saudi Telecom faced the necessity to cater to the needs of all customers and produce the goods of the finest quality. However, due to the rapid transition to the new economic environment, a company may be unprepared to meet the demands and, therefore, may succumb to dishonest advertising. Exaggerating, providing false information about the quality of the products, and using other approaches that allow luring customers into buying the company’s products is, unfortunately, a rather common practice in the global market (Smarandashe & Vladutesku, 2014). Despite the fact that Saudi Telecom has been quite successful in the SA market, the temptation to make a slight overstatement about the opportunities provided to the customers was beyond tempting. Therefore, the use of false advertising and related practices can be viewed as the essential ethical dilemma faced by the company.
Impact of Saudi Telecom’s Values on Decision-Making
Despite the fact that the environment of the global market could be viewed as very competitive when Saudi Telecom entered it, the company managed to abstain from using unfair practices. It would be wrong to claim that Saudi Telecom was blatantly open about the problems in its product design and quality. In light of the tight competition that the global market could be characterized by, the identified approach could be deemed as impractical and downright harmful for the company. Nevertheless, the company’s values helped Saudi Telecom keep its integrity and be honest with its target audience, at the same time striving to improve the quality of its services.
A closer look at the company’s philosophy will reveal that the moderate success which Saudi Telecom received when establishing a presence in the global market can be attributed to the organization’s values and ethics. According to the ethical standards that Saudi Telecom views as the foundation for its decision-making process, the needs and the satisfaction of customers are believed to be the company’s greatest priority (Jaber, Ghani, & German, 2014). Consequently, it is crucial for the organization to maintain proper relationships with the target audiences. The use of deception, as well as any other practices that imply any element of dishonesty in the relationships with potential buyers, is, therefore, considered off-limits for any member of the company. Combined with tight supervision over the essential corporate processes and the active promotion of the corporate values based on transparency and fairness, the identified approach served as the repellent for any unfair schemes that could have been plotted once the company entered the global market (Alam, Malik, Hadi, & Gaadar, 2016).
Possible Way of Reacting toward the Problem
The threat of an ethical conundrum in the design of the company’s marketing tools, brand image, and the promotion campaign is a rather delicate subject since it requires addressing the issue of diversity in the workplace. Since the introduction of the staff members to the realities and attributes of other cultures implies a possibility of a conflict, the process is often fraught with a certain amount of strain. Indeed, the outcomes of a culture clash may turn out to be dire.
Besides the obvious problems of teaching the employees the essentials of diversity and the need to respect other cultures and their representatives, the leaders of the organization have to consider the necessity to switch to the approach that does not imply any differentiation of the target audience and, instead, offers the products and the services that every single member of the target population will equally enjoy.
The route that the company chose, however, can also be deemed as rather sensible. By focusing on the needs of the local population and at the same time catering to the demands of the global one, the company managed to succeed quite fast. For instance, the creation of the Al-Jawai Network (Saudi Telecom Company, 2014), which was designed specifically to provide the platform for communication between the representatives of the Saudi Arabian community, can be interpreted as the attempt to create the environment in which the representatives of the local communities could feel comfortable. However, the company also provides an array of telecommunication-related services to its customers worldwide. Therefore, attempting at appealing to wider demographics and, apparently, succeeding in it (Binjabi & Mordi, 2013).
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Proposed Solution
The idea of using multiculturalism as the means of creating services that could cater to the needs of the global population has its advantages and disadvantages. As stressed above, the company is currently using the approach that compels it to draw a distinct line between the local population and the global one. Appealing to the general audiences and offering the representatives of the Saudi Arabian community to engage in communication with the rest of the world will entail the threat of the Saudi Arabian population losing their identity. Indeed, in the wake of globalization and the cultural fusion that can be observed in the Internet realm, the possibility of cultural specifics dissolving in the ocean of other identifies is very high, which means that there is a consistent need to secure the elements that make a specific culture unique and distinctively different from others. Therefore, from the perspective of the Saudi Arabian values and culture, the decision made by the organization can be deemed as valid.
On the other hand, however, the approach adopted by Saudi Telecom does not warrant the title of the best solution possible since it draws a very distinct line between the local population and the global one, as a result, making the firm miss a lot of exciting opportunities. For instance, the creation of the platform on which a multinational network could be built may have been designed instead of the current one. The specified point of view makes the solution provided by the organization ethically biased since it denies its target audience the chance to explore the opportunities associated with a multicultural experience.
Conclusion: Overcoming the Obstacles in the Global Market
Operating in the environment of the global economy implies facing ethical dilemmas on a regular basis. The issue of culture and the necessity to cater to the needs of a wide range of populations are, perhaps, the most complicated issues that a company can face in the identified environment. However, even in situations that might seem dire, a compromise can be found. As the example of Saudi Telecom shows, it is imperative to make sure that the principles of diversity align with the needs of the local population (Alrowaili & Alsadhan, 2012).
In fact, the experience of Saudi Telecom in the global market points to the need to balance between isolation as the means of retaining the cultural specifics of the state and active promotion of intercultural communication, which may lead to the cultures diffusing in each other.
One might argue, however, that some of the choices made by the company can be viewed as ethically questionable. The creation of the network in which only the representatives of the Saudi Arabian community are allowed to participate can be viewed as both a positive phenomenon (i.e., an attempt at preserving the cultural specifics and the national identity) and a negative one (i.e., preventing the natural process of globalization and impeding the cross-cultural communication). Therefore, the approach adopted by the company should not be viewed as the only solution. Quite on the contrary, other means of managing the identified ethical dilemma without infringing the rights of the indigenous population and at the same time offering the telecommunication services and the associated opportunities to a wider range of the customers need to be sought. Thus, the approach that will keep all stakeholders satisfied can be eventually found.
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