Organizational Structure

Organizational Structure and Behavior

The fundamental intention of the study is to focus on the behavior of individuals and groups and how it affects the organizations. This study helps one to survey the links and relationship between the culture and constitution of organizations and how both the factors manipulate the behavior of workforce within the organizations. The impact of culture and structure can be measure with the ways and regularities being applied in organizations. These values basically conclude the functional prototype of behavior of organizations personnel. The structure and culture which are being applied within the organization structure are important aspects which stimulate the workforce at all echelon of the organization.

Understand the relationship between organizational structure and culture

The organizations are basically developed up on the base of communication and culture of any organization is a communicatively accomplished part of the organization which saturates it. According to Anne Maydan Nicotera (2003, p.1) the “organizing is a communication process” and an organization is an entity which is basically embedded in cultures. The relationship between culture and organizational structure is a vast and comprehensive dilemma to discuss because the organizational members create and recreate the organization cultures and organizational structure entities are embedded in this cultural environment. In other words it can be said that members of an organization is a culture part of the organization and this organization is a cultural part of society.

Culture is basically the combination of disciplines, norms, values, customs, beliefs, attitudes, practices, and several other aspects. These factors are not culture itself but culture underlies them in it (Marcia J, 2003, p.2). Culture is a conferred set of communal emblematic systems those direct individuals’ behaviors and incline them to play a role as an assemblage (Chen and Starosta, 1998).

Compare and contrast different organizational structures and culture

Organizational structures

The “organizational structure identifies the responsibilities for each position and relationship among these positions”. A firm basically establishes a structure which determines the job and responsibilities of each individual within the organization under the supervision of someone above all of them who monitors and guides them to perform their job efficiently. In some organizations where the jobs and responsibilities are not supervised by some other position the workforces are not contributed to the production of organization due to not getting proper guidance about their responsibilities towards their organization. In other cases, where the positions are supervised by more than one person the chances of conflicts are much higher (Jeff Madura, 2007, pg. 277 to 278).

Types of organization and associated structures

Different organizations use different organizational structures. The organizational structure is particularly based on the nature and specification of business. Basically the following types of tools are used to build up the organizational structure.

Functional

Rob Dransfield (2004, p.74) stated that the organizations based on the functional structure basically apply the grouping of workers in order to bring the different individuals and groups of workers altogether so they can help and support each other’s in specific projects and jobs. In this structure the individuals and groups mutually share their expertise and ideas with each other so they can produce something innovative and progressive.

Product-based

The product based organizational structure is completely the customer oriented structure. This structure is being organized in product line and each line reports to the CEO or an organization. And these product lines lend themselves in centralized and decentralized decision making process (Sandra M. Reed and Anne M. Bogardus, 2012, pg.77).

Geographically based

Geographically based organizational structure is basically the country based structure in which an organization widens its scope of business at international levels. The organization establishes its business in different countries or merged with other multinational organization globally. It often gets complicated if an organization has a large number or competitors. In other cases, the geographical based structure works successful where all the organizations are organized along product lines (Sharan Jagpal and Shireen Jagpal, 2008, pg. 552).   

Multi-functional and multi-divisional structures

Rob Dransfield (2004, pg. 76) demonstrated that some organizations basically use the formal organizational structure while in large firms the multidivisional and multifunctional organizational structures are being applied. To combine the different areas and expertise of organizations such types of structures are used.  

Span of control

Management is responsible for the organizational structure span of control. In span of control some individuals are being supervised by any individual manager. In large firms one manager supervise several employees while in small scale organizations, the numbers of employees are less. These spans are also called as narrow span of control and wide span of control (Jeff Madura, 2007, pg. 278).

Hierarchal levels

The organizational division is also an important factor of organizational structure. The organizations which apply the wide span of control use the flat organizational structure because it doesn’t have several layers to determine the workforce and its responsibilities while the other organizations which use narrow span of control have to adopt the tall organizational structures and cultures consisted of many layers (Mason Carpenter, Talya Bauer and Berrin Erdogan, v. 1.0).

Organizational charts

Sakthivel Murugan (2007) defines, “The organizational charts are the useful mean of providing the information about the organizational relationship”. Theses charts are also used as the tools of management controls. They graphically represent the managerial positions and interpretation between them. The charts are the blue print of organizational structure of an organization. There are several kinds of organizational charts, the vertical charts, horizontal chats, circular charts,

Matrix organization

Jeff Madura (2007, pg. 293) stated that organizations are often tackled with some specific conditions which demand some inputs from employees. In matrix organization structure, several parts of the organization interact on specific projects. These projects normally based on the short span of time so these individuals can perform their normal routine work under the supervision of same boss. The matrix organization is combination of product based and traditional functional structure (Carpenter et al, 2012).

Centralization and de-centralization

The centralization is an organizational structure which refers to the organization which is held under the authority of high leveled managers. The middle managers and supervisors monitor and control the day to day task of the organization and then reporting to the top managers. In this type of organizational structure, the middle managers are not liable and allowed to take decisions (Jeff Madura, 2007, pg. 288).

While in decentralization structure, the organizational structure functions are ruled under the supervision of several managerial and supervisions divisions. The self-government organization is the basic illustration of decentralization structure in which the managers and supervisors are responsible to make decisions where necessary (Dave Needham, 1999, pg. 232).

Internal and external network structures

The internal network structure consists of the information which is organized, processed, analyzed and reported to all levels of managerial position within an enterprise. Whilst the external organizational structure encompasses at international level as well as with the parent departments of an organization (F. L. Harrison and Dennis Lock, 2004, pg. 70).     

Flexible working

The flexible working organizational structure allows workforce and managerial positions to work in flexible and relaxant working environment within the organization. It helps to adopt and deal with the modern economical and financial business pressures. Every firm basically needs the functional, financial and numerical flexibility working structure (Rob Dransfield, 2004, p.85).

Organizational Structure
Organizational Structure

Organizational cultures

Culture is the way of life for individuals or particular group of society. It is consisted of norms, beliefs, customs and values for those specific social groups. People learn values from the environment where they live or work and this culture determines the way of life for these people. The behaviors and responses are being adopted by the environment. In an organization the culture is a personality of an organization. The way of working, rules, norms and values upon which the organization based and workforce is pressurized to act upon is the culture of an organization (Rob Dransfield, 2004, p.87). 

Classification of organizational culture

The organizational culture is further divided into different classes according to the culture and social styles. Following are the four main classifications of organizational culture.

Power culture

Power cultures can be illustrated as the spider web, which has a main central power point from which it influences and controls the workforce in outward direction from its center of power.

Role culture

Role culture is most identical culture class, which easily can be determined by the specific role or job rather than the performance of specific individuals or groups.

Task culture

In task culture, the management is basically responsible for all the problems and the solutions of an organization. The main concern is the job or project, not the individual because it is team working culture.

Personal culture

It is purely based on the individual’s performance and job. The talent, education, expertise and skills of an individual for his organization matter here.

Explain how the relationship between an organization’s structure and culture can impact on the performance of the business

Cultural norms and symbols

The cultural norms, beliefs and values are the ways and standards the organizational management or HRM settled up for all the levels of workforce. These values and norms basically motivate the workforce to perform best for their organization in order to make it well developed and progressed. The cultural norms are structured in decision making process according to internal, external behaviors and situations the organization has to deal with.

Development of organizational culture diagnosing behavioral problems

Psychology is the study of human behaviors and organizations take deep interest in studying the psychology because it helps them in seeking about the behaviors of their workforce and managerial positions. The main two concern often make organization complex in knowing ne is why people behave as they do and how can organization tend their workforce to behave as they want them to. The psychology basically helps organizations in behavioral problems and provides deep insight into different strategies such as absenteeism, group interaction, intelligence, stress management, resistance to change and levels of motivations.

Concepts, Principles, Perspectives and Methodology

Cognitive, behaviorist and psychoanalytical are three main approaches of psychology. These approaches assume different methods of researches according to the area of study for an organization. The qualitative, quantitative and action researches, survey and experimental design, psychological assessment, diaries, of an organization are some essential strategies of these concepts and approaches.

Perception

Perception is most identical organizational behavior because it is based on the judgments or decision making according to the given or immediate situations of an organization. The decisions are taken on these perceptions and misperception often leads towards the wrong and inappropriate decision making. Three main elements of a perception process are the perceived, the perceiver and the circumstances or situations. The understanding of individual’s perception of an organization is an essential part for the management. It helps in understanding that the perceptions of individuals are differ from each other so overcoming procedure must be vary from a person to person or specific groups.

Conflict

Organizational structure conflicts cause several internal and external issues for organizations and also for individuals of that organization. Wrong assumptions, perceptions, negative attitudes, opinions, rumors, and several other reasons cause conflicts in an organization. The conflicts are not always negative; they might of productive or destructive nature. They often rise on introducing new working protocols and environments, repositioning of goals, and developing new organizational structure and strategies.

Discuss the factors which influence individual behavior at work

Individual behavior at work

Personality of a worker of an organization is the main factor of determining the individual behavior at work. A worker have two types of personality aspects, one is stable characteristic, while other is distinctive characteristic. The stable characteristic of an individuals’ personality always remains same all time while the distinctive characteristics make him identical among crowds. The traits and types of the worker’s personality depend on the current situations and circumstances in an organization. An individual’s behavior at work is purely based on his traits and types of personality.

Intelligence Significance and nature of individual differences

The intelligence is an entity which is still not defined in any universal term because of its unique diversity. Few groups suppose it as an intellectual power while others takes it as the sense of understanding the environment. However, intelligence plays a vital role in understanding and responding towards the society, people and work. While the personality of an individual worker predicts the success of that person and how he will be working with other workers in an organization. It is a combination of behaviors and mental characteristics of a person which depict the person’s altitude and aptitude. It also has an important impact on how people behave at work.

Attitudes

Attitudes are the likes and dislikes of an individual, we all have some specific attitudes towards our environment and society. Attitudes are basically developed according to the personal experiences and environmental or social effects. When a person get anything positive and good in an organizational environment, it seems he must have a positive attitude towards is work or organization while the person who always make issues and stay annoyed have a negative attitude towards his work and place.

Aptitude or ability

The aptitude or ability is the individual capability of a person to learn something positive from his surroundings. In an organization the employers take much interest in the aptitude or ability of worker rather than his attitude.

Understand different approaches to management and leadership

Different approaches to management and leadership

Michael Armstrong and Tina Stephens (2005, pg. 4) stated that the main purpose of the management and the leadership in an organization is to provide direction, arrange changes and attain results through the accurate, proper and responsible use of resources. The management process is divided into the different methods which are used in achieving the organizational structure objectives. The main processes of the management and leadership approaches are planning, motivating, organizing and controlling.

Mangers are always leaders, while leaders are not always managers” (Michael Armstrong and Tina Stephens, 2005, pg. 5). But there is a clear distinction between the management and leadership processes. Management basically concerned about the achievement of organizational objectives by using all the available resources, while leadership focus on one an ultimate resource which is the “people”. It is essential for the managers to be a good leader as well.

Compare the effectiveness of different leadership styles in different organizations

Talha Iqbal (2011) stated in his book “The impact of leadership styles on organizational effectiveness” that leadership is an important part of any organization, but often leaders get confused on initial stages about how to do leadership. However, leadership is itself a quite comprehensive approach which has divertive aspects according to all field of life. The leadership styles basically portray the impact and application of leadership process and its effects on an organizational structure. The main three styles of leadership are autocratic, participative, and free rein. In autocratic style of leadership, all the decisions are taken only by leaders while in participative style the leader makes decisions with team involvement. The free rein leadership style is completely different because in this style leader leave all the decision making processes on the team.

Explain how organizational structure theory underpins the practice of management

Development of management thought

Rob Dransfield (2004, pg. 174) stated that the main concern of the managers is to secure maximum profitability and prosperity of the organization and providing the job satisfaction to the employees. The empowerment of employees by giving them responsibility to manage them is being developed to lower down the organizational and managerial responsibility. This hierarchal top down management trend was used in twentieth century for scientific managers.

The scientific management and the classical administration are the hierarchal structure of an organization. Managerial positions are responsible in this organizational structure for specific group of employees while the bureaucracy is a hierarchical authority and goal oriented system of an organization.

Evaluate the different approaches to management used by different organizations

Human relations, systems and contingency approach

The human relation approach is however necessary to get positive and expected outcomes form workforces of an organization rather than just pressurizing them to produce. It is necessary to respect the human forces of an organization by giving them incentive to motivate them for their organizational progress. The system approach refers to the organizational structure systems which are specifically introduced for the wellness and betterment of workforce so they can return the positive production.

Andrew J. DuBrin (2011, pg. 27) demonstrated that the contingency approach basically attained when not any other approach or structure is being applied. In an organization, sometimes such situation occurs when HRM have to decide something on immediate basis according to the current circumstances, so the contingency approach thus applies.

Understand ways of using motivational theories in organizations

Motivation is basically related with the most important question, why people do what they do. Motivation is a key to understand the various types of organizational behaviors. What factors and strategies motivate the employees are some basic considerations an organization supposes first. The organizations with clear motivational protocols always generate the positive outcomes (Steve M. Jex, 2002, pg. 209).

Discuss the impact that different leadership styles may have on motivation in organizations in periods of change

John Darling and Anita Leffel (2010) stated that different leadership styles influences the organizational structure functions in various ways. The team leader affects the other team members through this decisions and practices to motivate and facilitate the competence in organization. The leadership styles adopted by the team members are based on the behaviors, thoughts, communication, and interaction of team members. Organizations get benefited from the well-established leadership styled system among team members and the leader. It inspires the collective and entrepreneurial spirit to the organizational team.

Compare the application of different motivational theories within the workplace

Motivation is a process to stimulate a person to perform his action or role in achieving the goal. Motivation has several kinds, thus the motivational theories are also diverse in numbers. The motivation is becoming more important in present era of competition at work place. The organizational management implies several motivation theories to stimulate themselves as well as to its employees. The scientific management was fir introduced by Fredrick W Taylor and known as the most important motivational theory for organizational structure development. He also introduced the Piece Rate motivational theory through which the employee gets salary according to the production average. This theory better stimulate the workforce to struggle more to increase the organizational productivity so they can get more salary (Friederike Hertel, 2003, pg. 3).

Evaluate the usefulness of a motivation theory for managers

(Dave Needham, 1999, pg. 263) As it is mentioned before that the managers are only concerned about the productivity and profitability of the organization by applying all the resources available, while leaders are responsible for the people of his team members not about the resources. The leadership is an important motivational theory for the managers to make them able to stimulate themselves for their organization. For progressed organization, the manager must be a good leader also. The scientific management is ne mot highlighted motivational theory which better stimulate the managers to boost up themselves and their personnel to struggle more for the profitability of an organization.

Understand mechanisms for developing effective teamwork in organizations

The system of developing the effective teamwork in an organization develops the respect, trust, and support to the leadership environment and thus improves the individually as well as collectively performance and attitudes for the organizational structure achievements by motivating the team members to perform at high levels.

References

Nicotera, A. M., (2003) Understanding organization through culture and structure: Relational and other lessons from the African American organization. Routledge.

Marcia J. (2003) E‐learning: emerging uses, empirical results and future directions. International Journal of Training and Development, 7(4), 245-258.

Chen, G. M., & Starosta, W. J. (1998) Foundations of intercultural communication. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Madura, J. (2007) Impact of the QQQ on liquidity and risk of the underlying stocks. The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 47(3), 411-421.

Dransfield, R., (2004) Leeds United scores own goal. Teaching Business and Economics, 8, 20-22.

Reed, S. M., & Bogardus, A. M. (2012) PHR/SPHR: Professional in Human Resources Certification Study Guide. John Wiley & Sons.

Carpenter, M. A., Li, M., & Jiang, H. (2012) Social Network Research in Organizational Structure Contexts A Systematic Review of Methodological Issues and Choices. Journal of Management, 38(4), 1328-1361.

Carpenter, M. A., Bauer, T., & Erdogan, B. (2009) Principles of management. Flat World Knowledge.

Needham, D. (1999) An Innovative Method for Evaluating Strategic Goals in a Public Agency Conservation Leadership in the US Forest Service. Evaluation Review, 23(1), 77-100.

Jagpal, S. (2008) Fusion for Profit: How Marketing and Finance Can Work Together to Create Value. OUP Catalogue.

Murugan, M. S. (2007) Management principles and practices. New Age International.

Harrison, F. L., & Lock, D. (2004) Advanced project management: a structured approach. Gower Publishing, Ltd.

Armstrong, M., & Stephens, T. (2005) A handbook of employee reward management and practice. Kogan Page Publishers.

DuBrin, A. J. (2011) Impression management in the workplace: Research, theory and practice. Routledge.

Jex, S. M. (2002) Organizational structure psychology: A scientist-practitioner approach. John Wiley & Sons.

Hertel, F. (2003) Motivation in the Workplace.

Darling, J., & Leffel, A. (2010) Developing the leadership team in an entrepreneurial venture: a case focusing on the importance of styles. Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, 23(3), 355-371.

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Deregulation of British Telecommunications

The Deregulation of British Telecommunications

Deregulation is the elimination or removal of government controls and restrictions in, for instance, a particular area of business with the aim of encouraging more competition. Deregulation in the telecommunication industry has ensured that there is a public policy that:

  1. Guarantees provision of quality service
  2. Allows for reasonable setting of prices
  3. Ensures the availability of advanced infrastructure

According to a survey done in the UK, there was an overwhelming feeling by many respondents that competition forces should determine the nature of the telecommunication industry instead of regulatory measures. Competition, ideally, spurs innovation which brings about new ideas and ways of doing things. Competition also allows prices do be determined naturally by the forces of demand and supply. The development of telecommunications market in UK has brought forth many new changes. The rise of BT (British Telecom), the first telecommunication company in UK, brought with it some issues worth to note in as far as deregulation is concerned. They include:

  1. The UK telecommunication market was the first market to benefit from deregulation measures in the 1980s. It was an area where ‘price cap regulation’ of commodities was first introduced in the UK
  2. British Telecom was the first major British telecommunications company to be deregulated and privatized in the 1980s
  3. Deregulation which brought in competition in the telecommunication industry was introduced a decade earlier when compared to many other European countries.

However, realizing meaningful competition in the telecommunication sector was a slow process for companies like British Telecom due to certain national dynamics.

Deregulation in UK

British Telecom was privatized in 1984 and it is also in this year that deregulation policies in the telecommunication industry were initiated. The 1980s saw the British government introduce a ‘duopoly policy’ in telecommunications which allowed the entrance of another market player, Mercury, into the industry. Despite this, British Telecom was still the dominant player as compared to Mercury. The UK government further allowed many other firms to enter the telecommunications industry mainly to enhance competition. Entrance of other players also meant that new innovations and infrastructure could be introduced in the industry unlike earlier when British Telecom was the only telecommunication service provider. Deregulation of the sector scrapped the price cap regulation on British Telecom which meant that the company had to depend on normal forces of demand and supply to determine the prices of their products and services.

Deregulation BT
Deregulation BT

The changes that the government was introducing in the 1980s were also aimed at making the British telecommunication industry an international standards leader. However, the industry was facing a competition crisis due to the existence of a duopoly policy in the provision of telecommunication infrastructure. The duopoly policy that mainly benefited British Telecom and Mercury was later abolished in 1991. New entrants in the provision of local access services such as Cable Television came into the market consequently increasing competition. It is from this move that major development on radio based telecommunication and mobile based systems such as PCS and radio access emerged. These new technological advancements brought about major influences in the telecommunications sector; something which had not been experienced before in the United Kingdom.

Initially, the privatization of British Telecom saw a price cap formula being introduced which meant that the company had to depend on rate rebalancing to determine prices. Further reforms in deregulation the industry have been deployed in recent years through, for instance, the announcement of the Chancellor of Exchequer, Gordon Brown, that as Better Regulation Action Plan was to be enforced as from May 2005. This new policy reduced the number of regulations from 29% to 7%, bringing about a 25% reduction in bureaucracies which also saw the Better Regulation Executive being transformed into the Regulation Commission.

Telecommunications in the UK

The duopoly policy was scrapped in 1991 following the publication of the White Paper. Earlier in 1989, further liberalization, deregulation and privatization had taken place. However, these changes were only of a domestic nature and not international per se. Until 1989, only two telecommunication services operators had been licensed, Vodafone and BT’s Cellnet. The White Paper which came into effect after duopoly policy, allowed CATV companies to start offering telecommunication services through their cable networks on their own rights. At the same time national public telecommunication companies were not permitted to offer any television services. Armstrong (1994) describes the first period of liberalization in UK telecommunication companies history as a period of opportunity loss due to ban on local service providers. The existence of only two licensed companies and very low competition were also a main feature of this period. Competition in the telecommunication market at that time was low. For example, it was until 1986, after four years of its licensed granted, that Mercury could get access to British Telecom’s local loop unbundled (LLU). Due to lack of competition, British Telecom wasn’t able to restructure itself ahead of a competition boom that was just about to hit the industry in the early 1990s. The essential developments in telecommunication companies are listed below:

  • Gradualness
  • Disambiguation
  • Regulating by negotiating
  • Expansion of the function of Regulation
  • Crimson selection
  • Rival mobile telecommunications
  • Sluggish reformation of BT

Today, competition is very high due to presence of many telecommunication companies that are periodically releasing of exciting and attractive offers to their customers. The most popular industry players among UK residents are BT Group, Virgin Media, BskyB and TalkTalk.

BT Group

British Telecom is a multinational telecommunication company whose headquarters are in London, United Kingdom. It is one of the largest telecommunication service companies in the world with presence in over 170 countries. Through its global service division, it supplies telecom services to corporate and government customers around the world. British Telecom Retail Division is a major supplier of telephone, broadband and subscription services in UK, having approximately 18 million customers. In 2012, British Telecom was unveiled as an official partner of London Olympics 2012 where it operated data network across 94 locations. The 2012 London Olympic Games were the first Olympic Games to completely rely upon VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and Wi-Fi (Wireless) to relay information to the public.

The History of British Telecom by Years

1878-1969 January 1878: The First telephone was demonstrated to Queen VictoriaOct, 1969: The Post office ceased to be Government Department.
1969-1982 1977: CCR recommend further division of two main services1980: Renaming of the Post Office Telecommunications1981: Liberalization of the telecommunication industry starts

1982: License granted to run a public telecommunication network

1982-1991 1991: BT is privatized. The Government sold half of its remaining shares, reducing it to 21.8 %1993: All the government’s remaining shares are sold in a third flotation raises £5 billion for the Treasury. 750,000 new shareholders are introduced to company
1991-2001 1991: BT name was unveiled with a new organizational structure and corporate company
2000: Offered LLU (local loop unbundling)
2005: 105,055 lines had been unbundled
2001-2006 July, 2003: Office of Communications (Ofcom) introduced to replace Oftel.BT gets its Universal Service Obligation (USO) for UK, excluding the hull area. 
2006-present 1 April, 2009: BT Engage IT created14 May, 2009: 15,000 jobs are cut upJuly, 2009: offered workers a long holiday for an upfront sum of 25 % of their annual wedge or a one-off payment if they agree to go part time.

BT and Deregulation

Deregulation has seen British Telecom offer its consumers more pushy telephone packages. On the other hand, Ofcom has led to a decrease in pricing principles which has led to increased competition for all. Most communications companies are deregulating their retail services in the telecommunication market which is making British Telecom even more competitive. FTSE 100 group is also now offering some discounts in its packages (broadband, digital or 3G television) which include fixed-line calls for the very first time.

Ofcom has said that it had isolated the last bits of regulation after BT’s privatization 25 years. The reason raised was that it had no more market value to remain in UK telecommunications markets. Ofcom’s CEO, Ed Richards, said that it was an essential step in deregulating the telecom offers where competition is the main thing to just serve customers with better offers. Apart from BT customers, there are more than twelve million people residing in the UK who are using other telecommunication services. It is said that Virgin Media, BSkyB and TalkTalk are the most effective competitors for British Telecom.

According to estimates released recently, BT has fourteen million customers (fixed-line). Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT’s retail division, said about the new promotion that by this entire competing environment BT will be able to play the game on a better playing field as compared to previous one leading to more exciting offers. He also said that BT will announce new attractive offers in future for its valued consumers. UK residents are taking bundled offers at a large extent.

When we compared consumer’s choices by years, in 2008, UK customers have purchased two or more communication services from one service provider at the 46 % of total as compared to 2005 where 29 % did the same. This is according to Ofcom’s most recent counts. According to Ofcom, the actual competition uplift came into being when BT created Openreach in 2005. It has also provided services to BT’s competitors on equality basis. According to Kingham (2012), BT shares are one of the most popular shares with investors. BT is considered as a market leader operating in a safe and steady industry that is arguably well insulated from economic turmoil.

The following table demonstrates British Telecom’s increase in share prices in for the last ten years (Kingham, 2012). From the table, even if one can ignore the results of 2009, which was the time when most world major economies were experiencing economic downtown, it is suffice to say that, British Telecom has been experiencing a solid growth. Last year alone, despite falling sales and reduced spending by customers, British Telecom still returned a profit. The last quarter of 2012 saw an increased profit of 17% to 575 million Euros. The company also registered a quarterly decline in revenues of 5.8 billion Euros during the same period (Mike, 2012). All these can be attributed to the changes that this company has undergone in the last 20 years.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is now a fact that BT Group is constantly deregulating which makes competition out there for other telecom companies a bit harder. It is also a fact that BT is enabling UK consumers to access reliable and cheap packages choosing options.

Hutchison 3G UK is currently allowing consumers to enjoy all calls on half prices as compared to other telecom operators. A wide range of bundles available in the market have enabled the consumer to choose according to his/her needs. This not only shows prosperity in the telecommunications industry, but also increases the chances of gaining benefits global wise in every aspect whether its country’s reputation or the company’s reputation.

As this is now the trend in UK, home based and business telecommunication consumers are now able to choose bundles (one or two or so on) according to their needs. Each market player is also offering exciting and attractive packages to its consumers with lots of offers such as free subscription, no initial charges or no line rent or any charges for six months. All these are exciting offers from telecommunication companies which attract consumers.

British Telecom is the first company in the UK to introduce public sector telecommunication service which has made BT has its own stage and own reputation. Apart from few drawbacks, BT is still the best choice of its consumers due to its services provided for its valued customers. Whether in Broad Band or fixed line, BT is a good choice of UK residents.

Bibliography

Mark Armstrong, Simon Cowan and John Vickers (1994) Regulatory Deregulation Reform: Economic Analysis and British Experience, London, Chapter 7 Telecommunications, pp. 195-244.

Mike D. (July 2012). BT profits despite slowdown in sales. European Deregulation Communications.

Kingham (September 7th, 2012). 5 Things about deregulation you should know before you buy BT shares. UK Value Investor

Sylvia Chan-Olmsted and Mark Jamison (2001) .Rivalry Through Alliances: Competitive Strategy in the Global Telecommunications Market, European Management Journal, Vol 19, No. 3, pp. 317-331, 2001.

Peter Curwen (2001) .Rivalry Through Alliances: Competitive Strategy in the Global Telecommunications Market. A Rejoinder to Chan-Olmstedt and Jamison,

European Management Journal, Vol 19, No. 6, pp. 678-681, December 2001.

Peter Curwen (1997) Restructuring Telecommunications Through Deregulation Policy, A Study of Europe in a Global Context, MacMillan Press Ltd, London, Chapter 11 The UK: A Case Study, pp. 129-160.

Ernst & Young (2001) Business Redefined: Connecting Content, Applications, and Customers, Ernst & young LLP and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Joint publication.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deregulation policies in the UK

Financial Times: www.ft.com deregulation policies

Arnoldo C. Hax and Dean L. Wilde II (1999) .The Delta Model: Adaptive Management for a Changing World., Sloan Management Review, 1999 40 (2), pp. 11-28.

Jean-Jacques Laffont and Jean Tirole (2000) Competition in telecommunications, Cambridge, Mass.; London: MIT Press, 2000.

David M. Newbery (1999) Privatization, Restructuring, and Deregulation of Network Utilities, The MIT Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, London, England, Chapter 7 Liberalizing Telecommunications Industry, pp. 291-340.

Michael E. Porter (1995) .Toward a dynamic theory of strategy. In Rumelt, Richard P., Schendel Dan E. and Teece David J. (Eds) Fundamental Deregulation Issues in Strategy. AResearch Agenda, Harvard University Press, pp. 423-461.

Bernard W. Wirtz (2001) Deregulation Reconfiguration of Value Chains in Converging Media and Communications Markets., Long Range Planning, 34 (2001), pp. 489-506.

OFTEL Statement, Deregulation Pricing of Telecommunications Services from 1997, June 1996, 6.54.

Principal Operating Units: BT Ignite; BT open world; BT Retail; BT Wholesale; BT exact Technologies

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Ryanair Business Environment

An Internal and External Business Environment Analysis of Ryanair

The objective of this research paper is to conduct an analysis of internal and external business environment of a service company. For this purpose airline global industry has been chosen as a case study because of its importance in the current economic and political scenario. International investment, world trade and economic growth are some important factors deriving this industry (Porter, 1986). The present paper will undergo strategic analysis of internal and external environment of Ryanair in relation to its performance in the global Airline industry. It will allow identification of factors that affect the profitability and popularity of a company. In the end recommendations will be suggested accordingly. Lets look at the Ryanair business environment.

Company Background – Ryanair Business Environment

Ryaniar has a long standing reputation amongst low cost airlines in Europe. Ryaniar Ltd was founded by the Ryan family in 1985 and within ten years of its establishment the company gained immense popularity because of its image as a low rent airlines. The company provides scheduled services between the UK and Ireland through its 297 Boeing aircrafts. The company still manages to maintain its image as popular airline of the world. The Ryaniar Company focuses on budget conscious leisure and business travelers for its services. People who choose other transport services to reduce the expanses of their travelling remain to but the primary target of the company. The company also aims to expand and improve its services in low fare market. The mission of Ryaniar Ltd is to become the most profitable and attractive low fare airline in Europe low cost carriage sector by brining continuous improvements in its services.

Market Description

Currently the growth and development of low cost airline is being favored in the European Airline industry and it remains the main determining factor for the evolution of an airline company. Almost 18 percent of the transport supply is being done by low cost airlines and the seats are mostly limited to medium and short haul flights. These low cost carriages are also deemed important for the passengers who want to find seat for point to point moves.

Belobaba et al. (2009) writes that global airline industry has grown by 12 percent in 2010 and the major player in this context remains to be the United States of America. The market growth is further expected to increase in years to come. It is believed that by 2015 the growth will reach to $714 billion and the number of passengers will also grow to 3 billion. Domestic market shows the leading market segment in the global airline industry and America holds about 45% value of the industry. A number of challenges are also being faced by the global airline industry after global financial crisis. By 2010 many consumers started to cut back their leisure spending and relapsed air travel by train or other cheaper means of transport. This fall in revenue is mainly fueled by increased unemployment rate and economic uncertainty (Belobaba et al., 2009).

Some negative events have also declined the business of airline industry and amongst them rising fuel prices increasing the cost of operations are most common in the history. Several times they have put a dent on the industry’s operations. Along with that, other negative players are also there amongst them increased security threat, political unrest, uncertain and exchange rates are at the top of the list.

According to a report Published in the Telegraph UK the low cost sector has increased its growth by 12 pc in the last decade. However, even the low cost airlines are not free of the negative market affects that undermines overall activity of the industry but still they are making more business that the high cost European airlines (The telegraph, 2014).

Competition

After its establishment Ryaniar faced a great deal of competition. European Union deregulation in 1990 resulted in some substantial changes on the British industry. The most important of which is the focus of people on budget airlines offering comparatively shorter routes. These airlines provided a great deal of competition and grew on expense of traditional British airlines. Later increase in fuel prices after 2008 economic crisis also resulted in further decline of luxury airlines. Competition is also not very strong as the industry is not in a healthier state to support the business of expensive airlines and a number of airlines are under the threat of disappearance because of bankruptcy. European Union promotes low wage, low cost and low income flag carriers.

Ryanir Business Environment
Ryanir Business Environment

Challenges Faced By Ryaniar

Operating environment of the airline industry is being affected by a number of challenges that range from safety issues to consumer preferences, spending patterns, political instability, weather, security and natural disasters. All these factors affect the operating environment of Ryaniar Ltd also and most of them are beyond the control of the management of any airline. The expenses of flight cannot be controlled regardless of the number of passengers travelling in the plane. In addition to this, when shrinkage in airline industry happens, the remaining cost of operations remains the same that presents immense challenges to the management. Dobruszkes (2006) adds that operating environment of some low cost airlines has become favorable because they have adopted some cost reduction strategies that mainly include the management of the marketing cost, fleet reducing services, airport maintenance, route alteration and recharge policies. Appropriate techniques for maintenance of Engines, maintenance cost of hangers, management of staff cost and marketing cost to increase productivity are also adopted. In this scenario, companies that focus on small operating basis and start internet ticketing generate more revenues (Dobruszkes, 2006).

In the European market variation related to differences in the geography and scope of the airline persist. Most of the short and middle haul airlines focus on Western Europe and the distance for flight is 1.4 hours during this time an area of 634 kilo meters is covered. The total area covered by Ryaniar and most of the other low cost airlines is less than 1000 kilometers and in most of the cases international connections are not present. In addition to this, most of the low cost airlines influencing Easy Jet and Ryaniar are poorly penetrated in central and Eastern Europe markets. Some networks are also designed for tourists to take them to their desired destinations. These airlines do not focus on the capital city but they also maintain their attention to small cities and towns where low cost flights are easier to be managed (Mason, 2001).

Services Provided By Airline Industry

The services delivered by the airline can be divided into three main categories mainly including freight services, logistics and rail passenger’s airbus. Superior services are usually delivered to the clients that are willing to pay more. Product scope of Ryaniar Ltd is large as it promotes many services. It offers a range of destination around in Europe. In addition to this, hospitality, carriage, aircraft control system and assistance in booking rest houses is also provided. Like all other airports, services at the Ryanair airports are also available that include flat beds lounges and fast track security system.

Intangibility of Services

Ryanair business environment services are intangible and cannot be smelled, touched and tasted. It cannot be processed physically possessed.

Inseparability of Production and Consumption

Inseparability of production and consumption means the production of a service cannot be separated from its consumption by customers happen simultaneously. Customers buy specific type of product and take it home but services cannot be taken home, instead they are provided in a specific manner.

Perishability

Perishability is another characteristic of the service that means once services are produced they cannot be stored because of which supply demand gap arises.

Heterogeneity

Heterogeneity means that variation in the quality of services because of which standardization cannot be maintained. This makes the maintained of quality of service delivery a difficult task for service providers.

Challenges

Customer safety and quality issues are at the heart of any service sector and same is true for the airline industry. Here the quality of services acquires central place for the organizations. Quality of services is assured by the notion of truth that primarily reflects the importance company gives to handle each and every customer. Therefore, for service industries it becomes extremely important to design and manage activities in a way that can assure good quality services to the passengers (Janawade, 2013).

According to Janawade (2013) service quality management is still the subject of debate for the management of airline companies. The diversity of the airline services makes it harder for the administration to maintain good standard of services at each front. The quality of flight meals clean and airy airports, luxurious waiting areas, hygienic environment of washrooms, customer care and maintenance of airplanes are some areas of quality that remain the focus attention of the administration. Sometimes it becomes harder for the company to maintain superior quality services when budget is low and economic uncertainty prevails in the market. This is the reason for which some airlines fail to maintain good quality in-flight environment. The issue of measuring service quality has always been raised by the customers who pay a huge amount to travel across the world. Business class customers are often more cautious about the way they are treated at the airport and also in the airplane. Some other areas are also there that create major issues for the management and they include mishandling of baggage, late flights and misinformation (Janawade, 2013).

Along with the quality of services the rate of accidents and incidence also becomes the prime concerns for passengers who opt to travel in an airline. Total rate of incidents, rate of accidents, mid air collision and pilot’s deviations are some of the events that affect the safety of airline operations. The overall safety ratio of the global airline industry has declined in the past decade. Many technological issues arise because of poor maintenance of the aircraft. Moreover, the entire industry is under the threat of customer safety issues mainly generated by political unrest and legal bindings of the company. Airline industry remains the center of attention of the government and public as far as the passenger’s safety issues are concerned and many times these issues have resulted in serious debates that presented the industry with a number of challenges (Janawade, 2013).

There are a number of regulatory issues as well that affect the service delivery in the airline industry. Airline industry remains the center of attention of the government of a country and hence is mostly subjected to extensive regulations of the government. Many legal compliance and regulatory requirements are there for the industry. In the US airline industry FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations matter greatly, which change from time to time and put airline industry under scrutiny. Same is true for other areas including Europe, Australia and Asia. Other acts such as transport security act result in federalization of some security procedures. Government of the UK keeps proposing increase in taxes that directly affect the revenue generation of the industry. In addition to all this, other regulatory changes are also expected that may range from security concerns to fuel emission and environment safety issues. All these factors may further affect the business deleteriously.

Success of Organization in the Management of Challenges

As stated above a number of challenges are being faced by the airline industry and they are regulated by the key players in the industry. Key players in the airline industry are those that have direct or indirect affect over the business and amongst them airline manufacturers, air navigation service providers and air-port construction teams are important, along with them, political atmosphere of a country and fuel price are also some intangible factors that affect the business of the airline industry. Policies and procedures of the ‘department of the trade and industry’ can positively or negatively affect then business (Mason, 2001). Along with this, employee’s turnover rate has become a major problem for the companies that tend to develop and make progress. A good human resource management system can aid companies to reduce turnover rate by keeping employees satisfied with the job. Companies with a high rate of employee’s turnover often face a great deal of pressure in terms of the management and training of their employees (Richard et al. 2001). The global airline industry has managed its growth by maintaining its operations in suitable limits of economy. Dobruszkes (2006) explains that European airline industry is the one that prefers evolution of low cost airline networks. Because of the demands and competition trend in the market this concept became famous after 1995. The European low cost airline scope has actually met by Ryaniar and Easy Jet that have felicitated customers who previously chose other transport system because of high rent of the airlines. Ryaniar airline alone has carried 70 million passengers in the year 2012 and is expected to increase its size.

Bamber et al. (2013) writes that though turnover rate of employees in an industry vary greatly with time and many factors play their part in this context. Sometimes nature of the job and low wage becomes the cause of a high turnover rate in case of some industry such as fast food and call centers. When compared to the other sectors the rate of employee’s turnover in airline industry is comparatively low (Bamber et al., 2013).

Richard et al. (2001) also say that airline industry show low turnover rate compared to any other industry of the world. Overall turnover rate of the industry is 9 percent that shows employees are not replaced very quickly over a particular time period. However, increased fuel prices and deregulation act in the late 1980s have made the industry less attractive. Operating cost has increased to a considerable extent and worker’s pay has reduced. Many other airline companies in the world including that of American and Asia have also decided a wage cut off to reduce the cost of operation within the system. In addition to this, 100,000 employees of only American airline industry were laid off after deregulation act. This has given rise to an uncertain working culture and some of the employees opt to find jobs in another industry that is less uncertain than the airline sector (Richard et al. 2001). Bamber et al. (2013) conclude in their research paper that airline industry needs to maintain its attractiveness in order to keep employees happy and contented with their jobs.

Forces Deriving the Airline Industry

A number of forces derive the airlines industry that range from customer satisfaction issues, strategic planning, point to point roots, terminal and aircraft facility, online booking services, reduced lines at the ticket corner and economy of scale. Along with customer safety other factors are also there that create management challenges for the airline companies. Staff safety at the airport is also one of the major concerns of the administration that results in poor working morale of the staff members.

References

Bamber, G. J., Gittell, J. H., Kochan, T. A., & Von Nordenflycht, A. (2013). Up in the air: How airlines can improve performance by engaging their employees. Cornell University Press.

Belobaba, P., Odoni, A., & Barnhart, C. (Eds.). (2009). The global airline industry (Vol. 23). John Wiley & Sons.

Dobruszkes, F. (2006). An analysis of European low-cost airlines and their networks. Journal of Transport Geography14(4), 249-264.

Hanlon, J. P. (2007). Global airlines: competition in a transnational industry. Routledge.

Janawade Z., 2013, customer perception quality of complex services, France, Paul Cezanne University, p. 2-14.

Mason, K. J. (2001). Marketing low-cost airline services to business travellers.Journal of Air Transport Management7(2), 103-109.

Porter, M. E. (Ed.). (1986). Competition in global industries. Harvard Business Press.

Richard, O. C., & Johnson, N. B. (2001). Strategic human resource management effectiveness and firm performance. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 12(2), 299-310.

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Competitive Priorities

Employing Competitive Priorities in Business: The Case of FedEx

The courier industry is one of the most integral parts in the American economy. It is involved in the transportation of a variety of products like drugs, packages, bulk materials and documents to businesses within USA and outside its borders without which the whole economy would come to a standstill. The same day delivery service is also a vital part of the just in time nature of the economy of the US. This multi billion industry has more than seven thousand businesses in it in direct competition with the big four courier firms, (DHL, UPS, FedEx and USPS) and with each other.

In the recent past, competition between FedEx and UPS, two of the largest courier a company, has intensified as their core business increasingly overlap. UPS traditionally dominated the overnight delivery market while FedEx dominated ground delivery. With each moving to its rival opponent’s domain, the need to create competitive priories is even stronger because this is the only way for the companies to retain their businesses and deliver value to their shareholders. FedEx’ relies on technology to drive its competitive strategies and maintain their business operations. FedEx business model is highly dependent on data between the businesses and its customers. FedEx thus invests more than $1 billion each year to maintain its technology and building a wireless infrastructure to relay timely information on possible problems in the delivery route, enhance efficiency and cut business costs. I will use FedEx as a study case to analyse how a business can gain competitive advantage using competitive priorities.

Company Background

FedEx Corporation, NYSE:FDX is a Memphis based logistics services company which offers courier services, logistics solutions. FedEx is one of the largest logistics companies in   the world delivering small packages to the US and to more than 220 companies in the world. FDX Corporation was founded in 1998 after, FedEx Corporation, which had been incorporated the previous year acquired Caliber systems Inc and its subsidiaries  like RPS,  a small package ground transportation company, Roberts Express which offered expedited shipping, Viking Freight, a less than truck load freight courier  and Caliber Technology, provider of logistics and technology solutions (FedEx, 2012).

After this acquisition, FDX started offering other courier services apart from express shipping. FDX, later rebranded as FedEx Corporation was formed to oversee the operation of all the acquired subsidiaries including Federal express, its air division. It also rebranded the subsidiaries to have the FedEx brand in all divisions with federal express being renamed FedEx Express, RPS renamed FedEx ground, and Roberts Express renamed FedEx Custom critical, Caliber Logistics and technology were combined to make up FedEx Global Logistics.

In 2012, the company’s annual revenue was 40 billion which a 13% increase from the revenues was for the previous year. The earnings per share on the other hand for 2011 grew 20%. In the same year, the company increased its fleet of electric and hybrid electric vehicles by 20% to 408 to curb air pollution (FedEx, 2012).

During the first quarter of 2010, the company spent an estimated %4.9 million in campaigns lobbying against the government’s move to sign the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorisation bill which would make it easier for some of its employees to unionise terming it a bailout on UPS, FedEx’s main competitor in the US market (FedEx, 2012). To survive in these kinds of competitive markets, companies have to adopt strategies to survive. Managers can only take advantage of the changes in the wider environment by using appropriate strategies. Effective strategies allow the firms to use their resources for the best outcomes. The next part of the paper looks at what strategy is.

What is Strategy?

Strategy is an outline of how an organisation intends to achieve its goals. The goals of an organisation are the objectives the owners set for the business while the strategy sets out the route to achieve these objectives. In the early years of the businesses, the strategy taken by the business is fairly simple: to survive and achieve growth targets. However, as the firm increases in size, it must select narrower set of strategies referred to as competitive strategies to survive in the face of strong competitors. According to Porter (1996), competitive strategy is about being different. It refers to choosing a different set of activities to deliver the company’s mix of value to the customers. Markides (1999) argues that the essence of developing a strategy for the organisation is to select one strategic position that a company can claim as its own and pursue it. A strategic position represents a company’s answer to the following three questions: who should the company target as its customer? What products/services should the company offer to the target customers? And, how can the company deliver these products efficiently? These three questions help a company to choose a success strategy that is different from that of its competitors (Henry, 2008).

Another view of strategy is that given by Kay (1993). According to Kay (1993), strategy is a match between the organisation’s internal capabilities and the relationship with stakeholders. Strategy is therefore concerned with the firm’s use of analytical techniques to understand and hence influence its position in the market.

Since the environment within which the company operates is constantly changing and the needs of its customers shifting, a company must ensure that its internal resources and capabilities are more than sufficient to meet these needs since companies do not exist to survive but to grow and prosper in the competitive environment (Henry, 2008).

An effective strategy gives a firm three benefits. The first benefit is a strategy as a source of economic gains. Secondly, it provides the firm with a basis for resource allocation. And thirdly, guides the firm’s decisions regarding management and organisation. One main strategy that companies use is the development of consistent set of objectives which are known as Competitive priorities. These priorities are: Cost, Quality, Time and Flexibility.

Competitive Priorities

The first competitive priority that a company can choose is cost leadership. This is a strategy whereby the cost of a given product in a company is relatively low compared to that of competing products from other companies. This strategy does not jeopardize the quality of products. It rather focuses on high profit margin based on competitive price (Chard, Jacobs and Aquilas, 2004, p.35). In order to ensure effectiveness of cost as a competitive priority, companies operations should be guided by economies of scale. They should also minimise all other operational costs, which include cost of labour and materials. The employees should also be well trained so as to maximise their productivity.

The second priority is quality. Customers always intend to purchase products which they consider being of high quality. For this reason, companies should ensure that they avail high quality goods and services to customers. Care should be taken in pursuing quality as a competitive priority because there are differences in what customers term as high quality. For instance, there are customers who search for products that possess superior features.

There are two dimensions of quality; namely, high performance design and goods and services consistency (Chard, Jacobs and Aquilas, 2004, p.35). High quality design involves the production of goods which address the quality demands of the customers. On the other hand, consistency involves building confidence among clients by ensuring availability of goods and services upon demand.

The third competitive advantage is differentiation as regards to time in delivery speed and reliability. As much as a company pursues production of high quality products, production should not take too long. This is because delays in production and delivery upset customers. Chard, Jacobs and Aquilas (2004) outlined two dimensions of effective delivery. These are rapid delivery and on- time delivery. Rapid delivery involves quick reception of customers’ orders while delivery on- time involves high frequency of on-time delivery of goods and services. In order to utilize time as a competitive priority, companies should make use of technology and employ effective work force.

Therefore, in the process of delivery, companies should ensure that deliveries are “in accordance with the promises made to customers”. This is referred to as dependability (Hayes and Wheelwright, 1984, p. 24).

Employing Competitive Priorities
Employing Competitive Priorities

The fourth priority is flexibility of product mix and adaptation to changing markets. Competition always leads to change of products in the market by different companies. Therefore, as the market changes and customers’ needs and expectations shift, the company should device ways of accommodating these changes. This should be geared towards winning the confident of customers. Chard, Jacobs and Aquilas (2004) categorises flexibility into product and volume flexibility (p. 36). Product flexibility is the ability of the company to offer goods and service that suits the customers’ needs. With this, a product may be dropped out or introduced to the market depending on the market trend. Volume flexibility is the strategy of increasing or decreasing the production of a given product in order to accommodate changes in its demand.

Hayes and Wheelwright (1984) expound aspects of flexibility as the ability to change volume of production, time taken to produce, mix of different products or services produced. Flexibility also involves the ability to innovate and introduce new products and services (p.24).

Flexibility enhances healthy competition as competition is not based on speed of production but customized products. In addition, it helps to reduce competition based on cost. This is so because production of customized products may require extra resources for production. Companies which employ this strategy ensure that its products are varied, and its workers are skilled and competent enough.

Scholars hold divergent views regarding the criteria for utilization of the four competitive priorities. For instance, Hayes and Wheelwright (1984) companies cannot simultaneously succeed when they pursue all the priorities simultaneously. This is because there is the likelihood that such companies have to allow different operators to implement priorities at different times. The resultant lack of coordination leads to inability to achieve objects. The two, therefore, advocate for trade-offs whereby companies pursue one competitive priority to greater levels than the other priorities. On the other hand, there are other scholars who argue that companies can still succeed while pursue the four competitive priorities simultaneously (p. 25). In the next part of the paper, an analysis of FedEx competitive priorities will be done.

FedEx Competitive Priorities

The environment in which FedEx operates is quickly changing due to the financial crisis and globalisation which has resulted into an increase in the number of competitors in the courier business. During the crisis, the quantity of global trade was severely affected which in turn affected the revenues of logistics companies, including FedEx. Although the financial position of the company for last year looked promising, the future is too vague to predict for FedEx. This means that the company must look for ways to strengthen its position in the market. One of the ways that company can do this is by exploiting competitive priorities (Porter, 1998).

The main competitive priority for FedEx is time. In the same day delivery business, delivery on schedule is a vital component in winning customers trust. According to Chase, Jacobs, et al 2006, a company can differentiate itself using time as its competitive priority in two ways: First, is through speed delivery speed and secondary through reliability and ability to deliver the goods when promised. Some of the packages that FedEx is in charge of delivering like medical supplies are extremely time sensitive and hence the businesses is always on the lookout for ways to reduce delays in the supply chain to ensure that packages arrive on time. One of the ways that FedEx achieves this is by controlling every part of the delivery chain. The company owns aircrafts, delivery vans and sorting facilities to ensure reliable on time delivery.

As early as 1980 during the initial years of the company, FedEx had a fully integrated system to monitor the location of vans, track packages and communicate with customers to ensure that all packages were picked and delivered on time. In the last few years, the company has been replacing the old wireless system with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular networks, GPS which enables customers to track their packages in real time using their WAP enabled phones and PDAs. In addition to this, the company has over the years build a seamless international and domestic network linked by air and ground delivery channels which ensures that customers needs are well met (Berger, 2011).

The second competitive priority for the company is flexibility. According to Chase, Jacobs, et al 2006, flexibility involves the ability to provide a wide range of products or services without delay to meet the needs of the client. The company has always been a leader in adaptation of new technology to better meet the expectations of its clients. For instance, the company was the first to start offering delivery at 10.30 am after identifying a need within the market to have their goods delivered early so that they have enough time during the day to work on them. The company also formed a strategic alliance with U.S. Postal Service to offer its customers more flexibility in drop-off points for their parcels (Porter, 1998).

The third competitive strategy that FedEx pursue is cost leadership. According to Porter (1998), cost leadership is concerned with producing high volumes of standardised products to take advantage of economies of scale. FedEx offers its customers a range of flat rate fees and delivery options to ensure that all customers well satisfied. To reduce costs, FedEx uses technology to gather data and through outsourcing some of its operations such as delivery.

The fourth competitive strategy for FedEx is quality. According to Porter (1998), quality is concerned with excellence in operations, product based quality and value based quality where the organisation offers excellence at an acceptable price. To maintain quality, FedEx trains all its employees the importance of correcting a mistake before it goes further on since the mistake becomes more costly to fix once it is allowed to go on. For instance, sorting goods before shipping helps the company avoid wrong shipping. The company also maintains its quality by offering timely delivery which has earned it more satisfaction among its customers than its rival UPS. Quality at FedEx is also maintained by the use of information technology, such as Wi-Fi and iPhone apps, at every point of its delivery channel which enables the company to gain important information about picking up its customers’ parcels and relying information to the customers about where the package is at every step of delivery. The use of technology helps to communicate with the customers in case of delays to maintain their loyalty.

In conclusion, a company should seek to exploit its competitive priorities to ensure survival in times of competition. Competition is normal in every industry and so is the case in US courier industry in which FedEx operates. In the recent years, intense competition over the US market has increased for FedEx both from its main rival UPS and also smaller courier companies which fill the gaps that larger courier companies like UPS, FedEx and DHL are unable to fill due to their large size. In such competitive markets, a company has to come up with a strategy not only to survive but grow in the face of competition. Formation of a competitive strategy involves matching the internal capabilities of the firm with needs of its stakeholders to tap into the changing needs of the market. One of the best strategies that a firm can use is called competitive priority.

 Competitive priorities that affirm can utilise to gain competitive advantage are cost leadership, flexibility, quality of products and timely delivery. The first competitive priority, cost leadership, is concerned with producing a high volume of standardised products to gain economies of scale. FedEx offers to its customers a wide range of services at acceptable prices due to its large market size which has enabled the company from a distribution network in the US and other countries which allows it to pick and deliver parcels more conveniently and cheaply. It has also reduced its operating cost by use of technology to gather data which is vital in logistics.

The second competitive priority that a firm can utilise is quality. This is concerned with a company attaining excellence in its products and offering these products at a competitive price. One of the ways that FedEx maintains its quality is through the use of IT to ensure that its customer’s packages are delivered on time. Timely delivery is enhanced by its already established efficient delivery channel which allows it to collect and deliver packages as per customer’s demands. The other competitive priority a firm can pursue to gain a competitive advantage is flexibility in the mix of products and in offering new products. FedEx achieves this by observing the changes in demands for customers to offer new services like late night delivery and linking up with online sellers, like Amazon, to provide online shoppers with convenient transport of their shopping. The last competitive priority is timely delivery and reliability which FedEx does by ensuring that customers receive all their packages in time by integrating IT in their delivery system to rely information about possible delays to help take corrective action and help customers track their packages to avoid uncertainty.

Bibliography

Berger, A. (2011). Case Study – FedEx Corporation: Strategic Management. New York: Grin Verlag.

Chard, R., Jacobs, F., & Aquilas, N. J. (2004). Operations Management for Competitive Advantage. New York: McGraw- Hill.

Davis, M. M., Aquilano, N. J., Balakrishnan, J., & Chase, R. B. (2005). Fundamentals of Operations Management. New York: McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

FedEx. (2012). About FedEx. Retrieved May 21, 2012, from http://about.van.fedex.com/

Hayes, R. H., & Wheelwright, S. C. (1984). Restoring Our Competitive Edge: Competing Through Manufacturing. John Wiley: New York. .

Henry, A. (2008). Understanding Strategic Management. New York: Oxford University Press.

Porter, M. E. (1998). Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. Free Press.

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Business Strategy BT

Development Strategy for Business Resilience and Sustainability through an Incremental Strategy – A Study of British Telecom

This report discusses the comparative analysis of three strategies namely incremental, renovate and inventive within the context of the internal as well as the external environment of a company such as BT (British Telecommunications Limited) which is a multinational telecommunications services company headquartered in London. It also evaluates a change management programme that can bring about strategic change within this organisation. BT has a global services as well as a retail division. Its operations span 170 countries throughout the world.

Company’s Internal and External Environment and Its Strategy Type

In the current business scenario, intense competition, integration across global markets, changes in technology and the advancement of the telecommunications sector are some of the external factors that influence the change management program of BT. the Company’s managerial talent and the level of the motivation of its workforce are some of the internal factors influencing strategic management. In order to improve the effectiveness of the organisation, strategy is the key because it leverages the capabilities of the individuals and the institution in a cohesive manner. The ideal development strategy for a company like BT that seeks business resilience and sustainability throughout its line of operations is an incremental approach.

Strategic Capabilities

Incremental strategies are effective within the current dynamic environment. Regulatory convergence is a key factor in the selection of incremental strategy for handling change and sustaining profits. The challenges of global competition have to be seen within the broader regulatory framework for effective strategic management. The incremental approach to strategic management is in response to the complex and ever changing corporate environment. Consequently, the strategic process moved in an incremental manner adapting to changes in the internal and external environment of the company. Decisions will then be driven by multiple goals. BT has low levels of business resources with respect to its telecommunications services though it is steadily expanding in the field of broadband communications. BT has reported a fall in sales though it experienced a healthy profit in 2013. Moderate or high business resources imply greater strategic capabilities which enable the company to excel using innovation or denotative strategic management. Annual pre-tax profits of BT were up by more than 40% but sales fell by 4%.

Business Strategy BT Competitive Analysis

The major feature of the incremental strategy is that it is decentralised and it responds to dynamic environmental challenges. BT is facing a changing socioeconomic milieu wherein the incremental approach accounts for this variable. An incremental strategy enables the organisation to fulfil its mission by closing the divide between long as well as short term goals within a changing environment. Organisational design followed a contingency approach since landmark research was conducted by Emery and Trist (1965) as well as Lawrence and Lorsch (1967). When a company faces a challenging environment, incremental strategy is far better than inventive or renovate strategies on account of the challenging environment faced by the company. As a British MNC which has to face global competition, BT should opt for an incremental strategy to boost its prospects and sales.  The degree to which the environment of a company is globalised also influences its development strategy. Porter has proposed the five force model for analyses of competition presented below:

Porters 5 Force Model
Porters 5 Force Model

Figure 1: Porter’s 5 Force Model from Michael Porter, “Competitive Strategies”

Porter’s model elucidates how competition from different sources can create industry rivalry. Competitive analyses in the context of an incremental strategy is suitable for organisations such as BT which want to cope with competition from different sources, as discussed in Porter’s model.

Business Strategy BT Competitive Advantage

BT needs to consider the complete gamut of competitors through an incremental approach to change management. Porter (1980) has argued that organisations should consider the behaviour of firms that are producing same/similar products as well as the action of suppliers, competitors producing substitute products and the customers themselves. An incremental strategy enables companies such as BT to develop a holistic view of the market to promote business resilience and boost profits. Competitive advantage has been discussed through a model proposed by Porter discussed below:

Porters Generic Strategies Model
Porters Generic Strategies Model

Figure 2: Porter’s Generic Strategies Model (Porter, 1980)

Ansoff (1985) has discussed how companies should also develop the strategy keeping in mind the flow of critical resources for production. They should also consider how they will impact non-market actors. Nonmarket actors or strategic interest groups also have an important role to play in influencing the development strategy of a firm. BT should follow a cost leadership strategy for low cost rather than aiming for product uniqueness as there are many rivals offering advanced services in this sector.

Culture

The culture of an organisation also plays a key role in influencing the strategy it adopts. The company’s abilities revolve around the resource, skills and procedures as well as its competencies. Attitudes and other cognitive factors reflect an organisation’s culture. The work culture at BT is unique. It focuses on completion of projects and garnering of crucial contracts. The organisational culture of a company influences its success in current times. BT needs to follow an incremental strategy whereby it adapts to changing global and domestic environment so that it can keep up with its competitors. The choice of a strategic management approach is based on several critical considerations such as an organisation’s strategic capabilities, competitive analyses, competitive advantage and culture.

An organisation must have a strategy that can meet the challenges of its internal or external environment (Ashby, 1961). Therefore, an incremental strategy would be ideal for enhancing the sustainability of business practices and the resilience of British Telecom. Consider the personnel, structure, systems and financial resources to be important factors in any strategy for change management. An incremental strategy follows a contingency approach which is ideal for British Telecom.

The organisation’s culture as reflected by collective values, experiences and beliefs of its members also has a critical role to play in its success. An incremental strategy for development and change management incorporates this effectively, making it the viable and effective choice for BT which has skilled employees. An incremental strategy is ideal for bringing about small but important changes in the organisational functioning compared to inventive or renovate strategies which focus on large scale change.

In order to possess business resilience and sustainability in its operations, BT needs to follow an incremental strategy to bolster its current organisational culture. Companies need to be proactive to cope with changes such as economic slowdowns, increased global competition and massive amount of technological advancement. BT would do well to adopt an incremental, contingency oriented approach to strategic management to cope with this.

Critical Evaluation of the Incremental Strategy

Incremental strategy is ideal for British Telecom.  An incremental strategy enables the company to have flexibility in coping with uncertainties in the field of policy regulation and governance.

People

There is a need to bargain with stakeholders and integrate human and organisational capabilities to catapult the company to the path of success. Renovate and innovative strategies can only be effective in environments where there are less regulation uncertainties (Lindblom, 1979). Each of the different resources within a company plays a critical role in its success. Through an incremental approach, British Telecom can impact its employees in a positive way. By instilling coping skills and out of the box thinking to manage dynamic and changing situations, BT can boost its profits.

Employees also differ in terms of their personal knowledge, perception, limitations, and it is due to this inherent complexity that incremental strategy can be the perfect tool for change. Diversity is one of the chief features of the workforce at BT. Therefore; development strategies followed here should take advantage of this versatility. Incremental approaches to strategic management can accomplish this.  Top managers within the same company can approach the same problem with different solutions (Bower & Doz, 1979).

Operations

Operations system provides guidance regarding how work procedures must be carried on and provides the framework for performing the work People are the key resources of any company. They are the prime assets which spur the growth and development of the organisation. Operations are a key area where rapid changes have to be kept pace with. The internal as well as external stakeholders also play a central role in the company’s success (Lindblom, 1959; Mintzberg, 1919). Balancing the goals and interests of stakeholders is the key to organisational success (Ansoff, 1985). BT should adopt an incremental strategy to improve operations.

Finance

Financial resources are necessary to accomplish goals and provide rewards. Money is one of the primary motivators for obtaining optimal performance from employees in the work setting. Annual pre-tax profits were up 42% to £2.4bn, last year for BT while sales were down 4%. An incremental strategy is ideal for a company such as BT which has ample financial resources.

Technology

Technology sets the stage for the company to maximise its capabilities if it keeps pace with it. Effective utilisation of resources is a must if a company has to progress and make healthy profits. An organisation’s culture is maintained and transmitted by its workers. Leaders of internal stakeholder groups are the key assets to instil positive change within an organisation. For companies such as BT that are facing moderate to heavy environmental turbulence, an incremental strategy for strategic management is needed (Mintzberg, 1973).

Several comprehensive reviews have been conducted by leading researchers in the field of strategic management (Hofer, 1976; Vancil, 1976; Armstrong, 1982). Research has found that degree of formality centralisation, hierarchical structure and comprehensiveness of any company is influenced by its environment, and complexity (Armstong, 1982, Hofer, 1976). In current scenario, an incremental strategy is optimal for BT.

Change Management Programme

A change management programme for British Telecom must incorporate an incremental approach. This is because its external and internal environment is more suited to an approach that makes allowances for sudden and rapid changes. Whether it is people, financial aspects, technological advancements or  organisational culture, all aspects of an organisation’s functioning need to be taken into account for effective change management. A conventional approach towards change management will not be successful. In 1995, John Kotter published his landmark paper “Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail”. This paper cited how only 30% of change programs are successful.

The biggest advantages of a change management programme for British Telecom through an incremental strategy is that it will make allowances for the rapid changes in technology and competition that are taking place in the Indian telecommunications sector. Colin Price and Emily Lawson (2003) suggested that the conditions which must be met for employees within an organisation to embrace change include their agreement to the change, effective role modelling for inculcation of change oriented behaviours, and reinforcement systems that encourage the behaviour and the skills required for change. The structures, systems, processes and incentives within a change management program should be conducive towards a positive transformation of the company into a reliable and sustainable business.

An incremental approach to strategic management can bring about this transformation for British Telecom. But change management processes should have an appeal for employees. Businesses that want to do more than survive have to remodel themselves to match up to competitors. Change management programmes have incorporated various methods such as total quality management, rightsizing, restructuring, cultural change and turnarounds in a bid to improve their profit margins. British Telecom needs to follow a change programme that pursues innovation in a way that is flexible and keeps in line with the incremental strategy of adapting to changes. Too many companies fail to progress beyond a certain point when it comes to garnering market share because they do not anticipate change due to factors such as advances in technology and industrial competition. Even a change management programme based on the incremental approach can have a few pitfalls though. Anticipating change is not easy. Many times, market analysts may be predicting a trend which is short-lived. Kotter’s 10 year study of more than 100 companies found unsuccessful change management programmes failed to generate the urgency or formulate a vision that could be communicated well to bring about a complete transition.

Companies need to be practical and realistic in their aspirations. Only then can change management programmes succeed in a complete sense. Obstacles to the change management programme suggested in this paper include rapid changes in the regulatory framework, unforeseen innovations and advancements in the field of technology and lack of market foresight. Genuine transformations require game changing ideas which can bring about creative solutions to problems. A change management programme based on an incremental strategy can only succeed if company personnel have the objectivity to view successes and failures in accurate ways.

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