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Pluto Telecommunications is facing serious organizational issues in multiple aspects

that are negatively affecting its overall performance. This situation has driven the
management to hire an external management consultant to investigate and identify
the reasons behind the various problems.
One of the major issues that Pluto Telecommunications has is the difference in team
motivations and cultures within the three different divisions: Sales, Customer
Services and Marketing. This difference not only creates various interests and
advocates

achieving

individual

goals,

but

it

also

results

in

the

loss

of

communications within these teams.


Another issue that Pluto Telecommunications is encountering is related to its middle
management work attitude which appears to be destructive. This is interpreted from
the words of the Marketing Director: It isnt my business and from the
unwillingness of any of the three directors to contribute in any suggestion to solve
the issues they have. This can be partially due to the demotivating approach that
the Managing Director undertakes which is expressed in the sarcasm in her
conversation with her directors team.
Therefore, the issue that Pluto Telecommunications is facing is concerned with
several aspects that include the team and its individuals, middle management and
senior manager.
It can be seen that Pluto Telecommunications operates in a disturbed-reactive
industry environment which requires organizations to be flexible, adaptable and
decentralized (Bresnen and Marchington, p. 36) in order to stay in the market. Its
organizational type of culture can be described to be work hard/play hard
(Bresnen and Marchington, p. 48) as per Deal and Kennedys theory. This is due to
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the low risk undertaken in the telecommunication business yet fast feedback that
rises from customers that is showing in the high service levels imposed on customer
service department in terms of the duration in answering customers enquiries and
repairing faults.
Moreover, its current environment type can be classified to be discontinuous as
per Ansoffs typology concept (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2013). This can be
concluded

based

on

the

predictable

environmental

change

that

Pluto

Telecommunications faces and the management attitude that seeks new but related
change in the organization.
In addition, Pluto Telecommunications organizational form can be identified to be
structured as Functional. Since functional structures are distinguished by the
grouping together of like activities and are designed to reap the benefits of
specialization.. But it does not cope well when products become differentiated and
there is more need to ensure cross-departmental communication and coordination
(Bresnen

and

Marchington,

p.

32)

which

is

the

exact

case

of

Pluto

Telecommunications whose departments are grouped based on activities performed


in terms of sales, service and marketing. Moreover, its products are well
differentiated and the case has clearly indicated the lack of knowledge of a
customer account manager of a new product that was circulated and presented
from the marketing department to the customers. The case stated that there was
lack of communication and coordination on this regard that it took this account
manager 3 weeks to get the necessary information.
All of the above observations confirm that Pluto Telecommunications leadership
behavior is job centered, which focuses on getting the job done (Huczynski and
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Buchanan, 2013). This can be confirmed by the key performance indicators that are
imposed on both elements of customer service, the support and the engineers who
are evaluated based on their responsiveness against a time set. Also, the case
indicates the companys priority towards targets achieved and the radical actions it
would take whenever the department is underperforming unlike those actions that
would occur in case the department overachieves. This would again indicate the job
centered behavior followed in the organization.
At this stage, it is vital to identify the organizational culture. What is interesting in
Pluto Telecommunications case is that there are different types of cultures within
the same company. Actually, when analyzing in depth the Sales Department, we can
identify that it is a person culture. In this culture the individual is the central
point. It would exist only for the people in it without any superordinate objective. Its
structure is as minimal as possible; a cluster is the best word for it (Handy, 1993).
This is confirmed in the individualistic characteristic that defines the Sales agents in
Pluto Telecommunications as well as their superiority feeling and the lack of a
formal chain as presented in the case.
As for the Customer Service Department, its culture can be described as a role
culture. It is often stereotyped as bureaucracy. In this culture the role, or job
description, is often more important than the individual who fills it. Rules and
procedures are the major methods of influence. The role culture is frustrating for the
individual who is power oriented or wants control over his work (Handy, 1993). The
case has shown the strict hierarchy that is followed in this department and it
revealed that the e-mail communication is more dominant than personal
communication between individuals in Customer Service. Moreover, actions taken in

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case of underperforming is a strong indication of the role superiority over the


individuals performing it.
The Marketing Department can be best described as task culture. The culture
seeks to bring together the appropriate resources, the right people at the right level
of the organization and to let them get on with it. It is a team culture. The task
culture utilizes the unifying power of the group to improve efficiency. The task
culture therefore is appropriate where flexibility and sensitivity to the market or
environment are important (Handy, 1993). Pluto Telecommunications marketing
team is mentioned to be a group of business university graduates that work in
teams and have a strong group identity. Furthermore, dealing in telecommunication
market, Pluto Telecommunications requires the highest level of flexibility and
sensitivity as described for the task culture.
Pluto

Telecommunications

Senior

Management,

which

mainly

defines

the

companys culture, can be considered as power culture. This culture depends on


a central power source. If the center chooses the right people, who can think in the
same way as it thinks, they can be left to get on with the job. These cultures depend
on the person or persons in the center (Handy, 1993). The communications held in
the meeting between Veronica and the three directors validates this model.
Moreover, the hesitation of sharing any suggestion is a great evidence of the power
culture that Veronica possesses.
Based on the meeting held, it appears that the communication climate that
dominates Pluto Telecommunications is closed. In fact, Veronicas tone from one
side and the three directors attitude from the other side would affirm this position.
Actually, a closed communication climate is characterized to be judgmental by
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making people feel incompetent, deceptive where manipulative communications


are transferred, non-caring when little concern is expressed for others and dogmatic
by the unwillingness to accept views of others or compromise (Huczynski and
Buchanan, 2013). Expressions that passed in the dialogue such as: I see, Mr. MBA,
How convenient!, It isnt my job, I dont have the time to find out, would confirm
this type of communication to be governing.
This would eventually explain the conflict resolution approach undertaken by Pluto
Telecommunications management which is competing. Per Huczynski and
Buchanan (2013, p. 738), such approach would most likely result in a feeling of
vindication, but the other party feels defeated and possibly humiliated since the
posture in such conflict resolution tends towards stressing on ones own opinion as
right and other parties should not question the managers judgment or authority
and the objective in such an approach is to get the matters in your own way.
Such uncooperative approach confirms with Tannenbaum-Schmidt continuum of
leadership behavior model and thus classifies Pluto Telecommunications leadership
as Boss centered (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2013). Veronica is the manager that
makes the decisions and announces it. Furthermore, the case showed that Veronica
endorses this behavior by her low confidence in her subordinates, limited beliefs
about her employee participations and her strong personality that was expressed
several times in the case. Those are the forces in manager that lead into this
behavior. Likewise, there are few forces in the subordinates that validate such
behavior such as their low expectations of involvement and their tolerance of the
current ambiguity that is present in Pluto Telecommunications without raising the
hand earlier to find solutions for these issues. Equally, forces in the situation are
also defining the boss centered leadership that Veronica possess by the absence of
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an

effective

teamwork

within

the

organization

and

presence

of

different

organizational norms and work cultures within different areas.


Veronicas boss centered approach falls under Vrooms concept that the nature of
the participation in decision making process is a decide situation (Huczynski and
Buchanan, 2013). Vroom describes it by saying: As leader, you feel you have the
information and expertise to make the decision alone and then you either announce
or sell it to the group. Hence the participant in the decision making is only the
leader, which is in our case Veronica, whereas her subordinates would only follow
her decision. This has been clearly revealed in the case at many levels; an example
is when the Marketing Director explicitly stated: It isnt my job, and when Veronica
asked for suggestions and none of the three directors shared their opinions or
suggestions. This indicates the current culture in the organization that Veronica
suggests and decides for the company, whereas the directors follow and implement,
and also receive a negative and a sarcastic feedback from Veronica when they come
with a suggestion, thus leaving no room for any effective participation in the
decision making.
However, the directors approach can be argued and critiqued by Clarke and
Newman in there statements: We are currently witnessing the forging of a number
of managerial myths, each of which is accompanied by its own logic of
appropriateness. For example, there is the myth that business units can and should
act as if they were real businesses I am a strategic manager, so I dont have to
bother with the mess of day to day operational decisions (2006, p. 90).
Now that Pluto Telecommunications current situation has been explained, below are
some of the options that Pluto Telecommunications management can undertake.
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The first option is that Pluto Telecommunications management does nothing and
keeps the current situation as is. However, this will lead into more catastrophic
results in terms of the complaints hitting the roof, marketing efforts are gone to
waste as there are no awareness of new campaigns and thus negative customer
responsiveness, and sales people will lose their credibility as they would be
perceived as overcommitted when communicating with prospect customers about
installations and support. This will destroy the companys image and reputation in
the market and it will soon get escalated again to Pluto Telecommunications
management to find a solution for these issues.
Also as an option, Pluto Telecommunications management can start considering
implementing changes. David Collins N-step model provides an eight step approach
to facilitate the needed change (Bresnen and Marchington, p. 68). First, Pluto
Telecommunications managements main responsibility should start by establishing
a sense of urgency for the change, then forming a guiding coalition and creating a
vision till institutionalizing new approaches. By applying this model, Veronica and
the other managers would have defined a process in place to make a sound change.
The only visible drawback of this approach is that it needs long time to witness
results.
Another option would be to apply Dunphy and Staces model of change
management charismatic transformation. This transformation is used where
major adjustments are needed, where there is insufficient time and where there is
support

for

radical

Telecommunications

change
case,

(Bresnen

these

and

changes

Marchington,

can

be

p.

considered

72)
as

In

Pluto

modular

transformation, and since Veronicas team are willing to accept her decision and
would collaborate with changes she imposes, this should make it easier for her to
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process with the necessary amendments to guarantee a better work harmony.


Nevertheless, Veronicas decisions are currently being accepted out of fear rather
than the logic behind it. Hence, she has to shift this perception from performing
management functions into becoming leadership functions as indicated by Kotters
model. For instance, for execution actions, Veronica is currently controlling and
solving the organizations problems while her role should become motivational and
inspirational, and instead of producing orders it should focus on producing positive
change (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2013).
These would cover some of the teams and management choices that Pluto
Telecommunications

has.

Looking

into

the

employee

perspective,

Pluto

Telecommunications can start identifying the good employee that would fit in its
overall culture using the psychometric tests. The use of psychometric tests in an
attempt to fit the worker to the job has dominated industrial psychology. Whereas
personnel psychology reflects the point of view of the employer interested in
selection, placement and promotion, vocational psychology has been applied
deciding on the kind of work she or he would like to do (Hollway, 2005, p. 54).
These will not only help Pluto Telecommunications identify the correct calibers to
recruit, but it would also assist in recognizing amongst the existing staff that would
support Pluto Telecommunications management vision and mission. However, this
will involve the Human Resources department which the case did not provide any
information about. Hence, no clear conclusion can be driven as to how feasible and
easy, or rigid and difficult based on the companys infrastructure to have such tests
ready for implementation.
As a recommendation, Pluto Telecommunications has to follow the integration as
its new organizational culture to tackle its cross departments issues. In fact, this
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culture type suggests that there is, and needs to be, consensus within the
organization and that leaders and managers are important creators of culture; any
ambiguity or confusion in cultural values is a problem that needs to be resolved
(Bresnen and Marchington, p. 51). This behavior would eliminate any departmental
conflict on employee level and would also make the managers held responsible to
carry out this culture which will provide them with higher sense of ownership and
recognition in the organization which reinforces the power culture Pluto
Telecommunications has. In addition, on a leadership behavior perspective, Pluto
Telecommunications management has to move from being job centered into
becoming employee centered that focuses on relationships and employee needs
(Huczynski and Buchanan, 2013).
Hence, such integration would need the involvement of all three levels in Pluto
Telecommunications: the employees of each of the three departments, the directors
of these departments and the managing director.
Nevertheless, such implementation is not expected to be applied smoothly. In fact,
it should be expected that the majority of the sales team to reject the change in the
culture as it stresses on group work rather than individual achievements, the
customer service team will initially be in a state of confusion since they opinion will
start to matter and they will be more appreciated than before, the marketing team
are the least to be affected since they have already built the teamwork mentality.
Such cultural change process wont be done overnight, and would need at least six
months of adjustments implementation to start witnessing modifications. However,
planning to involve the employees in the communication will extremely minimize
any potential resistance of plans and lower disruption costs. Employees can be
involved by setting team meetings, feedback forums and interactive conferencing
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(Huczynski and Buchanan, 2013). Also, the most affected part of the transformation
would be the departments directors as they will witness more responsibilities
delegated to them and rebuild the sense of leadership instead of being treated as
purely executives. The managing director will also be affected by this cultural
change being the center of the organization as she will be required to move from
being a manager into becoming a leader.
To conclude, such organizational cultural change will lead into a new management
philosophy that will be more appreciative for the employee and managers roles. At
the heart of the new management philosophy is a change in the relationship
between organizations and the individuals who work in them. Instead of just doing
what they are told, enterprising employees are made responsible for motivating,
disciplining and directing themselves. At the same time, the organization must
ensure that the self-directing worker is moving in step with institutional policy.
(Cameron, 2000, p. 14)

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Reference:
Huczynski, A., Buchanan, D. (2013) Organizational Behaviour. 8th edn. Person.
Bresnen, M., Marchington, M. People, Management & Organizations Study Guide.
MBS
Handy, C. (1993) Understanding Organizations. London: Penguin
Clarke, J., Newman, J., (2006) The managerial state London: SAGE
Hollway, W., (2005) Work Psychology and Organizational Behavior: Managing the
individual at work London: SAGE
Cameron, D., (2000) Good to Talk? Living and working in a communication culture
London:SAGE

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