Problem Solution: Global Communications

Introduction

In today’s business world globalization is the issue. These last decades the market has gone global and now business companies can reach in different corners of the globe. The communications industry is one of those industries that are widely integrated into the global market place.

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In this respect, Global Communication Company is in a serious difficult situation. As a business it should take dear the benefiting of its stakeholders. But we must not forget that the mission of a business is, after all, to increase profits (Arthur & Shefrin, 2003). This means it has to serve particularly a certain group of its stakeholders; its share or stock holders. At the same time it has a social responsibility part that it cannot forget. Its loyalty to its actual work force is one of those aspects that a good company cannot allow to lose. At the same time, in this global market place competition is growing fiercer and the need to improve professionally and cut costs is immediate if you want to “survive the tide” (Arthur & Shefrin, 2003).

The managing team at the Global Communication is discussing to draft an action plan to be implemented in order to successfully pas this situation. In this paper I will try to assess their issues, problems the face, and probable solutions. I will try to show the necessary steps to be undertaken in order to implement a plan that will have as few negative effects as possible with as much positive effects as possible.

Situation Analysis

Issue and Opportunity Identification

The problems (issues) and opportunities that rise from this situation are a derivate of the enhancement of the global interaction between societies and cultures, what we call “globalization”. In the communication sphere this trend is probably more visible then in other spheres. In our case globalization has led to difficult times for the market players. Wall Street, confidence in the telecommunications industry has been going down. From a stockholders point of view, there have been diminishing returns and much speculation about the industry’s ability to rebound. Understandably, telecommunications companies are under tremendous economic pressure and the company we are analyzing, Global Communications, is no exception. Three years ago, its stock traded at $28 per share; today, the stock is valued at $11, more than 50 percent depreciation.

Curiously, Dyrud (2002) showed in his study that independently the poverty, economical and financial problems and difficulties that societies and individuals around the globe are facing, still the communication sphere remains a field where the number of users (customers) is increasing. This maybe is another argument that communication is essential to the human being. Despite this the prices for communication are constantly decreasing and the quality is constantly increasing. Today’s companies offer wide range of services which include: internet communication, cell and satellite phone services, digital TV and traditional phone services (Katkin, 2005). Many think the market has no place for other player’s (companies) and even the existing ones have to “fight” fiercer if they want to gain better market shares and positioning.

Stakeholder Perspectives/Ethical Dilemmas

Shareholder’s prime interest is that the company maximizes its revenue and diminishing the operating costs. This way the company will increase the net profits which will in turn result in more profits for the shareholders. There may be additional values that stakeholders take dear but the above mentioned is, in my belief, more important. This is due to the fact that they have invested their money in a business profit company for the reason of gaining profits. And that is one of the major ethical dilemmas that we find in the business world today: how to increase profits without “moving away” from the so called social responsibility part of the business?! The outsourcing strategy of the Global Communication team has a clear focus on the increasing of profits but here is where it has clashing views with the Union. This last actor regards this strategy as unfair and unethical that violates the interests and rights of the present workers (Dyrud, 2002).

In itself, the strategy has a probability of functioning as the team expects but it also has the risk probability of having back-clashes that can further damage the company’s actual market position. For example, the team takes the risk of implementing this strategy and you find that it might be hazardous. How do you increase profits with a non-motivated work-force and a bad public relation and brand image?

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On the other hand, the implementation of this risk based strategy can create opportunities in the immediate future. It can open new market segments and increase customer satisfaction because of the increase in high technology related services.

And there comes the ethical dilemma once again: shareholder satisfaction on expenses of another group of stakeholders (the work force) or maintain a satisfied work force at the expenses of less profits for the investors? Surely it is a dilemma where there cannot be no loosing because somebody has to “give up” from something in order to remain competitive in the market.

Problem Statement

Global Communication intends to become a worldwide leader in the communications industry. Its goal is to assist people of different cultures and societies, at different corners of the globe, connect and communicate freely with each other.

Global Communication vision is to enhance the company’s market value and profits for the benefit of its shareholders. At the same time, retain its social responsible approach toward its staff and work force along with a high quality service for its customers.

In order to achieve these objectives the necessary managements and operation plans should be made in order to make the correct steps toward the realization of the plan.

End-State Vision

The conflict between Global Communication and the Union is an “ethical crisis” regarding the rights of the actual workers of the company. In fact, the end state solution will depend on the cooperation of these long-time partners and their mutual agreements of the ways to proceed. From an ethical point of view we have a clash between the “right of the people to work” (the actual working force of the company) and the “right of the people to profit” (the stakeholders who wish increase in profits). The end state solution will depend on the achievement of a non-conflict position between these two different viewpoints.

The future may look full of conflicts, and the partnership with the Union may be in danger if Global Communications decides to implement the actual plan, take away the jobs from its actual people, and create the working places in India and Ireland.

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Instead, a solution that prolongs the partnership should be found and implemented. In order to benefit, Global Communication should offer its actual working force the possibility to save their position in the company. An opportunity to increase the qualification level by arranging the training for them can be provided as a response to the high technology service requirements. It is possible to make positive recommendations for those who would refuse to work further for Global Communication, and give them an opportunity to find other workplaces. This action would improve the reputation of the company and save the trustful relations with Workers Union.

The future vision of the company should be of a company that has gained a considerable market share and positioning in confront to the competition. It has also become a leader in the communication industry by remaining committed to its philosophy of treating the work force as a “family”.

An end state solution with taking into account that the company has to go global and become highly competitive in the global market would not be the adequate solution. It would be a solution that would increase the risk of losing its objectives, both less profits for that part of the stakeholder community interested in increasing profits and revenues and less jobs for the work force community.

Alternative Solutions

Global Communication’s management team has a difficult decision to make. Either it should continue with the actual plan in principle by just making some secondary changes or begin a new effort to draft another plan including the Union as partner this time. A good example resulting from the generic benchmarking would be the case of ICO Global (Holdings). It is a communication company that had similar problems to Global Communication. The managing team could profit from the strategy ICO Global implemented even though it had to avoid its mistakes. In fact, ICO Global had a major clash with the Union and this resulted in a serious marketing threat (Kozak, 2008).

In fact, they decided to continue with their plan without taking into consideration the work force pretentions. This could be a solution for the managing team of Global Communication. If the results are to be similar to those of ICO Global, then the company may “suffer” at the beginning from a negative marketing but it may benefit after from the expansion in the global market and the low cost of labor in other countries.

Another solution would be that of offering the actual labor force the possibility to enhance their professional skills and their career in the future. This would retain a good relationship with the Union and also be used as a positive marketing tool.

Analysis of Alternative Solutions

If the actual plan is left apart and efforts are put to draft another plan with the Union as partner then it can have some negative effect also other than positive. The positive effects are that the clashing with the work force and Union will terminate and the company will retain a positive public relation stance before the public. But the negative effect would be that this may be not the correct solution to the problem. In the not too distant future due to competition the company could lose significant part of its market share, consequently its profits. This will lead to a deepening of the problems it is facing now.

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To continue with the actual plan could result in a bad public image for the company. This is due to the fact that Global Communication has made an image of its good treatment of its workers. This outsourcing plan could damage that image and result in fewer customers for the future. Also if the Union retaliates in court or with the government can create a negative situation that will affect the market positioning of Global Communication.

The same reason stand for the implementation of a plan according to the one done by ICO Global. Copying another company’s strategy can result inefficient because of the particular situation and “culture” formed within each company.

Risk Assessment and Mitigation Techniques

The risks of implementing the first solution can be derived from what is mentioned above. The positive effects are that the clashing with the work force and Union will terminate and the company will retain a positive public relation stance before the public. But the risk would be that this may be not the correct solution to the problem. In the not too distant future due to competition the company could lose significant part of its market share, consequently its profits. This will lead to a deepening of the problems it is facing now. The probability that this plan functions on solving the problems of the company is low. There is also a high probability that this

To continue with the actual plan could result in a bad public image for the company. This is due to the fact that Global Communication has made an image of its good treatment of its workers. This outsourcing plan could damage that image and result in fewer customers for the future. It is a very high risk of having a negative impact on the market share of the company and, especially, there is a high probability to damage the public image and good brand name it has created over the years. Also the risk is major if we count that the Union retaliates in court or with the government can create a negative situation that will affect the market positioning of Global Communication.

The same risks stand for the implementation of a plan according to the one done by ICO Global. Copying another company’s strategy can result inefficient because of the particular situation and “culture” formed within each company.

Optimal Solution

According to what I have mentioned above in the alternative solution section, the optimal solution would be that of offering opportunities to the actual work force without abandoning the intention of going global. In details, the company will offer to its actual working force the possibility of enhancing their professional capabilities. This enhancement of professional capabilities is necessary in the conditions of a global market competition. The customers are requesting from Global Communication more sophisticated technology related services. It is obvious that the actual work force cannot provide these new services adequately. By doing these moves the company will re-establish good relationships with the Worker’s Union and avoid all the negative publicity and the situation that the Union can create in the public.

At the same time the partial transfer of the centers in India and Ireland can take place. This countries offer a work force with significantly lower costs and a higher professional experience in sophisticated technological services related to the products offered by The Global Communication Company. This move will increase the competitiveness of the global Communication Company in the global market place. This is due to the lowering of costs of labor and the improvement of professional expertise. The Indian and Irish operators require less monetary reward then the actual work force does. In addition they already have the adequate training for the usage of new sophisticated techniques.

In addition, for that part of the working force that will not accept to continue their training the company can release positive references and recommend them to local partner companies. This will be done in order for these workers to find another adequate job to fulfill their daily life needs.

I will explain in the Implementation section of the paper more what this plan means.

Implementation Plan

Now comes the “difficult” part of having a practical implementation of the plan mentioned above. The customers are requesting from Global Communication more sophisticated technology related services. It is obvious that the actual work force cannot provide these new services adequately.

In this situation the company will offer to its actual working force the possibility of enhancing their professional capabilities. The first phase of the implementation of the plan will be directed to the actual work force. This enhancement of professional capabilities is necessary in the conditions of a global market competition. The Human Resources and Public Relations Department of the Global Communication, headed by Joel Thompson, will be in charge of organizing these trainings and provide all the necessary requirements for the training sessions. Also it should be made clear to the work force that improvement of their professional skills for the usage of sophisticated technology is “a must” in this new global market place.

The training will have a grading point and all the workers that will not have a certain grading point average, or above, will not be able to continue their work at the company. These moves the company will re-establish good relationships with the Worker’s Union and avoid all the negative publicity and the situation that the Union can create in the public. The period for preparing the training and beginning their implementation will be three months. During this period the Human Resource and Public Relations Department should be careful to maintain good relationships with the Workers Union in order for the last not to raise the issue in court or with the government for the protection of rights of the local work force.

If this is done, the company can suffer a significant damage to its brand name.

In addition, for that part of the working force that will not accept to continue their training, or that will not meet the minimal passing requirements at the end of the training, the Global Communication can release positive references and recommend them to local partner companies. If it is possible the Public Relations Department will intermediate with local partner companies to achieve these results. This will be done in order for these workers to find another adequate job to fulfill their daily life needs. This is also the second phase of the implementation of the plan. It will comprise one to two other months for the Public Relations Department to help these workers find an adequate placement in other companies.

After this the third phase will begin. It is the transferring of the call centers and other customer service related centers to India and Ireland will take place. This transferring of the customer service operations to foreign countries will significantly reduce the labor cost and increase the professional expertise needed for competing in a global market place. The timeline for this transfer will also be that of three to four after the first two phases are done. To the actual working force that qualifies for the new professional expertise needed or completes the training successfully should be announced the possibility of overseas movement. Of course the adequate compensation will be offered for these movements.

The fourth phase will be that of informing the actual small business clients and other customers for the changes that the company will undertake and its ambitions to become a global competitor. The timeline for this phase will be three months. These will be the same period when the Public Relations Department will implement the first and beginning of the second phases. Instead this phase will be directed by the Small Business and Marketing Sales Department headed by Nancy Everhardt.

Evaluation of Results

The results should be evaluated with measures that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. If this is done correctly then we can have a correct evaluation (Chlondowski, 2007).

The number of the actual work force that decides to pursue the trainings offered by the company is a specific measure of the implementation of the first phase of the plan by the Human Resources. This along with the other measure of the number of workers that are going to relocate work in other local partner companies within the first five to six months from the beginning of the implementation of the plan. These two are also measurable measures because the company can calculate the number and advertise the results in its favor if the percentage of workers that have relocated to other local companies or that have taken the training is considerable.

Another evaluation measure would be the making operational of the centers that are going to be relocated in India and Ireland within three months. If they become fully functional and operative within the timeline this will favor the lowering of costs and enhancement of professional expertise. This in turn will give Global Communication a good start in the global market place. These objectives are timely attainable and realistic.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I might say that Global Communication is in a serious position and in front of difficult decisions. The globalization era has led companies all over the world reshape their structures and change their policies time after time. Competition has become fiercer and this has raised new ethical and moral issues regarding the relation between business and the people who both work for the business, or this late serves.

By making a mixture of international relocation and expertise with local training and professional enhancement, Global Communication is trying to remain both loyal and positive toward its local work force and not forget its purpose of benefitting its shareholders. For this reason it has drafted a plan that has all the capabilities of attaining positive results for both the company (its stakeholders) and the work force.

References

Charles, M. (2007). Language Matters in Global Communication: Article Based on ORA Lecture, October 2006. The Journal of Business Communication, 44(3), 260.

Dyrud, M. A. (2002). Global Contexts: Case Studies in International Technical Communication. Business Communication Quarterly, 65(4), 127.

Katkin, K. (2005). Communication Breakdown?: The Future of Global Connectivity after the Privatization of INTELSAT. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, 38(5), 1323.

Kozak, Metin (2008). What is Benchmarking? Understanding its Philosophy. School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Mugla University

Zbigniew Chlondowski. (2007) “S.M.A.R.T. Site: attributes reference table”. S.M.A.R.T. Linux. Web.

Sullivan, Arthur; Steven M. Sheffrin (2003). Economics: Principles in action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey; Pearson Prentice Hall.

Table 1. Issue and Opportunity Identification

Issue Opportunity Reference to Specific
Course Concept
(Include citation)
Concept
USAuto’s negotiating team did not carefully identify AutoMex’s goals. USAuto’s goal was to reduce costs through utilizing AutoMex labor. AutoMex, by contrast, viewed USAuto as a source for developing its employees’ skill levels. USAuto’s negotiating team also approached entering the Mexican market similarly, unwilling to allow AutoMex access to the hybrid engine for AutoMex’s own production.

Both of these distributive approaches create win-lose situations and can lead to conflict, as compared to the win-win situations created by integrative negotiations (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2003, p. 504).

USAuto can develop intelligence on potential business relations to understand better others’ goals in negotiation settings. “A distributive negotiation usually involves a single issue—a ‘fixed-pie’—in which one person gains at the expense of the other. For example, haggling over the price of a rug in a bazaar is a distributive negotiation,” (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2003, p. 71). Distributive negotiations

Table 2. Stakeholder Perspectives.

Stakeholder Perspectives
Stakeholder Groups The Interests, Rights, and
Values of Each Group
Work force To continue work; high salaries;
Stock holders/ share holder Increase profits; cut costs
consumers Higher quality service

Table 3. Analysis of Alternative Solutions.

[Click twice on table to change, see instructions on next page. The alternatives and their ratings as well as the goals and their weightings shown below are for illustrative purposes, you should enter your own. Delete this paragraph when done.]

Analysis of Alternative Solutions.

Table 4. Risk Assessment and Mitigation Techniques.

Risk Assessment and Mitigation Techniques
Alternative Solution Risks and Probability Consequence and Severity Mitigation Techniques

Table 5. Optimal Solution Implementation Plan.

Deliverable Timeline Who is Responsible
Phase 1 3 months PR & HM Dep.
Phase 2 1-2 months PR & HM Dep.
Phase 3 3 months PR & HM Dep.
Phase 4 2 months Sales & Marketing Department

Table 6. Evaluation of Results.

End-State Goals Metrics Target
Have a good relationship with the Union Avoiding the Union appeals to government Avoid the bad public figure
Cut costs Cut labor cost Go to India and Ireland
Increase performance New sophisticated technology usage Go to India and Ireland
Customer satisfaction Better service quality Work force training
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