AT & T Incorporation
Organizations are increasingly becoming aware of the fact that leadership plays an important role in pushing them closer to their goals and objectives. Leaders have the obligation of restructuring and transforming the company in the main areas that are aimed at fulfilling the needs of customers as well as the demands in the market whenever they arise. In such a case, transformational leaders are the best people to bolster performance and make sure that value based leadership techniques are widely used in the transformation of the business into a bigger entity that is more successful. Leaders should be focused and determined in spearheading the key objectives of the organization while looking towards the satisfaction of the unpredictable rising customer needs. Losing this focus will only point out that the leaders have failed in performing their duties as expected, thereby highlighting the failures of the organization.
This paper investigates the case of AT & T Incorporation by pointing out the key challenges and barriers to the success of the organization leading to its failure in meeting the expectations of the customers, as well as the giving an in-depth analysis of the leadership roles required to bring in change and help the company in achieving its objectives.
Sander and Bobo (2012) point out that AT & T Inc. is the leading telecommunications service provider in the United States with its headquarters in Dallas. The company deals in wireless and wired communication as well as other services and products through its affiliates and subsidiaries across the United States and other international destinations. The company was formally run under the brand name of SBC Communications Inc. until 2005 when it changed its brand name to AT & T Incorporation.
The wireless segment of the company entails the provision of dial-up Internet services, U-verse services, enterprise network services, Wi-Fi and packet services, as well as both local and international voice services for various business applications like sales and reservation centers among others. Sander & Bobo (2012) argue that the wireless segment also offers both data and voice communication services, sells AT & T branded handsets, and wireless data cards to several individuals with personal computers among other services and products. The company has been faced with numerous challenges with regards to operations since its creation in 1983. It has had to live with the dubious distinction of being the worst performing cell phone Company in America. This is reiterated by Sander & Bobo who argue that, the firm has of late been forced to concede to numerous criticisms after being rated as the poorest performer in terms of customer satisfaction, based on customer testimonials.
According to Information Gatekeepers (2013), AT & T is currently faced with three main challenges; poor performance, absolute abysmal customer service and poor value. It is apparent that the firm has been rocked by incompetence and unresponsiveness to new and emerging customer needs. It has been noted that the company has been trailing quite behind with regards to 4G technology, which is the latest technology that enables Smartphone users to access the internet and browse at relatively high speeds. Besides, the company has also been using fiber optic-based network in the provision of TV services to its almost 2 million U-TV consumers, which has also not been received quite well since there have been numerous complaints of poor network reception among other hitches from customers.
Organizational Changes to Overcome Challenges
Information Gatekeepers (2013) argue that, despite the shortcomings of the company, it still has chances of overcoming all the mentioned hitches if it considers making organizational changes that might be helpful in dealing with the problems. Embracing these changes would enable the company to face any kind of challenge and keep it informed on the imminent consumer behaviors that it should prepare for, as well as strategizing on the most ideal avenue to be pursued.
It is a fact that whenever companies begin to experience such turbulent times like those of AT & T, the problem must be originating from the leadership, and in a case like this one, it is necessary that organizational changes are made. Leadership roles should be clearly defined so that efficiency is enhanced when it comes to the operation of the organization while also making sure that it is always ready to provide its customers with more than their expectations, which will then help in winning their loyalty and keeping the business on a good scale with regards to performance. It is certain that leaders are the backbone of any company since all employees look up to them in order to stay focused and foster the best way ahead towards fulfilling the objectives as well as even exceeding the customer expectations both in the provision of services and products. In order to evade such incidences, it is imperatively ideal for the leaders in an organization to apply those leadership styles and strategies that are aimed at enhancing the overall performance of the company from various angles.
Philips & Gully (2012) raise the opinion that based on the case of AT & T Inc, embracing structural, task and technological changes would be the most appropriate avenue to pursue in order to save the company’s reputation. Structural change would entail the restructuring and reviewing of the various spans of authority as well as the centralization of authority regardless of the operations of the organization with various subsidiaries. Structural change will foster quick decision making without having to take so much time, thereby enhancing efficiency for the benefit of the organization. Efficiency will go a long way in enhancing the operation of the company and augmenting its responsive ability to various emerging issues as well as driving the company to greater heights that it is unable to achieve now. Embracing change with regards to the tasks will entail the reviewing of the job design with the aim of excellence and competence in terms of the quality of products and services towards meeting the needs of customers but also surpassing their expectations. It would also be necessary for the organization to embrace technological change in terms of quick absorption of the latest technological arrivals in different aspects so as to enable the company to serve their clients well. It is apparent that the response of the organization with regards to technology is slower, in addition to its inability to implement competent technology policies that can ensure better customer relations.
For the change to be effective, it is ideal that AT & T Inc. should go for an effective change model and effectively use it to the point that its impact is felt, and the company is able to focus n success. According to Phillips and Gully (2011), the Lewin’s Force Field Organization Change Model is a classical organizational change management model, which was proposed by Kurt Lewin in 1951. The model stipulates that an organization is a system that is held by identical conflicting forces that are equally represented. Therefore, the man who invented the model, Lewin suggested that this model is based on two assumptions, which are the existing of the driving forces for change in a company and the presence of opposing forces that act against the changes. As a result of this, Lewin came up with a three-stage process for the implementation of changes in an organization irrespective of the nature of the required change.
The first stage in the implementation of change involved creating motivation to change, which Lewin labeled as the process of unfreezing. Philips & Gully issue the advice that during this stage, AT & T Company will need to introduce a motivational program for its employees in an effort to prepare them for the imminent changes with regards to task changes, introduction of new technology and structural changes. The process of unfreezing will assist the company in doing away with retrogressive organizational culture and wipe out the status quo due to the fact that organizational culture is the main aspect that posses great threat and resistance to any kind of chance.
According to Philips & Gully (2011), the second important stage is the adjustment of the equilibrium, which entails the implementation of the actual change and development of a new organizational culture for the benefits of the organization. This change may be achieved through three main approaches; persuasion, re-education and application of force against the winds of opposition. Philps & Gully (2011) go ahead to point out that the third and last stage in the implementation of change is re-freezing. This entails the creation of new norms, punishments, regulations or rewards that have to be undertaken preferably on a regular basis in order for the change to be effective. This will enable the company to focus on the needs and wants of customers with the aim of surpassing their expectations in terms of service delivery and products offered.
Role of Leaders in Bringing Change
It is required that the leader who serves as the chairperson and chief executive officer of AT & T Inc. should be in the forefront in campaigning for the successful implementation of the imminent change. According to Information Gatekeepers (2013), transformational leadership styles have to be given precedence since they play an important role on the implementation and retention of the required change at AT & T Inc. When it comes to implementing task change, the leader has to put into consideration, the leadership style applied by the director in order to have the tasks done in the best way possible towards improving the performance of the company. This style will make sure that the leader uses his or her directive in making sure that the organization achieves whatever is to be undertaken. The style keeps the team focused on the goals of the organization through supervision and delegation of duties while ensuring that the wider perspective of the company is seized.
Information Gatekeepers (2013) are also of the opinion that autocratic leadership style will help in the making of policies, implementation of key decisions regarding the company’s future as well as dictating and assigning tasks to each member so as to enhance a focused environment for employees in a bid to meet the set objectives and goals of the company. Besides, the leader should also portray a high degree of intelligence, social maturity and breadth, inner motivation and achievement of desires, as well as good human relations and attitudes to the employees for the sake of improving the image of the organization. If the mentioned approaches to change are properly used, the leader will be able to induce motivation for change as well as achieve the goals of the company.
Barriers to Success
There are impediments that hinder the success of an organization in its efforts to rise to the top, and no matter how hard the company may try, there will be no guarantee for success if these barriers to success are not identified, analyzed and placed under control. According to Information Gatekeepers (2013), resistance to change, poor leadership styles, poor customer relations and corruption among managers giving way to embezzlement of funds for investment are the key impediments to success. Resistance to change is a major barrier to an organization’s success, which therefore means that an organization will not be able to stay on course with the latest technology trends as well as management trends among other fields in an organization.
Change cannot be avoided and a significant phenomenon that every organization must pay attention to. Change encourages success since it develops ways and means through which a company can easily identify its strengths and weaknesses, thereby enabling it to strategize on the most ideal way forward with regards to achieving the outlined goals and objectives, thereby enhancing the success of the operations of the company. Information Gatekeeprs (2013) are warning that poor leadership styles hinder success by giving room for poor implementation of policies and strategies that are meant to propel the organization towards realizing its objectives. Poor leadership in deed plays a major role in hindering the success of a company because leaders are the drivers of the organization, and failure to execute their duties and responsibilities mainly translates into failure of the company. Besides, corruption gives the leaders the opportunity of misusing funds for the company towards self gratification, which limits funds for investment at the time of need.
For the above mentioned impediments to be overcome, there is need for the development of a plan that will help in evading the barriers and instead, making them stepping-stones to successful results. Communication and education as well as the participation and inclusion of employees in the change implementation process will reduce the chances of resistance to alterations, thereby making sure that the road to success is cleared. According to Information Gatekeepers (2013), it will also be ideal for the leaders to undertake the identification and analysis of the nature of employees so as to enable him or her use the most appropriate leadership style that is aimed at motivating employees towards enhancing their performance, thus, enabling the company to make significant steps towards success.
Philips & Gully (2011) point out that appropriate leadership styles will enable the company to stay focused on its primary goals as well as offer employees the morale to do their work responsibly towards meeting the objectives of the organization. Besides, the company can wipe out corrupt leaders by seeking to test their integrity through various ways and means of cutting down embezzlement of funds and allowing the company to focus on profitable investments instead of fulfilling personal goals at the expense of the company’s funds and other resources. The organization can also create a good customer relationship by always seeking the satisfaction of their needs.
This paper has brought out the case of AT & T Inc, which has over the years performed quite dismally as a result of the failure to meet the expectations of customers. The paper has identified three major challenges that the organization is faced with like awful performance, absolutely poor customer service and low value. Besides, the paper has also discussed three organizational changes that are necessary for the organization to be able to address these challenges. Thus, based on the changes required in addressing these issues, the paper has outlined Lewin’s Force Field Organization Change Model that is important in the implementation of the said changes. The paper has also gone further to provide an in-depth analysis of the kind of leadership that is required to bring in change and bolster the organization towards meeting its objectives. It has also given an analysis of the barriers to the success of an organization. The paper has indeed, pointed out that leaders play an important role in the operation of a company, and the choice of the leadership styles and skills to be applied in the management of the organization’s operations determine the avenue that it pursues. Thus, failure of the leader translates into the fall of the company.