Analysis of the Organizational Behavior of Cox Enterprises, Inc.
Analysis of the Organizational Behavior of Cox Enterprises, Inc.
Cox Enterprises, Inc. remains a family-owned four-division business for nearly 120 years. In the 21st century, Cox is a facilities-based provider of video, voice, and data solutions for its commercial customers while exhibiting strong ethical organizational behavior. Cox Media is a full-service provider of national and local cable spot and new media advertising. Cox's global locations include locations in the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom (Bloomberg, 2013).
This academic exploration of this successful business looks at its organizational behavior and culture as fundamental to its successful longevity beginning with its history, the purpose of the organization, and challenges. Included in this academic investigation are organizational theories where applicable. The underpinnings of good marketing as part of good business practices remains a multidimensional aspect that Cox corporation proves it understands because of the smart business moves it shows historically and in the actions it took in correcting two problems identified and discussed in this academic analysis.
Further, in this academic analysis use of an evaluative lens looks specifically at the corporate culture Cox continues proving is its mainstay as a successful business for over a century. Cox cares as much about its employees as it does its customers and the decisions discussed in correcting issues affecting both its customers and as importantly, its employees is the core understanding of why it chose the route to solve the following two problems discussed here. Part of an analysis of organizational behavior relies on understanding the continuum of a marketing focus drawing on the psychological/scientific precepts of human behaviorism related to consumerism and Cox business role as providing services directed at understanding its consumers. Choosing Cox Enterprises, Inc. and including all four divisions in this academic investigation provides a better understanding how its organizational behavior creates its sustainability as a successful business based in the ethics of its founder and those ethics that drive its successful behavior in the 21st century.
Former schoolteacher and news reporter, James M. Cox founded Cox Enterprises, Inc. in 1898 in Dayton, Ohio based on his ambition one day owning a newspaper. Friends and family loaned the 28-year-old Cox $26,000 allowing fulfilling his goal with the purchase of the former Dayton Evening News in 1939 (today called the Dayton Daily News). The company and its subsidiaries based out of Atlanta, Georgia employs 50,000 professionals in auto sales, communications, media, and technology Cox Enterprises' revenues are nearly $15 billion. Significant to the success of Cox founder James Cox, he also served as Ohio's first three-term governor while 1920 was the year he was the Democratic nominee for president of the United States. He lost to Warren Harding, but turned his attention to further the growth of Cox media business.
As Ohio governor in 1935, Cox took advantage of the growing popularity of radio, starting the state's first radio station – WHO. In 1935, Gov. Cox started Ohio's first radio station, WHIO, just as radio was gaining widespread popularity. Many firsts underpin the history of Cox Enterprises, Incorporated. These include the 1939 acquisition of The Atlanta Journal newspaper and the South's most powerful and oldest radio station WSB. In 1948 marked the South's first television station - WSB-TV as well as the WHIO-TV station in Dayton began broadcasting later that year. In 1957, James Cox, Jr. takes over leadership of the company with Cox Sr. death. In 1962 Cox becomes one of the nation's first in the cable TV industry purchasing three small Pennsylvania rural cable systems making Cox a leading national cable company serving18 states with 6 million customers. Just a few years later in 1969, Cox acquires Manheim, Pennsylvania's Manheim Auto Auction making the Cox company the 21st century world's leading remarketing and used-vehicle services, and a marketplace for almost 10 million used vehicles that change hands every year in the Cox marketplace. With the 1998 creation of Auto Trader.com its success today, shows it remains the leading classifieds auto marketplace on the Internet with 15 million people typically visit the website monthly for consumer information.
Two Company Challenges
Cox Enterprise, Inc. faced two challenges in its organizations. According to Epicor Cox Enterprises' experienced an awkward procurement process that led to a critical slowdown in completing order fulfillments in a timely manner, as well as a drain on its human resources. The cause of the procurement slowdown centered on Cox decentralizing its operations. In doing so, its operating model changed leaving procurement activities less efficient and thus, leading to the customer service and human resource issue (2011).
Cox's decision to go global led to the change decentralizing operations as a move for a tighter run workforce with managers focusing on making the system do the work and not overworking the human factor. What happened was counter to the theory. While sales took off, the existing procurement and order fulfillment experienced the brunt of the change. Consequently, "turnaround time on new contracts, phone wait times, employee competence levels, (and) customer-service representative knowledge levels" led to a critical need for determining where the weakest point existed (Epstein & Birchard, 2000, p. 206).
Cox understanding how the infrastructure of its success consisted of integration of information gathering with well-defined processes as a part of its architectural design and its company culture. The process of sales, procurement, customer service, and the field installation process lost momentum because the information necessary to expedite and keep all stakeholders (including the customer) as part of an integrated information gathering and dissemination process and needed resolved. In doing so, the Cox business planners understood how 21st century business must consider aspects such as logistics, culture, geography, human resources, and intellectual capital as part of its process (Garret et al., 2007).
Thunell (2001) offers explanation, of how a situation like the Cox organization faced meant the need for increased information connectivity. Re toward correcting the procurement issue thus, correcting the domino effect of long waits on the product, meant delayed installation, leading to call center stress resulting in lost revenue for different reasons. Thunell (2001) makes it clear what had to happen with Cox explaining how, "Increasing connectivity, increasing information intensity of production factors and declining transaction costs (thus,) increase economies of scale in digital production." Cox realized it had to incorporate an information technology (IT) as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for managing and sharing data between the departments in question (p. 67).
Using its business architectural design led to Cox's decision to turn to an IT for bringing the costly issue to the foreground, and based on the successful history of the company it remains clear this organization represents an example of a sound business architectural design; because it realized its procurement process no longer had efficient information dissemination function (Earl, 1998). Cox's business behavior by design understands that having an information strategy is part of effective business practices. The decision to implement an IT system resolving its issue meant having a purposeful integration of real-time sales corresponding to procurement processes and completion of the order. At the same time, with an IT system customer service has the information at hand for advising all customers (Betz, 2001).
Once Cox realized the solution to solving its conundrum meant installing an effective IT, they contacted Epicor Software. Once they installed their automated e-procurement software providing automated approvals with integration of information back to the financial department they found the efficiency lacking in the previous way of doing things. From sales, to purchasing to approved requisition and payments the benefits were immediate. This made the contract opportunities open with both national and local vendors where their locations exist domestically and abroad. The return on the investment in the IT provided three outcomes. First, the 2-3 month process became a one-day reducing overhead costs. Second, the 18-20 percent error rate for printing purchases lowered to 1 percent. Finally, the reduction in requisition to check processing cost in the procurement process dropped by at least 40 percent.
Cox Enterprises found its wireless phone service was costing it too much money with the continued service expectations and demands by its customers. The solution to the issue was to sell its 20 MHz Advances Wireless Services spectrum licenses comprised of 20 million POPs to Verizon Wireless for $315 million. Keeping in mind the importance of the company ethical behavior prompted Cox to complete the transaction with Verizon Wireless.
This and the procurement issue resolved by Cox looks at the best practices as the most effective and fair way to handle these two problems. As discussed in the beginning of this academic investigation, spotlighting all four components of the extremely successful Cox Enterprises holds the framework of the focus of this academic exercise. Organizational behavior based on a strong ethical organization culture proves Cox continues understanding the dynamics of this process (Robbins & Judge, 2013).
At the same time, logic aligned to the situation of Cox's wireless customers expectations about the quality of its service proved that a decision offering its wireless customers the most ethical resolution to meet their expectations frames the company ethical behavior. Satisfied customers remain the bedrock of why Cox is the continued success today.
Thus, back to the architectural business design of Cox reflects this ethical driving force behind its decisions as in the case of the two problems and solutions discussed here. The business design, as in the case of Cox, must reflect such specific planning for creating a successful enterprise.
In making the decision to sell its wireless component to Verizon Wireless, Cox assures its customers of a positive transfer to a reputable and quality wireless service provider in Verizon Wireless. At the same time, Verizon Wireless becomes an agent for Cox and vice-verse selling each other's commercial and residential services and products through their respective sales channels. Another business option to Cox provided in this sale, looks at the possibility for entering into arrangements with Verizon Wireless, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, as well as Bright House Networks toward better integration of wire line and wireless services and products. In do so, Cox provides its customers with prime mobility enablers including access to Verizon Wireless cell phone devices include the 4GLTE network (Coxenterprises.com, 2011).
Theory of Ethical Organizational Culture
In the case of the two problems, Cox faced and resolved discussed here, the route they took for a solution to each clearly reflects the ethical underpinnings of the organizational structure and leaves no question that a "better" method for resolving the two issues fits. This brings to the forefront the most important theory applied to the case of Cox Enterprises and the analysis provided here connected to the theory of ethical organizational culture as the means to successful business outcomes.
The theory of an organizational culture aligns to every step of Cox's success for over a century as exemplified in solving the two problems. Cox cares for its customers and its employees, as its record reveals (Coxenterprises.com, 2013). Review of the ethical organizational culture Cox outlines in its lengthy publication on the subject shows what Sims (2003), describes as a the ability for not only creating a sustainable employee-employer relationship founded on respect and trust but how that ethic extends to the community (p. 271), where in this case, Cox exists globally
Johnson and Phillips (2003), suggest:
When your organization has no ethical foundation, or when you have lost touch with the one you have, you risk making decisions that can get your company into serious trouble. Strong leadership, based on clear values, is the key to making sure the organization does the right thing for the right reasons. Standing up for what's importantYou might want to keep in mind the formula that Leadership Obsession Organizational Infection, and that this principle applies to establishing a code of ethical behavior as much as it applies to building empires, creating shareholder value, or dominating a market. To establish this code, we suggest creating a platform of integrity, based on a solid ethical foundation. (p. 277)
Ethics in business directly relates to organizational culture reflected in the company's infrastructure. This, as exemplified by Cox, assures longevity of the employer-employee commitment. Beginning with Cox's founder, who established ethical competencies along with due diligence underscores all stakeholder efficacy in exhibiting ethical behavior connected to the organizational structure (Sims, 2003, pg. 271).
Organizational culture reflects its ethics. Indeed, in review of Cox's "Code of Excellence" the obvious focus on its organizational behavior looks at its social responsibility to the employee, the consumer, and the community. Instilled by the founder of this company, the organization today continues maintaining the organizational culture created over a century ago. Consequently, an organization having such guideline for its behavior does pay off in the long-term interest of the company as reflected in the ongoing success of Cox. Understanding that not only was the undesirable situation with procurement an issue but also, the outcomes were increasing negativity down to other departments affecting its human capital.
An ethical organizational structure impels the ethical behavior of the company. Cox's founder exhibited an efficacy of ethics from the onset with the decisions he made until his death. With his son taking over as CEO, the same behavior instilled trust among the employees and from the public due to the nature of the type of business Cox Enterprise engages providing information vehicles for its customers (Sims, 2003).
As posited in the thesis presented in the introduction of this academic investigation and analysis, Cox Enterprises, Inc. remains a family-owned four-division business for nearly 120 years. In the 21st century, Cox is a facilities-based provider of video, voice, and data solutions for its commercial customers while exhibiting strong ethical organizational behavior. The fact this company remains a leader in so many areas as outlined in the discourse presented here, attests to the power of establishing a strong ethical culture that directs all stakeholders' behavior.
Both the outcomes of the two problems Cox faced and resolved prove positive. This fact surely, connects to the strong architectural design of the organization so long ago established by its founder and carried on through the decades joining the last and present centuries in business practices. Finding the first issue was a breakdown in communications affecting both the customer and different department employees of Cox brings the discussion back to how information remains only as effective as the design of its purpose. Cox ethical behavior proves its organization design has a strategy for dealing with information glitches and resolving them in the case of the first problem. In an abstract manner, the second problem with the wireless service not meeting the expectations of Cox's customers was another type of information glitch. To resolve it the ethical behavior exhibited by Cox proved the best solution for the customer was to find a quality and reputable wireless company to sell the product with the customer having access to the product and service Cox was unable to provide. The analysis of Cox Enterprises, Inc. organizational behavior shows how the theory of a well-designed business includes a strong ethical foundation directing ethical business behavior connected to the theory of an ethical organizational culture.
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