Cyber Software, Inc. is a medium-size company that specializes in producing cyber protection software products. After a recent hacker attack the owner and CEO of the corporation Joseph Jackson felt a pressing need of changing the way the company is operating in order to help customers secure information with the help of innovative technological solutions.
The envisaged changes are going to be discussed in the following mini management plan. The plan starts with a brief analysis of the company’s management history followed by the development of new vision and mission statements, based on the new targets Cyber Software, Inc. wants to achieve. Then, the planned change is discussed with a special emphasis on proposed changes related to company’s organizational structure. Another important focus of the subsequent plan is the development of the company’s organizational structure. Finally, the way new organizational structure and culture will affect realizing Mr. Jackson’s vision of change is addressed.
Brief management history of the Cyber Software, Inc.
As it was already mentioned, the Cyber Software, Inc specializes in delivering security information solutions to customers, ranging from local retail businesses to major entities, such as state and municipal governments (including Baltimore City Government). Focusing on sustaining employees’ motivation to develop and implement creative solutions, the company’s owner and CEO Mr. Jackson has always tried to keep the working environment in the company free from excessive structures and bureaucracy. However, his experience of providing such freedom resulted in several performance-related issues. Firstly, several programmers, working for Program Development division appeared unable to reconcile their programming approaches, causing the waste of resources. Furthermore, the free organizational structure caused difficulties in the new Client/Customer Service division, whereby several strong personalities started preventing others from performing in an effective way. Thus, the four employees of the new division are not good at getting along with each other. Furthermore, the company’s CEO is aware about the fact that employees tend to pull people from existing clients, disturbing the working mode.
Therefore, in the absence of a unifying organizational culture, free working environment resulted in the fact that employees became unable to get along with each other and effectively perform their tasks. The above situation reveals a strong need to reconsider the organizational and cultural basics of the Cyber Software, Inc performance.
New vision and mission statement
Strategic development of an organization requires that a specific attention is paid to the elaboration of the company’s vision and mission. According to Williams (2002), the term “vision” is used to indicate what the company aims to achieve in the future (p. 33). In other words, it serves as a roadmap for the company’s future. Subsequently, the mission statement provides an insight into the scope of activities the company exercises in order to get the vision implemented.
In view of the above, it is proposed to formulate vision and mission statements of the organization as follows. The vision shall be “to be the top company in the sphere of software security in the U.S.”. In turn, the mission statement can be formulated as “to elaborate and deliver most quality, affordable and innovative software security solutions in the U.S”. The new vision statement is different from the existing one through several important features. Firstly, it underlines that Cyber Software, Inc functions within the U.S. market, and, thus, aims to be a leader within this particular market. Secondly, the new vision statement does not mention that the company strives to offer best protection to customers due to two reasons. Foremost, the vision shall be formulated as an image of the future situation. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid future tense and using verbs, such as “strive”. Furthermore, offering the best protection refers to business activities, not the state of the company itself.
It is also suggested to broaden the mission statement, so that the basic characteristics of the company’s services are included. These characteristics include “quality”, “affordability” and “innovativeness”.
The new vision and mission statements are envisaged to be more effective due the fact that they are more precise and set clear performance-related benchmarks, such as products’ quality, affordability and innovativeness.
Other planning aspects (communicating change)
Apart from formulating the company’s vision and mission, the planning phase shall include communicating the change to employees and getting them involved into discussing the upcoming improvements. In this regard, it is crucial that communication accompanies change since its early stage, so that employee participation and, consequently, loyalty are envisaged. It is also worth understanding that employees may have valuable ideas regarding the reconsideration of organizational structure and facilitation of communication inside the departments.
Best practices for communicating change include using face-to-face dialogue, whenever it is possible, as well as demonstrating a true commitment to communication and employees’ involvement into the development of change strategy. It is also crucial to ensure that the message is designed in a way that allows considering an interlocutor’s perspective. Last, but not least it is important to seek feedback from employees and, where possible, discuss their ideas in groups and implement them (Fenson, 2000).
Structuring the company
According to Suttle (n.d.), organizational structures tend to play several important roles in the functioning of the company. Firstly, they promote efficiency by ensuring that neither raw materials nor job duties are duplicating and, thus wasteful. Secondly, if a company chooses to design its organizational structure in accordance with specific functions (e.g., engineering, accounting, marketing), the organizational structure helps to pull specialists together and use their expertise in most efficient way. Thirdly, structuring of an organization simplifies decision-making and makes it free from misunderstandings. Finally, enhancement of communication and control are important advantages of well-structured organizations.
As it stems from the overview by Analytic Technologies (n.d.), flexibility and flatter organizational structures tend to characterize modern companies, along with the lower levels of networking. According to Sharma (2010), boundaryless organizations, characterized by the absence of limits, predefined by a specific organizational structure, tend to enjoy a range of advantages, such as speed, flexibility, innovation and integration.
In course of managing the activities of the Cyber Software, Inc. Mr. Jackson already tried to employ boundaryless approach, when managing his business. However, it resulted in a range of challenges, precluding employees from getting along with each other, using cost-effective solutions and performing successfully. Taking into account the above challenges and current plans for the organization’s growth, it is recommended to try combining traditional hierarchical organizational structure and boundaryless organization. The aim of this approach is to enhance the levels of responsibility and control without creating specific vertical and horizontal boundaries. At the same time, the major challenge of the proposed approach deals with sustaining the atmosphere of the lack of boundaries, despite the introduction of the hierarchical organizational structure.
A hierarchical structure is characterized by the fact that each element in the structure is subordinate to a single element at the top (the company’s CEO). The description of the divisions, provided in the facts of the case study, does not mention the heads of the company’s divisions. Such situation creates the lack of accountability vis-à-vis the company’s CEO, because no one is responsible for the performance of each of the divisions and utilized costs. In this regard, the first solution to be proposed to Mr. Jackson is to appoint the heads of divisions, possessing an in-depth understanding of the peculiarities of each division’s operation and capable of managing the work of the division. It is proposed that Mr. Jackson appoints managers from external, so that there are no quarrels regarding the appointment in established teams. The head of the programming division shall have exceptional experiences in managing programmers’ teams, be able to identify the best approach to solving programming-related tasks and possess management experience.
It is also necessary to hire a manager for the Customer Service Division, so that the operation of the Division becomes more structured and effective. The best solution may be a person, who has competencies in both law and management and an experience of working with customer support. Thus, he/she will be able to both manage the activities of the Division and elaborate on substantive approaches to improving customer services, provided by the Cyber Software, Inc. In this regard, special attention needs to be paid to the development of standard policies of processing customers’ requests and complaints. It is also necessary to organize the work of the division in a way that prevents the company from attracting specialists from other clients and working on an ad hoc basis. This practice can be used in exceptional cases (e.g., hacker attack), but shall not be viewed as a solution with regard to ensuring the daily operation of the company.
Effective implementation of change in the company requires two extra appointments. First of all, it is essential for the company to hire a marketing director in order to promote new products, developed by the company. As the budget, allocated for conducting changes, is rather tight, it is suggested to hire a marketing director instead of forming the Department for Marketing. Furthermore, current challenges, experienced by the Cyber Software, Inc testify to the fact that employees experience difficulties, when dealing with one another. Thus, there is a need to hire a team facilitator on a temporary basis. The major task of the facilitator will be to accompany the transition to the hierarchical organizational structure and conduct team-building sessions in departments, as well as cross-department sessions.
The new organizational chart, including planned appointments is included as Annex 1. As it is planned to hire four people, annual expenditure is going to constitute approximately $144 000 plus taxes. However, it is assumed that a company already has employees, responsible for financials. In case it does not, it is also necessary to hire at least two people, responsible for financials and record-keeping respectively.
Organizational culture is a multifaceted phenomenon that manifests itself in values, as well as explicit behavioural norms and hidden assumptions (De Witte& Van Muijen, 2000, p.2). Most commonly, organizational culture is considered at a range of levels. The deepest level of organizational culture deals with human nature, unconscious assumptions and ideologies and can hardly be managed. However, values and behavioural norms are more explicit, and subjected to managerial influences. According to K.Dias (2009), an organizational culture can be considered as a summary of different factors, such as innovation, stability (maintaining stable and predictable environment), people orientation, result orientation, team orientation, attention to details etc.
The change, planned to be conducted at the Cyber Software, Inc evidently requires building up an organizational culture, aiming to promote openness, communication and collaboration as ca compensation for introducing more or less traditional hierarchical organizational structure. The first step to construing organizational culture is the formalization of organizational values. Openness, collaboration, team- and result-orientation shall represent the major values of Cyber Software, Inc.
Secondly, it is important to ensure that the company does enough to ensure employees’ wellbeing at the workplace and loyalty vis-à-vis the company. That requires reconsidering existing salaries, the system of employee benefits and physical environment, whereby employees perform their functional duties. Special attention needs to be paid to ensuring unstrained friendly atmosphere at the workplace, so that employees enjoy communication and collaboration in the office. Reaching this aim requires approaching two avenues simultaneously. On the one hand, the company requires hiring a professional group facilitator, who will conduct team-building sessions, so that employees can get along better as they do now. On the other hand, common leisure constitutes an important means to promote organizational culture. Therefore, it is advised to conduct common activities, such as short trips and entertainment sessions (e.g., bowling) and have common meals.
A mix of traditional hierarchical organizational structure and boundaryless organizational culture will promote high-quality performance and collaboration of employees. Such mix allows for bringing employees together and enhancing the way they deal with each other, simultaneously addressing the issue of the lack of accountability and responsibility for the waste of resources. Facilitating collaboration and providing greater accountability and responsibility, the envisaged changes in the company’s vision and mission statements, as well as organizational structure and culture will promote the new implementation of the plan by J.Jackson. Furthermore, increased openness, collaboration and responsibility are likely to prevent further mash-ups due an overall rise in the quality of organizational performance.
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De Witte, K., Van, Muijen, M. (2000). Organizational culture. London: Psychology Press
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Fenson, S. (2000). 10 Tips for Communicating Change. Retrieved 10 February 2016 from www.inc.com/articles/2000/06/19312.html
Sharma, A. (2010). Presentation on boundaryless organization. Retrieved 10 February 2016 from http://www.slideshare.net/AnujSharma4/presentation-on-boundaryless-organization
Suttle, R. (n.d.) Roles of organizational structure. Retrieved 10 February 2016 from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/roles-organizational-structure-3795.html
Williams, R.S. (2002). Managing employee performance: design and implementation in organizations. London: Cengage Learning
New organizational chart for Cyber Software, Inc