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Global Communication Benchmarking

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Global Communications: Team C's Bench-Marking Assignment

University of Phoenix Graduate

Introduction

As a member of the MBA / 500 Foundations of Problem- Based Learning class and participant in Team C, our week five assignment consisted of each member researching two companies that have faced specific issues related to those identified in the Global Communications scenario and how they are connected with the course concepts. In our investigations we were to identify issues that both the researched companies and Global Communications were similarly faced with, discuss how the companies responded to the issues, and report the outcomes of their implemented solution. The six companies researched include Hewlett Packard, DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Alro Steel Corporation, Cargill Incorporated, General Motors and Ford Motor Company.

After conducting our research, as a team, we identified several course concepts that correlated between the information gathered from our benchmarking companies and that of Global Communications. The 3 key concepts that allowed us to compare and contrast the situations and opportunities present in each scenario were Executive Decisions and the Business Costs of Ethical Failures, Contingency Models for Selecting a Communication Media, and Affective and Continuance Organization Commitment.

The first concept discussed was Executive Decisions and the Business Costs of Ethical Failures presented by Thomas, Schermerhorn, and Dienhart. In this reading it was discussed that "Crucial to creating the sense of urgency regarding ethical business behavior is an accurate appreciation of the full costs of Ethical failures. Yet many of these costs appear nowhere in an annual report, on the balance sheet, or in the income statement, even though they are real and, in extreme cases, are of such significance that they can literally destroy the company," (Thomas, Schermerhorn and Dienhart, 2004, p.57). This was one theme that was universal to all of the companies that we benchmarked. Hewlett Packard, General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler where faced with the problems which resulted in the need to downsize, cut costs and eliminate jobs. Although cutting costs and downsizing are sound business decisions, in difficult times, there are families, communities and people who are affected, not just the bottom line of a balance sheet. When making decisions of this magnitude, companies must consider the ethical impact of their decisions they make regarding the strategic direction of the company.

The second course concept discussed was the Contingency Model for Selecting Communication Media. Global Communications took a very ineffective method of communication media by announcing the decision to downsize via e-mail. Kinicki and Krieter stated "there are three zones of communication effectiveness. Effective communication occurs when the richness of the medium is matched appropriately with the complexity of the problem or situation. Media low in richness-impersonal static and personal static-are better suited for simple problems; media high in richness-interactive media face-to-face-are appropriate for complex problems or situations" (Kinicki & Kreitner, 2003, p. 539). DaimlerChrysler and Hewlett Packard chose an acceptable medium-based on their unique circumstance. Cargill Incorporated decided to use an employee survey to collect feedback on what issues or improvements could be made for the good of the company. This was an excellent medium to use because it was anonymous and gave the employees a sense of security with voicing their true opinions. Alro Steel's management style was to go directly to the line operators and discuss face-to-face possible process enhancements. As a team, we agreed that choosing the correct media to deploy a message is crucial in keeping employees engaged.

The final concept we discussed as a group was related to employee relations, which is a definitely pertinent in the Global Communications scenario. The concept discussed was Affective and Continuance Organization Commitment. According to Mowday, Porter and Steers, an "organizations commitment refers to employee's emotional attachment to, identification with, and involvement in a particular organization," (Mowday, Porter & Steers 1982). The research presented for Alro Steel, Cargill and DaimlerChrysler proves that companies need their employees' emotional attachment to situations as a motivator to make the best decisions possible. Cargill sought to involve teams of various levels, experience, and rank to create an innovative rich atmosphere, which become infectious throughout the entire company. When employees become part of the solution to a problem or implement improvements to a process, they feel more apart of a team and are willing to go the extra mile if necessary to accomplish a task that may not be in their job description.

In conclusion, Global Communication's executive management team must look at all six of these companies and determine which solutions best fit their specific issues. Working through the next four steps of the Problem-Based Learning Model will guide the executive managers toward implementing the most appropriate action to achieve their end state goals.

Bench-Marking Company: Hewlett-Packard

The company that I chose to benchmark Global Communications is Hewlett Packard. HP is a technology solutions provider that caters globally to consumers, businesses and institutions. HP's offerings span from IT infrastructure, global services, business and home computing, as well as imaging and printing. (www.hp.com/hpinfo/index.html?mtxs=corp&mtxb=3&mtxl=1)

In September 2001 Hewlett-Packard merged with Compaq to create a global technology leader with combined assets of $87 billion. The company's main objective was to reduce IT costs as a percentage of overall corporate revenue and gain a competitive advantage while improving business performance (Reducing Costs and enhancing flexibility in the adaptive enterprise through outsourcing, 2004, pp2-3). The goal of HP was similar to that of Global communications in that Global set a goal of reducing unit costs for handling calls in its call centers to reverse the trend of diminishing returns. While attempting to reduce costs to rebound in a declining telecommunications industry, Global also

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