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Global Communications Benchmarking

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RUNNING HEAD: GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS BENCHMARKING

Global Communications Benchmarking

Global Communications Benchmarking

It has been said that the real test of leadership comes not during the good times when there are no challenges but instead during the times of greatest challenge and adversity. It would be difficult to be in business today and not experience challenges. Challenges can include reductions in profits, communication difficulties, outsourcing, lay-offs, reductions in sales, increasing competition and any number of other types of issues. Global Communications is a company that is experiencing challenges and the company's leadership team has been forced into the position of making difficult decisions that will have long-term affects on the company and the communities in which it operates. Similarly, companies such as Kroger, Motorola, Honda, Ford and Pfizer are also facing issues which are presenting their leadership teams and employees with both challenges and opportunities. In order to better understand the issues facing these companies and others a synopsis of issues, course content, a comparison of how each company handled the real world events associated with the content and individual company summaries have been prepared.

Synopsis

Like Global Communications many of the companies reviewed have identified the need to outsource positions and job cuts to stay competitive or improve profitability in today's environment. Information Technology businesses are saving billions of dollars by outsourcing their jobs to countries like India and Philippines whose wages are significantly lower than those in the U.S. Kroger is also planning to outsource a large number of jobs and refuses to guarantee the remaining beyond 2007. Motorola is another company planning on outsourcing after reporting disappointing fourth quarter earnings. Motorola made the decision to cut 3,500 jobs bringing the total of eliminated jobs companywide since December to 22,000. Intel has also recently announced plans to reduce 10,000 jobs in September 2006 and plans to build a new plant in China (CNN Money). In an attempt to cut expenses, Sprint Nextel is slashing its workforce to 59,600, about an 8% reduction. In order to remain in business Nissan planned to cut 21,000 jobs over three years (Labor, 2000). Unlike these other companies Honda chose to grow the employee count to 10,000 employees up from 8,000 even though the company experienced decreasing profits.

Like Global Communications some of the companies reviewed also utilized benchmarking as a means to identify solutions for their businesses. Honda utilized competitive benchmarking in the Japanese automobile industry and developed a new corporate structure. Other companies were studied from within the industry which allowed Honda to develop a plan that would put Honda first in the industry. Toyota also utilized benchmarking when the company wanted to improve its position in the global market. Toyota utilized a generic benchmarking approach to identify an impressive system that could be translated into the auto industry. GE has a toolkit it has developed to tackle productivity issues which uses benchmarking as a means to share best practices throughout the various businesses.

From a relationship and communication perspective Ford Motor Company can provide a positive guide in dealing with Unions during a time of layoffs. Ford met with the UAW and informed them that if anyone in the company was to have a job these layoffs would have to happen, and Ford wanted the Union's input on how to soften the blow before proceeding with strategic planning (Hoffman, 2006). Nissan's Union did not feel that finding jobs in other plants was enough on Nissan's part for helping workers after their plants close. In order to protect jobs and livelihoods the Nissan's Union plans to negotiate further aid for employees (Labor 2000). Kroger is another company that must reaffirm its commitment to workers. The company must show that it cares about its middle-class workers, their families and the community. The Teamsters Union has asked Kroger to suspend its decision to close one of its warehouses until a team of experts in the state can be brought in to determine how to make it more profitable to keep the jobs in Michigan.

Other significant changes and decisions have been made by the companies as well. New relationships have been formed between Intel and Apple Computer when the first MacBook Pro laptop and iMac desktop computers were introduced using Intel processors. Intel has also begun a new partnership in Singapore with Micron (Intel). Pfizer Inc. is getting squeezed by competition from generic drug companies as their patents on multi-billion dollar blockbusters expire. Due to the pressures facing the company, Pfizer is dealing with the decision-making process have determining which drugs and potential products to develop. Pfizer has also decided to accelerate the company's pharmaceutical research and development programs (Pfizer).

Sprint and Nextel Communications merged in 2005 and has since experienced several issues that have affected the highly publicized marriage of the two carriers. One of the most important has been blamed on the company struggling to add customers as quickly as the No#1 and No# 2 carriers, Cingular and Verizon wireless.

Key Course Content

There are several key issues within business that can have an effect on the success of a company. These include benchmarking, communications, decision-making, negotiations and conflict management. Benchmarking is a continuous process of measuring products, services and work processes, against other companies recognized as leaders in the area of interest. Benchmarking provides an opportunity in which solutions can be modeled on what the best among the competitors has done in a similar situation (Maul). Competitive benchmarking utilizes information from other companies within the same industry while generic benchmarking provides a more broad perspective as it reaches outside the industry.

Communication is another area that has the potential to greatly affect an organization. Effective communication is critical for both managerial and organizational success (Kreitner, R., Kinicki). Once a communication barrier has been created it should be resolved if possible in order to provide the best possible work environment. Barriers to effective communication include lack of trust in the relationship between the parties involved. Conflict Management provides

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