Infoscape Technologies is a novel technology firm focusing on the hospitality industry in the UAE region. It focuses on providing software solutions to the hospitality industry. Mainly, it provided solutions in Guest Incident Management, HR administration, concierge management system, and Hotel Service Optimization System. Vinod Philip, who is currently the CEO, started the company in 2008. The company has several middle level managers, director of sales, project manager, HR and financial officer.
The CEO is the overall manager in charge of the operations of the company. The CEO is responsible for strategic leadership in the company. The CEO, in collaboration with other senior level managers, has the task of devising policies for implementation within the company.
Since its inception in 2009, the company has grown in many dimensions; this includes an increase in the customer base and an increase in program outputs. The CEO offers guidance in what products the company distributes from other companies and sets targets for the percentage of products the company will market under its own brand. The number of high-level collaborations has increased as well as the output of Infoscape branded products.
The CEO maintains discretionary authority on decisions concerning which products the company markets from outside. The CEO also represents the company in industry conventions, within and outside UAE. The CEO receives reports on the progress of the company form the different departments and charts new course for the company. He also provides decisions on expansions; for example the decisions to expand to India.
The other mid-level manager is the project manager. The project manager is in charge of all projects undertaken by the company. The company deals with installation and maintenances of software solutions in the hospitality industry; consequently, all the functions of installation and maintenances fall under the office of the project manager. The projects manager oversees the implementation of projects related to varied technology products.
This includes presales, execution, training, project management, and support. All the activities pertaining to customer satisfaction fall under this office. The project manager has duties comprising of designing, instituting, and evaluating the progress of projects. She is in charge of monitoring the productivity and motivation of her workers. She also handles customer complains concerning the company products or products marketed by the company.
The director of sales deals with all marketing activities in the firm, which includes both the company brands and external brands. The manager has the charge of overseeing effective collaboration between his company and other company in marketing partnerships. He furnishes the CEO with information regarding the market requirements and recommend solution products. He has to keep the sales personnel motivated and productive. The other managers assume the roles designed for their departments in the same manner.
First-line managers include the assistant technical consultant, Robson Correa, and the personnel manager. The assistant technical consultant answers to the project director and is responsible for the providing consultation to company staff working in various projects. The personnel manager oversees the welfare of company personnel. This includes workstation transportations, complaints, leave, and general employee issues.
STC is a Saudi-based organization dealing in telecommunications. It was established in 1998. It operates through five operations units dealing in voice calls, data, internet, business, and mobile services. It has 21,190 employees and a market capitalization of SAR 79.8 billion (Zawya, 2012).
In 2011, the STC publicized its new organizational structure. The structure comprised of divisions descriptive of KSA Operations, Strategic Operations, and Technical Operations. The Group CEO, Group VP for Shared Services, CEO for Strategic Operations, Group CEO for Technical Operations, and CEO of Saudi Operations provide headship to the company.
The next level of management comprises of VPs in charge of Wholesale, Finance Saudi Arabia, Informational Technology, Home Services, Network, Strategic Affairs, Enterprise Services, Human Capital, Regulatory Affairs, and Personal Services. The third level of managers includes the project managers in all the divisions represented by the vice presidents (Zawya, 2012).
The top-level management consists of four persons proving oversight to all sectors of the company. They provide guidance to the multinational operations on the company. Their functions include setting standards for the company on the three key sectors of the company and making top-level management decisions. They also evaluate the structure of the organization to ensure that is consistent with company orientation.
The second level of management, consisting of the VPs for various subsectors, is responsible for the actual operation decisions in the organization. They cooperatively design strategies for the progress of the company in line with the goals established by the top management and the board of governors.
They have the task of running their subsectors to ensure optimum productivity. The middle level directors consult with project managers to address the issue of motivation, qualifications, and job satisfaction. They interpret the goals of the company in terms of their sectors and communicate them to the first-line managers.
They receive and evaluate reports on the progress of their divisions and make appropriate recommendations. Finally, they report to the top management on the progress in their sub sectors. The product managers have the task of disseminating company policies and goals to non-managerial staff. They translate these policies into actual tasks that the personnel under them will accomplish. They report to their immediate supervisors. They monitor the productivity of the works and make appropriate decisions.
Advantages and disadvantages of their organization structures
Infoscape follows a line-discipline organizational structure. This means that divisions arise from the different roles carried by the middle level managers. Command flows, in most cases, from the top. However, the middle level managers aid in the decision-making by furnishing the CEO with the relevant information. Policies developed from the top management eventually reach the last rank among the employees. This arrangement has several advantages.
It is the simplest method of administration, since the centers of command are easily identifiable and recognizable. Superior-subordinate relationships persist, and the organization follows a top-bottom chain of command, which results in harmony of command. There are fewer chances of miscommunication and conflicts. Since the command flows from only one direction, then all the personnel will be following similar directions, thus, reducing chances of confusion and conflict.
This organizational structure also presents the advantage of instituting better discipline throughout the organization (Murphy & Willmott, 2010).. The lines of authority are clearly identifiable, since authority lies in the hands of several individuals. Therefore, confusions in terms of the leadership guidance do not exist, leading to improved discipline.
This is possible through unified control. Another advantage is fixed responsibility. Each of the line executives bears set authority, power and duties. Duties are properly separable, and there is no confusion or overlapping of roles. This breeds better relationships among managers in the same level, since there are few chances of conflict. Improved relationships may translate to increased productivity.
This organizational structure also results in flexibility. The coordination between top and bottom authority bears an advantage. Since the line executives have clear tasks and responsibilities, they are free to make decisions on things within their dockets. This is especially helpful in the technology industry where new developments occur often, and flexibility is essential.
Apart from enabling the organization to capitalize on the flexibility, it also increases the satisfaction of lower level managers. When they are able to engage in independent decisions, they are more likely to be proud of their work. Additionally, the fact that responsibility is fixed enables the making of apt decisions. During critical times, the absence of the need for elaborate consultations makes decisions making prompt.
However, the model poses a variety of challenges. For example, it provides for the organization over reliance on certain individuals discretion on all issues. Since authority runs from top to bottom, the same line officials are the one s that provides decisions (Murphy & Willmott, 2010). This may pose a danger to the company and may result to redundancy. If the top management is misinformed, the whole organization takes a wrong direction, which may ruin the company.
Another problem presented by the model is the lack of utilization of specialized knowledge. The possible contributions from numerous personnel with expertise in a field do not benefit the company. Inputs by others apart from line managers are not utilized. This may lead to lack of fresh ideas and discontent among employees. The structure also endangers communication. Policies and decisions pass from the top to the bottom, which leaves no channel for communication from the bottom up.
This has serious and detrimental effects to the organization. When the officials take inappropriate decisions, the lack of coordination makes the chances of correcting the decisions minimal. The feedback on the decisions may not reach the top management, denying them the chance to improve them or correct mistakes in the future. This also results in disgruntled employees. Additionally, it is possible for executives to misuse their authority designated to them.
STC utilizes a matrix structure within the organization. The model reflects environmental intricacies in the organization. It values the importance of customer groups, products, geography, and functions. In this structure, operational decisions do not lie with the functional managers, but with the project managers.
This is consistent with a decentralized management style, relegating management decisions to professional unit leaders (Murphy & Willmott, 2010). These units have professional tasks requiring the timely responses in times of environmental demands. It also works well with product market variations, technological variations, elevations in regulative and competitive pressures. This form has numerous rewards.
The structure attains coordination imperative in meeting demand from the customers, environment, and varied regions. Because the model recognizes the importance the preceding aspects in the success of the company, the model allows management to tailor products addressing all the above factors. The model emphasizes the collaboration within the organization. This makes sharing of human resources across varied products possible.
The structure is appropriate for a company in telecommunications where changes are frequent, and the environment is unstable (Murphy & Willmott, 2010).. In such situations, decisions are bound to be complex. It is especially helpful in nurturing the company’s orientation towards a Lead Strategy. The fact that operational decisions lie within professional units, it provides opportunities for those personnel to increase functional skills and develop their careers. This results to happy employees, thus, increasing productivity.
The model also has its limitations. This includes misunderstanding and frustration resulting from duo authority. This arises if the top managers have not precisely separated the duties. The success of this structure depends on effective communication skills between different players within the organization. This requires extensive training for the collaborating personnel.
Additionally, due to the level of collaboration involved, the model necessitates frequent meetings and conflict resolution sessions. This might be time consuming and pricey (Murphy & Willmott, 2010). It requires the first line managers adapting collegial relations instead of vertical relations. These relations may be hard to attain, though its success is dependent on them.
The chains of command, span of control and organizational culture of the organizations
Infoscape Technologies utilizes a considerably centralized management structure. In Infoscape technologies, there are relatively fewer executives compared to the other company. Consequently, the roles of the managers are numerous and concentrated. All the mid-level managers report to the CEO. This includes the director of sales, the project manager, and the HR manager. The middle level managers meet the CEO once a week to deliver reports on the progress at various fronts.
The CEO is largely inaccessible to the other personnel. The first line managers report to the managers in charge of their departments. For example, the technical consultant reports to the project director. If, for example, the technical consultant has issues requiring redress, the only channel accessible to him is through the immediate supervisor, the project manager. Therefore, decision-making power is intense at the top level, with the CEO.
The middle level managers have all the operating authority, while the lower rank managers receive directions and act, mostly, following orders from the manager above them. The middle level managers exercise substantial independence in duties allocated to them. Their roles span wide across numerous issues.
Within the company, there is deep reverence for authority. Authority is unquestionable, but opinions are raised following protocol. There is minimal emphasis on the nature of relationships between staff. The company does not sponsor and provide activities designed to increase cohesion among employees. Of importance, is to report to one’s duty station and complete assigned tasks.
The STC structure is comprised of divisions descriptive of KSA Operations, Strategic Operations, and Technical Operations. Therefore, the Group CEO, Group Vice President for Shared Services, Group CEO for Strategic Operations, Group CEO for Technical Operations, and CEO of Saudi Operations are the company leaders.
The group CEO and the three sector executives provide overall guidance to the company. They control the operations of the entire organization; nevertheless, they only formulate guiding principles and policies, and not actual operational guidelines. They coordinate the activities of the functional managers.
The next level of management comprises of VPs in charge of Wholesale, Finance Saudi Arabia, Informational Technology, Home Services, Network, Strategic Affairs, Enterprise Services, Human Capital, Regulatory Affairs, and Personal Services.
The third level of managers includes the deputies in all the divisions represented by the VPs. These managers report to the four top-level managers. They also get directions from them, but also provide feedback concerning policies. These functional level managers coordinate among themselves satisfying the purposes of the company.
Each of the functional managers has other product managers under him/her. These product managers are the one indirect contact with project staff. They receive their directions for the functional managers, and they also give feedback on the policies and directions handed down to them. The product managers design actual activities and make decisions regarding the projects under their jurisdiction. The organization emphasizes collaboration amid diverse sectors to ensure the championing of company interests.
Therefore, meetings and numerous and common and casual relationships are encouraged, especially, among the functional managers. Communication between managers and the people under them does not follow the manager-subordinate manner. Instead, communication is encouraged to facilitate feedback. Sincerity and integrity is encouraged, especially in reporting. Proper communication means are at the core of the practices within the organization.
Variation in nature and emphasis of the key roles of the top managers in the organizations
The emphasis and nature of managerial roles differ significantly between the two companies. For example, the role of the CEOs in the two companies differs significantly. The CEO of Infoscape provides executive authority for the entire organization.
His decisions are largely unquestionable and are not necessarily dependent on the opinions of the other managers. Both CEOs have the functions of providing guidance to their organization, evaluating standards, supervising and guiding staff, but the way these functions are done differ significantly.
The CEO at Infoscape relies more on his intuition and expertise compared to the CEO of STC. The CEO of STC is firsts surrounded by three sector leaders in charge of the three main sectors of the company. The CEO, therefore, has no direct control on any of the sectors. His duty is to ensure coordination at the senior level. Therefore, he relies more on the information and counsel provided by other managers at the top level than the Infoscape CEO does.
At infoscape, managerial positions emanate from the expertise required by the various operations of the company. Furthermore, the roles of managers are divisible along succinct lines. The managers have the duties of making executive decisions offering directions to those directly below them. Managers are supposed to be in control of all decisions going on in their departments. The emphasis is for managers to be in control of their departments, and achieve the targets and goals set for them by the top management.
Cooperation among managers at the same level is not a serious concern as long as each manager does his/her duty. The roles of managers in the organization are to analyze the progress of their departments, comparing with the set targets, and chart the course while incorporating executive directions. Participation of lower level employees receives insignificant emphasis.
At STC, the next level of senior managers includes the VPs for different divisions. These managers are functional managers. They roles are to assign personnel to various projects rather that making decisions concerning the projects.
They nature of their work revolves around coordinating among themselves. Their main duties are not to make decisions directly affecting projects, but to provide advisory expertise as required. A great deal of their work revolves around holding collaborative meeting. The results of these meetings are communicated in both directions.
They are communicated to the top management and to the project managers. This differs with the roles of managers at Infoscape where managers make decisions concerning their projects and communication is mainly only one way, to the subordinate staff. At Infoscape, there is less coordination among managers, and usually, managers make decisions within their departments with little regard to those of the other managers, as long as they are in line with company policy.
Another difference arises in the role of lower level employees. At STC, these employees receive significant autonomy in their work. They have a greater leeway in making decisions regarding their work. This is different from the Infoscape scenario. At Infoscape, the main role of low-level employees is to follow protocol and obey orders delivered by the managers.
Therefore, significant variances arise in the roles of managers within the two organizations. These variations arise in nature and emphasis of the roles of managers. At SCT managers collaborate more and exercise more oversight roles while, at Infoscape, the role of managers is to make decisions, mostly independently, concerning their projects.
Murphy, D. J., & Willmott, H. (2010). Organization theory and design. Hampshire, UK: Cengage Learning.
Zawya. (2012). Company profiles. Retrieved from http://www.zawya.com/cm/profile.cfm/cid1000038/7010.SSE