A Dialog Axiata Plc Management Essay

Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lankas largest communications service provider is a subsidiary of Axiata Group Berhad. Dialog being the 4th entrant to Sri Lankas cellular market launched its services in 1995. They were the first digital network in South Asia to launch HSPA + which is the latest upgrade in mobile broadband. In addition to communication service, the company also offers other services such as mobile, internet, international gateway, data and backbone, fixed wireless and media related services and has 200 value added services.

The company is currently serving over 7.5 million local subscribers and is the 50% market leader in this industry. They have the widest coverage reaching 95% of the population and are the only operator to cover all the districts.

They have 500 salesmen on the ground along with a strong service team of 1000 staff over 125 service centre and 50,000 retailer networks. They are also the highest FD Investor in Sri Lanka.

1.2- Why is Dialog selected??

Dialog is one of the most reputed companies in Sri Lanka with a highly diversified group of employees where they would definitely have cross cultural issues. In addition, they have been undergoing ongoing strategic as well as transformation changes which as a result would rise to conflicts at the different levels of the hierarchy.

Therefore being a large and reputed company, Dialog stands as a challenging company in the competitive market.

2- Culture at Dialog

Every organization has its own culture which refers to the beliefs, ideologies, principles and also the values that the individuals of the organization share. The culture plays a vital role in the success of the organization.

When it comes to Dialog, the company has adopted a very open and transparent culture where they have embodied honesty and open communication. Transparency is maintained at all levels where superiors are easily available to the subordinates.

The corporate culture of the company fits to Adaptability as well as achievement oriented which emphasize winning and achieving specific ambitious goals and the company values competitiveness and personal imitativeness.

Dialog is a company that is also working for the benefits of the staff. The company has a dress code policy to make the office attire equal within the staff. Staff birth days are also celebrated at the company level where the relevant departments forward the staff birthday list to HR Department on the 1st week of the month where the staff will get a gift along with an e-card.

And they have a policy like staff that comes up with innovative ideas a recognized on a quarterly basis where they are provided with a reward named “BRAVO” in a special meeting.

Obviously the above actions on the company side will lead to high motivation and increase productivity level of the staff.

2.1- Hofstede’s Model

Diagram 1: Hofstede’s cultural 4 dimension Model

Power Distance

Although Sri Lanka scores high on this dimension, Dialog is more towards the low power distance. They have a decentralized hierarchy where employees and subordinates do not show inequality much. The superiors or the Management team are willing and they trust the subordinates with important jobs.

Individualism vs Collectivism

Dialog falls towards the collectivism, because the people in the company have stronger bonds to their groups.

Masculinity vs Feminity

In Dialog it’s more like a combination of both as this would help them for a balanced approach. They value achievement and competitiveness as well as money and power. However, they also value people and maintain good relationship with them.

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Uncertainty Avoidance / structured situations

At Dialog, the degree of uncertainty avoidance is low. The company always welcomes for new things and changes, and embrace unpredictable situations. The company is very flexible and open to new approaches or ideas.

3- Changes in Dialog

During the past, Dialog Company has undergone several Strategic as well as Operational Changes. However, in this assignment only the following recent changes are being explained;

Outsourced Call Centre to “Firstsource Solutions” (2011)

During 2011, Dialog entered into a partnership with the BPO service provider “Firstsource Solutions” where Firstsouce acquired 76% shares of the Dialog Company. The new company was named as “Firstsource Dialog Solutions”.

Acquired Suntel Ltd (2012)

Dialog acquired Suntel Ltd, Sri Lanka’s second largest wireless fixed line operator during 2012. The main reason behind this change was to eliminate one of their main competitors from the market. As a result of the change, Suntel’s former customer base plus all the employees were transferred to Dialog.

Outsourced SAP to “Attune Lanka” (2012)

Business set-up “Over the Top Service” (2012)

During 2012, Dialog opened its largest hi-tech Customer Service Centre in Colombo, where they brought in 150 customer service professions trained in multiple technologies.

3.1- Resistance to Change & overcoming resistance

Despite the potential positive outcomes, change is often resisted at both the individual and the organizational level (Mullins, 1999).

When Dialog brought the above mentioned changes as mentioned in Clause 3 above, the company faced resistances from the employees. However they overcame the main problems and issues as mentioned below;

Resistance to Change

Overcoming Resistance

Suntel employees adapting to Dialog culture

Suntel Ltd and Dialog were having two different types of corporate culture. So when Suntel Ltd was brought under Dialog, employees who were working for Suntel had a very difficult time adjusting to Dialog’s new culture. As such they were given briefings, training sessions, and were well educated.

Employee ranking / salary structure issues

When Suntel’s former employees were brought to Dialog, there were some problems relating to the rankings or position levels and even with the salary structure.

Therefore Dialog mapped every staff to the level and was given a probation period of 3 months with given tasks and targets. So if the relevant employee was able to perform to the expected level they were given the same position they had in Suntel.

Staff transfer

(Dialog Brand loyalty)

When Dialog’s card centre staffs were transferred to SAP, some issues were raised because people who have been working for Dialog for a long time felt bad and also they didn’t actually want to leave Dialog since they felt some kind of proudness working in Dialog.

However, Dialog Management convinced the staff that they would not lose anything and will get all the benefits and additional opportunities for their career development.

Staff de-motivation

effective communication (peers to HR)

Security in the past

Obviously moving to a new company would feel confused and unsecured about the new environment.

In the case of Suntel Staff, they felt that they might not be able to perform well or might even lose the job. Therefore Dialog offered a job guarantee letter confirming that their jobs are not at risk.

But any how they were well informed that if anyone who cannot perform to the expected level would be withdrawn from the job.

3.2- John Kotter’s Change Process

Diagram 1: John Kotter’s 8 steps theory model

When we look at the John Kotter’s change model, Dialog also initially created a sense of urgency when they underwent changes. They convinced the employees the importance of acting immediately due to high competitiveness. Also they formed a powerful group to lead the change effort and encourage the group and created a vision where they communicated with the entire employees.

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In order to reach the vision, they tried to remove the obstacles that might undermine the vision and encourage risk taking ideas.

3.3- Human Resources Role

Human Resource is the backbone of any company and it is their duty to minimize the resistance and make the change a successful one.

In Dialogue HR was very certain in properly communicating the employees about the change and ensured that there would be no harm done to any staff and as per the labour law, all the right of the employees were delivered. Even when they took over Suntel, the former staff’s service period was counted on a continuing basis. For example if an employee had served Suntel for a period of 6 years, then they had counted from the 7th year when the staff joined Dialog

3.4- Force Field Analysis

Force field analysis is a technique by Kurt Lewin that can be applied in a team building program.

When we look at the Dialog side, the listed driving forces help the company to achieve their targets or goals. On the other hand restricting forces make it difficult to reach their targets. Some of the major critical factors in the restraining forces that the company is not able control are the high energy cost.

For example, the Sri Lankan market is yet to grow but cost is very high

4- Conflicts in Dialog

Problems will obviously arise in an environment where diversified people are working and especially if two companies with two different cultures are merged.

In Dialog case, most of the conflict arises at the individual levels mainly due to difference in their personal views since some might think the change as a positive thing while others might take it as a threat or risk for them. Also several issues rose because Suntel staff had the feeling that they might be treated unequally or they might not get all the rights what Dialog company staffs already had.

4.1- Sources of conflicts

During the change process, several conflicts raised in Dialgue which was mainly due to the following reasons;

Nature of work activities

When we take company buys but the Company the sales staff do all the documentation promising to give the service within two days. But if they do not hear from the company and technical staff

Information not passed properly

Communication barriers as difficulties in communicating to all levels of the staff can cause misunderstanding and as a result may create problems especially at the very lower level staff. For example Messenger level staff would not be able to access to intra-net plus they might not be able to understand internal memos or notices written in foreign language).

Differences in perception

Also different people’s perception would be different. Some may feel that merging the two companies would be obviously an opportunity for their career improvement while other might take it as a huge threat.

Uncertainty of Job Security – conflicts occurred..

4.1- Effects of conflicts

Conflict situations sometimes can be taken as a positive thing depending on the situation. However, some of the main negative effects of conflicts are;

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Stress

De-motivation

Absenteeism (5%)

Staff turnover (5%)

4.1- Resolving conflicts

When it comes to conflict within the company, Dialog takes all the relevant actions at the right time to avoid unnecessary fights and disagreements. This is because they believe that it would hugely affect the productivity level of the employees.

The company has a written code of conduct where every employee follows and is aware about the companies’ policies and procedures. When handling conflicts, the matter is first discussed at the supervisor or the relevant department level and thereafter then line Manager. If the matter is still not solved then the issue is raised to the HR Dept and further to Senior Management level. In worst cases, Arbitrators are invited to solve the problem if required.

When it comes to the procedures, first the staff is negotiated verbally and if that does not help, written explanation as well as enquiries is done. However if all these actions do not work then written warnings are also given.

5- Change Management through organization learning

51- Single Loop & Double Loop Learning model

As per the model, Dialog uses the two ways to learn from their experience;

Single Loop Learning

The company takes corrective action to avoid or resolve a mistake but does not go deep into the matter.

Double Loop Learning

This is where the company looks into the root of the problem to find the underlying cause of the problem.

6- Conclusion

Based on the above information and extensive research done, it may be concluded that the company has a very open and transparent culture. In addition, it is successful in managing culture, change and conflict. This is because Dialog Company has a set procedure for everything as per their Code of Conduct.

Further when a new staff joins or is recruited, the staff will be provided with a clearly written job description so that everybody would know what is their role and what is expected from them.

7- Recommendations

Although the company is successful in managing change and conflicts, the following recommendations would enable the company more

Build an innovative platform to encourage creativity among staff

Although staff is given the opportunity to come up with innovative ideas, at the moment the company does not have a special department

When outsourcing give more choice to employees to choose their own way

When outsourcing we feel that the staff should be given a chance to choose what is best for them. For example in case when card centre of Dialog was outsourced, they were not given any chance for their own views whether they want a transfer to another department within Dialog or want to join the new company. If they should have given the chance or at least got some feedback, then they might not have felt negative.

Introduce job enrichment to motivate the staffs

At the moment there is no job rotation or job enrichment programes within the company. However, if job enrichment programme is introduced, the staff would feel more motivated and responsible for their work. It would enable them to try new tasks and stretch their skills beyond what they have been doing all the time.

Go “GREEN”

In order to reduce the company’s high energy cost, it can go to solar panels

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