Case Study Global Values for Aikon Ltd

Case Study: Global Values for Aikon Ltd
Synopsis
The Aikon Limited is a multinational company that operates in the
technology industry. Similar to other firms in the industry, Aikon is
facing difficulties in coping with the drastic changes that are taking
place and affecting all technology companies. Some of the major
challenges that Aikon has to overcome in order to secure its going
concern include the recent trend of change in market dimensions where
the high growth rate is taking place in the emerging countries,
commoditization of mobile devices, declining prices of handsets, and
combination of networks. To address these challenges that have been
brought about by stiff competition, Aikon limited has developed several
strategies. First, the company has changed the top leadership where a
new chief executive (Mr. Cray) has been given the responsibility to lead
the company through the transformation period. The secondly and the most
important measure is the process of reforming its core values to ensure
that they match with the prevailing market trends. The change in company
values is intended to help Aikon limited in adopting a new corporate
culture that will enhance the company’s capacity to handle emerging
challenges.
Key issues affecting Aikon Limited
The key issues that the company needs to address pertain to the call for
change in the corporate culture and enhancing the company’s capacity
to deal with changes that are occurring in the industry. The first issue
is the ability of Aikon to facilitate a relationship between its
stakeholders, which goes beyond an ordinary form of collaboration.
Secondly, Aikon needs to engage all the stakeholders who are located in
different parts of the world. Third, there is a need to enhance
innovation in the company in order to help the company address the
market demand and counter the global competition threats. The fourth
issue is the company’s desire to demonstrate care for people and the
environment, which can be achieved by ensuring that the business
operations respect people and care for their surroundings.
Article critique questions
1. Why the company management chose values as a foundation for taking
the culture to the next level
The first order values help companies to succeed in both financial and
non-financial aspects of business operation. This is because the company
values enhance the sense of purpose that goes beyond financial gains.
For example, the Aikon’s new value of “engaging you” guides the
company towards customer satisfaction instead of just making money by
selling the company products. More importantly, core values are adopted
throughout the organization and are relatively permanent over a long
period, which allows them to shape the corporate culture. Since the core
values are not provisional or situational, they are more than words
stated by the company executives because they reflect the fundamental
ideologies that cannot be altered during economic cycles or changes in
the business environment. This means that corporate values are important
tools of transition from one culture to another like the case of Aikon
limited.
The values adopted by the company act as a common language that align
the leadership of the company and the stakeholders. This means that any
form of communication that is based on the corporate values is
understood by the targeted parties since values are irrevocable and
should be taken literally. For example, the literal meaning of the new
value adopted by Aikon “achieving together” simply means that the
company intends to succeed in its objectives and support the
stakeholders to do the same. This is a common statement that will be
adopted by all Aikon branches all over the world, which implies that all
branches should nurture a relationship that goes beyond collaboration
and partnership with their stakeholders. This will eventually shape the
corporate culture by creating a sense that the company should strive,
not only to attain its own success, but also to help the stakeholders
achieve their objectives.
Core values provide significant guide to companies in the decision
making process, especially in companies that operate in the industries
that are characterized by frequent changes. In the absence of core
values, companies are likely to be influenced by external threats and
market trends since there are no reliable internal mechanisms the guide
the decision making process. According to Sheikh (2012) companies tend
to drift in an ever changing business environment since they are
governed by external forces. Similarly, Aikon limited operates in the
technology industry that is characterized by a shift in the market
growth in emerging countries, declining prices of handsets, and
commoditization of mobile devices. This means that failure of the Aikon
limited to integrate the core values in its corporate culture can result
in external influences in all phases of operation (including product
development, innovation, and marketing), which will reduce its capacity
to achieve the initial objectives.
2. Views about the four values produce through the cafeteria approach
All the four new values formulated by Aikon through the cafeteria
approach are important and has the capacity to help the company in
transitioning to a new culture. The first new value, which is
“achieving together”, is a special way of integrating the corporate
social responsibility in the core values that the company will need to
pursue in the long run. This means that the company will value mutual
success of itself and the stakeholders (including the customers and
employees), which will help the supporting the stakeholders to unravel
issues that hinder their success. For example, efforts made by Aikon to
support the needy Indians in starting their own kiosks and make a living
demonstrate the company’s desire to help them achieve. This is a form
of social responsibility that will help Aikon stakeholders, especially
the customers and vendors in feeling as part of the company.
The new value of “engaging you” is a formal way of inviting the
stakeholders (including employees) in order to establish a sustainable
relationship and address issues affecting them. However, there is a need
to understand that the value “engaging you” has been stated briefly,
but it demands too much for the company to implement it. For example,
engaging with the stakeholders means that the company should involve
them in the decision making process and be highly responsive to their
queries (Business Case Studies, 2013). This is quit challenging given
the fact that Aikon is a multinational company operating in more than a
100 countries. This means that if the value of “engaging you” will
be implemented, Aikon will need to formulate suitable approaches to
capture the views of millions of customers and hundreds of thousands of
employees and use them in making significant decisions to ensure that
their needs are addressed. This may be costly and time consuming because
the company will be required to dedicate more resources (including human
resource) in collecting and analyzing different views.
The “passion for innovation” is a timely value that Aikon limited
has to adopt, not because there is a need to change the organizational
culture, but to counter the stiff competition in the industry and
protect its going concern. Renew (2013) identified that innovation is
among the most important success factors that protect the survival and
growth of companies operating in the technology industry. However, the
Aikon’s management should consider a wide range of factors (such as
ways of working, access to information and facility, changing values and
perceptions, new standards of quality, safety, and performance) that
will lead to effective innovation. A careful consideration of these
factors will help the company in satisfying the stakeholders amidst the
drastic changes occurring in the industry.
The new value of being human will help Aikon limited in producing the
easy-to-use products, which will address customer needs with ease. This
will create a perception that the company exists mainly to support its
customers by making their lives simpler. In addition, the value of the
company being very human will make the stakeholders (especially
customers and employees) feel that Aikon is one of them.
In overall the four new values generated through the cafeteria approach
are timely and comprehensive. Their adoption and implementation will
affect the Aikon’s strategy in two major ways. First, Aikon will be
able to develop strategies that focus on customer satisfaction by
developing customer-centered services and products. Secondly, the
company will develop strategies that will address the inherent
challenges (such as changes in prices, products, and customer
preferences) both in the short-run and in the long-run.
3. Behaviours that were stimulated through the cafeteria approach at
Aikon and what information channels were opened
The cafeteria approach used by Aikon limited to gather information about
the new values influenced employees’ attitude and behaviour.
Participative behaviour is one of the most significant conducts that
were stimulated by cafeteria approach. The approach provided an
opportunity for employees to air their views and letting their ideas be
heard by the senior management. The author of the case study states that
the CEO of Aikon felt like he could hear the voices of employees from
different parts of the world. Secondly, the cafeteria approach enhanced
the “can do” attitude, which stimulated employee behaviour of
getting ready, willing, and available to perform organizational tasks in
the best way. A statement that employees had taken preparation for
cafeteria seriously is a demonstration that they were willing and
available to participate in the process of developing the core values of
their organization. Third, the approach stimulated a collaborative
behaviour where employees worked in groups in discussing the best values
for their company. The approach encouraged a genuine form of
collaboration where no employee intends to hide information with the
objective of standing out from the rest. The employees who did not take
part in 16 cafeterias were willing to share their views through the
company website. Fourth, the cafeteria approach stimulated the
employees’ ability to balance the role of following and the role of
leading. This is shown by the fact that the teams taking part in the
cafeterias composed of employees of different levels (including the
human resource managers) who were willing to work with juniors. It is
stated that only one of the staff acted as a host while the rest of
participants rotated to other tables. Fifth, the cafeteria approach
stimulates the positive behaviour of constructive criticism. All
employees were invited to criticize and comment on the output of
cafeterias. This provided an opportunity for employees who had no chance
to take part in the group discussions in criticizing, correcting and
complementing the views generated by those who attended the cafeterias.
There are two channels of information that were opened following the use
of the cafeteria approach to gather employees’ views about the new
corporate values. First, the group discussions that were facilitated by
the global cafeterias provided an opportunity for employees to inform
the senior management about the values they perceive to be the best for
the organization. This was accomplished through the exchange of ideas
and critical criticism of the views put forward by other employees.
Secondly, the high-tech process allowed the Aikon to create an
interactive session for all employees through the company website. This
provided an opportunity for employees who are located in different parts
of the world to criticize the views given by the group cafeteria
participants and give their own views.
4. The main stakeholders in Aikon’s activities in India and the HR
impact each stakeholder had on Aikon’s business
There are three major categories of stakeholders who have a direct
impact on Aikon’s business in the Indian market. First, Aikon has a
strong team of employees who managed to identify the key values that
could lead to the success of Aikon’s business before the new values
were formulated. The management of the Indian market segment had already
devices an effective distribution system that facilitated collaboration
and created a perception that Aikon was very human. This team of
employees consists of native Indians and other experts from Indonesia,
Europe, and China.
The second group of stakeholders is electronic retailers who distribute
the Aikon products to consumers in the Indian market segment. The
management of the Indian market segment has established a collaborative
relationship with electronic retailers by providing them with kiosk
structures, training them, and supplying them with the Aikon products
that they resell to local consumers. Although the majority of this
category of stakeholders has poor background, they play a significant
role of bridging the gap between Aikon limited and consumers of the
Aikon products.
The third category of stakeholders is the immediate consumers of Aikon
products and services within the Indian market segment. This category of
stakeholders consists of about 75 million people who have subscribed to
Aikon services in India. The large population of Indian subscribers
provides a reliable market for Aikon products and service. However,
consumers in the Indian market segment have special needs (such as
products that are dust proof and do not slip out of sweaty hands) that
Aikon needs to address in order to retain the market share. The
effective collaboration between the three categories of stakeholders has
resulted in the success of the Aikon business in India.
5. Anticipated values if Aikon was to conduct a cafeteria in 2015
Although the new values have the capacity to help the company in
addressing the current challenges, there are three values that may be
added in the future. First, it may be necessary to adopt the value of
“simple instead of complex technology”. This is because the market
for mobile phone products has been increasing in the emerging economies
where research shows that about 796 % people cannot read or write and
about 69 million children cannot access primary school education (Cree,
Kay & Steward, 2012). This value will allow Aikon to use the complex
technology to produce products that are simple to use even by the
illiterate population in the emerging markets.
Secondly, Aikon might find the need for being “result oriented” by
the year 2015, which will help the company in using a proactive approach
to identify the specific needs of customers in different parts of the
world. For an instant, the Indian customers need products that dust
proof and do not slip out of sweaty hands, but there are customers who
may need products that are water proof because of their working and
environmental conditions. To this end, the proactive approach will help
Aikon to be quality driven and process oriented in producing products
that have different features suit the customer needs.
Third, Aikon might find the need to integrate the element of excellence
in its values in order to counter the challenge of stiff competition in
the technology industry. A cafeteria conducted in 2015 might unveil the
need to address the client requirements and operate with the sense of
urgency to identify the client needs and meet them through technological
innovation. The value of excellence will help the company in providing
customized solutions and improve all its production and distribution
processes.
6. Effects of employee engagement on business performance and
measurement of engagement
Engaging Employees will result in direct impacts on their performance
and productivity, especially in the difficult times. According to Robert
(2012) employee engagement is an important tool that helps in changing
employee behavior and attitude towards their organization as well as
their work, thus ensuring that they do their best even in tough times.
This means that the initiative taken by Aikon limited to engage its
employees will enhance their productivity by changing their behavior and
attitude towards the company and their respective roles. In addition, a
high level of employee engagement will enhance the Aikon’s innovation,
bottom line performance, and reduces the cost of hiring and holding
talented employees in the competitive market. Most importantly, Aikon
has succeeded in making employees feel that the company has an interest
in their contribution. This is because Aikon addressed the most
important aspect of employee engagement, which involves getting people
to support each other with enthusiasm and attaining organizational
citizenship. In addition, the employee engagement approach adopted by
Aikon complies with the key success factors for developed by Kumar
(2013). The key success factors include encouraging employees to
participate in open communication in influencing the corporate vision,
fostering a sustainable relationship between employees and company
managers, giving employees the sense of empowerment to show them their
contribution is valued, and articulating a clear objective and corporate
vision for the company. Moreover, the capacity of Aikon to make
employees feel that the company needs them will enhance their commitment
at work.
Aikon limited has two alternative models that can be used to measure
employee engagement. The first model involves the determination of
employees’ attitude that is self-reported. Aikon can use a subset of
these self-reported thoughts to determine an index for employee
engagement. For example, a set of four attitudes may include employee
satisfaction, retention, advocacy, and pride. This can be achieved by
asking employees some questions such as what is your general
satisfaction with the organization at present, what is your response to
the statement “I hardly contemplate about looking for an employment
opportunity with another organization”, would you recommend the
organization as the best place to work? How would you rate your pride
working foe the organization? (Cotton, 2012). This set of questions
will help Aikon in assessing the impact of employee engagement on their
behavior as well as attitude. The second model involves the measurement
of the antecedent of employees and the consequences of their engagement.
Some of the dimensions used in the second model include the
psychological climate, core-self evaluation, organizational commitment,
leader-member exchange, and rewards (Kumar, 2013).
Conclusion
The large size of the Aikon limited, its capacity to operate
internationally, and the company’s focus on the technology industry
present the major challenges that Aikon limited must overcome to secure
its going concern. The decline in commodity prices, shifting market
trends in favor of emerging countries, commoditization of mobile phone
devices, and combination of networks are the major sources of challenges
that Aikon seeks to address through the formulation of new corporate
values. The use of cafeteria approach is the most effective method of
engaging the employees in the process of deciding on the new values that
will lead the company to the next level of corporate culture. The new
values will enhance the relationship between Aikon and its stakeholders,
especially through the change of attitude and behavior.
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