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Abstract

The objective of this case is to stimulate reflection on organisational and human resource management problems occurring in companies facing rapid change. Vodafone Italy belongs to the world''s leading telecommunications company: Vodafone Group. From 1996 to 2006 Vodafone''s employees increased from 60 to 10,000. During that time, the company changed from an informal, flexible organisation characterised by high task autonomy into a rigid, static, centralised one, governed by several procedures coming from headquarters in England. Employee motivation decreased due to reduced career opportunities and slower career mobility. Supervisors were perceived as ineffective, often absent, unable to coach or develop individuals, focused on ex-post evaluation and not oriented to ex-ante goal setting; information did not circulate fluidly; the structure was perceived as static and unable to respond to market demands for flexibility. Procedures and processes seemed to prevail over people; the perception of the international Vodafone Group was biased and imprecise. Although current employee performance was still substantially adequate, HR (human resource) managers were worried. They were discussing potential actions in order to prevent the negative trend of the relationship with employees from potentially triggering undesirable organisational consequences such as voluntary turnover, poor commitment, low orientation to international careers, and ultimately low productivity. This case fosters reflection on the effects of motivation on organisational performance and on predictors of motivation. The case also encourages consideration of career issues, internal mobility, job rotation, performance appraisal, leadership and role modeling, reward systems and goal alignment, organisational sub-cultures, and the trade-off between focus on people and focus on process. Students may compare and contrast their decisions with those actually adopted by the organisation.
Location:
Industry:
Size:
10,000 employees
Other setting(s):
2006

About

Abstract

The objective of this case is to stimulate reflection on organisational and human resource management problems occurring in companies facing rapid change. Vodafone Italy belongs to the world''s leading telecommunications company: Vodafone Group. From 1996 to 2006 Vodafone''s employees increased from 60 to 10,000. During that time, the company changed from an informal, flexible organisation characterised by high task autonomy into a rigid, static, centralised one, governed by several procedures coming from headquarters in England. Employee motivation decreased due to reduced career opportunities and slower career mobility. Supervisors were perceived as ineffective, often absent, unable to coach or develop individuals, focused on ex-post evaluation and not oriented to ex-ante goal setting; information did not circulate fluidly; the structure was perceived as static and unable to respond to market demands for flexibility. Procedures and processes seemed to prevail over people; the perception of the international Vodafone Group was biased and imprecise. Although current employee performance was still substantially adequate, HR (human resource) managers were worried. They were discussing potential actions in order to prevent the negative trend of the relationship with employees from potentially triggering undesirable organisational consequences such as voluntary turnover, poor commitment, low orientation to international careers, and ultimately low productivity. This case fosters reflection on the effects of motivation on organisational performance and on predictors of motivation. The case also encourages consideration of career issues, internal mobility, job rotation, performance appraisal, leadership and role modeling, reward systems and goal alignment, organisational sub-cultures, and the trade-off between focus on people and focus on process. Students may compare and contrast their decisions with those actually adopted by the organisation.

Settings

Location:
Industry:
Size:
10,000 employees
Other setting(s):
2006

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