Individual Report

BMA583: Managing People and the Employment Relationship
Assessment task 2: Individual Report

Case Study: Unitel

Unitel is one of the largest telecommunications companies (telcos) in the Asia-Pacific
region. Like most large telcos it was formerly government owned, but was privatised in
the early 1990s. Since privatisation, however, Unitel has faced increased competition
from foreign and local competitors. Unitel remains profitable, but the telecommunications
industry has seen considerable innovation in terms of both products and services in
recent years. Automation and increased competition have also become pronounced
features of the industry. Senior management at Unitel are concerned that the firm’s
culture needs to be improved if the telco is going to continue to grow its presence and
maintain its profitability in a continually developing and changing market.
Last year, Unitel senior management unveiled a new corporate strategy to guide Unitel
into the next decade. Called “Vision 2022”, it is an ambitious program which aims “to
place customers in a pivotal position” and to seek “excellence in products, customer
service, product delivery and corporate image”. Developed by an external management
consulting firm, Vision 2022 aims to reposition Unitel as the “best enterprise in the
region” by developing “action teams” and “change teams” whose role is to encourage
“possibility thinking” and “customer comes first values” in the large industry incumbent.
Vision 2022 has been enthusiastically embraced by many senior managers at Unitel. “It
is bringing field staff and high-level management together for the first time”, remarked
one plant coordinator. “Problems are heard, solutions sought and once found their
implementation is pursued”. “Unitel has a lot of internal problems”, said another
manager, “and I see in Vision 2022 the possibility of salvation”. “I don’t see anything
wrong in trying to produce more trust in the company” commented a technical officer.
“The regular Vision 2022 de-briefings help to let all staff know what is going on and offer
all of us a chance to have input into things”.
Some managers see Vision 2022 as creating a “bottom-to-top” communication system
and inaugurating a new style of management founded on a renewed commitment to
staff, getting employee involvement in problem-solving, improving customer service and
creating a “family-type” environment. Yet there is also a considerable degree of
scepticism about Vision 2022 among Unitel’s 32,000 staff. “I don’t think Vision 2022 is
accepted by my workmates”, observed one customer service operator – “they generally
regard it as a joke”.
It is clear that Vision 2022 has many critics at Unitel. As one senior technical officer
commented “I hold a serious concern that some managers and staff have an almost
fanatical and single-minded belief in the ability of Vision 2022 to save the company.”
“They do not tolerate others who do not share their views”, remarked another. “I believe
a climate is being generated where people who dissent are marked out and
discriminated against” he concluded.

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