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NigeriaDecides2023

Challenges facing organizations and employees in contemporary business (1)

In his book titled Images of Organization, Morgan (2006), presents various images/metaphors of corporate organizations, which are consistent with the evolution of management thought. Beginning from the first school of thought which basically treated the organization as a machine as epitomized by the classical theorists, the most prominent of whom is Frederick Taylor, popular for his theory of Scientific Management, Morgan traced the evolution of management thought as the organization moved from the classical/scientific thinking to the behavioural theorists like Max Weber whose ideas Morgan captured with the organism image of the organization.

Other images of the organization identified and expatiated upon by Morgan which trace the history of management thought are the Learning and Self-organization where the organization is seen as a brain; Social Reality, where the organization is seen as culture; Interests, Conflict, and Power, where the organization is seen as a political system; Organizations as Psychic Prisons; Organizations as flux and Transformation; and the Ugly Face which represents organizations as Instruments of Domination.

Of all the images of organizations, the best that describes today’s organizations is the Organism metaphor. Every organism operates like a system and necessarily interacts with its environment. Today, we live in a knowledge age; the organization is a learning organization, and the worker is much more informed than earlier generations. Expectedly, both the organization and the individual worker face unique challenges which must be confronted to meet organizational and individual objectives.

Read Also: The strategic organization ( 2)

Challenges Facing Organisation

· Globalization: the search for cheaper raw materials, labour,and wider markets that define globalization means that organizations that cannot “branch out” due to resource constraints, legal issues, risk-aversion, etc. may face poor performance and eventual extinction. There is also the globalisation of crime which businesses also must contend with. You can be vulnerable to a criminal organisation/individual who is in a continent other than yours. The same applies to corporate governance where regulatory authorities can now impose sanctions on companies not located within their geographical/political jurisdiction.

· Recession and low purchasing power: closely related to globalization (or one other cause of it) is recession which leads to low purchasing power. Organizations have got to innovate continuously to attract the ever-decreasing customers in the market. Apart from these, today’s customers have several choices that it takes a lot of innovation to pre-empt their needs and develop/adapt products and services that will command and sustain their loyalty. Remaining profitable and successful as a business in today’s world is no mean feat.

 Increasingly, employees are focusing on selves in pursuit of happiness, prepared to leave any organisation whose environment negatively affects their mental health, regardless of the material benefits to be forgone

· Change and coping with environmental changes: to survive and move with the times, organizations now must cope with continuous change. Not only do they have to change themselves, they also must adapt to an environment in flux and constant transformation. The COVID-19 pandemic is a very good example. It came with a sweeping pandemonium that caught many countries and businesses unprepared for the magnitude of havoc it has caused. Many businesses have gone under while others are struggling to survive. Clearly, any organisation that is not able to adapt to what is now referred as the “new normal” will die.

· Attracting and keeping highly skilled employees: this is one other challenge that organizations face today. Because the expectations of employees keep expanding and their motivations different from what traditional organizations were used to, the best hands are scrambled for. Organizations must go the extra mile to keep their best employees who are highly marketable and are continuously on the move. In a recent report published by McKinsey & Company, an unprecedented number of employees in America, have either quit or are thinking of quitting their jobs. This situation has thrown many organisations into confusion as they are not even able to understand why in the first place their employees are resigning in droves. It is even more puzzling that majority of those planning to leave in the coming months would leave regardless of not having another job waiting for them. Increasingly, employees are focusing on selves in pursuit of happiness, prepared to leave any organisation whose environment negatively affects their mental health, regardless of the material benefits to be forgone. This has not always been the case and may not be that obvious in climes where the pursuit of the basic physiological needs is motivating most people.

· Diversity and cultural differences: the composition of the workforce for organizations that play at the global level is a melting pot of diverse cultures. Management must do all it can to create an organizational culture from the miscellany of national cultures of the individuals that make up the workforce. Else, it will be difficult to get the workforce to rally round common organizational objectives. Intercultural conflicts can pose great challenge to organisations which do not have elaborate policies and procedures for diversity and inclusion at the workplace.

· Multiplicity of stakeholders: this is especially of concern to multinationals operating in countries where corruption is rife and political leadership inept, resulting in widespread poverty. When social infrastructures are grossly inadequate and unemployment reigns, the masses tend to expect too much from organizations within their environment. This leads to a mushrooming of groups that see themselves as “stakeholders”. Organizations must carry out stakeholder analysis with a view to justifying the “urgency” and relevance of the diverse demands on the organization.

Dr. Ebereonwu writes from Lagos. He can be reached via 09064987192 (text only)

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