ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AS A STRATEGIC TOOL FOR RE-ENGINEERING (A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS LIMITED (NITEL)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In the business world, there are high levels of uncertainty in the operative activities of business organization. These uncertainties came to be because of changes in the business environment due to limited resources and the misapplication of the required management technique.
It is noteworthy to know that any business plan, policy or strategy without due recourse to proper research to current and future behaviour, structure and changes of the market forces in its industry is a disaster in the making. That is therefore the reason necessary for organization to study their own management, economic and technological structures in order to predict future changes and the effect they will have on their operational activities. It is therefore in this wise that I delve into carrying out a study on how the Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) could through its strategic formulation and implementation of the situational management technique of organizational development strategies achieve its target objectives.
Telecommunication is an essential infrastructure and key ingredient for promoting rapid socio-economic and political development of any nation. It is an indispensable system in effective business operations and in the times of national emergency or natural disaster. Therefore, because of its vital nature to any nation, or economy, the telecommunications system must be universally accessible and cost-effective. In order that Nigeria should be counted relevant, he must as a matter of urgency properly organize and manage strategically her telecommunication system to be functional and efficient.
According to the National Telecommunications policy write-up of September, 2000, telecommunications facilities in Nigeria were direct established in 1886 by the British Colonial Administration for discharging administrative functions rather than the socio-economic development at the country. The policy report stated that the total number of telephone lines at independence in 1960 were only eighteen thousand, seven hundred and twenty four for a population estimated at about forty million people. The data above however indicated that Nigeria then was having a tele-density of approximately are telephone time per two thousand people. As at that time, the telephone network consisted of one hundred and twenty one exchanges of which one hundred and sixteen were analogue (magnet type) and only time were automatic.
Basically, between 1960 and 1985, the Nigerian Telecommunications sector consisted of the departments of posts and telecommunications (P & T) in charge of the internal communications network and a limited liability company, the Nigerian External Telecommunication (NET) limited responsible for the external telecommunications services.
The Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) is the Federal Government owned company that provides public network telecommunication services in Nigeria. Set up in 1985 as an amalgam of the telecommunication vision of the defunct P & T department and the Nigerian External Telecommunications Limited (NET). NITEL has a staff strength of about fourteen thousand (14000).
It operates a three tier organization structure ie Corporate Headquarters, six zonal and thirty-nine (39). Territorial administrations; a system that enhances decentralization. The six zones of NITEL include Lagos Zone, North-West Zone, North-East Zone, South-West, South-East and Central Zones with their headquarters Lagos, Kaduna, Bauchi, Ibadan, Enugu and Abuja respectively. Each state of the federation represents a territory except Lagos that has three territories.
Fully commercialized under the privatization and communication policy of the Federal Government, NITEL limited is committed to the provision of efficient, reliable and cost effective telecommunications services nationally and internationally. This set of objectives has been the guiding principle on which the company’s operations are based.
Specifically, the Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) was a bureaucratic and a monopolistic structure with all its attendant red-tapisms. Evidences from studies carried out by situational management researchers the world over have shown that bureaucratic structures with its inflexibility to adapt readily to the dynamic nature, purpose and changes in today’s business environment cannot function well. Hence as a result of the Nigerian telecommunication industry’s inability to research into its current and future behaviour of market forces in her industry in this era of rapid technological development, she was characterized by serious short-falls between planned targets and their realization. Secondly, poor management processes, lack of accountability and transparency, and low level of executive capacity move also diagnosed as the factors which brought about the under capacity utilization of the organization.
It is worthy of note that at the end of 1985, the installed switching capacity of the Nigerian Telecommunication industry was well about two hundred thousand (200000) lines as against the policy planned target of four hundred and sixty thousand (460000) telephone lines. Translated, this means that the teledensity was about one telephone line to about four hundred and forty (440) people. This telephone per capita is far below the targeted one telephone line to one hundred (100) people recommended by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for developing countries. Even as things stand, the quality of telephone services was unreliable, congested, expensive, customer unfriendly and largely unsatisfactory.
From the foregoing, in January 1985, the Federal Government under General Ibrahaim Babangida splited the then posts and Telecommunications into postal and telecommunication divisions. The main objective according to the Federal Government for establishing NITEL was to harmonize the planning and coordination of the internal and external telecommunication services., rationalize investments in telecommunication development and provide accessible, efficient and affordable services. However, since its inception in 1985, NITEL has experienced modest development in the Nigeria telecommunications industry until recent times.
Records by the National Council on Privatization (NCP) indicated that as at the year 2001, NITEL has a public telephone network of about seven hundred thousand (700,000) lines capacity out of which four hundred thousand (400,000) were connected. Consequently, with Nigeria’s then estimated population of one hundred and ten million (110) people, how teledensity was one telephone to about two hundred and twenty five (225) people which is still below the recommended ITU one telephone line to one hundred (100) people in developing countries like Nigeria. In this wise therefore, Nigeria lags behind comparable to even less endowed African Countries.
In a bid to tackle the observed shortcomings of the NITEL then, the process of deregulation of the industry was initiated with the establishment of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) by the Decree 75 of 1992 the objectives of the Nigeria Communications. Commission (NCC) include:-
- The creation of a regulatory environment to facilitate the supply of telecommunications services and facilities.
- The facilitation of the entry of private entrepreneurs into the telecommunications industry.
- The promotion of fair business competition and efficient market conduct among all the players in the telecommunications industry.
It should therefore be noted that since the inauguration of NCC in July 1993, it has set out guidelines for private sector participation and issued licenses to a number of companies for the following telecommunications, undertakings;
- Provision and operations of public payphones.
- Provision and operation of telephones
- Provisions of value added network services
- Repair, cabling and maintenance of telecommunications facilities.
- Provision and operation of private network links employing cable, radio communication or satellite within Nigeria.
However, in spite of all the measures that were put in place in order to address the many problems of NITEL the industry continued to experience business failure as a result of under capacity utilization non-cost effective service provision and lower quality services. The question that comes to mind now is what are the problems militating against NITEL’s organizational development?
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) as an industry is faced with some problems. It is a bureaucratically managed organization which are a result of its diverse characteristics has not been able to allow the management of NITEL management flexibility and adaptability which are necessary requirements for modern organizational structures to achieving set targets.
Indeed, the organization and management technique that made bureaucracy efficient and effective has brought about a dysfunctional organizational behaviour in the NITEL. It should be noted that bureaucracy was what keep NITEL in its present situation. For instance, bureaucracy address to formulized rules, regulations and procedures for a long time and the eventual result is that the rules become more important than the achievement or organizational targets and thus become obstacles to efficiency. NITEL staff possesses academic and professional qualifications relevant to the business of telecommunication. The quality of services provided by NITEL to the members of the public did not reflect these qualifications due mainly to the organization’s future to properly harness its vast human resources.
Now, the Federal Government of Nigeria under the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo restructured and privatized NITEL as the strategies for re-engineering. Sometime in July 2006, it was sold to Transactional Corporation by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). The mobile telecommunications arm of Nitel, Mtel, was also sold to Transcorp at that time. In February 2008 a report by BBC news that the Nigerian government assumes the transnational corporation did not improve performance of NITEL and therefore stopped privatization in favours of Transcorp. Nigerians are frustrated that Nitel has failed to deliver impeccable services that can compare with other networks of the globe.
Following from the foregoing, I maintain that since NITEL had not in its business plan taken due recourse to proper research to the current and future behaviour of the market forces in its industry, it is making for a disaster in this current era of rapid organizational change due to rapid technological and business development due for sophisticated management.
Usually, the organization development process is applied when it is identified that an organization is ailing or not healthy. Therefore, organization development is a complex educational strategy set up in response to the changing business environment to change the beliefs, attitudes, values and structure of organization so that they can better adapt to new technology.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The objectives of this study include the following:
- To match the characteristic problem solving qualities of organization development in order to re-engineer the activities of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL).
- To identify the factors which make organization development the most appropriate management technique to use in re-engineering the activities of NITEL.
- To show how the flexible and adaptable nature of organization development can meet the necessary requirements for re-engineering the Nigerian Telecommunication Limited (NITEL)
- Yet another objective of this study is to understand whether or not the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited can withstand the supper technological and marketing challenges posed by MTN, GLO, Zain etc communications.
- The study also seeks to understand how the management technique of organization development could be used to change NITEL’s internal culture and the power structure which characterized its management process.
- Finally, the goal of the study or research is to show how organizational development provides a unified information system for improved business activities.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions according to the researcher are as follows:
- What are the factors that make organizational development appropriate for re-engineering the activities of the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL)?
- How can the flexible and adaptable nature of organizational development meet the requirements of re-engineering the NITEL?
- Does problem-solving abilities and qualities of organizational development match the philosophy of re-engineering in NITEL?
- To what extent can organizational development provide a unified information system for improved services?
- How does the management technique of organizational development affect the culture of bureaucratic structure of NITEL?
- To what extent can NITEL challenge the technological input and marketing strategies of other service providers already on ground?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following hypotheses have been formulated for the purpose of this study.
H0: Nigerian Telecommunications Limited’s bureaucratic power structure is more flexible and adaptable to changing business environment than the organization development technique.
Hi: Organization development process is more flexible and adaptable to changing business environment more than the bureaucratic power structure.
H0: Bureaucratic process recognizes and corrects the change process in organizations better than the organization development process.
Hi: Organization development process recognizes and correct the change process in organizations better than the bureaucratic process.
H0: NITEL’s bureaucratic management structure uses adequate management information system better than the organization development process.
Hi: Organization development process uses a more adequate and unified management information system than NITEL’s bureaucratic structure.
H0: Bureaucratic structure is not more business oriented than the organizations development process.
Hi: Bureaucratic structure is more business oriented than organizational development process.
H0: Management technique of organizational development affects the culture of bureaucratic structure in NITEL.
HI: Management technique of organizational development does not in any way affect the culture of bureaucratic structure in NITEL in the process of re-engineering.
H0: NITEL’s technological impact and marketing strategies challenge that of other service providers like MTN, Glo etc.
Hi: NITEL’s technological strength and marketing strategies cannot challenge that of the service providers.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Based on the objectives of the study and future behaviour of market forces in organizations, it therefore plays an important role in understanding market, management and engineering research to achieve optimum results. This study will also make organization do understand how it can better improve its health. The use of organization development as explained in this study investigation would clearly show NITEL and other organizations that may use it to understand their strengths and weaknesses and subsequently adopt measures towards enhancing the health of the company.
In a nutshell therefore, it is noteworthy that any technique that does not identify, anticipate, and adapt it’s problem-solving tools is weak in truly correcting or solving problems. For these, organizational development is better for a proper re-engineering process of the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL).
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study centered on organizational development as a strategic tool for re-engineering, a study of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL).
A survey research of the size NITEL zonal headquarters was carried out involving the administration or distribution of 390 structured questionnaires. I also used the year 2006 NITEL’s telephone directory as my sampling frame to determine the member of those who I would administer my structured interviews guide. The questionnaire administration was restricted to only the size zonal headquarters of NITEL and the interview guide was carried out over the telephone.
- LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The researcher was confronted by some constraints/ limitations including the problems associated with conviction of those interviewed over the telephone about the genuineness of this research. It is not quite simple to obtain the primary data for instance.
Lack of adequate finance, material and time resources were also our impediment. Suffice to say that an in-depth enquiry was quite difficult and required a long time with several visits over and over again. As much time not readily available, the researcher still gathered as much information as was possible for the purpose.
Finally, hoarding of vital information by the staff which they think are not going to work for their own good also posed a threat to the study however.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Management is the activities which identifies a problem plans, organizes and controls its solution process operation of the basic elements of men, materials, machines, methods, money and markets by providing direction, coordination and leadership to human efforts so as to achieve the sought objectives of the enterprise (George R. Terry, 1953:8).
In the words of P.C. Unamka and UJF Ewurum (1995:67) management is the creation of conditions to brainy about the optimum use of all resources available to an undertaking in man, methods and materials. It is also defined as knowing how to get things done through people or getting things done through the efforts of another.
Griffin (2002:67) described management as a set of activities including planning, and decision making, organizing leading and controlling directed at an organization’s resources (human, financial, physical and information) with the sole aim of achieving organizational goals in an efficient and effective manner.
Bureaucracy is a system of organization and management in which roles, tasks and the relationships among people and positions are clearly defined, carefully prescribed and controlled in accordance with formal authority in order to achieve productive efficiency through measurement, discipline, impersonality and other formalities.
Organizational development is a complex systematic and integrated educational and action research strategy intended to change, and process re-engineer the beliefs attitudes, values and structure of organizations so that they can better adapt to ongoing changes in new technologies, markets, challenges and with the fast of rapid changes in the business and technological environment.
Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) is an essential telecommunications infrastructure system in Nigeria that promotes the rapid socio-economic and political development of the country.