Management at a Company: Hewlett Packard Company
Hewlett Packard Company (HP) is an American-based multi-national company. It specializes on the production of printers and computer components. HP’s success is attributable to many factors, including its management style. The paper examines the changes in HP's management from its inception to the present and explains the role of HP'S senior management in preparing the company for the 2015 split. The paper also evaluates HP's management decisions of using vendors and spokespersons and explains how the reward card innovative idea can positively influence employees and consumers. Finally, it predicts HP's ability to adapt to the changing needs of customers and the market environment.
Key Changes in the Management Style
The best managerial style is one that entails a manager delegating to workers in order to help them develop their abilities. The style should also promote independence, where the manager becomes a motivator within a highly independent system (Daft, 2012, p. 15). HP’s founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard developed an open management style called the “HP Way” (Maranville & Coy, 2009). This style advocated delegation and teamwork. Hewlett and Packard believed that delegation and teamwork were the keys to the company achieving its goals. They delegated duties to their employees and encouraged them to work in teams. The management style also advocated workers’ job security (Maranville & Coy, 2009). Thus, HP guaranteed its employees job security. For example, during the 1974 U.S. economy crisis, while other companies had laid off their staff, HP avoided the layoffs by implementing a four-day work-week system (Maranville & Coy, 2009, p. 81). Hewlett and Packard also recognized the importance of employees’ motivation to the firm’s success. According to Boachie-Mensah and Dogbe (2011), motivation induces workers to put greater effort to their work. The founders motivated their employees by creating a friendly environment where it was customary for the employees to call each other and even their bosses by their first names.
However, when Carly Fiorina was appointed CEO in 1999, she initiated a job-centered managerial style. Fiorina did not believe in the delegation of duties to employees and she held on to the control of all projects (Maranville & Coy, 2009). Moreover, she did not value job security and instead, she promoted the outsourcing of workers as a way of cutting costs. There was also a change in the friendly atmosphere and employees were forbidden from being friendly with managers (Maranville & Coy, 2009). The change in the management style resulted in disgruntled employees who later resigned. Fiorina's antics led to the board asking her to resign from HP.
HP Company is properly managed. Even though Fiorina had changed the management style, subsequent CEO’s went back to following several aspects of the “HP Way.” Under the current tenure of Meg Whitman as CEO, HP has gone back to promoting workers’ job security (Hewlett Packard Inc., 2015). It also motivates employees through benefits such as employees' stock purchase plans. Whitman also supports open management. For example, the walls of the executive offices at the company’s headquarter were removed to enable the communication between managers and employees.
Senior Management’s Role in Change Management
Change is inevitable in an organization because change facilitates innovation, which is vital to the health of companies (Daft, 2012). However, for change to be effectively implemented, it is essential that top management’s support is visible. The support symbolizes to all employees that change is necessary. HP’s recent change was its 2015 split into HP Enterprise, which would offer cloud-based technology and software and, HP Inc. that would retain HP’s legacy of consumer PCs and printers (HP, 2015). Senior management practiced the concept of organizational development to prepare the organization and especially, employees for the change. Organizational development focuses on strengthening an organization's capacity for adaptation (Daft, 2012). An essential component of organizational development is teamwork. HP senior management created a separation management office that made key decisions on the project. The separation manager formed teams to aid in strategic planning. Approximately 5,000 HP employees were grouped into teams to participate (HP, 2015, p. 39). Involving the employees motivated them. They worked at nights, weekends, and some even rescheduled their holidays to take part in the change.
HP’s senior management also promoted another organizational development activity, that of large-group interventions. The intervention sessions were composed of global advisory, stakeholders, clients, and employees who dialogued and produced a single-vision document for change and innovation (HP, 2015). The approaches employed by senior management ensured the seamless transition of the company into two organizations.
Use of Vendors and Spokespersons
An organization's relationship with its vendors has become necessary in the business environment, as vendors are critical to a company's success and profits. HP treats its suppliers as partners and it has a partner code of conduct. HP management's use of ethical vendors, especially those who abide by the laws like the U.S Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, has enabled the company to be customers’ preference, cementing its place among the best enterprises in the technology industry (HP, 2015). Spokespersons have helped to build HP’s reputation. Spokespersons are essential as they put a human face to a company. HP’s spokespersons have enabled the world to be aware of HP's programs and innovations. For example, they helped prepare the public for the 2015 HP split and the understanding of the functions of the two independent companies. The use of spokespersons positively affects HP, as it ensures that management is left to concentrate on essential organizational matters. The feedback from the public that the spokespersons relay to management also enables HP to improve its activities. Vendors, on their part, make the marketing and distribution of HP products easier for the company. Vendors' good rapport with customers guarantees customer loyalty to HP.
Customer Loyalty Reward Card System
An innovative idea can give HP a competitive advantage over its competitors. HP should develop loyalty reward cards to offer to its customers. Using these cards, they can accumulate points for their purchases, and the points are redeemable for HP products of equal value. As part of the system, the employees whose clientele use the system are to be rewarded. The innovative idea will promote happy customers and ensure customer loyalty. It will also foster healthy competition among employees.
Kotter’s eight-step approach to managing change and innovation is effective in implementing the idea. According to Appelbaum, Habashy, Malo, and Shafiq (2012), the approach breaks down the barriers of resistance to change and guarantees the success of implementing an innovation. In the first step, after a careful evaluation of the market, a sense of urgency is created on the need for a reward system as a means of competitive advantage. The second stage is the formation of a powerful coalition of managers to lead in implementing the idea (Appelbaum et al., 2012). The managers promote the idea’s legitimacy. The third stage is developing a vision to direct the implementing of the reward system. The next step involves communicating the vision throughout the company. The fifth step is empowering employees to adopt the reward system idea by enticing them with its benefits. The sixth step is implementing the plan and celebrating its short-term performance by releasing reports on its progress and rewarding outstanding employees (Appelbaum, 2012). The seventh step is consolidating improvements to the reward system based on consumers' response and staff' ideas. The last step is evaluating the effect of the system on HP's success.
HP’s Adaptability to Consumer Needs and Market Environment
Consumer needs and the market environment keep changing all the time. Therefore, it is essential for a company to adapt to the changes in order to be successful. HP has the ability to adapt to the customers’ changing needs and the market environment. Adaptability to change is embedded in its corporate objectives (HP, 2015). HP continually seeks new opportunities for growth and ensures that the opportunities aim to improve its products. The company had proved its ability to adapt to the changing market environment and customer needs when it split into two companies. The split ensured HP Enterprise concentrated on cloud-based technology innovations that are advocated for in the current market environment. HP Inc., on its part, met consumer preference for mobile and thinner devices by specializing on the production of detachable notebooks and commercial tablets (HP, 2015). Moreover, HP's open management system that promotes innovation and teamwork will enable it to adapt to the consumer needs and the market environment.
Open communication channels allow employees to take part in the decisions relating to change. Employees end up feeling valued and take upon themselves to ensure the successful implementation of the change (Daft, 2012). HP’s 2015 split was successful because the management had involved employees in the process. Open communication channels also enable the promotion of employees’ ideas that can end up being better than management’s ones and lead to successful implementation of the change.
The key elements of the “HP Way” management style, such as teamwork, ensure the effective management of the company. Even though Fiorina had changed the management style to one that was job-oriented, HP recovered and returned to the open management style under Whitman. In preparing the company for the split, senior management had promoted organization development measures that ensured a seamless transition. HP's use of both vendors and spokespersons has guaranteed its success. A loyalty card reward system encourages customer loyalty and motivates employees. HP's management style and its innovative ability will enable it to adapt to the changing customer needs and the market environment.
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