For the optional performance of an organization, work must be organized and structured in a way that facilitates the achievement of the set goals and objectives. Based on this understanding, an organization structure is a framework the defines how responsibilities and roles are grouped, divided, and coordinated throughout an organization. Every organization has a specific structure that unfolds the roles and duties performed by the organizational members, such that everyone understands his or her roles to their affiliated group in the workplace. From the case study, the organizational structure is depicted as follows.
Aramex is a logistical and mail delivery services company. As an “international express” company, it has set up stations in different countries that operate as independent entities. The station managers are responsible for setting the goals and objectives of their respective depots and delegation of duties and responsibilities to the station staff. On the other hand, it can be deduced that each station is answerable to the head office or headquarters of Aramex.
An organizational culture is a system that depicts how the organization’s members act or behave towards each other because of their common beliefs and shared meanings. In brief, an organizational culture explains the collective behaviors of the employees that determine how they associate with each other when faced with problems, challenges, or targets. From the case study, the organizational culture of Aramex is depicted as follows.
All employees are involved in the problem solving of issues facing Aramex. This suggests that Aramex has a culture of problem-sharing among its employees. In addition, all employees are involved in suggesting areas for improvement in the company’s processes and products. This suggests a culture of innovation and teamwork.
The station or depot managers of Aramex set the goals and targets only after consultation with the station staff. This depicts a culture of collectivism in the decision-making process and working to achieve the set goals and objectives. Additionally, the expansion agenda of Aramex is very ambitious. This indicates an organizational culture of taking on challenging tasks.
Employee engagement is a term that is used to refer to the relationship between the organization and its employees. Following this notion, ‘engaged employees’ are persons who are optimally absorbed by the duties and the roles delegated to them, thus they are enthusiastic and love their work. Consequently, such persons are more likely to take positive actions that may further the interests and reputation of the organizations they work for. In simple terms, employee engagement refers to the extent to which employees have invested their cognitive, physical and emotional synergies towards the goals and objectives set for the organization. About the Aramex Company, employee engagement is depicted in the following scenarios.
Aramex allows a ‘high degree of autonomy’ for its employees. This means that employees have freedom to follow what they believe if right for the organization. This depicts high levels of trust between the employees and the organization. In this case, ‘trust’ suggests that employees are voluntarily engaged in their work.
Employees at Aramex are offered training and development opportunities that avails them an equal chance for ascending the career ladder. Training and development and promotion opportunities act as incentives that promote employee engagement. This is because they create the perception that the organization cares for employees and appreciate their efforts.
Aramex has a visible leadership that plays a key role in promoting employee engagement. For example, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Aramex is known for delivering parcels by himself. This makes him a good role model because of the “if the CEO can do it, why not me” effect. This leads to higher job engagement, especially to employees who may have perceived parcel delivery as a lowly job. Additionally, the line managers embrace the role of coaching their staff in their career development.
An organizational hierarchy refers to the arrangement of the various entities or departments of the organization based on an established chain of command; that is, from the manager at the top of the hierarchy to the most subordinate employees. An organization is referred to as ‘hierarchical’ if all its affiliated entities or departments, except one, are subordinate to another entity. Normally, an organizational hierarchy comprises of a group of people with the greatest power at the top-level of the organization and subsequent levels with diminishing powers and authority. From the case study of Aramex, organizational hierarchy is depicted by the following observations.
Aramex has a flat organizational hierarchy that comprises of the top-level management in the head office, middle level managers overseeing the operations at the various satellite stations located in different countries, and the low-tier employees that include delivery agents and drivers among others. The fact the various satellite stations can make autonomous decisions, headed by the station managers, is an indication of a decentralized organizational hierarchy.
Firm’s Strengths and Weaknesses
The culture of problem solving among all the employees of Aramex is a strength. This is because when the problem is shared among all the employees, it is possible to brainstorm many different solutions that can help alleviate the problem. In relation to this, the flat and the decentralized organizational hierarchy, based on Hofstede’s cultural theory, is an indication of low power distance whereby power in decision-making is distributed almost equally among all employees. This is a strength for Aramex in terms of speedy decision-making and coherence of goals and objectives.
The culture of innovation and teamwork is a strength for Aramex. By allowing the employees to be innovative, it makes Aramex a spiritual organization that does not only focus on achievement of organizational goals and objectives, but also one that helps the employees to reach their full potential. Additionally, per Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, employees are most motivated by the self-actualization needs. Because creativity is a self-actualization need, the organization culture of innovation at Aramex is a strength that motivates its employees. In relation to culture of teamwork, Maslow’s theory indicates belonginess as a third-level need along the hierarchy, which motivates the employees to improve their performance. The culture of teamwork at Aramex is thus an indispensable strength.
Aramex depicted a culture of collectivism in the decision-making process and working to achieve the set goals and objectives. According to the change management theory, consultation with employees is a strength that makes them feel valued. Goals and changes should not be imposed among the employees, which means the sensitive implementation of the goals and consultation with the employees are the key to attaining employee loyalty and engagement to the job. As a result, the culture of collectivism in the decision-making process and goal setting is a strength for Aramex.
Employees at Aramex are offered training, development, and promotional opportunities. According to organizational justice (OJ) theory, promotions based on training, development, and work experience contribute to procedural justice, which leads to the perceived fairness of the procedures used to promote the employees. This is therefore a strength for Aramex that leads to high levels of engagement.
Aramex’s visible leadership, where the CEO is known for delivering parcels by himself, is a clear indication of charismatic leadership in which the leaders are driven by own commitment and convictions in pursuing a specific organizational cause. This is a strength for Aramex because it shows the extent to which the organization is willing to go to dominate the parcel delivery industry. It acts as a reminder of the organizational goals and objectives to the employees, which can boost their engagement to the job.
The organizational culture of taking on challenging tasks in Aramex can be a weakness. This is because employees are rational human beings and they can perceive challenging tasks as an additional workload that is not commensurate to what they earn. Based on the Vroom’s Expectancy Theory, employees are motivated when they believe that set goals can be achieved. Thus, the culture of taking on challenging tasks can be misinterpreted by employees as exploitation, which can lead to demotivation.
Aramex allows a ‘high degree of autonomy’ to all its employees. This can be a weakness because according to the MacGregor’s Theory X, some employees naturally dislike work, avoid responsibility, and must be forced to perform. Such employees cannot be trusted with a high degree of autonomy as in the case of Aramex.
Challenges Faced by Aramex and the Solutions
Staff loyalty is low at Aramex suggesting that they can be easily poached by the competitors. The best solution to deal with this problem is by using different employee motivations based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. The management of Aramex should review the basic motivation of all its employees and determine which tier of needs along the hierarchy it fulfills. This will reveal loopholes in its rewards and motivation strategies that can be sealed to boost loyalty.
There is a high absenteeism rate at Aramex associated with employee sickness. This can be interpreted to be a behavioral symptom of work-related stress normally caused by factors such as monotony, the inadequacy of the workplace, lack of support, and job content and demand among other factors. The best strategy to deal with this challenge is ensuring job rotation, increase incentives, and providing support to the employees. Also, the organization should consider setting achievable and specific goals. According to the Goal-Setting Theory, specific goals that are coupled with support and feedback to the employees leads to higher performance and thus low chances for absenteeism.
While a portion of employees at Aramex never participates in group meetings, on the other hand, some do not participate in social events. These two instances suggest a challenge in collaboration and hence lack of cohesion among the various teams in the workplace. Thus, the root solution to this problem is by healing or troubleshooting the issues of teamwork. In relation to the five-stage group development, it appears that the challenge lies in team performance, which can affect the adjourning stage or the accomplishment of the intended purpose of the meetings and social events. The solution to this problem is by enhancing the effectiveness of the team by availing the right context, whereby the meetings and social events are organized at the most convenient time for everyone to participate. The size of the teams should also be reviewed, because the larger the team the more likely that some employees will fail to participate and go unnoticed. Oslo focusing on members’ preferences and attitudes can help. For instance, some people naturally dislike social events.