Mapping the Political Landscape at Dynacorp, Case Study Example

Introduction

This paper will examine the political lens analysis of Dyna corporations. This will involve conducting an evaluation of stakeholder interests and power. In mapping the stakeholder interests and power, the stakeholders will be identified, and their interests will be evaluated. An assessment of the relationships that exist among stakeholders in the organization will be conducted. This will involve noting the coalitions and places of conflict if any. The stakeholders’ powers will also be evaluated. This will involve examining the type, source, and amount of power. This is because stakeholders normally use their powers to get their interests realized. After this, the ‘buy in’ process at Dynacorp will be examined. The supporters and blockers of the change initiative will also be discussed and the levels of commitment for or against the initiative evaluated. Dynacorp is a global communications and information systems company. Earlier the company dealt with office equipment, however, in the 1980s it established a leading position in the industry and is now known for technological applications. It was the first to market with high quality and innovative products compared to what the competitors were offering (Ancona, 1999).

In the 1990s, the company started facing difficulties. Despite its growth, the company experienced a period of reduced earnings. Critics attributed this to the loss of leadership in providing new products to consumers. The other reason was the high costs of their products, and it was thought that, Dynacorp was slow in realizing some of the changes in the market place resulting to its slow growth.

Stakeholder Interests and Powers

The political lens normally examines an organization based on how power and influence are distributed within the organization. It evaluates how stakeholders express their preferences and how they are involved or excluded from conflict resolution. The political lens provides an arena for conflict or competition among the different stakeholders within the organization (Ancona, 1999).

The political perspective helps in the identification of stakeholders. For instance, stakeholders exhibit two types of interests. They include collective interests or individual interests. Stakeholders normally express individual interests when they act based on their personal interests. Despite these interests being varied and numerous, they are normally reducible to common currency allowing people to compare the utility or relative value of meeting their interests. Collective interests, on the other hand, are interests that are shared by other individuals. These are normally centered on the maintenance of the groups and the welfare (Ancona, 1999).

An evaluation of the internal and external stakeholders in Dynacorp based on the interests reveals that consumers were ranked top among the external stakeholders. From the case, it is evident that most consumers had a strong belief in Dynacorp before its decline. The consumers would wait over long periods to obtain goods that had the Dynacorp logo. The other stakeholders included the top managers who showed interest in the organization by recognizing changes in the competitive environment. When Dynacorp was experiencing slow growth, its top management believed that they had a window of one year or two to address some of the problems that the organization was facing. This shows that the top managers were among the stakeholders who showed interest in the organization’s wellbeing. The managers in the various sectors of the organization can be considered top among the internal stakeholders. This is because they found widespread agreement on the problems that were facing the organization. Despite their variation in opinion, their top most interest was solving the problems that were affecting the organization. For example, the managers in the engineering division recognized that one of the factors that caused a delay in the production of goods, and the high costs of the products lay within the manufacturing sector. This shows that the managers showed interest by attempting to identify what was causing problems within the organization (Staw & Sutton, 2000).

The other categories of stakeholders in the organization were the employees. From the case, it is evident that the employees also showed interest in the organizations wellbeing. This can be illustrated from the engineers who designed the products at Dynacorp. When the managers in the engineering division attempted to identify the problems in the manufacturing sector, they realized that the engineers were interested more in design than the product. This shows that the engineers concentrated on their individual interests. This is because instead of using standard components that would lower the products costs they went for expensive components. This illustrates that they did not concentrate on the impact it would have on the organization (Staw & Sutton, 2000).

An assessment of relationships among stakeholders through existing coalitions and places where their interests are in conflict is also an aspect of an organization’s political lens. An evaluation of the relationships that existed between the employees and the management reveals their interests were in conflict. For example, one of the employees believed that if the managers redesigned Dynacorp, the company would be damaged instead of improving. This shows that their opinions were in conflict. The conflict was because the employees who were the engineers were more interested in the product design. However, the managers concentrated on the cost of the products, and what their competitors were producing. The members of the task force were in conflict about an alternative organization design. The internal investigation conducted in the organization shows that there were criticisms concerning Dynarcorps organizational design. For example, there were complaints from young members of the organization that the layers of managers were too many. Some members of the organization complained that some of the managers who had benefited from the proliferation steps in the career ladder looked back nostalgically on the flat. Conflict between the members and the managers caused information to flow slowly within the organization. The managers also raised complaints that there was a growing tendency to push problems up the hierarchy for solutions. This led to the failure of the organization because the other members did not tackle the problems because of their low rank (Staw & Sutton, 2000).

An assessment of the stakeholders based on the amount, type and source of power reveals that the managers in the various divisions of the organization were the most powerful. This can be seen from the responsibilities they assumed in trying to save the company from collapsing. The managers used their powers to examine the functions of each division within the organization. The employees in Dynacorp were never powerful. This can be illustrated from the engineers who designed some of the products of the company. The engineers concentrated on the design of the products. They did not evaluate the effects that this would have had on the company. Their low rank in the organization made them do things according to their desires. The lack of proper relationships between the young members and the managers caused the employees to do things their own way. The lack of power caused the young members in the organization to push the problems up the hierarchy for resolution (Staw & Sutton, 2000).

The ‘Buy-In’ Process at Dynacorp

The ‘Buy-In’ process is normally considered a political process within the organization. When an organization gets a buy-in, it means that it gets people to support its course of action. This was seen from the surveys that were conducted among leading companies in Information and Communication Technology. This was in an attempt to find solutions to some of the problems the organization was facing. One of the paths that was used by Dynacorp in an attempt to obtain a buy-in was by getting people to support the organization’s initiative. The other ways that the organization used to obtain a buy-in were through the perception of influence and escalation of commitment. The escalation of commitment was evident in the decision making process. People who were connected to the organization, for example, the managers persisted in supporting or carrying out the course of action through the commitment of their resources. This can be seen from the time and attention that the managers set aside in an attempt to address the problems that were affecting the organization. The pervasiveness of the escalation of commitment shows that when stakeholders or supporters commit their resources for an organization’s initiative, they persevere in supporting the organization. The other technique that was employed by Dynarcorp in the buy-in process was the perception of influence. This involved giving the other stakeholders in the organization a chance to give their input and feedback concerning the development of initiatives within the organization (Porter, Angle & Allen, 2003).  From the case, it is shown that as the product range in Dynacorop rose it became difficult for a single person to have real expertise concerning the possible solutions for consumer requirements. This led to the creation of account teams, which had the responsibility of attending to the consumers needs.

Supporters and Blockers of the Change Initiative

The change initiative was adopted in an attempt to search for an alternative design for the organization. This involved holding talks with the organization’s managers who had been hired from other companies within the industry. This would help in obtaining a view of the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. From the five models of change that were identified by the taskforce, the most viable initiative would have been the front/back initiative. Despite this being a new structure, many companies adopted it. The supporters of the initiative were consultants, who were the cutting edge of the organization’s design in the ICT sector. This initiative would help in keeping the marketing division different. This means that the marketing division would be responsible for selling the range of products and systems produced by the company. It would also enhance the capabilities of the technical support. This is because they would ensure the delivery of systems and solutions to consumers is effective (Porter, Angle & Allen, 2003).

Problems with the Current Restructuring

Some of the problems that were anticipated in the restructuring were challenges in implementing the change initiatives. This is because the taskforce showed a wide distribution of views across the change initiatives making it difficult to reach a consensus. This implies that the best way forward for the company could not be identified. The other challenge would be matching the organization’s political strategy based on an understanding of power to the organizational context, and the goals and interests that guide organizational behavior. These challenges could be addressed by using the political lens to ensure effective action in the organization. The first step in addressing the challenges would be to map the interest and powers.  This would involve an understanding of the people in the organization who would be affected by the change initiative. This would involve an examination of the people’s interests in the organization and the amount of power they had to facilitate or block the change initiative. To achieve this, supporters would be identified. These people would help in implementing the proposed action. Identification of the potential stakeholders might also be helpful. Since they are likely to be affected by the initiative, evaluating if the process has a positive or negative impact on them is essential. Identification of the existing coalitions would also help in addressing the challenges that arise (Roche, 2009).

Conclusion

This paper was mainly concerned with an evaluation of the political lens at Dynacorp. The political lens examines an organization as an arena for conflict and competition among groups or individuals in the organization. This is normally because of the differences in their interests and goals. This has been done by examining the aspects of the political landscape that contribute to the failure or success of new structures within an organization. Mapping the stakeholder relationships and interest is an aspect of the political lens that helped in the identification of how stakeholders were affected by different designs in the organization. The buy-in process at Dynacorp was also examined this would help in the determination of the people who would support a given course of action within the organization (Porter, Angle & Allen, 2003).

References

Ancona, D. G. (1999). Managing for the future: Organizational behavior & processes. Cincinnati, Ohio [u.a.: South Western College Publ.

Porter, L. W., Angle, H. L., & Allen, R. W. (2003). Organizational influence processes. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.

Roche, O. P. (2009). Corporate governance and organization life cycle: The changing role and composition of the board of directors. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press.

Staw, B. M., & Sutton, R. I. (2000). Research in organizational behavior: An annual series of analytical essays and critical reviews. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science/JAI.