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Zain is a Kuwait based international telecommunications company that was established in 1983. The company was formerly known as MTC and started off as Kuwait’s national telecoms company (Business.com, 2012, p. 1). The company has gone global and currently runs business in 22 countries across different continents with most of its recent acquisitions being in Africa, where it has ventured into markets such as Nigeria and Kenya. The company is still targeting to make new acquisitions and is thus highly likely to expand further beyond its Kuwaiti home. The company’s venture in to the developing world and other less developed regions presents a number of challenges such as access to power. An estimated 1.6 billion people lack electricity access across the globe and most of these people reside in emerging markets. As such, mobile network operators such as Zain have to seek means of generating their own power, which is very challenging considering that most of these regions are of the grid. In order to reach this population mobile operators such as Zain have to mainly rely on diesel generators to provide power to their base stations. These diesel powered towers are indeed a challenge because they are not environmentally friendly in this era of increasing global warming. Global warming is part of the serious environmental challenges that the world faces in this period of increasing climate changes. According to the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate” (IPCC), there is a need to half greenhouse gas emissions before we reach the middle of the century in order to avoid extreme climatic changes that may be detrimental. The communication industry is becoming one of the contributors to greater global consumption of fossil fuel energy either as basic base station powering energy or back up energy for backup generators used when the main grid lines are down. This is growing in significance as data centers and mobile communication increases across the globe. As a player in the industry Zain is also a contributor to the challenge of global warming and base station power provision for off-grid base stations and backup purposes. As such, it also needs to seek appropriate changes to this status quo so as to bring about a positive effect on the environment and nobly play its corporate social responsibility role. The deployment of environmentally friendly telecommunication base stations has been proposed and put into practice in some places as the most probable solution to the problem. These are supposed to save the world from adverse climatic effects that result from the greenhouse gas emissions, and could also provide power to the overall community. In order to achieve the goal organizational changes are necessary. Specifically, technological changes are the necessary organizational change in this case.
Organizational change denotes the transitioning or shifting of an organization from its previous modes of operation into new modes of operation, which may restructure the organization’s structure, technological approaches and many other operations within the organization (Beerel, 2009 p. 71). Change is inevitable and at times a necessity due to the great dynamism that is currently witnessed within the corporate world. For example the introduction of computers at the workplace has led to automation of most activities such as the sending of memos via e-mail and it has almost made the typewriter an obsolete item. The computerization of the workplace has greatly transformed the workplace. Organizations are ever seeking new ways of doing things for various reasons such as to be at par with competitors, to respond to environmental changes, to conform to legal and safety requirements and many other reasons (Sebestyen, Bela, & Katalin, 2011, p. 258). Changes are many at times initiated in a top-down format where the top management of the organization initiates changes and passes them down the organization structure for implementation. However, this is not always the norm because at times changes may be initiated by employees and other stakeholders at the bottom of the organizational structure and passed on up the structure for implementation and reviews (Claire & Banks, 2010, p. 245).
All organizations should change so as to remain relevant and be able to survive in the current world, which is very competitive (Anonymous, 2010, p. 4). The constant rapid communication changes, scientific progress and changes in managerial approaches have led to significant changes, which call for transformation of the workplace. As organizations seek to lead in the marketplace it is always recommended that they should think about where changes are necessary and when to appropriately make them. As a matter of fact organizations have to always as these questions: How do we know what changes are necessary? How do we know when the needed changes should be implemented? How does the organization know that the changes to be introduced will be desirable and able to bring about positive results when compared to older methods of approach? The process of making changes occurs when the management considers these questions and puts in place a plan to handle the process of change through change management strategies and models. The case of Zain and the necessary changes highlighted above may be handled through various types of models or theories of management. The wide array of theories mainly classified according to how they handle the change process may be at times confusing. But in order to determine the appropriate model and theory to pursue the management should consider the type of change necessary. For example, a technological change may require a different model and theory of approach when compared to a change process requiring structural changes. In this case the best possible approach may be the application of an organizational development approach in which Kotter’s eight step model is recommended as the best approach towards dealing with the need of changes that will allow the development of better environmental sustainability (Kangyong & Andrew, 2011, p. 61).
Organizational change sustainability
Organizational development denotes a deliberate effort, which is planned to develop and increase the viability and relevance of an organization. Organizational development provides a framework for the change process, which is required to develop a positive impact for the environment and all stakeholders. In essence organizational development refers to future readiness to handle changes from disruptive technologies, which in this case greatly contribute to greenhouse gases and greenhouse effect that contributes to global warming. When contemplating change there is an air of uncertainty, which at times characterizes the turning point and this is common for all forms of changes whether minor or great. The uneasiness and intimidation is common and it is for this reason that most change management processes adapt a structural approach to effecting change by using already designed models to approach the process. This is necessary because most people know that changes need to happen, but they are unaware of how to go about the change management process because they do not know what to change, whom to involve and how to see it through to the end (Beerel, 2009 p. 62).
Kotter’s 8 step change process
The Kotter’s 8 step change process may best suit the Zain situation due to its long tested applicability to most situations. This change approach model is a sequential step-by-step approach that defines how change can be effected in an organization.
Step One: The first step according to this change management model is the creation of urgency. This initial step is aimed developing acceptability of the change process (Mind Tools 2012, p. 1). If change is to happen, people need to convince to buy into it so as to ensure the whole company is ready for it. In order to achieve this, a sense of urgency has to be created around the need for the specific change. This entails convincing the stakeholders that the change is possible, beneficial and necessary. This step grants motivation for company and relevant groups to start their movement towards the change initiation. This may be approached by showing the stakeholders the effects of global warming and climatic change by quoting disasters and showing statistics on irregular precipitation pattern and droughts, which were not common prior to the development of the phenomenon. Honest and convincing dialogues about the climatic situation and the steps undertaken by competitors that have implemented better approaches to clean energy can help create a sense of urgency and make the people talk about the process. The development of clear future scenarios that may emerge can be very essential in depicting to people what is necessary. According to Kotter in order for change to attain success, at least 75% of the stakeholders need to buy into the idea (McCalman, Paton, & Robert, 2008, p. 207).
Step Two: The second step in effecting this change shall require the formation of a strong coalition among the stakeholders so as to achieve the necessary momentum to start the change process (Mind Tools 2012, p. 1). The management of change may not suffice, and it may become necessary offer not only management, but strong leadership (Hisham et al 2011, p. 226). This requires strong commitment and offering of visible support on the leadership front. This step should entail bringing together a coalition of influential people that can become strong change leaders and thus give the process power of support. These people should be powerful people with power from a variety of sources such as status, expertise, job status or political influence. The created coalition needs to work as a strong team, which will continue contributing to the creation of momentum and urgency (Hughes, 2006, p. 83; Zagreb & Aljaz, 2011, p. 60). This process should entail identifying true leaders within the organization and seeking their emotional commitment to the course.
Step Three: The third step includes making a clear vision from all the floating ideas that are always present at the start of the development of the change ideas. At the start of the solution development problem there are usually many solutions and ideas that float around the problem and the necessary thing is to link these concepts and create an overall mission. The clarity of the vision helps the stakeholders to understand why you are asking them to be part of the plan. This process should entail determining the values which are of core importance to the change process. Finally create awareness on the coalition about the vision and its importance (Mind Tools 2012, p. 1).
Step Four: Communication of the vision is the fourth step and which is very important in determining whether the message reaches the people or not. Prior to accepting the vision, there is a need for the people to experience sufficient two-way communication where they can listen and air their ideas (Mind Tools 2012, p. 1). Therefore, the creation of the vision is not sufficient rather it is the communication that makes it useful if it is able to reach all people. The process simply entails making regular and sufficient communication. In this step the vision should be communicated not only in convened meetings, but also in all possible forums that may be available. Keeping constant communication will ensure the idea is fresh in people’s minds (Lies, 2012, p. 67). In this process it is also essential to walk the talk and show commitment towards the vision because this will be strong in convincing others to support the course. This should also entail listening to concerns aired by others on the same.
Step Five: The fifth step entails assessing the structures of change in place to determine whether they are change process can take off. This includes checking whether the supporting structures are in place and it also involves identifying potential sources of resistance to change. This is essential because after all the communication, people may be ready to engage in real action and this should be provided for in this step (Mind Tools 2012, p. 1). People resisting change should be identified in this step and the reasons for resistance sought. There should be constant checking for any barriers that may affect the process. The process should also involve the removal of barriers as much as possible so as to allow the coalition to smoothly pursue the course. At this point it may be necessary to hire change management experts whose main roles will be to deliver change. The rewarding of change champions should be done at this point alongside the sensitization of those resisting so that change can be allowed to take place (Green & Cameron, 2009, p. 149).
Step Six: The sixth step is more of a morale creation step in which the change managers use the attained short-term goals to show success and draw more support. The attained short-term successes can help a great deal in creating motivation. Therefore, the plan should be organized into both short-term and long-term goals, which can be used to reach success. The presentation of this success as the plan progresses is necessary to create motivation and keep off sceptics that may hurt the process (Mind Tools 2012, p. 1).
Step Seven: According to Kotter real changes run deep and in many cases victory in change bids is declared too early and thus leading to failure of efforts in maintaining sustainability of the change process (Mind Tools 2012, p. 1). The short-term quick wins only indicate what should be kept constant. This process should entail analyzing what goes right at any improvement and success point and learn how to replicate the success through the use Kaizen’s idea of continuous improvement (Sacui & Prediscan, 2011, p. 680; Sharma, 2006, p. 139).
Step eight: Finally to ensure that the changes stay permanently within the organization there is a need to create the change culture. Change should be part of the organization and it should be a continuously displayed thing. The change process should thus be incorporated into the day-to-day running of the organization (Mind Tools 2012, p. 1). This process requires continual support and commitment from the leadership so as to ensure change is sustained otherwise it may be simple and easy to go back to where the organization started Cliff, O. (Bernard & Todnem, 2011, p. 4). Therefore, change ideals and values should be cultured within the workforce.
Changes implementations and potential outcomes
In this particular case Zain’s big challenge is to mitigate the negative effects of burning fossil fuel to power its base stations in areas that are off the grid. A part from using fossil fuel for generators in base stations which are off the grid. The company also uses fossil fuel for its backup generators whenever there is no power. The backup case gets worse when the main grid fails for longer-a case that is common in developing markets such as Africa. For example, in 2008 Zain complained of running too many backup generators on fuel so as to backup the failing grid system. This is significant considering that the nation had approximately 3600 base stations by that year. Emissions of greenhouse gases from the base-stations that are off the grid as well as base stations running on the backup mode lead to significantly high emissions that could possibly cause significant effect on the climate through the global warming effect. According to the report by Zain Nigeria in 2008, the company spent 450 litres of fuel each second in a bid to keep its base stations running in cases of lack of power (Cellularnews.com 2008, p.1).
The outright solution in this case is to seek alternative sources of power that are less ddetrimental to the environment, and which reduce the amount of emissions that occur from burning fossil fuel. Currently, there is already an initiative in the market to reduce fossil fuel consumption by replacing generator powered based stations with solar powered base stations that have been significantly modified technologically so as to avoid the usage of fossil fuel, whilst offering a clean source of energy that is recyclable and safe for the environment. A number of companies have already shown their commitment to this course. This is exemplified by the Qtel group of companies which has already expressed interest in adopting clean energy provision for its base stations so as to overcome the global warming challenges. The Qtel group of companies consists mainly of companies from the Middle East such as Zain, Milicom, Telesol and Vodafone. The group is also joined by other technological leaders such as ictQATAR, Ameresco Solar, Eletek and General electric (Qatar is Booming 2012, p. 1). These organizations have offered an example of the possibility to use green power to power mobile operations. The problem in this industry has not only been the source of power, but rather a combination of power and poor telecommunication technological equipments, which consume a lot of energy. Traditional equipment in the telecom industry was not designed to be power-saving and versatile so as to fit rural use, especially in remote regions. The major challenge posed by these base stations is that most of them were no designed for the remote areas, which they are currently positioned. Their costs of deployment and maintenance are high. In essence if the market managed to produce base stations that consume less energy and use cleaner fuel the problem would be partly solved. This possibility has been made true by organizations such as VNL which has been able to design and re-engineer GSM to retain relevance. The organization has designed various GSM systems that are desirable for use in the remote areas that are off the grid. Examples of branded systems offered by VNL include Zero Opex, Solar powered, Rural-optimized and transport as well as Low Apex systems (Vihaan Network Limited, 2010, p. 1). These new systems that are mainly solar powered have been deployed in various areas round the globe, where they have greatly contributed to an increase in network coverage.
The emergent fact in this case is that rolling out coverage on the traditional networks is a little costly and dangerous for the environment. This fact compromises the company’s image and standing in society. Additionally, it causes a deleterious effect on corporate social responsibility (CSR) undertakings. In order to overcome these challenges of unclean energy and high costs. The company has the option of setting up solar-powered base stations that are more efficient in energy consumption and less detrimental to the environment. However, this cannot run smoothly or occur as a simple issue mainly because there are costs involved. The roll out of such base stations and even the possible replacement of generator powered ones implies the possibility of incurring more costs. The mention of high costs is never welcome by most stakeholders because it implies a possibility of reduced revenue levels, reduced wages and salaries and many other uncertainties because it directly impacts on the profitability of the company (Henry, 2012, p. 31). Additionally, there is a possibility that such changes may result in high costs that may be directly transferred to the consumer in form of high prices. Therefore, the changes may come up with positive results with regard to environmental preservation and avoidance of greenhouse effect, which cause global warming. The bigger challenge in this case is thus to make the organization and al its stakeholders to understand that the course about to be taken is nobler and comparatively valuable when viewed alongside the revenue based returns or low call rates. After all it is more important to preserve the environment, which is the human source of life rather than have lower tariff rates on telecommunication services, whilst risking humanity’s existence. The challenge in this case is to make individuals within and without the organization to come to an understanding that environmental preservation is noble and it should be undertaken at all costs for the sake of humanity. Therefore, the changes are expected to cause effects that may alter the life of most stakeholders and their beneficial relationships with the organization, and as such resistance is expected. Adherence to the earlier highlighted model may help solve this challenge because it offers room for handling dissent that may possibly arise.
Sustainability of change
The introduction of green energy sources in the powering of Zain’s operations may not augur well with all stakeholders and as mentioned earlier challenges may arise on the implementation. This may come out as outright resistance or underground opposition to the plan, whichever the case that will not be very good for the changes anticipated. Firstly, the introduction of new technology in form of new base stations such as those produced by VNL implies that extra costs have to be incurred both in their acquisition as well as installation and maintenance (Vihaan Network Limited, 2010, p. 1). The older base stations will obviously be written off, but they will still be bearing a substantial amount of cost that will not be easily recoverable. The implication is that in the short-term there will be a loss of revenue resulting from the high costs of acquiring new equipment and the installation. Additionally, service rates may go higher for consumers if the costs of such a transformation are passed down on to them. The reduction of revenues may also result in a reduction of wages and salaries for the employees in the initial stages of implementation before costs can be fully recovered. As such, resistance is expected from various quarters and there is a need to develop means to overcome it. Therefore, the first obstacle or rather resistance to the course is expected to be the stakeholders that may feel that they are getting into a losing scenario. The employees and consumers are especially vulnerable to the negative impacts that may result and they are highly likely to be opposed to the plan despite its positive environmental impact. Additionally, even if the stakeholders agree to the changes, there will be a substantial amount of investment required in order to make the whole change possible. This is also likely to be challenging in case the funds to roll out such a program may not be sufficient.
In order to overcome these challenges, there will be a need to thoroughly educate the all the stakeholders on the essence of green energy. Firstly, there will be a need to show the essence of green energy adoption in the current global warming period. Secondly, there will be a need to teach stakeholders about the essence of corporate social responsibility and the maintenance of a good company image for posterity’s sake (Raineri, 2011, p. 267). Finally, there will be a need to bring all stakeholders to the realization that a large number of competitors are already going green in terms of energy. The competitors are likely to have a higher rating on CSR and better acceptance among the consumers and investors. Currently, most consumers are becoming environment conscious and they want to see positive changes within and without the industry with regard to green energy use and environmental care. As such, most consumers are opting to buy from companies that demonstrate some form of environmental consciousness. This means that if the organization fails to embrace a course that is environmentally friendly it may lose part of its clientele, especially for those that are conscious about environmental matters.
Recommendations and conclusion
Change is inevitable and a lasting thing and all organizations have to change in order to remain relevant and bring value to the organization so as to enable it to thrive in the current dynamic and competitive world. Zain has been successful as a telecommunication company not only in the middle East, but in many other places globally and as such it has to live up to international standards of operation in the telecommunications industry. The industry’s current concern is the mitigation of negative effects of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emission from the burning of fossil fuels to support off grid base stations and provide backup generator energy. This requires the introduction of green sources of energy such as solar energy in order to fulfill the needs and maintain the positive environment necessary. This has already successfully initiated by Alcatel and should serve as an example of maintaining company image and competitiveness (Alcatel Lucent. 2008, p. 1). The changes in energy sources may not be simple because it affects stakeholders with vested interests. The change may cause revenue and wage declines and as such it may not be very welcome among many. However, the organization needs to create enough sensitization on the stakeholders to show them the relevance of the changes not only to the improvement of the. Environment, but also to the CSR and future performance of the organization/.
Change denotes structural, technological, operational and many other changes to the day-to-day running of an organization. The process is necessary for organizations that need to survive in a competitive environment and remain relevant in the corporate world. Zain is a telecommunication company that has been in operation for long in the Middle East and many other destinations, especially in Africa. The company faces challenges on green energy use because it currently uses fossil fuel that is detrimental to the environment due to greenhouse gas emissions. The positive change for the organization is to adopt new technologies of providing green energy with little to no greenhouse gas emissions. The relevant technologies are already applicable in other similar companies and thus making it even more necessary so as to live up to the standards of the competitors within the market that have already shown great improvement in terms of corporate social responsibility and their care for the environment. VDL has come up with affordable, easy to install base stations that are solar powered and these could be appropriate instead of using generator powered base stations (Vihaan Network Limited, 2010, p. 1). The idea is noble and may prove to be cost effective in the long run because the use of fuel to power generators may not be as efficient in terms of cost when compared to solar energy. This is a good proposal, but it is also likely to get resistance from various stakeholders due to the fact that it may have some short-term effects, which may not be desirable. These may include high costs of purchase and installation of the new equipment, which may raise overall costs and in turn lower returns for the shareholders and probably have a negative effect on wages and salaries. However, all this is expected to go away in the long run because the changes will also definitely bring about some cost saving and finally save the environment from destruction. Therefore, the greater challenge is to make the stakeholders realize the essence of the changes and their necessity. For further overall improvement and care of the environment Zain should also contemplate expanding its phone recycling initiative with Nokia to other destinations where it has established in terms of development because this can also count towards its CSR plans for a better environment (Albawaba Business, 2012).