Defining the Problem Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Global Communications

For many companies, how they should survive in a changing market is very important to them and often results in many difficult decisions being made. These decisions can include whether to lay off employees, outsourcing some work to other countries, pay and benefit cuts, and many other concerns. Since this is the case, companies such as Global Communications have very serious issues that must be resolved in the best interest of the future of the company while still ensuring that the employees and others that have some stake in the company are treated fairly and in the best way possible. In order to understand some of the problems that Global Communications is facing, it is important to understand the issues of globalization and outsourcing, which is the act of sending work to other countries because of less expensive labor costs in those countries. There will be three main topics that will be addressed in the paper. These include outsourcing and globalization and their effects on a company, leadership concerns when it comes to IT, and the problems that are faced between companies and unions when they have difficulties in resolving issues based on contracts and other concerns.

Many of the new technologies that are created and implemented today are often promoted by the suppliers and are only through channels that actually reach fellow technologists such as managers that specifically deal with management information systems (Connolly, 2004). This does not help those that are designed to lead organizations do their job effectively. These individuals learn about the new technology but quite often they do not know about the problems and challenges that are faced by middle management and other end users, such as front-desk employees (Connolly, 2004). Not only are they not aware of the challenges and problems that are being faced and should be handled but they do not know how to present the various capabilities of these new technological products to the individuals that will be using them (Connolly, 2004). The role of the leader should be much more than what it is in many companies, and therefore it is important to look at the problems that leaders face when it comes to information technology. Most of these problems come about from what was mentioned above -- individuals that are too technology-minded and do not take the time to explain things to leaders and others that might not understand some of the technical terminology, but would certainly understand what is needed and what they should have. A system can then be designed around that, but many individuals that work with and understand technology do not look at this type of issue.

Leadership, however, is not the only issue. The outsourcing of many companies to other countries is also one of the main problems for many companies that feel that they need to expand and need cheaper labor to do so. The plight of the American worker is something that has been lamented throughout history for various reasons. Some of these reasons were really more significant than others, and some of the reasons were simply complaints that the workers felt that they could get away with. However, outsourcing is somewhat different than just a workers' complaint. The reason behind this is that outsourcing affects so many different people for various reasons. From the poorly-skilled immigrant that is desperate for a job to the corporate executive that loses his job because there is no longer anyone for him to supervise, outsourcing can affect almost everyone.

Those that use outsourcing companies do not have to pay these temporary individuals the same type of salaries that they would pay to keep their full-time workers, nor do they have to pay them any type of benefits. Many people are concerned that outsourcing might cost them their jobs that others wonder if outsourcing is simply a trend that is passing through. Many business owners are also asking themselves whether outsourcing actually works and whether the company that they own should offer services that are outsourced or contract out some of their departments for outsourcing. This is especially true of many companies when it comes to the aforementioned information technology (Clark, 2004). Individuals that work in the telecom services dealing with information technology, call centers, and other similar issues are becoming more interested in outsourcing, or what is sometimes known as offshoring (Clark, 2004). Those that work as agents in call centers and those that work as engineers in information technology are becoming very concerned about this issue as well because many of the jobs that they hold or want to hold in the future are being sent to other countries (Clark, 2004). The issue came up recently in the last presidential election debate because the idea of keeping jobs here is very important to the American public but there are also good reasons to outsource specific jobs. Most people believe that outsourcing is a relatively new concept but this is simply not the case. Starting as far back as the 1950s the United States contracted many manufacturing programs with various Asian countries (Clark, 2004). The outsourcing area that is often called offshore has generally become synonymous with the idea of losing many American jobs to India (Clark, 2004). A survey that was recently taken by a human resources consulting firm found that information technology is the largest area for outsourcing. Over 67% of the companies that outsource utilize this for information technology, 49% of them utilize outsourcing for customer relations, 41% of them for the processes in the supply chain, and 42% of them for manufacturing (Clark, 2004). The survey, which looked at 500 corporations, found that approximately 45% were utilizing some type of outsourcing model that dealt with a global level or they planned to introduce this type of sourcing model within the next three years (Clark, 2004).

There are risks to human capital that also come along with outsourcing jobs. Typically, saving money in a business by outsourcing jobs generally means that American employees must be laid off. As this trend continues and grows stronger labor unions and other employee groups are paying much more attention to what type of relationship is seen between unemployment and outsourcing (Pagach, 2004). There are many cases of employee groups becoming much more vocal on the issue and taking the concerns that they have to federal and state politicians hoping to encourage initiatives in the Legislature that would stop or reduce the outsourcing arrangements that can be made with companies offshore (Pagach, 2004).

Naturally, there is also an information technology risk, once again because there is a great deal of expense that often takes place with the infrastructure and because the use of information technology makes keeping the secret and confidential items confidential somewhat more difficult (Pagach, 2004). The specifications for much of the technology that is needed may be very strict and some developing countries might not have everything they need in order to ensure that the technology that they are using is up-to-date enough to handle what they will be doing for a particular company (Pagach, 2004).

Even though there are many concerns, however, there are also opportunities that can be seen from these issues. In regards to outsourcing, many other countries (in this case Ireland and India) can do certain activities or create certain goods less expensively than the United States can. Because of this, sending some work to these countries can help the profitability of the company that does so, and can also help that same company hire other workers that have more technical jobs and higher salaries. Some of these individuals can be hired from the money that is saved when the company outsources other jobs. For leadership, there are many ways that individuals can better themselves as leaders, and dealing with outsourcing and other IT issues can help leaders grow and change. This can be very significant, not only for the leaders, but for those that follow them and look up to them. Problems with labor unions are also significant, as they can also be very difficult and cause many problems. For those that must work with labor unions, there are opportunities to renegotiate issues and problems, and to come to a better understanding of what each party to the transaction actually needs from the other party, which is sometimes difficult to understand.

The opportunities that are presented by the challenges that are faced by Global Communications are very significant, but in addition to these opportunities, one must also be aware of the stakeholders that are involved. Not only do the leaders of the company have a stake in what is happening with the company and where it is going in the future, but the workers in that company also have a stake in what is going on and what will happen later. Those that work with the company from other companies that exchange goods and services are also stakeholders, because what one company does might affect…

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