Mental models are how the mind stores memories and ideas relating to reality. These include opinions, attitudes, prejudices, and approaches to different objects, events, and situations. The manner in which one’s mental models work can limit one’s ability to succeed or improve his or her environment. Sometimes managers’ mental models limit a business because they choose to ignore certain factors. Sometimes people only see what they desire to perceive or deliberately ignore pertinent data (Crook & Wind, 2006). For large, vast, and fast-paced companies like Verizon Wireless, mental models and mindsets, especially in management, do more than shape the company culture; they drive the company to success or failure. The company’s rapid growth and enormous shares of the wireless communications market are evidence of beneficial mental models and positive mindsets, but there are a few weaknesses. Mental Models that Enable Verizon Wireless’ Decision Making Process Verizon Wireless employs several strategies survive and maintain a competitive advantage over its competitors. One of the company’s most influential mental models is that scrutinizing data to gain insights into the most potentially successful business models is key to thriving in a competitive market. Verizon Wireless collects information about various wireless providers, individual clients, and client businesses to glean important insights. This mental model helps the company envision many important improvements, like programs to help grow small businesses into corporate enterprises and where to put the next set of communication towers (Verizon Wireless, 2013). This mental model helps Verizon Wireless to attract customers and maintain its client base (Bouncken & Sungspoo, 2002). Mental models are important in the understanding of various aspects of topics. Verizon wireless uses mental models to strategize and process, hence their success in business. Verizon Wireless’ Mental Model of Employment
One of the strategies that Verizon Wireless uses is a mental model of attractive employment conditions in the company, as a key to success. The belief is that happy employees help keep customers happy (Dean, 2013). For instance, the company provides support for working mothers and supports them in their endeavors to advance their careers, with offerings like tuition assistance. The mental model emphasizes positive inter-office interrelations, thus building trust within the workplace. Verizon Wireless is listed as one of the best companies for workers to seek employment because of this strong model of positive interrelations with its employees, flexible working schedules, and incentives for employees to further their careers (“Working Mothers names Verizon Wireless among 100 best firms,” 2008). By appreciating and encouraging individual interests within the company, Verizon Wireless builds a collective mental model of every worker’s success is a company achievement and, vice-versa, the company’s success contributes to the success of every individual (Computerworld, 2011). Mental Models Adopted From Mergers
Verizon wireless is regularly involved in mergers with other companies within the communications industry. The mental model that drives this desire to purchase other successful enterprises is a vision of a company that grows ever-stronger by combining the best characteristics of each company into a better Verizon Wireless. In fact, the company started from the merger of two former Bell spin-offs, Bell Atlantic and GTE, along with a British company, Vodafone, deciding to merge Vodafone Wireless and GTE Wireless into a separate entity. The profitability and market leverage provided through the merger made Verizon Wireless a formidable contender, from its very beginning (Verizon Communications, 2013). Later, the company merged with Alltel Wireless to form the nation’s largest and strongest wireless communications provider (Verizon Wireless, 2009). Future mergers with established companies in foreign markets are likely to replicate the company’s successful “bigger is better” philosophy (FierceBroadbandWireless, 2012). The role of mental models is to aid in reasoning and problem solving, within the organization. Mental models provide imagery that aids in constructing and interpreting of issues (Rickheit, 1999). Mental models are how people’s minds represent reality and guide people’s decision-making processes, along with logical
reasoning. The ideals and vision that Verizon Wireless embraces, in terms of latest technology as well merging with others, shapes strategy formulation and implementation. Mental Models that Disable Verizon Wireless’ Decision Making Process Every wireless phone company provides mental models and mindsets that disable the organization’s decision-making progress. One common mindset that hinders wireless providers and angers customers is the notion that a company must put attracting new customers before keeping current subscribers happy. Negative side effects of this mindset include reductions in renewal perks and adding charges without prior notification, as well as the addition of a $30 upgrade fee for each time the client switches to a new device. Already disgruntled customers are further enraged, when they call the customer service lines and discover the company’s unwillingness to compromise over fees and price hikes. Such a negative mindset encourages customers to look elsewhere for service; and, those whom terminate their business with Verizon Wireless are customers that the company must replace by enticing a new client with benefits and discounts. Furthermore, angry customers are not shy to tell their friends and acquaintances about their terrible experiences with Verizon Wireless, thus scaring off potential customers (Delsoft, 2012). Based upon revenues, Verizon Wireless is the most profitable wireless communications carrier in the United States, and poised to be the most profitable in the world. The company provides high-quality service and works endlessly to expand and improve upon its infrastructure. The model is very successful and creates the mindset that an ever-improving network is the only way to succeed. The limitation this mental model poses is that the company does not use the advantages of economies of scale to pass savings onto customers. Most customers would be happier to know that their bills were reduced than to know that their phones will receive full 3G service on nearly every square foot of the North American continent. Five Forces Influencing Mental Models at Verizon Wireless
Similar to other wireless companies, Verizon has five forces to conduct success against its competitors. The five forces illustrate a representation of the five powers to rise in a low economic environment. These forces, also known as Michael Porter’s Five Forces Analysis, consist
of buyer power, supplier power, threat of substitute product and services, threats of new entrants, and finally, rivalry of existing competitors such as T-Mobile, AT&T, etc. Following Michael Porter’s analysis may give the company big accomplishment, there is also other forces that impose limitations to the decision-making process. Imposed forces obligate a company to switch gages from success to immediate failure, such as the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) services. A CRM service is a strategy that reduces any negative interactions that the customers pertain. Exploiting is a major discomfort for Verizon Wireless. Verizon Wireless does not like to bring undependable service upon its customers. One of the five forces that impose limitation to administrative decision process is threats of entrants. Threats of new entrants become an imposition because it conveys hard places to expand access of new entrants, creating threat of competition of which wireless company is higher quality. Creative Intelligence at Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless has become the leading cellular provider by creating a leadership team that allows integration within the company’s decision making process. Verizon Wireless recognizes that not all good ideas will be created within the company or marketed successfully internally. In the business community, network- related issues such as call quality and performance reliability, particularly among small and midsize companies, are important elements that impact the daily decision-making process. Verizon Wireless adapted a strategy known as crowd sourcing. Crowd sourcing became the decision making process for everything from product development to engaging customers in marketing decisions. As crowd sourcing succeeds and grows in popularity, innovators and businesses are taking more provocative and bold steps to drive innovation. The company’s most creative development for decisions is its open innovation strategy. According to Nine Sigma (2013), open Innovation, also known as external or networked innovation, is focused on uncovering new ideas, reducing risk, increasing speed and leveraging scarce resources. With a better understanding of collaboration, a company is able to lower risk by combining external capabilities with internal innovation resources. Verizon Wireless created a program to collaborate with entrepreneurs and established companies. Through open innovation, Verizon
Wireless will be able to form partnerships and generate the creative ideas that will keep them competitive in the future.
Mental models manipulate the mind to have imagery on several issues. Knowledge is crucial in creating a mental model in a business. When the mental model is one that promotes interrelations such as new ideas through support of advancement and education, new ideas then emerge that enable a company such as Verizon wireless to thrive. The management implements the ideas as the new ideas of the mental picture resonates with their personal goal. Thus, the importance of mental models in Verizon wireless decision making processes as it facilitates fast reasoning towards shared goals.
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