This paper gives an overview of the organizational behavior (Organizational Structure, Culture, and Leadership) at Accenture– the last organization I worked with. Accenture is an international management consulting, technology services and outsourcing organization, with approximately 0.25 million people and clients in more than 120 countries. It has generated net revenue of US$ 27.9 billion for last fiscal year i.e. 31 st August 2012. (Accenture,2012)
2. Organizational Structure
2.1 Accenture’s Structure – At A Glance
Organization’s structure divides the organizational activities and co-ordinates them to achieve the aim of the organization. Accenture is organized into various partially overlapping industry areas that allow the clients to choose from a variety of integrated consulting services. It upholds four global operations workforces: 1. Consulting 2. Servicing 3. Solutions 4. Enterprise Table 2.1 highlights five operating groups and their respective 19 industry groups within the organization. (Accenture Facts,2012) Financial services Banking Capital Market Insurance Health & Public Services Health Public Services Communications , Media & Technology Communication Electronics & High Tech Media & Entertainment Product Automotive Air, Freights & Travel Services Consumer Goods & Services Industrial Equipment Infrastructure & Transportation Resources Chemical Energy Natural Resources Utilities
The figure below displays the organizational chart of Accenture and explains how different sub-units interact with each other.
Exam Number: B031449
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Figure 2.1 Accenture’s Organizational structure (Source: Official board, 2012)
2.2 Analyzing the Structure of Accenture
Buchanan and Huczynski (2010) defined seven key elements of organizational structure and in this section, we will see how they relate to Accenture as an organization. It can be easily inferred from the organizational structure (Figure 2.1) and Work group division (Table 2.1) that Accenture is a large complex organization that requires its employees to be highly specialized in the tasks allocated to them to ensure that quality work is delivered. In order to make sure that all the employees are highly skilled with respect to their tasks, an intense induction takes place in the beginning of their journey in the organization. Accenture follows a tall organizational hierarchy structure due to its diverse workforce and workgroups where Span –of –Control for a Manager depends on the size of the project. Within the solutions workforce, in a single project, following hierarchy exists:
Figure 2.2 Hierarchies in a project For example, Span of Control for the project in which I worked was a 96: Designation Programmers (10) Senior Programmers (8) Analyst Programmer (6) Team Lead (4) Manager Span of Control One Team lead , supervises 24 resources One Manager supervises 4 team-leads. So total Span of Control = 96
The tasks in each project in the Solutions workforce are departmentalized into different submodules i.e. Analysis, Design & Build, and Testing. Department of Analysis is responsible for creating business artifacts that detail out client’s requirement and proposed solution to achieve it. These artifacts are then passed to the Design & Build Team who create the high-level design documents and develops the products which client has asked for. Once the product is delivered, it is then passed on to the testing team to ensure that the final product is as per the business artifacts and there are no issues encountered. Accenture is highly formalized organization, where each project while working on a client’s requirement has to adhere to the policies, procedures and norms set by Accenture as well as the clients. This is one of the key approaches to gain the client’s trust. Since project managers have the authority to take decision related to their respective projects, we can call Accenture as highly centralized organization.
3. Organizational Culture
Culture is embedded and reflected in every aspect of an organization. As stated by Ravasi, D., Schultz, M. (2006), organizational culture is a lay down of shared intellectual assumptions, which guide understanding and action in an organization by defining suitable behavior for diverse situations. Figure 3.1 is a three-layer model for organizational culture developed by Edgar Schein (2004).
Figure 3.1: Schein’s three levels of culture – Source (Bohine, Markham, 2003) Insight on Accenture’s Culture 1. Schein’s three levels of Culture a) The first level i.e. Observable level is the most visible layer. Table 3.1 highlights few of the Surface manifestation of culture at Accenture Manifestation Ceremonials Course Norms Slogan Symbol Accenture Fun Fridays, sporting events, monthly birthday celebrations, quarterly awards Greenfield training for the new employees where the number of days varies from 1 week to 6 weeks depending on the employees Code of Business conduct led by multiple policies High Performance Delivered
Accenture has six core values (Accenture Core Values) – Stewardship: Fulfilling our obligation of building a better, stronger and more durable company for future generations, protecting the Accenture brand, meeting our commitments to stakeholders, acting with an owner mentality, developing our people and helping improve communities and the global environment Best People: Attracting, developing and retaining the best talent for our business, challenging our people, demonstrating a “can-do” attitude and fostering a collaborative and mutually supportive environment Client Value Creation: Enabling clients to become high-performance businesses and creating long-term relationships by being responsive and relevant and by consistently delivering value.
One Global Network: Leveraging the power of global insight, relationships, collaboration and learning to deliver exceptional service to clients wherever they do business Respect for Individual: Valuing diversity and unique contributions, fostering a trusting, open, and inclusive environment and treating each person in a manner that reflects Accenture’s values. Integrity: Being ethically unyielding and honest and inspiring trust by saying what we mean, matching our behaviors to our words and taking responsibility for our actions
Rewards and Recognition in Accenture: Accenture has various ways of acknowledging an employee’s contribution towards achieving the “High Quality” work. In addition to promotion, few of the awards given by Accenture (specific to solutions domain) are: ACE Award – Accenture Celebrates Excellence is an award given on quarterly basis to the employees who show outstanding performance during a quarter in their respective industrial groups. The nominations for these awards are forwarded by the project manager along with the citation to justify the nominations. Innovator for the quarter – This category of award is held at different project levels and is awarded to an individual or group of people who have innovated something to either add value to the client or helped in increasing automated work to save on efforts.
Star of the month – This category of award is also held at project level where the work of an employee performing extraordinary is acknowledged. Propel Awards – This category of award is held at industrial group level where the employees are awarded against different criteria’s e.g. Adding Value to Client, Organizing quality work and anticipating critical situations etc. Celebrating Performance – Celebrating performance is a tool through which Team leads and above acknowledges the work of an individual by giving them some points. These points can be redeemed via a shopping catalog holding a range of different things.
c) The third level i.e. basic assumption is invisible layer. It is the perception held by individuals concerning human behavior. As mentioned earlier, this cannot be seen but felt by the individuals and hence is difficult to be described in words for any organization.
2. On analyzing Accenture based on different Cultural framework and Cultural typologies it can be said that Accenture falls into Role culture and Communal culture. The justification for this goes below: Accenture is very much driven by its policies, procedures, and rules, which makes it high on formalization aspect. Figure 2.1 clearly shows the level of hierarchy that Accenture has. Managers at top of the hierarchy work as per their roles and specializations that make Accenture a highly centralized organization and hence putting it into a Role culture. However, if we deep dive to the lowest division i.e. the Projects, the task to be achieved is allocated at the Managerial level and is then cascaded down to different team members based on their expertise.
The aim of the team is to ensure the task is delivered on time and with a high quality. For example, in my projects, there were times when a task demanding high expertise on specific domain were assigned to the senior programmers instead of the team leads. This clearly displays that the project division is on to the Task culture i.e. high formalization, low centralization where people are acknowledged based on their expertise and not just position. Accenture has very strict entry criteria and employees who suit the working environment are selected.
Once the employees are in the company, another level of assessment happens to check the skills to identify which project who the employee be best suited for. During an initial phase in the project, the employees are giving an intensive training about the core values of Accenture as well as the client that they are working for. The roles and goals for each individual are made clear right from the beginning and each employee is expected to have a degree of flexibility to switch the roles as and when required. All these characteristics make Accenture falls into the category of Communal culture i.e. High Sociability and high solidarity.
Walt Disney said, “You can dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality” (Disney, 2011) Accenture groups skills, competencies, and personality traits of effective leaders into three vital pillars (Accenture Leadership): Visionary Evangelist- They see possibilities and inspire others with their vision; they know where the company is headed and what its customers will value in the future. Relationship Builder-They enlist the support and capabilities of others by building loyalty, motivating and engaging. Manager of Execution- They provide structure, discipline and a sense of priorities to get things done. Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard (1998) described the concept of situational leadership. Situational leadership is an approach of identifying the most effective way of motivating, directing, and supporting employees to get the work done. Whether it is the leaders at the top of hierarchy (CEO) or the leaders at the lowest division (project managers), leadership style in Accenture varies depending upon the situation.
Figure 4.1 Situational Leadership Model (Source: Davidmerzel, 2012) How Leadership style works in Accenture When an employee is new to a project or the organization, it is ensured that a counselor and a supervisor are assigned to him. It is supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that the employee understand the norms and the working culture of the project and Councilor helps the employee with the career aspirations and issues (if any) faced by him while working in the project.
In other words, it can be said that supervisor acts as the coach and councilor supports the employee at the same time. Supervisor and the Councilor are not the same person and it is the councilor who remains the same throughout the journey in Accenture where as supervisors keep of changing as when an employee progresses. Once an employee displays the ability and the skills required to tasks assigned (i.e. generally at Analyst Programmer level), the work is then delegated where very few directions and support are required. At no point in Accenture, you would find a leader portraying the directive leadership. Support and mentoring is always provided until an employee is capable to work on his own.
Accenture is an organization on the move, one that is engaged in a good range of projects in various locations. Its culture varies from one extreme to another depending on the client and the geographical location of the office in which one reside. Employees, working at the client site, particularly for extended periods, find themselves following client’s culture as well as Accenture’s. It has a youthful environment that helps in making contacts, which lasts as an employee moves from project to project. In spite of the youthful, work-hard/play-hard atmosphere, employees strictly adhere to Accenture’s high standards, which require dedication and discipline on behalf of the employees.
People at Accenture genuinely respect and admire each other. Willingness to help others and strong interpersonal skills are more common that being self-centered. This can be easily seen by the prompt responses of peers in different cities and countries towards any technical query being raised at the company’s portal. To summaries, Accenture surely is a strong cultured and centralized organization where the core values of the organization and client’s both are kept in mind and at the same time its ensured that employee’s professional aspirations are also met. I would definitely say a great place to work!
(Arranged alphabetically) 1. Accenture, 2012 – About Accenture Available at: http://www.accenture.com/gb-en/company/Pages/index.aspx Accessed on: 26th October 2012 2. Accenture Core Values: Living Accenture’s Core Values [online] Available at: http://careers.accenture.com/gben/working/overview/values/Pages/index.aspx Accessed on: 26th October 2012 3. Accenture Facts,2012 – Q4 Fiscal 2012 Available at: http://newsroom.accenture.com/fact+sheet/ Accessed on: 26th October 2012 4. Accenture Leadership: Why Leadership and Culture Matters [online] Available at: http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture_Why_Leadership_and _Culture_Matter.pdf Accessed on: 27th October 2012 5. Accenture Logo – Accenture UK Limited [online] Available at: http://www.enterprisemanagement360.com/company/accenture-uk-l imited/#.UIqNsm_Mjsw Accessed on: 26th October 2012 6. Bohine, Markham, 2003
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