Fixing Structure Problems in Multinational Firms. Selling Point for Start-Up Companies

ABIODUN AJALA
7 min readJan 25, 2024

How does it sound when you have someone who read Plant and Animal Science heading a Unit? Does it sound good to you? Not at all, please. Coming to also find out that he or she doesn’t even have any formal training in the field of Management. See Business doesn’t just happen just like that. You have to be conscious of it. If this kind of person happens to be managing people off let’s say 10–20 people and some members of the Team are Management breed (Core Management students). They would be seeing his lapses and that causes some issues. Issue of inferiority and jealousy from the unit head. Before you know he or she would start seeing people he is managing as enemies towards the position he occupies.

I know how difficult it would be to hire someone who read Business Studies to do the job of a Lab Scientist. But someone who reads Lab Scientist can apply for a managerial position. So what do we take this course to be? A toy or something? Things are not done in the order of our country. Even in the ministerial appointments. That’s why you see most companies don’t even want to see value in functional areas of business.

When you read a course outside Management. And you would like to come to the world of Management. It simple. Go to business school. Hire a consultant. Read widely. Take a course on it. But a quick fix won’t do. The same way you read those giant books in the fields of Law, Medicine, and Physiology. In the same way, you need to do careful studies on Management. Management is very broad.

Most of the problems companies are facing today in Nigeria are simply problems of recruitment and employee engagement. They go beyond whether they are innovating or not competing well in the marketplace. Although there are more than 100 reasons why companies fail in Nigeria.

I would have to tell you that many Multinationals would fail in business. This is a well-stated thing. The way and manner they run their business are very poor. How a multinational can allows so many informal groups to thrive in its formal settings? They felt huge profit was enough to keep them in business. Cheating and manipulating some members of their staff. While treating some well. The problems of multinationals and companies that originated from abroad are cumbersome. They have their problems. People in them too have their problems.

One has to trace their problem back to the recruiting processes. They recruit wrongly. They hire the wrong head. Sometimes putting the wrong head in the wrong department. People they hire have eyes for personal gain rather than group goals and objectives.

There is much any startup company can learn from the mistakes of multinationals or top companies. Don’t give the hiring job to guys that belong to an informal group. They would bring about a conflict of interest. They would form a formidable group and before you know it they would be too strong to break. Sincerely Management has been abused in companies operating in Nigeria. They put people at the bottom of slavery. They are just a few at the top dominating those they manipulate.

This looks as if you just formed a company and your hand over it to the hands of those who knew nothing about managing people not to talk of companies.

I can still bet you that most of these guys in the senior manager’s position cannot even define Management. Just to send one or 2 lines of mail, sack employees, slash employees’ salaries to their own, and receive salary of their own when it is payday. What is working for them is their brand positioning. Someone at the early stage of their company product life cycle has paid the price. They are only living on the glory. They have strong formidable units in their head office where you see guys that genuinely have the interest of the company before their interest.

Any startup that would like to succeed in the marketplace needs a good manager. Write out a good organogram. Let everyone know where they belong in the organizational chart. Who does what and who reports to whom? Who gives instruction and how delegation is being done? No bossy. People should be given fair treatment. Gender equality should be adopted. The contract should not be abused. Any form of discrimination in the workplace should be avoided.

It takes time to grasp what Management and Business are all about. This is a course that Genius does fail while we are in college. They fail. They re-write and they pass. It’s not just to look at from the angle of the English Language. Henri Fayol (1841–1925, Father of Administration himself at some point found it difficult in his research to differentiate social phenomena from the physical phenomenon. Quite several research goes on in the laboratory of Hawthorne’s Theory. Skipping the work of Taylor on Scientific Management to manage corporate outfits is not advisable. Many proponents in the field of Management. The field gave us an insight into the Bureaucracy of Marxism. The Mass Production of Fordism. The Concept of Work of Taylorism. Taylorism has come to stay in business.

The Culture of a company is the mirror in which the world sees it. It is an internalized belief. Norms. Attitude. Values. That shapes and influences behavior. Many companies in Nigeria and some other part of the continent have lost their culture to people who don’t share in the company’s vision. The way things are being done in one region is no longer the same way it’s being done in the other region. Some units exist in isolation without complementary or inter-dependency to others. Instead of building Teams, Managers are busy building gangs. This gang of things would keep on building gangs. They don’t care who qualifies internally or externally for the job. Job is based on the appointment of the capon or the godfather. Whether you study Fine Arts or Home Economics, the godfather can make you be Finance Manager. A lot of fear in our multinational. Regionalism, tribalism, and favoritism. Job title being shared like Vitamin C. Too cheap.

Just like I said, many multinationals pride themselves. They would fail in business. The people they have used and cheated upon. The customer they are cheating on. The law of karma in business catches with them slowly.

Personal appointments without letting the Human Resource Unit do their job is chaos. Recruitment should be official. Even HR is afraid of don and godfatherism in the system. Kingmaker wants loyalty from everyone.

A Startup company should take advantage of the bad practice that is going on in big companies. Don’t treat people like an object. Even if you don’t have huge salaries to pay them, treat them like humans.

I have worked with Technocrat, Capitalist, and Mafia. I managed my way of doing business with them. And I must tell you that most of them don’t live on good principles. Their goal is to use you to their advantage. Just like Ambrose Bierce put it politics is the conducting of public affairs for personal advantage. He said this in The Devil Dictionary. It would be difficult to work under some big names. It’s a battle between the cream and the bottle. The system made it so.

An open culture would make your organization thrive.

A culture of low trust would make people leave your company. What about the reputation of your company? All the lies companies put in their diary and corporate websites are too huge compared to what didatesans state on their Resume. Our people are our greatest asset… a very abusive statement. We don’t discriminate based on gender, race, and religion. All these you would come to find out when you join some multinationals. They have different factions or sects in the same organizations.

It would be a difficult thing to eliminate strong complex informal grouping in an organization. All these started as a seed to weed and germinated into a giant tree. To solve this is to practice management. Bring the right team to work. A good Administrator and Manager can solve it all. Companies keep too many corporate secrets. There is a difference between having a secret and telling lies. Our multinationals are very deceptive. What’s the Government doing about these? Nothing. And you expect to have a better economy. How is that going to be possible?

An employee who has left a company where people have been maltreated doesn’t always wish to have anything to do with them in the future. Is it the company or the informal people in it? While it still boils down to the entire system. Every Startup company needs to be People-Oriented in doing business in Nigeria.

The corporate law and the legal aspects of business, are they reflecting on these guys, or they are just allowed to operate freely without constraints? Let us see the legal framework for them. The way they behave in their country of origin is not the way they do in their country of operation or destination.

This article is still under revision (WIP). It would be shared on my blog and LinkedIn.

#linkedin #article #newsletter Harvard Business School UT Health San Antonio Stott and May Tata Consultancy Services — North America #business #startup

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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