INNOVATIONS AND ORGNISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN NITEL: NITEL as a typical modern organization and operation in a dynamic society cannot be said to be unresponsive to the environmental changes (operational changes). These change demand innovations in the modus operandi of NITEL. Innovations according to Robbins (2001) are new ides applied in initiating or improving a product, process or services.
Signaling System: At the inception of NITEL, the organization started its operation with the Analogue System. This system is incapable of handling many telephony transmissions at the same time. It is not flexible and therefore operates on a continuum without the capability of switching to and from other communication networks. Consequently, it makes communication networks integration and harnessing virtually impossible. Analogue system I really slow in achieving interconnectivity and it is therefore very disadvantageous for transmission over long or noisy communication channel. It also stands as a great hindrance to the computerization of NITEL communication transmission services (Okonji, 1998). Analogue system renders NITEL obsolete in the world of telecommunications. This is why analogue system is being replaced with digital system.
For one thing, digital system makes it possible for NITEL communication transmission services to be computerized. Digital system makes it possible for telecommunications to be inter-switched among networks thereby saving time and facilitating transmission. This also enhances interconnectivity.
Digital system is very useful in network integration and is therefore necessary for long distance, international, and noisy transmission. Digital system also makes it possible for telecommunicated messages to be stored in telephone. It also enhances on-hook dialing, automatic redialing and abbreviated ailing.
Other features of digital system include call waiting, call diversion, caller identification, conferencing and international direct dialing (IDD), etc (Ekundayo, 2001). All these are tremendous improvements when compared with the analogue system.
Billing System: A bill is an instrument, usually in paper-written information, which contains the details of the transaction between an organization, in this case NITEL and a customer for a given period of time. The appropriateness of the bill in terms of its correctness and timelines are very important to the parties in the transactions. The bill is therefore another major area of relationship between NITEL and its customers.
One innovation in the billing system is that customers do pay up their debts in the bank. This method has succeeded in reducing customers’ congestion at NITEL pay Office. Previously, bills were being sent to customers after about sixty days and in some cases ninety days.
Now efforts are being made to ensure that the bills are made ready within thirty-eight to thirty-nine days. This improvement is made possible by the introduction of very fast billing machines based on computer technology. This has necessitate NITEL Plc embarking in what is called “On-line Billing System” in which NITEL Plc is going to connect and inter-connect all the billing centres (MIS) into a wide area (nation-wide) computer network (Sani, 1997).
Organization Change: Organizational change is a large scale organization-wide event that may require major alterations in the basic structure and philosophy of the company (Sall and Knight, 1995). Every progress-minded organization must in one way or the other institute innovations that will lead to changes in the organization. These changes in the organizational structure and philosophy are expected to bring about improved methods of operation, otherwise the changes are baseless.
NITEL Plc has experienced some organizational changes in recent times. One area in which this has taken place is in the revenue base of the organization. At the inception of NITEL, it was considered as a social service. The telecommunications industry was pampered and heavily subsidized by the federal government.
However, this is no longer the case. Now, NITEL Plc is responsible for sourcing funds and properly managing same all by itself, and at same time ensuring that the quality of services the organisation renders is improved (Abdulkadir, 1994).
The implication of this is that NITEL Plc has to embark on adequate measures of debt recovery. It also depends excessively, if not totally, on its internally generated revenue for payment of staff salaries, human resources development, expansion, and modernization. NITEL Plc must therefore tackle many corrupt practices that have bedeviled the telecommunication industry (Adebayo, 2001).
Other major organizational changes that has take place in NITEL Plc are the privatization and commercialization processes that have infiltrated the organization. These however started with the
Autonomous revenue mobilization/sourcing (commercialization) the federal government granted the organization. In essence, Commercialization is a system whereby the government stops subsidizing or making provisions for an industry (organisation) and allows the organization assumes responsibility for such provisions.
The next privatization strategy that has infiltrated NITEL Plc is the Management Contracts. This is a system in which the operations of facility or the management team of the entire organization is contracted out or handed over to a private organization or individuals to manage for a specific period of time.
At one time, NITEL Plc was contracted to a management team from Europe of which the Chief Executive Officer Mr. Rein Zwolsman was a citizen of Netherlands. The period of the contract was for three years starting from 2003. There is also the Internal Markets privatization strategy.
Here, a department within the organization is given the autonomy to own or purchase a particular service(s) that the organization renders to public or other establishments. Though this department is within the larger organization, yet the requirement is for it to operate a total independent business organization, but still a subsidiary of the larger organization.
Customers (employees) can and are free to reject the services of the Internal Markets if such services are below expectations or very costly.
In the case of NITEL Plc, M-tel (Mobile Communication) is an internal department that is charged with the responsibility of providing Global Systems of Mobile-communications (GSM) on behalf of NITEL Plc. As a result of privatization, this internal department of NITEL Plc has been given a total autonomy with the new name M-tel. The implication of this is that it has to do its own business completely independent of NITEL Plc, yet it is still a subsidiary of NITEL Plc (Umar, 203).
Group Dynamics In The Organization (NITEL)
Group is an aggregate of two or more persons perceived as related because of their interactions, membership in the same social category or common fate (Brehm, Kassin, and Fein, 202).
A lot of group relations exist in NITEL Plc. Some of these include football clubs, the relationship among the senior staff themselves known as senior staff association, the relationship between NITEL Plc and customers, the relationship between NITEL Plc and other private telephone operators (PTOs).
Being a national telecommunications network, each state, and even exchange in the nation tends to have group behavioural characteristics that are very typical of it. One major factor about group relations in NITEL Plc is that they are more or less influenced by the management.
These determine the performance of the personnel, corporate culture, organizational development, social perceptions, etc of NITEL Plc. Consequently, the management of NITEL Plc often embarks on personnel motivations. One area in which this manifests very well is in human resources development (Kuyoro, 2001; Smith, 2000). This is a motivated attempt made by NITEL through the personnel to acquire skills, so as to cope with the increasing demands of the services the organization renders.
Similarly, efforts are being made to ensure that the revenue base of the organization is increased. By so doing the wages and monetary benefits of the employees will be increased. Other areas in which efforts are geared towards ensuring workers satisfaction is in the area of job security.
Here, workers had been assured that they will not be retrenched as a result of the event of privatization. However, the fulfillment of this assurance is very doubtful. There are also some other staff welfare programmes (Omeata, 2003).
NITEL PLC operates two major levels of employment. The first is the employment of the senior staff which is done at the corporate level and it is often permanent. There is also the employment of the junior staff in form of casual worker, youth corpers, interns etc. the latter employment can be done at the territorial or zonal level, and this is often on a temporary basis.
However, the employment may be converted to permanent one after some years as the organization may deem necessary. As regards employment mobility, this is only possible internally. It is not always easy for an individual to leave the organization and secure an employment else-where only to reactivate the NITEL’s appointment after which.
An exception to this may be under a serious political appointment, or unhealthy retrenchment/firing. Again, personnel redeployment can be done at the territorial, zonal, and corporate levels. However, corporate redeployment or posting supersedes that of the other two.
Employment mobility can also come in form of promotion. Consequently, employees receive their promotions on the bases of length of services, number and relevance of courses attended, opportunities for promotion, academic and other relevant qualification obtained, etc. Apart from skills acquisitions, the promotion generally is a way of achieving human resources development.