The folllowing sample essay on Nbc Universal Subsidiaries discusses it in detail, offering basic facts and pros and cons associated with it. To read the essay’s introduction, body and conclusion, scroll down.
Universal Studios Organizational Structure
NBC Universal LLC is a global media and entertainment company headquartered in New York City, U.S.A. The company specializes in the “development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience” (NBCUniversal). Two corporate mergers, first in 2004 and then in 2011 led to the formation of NBC Universal LLC. General Electric Company formed NBC (National Broadcasting Company) company in 1926 (Ahn). After years of expanding and buying up other networks globally, NBC decided to merge with Vivendi Universal in 2003. In 2004, the completion of the merger formed NBC Universal. The completion of a second deal in 2011 gave birth to NBC Universal LLC. This new deal involved General Electric Company (known as GE) and Comcast Corporation (Ahn).
NBC Universal is considered a powerhouse in the world of entertainment (NBCUniversal Media, LLC Company Profile). The conglomerate owns Universal Pictures (one of the world’s largest and most successful movie studios) and NBC TV (a successful television network). The Company has been expanding globally since the 1990s. This expansion has seen NBC Universal purchase and acquire broadcasting networks in Europe, Asia and South America (Ahn). Some of the world’s most famous and successful movies and TV shows have been produced by NBC Universal. Examples include the television sitcom Friends and the television drama ER. The successes of the company’s productions have turned NBC into a household name especially in the United States (Ahn).
NBCUniversal is headed by a chief executive officer (CEO) Stephen B. Burke. The CEO oversees the company’s general operations including those carried out by the company’s subsidiaries and oversees networks (NBCUniversal). Answerable to the CEO are several executive vice presidents (EVP), presidents and chairpersons. They are in-charge the company’s various departments, networks and subsidiaries. They take instructions directly from the CEO. The EVPs are in-charge of the company’s departments such as the administrative department, the financial department and the strategic integration department. The chairpersons and presidents are in-charge of the company’s networks and subsidiaries. These include NBCUniversal News Group and Universal Studios (NBCUniversal).
There are seventeen presidents in the second level of management. They are Robert Greenblatt, Matt Bond, Adam Miller, Jeff Shell, Paula Madison, Patricia Fili-Krushel, Mark Hoffman, Steve Capus, Mark Lazarus, Lauren Zalaznik, Bonnie Hammer, Ted Harbert, Page Thompson, Ron Meyer, Rick Cotton, Adam Fogelson and Lynn Calpeter (NBCUniversal). On paper, the presidents are all equal. However, some presidents do appear to be more important by virtue of controlling departments and networks within the company that are more important or successful than others. Examples include Adam Fogelson who is the president of Universal Pictures (a major subsidiary of NBCUniversal that makes movies), Ted Harbert who is in-charge of NBC Broadcasting (NBCUniversal’s marquee TV network) and Patricia Fili-Krushel chairperson of NBCUniversal News Group (NBC Universal Inc).
NBCUniversal uses the matrix organizational structure in the organization of its management. The matrix structure combines the attributes of the project structure and the functional structure with the intentions of maximizing the advantages of both (Dubrin 264). In a matrix organizational structure, focus is placed on both the product and the function. Function entails all the process involved in making a product while the product is what is created because of all the functions (Marquis and Luston 274). Matrix structures enable a company to focus on both the final product and the consumer. It also enables a company to divide its work force such that different departments can work on different projects. This means that a company can have multiple projects being run simultaneously without interfering with each other (Marquis and Luston 274).
NBC’s management structure has its strengths and weaknesses. First, the fact that projects are divided suits the company well. NBC is a conglomerate and therefore, has several networks and subsidiaries within it. These different parts of the company can all work on different projects simultaneously. This structure also works well for NBC because each department gets its own equipment and facilities minimizing friction between different departments. A disadvantage of this structure is that the cooperation between different departments might be poor. In addition, any joint projects require a lot of communication and this communication between departments is likely to be poor.
The highest level of the organization’s management has three clearly discernible layers. The first and the highest is the level where the CEO is found. The second level responds to the CEO (NBC Universal Inc). This level was introduced after the merger between Comcast and GE was completed (James). The new layer helped breakdown the command structure. The CEO no longer has to deal with the various departments directly. This makes the work easier for the CEO as well as for the departments. The departments will find that feedback from high-level management comes faster because each department has its own president. For the CEO, the added layer makes the work easier. The third layer in top-level management has the heads of the specific networks and those of smaller departments of the company. They respond to the presidents in the second layer. This level of management deals directly with the employees and other workers (NBCUniversal).
The CEO’s position at the helm makes him the most influential person in the company. The hierarchical structure of NBCUniversal means that all employees answer to the CEO through the chairpersons and the presidents. This structure suggests that the CEO has to be a hands-on manager and deal with all decisions directly. Stephen Burke’s involvement in the selection of the presidents in the second level also suggests that he carries out his functions the way he should. A statement released by Comcast revealed that he was not just involved in the selection of these presidents but created the layered management structure himself (James). This statement also implies that the CEO prefers to take part in the process of making key decisions at the management level.
On paper, NBCUniversal’s structure is quite solid. It has multiple levels of management. This reduces the work that the top level of management has to deal with. This layered management structure also means that all departments, networks and subsidiaries have representation in the top management but without forcing the CEO to deal with each head directly. This means that feedback from the top management gets to the departments much faster as the CEO deals with them much faster. In theory, this structure should also enable NBCUniversal to keep growing. Each department focuses on its own projects and success for these departments translates to financial success for NBCUniversal. However, this has not been the case for NBCUniversal. Several of the networks within the company have not been doing well. This insinuates that the company’s organizational structure is not operating the way it should be.
NBC Universal’s largest and most popular network is NBC (the company’s marquee television network). Over the recent past, NBC has been experiencing a decline in its shows ratings. This decline started in the early 2000s after several of the network’s key shows ended (Adalian). Stiff competition from other networks has also contributed to the network’s decline. The network seems to be unable to catch up with the competition, as its new shows are unable to match the successes of the shows from other networks (Adalian). Other networks within NBCUniversal are also going through problems. CNBC (Consumer News and Business Channel) and MSNBC (Microsoft and the National Broadcasting Company) have had trouble keeping key personnel as several news anchors have left NBC and joined rival networks (Hall). All of this suggests that all is not well within NBCUniversal.
The decline of several of NBCUniversal’s key networks is showing that the management structure is not really working well. NBCUniversal is primarily an entertainment company and this means that its successes and failures are judged on how well its networks perform. The failures of CNBC, MSNBC and NBC are indicative of a decline in NBCUniversal’s standards. The lack of successful TV shows indicates that the management is not making the right decisions. It also shows a failure in the creative departments of the company’s different networks. Additionally, the decline has been occurring over a long period. It started in the early 2000s and after ten years, nothing seems to have been done to stop it. This shows that the management has been unable to adapt to the changing climate of the entertainment business. It also suggests that there may be a breakdown in communication between the management levels and the company’s low-level workers. This is because over ten years, the company does not appear to have been able to outlined the real problems dogging it and as a result of this has failed to deal with the problems
Adding more layers to the management structure would not have the desired effect in the company. It would only increase the bureaucratic levels and complicate the coordination between the highest level of management and the company’s employees. It would also increase the number of people involved in the decision making process and this would be a step backwards. Summarily, the levels of management do not need to be increased. An improvement that can be made is to add an extra department to the company. This addition would be vertical and not horizontal. This role of the department would be to assist the networks in their development phase and ensure that creative content produced is top notch. This department would have its own head in the second tier of the management structure. This head would assist the executives in this second tier in making decisions concerning creative content produced by the networks. The main benefit of having this new department is that the department would help stem the declining standards of NBCUniversal’s networks.
The employees are the most important part of NBCUniversal. They play key roles in the conception, development, production and release of the content broadcasted by the company’s networks. NBCUniversal is an entertainment company. This means that the employees’ play a vital role in the company and are perhaps the most important part of NBCUniversal. Despite this important role, the employees do not have any direct representation in the second tier of management. The needs of these employees have to go through two levels of management before reaching the highest level of the company’s management. There should be an improvement in this area. The company should create a new department that deals specifically with all the employees from NBCUniversal. The department should have its own president representing it in the second tier of management. This new department would ensure that employees needs move faster to the higher levels of management.
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