What’s valued most by the Bulgarian Software and ICT industry?

The presented industrial report examines the espoused organizational values of some of the leading organizations in the Bulgarian software and ICT industry. Its main purpose is to provide useful insights which could be used: (1) for benchmarking and identifying possible improvements in business performance; and (2) strengthening organization’s positioning and/or gaining additional competitive advantages (by focusing on values which are overlooked by others).

Introduction

Organizational values are long-lasting constructs which emerge from the collective beliefs, experience and vision of a group or all members of an organization on what it should holds of intrinsic worth and which influence (explicitly or implicitly) the decision making and evaluation of individuals and organizations in terms of their modes, actions and end states. Organizational values have become extremely popular in the last decade. Among the reasons for this are: the emergence of international business ethics in the late 1990s; the numerous corporate scandals in the earlier 2000s (e.g. Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, etc.); the increased public awareness on organizations’ side effects on environment and society; and most importantly the numerous empirical studies supporting their positive effect on various work outcomes. The latter includes organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behavior, employees’ motivation, satisfaction and well-being, recruitment and retention, ethical attitudes and behavior, employee performance and many more. Taking into consideration their great importance to modern business, the presented industrial report examines the espoused organizational values of some of the leading organizations in the Bulgarian software and ICT industry. Its main purpose is to provide useful insights which could be used: (1) for benchmarking and identifying possible improvements in business performance; and (2) strengthening organization’s positioning and/or gaining additional competitive advantages (by focusing on values which are overlooked by others).

Bulgarian Software and ICT industry

The Bulgarian software and ICT industry is represented by total of 142 organizations – all members of either BASSCOM, BWA or BAIT. Their concrete distribution is presented below. Although these associations do not cover the entire Bulgarian software and ICT industry their members are among the most successful organizations (in terms of revenues). For example BAIT make for over 69% from the ICT market in Bulgaria. These percentages for the software market are similar for BASCOM and BWA as shown by “K100 Software” – a study conducted by the Capital periodical in 2013. Therefore the members of BASSCOM, BWA or BAIT could be regarded as the leaders in the Bulgarian software and ICT industry.

Bulgarian Software and ICT industry - Distribution

Espoused values

Espoused values are the explicitly stated organizational values of the organization (e.g. as part of its corporate website, code of conduct, etc.). They might be different from the values actually in-use (aka its core values) or the ones highly accepted by its stakeholders (aka its shared values). Some of the key characteristics of the values stated by the examined Bulgarian software and ICT leaders are given below. They suggest that espousing organizational values is not a common strategic management and business development practice used by the top business in the software and ICT industry in Bulgaria.

Bulgarian Software and ICT industry - Espoused Values

Value categories

The espoused values of the examined Bulgarian software and ICT leaders were manually extracted from their corporate websites and then translated into a common terminology using the taxonomy of organizational values proposed by the author in “What do we know about organizational values? – A systematic review”. They are grouped into seven categories, depending on the organizational stakeholders they are associated with and whether they describe desired characteristics of organizational processes, products and services. The distribution of these value categories is presented below. It shows that employee and customer values are the most favorable ones. This suggests that the examined Bulgarian software and ICT leaders tend to be employee- and customer-centric. On the other side partners, society and shareholders seems to be often overlooked (at least in terms of espoused values).

Bulgarian Software and ICT industry - Value Categories

Employee values

Employee values are the organizational values associated with all stakeholders who are contributing labor and expertise to the organization (whether these are top or middle level executives, operational managers or functional staff). Their distribution is given below. It shows that competency is the top value in this category. This is quite expect as the software and ICT industry is very knowledge-intensive, technology- and innovation-driven in its nature. Moreover many of the examined organizations are development/engineering/oursourcing centers of large multi-national organizations and therefore expertise is crucial for their success. An interesting observation is that employees’ satisfaction, loyalty and engagement is often overlooked by the majority of the Bulgarian software and ICT leaders despite the numeruos recruitment and retention challenges from the labor market.

Bulgarian Software and ICT industry - Employee Values

Customer values

Customer values are the organizational values associated with all stakeholders who are recipients of the products, services, etc. delivered by the organization (e.g. its users and consumers, business organizations, governments or public sector organizations, etc.). Their distribution is given below. It shows that customer satisfaction and improving customer’s financial and marketing positioning (thus customer performance) are the greatest concerns of the examined Bulgarian software and ICT leaders. Customer trust, loyalty and empowerment are less favorable. On the bottom of the list is customer citizenship – only 6% of the examined top successful software and ICT organizations in Bulgaria aim to enage with their customers by making them an active part of their organizational life and involving them into a variety of organizational initiatives.

Bulgarian Software and ICT industry - Customer Values

Product values

Product values are the organizational values which describe desired characteristics of delivered products and services. The distribution of these values among the examined Bulgarian software and ICT leaders is presented below. Undoubtedly innovation is the top value in this category. This is not a surprise as the Bulgarian software and ICT leaders have to continuously deliver new and valuable products and services and to further improve existing ones in order to sustain their leadership status. Quality is also very important to the top business. This could be explained again with many of the examined organizations being development/engineering/oursourcing centers of large multi-national organizations. Complexity and functionality (or having the required competency and expertise to deliver diverse and multi-functional products and services) are much less favorable.

Bulgarian Software and ICT industry - Product Values

Process values

Process values are the organizational values which describe desired characteristics of all sets of interrelated activities and tasks that transform organizational resources (inputs) into concrete products and services (outputs). The distribution of these values among the examined Bulgarian software and ICT leaders is presented below. It shows that continuous improvement is the most favorable one followed by flexibility, resource utilization and communication. An interesting observation is that stability is among the least preferred values. This could be explained by the maturity life cycle phase of the majority of the examined organizations which have already established a successful business and have products and services with a market leadership status.

Bulgarian Software and ICT industry - Process Values

Partner values

Partner values are the organizational values associated with suppliers (vendors, distributors and all other stakeholders on whom the “raw” input of the organization relies on), contractors (responsible for an outsourced component, product, service, etc.), business alliances or associations, creditors and competitors. Their distribution is presented below. Trust and equity are among the top favorable values by the examined Bulgarian software and ICT leaders. This is expectable as their operation might heavily rely on many suppliers, contractors, etc. and the overall success of the business is dependent on the fair play of all competitors. Moreover the top value in this category is commitment. This suggests that top business is mostly concerned with making their partners attached and loyal (or even dependeble) rather than improving partner’s efficiency and financial/marketing performance (aka partner performance) or enhancing partner’s capabilities and access to new business opportunities (aka partner empowerment).

Bulgarian Software and ICT industry - Partner Values

Society values

Society values are the organizational values associated with the environment and communities in a given region, country or worldwide. Their distribution is presented below. An interesting observation is that the examined Bulgarian software and ICT leaders tend to be more concerned with their impact on communities rather than on environment. This might be explained with the specifics of the labor market and the need for more efficient and competitive recruitment and retention strategies. Still having society values being among the least preferred organizational values raises some serious concerns as one would expect top Bulgarian software and ICT orgnaizations to be much more engaged with ecological and social sustainability and serve as a role model in this regard.

Bulgarian Software and ICT industry - Society Values

Shareholders values

Shareholder values are the organizational values associated with all stakeholders who legally own part of the organizational share (e.g. owners, stockholders, investors, etc.). Their distribution among the Bulgarian software and ICT leaders is shown below. The leading value in this category is the wealth of the shareholders. This is quite expected as the ultimate goal (although not very convenient) of any for-profit organization is to improve their financial well-being. However some of the examined top software and ICT organizations in Bulgaria are also concerned with the reputation of their shareholders and the corporate image of the organization (incl. its compliance to laws, regulations and standards, business and professional codes of ethics, etc.).

Bulgarian Software and ICT industry - Shareholder Values

Top 5

Given below are the 5 most favorable organizational values among the examined organizations. They suggest that the Bulgarian software and ICT leaders tend to be customer-centric and compete (locally and globaly) through competency, constant innovation and continuous improvement.

Bulgarian Software and ICT industry - Top 5 Values

Download the original article here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *