Communication is considered as the most important business parameter for achieving success in today’s business environment (Broadbent, 2013). The multinational companies develop, nurture and foster new channels of communication in order to be successful in the competitive business environment (Shockley-Zalabak, 2014). The corporate communication is important part of the public relation in which the companies engage in branding of their firm. When the companies transfer their knowledge and vital information to all their employees, then the employees are empowered. When there is transparent sharing of information among all hierarchy of the organization, then there is an increase in the organizational productivity (Broadbent, 2013).
The multinational companies are engaging in strategic communications in which there is thoughtful integration of the stakeholder perception as well as stakeholder response into the process of planning, policy-making and operations at every levels of hierarchy (Argenti, 2015). This case study analysis is based on a multinational organization which has its operation in several countries such as India, Oman, Vietnam, Australia and Nigeria. The firm is facing certain communication challenges and aims to provide a solution for them. This analysis aims to explore the market dynamics regarding the different communication tactics adopted by the multinational firms all over the world.
Good Practices of Communication
The global firms are increasingly using different communication strategies for the internal as well as external development. As opined by Shockley-Zalabak (2014), one aspect of the communication strategy comprises of the internal branding in which there is transparent communication with the brand directors as well as top management of the firm. The multinationals also maintain external branding by publishing different modes of documents that highlight their major developments in products and services (Broadbent, 2013). The country heads at the global locations do report to the managers located in the global headquarters. In multinational organizations such as Walmart, there is the publication of the newsletters, which outlines the various achievements if the companies in several attribute (Liu et al., 2015). There is discussion of the sales, innovation, accolades and community building. There are important for announcements that are made in the newsletter regarding the key decisions taken by the management (Broadbent, 2013). This newsletter is being circulated to all the important locations so that the employees are aware about the major happenings of the company.
As stated by Ozcelik (2015), Nike Inc.has added different values of sports like perseverance as well as teamwork in the company culture. The company strives to incorporate emotions in the regular functioning of the organization so that the employees remain competitive with the outside work environment (Broadbent, 2013). This makes the employees identify themselves as employees of the valued organizations. Nike uses enhanced level of organizational communication in which the employees would feel like a sports team in which the manager is considered as the captain (Broadbent, 2013). The manager acts as a liaison between the organization and the employees. The organization believes in the transparent communication levels with all members so that there is an increase in the organizational efficiency.
As opined by Lussier and Kimball (2013), Coca Cola has introduced a unique brand advocate program known as Coca Cola Ambassador. In this program, the company prepares its employees to perform better in an organizational setting. This program prepares the employees to deal effectively with internal and external stakeholders. This makes the employees able to communicate their feelings well both with the internal employees as well as external entities such as suppliers, customers and others. The brand also makes sure that there are transparent communication channels between the top management and the lower management (Gertner & Rifkin, 2017). The content gathering is concerned with the collection of dedicated email address as well as in the form of comment boxes. The employees give their opinions in the department meetings to ensure that there is a maximum opportunity for all the department functions (Kapoor & Si, 2014). Coca Cola also formulated one “cross functional task force” in which there was the development of employee focused initiatives (Lussier and Kimball 2013). The company ensures that the employee features are important for maximizing their productivity. Coca Cola has also implemented “Communications Clinics” in which there is drop in sessions that takes place three times every year (Kapoor & Si, 2014). These initiatives foster the level of communication in between the employees. The company has always implemented a two way communication in between the different employees of the firm.
According to Forbes (2015), Bayer Corporation has emphasized more on the internal communication of the team members and has proposed a sophisticated program for this initiative. In this program, they engage approximately 200 employees so that they can gain ongoing feedback about the transfer of messages across the organization (Kapoor & Si, 2014). This kind of session’s emphasis on the better communication tactics among the employees which would enhance organizational growth. This also ensures that the company has passed all the relevant information to the important stakeholders.
As argued by Epstein and Buhovac (2014), the communication is considered as a two way process by Apple Inc. The company has adopted a new internal communications strategy in which it aims to support as well as recognize the different working practices in the organization. The brand believes in the fact that it is important to exchange information and keep the employees updated about all the recent information (Kapoor & Si, 2014). This strategy aims to empower the employees regarding all the recent product developments of the company and foster transparent channels of communication (Lo Dolce & Ryan, 2016). The company believes that this is one of the processes to build a strong internal culture in which the employees are well-informed about the different decisions of the firm. Apple also believes in the fact that the employees should be given a platform to showcase their talents and voice their ideas, opinions and other concerns (Kapoor & Si, 2014). This would also ensure that the employees would feel that their concerns are being heard and management is taking their concerns in an important manner (Lo Dolce & Ryan, 2016). The company also has employee cells, in which they are able to share relevant information with each other and also discuss about the different market trends.
The first challenge of timely communication with all the employees can be handled well by formulating an “online forums” in which the employees should be informed about the recent strategies of the organization, product developments and others. The concept of this forum is gained from that of similar model implemented in Apple. This forum should also be the basis for employee motivation and career progression. The employees should also be able to discuss various facts about working conditions and the working environment being provided to them (Lo Dolce & Ryan, 2016). The login id and password of such forums should be sent to all employees so that they can access the forum anytime. This should also be improved with the help of different communication emails which are sent to the employees from time to time.
The second challenge can be resolved by “strategic targeting”, which should be done by focusing on the mode of internal communication. This would ensure that there is transparent flow of communication between all levels of hierarchy (Lo Dolce & Ryan, 2016). The internal communication should be fostered and different employee groups should be subjected to different levels of communication (Watson & Hill, 2015). The messages should be catered to a niche audience as it would be more effective. This type of communication also ensures that all the hierarchy levels starting from the top management to the front line employees are being effectively addressed. It is also important to create employee forums, in which the employees would be able to share their feelings and grievances against the organizational policies.
The third challenge of taking feedback from clients regarding product information should be solved with the help of surveys and feedback forms, which would help the clients to share their feedbacks regarding product usage. There can also be the implementation of communication clinics, as done by Coca Cola (Cornelissen & Cornelissen, 2017). This would allow the external customers of the company to share their valuable feedback, which can be used by the company to enhance their services and products. There should be effective communication with the clients and it is important for the company to know their preferences and wants. The company should also use social feedback tools like CrowdSound, which helps in letting the customers to vote on their best suggestions through the help of company website (Cornelissen & Cornelissen, 2017). This ensures that there are no additional tools that need to be implemented or installed and this option is cost effective too. The concerned company has international clients and hence it can also make personalized feedback tools using Survey Monkey (Van Noort et al., 2015). Alternatively, if the company is able to allocate reasonable amount of resources, then it can also use GetFeedback, which is considered as a visually appealing application in which there is focus on the end-user experience (Sauvola et al., 2015). The surveys can be created with the help of attractive images as well as different fonts or colors that would be appropriate for the brand.
The fourth challenge regarding the issues concerning local language can be solved with the help of recruitment of local people in the company. This would enable the company to understand the attitudes and behavioral patterns of the local community and effectively communicate with other members of the organization (Carvalhosa et al., 2017). It is also important to find a reliable translation service which would help the cross border employees to understand the local language. The company’s document needs to be translated well so that both the local employees as well as the cross border employees would be able to understand (Cornelissen & Cornelissen, 2017).This challenge should also be addressed with the help of visual methods of communication such as diagrams or pictures so that the complicated concepts are easily communicated (Cornelissen & Cornelissen, 2017). The organization should also implement classes for the employees in local language so that they become little fluent with the different language of the local region.
The fifth challenge of overcoming the cross-cultural issues should be taken seriously as the company operates in multiple locations such as Oman, Nigeria, Vietnam, India and others. The different cultures of the countries have different level of cultures such as “high context” culture as well as “low context” culture (Montano & Kasprzyk, 2015). The company should understand that in high context cultures, communication process is concerned with the information in physical context and the actual meaning of the conversation is actually embedded in the information, which is done through the help of spoken words or written words (Cornelissen & Cornelissen, 2017). On the other hand, the low context culture is characterized by open, precise and open, which is based on the feelings. This makes it mandatory to design the communication processes based on the country in which the business is operating (Cornelissen & Cornelissen, 2017). There are also other forms of reactive cultures in which the people are accommodating, amiable and they are good listeners (Moran, Abramson & Moran, 2014). Hence, the company needs to spend fewer resources on such cultures, as the people are good listeners. However, the company needs to design string communication channels in multi-active cultures, in which the employees are characterized by emotional, warm and loquacious nature (Ferraro & Briody, 2017).
The sixth challenge of limited acceptability of digital media and the less penetration of the social media should be handled by more number of documentation and paperwork (Jayatilleke et al., 2016). It is important to draft important notices so that the employees are aware about the important information of the organization. The company should circulate important information through memos, fax and notices (Jayatilleke et al., 2016). The employees should be advised to go through these communication channels so that they remain informed about the vital decisions of the company. It is also important to try to introduce the available technological framework of the country and try to utilize it to the fullest extent.
Conclusions and Implications
There are many implications of poor communication in the organizations. If the employees are not aware of the company’s policies and recent developments, then they would not be able to contribute to the organizational success. I feel that this is a delicate subject in modern day organizations in which the communication plays an important part in achieving organizational success. All the hierarchical levels should be well informed about the different operative procedures being undertaken by the organization. The company would not be able to be prosperous if it has improper communication process. The feedbacks of the clients should be considered well by the organization and if it is not done then the company would be unable to understand the customer preferences. In such a case, the company would be continuing producing items that are no longer required by the clients. This would make the company run in losses as the customers would not be willing to purchase the company’s products. It is also important to focus on the cross cultural issues of the company. The company would not be able to operate in a new environment if there are no specific policies adopted for betterment of the communication challenges. It is also important to foster the cross cultural communication measures so that the company is able to perform well in the new geographical location. This would not only enhance productivity of the team but it would also help in greater coordination and team support. It is also important for the company to develop measures in which there is limited digital literacy. There should be more implementation of the paper documents in such a scenario where there would be more popularity of such a medium.
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