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Question: Why and how should managers use the corporate/business communication function ?

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Corporate Responsibility - Introduction

Corporate responsibility or corporate social responsibility is self-regulation of the organizations which do work for keeping up the internal policies and promotion of the organization as per the society benefit requirements. Typical aspects wherein the corporate social responsibility function do works in is in the corporate philanthropy, community volunteering, socially responsible practices, promoting the cause and activism, cause-related marketing, corporate social marketing etc. In each of these sectors, corporate will work on to upkeep moral and ethical compliances and works on maintaining their own brand prestige and admiration in the consumers. Corporate social responsibility is important for the organization both from business as well from morality aspects. In the business sense, more and more consumers are now valuing only corporate that are involved in socially responsible activities. Consumers now looking for brand reputation in CSR and accordingly, its sales are being impacted. Apart from this, organizations, from moralities point of view are voluntarily embracing CSR as part of their organizational internal philosophy (Tran 2019, P.271), to keep themselves as roles models for the rest in moral compliances. A message that profit is important, but not everything is for profit is being made clear by the organization by remaining themselves socially committed. Managers are the key stakeholders of the organization and they have a vital role to play in aligning the organizational functionalities as per their vision and mission. In this connection to let all the stakeholders of the organization function socially responsible, it is needed for the organizational managers to inform its stakeholders about the CSR both internally and externally. The overview of the report discusses why managers need to discuss CSR and its issues firstly.

Main body

Issue 1: Communicating organizational commitment to CSR

Subheading 1: What managers should communicate in and why?

It is very much required for the organizations not just to resolve policies to let the stakeholders aware of corporate social responsibility, but they should actively let the managers inform what they want to inform about their commitment to CSR (Growther 2018). Fundamentally managers need to make it clear to their subordinates and other stakeholders that they come across over the organizational stand towards CSR. Its commitment and its dedication towards compliance in CSR need to be well established. For example, British petroleum once after committed to CSR, changed its name to BP and added a tag line like Beyond Petroleum, which indicates its commitment towards environmental concerns and green practices. Managers should employ such tactics and strategies both to communicate verbally and non-verbally, the essence of the organizational outlook towards CSR. Managers should communicate this essential core philosophy of organization towards CSR, to let its stakeholders be prepared to adapt this change and make it a practice in their own actions.

Subheading 2: Who do managers communicate with internally and externally to maintain the knowledge of corporate social responsibility compliance of a company and how?

Managers need to communicate the attitude and the specific activities which the organization willing to take up in this connection to its stakeholders. However, an intimation of the same to both its internal and external stakeholders do depend on several factors like the role of the stakeholders and their significance in getting these things done. For example, a green initiative of the organization need to be communicated to the production department and design departments of the organization to constrain the emissions and the pollutions from the organization. Also, initiatives like socially responsible elements like abandoning child and women labor need to be intimated to the human resources management and the production teams internally. At the same time to enforce the same in the supply chain network and vendor list of the organization, corporate managers can work on to inform the organization's commitment to the green initiatives to all its vendors. Only those vendors that do compliant with these socially responsible activities can be included in its preferential list. Hence to be aligned with and to get its vision and mission towards socially responsible activities be met with, managers need to inform their commitment to both the internal and external stakeholders (Lim 2017, P.770). A good example in this is Woolworth Retail Company, it has communicated its commitment to all its vendors about its CSR and only those organizations who are committed to social responsibility do exist in its list at present. Unless the company makes it clear about its compliance for this directive, the stakeholders cannot become part of the mission. Further to avail certain corporate privileges like carbon tax credits for being an environmentally concerned company, it is required for the company to inform its initiatives and compliances towards social responsibility. Further, it will also need to inform statistical information to the regulatory authorities to get privileges. Hence the corresponding managers need to communicate about all these aspects to the concerned stakeholders with clarity. Typical internal stakeholders that will be informed of the corporate social responsibility will include Managerial staff at different levels, a board of directors (for their concern and approval), Employees and shareholders of the organization. External stakeholders are the large collection of agents they do include unions, distributors, society at large, associations like ecological communities, vendors, trade associations, host communities(when working in other countries), competitors, Financial organizations, Regulatory agencies, Media personnel as well as professional societies etc(fig-1).

t4 image.pngCommunication of the corporate responsibility can be done in several means, they can be informed in terms of the brochures, internal circulars, informative notices, by publications in annual reports, by providing with informative sheets to the concerns employees, through general body meetings, internal departmental meetings etc. Even communication for stakeholders like those present external to the organization can be done through online means like websites, emails and e-informative letters etc. Either information can be shared by their respective managers or the stakeholders they do deal within the organization or even exclusive corporate communications division can work on to inform the concerned stakeholders about the organizational initiatives, practices, corporate social responsibility activities, statistics, insights into the issues, achievements etc(Martinez, Fernandez & Fernandez 2016, P.9).

Issue 2: Communicating about corporate social responsibility practices

Subheading 1 Whom do managers communicate internally and externally about this issue

Managers are expected to communicate the typical CSR practices identified by the organization to the stakeholders who are directly related to the particular activity as well to the stakeholders who are not directly related to. They can be from both the internal and external to the organization. For example, typical initiatives of corporate social responsibility in terms of using only bio-degradable package material is an initiative to be informed to its internal package and distribution teams, to its procurement teams as well to its vendors. Further, this initiative is needed to be informed to the accountants and managers as well. This is important as all these stakeholders are directly related to implementing an action plan in this regard. They do work on to materialize the vision of the organization to be socially responsible. However, still, customers also will be informed by means of the labeling on the cartoon packages, advertisements and in other product information brochures. This information will enlighten consumers about organizational initiatives and brand commitment. A new brand outlook and loyalty are more likely to develop from CSR conscious consumers. Though they are not directly related to the implementation of the CSR practices, they need to be informed to enlighten them with the organizational policies and procedures. (Rasche, Morsing & Moon 2017)

Subheading 2: Why do managers communicate internally and externally to maintain this Issue and why?

Managers do communicate about this issue of corporate social responsibility and work on to implement the same in the organization. Unless there is communication, there cannot be compliance actions(Tang, Gallagher and Bie 2015, P.206). Procurement department unless is informed of its plans to employ bio-degradable paper for a package, they will not take up initiatives to make tenders and seek to procure this material for its organizational usage. Also when there is no such communication to other internal stakeholders likes production teams, dispatch divisions, the organization commitment towards this cannot be known and they cannot become part of this initiative of the organization. Also, managers when communicating to the external stakeholders to the consumers, they do understand the company vision and probably may make its products as the preferential option of selection. Only when the consumers are provided with good insight into the product and the profiling of its images, they can actually grab the territory which comprises the essential brand character and product truth characteristics (fig-2).

t5 image.png

Also by understanding the overview of the organizational progression in this direction and by understanding the key challenges the company is facing from time to time(Crane and Glozer 2016, P.1224), it is possible for other stakeholders to tune their activities for this cause. They can learn the lessons and can develop better implementation strategies.

Issue 3: communicating transparently the genuine picture of the organization

Subheading 1: Who do managers communicate internally and external about this issue?

All the related stakeholders discussed in the preceding discussion will be informed about the transparent stand of the organization in this direction. They will be informed of the organizational commitment, progress, challenges faced, further action plans for future, achievements etc (Pérez and Del Bosque 2015, P.575).

Subheading 2: Why managers need to communicate the right picture about CSR

Communicating about the organizational commitment to CSR is very much needed to diverse stakeholders like consumers and others to let them understand that the organization is both a talk and walk company too. There are several Gorilla marketing strategies, where only organizations will communicate the CSR commitments however they never bother to implement them in practice, in such cases it all add upto remain only a green wash to the company. They do not add any value in the customer perspective. Hence it is needed for the organizations to both speak and walk about what they say. When managers communicate about their vision and their compliance in this direction, obviously it works on to create favorable positive imaging of the brand.

Conclusion

Communication is not needed to be just contextual and significant but it is also required to be error-free to let its audience receive the right message. The report discussed the significance of communication in the organization in the context of corporate responsibility. Corporate social responsibility of the organization will change the customer perspective and do add to brand value and brand images. Hence managers have to inform all the related stakeholders, internal as well as external of their commitment to the corporate social responsibility. Not just indicating their compliance and commitment, rather the actual practices the organization is practicing and the possible implications of these practices to the organization in short term and long term are discussed in the report. There is also detailed presentation done about the possible list of internal and external stakeholders to whom the CSR compliance information and progression of the organization commitment in this direction to be informed about, how they need to be communicated and what to be informed in specific.

 

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