LITERATURE REVIEW 2.0 INTRODUCTIONThissection will review the literature oncorporate communication strategies and will also look at the meaning ofstakeholders, principles of stakeholder engagement and steps in stakeholderengagement. Finally, it will look at relevant theories and how these theoriesexplain the study. 2.
1 CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONSTRATEGIES Asexplained by (Bahtiar, 2008), corporate communicationstrategies can be viewed as the usefulsystem which gives concentration and bearing to an organization’scorrespondence with its stakeholders. Corporate communication involves choosingthe communication that ought to be done to help with accomplishing anorganization’s goals, hence corporate communication strategy is the approachthat coordinates the function of corporate communication and gives a sign ofits positioning for the future. It is the system that drives this functiontowards effectiveness instead of towards productivity. Itshould be noted that the corporate communication strategies ought to beproduced within the setting of the organization’s central mission and vision,objectives and goals, corporate culture and policies. It creates a profile thatcan be utilized to figure out which stakeholders of an organization ought to getpretty much consideration.
Corporate communication strategy is a proactive capabilityto adjust the organization to changes in the expectations and opinions of theirstakeholders. It can create competitive advantage through the early discoveryand management of issues, including key stakeholders in basic leadership -giving the organization the autonomy to focus on accomplishing its main goals. Corporatecommunication strategy takes after the more modern ways to deal with strategy,e.g. adjusting the organization to patterns, events, and stakeholders in the environment(‘adaptive’ strategy).
It likewise concentrates on connections, symbolicactions and communication, emphasizing attitudinal and intellectual intricacyamong various stakeholders, which is the substance of ‘interpretive’ strategy.Adopting this approach to strategy iseffortlessly explained while considering that the task of corporate communicationis, by definition, building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders/publics’.Thecorporate communication strategy serves as a connection between the capacity ofcorporate communications and the business. Despite the fact that the corporate communicationstrategy is impacted for the most part by the organization’s undertakingprocedure and gives vital contributions to the enterprise strategy, itadditionally supports the corporate and business methodologies. Theprocess building up a corporate communication strategy gives the key approachrequired by organizations to recognize issues and stakeholders proactively, andto oversee correspondence with their vital stakeholders. 2.
2 STAKEHOLDERSAstakeholder is any individual or group that either positively or negatively,impacts or is affected by the choices and activities of an organization. It canlikewise be alluded to as any individual or group who has a personal stake inthe result of an organization’s activities. Stakeholders are classified in viewof the degree to which the choices of the organization influence them. We havethe individuals who are directly influenced by the choices of the organization;and there are the individuals who are not specifically affected by the choiceof the organization. Casesof direct stakeholders include: Employees, Creditors, Contractors, Investors,Owners, Customers, Clients, Consumers, Shareholders, Vendors, Distributors and Suppliers.While examples of indirect stakeholders include: Government, Unions, Community,Cooperatives, Industry Associations, Media, Trade Associations, Competitors), Civil Society, NGOs and AcademicInstitutions.
Stakeholdersare likewise classified as internal and external partners. Internal stakeholdersare the individuals or bodies within a business (e.g.
, employees, managers, the board of directors, investors), while externalpartners are elements that are not within the business but rather think aboutor are influenced by its execution (e.g., customers, suppliers). 2.3 STEPS IN ENGAGING WITHSTAKEHOLDERSFollowingthe (AccountAbility, 2011) model, the stepsinvolved in engaging with stakeholders are: Recognize Stakeholders and KeyIssues Profilestakeholders to perceive their interests, knowledge, and ability to engage; Categorizeor outline stakeholders in view of their impact in the organization.
These are:no impact, low impact, some impact orhigh impact. Alternative dimensions that can be utilized to outlinestakeholders include: reliance on the organization,proximity and so on. This can be refined through rating scales or differentstrategies proper for the organization and context. It is vital to prioritizethe issues and stakeholders that are most imperative to the business.Distinguish who are the legitimate and accountable representatives of eachstakeholder. Establish Objectives and ProcessDetermineon the extent of the procedure, frequency, level of engagement, channel and method.Set vital goals and agree on expectations. Decide the most ideal strategies to accomplish the set objectives and howresults can be measured.
Distinguish all requirements for disclosure andengagement which might be regulatory or financial. Allocate the people or groupin charge of the procedure and doing the distinctivesegments of the plan. Decidethe accessible resources required for engagement and distinguish training needsin order accomplish viable stakeholder engagement. This may incorporate knowledgesharing on the procedure and issues, supporting improvement of particular skills,or expanding assets, time or access to information. Set up a strategy forarchiving progress and results.
Implement PlanManagersensure that the procedure pushes ahead as arranged, accumulate data, andorganize with any third parties that are included; embed commitment regardingengagement over all levels oforganization corporate and working regions; convey progress to all stakeholderson a frequent and transparent basis; authorize composed grievance instrumentsto permit stakeholders an opportunity to give feedback amid the process. Review and ReportMonitorhow results compare with original objectives. Utilize discoveries and criticismto amend the plan as required and capture key learning’s that can be connected in future stakeholder engagement activities.
Give general and straightforward information to stakeholders about the results ofthe engagement. PRINCIPLESFOR SUCCESSFUL ENGAGEMENTEngagewith stakeholders early and often: Proactive,straightforward correspondence with stakeholders builds trust and demonstratesthat the organization is committed to engagement. It is essential to stay in communicationwith key stakeholders even when there is not a pressing need, as this canprepare for more effective problem solving when an issue arises. Makeit easy for stakeholders to comprehend: Guarantee that the format(language, technology, medium, and so forth) of engagement is comprehended byand available to stakeholders. Adopta long-term approach to engagement: Developing a long-termrelationship with stakeholders can enhance operational stability and sustainability.
Remaininsightful and sincere: Listening is essential. Successfulengagement can improve an organization’s reputation and brand, and stakeholderswill be all the more ready to take part, if they feel that they are beingheard. Mutuallydefine expectations: Setting up objectives and a plausibleengagement plan increase ownership and accountability. These should beadaptable in order to suit distinctive interests that emerge. Tailorengagement to the situation: Different stakeholders willrequire distinctive levels of engagement depending upon the organization or projecttype, stage, size, and numerous other elements. What is essential, is thequality and authenticity of stakeholder engagement. Sensitivityto stakeholder dynamics:Culture, gender, and political balance can be critical to various stakeholdersgroups.
Endeavor to comprehend these and guarantee that the organization isinterfacing with a person or group that is seen as an authentic specialist bythe stakeholders it is attempting to engage.Recognize challenges:Engagement requires time and resources. Likewise, stakeholders’ expectations canprompt disillusionment if their views are not satisfactorily incorporated into decision-making. 2.4 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK2.
4.1 AGENDA SETTING THEORYThistheory, set by (McCombs & Shaw, 1972) highlights thesignificance of the media in shaping how individuals think and how to thinkabout issues. The media do not just educate individuals on what to think about inbroad terms, but also how to think in particular, and after that what to think.Thus, media shape top-of-mind presence regarding issues. Newspapersgive a large group of cues about the salience of the matters in the daily news– lead story on page one, other first page display, huge headlines, and so on.Television news likewise offers numerous cues about salience – the openingstory on the broadcast, period of time dedicated to the story, etc. Thesesignals rehashed for a long time successfully impart the significance of every topic.Essentially, the news media can set the agenda for the general population’s attentionregarding that little specific gathering of issues around which popular opinionforms.
Thistheory lines up with corporate communications in that organizations utilize themedia as a strategy to change the mind of their stakeholders and the overall public.With the media, organizations distribute what they want their stakeholders tobelieve, they shape the psyche of their stakeholders with the media and theyutilize the media to adjust the mind of their partners to what they need their stakeholdersto believe. 2.
4.2DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS THEORYDiffusionis the “process by which a development is communicated through specificchannels over a period of time among the members of a social system”. An innovationis “an idea, practice, or object that is seen to be new by an individualor other unit of adoption”. “Communication is a process in which participantscreate and share information with each other to achieve a mutual understanding” (Rogers, 1971).Itis a theory that seeks to clarify how, why, and at what rate new ideas andinnovation spread. Rogers argues that diffusion is the procedure by which adevelopment is communicated over time among the participants in a social system.
For Rogers (2003), adoption is a choice of “full use of an innovation asthe best course of action available” and rejection is a choice “notto adopt an innovation”. Diffusionresearch has concentrated on five areas: (1) the characteristics of aninnovation which may impact its adoption; (2) the decision-making process thathappens when people consider adopting a new thought, product or practice; (3)the attributes of people that make them prone to embracing an innovation; (4)the results for people and society of embracing a development; and (5) communicationchannels used as a part of the adoption process.Rogerssuggests that four principle elements impact the spread of a new idea: the innovationitself, communication channels, time, and a social system. This proceduredepends heavily on human capital.
The innovation must be broadly embraced witha specific end goal in order to self-sustain. Within the adoption rate, thereis a time when an innovation achieves critical mass. The information flowsthrough networks. The nature of networks and the parts opinion leaders play inthem decide the probability that the innovation will be adopted. Thistheory is important to this study in in that it indicates how information isimparted and adopted by audiences over time. When organizations convey data,the information experiences distinctive stages, before it is embraced. Theindividuals who embrace it on time are called early adopters, the individualswho do not receive it on time are called late adopters, while the individualswho do not trust the data or think that it is difficult to reconcile with the informationand what they see are called laggards. The theory additionally demonstratesthat the best method for motivating individuals to embrace information or anidea, is to utilize word of mouth or personal referrals.
Individuals have atendency to trust their colleagues and friends; in other words, information andideas are embraced quicker when it is done through word of mouth and referrals.Organizations trying to engage stakeholders ought to see how information andideas are received among groups of people. 2.4.3 GATEKEEPING THEORY (Lewin, 1947) coined the word “Gatekeeping”which means to block undesirable or futile things by using a gate. Here, theindividual who makes decisions is called the “Gatekeeper”.
The Gatekeeperchooses what information should move to whatgroup or individual and what information should not. Here, the gatekeeperis the decision maker who influences thewhole social system. The gatekeeper is impacted by things such as social, cultural,moral and political matters in choosing which information to let through.Through gatekeeping, the undesirable, torpid and disputable information isexpelled by the gatekeeper which helps to control the general public or a groupand put them on the right path. Likea news editor who chooses which news to distribute or a pastor who chooseswhich message to preach or an educator who chooses what to teach and what to omit,organizations likewise utilize the gatekeeping theory to choose which informationto pass on to their stakeholders. Some information is hidden while some isshared. GatekeepingModel (adopted from http://communicationtheory.org/gatekeeping-hypothesis/2017) 2.
5 EMPIRICAL FRAMEWORK(Argenti, 2002) in his study oncrisis communication lessons from 9/11 published in the Harvard Business review,gave insights into working with employees during crises. The information wasgotten from interviews with supervisors on their reactions to the 9/11tragedies. In another study, Arpan and Rosokos – Ewoldsen (2005) in their studyStealing Thunder: An Analysis of The Effects of Positive Disclosure of CrisisInformation, showed in their study an experiment that studied the idea ofstealing.
Stealing thunder was defined as when an organization releasesinformation about a rises before the news media or others release theinformation. The outcome found that stealing thunder brings about higher credibilityratings for an organization than allowing others to report the crisis first.They gave additional evidence to support the notion of being quick in a crisisand telling the organization’s side of the story. Barton (2001) in his article,gave insights into crises management. He showed the role of communication and publicrelations/affairs in crises management process and the need to speak with onevoice. The article provided information on crises management process and theneed to speak with one voice. Garneyand Jorden (1993) in their article, stressed the need for a message strategy amidcrisis management. They insisted that creating and sharing a strategy helps anorganization to speak with one voice amid crises.
Ina further study by Coombs (2004), Impact of Past Crises on Current CrisesCommunication: Insights from Situational Crises Communication Theory, publishedby Journal of Business Communication, he demonstrated that past crises strengthensthe reputational risk to a current crises. Since the news media reminds peopleof past crises, it is normal for organizations in crises to look past crises aswell. He counseled that crises managers ought to alter their reputationalrepair strategies. If there were past crises, crises managers would need toutilize more accommodative strategies than they typically would.
Accidents area good example of this. Past accidents indicate a pattern of issues soindividuals will see the organization as being significantly more responsible forthe crises than if the accident were isolated. Greater responsibility implies crisesis, to a greater extent, a danger for an organization’s reputation and that theorganization must concentrate their response more on tending to the victims’ concerns.InCoombs (2004), he showed this in his study, A Case Analysis of the West Pharmaceutical2003 Explosion at its Kinston, NC Facility. The study demonstrated that the casedocuments the extensive use of the Internet to keep employees and variousstakeholders educated and furthermore built up a developed a list of crisiscommunication standards.
The crises communication standards offered suggestionsfor how crises managers can coordinate their crises response to the nature ofthe crises themselves.Coombsand Holladay (2006), examined in a study what happens when a favorablepre-crises reputation can protect an organization with a halo effect. The haloeffect posits that strong positive feelings will enable individuals to overlooka negative event; it can shield an organization from reputational damage amid crises.The study found that only in very specific circumstances does the halo effectoccur. In most crises, the reputation is damaged, suggesting that reputationalcapital is a better method of viewing a solid positive pre-crisis reputation. Accordingto the study, an organization accumulates reputational capital by positivelyengaging publics. A crisis causes an organization to lose some reputationalcapital. The more pre-crises reputational capital, the stronger the reputationwill be after the crises and the easier it should be to repair.
Inanother study by Downing (2003) on American Airlines Use of Mediated EmployeeChannel After the 9/11 Attacks published by Public Relations review, the study demonstratedhow American Airlines used its intranet, websites and reservation system tokeep employees educated after 9/11. The article likewise remarked on the use ofemployee assistance programs after a traumatic event. Recommendations includedutilizing every single accessible channel to advise employees amid and after acrises and also recommending that organizations ‘gray out’ color from their websitesto reflect the solemn nature of the situation.
Ina study by Sturgess (1994), Imparting through Emergencies: A System for OrganizationalSurvival, published by Management Communication, this article emphasized howcommunication needs shift amid crises. The primary need is for instructinginformation, the information that advises individuals how to shield themselvesphysically from crises. The following need is adjusting information, theinformation that helps individuals to cope mentally with the crises. Theunderlying crises reaction demands a focus on instructing and adjustinginformation.
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