LITERATURE REVIEW 2.0 INTRODUCTIONThissection will review the literature on corporate communication strategies andwill also look at the meaning of stakeholders, principles of stakeholderengagement and steps in stakeholder engagement.
Finally, it will look atrelevant theories and how these theories explain the study. 2.1 CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONSTRATEGIES Asexplained by (Bahtiar, 2008), corporate communication strategies canbe viewed as the useful system whichgives concentration and bearing to an organization’s correspondence with itsstakeholders. Corporate communication involves choosing the communication thatought to be done to help with accomplishing an organization’s goals, hencecorporate communication strategy is the approach that coordinates the functionof corporate communication and gives a sign of its positioning for the future.It is the system that drives this function towards effectiveness instead oftowards 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 toget pretty much consideration. Corporate communication strategy is a proactivecapability to adjust the organization to changes in the expectations andopinions of their stakeholders.
It can create competitive advantage through theearly discovery and management of issues, including key stakeholders in basicleadership – giving the organization the autonomy to focus on accomplishing itsmain goals. Corporatecommunication strategy takes more modern methods of dealing with strategy, e.g.adjusting the organization to patterns, events, and stakeholders in theenvironment (‘adaptive’ strategy). It likewise concentrates on connections,symbolic actions and communication, emphasizing attitudinal and intellectualintricacy among various stakeholders, which is the substance of ‘interpretive’strategy.
Adopting this approach to strategy is effortlessly explained whileconsidering that the task of corporate communication is, 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 corporatecommunication strategy is impacted for the most part by the organization’sundertaking procedure and gives vital contributions to the enterprise strategy,it additionally 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 described 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. Thereare the individuals and groups who are directly influenced by the choices ofthe organization, and there are the individuals and groups who are not. Directstakeholders include employees, investors, customers, shareholders, among others,while examples of indirect stakeholders include: government, unions, industryassociations, media, competitors, NGOs and academic institutions. Stakeholders canalso be classified as internal and external partners.
Internal stakeholders arethe individuals or bodies within a business (e.g., employees, managers), whileexternal partners are elements that are not within the business but ratherthink about or are influenced by its execution (e.g.
, customers, suppliers). 2.3 STEPS IN ENGAGING WITH STAKEHOLDERS1Followingthe (AccountAbility, 2011) model, the stepsinvolved in engaging with stakeholders are: Recognize Stakeholders and KeyIssues Profilestakeholders to perceive their interests, knowledge, and ability to engage andcategorize or outline stakeholders in view of their impact on the organization.These are no impact, low impact, some impact or high impact. Alternative waysto outline stakeholders include reliance on the organization, proximity and soon. This can be refined through rating scales or different strategies properfor the organization and context. It is vital to prioritize which issues andstakeholders that are most imperative to the organization and to distinguishthe legitimate and responsible representatives of each stakeholder. Establish Objectives and ProcessDeterminethe extent of the procedure, frequency, level of engagement, channel andmethod, setting goals and agree on expectations of stakeholders.
Anotherimportant process is deciding the ideal strategies and resources to accomplishthe set objectives and how the ensuing results can be measured. Implement PlanManagersshould, ensure that the procedure pushes ahead as arranged, accumulate data,and organize with any third parties that are included, they should emphasizecommitment to engagement overall levels of organizational corporate and workingregions, communicate progress to all stakeholders on a frequent and clear basisand create a way for permit stakeholders an opportunity to give feedback amidthe process. Review and ReportMonitorhow results compare with original objectives. Utilize these discoveries andcriticism to amend the plan as required and capture key learning’s that can beconnected to future stakeholder engagement activities and also communicate tostakeholders the results of the engagement process as this fosters trustbetween them and the organization.
PRINCIPLES FOR SUCCESSFULENGAGEMENT 2Engage with stakeholders early andoften: Communication with stakeholders builds trust anddemonstrates that the organization is committed to the engagement process.Itis essential to keep correspondence lines with key stakeholders open, even whenit may appear to be unnecessary. Make it easy for stakeholders tocomprehend: Guarantee that the method of engagementis easy to understand and fully available to stakeholders. Adopt a long-term approach toengagement: Developing a long-term relationshipwith stakeholders can enhance stability and sustainability of any operationsundertaken.Remain insightful and sincere:Listening is essential to successful stakeholder engagement as stakeholderswill be all the more ready to take part if they feel that they are being heard.Mutually define expectations:Setting of objectives and a plausible engagement plan increase organizationalaccountability.
These should be adaptable in order to suit any other interests ofstakeholders that emerge. Tailor the strategy to thesituation: Different stakeholders will require various levelsof engagement depending on the organization, size, and numerous other elements.What is essential, is the quality and authenticity of stakeholder engagement. Sensitivity to stakeholder progression:Elements of culture, gender, and politics can be critical to variousstakeholders.
Endeavors on the organization’s part to comprehend these as theyrelate to these groups can guarantee that the organization is interfacing witha person or group that is seen as a trusted specialist by the stakeholders itis attempting to engage.Recognize challenges:Organizations should factor in stakeholder expectations and prepare for anychallenges that may arise as a result of these expectations not being met. 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 aboutin broad terms, but also how to think in particular, and after that what tothink. 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 everytopic. Essentially, the news media can set the agenda for the generalpopulation’s attention regarding that little specific gathering of issuesaround which popular opinion forms.Thistheory lines up with corporate communications in that organizations utilize themedia as a strategy to change the mind of their stakeholders and the overallpublic. With the media, organizations distribute what they want theirstakeholders to believe, they shape the psyche of their stakeholders with themedia and they utilize the media to adjust the mind of their partners to whatthey need their stakeholders to believe.
2.4.2 DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONSTHEORYThisis a theory by (Rogers E. , 1971) that seeks to clarify how, why, and atwhat rate new ideas and innovation spread. An innovation is “an idea,practice, or object that is seen to be new by an individual or another unit ofadoption” and Rogers argues that diffusion is the procedure by which adevelopment is communicated over time among the participants in a socialsystem. For (Rogers E. M., 2003), adoption is choosing to make full useof an innovation and rejection is a choice not to adopt an innovation.
(Rogers E. M., 2003) suggests in hisresearch that four principal elements impact the spread of a new idea: theinnovation, channels used to communicate the idea, time, and a social structure.
The innovation must be broadly adopted with a clear end in sight in order toself-sustain. Thistheory is important to this study in that it indicates how information isimparted and adopted by audiences over time. When organizations transmit newideas, they usually go through distinctive stages before it is embraced. Thosewho embrace it quickly are called “early adopters”, those who do not are called”late adopters”, while those who do not trust the information or find itdifficult to reconcile with the information and what they believe to be trueare called “laggards”. Additionally, individuals have a tendency to trust theircolleagues and friends over the organization directly; in other words,information and ideas are embraced quicker when it is done through word ofmouth and referrals. Organizations trying to engage stakeholders ought to seehow information and ideas are received from diverse groups of people. 2.
4.3 GATEKEEPING THEORY (Lewin, 1947) coinedthe word “Gatekeeping” which means to block undesirable or futilethings by using a gate. Here, the individual who makes decisions is called the”Gatekeeper”.
The Gatekeeper chooses what information should move towhat group or individual and what information should not. The gatekeeper isimpacted by things such as social, cultural, moral and political matters inchoosing which information to let through. Through gatekeeping, theundesirable, torpid and disputable information is expelled by the gatekeeperwhich helps to control the general public or a group and put them on the rightpath.
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 toomit, organizations likewise utilize the gatekeeping theory to choose whichinformation to pass on to their stakeholders. Some information is hidden whilesome are shared. GatekeepingModel (adapted from http://communicationtheory.org/gatekeeping-hypothesis/2017) 2.5 EMPIRICAL FRAMEWORKIntheir study, (Arpan & Roskos-Ewoldsen, 2005) performed anexperiment that studied the idea of “stealing thunder” which was defined as”when an organization releases information about a crisis before the news mediaor others release the information”3.They also argued a case for of being quick to tell the organization’s side ofthe story in a crisis rather than waiting for external entities to report thecrisis. (Barton, 2001) in his article, also gave insights into crisis management,showing the role of communication and good relations between an organizationand its publics in order to manage crises effectively and the need for anorganization to speak with one voice amid a crisis; while Garney and Jorden(1993) in their article, stressed the need for a message strategy amid crisismanagement.
Ina further study by (Coombs, 1995), it wasdemonstrated that past crises strengthenthe reputational capital in current crises.Since the news media reminds people of past crises, it is normal fororganizations to look at past crises as well. Greater responsibility impliescrises is, to a greater extent, a danger to an organization’s reputation andthat the organization must concentrate their response more on tending to thevictims’ concerns.
In(Coombs, 2004b) he showed this in a caseanalysis of the West Pharmaceutical 2003 Explosion at its Kinston, NC Facility.The study demonstrated the extensive use of the Internet to keep employees andvarious stakeholders educated amid the crisis. The crises communicationstandards offered in the study were also suggestions for how crises managerscan coordinate their crises response to the nature of the crises themselves.(Coombs & Holladay, 2006) examined in astudy what happens when a good pre-crises reputation can protect anorganization with a “halo effect”. The halo effect posits that strong positivefeelings of stakeholders for an organization will enable them to overlook anegative event which can shield an organization from damage to their reputationamid crises. The study found that it was only in very specific circumstances thatthis halo effect occurs as in most crises, the reputation of an organization isinevitably damaged. Also according to thestudy, an organization should ideally have a good reputation among its relevantpublics before any crisis even occurs. The better an organization’s reputation beforea crisis occurs, the stronger their reputation will be after the crises and theeasier it should be to repair.
Anotherstudy by (Downing, 2003) on American Airlines use of mediatedemployee channel after the 9/11 attacks, took a look how American Airlines usedits intranet, websites and reservation system to keep employees educated after9/11. The article remarked on the use of employee assistance programs after atraumatic event and recommendations included utilizing every available channelto advise and train employees during and post-crisis and advising thatorganizations ‘ grey out colour from their websites, reflecting the solemnnature of the situation. Ina study by (Sturges, 1994), this article emphasized howcommunication needs shift amid crises. The primary need is for the informationthat advises individuals how to shield themselves physically from crises. Thefollowing need is the information that helps individuals to cope mentally withthe crises. The third and last kind of communication is reputation repair. Reputationrepair is just used once when trainingand modifying information have been given. In(Taylor & Kent, 2007), their articleabridged the best practices for utilizing the Internet amid a crisis andadvocates for more organizations to use the Internet, especially websites,during a crisis.
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