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 which gives concentration and bearing to anorganization’s correspondence with its stakeholders. Corporate communicationinvolves choosing the communication that ought to be done to help withaccomplishing an organization’s goals, hence corporate communication strategyis the approach that coordinates the function of corporate communication andgives a sign of its positioning for the future. It is the system that drivesthis function towards 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 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 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 and groups who are directly influenced by the choices of theorganization, and there are the individuals and groups who are not specificallyaffected by the choice of the organization. Casesof direct stakeholders include employees, creditors, contractors, investors, owners,customers, clients, consumers, shareholders, vendors, distributors andsuppliers.
While examples of indirect stakeholders include: government, unions,community, cooperatives, industry associations, media, trade associations,competitors, civil society, NGOs and academic institutions.Stakeholdersare likewise classified as internal and external partners. Internalstakeholders are the individuals or bodies within a business (e.g., employees,managers, the board of directors, investors), while external partners areelements that are not within the business but rather think about or areinfluenced by its execution (e.g., customers, suppliers). 2.
3 STEPS IN ENGAGING WITHSTAKEHOLDERS1Followingthe (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. Alternativedimensions that can be utilized to outline stakeholders include reliance on theorganization, proximity and so on. This can be refined through rating scales ordifferent strategies proper for the organization and context.
It is vital toprioritize which issues and stakeholders that are most imperative to theorganization and to distinguish the legitimate and responsible representativesof each stakeholder. Establish Objectives and ProcessDeterminingthe extent of the procedure, frequency, level of engagement, channel andmethod, setting goals and agreeing on expectations are vital to communicatingwith stakeholders. Also, important is deciding the ideal strategies toaccomplish the set objectives and how the ensuing results can be measured.Distinguishing all requirements for disclosure and engagement which might beregulatory or financial and allocating the people or group in charge of theprocedure and doing the distinct segments of the plan are also vital tostakeholder and company communication.
Decide the resources required forengagement and distinguish training needs in order to fully accomplishstakeholder engagement. Set up a strategy for archiving all progress made andensuing results. Implement PlanManagersensure that the procedure pushes ahead as arranged, accumulate data, andorganize with any third parties that are included; emphasize commitment toengagement overall levels of organizational corporate and working regions;communicate progress to all stakeholders on a frequent and clear basis;authorize composed grievance instruments to permit stakeholders an opportunityto 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 connectedto future stakeholder engagement activities. Give general and straightforwardinformation to stakeholders about the results of the engagement. PRINCIPLES FOR SUCCESSFULENGAGEMENT 2Engage with stakeholders early andoften: Proactive and straightforward correspondence withstakeholders builds trust and demonstrates that the organization is committedto the engagement process. It is essential to keepcorrespondence lines with key stakeholders open, notwithstanding where thismight appear to be unneeded, as this can guarantee more successful criticalthinking when an issue arises. Make it easy for stakeholders to comprehend:Guarantee that the method (language, technology, medium, and so forth) ofengagement is easy to understand and available to stakeholders. Adopt a long-term approach toengagement: Developing a long-term relationshipwith stakeholders can enhance stability and sustainability of operations. 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 distinctiveinterests of stakeholders 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:Engagement requires time and resource and thus, stakeholders’ expectations canprompt disillusionment if their views are not satisfactorily incorporated intodecision-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 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 INNOVATIONSTHEORYDiffusionis the “process by which a development is communicated through specificchannels over a period of time among the members of a social system”. Aninnovation is “an idea, practice, or object that is seen to be new by anindividual or another unit of adoption”. “Communication is a processin which participants create and share information with each other to achieve amutual understanding” (Rogers E.
, 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 socialsystem. For (Rogers E. M., 2003), adoption is achoice of “full use of an innovation as the best course of actionavailable” and rejection is a choice “not to adopt aninnovation”.
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 more prone to embrace an innovation;(4) the results for people and society of embracing a development; and (5)communication channels used as a part of the adoption process.(Rogers E. M.
, 2003) suggests that fourprinciple elements impact the spread of a new idea: the innovation itself,communication channels, time, and a social system. This procedure depends onhuman resources. The innovation must be broadly adopted with a clear end insight in order to self-sustain.
Within the adoption rate, there is a time whenan innovation achieves critical mass. The information flows through networks.The nature of networks and the parts opinion leaders play in them decide theprobability that the innovation will be adopted. Thistheory is important to this study 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 theinformation and what they see are called laggards. The theory additionallydemonstrates that the best method for motivating individuals to embraceinformation or an idea is to utilize word of mouth or personal referrals.Individuals have a tendency to trust their colleagues and friends; in otherwords, information and ideas are embraced quicker when it is done through wordof mouth and referrals.
Organizations trying to engage stakeholders ought tosee how information and ideas are received from 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 FRAMEWORK(Argenti, 2002) in his study oncrisis communication lessons from 9/11 published in the Harvard Businessreview, gave insights into working with employees during crises. Theinformation was gotten from interviews with supervisors on their reactions tothe 9/11 tragedies. In another study, (Arpan & Roskos-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 crisis before the news media or others release theinformation”. The results of the experiment found that stealing thunder bringsabout higher credibility for an organization rather than allowing others toreport the crisis first. They gave additional evidence to support the notion ofbeing quick to tell the organization’s side of the story in a crisis.
(Barton,2001) in his article, gave insights into crisis management. He showed the roleof communication and public relations/affairs in crises management process andthe need to speak with one voice. The article provided information on crisesmanagement process and the need to speak with one voice. Garneyand Jorden (1993) in their article, stressed the need for a message strategyamid crisis management. They posited that creating and sharing a strategy helpsan organization to speak with one voice amid crises.Ina further study by (Coombs, 1995) Impactof Past Crises on Current Crises Communication: Insights from SituationalCrises Communication Theory, published by Journal of Business Communication, hedemonstrated that past crises strengthens the reputational risk to a currentcrises. Since the news media reminds people of past crises, it is normal fororganizations in crises to look past crises as well. He counseled that crisesmanagers ought to alter their reputational repair strategies.
If there werepast crises, crises managers would need to utilize more accommodativestrategies than they typically would. Accidents are a good example of this.Past accidents indicate a pattern of issues so individuals will see theorganization as being significantly more responsible for the crises than if theaccident were isolated. Greater responsibility implies crises is, to a greaterextent, a danger to an organization’s reputation and that the organization mustconcentrate their response more on tending to the victims’ concerns.In(Coombs, 2004b) he showed this in a caseanalysis of the West Pharmaceutical 2003 Explosion at its Kinston, NC Facility.
The study demonstrated that the case documents the extensive use of theInternet to keep employees and various stakeholders educated and furthermorebuilt up a developed a list of crisis communication standards. The crisescommunication standards offered suggestions for how crises managers cancoordinate 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; it 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 isinevitable damaged. Also according to the study, an organization accumulatesreputational capital by positively engaging publics before any crisis evenoccurs. A crisis causes an organization to lose some reputational capital.
Themore reputational capital an organization has before a crisis occurs, thestronger the reputation will be after the crises and the easier it should be torepair. Inanother study by (Downing, 2003) on American Airline’s use of mediatedemployee channel after the 9/11 attacks published by Public Relations review,the study demonstrated how American Airlines used its intranet, websites andreservation system to keep employees educated after 9/11. The article likewiseremarked on the use of employee assistance programs after a traumatic event.Recommendations included utilizing every accessible channel to advise and trainemployees amid and after a crisis and also recommending that organizations ‘grey out colour from their websites, reflecting the solemn nature of thesituation. Ina study by (Sturges, 1994) Imparting through Emergencies: A Systemfor Organizational Survival, published by Management Communication, thisarticle emphasized how communication needs shift amid crises. The primary needis for instructing information, the information that advises individuals how toshield themselves physically from crises. The following need is adjusting information,the information that helps individuals to cope mentally with the crises.
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1 Adapted from: AccountAbility,AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard 2011 – Final Exposure Draft.2 SustainAbility, Practices andPrinciples for Successful Stakeholder Engagement, October 2007.