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Organizations throughout the world constantly look for ways to improve their function. One way to do so is to look at how each individual behaves within the structure of the organization. Organizational behavior is defined as “A field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior within organizations, for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organization’s effectiveness.” The vital aspect of communication plays an immense role in organizational behavior because miscommunication within an organization will most likely reduce productivity and has a high possibility of increasing error as well. Communication in general, is the process in which an individual modifies his or her response based on the behavior of the recipient of a message. The more accurate communication is transmitted throughout an organization in a both positive and supported manner often produces great sociability among the working staff. Even having clear and consistent communication will encourage a more productive workplace behavior. Such role of communication in organizational behavior creates a better feeling within workers making them feel as if they are in control of their environment. Organizations look to encourage positive communication between staff and clients, which has truly shown nothing but positive results.
Good communication is one of the most important tools in any organization, which can make or break a company. The operations within HanesBrands are an exceptional example of the effects of the communication process. “HanesBrands designs, manufactures, sources and sells a broad range of apparel essentials such as T-shirts, bras, panties, men’s underwear, kids’ underwear, casualwear, active wear, socks and hosiery.”(www.wikiinvest.com). It is safe to say that HanesBrands has been largely successful not only because of their comfortable and fitting clothing, but because of the positive working environment within the organization. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of HanesBrands Inc., Richard A. Noll takes a unique approach of using a metaphor to describe the importance of communication within an organization in the article “HanesBrands CEO Stresses Communication” writing by Mark D. Burd. This article highlights a presentation given by Noll to students at Tepper School of Business where he gives students his insights, career advice, and an explanation of the success of HanesBrands.
According to Burd, Richard A. Noll likened his career to white water rafting. At times, he states the water is calm, but you always have to be prepared for strong currents and rocks ahead. With a career in white water rafting, Noll would use his preparation of anticipating strong currents and rocks into a business perspective. Noll says,
“When you come out of school, you want to fine-tune your skills over the next decade. You have to learn to execute very well. Because you are going to hit those rocks later on. Those rocks are going to come faster and more furiously. You have to become better at bouncing off them.” (HanesBrands CEO Stresses Communication, Burd).
What Noll means by this is that students look to sharpen their knowledge and wrap everything they have learned around their future employment. This may be a simple task at first, but without full preparation, conflicts can arise. Noll expresses that you can get too comfortable with routines and forget that even the slightest change can cause serious problems. HanesBrands has in fact experienced a problem with this in the past. One party within the organization changed prices and announced the change on their website without contacting other parties. This not only led to conflict within the organization, but unsatisfied customers. Now, HanesBrands faced conflict within the organization and a threat of customers going to competition. Here, there was poor communication. In order to prevent this from happening, the sooner you let other individuals or departments know about any changes planned, the less likely another individual or department will be left in a difficult situation. Despite a minor miscommunication with in HanesBrands operation, the well-known company has proven to rise above past mistakes and create a successful business and a positive working environment because of proper communication.
Noll holds a good communication process responsible for HanesBrands wide success. It is by far, the most important aspect within organizations. Noll expresses, “If one has the want to be in any business or organization, they would have to communicate their ideas and thoughts to broad audiences.” Senior Manager in the Athletics Marketing at HanesBrands states that strong communication and leadership skills have successfully guided her to lead projects, create action and resolve issues. Such strong communication throughout an organization keeps a controlled and positive environment but more importantly, it allows companies to operate in a successful manner. Even in the latest recession, HanesBrands didn’t lose a step in their business operation. Noll says,
“We did well in a recession, business was booming in 2010. We are in 80 percent of United States households. Few Brands can claim that. Our consumers use our products every single day of their lives, come recession, come war, come good and bad times.” (HanesBrands CEO Stresses Communication, Burd).
Jenn Fusion of Demand Media explains why HanesBrands was successful in an economic crisis and still is today in her article “Why Effective Communication is Important for Businesses.” “Companies that communicate with courage, innovation and discipline, especially during times of economic challenge and change, are more effective at engaging employees and achieving desired business results.” Jamie Wallis, Marketing Manager at HanesBrands states that she is a strategic brand-marketing executive with strong experience in digital marketing, social media, relations, and brand strategy. Her skills at developing successful marketing campaigns while possessing excellent interpersonal and written communication skills have proven to be a main reason of HanesBrands success. It is because of employees and managers like Karen Swart and Jamie Wallis who encourage the communication process that has led to HanesBrands wide range of success across the globe. (Why Effective Communication is Important for Businesses, Fusion).
HanesBrands communication process demonstrates how to implement proper communication within business. The company is a prime example for other companies looking for a successful business, and a positive working environment. Unfortunately, not all companies across the globe find such great success because of their communication process within business.
HanesBrands has seen great results because of their ability to communicate within the organization. Yes, this may seem like a simple task but it is far from simple. Toyota Motor Corporation recently experienced harsh consequences for poor communication. In 2009, a public relations nightmare that had been brewing had become a full-fledged storm of terrible publicity when Toyota Motors Corporation recalled over 8.1 million vehicles due to a gas pedal and unintentional acceleration concern on February 4th, 2010. This led to the distrust of Toyota owners towards the previously well-trusted company all because of the company’s inactions. (“A Timeline of Toyota Recall Woes” 2010).
Toyota’s public relations response to the recall crisis was extremely slow causing many Americans to believe that the company had something to hide. The CEO of the company, Akio Toyoda, made a statement about the crisis on February 5th, 2010 as the American media criticized the company for a lack of transparency and action. Toyota had in fact been taking action. The issue was the Toyota had been practicing Japanese style public relations and was unprepared to face the cultural differences that turned the crisis into a media firestorm. This created more difficulty for the company because Toyota was faced differing viewpoints of its public relations practitioners in the two countries. (A Timeline of Toyota Recall Woes, 2010).
While the recall crisis took place, Media reports were on the rise of Japanese and American public relations practitioners as they would get into screaming matches during phone conferences while trying to convince one another whose way of communication was more effective. Nothing was good to come because of this and proved to be ineffective for both sides. Toyota representatives wasted time arguing about how to handle the crisis instead of addressing the issues.
For many countries, public relations can vary. In this case, the United States and Japan experience extreme difficulty in their communication process within the organization of Toyota. Public relations in Japan differ greatly from American communication. The article “Toyota’s President Getting Harsh PR Lesson” posted on the CBS News’ website states that when a crisis strikes in Asian countries, the company involved works silently to resolve the problem before addressing the media. In the United States, this method is seen as unprofessional where consumers, and other affected parties expect answers first followed by actions. Akio Toyoda quickly discovered the harsh reality of American business.
In America, the company’s CEO or President is to address whatever wrongdoing has taken place within the company that has potential, or as already effected customers when in crisis. However, apologies are not enough in America, as citizens desire answers and explanations. (Toyota’s President Getting Harsh PR Lesson). In the article “ Toyota’s President Getting Harsh PR Lesson” explain the contrast between the United States and Asian communication norms. Toyoda’s “poor crisis-management skills, couples with a corporate culture built on doing things slowly by consensus” are determined to be the reasons of Toyota’s public relations difficulties. Even with the rise of technology, globalization still spreads across the world. However, Toyota combined with Japanese methods of public relations unfortunately doesn’t translate well with other countries. So how does Toyota fix this problem?
The Toyota crisis would eventually fade from the media and Toyoda took several steps on ways to improve the company’s communication methods. Toyoda tried to “ shake up Toyota’s hidebound corporate culture by seeking outside advice.” (Toyota’s President Getting Harsh PR Lesson). However, it is still unclear of what steps Toyota has taken to resolve cultural issues and their public relations conflicts. After the crisis, Toyota would regain its pristine reputation making an outstanding comeback. In 2011, Toyota was the most purchased brand of new cars. (Toyota’s President Getting Harsh PR Lesson).
Toyota could have used several recommendations to avoid crisis. Before the crisis, the company should have held a mandatory cross-cultural program having representatives and executives of the company in different countries interact with one another. This would help them learn more about business practices of differing cultures before implementation. Even after the crisis, each of the public relations teams in different countries should have developed a specialized response for each country’s expectations when conflict arises.
Toyota’s public relations conflict clearly indicates how not to practice effective public relations. However, this will guide other companies from making similar mistakes. The recovery Toyota has had after their crisis is evidence that in today’s fast-paced world, consumers are forgiving if the company itself is willing to improve making drastic changes along the way.