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Apple is an American company and global operator of its business worldwide. It was established in the year 1977 that employs more than 35000 employees and making annual revenue of more than 32bn every year having its headquarter in California. Company is known for its products of electronics. It is the most adorable company and named in Fortune Magazine. This company has its main branches that are 393 retail branches in fourteen countries. The company has brought revolutionary change in the field of electronic specially phones and computers. Mr. Steve Jobs was the founder and CEO of Apple and was the biggest contributor in the success of the company. (Apple1inc. 2009)
Slogan of the company-"Think different"
Vision of the company-"Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings."
1.1 Identify the key stakeholders in the organization and for each stakeholders analyze the key information an knowledge they need. Compare your findings with the knowledge and information needed by stakeholders in other organizations.
Stakeholders-are the group of people having interest in the company's working as it can directly or indirectly affect their stake in the company. Stakeholders are the contributors in the business and have some interest in the company. The stakeholders are positively affected if company performs well and negative affects if something goes wrong with the activities, operations or profits of the company. Company's employees, investors, suppliers, trade unions, government, media and community all are stakeholders of the company as they are directly or indirectly involved in business operations of the company.(Philips, 2003)
Power and influence of stakeholders
Different stakeholders have different needs and requirement which at times are conflicting and cannot be satisfied at a time. Thus it is important for the business to apply power and influence matrix and prioritize the needs and wants of their stakeholders. For example, Increase in the salary and bonus to the employees may reduce the profit and bring reduction in profit which can affect earning per shares to the shareholders and investors rising to the conflicts among the needs of employees and shareholders of the business.
Knowledge and information needed by each stakeholders
Shareholders and employees are interested in the growth of the company which will result in profit. Profits will give more dividends to the shareholders and investors whereas employees will receive bonus and increase in remunerations. They will basically keep an eye on profitability ratios of the company expecting high percentage in gross profit and net profit ratios. In contrast to increase in profit resulting into increase in wage will affect the interest of shareholders resulting to the conflicts.
Investors-Being the financers and investors in Apple Company, that demands huge investment due to heavy expenditure on research and development activities, investors will look forward for profitability ratios, earning per share and market value of shares all time.
Suppliers- will have a good focus on company's growth through its profits as would like to know the returns of the company so as to understand solvency and paying capacity of the company. They would even like to know quick test ratio to understand the immediate paying power of the company.
Suppliers of electronic parts in Apple supply their goods on credit and thus making sure of returns is very much essential thus suppliers will check for accounts receivable and payable periods and also inventory turnover ratio along with current assets to current liability ratios.
Customers-are the players of the market, market trend all depends on customer buying capacity. It is important for business to produce and market the good as per the needs and wants of the customers so as to increase its market share in the business competition.
Apple is a renowned and top brand in the market today and is considered to be youth icon. Thus it is important for the business to give their best product in the market. Company should take care of its competition with Samsung. Customers want to pay competitive prices and would like to focus on profit and loss statements.
Employees-Employees are the internal stakeholders of the company and contributor to the business operations and making company profitable. Their interest lies in getting the best pay, incentives, bonuses and other fringe benefits to make their efforts fruitful. These benefits can be competitive only if company performs well and obtain profits.
Employees of Apple company needs to have an extraordinary talent as their job would demand innovation and creation all time. In return they expect job security and maximum monetary benefit. They will focus on profit and loss statement with return on investment as well as liquidity ratio to make sure they are safe in long run.
Government and Local Community-Both the entities are external stakeholders and are interested in business operations to make sure their activities are ethical, legal and environmental friendly. Company needs to operate in an eco-friendly way and carry on ethical activities.
Government keeps a check on Apple production and other dealings so as to make sure it is ethical and legal. It will check on health and safety law carried on by the employees and machines and operations eco-friendly. Taxation is the main income of the government and thus it will look into business profit and loss statement and also annual report.
Community as in general is keen to know opening and new opportunity offered by Apple. They would also like to know how Apple's overall dealings to enrich the community are. This is known by its annual reports and information and news on its website.(Riley, 2012)
Needs and requirements of stakeholders of peer company-Samsung
Samsung has been competitor to Apple and has wide range of electronic products with competitive turnover to Apple. It is policy of Samsung to ensure stakeholders engagement. Which includes both internal and external stakeholders? Following are some of the needs and requirement of Samsung stakeholders.
Shareholders and investors-Company had communicate on its corporate social responsibility and some changes made by compliance systems management methods.
Customers-Some changes were made due to issues and inquires made by the customers and needed policies were implemented for example-suppliers CSR policies and reduction in employees working hours.
Employees-For open communication with employees from all departments are well coordinated on Reply consultation room and each employee can present their own views.
NGO-Samsung takes care of environmental policies and other issues raised by NGOs. Some changes made based on these enquires are on environmental policies, employee welfare and safety policies.
Government-As per the needs and requirements of the operating authorities, some management changes were made in regards to ban on use of conflict minerals, greenhouse effect management and promotion of a cultural and fair trade policies.
Thus it is essential duty of an organization to make sure that needs and wants of each stakeholder are fulfilled and conflicts should be resolved. It is also important that company bring in some management changes wherever necessary.(Samsung Sustainability Report, 2012)
1.2 Explain the systems used for communicating key information to the stakeholders in chosen organization
Companies use various policies to communicate with its stakeholders. Internal stakeholders are communicated with its internal policies whereas external policies are meant for external users which are different from internal users. As stakeholders are important to any business, it is important to draft policies which bring things to their expectations and the best coordination among them. Policies should focus on their satisfaction as well as resolution to conflicts.
The basis of communication policies of Apple is based on four principles of honesty, respect, confidentiality and compliance. These principles have make Apple world wide and a successful company. It is a belief of Apple that with these principles, it would be able to satisfy its customer's needs and resolve any conflicts.
1. Honesty- All business dealing, activities and operations are carried by practicing honesty in the organization. With honesty practice, company can raise it standards and ethical status in the society.
2. Respect-It is demanded all time by all employees towards their stakeholders and same is expected in return. It is important for any business to respects its colleagues, suppliers and customers. Respect helps to develop business a corporate image.
3. Confidentiality-Some important and confidential information need to be kept discreet as it is important business dealings. Apple has some policies to confidentiality and its employee's duties to keep this information confidential. It could be information about its suppliers, customers, employees or investors. This communication policy is circulated all time.
4. Compliance-To adhere to rules, regulations and business policies is expected by all employees and stakeholders all time. Decisions and policies should always be within limit and laws.
Thus based on these principles, Apple has made some systems to communicate with its stakeholders. Some of its customers and business relationships are customer and third party information, nondisclosure agreements, copyright protected contents, endorsements and customer focus. All these systems helps to communicate policies about its stakeholders rights and duties which are based on four above mentioned principles. (Apple Inc, 2012)
1.3 An analysis of potential barriers to effective workplace communications.
Barriers are also known as obstructions or obstacles that prevent from fulfilling some objectives. Communication and its objectives are not fully accomplished due to barriers to communications. Effective communications helps to accomplish and reach the required targets whereas barrier prevents the targets to be achieved. Some potential barriers of effective communication at workplace are as follows-
Physical barriers-Some physical environmental barriers are the obstacles to the communication. Noisy place, distractions, human crowds and structure of the office creates distraction at workplace. For example-construction work outside the office might create distraction and obstruction to the work or communication at work.
Language and Cultural Barriers- In a diverse cultural workplace, language is considered important barriers. People coming from various culture and places uses different language, signs and symbols to describe things which is not clearly and properly understood forms to be a barrier. Cultural differences can be seen at MNCs where people from diverse culture come together to work. The differences in language, attitude, food style and different approach to work could be found which brings in barriers.
Personality Barriers-One person is different to the other when compared with their nature, attitude and approach to things. They have different learning approached some learn by logical, verbal, physical, or visual. Similarly some people are poor listeners while some are poor speakers or some might have some or the other disorders which proves to be barriers in the communication process.
Barriers to communication at workplace bring in complex situation for employers and the work itself. It detracts company from its targets and brings in inefficiency to the work. (Feigenbaum, 2012)
2.1 How communication is influenced by values and cultural factors. Evaluate these influences within the organization.
Communication and culture are strongly tied to each other and have great influence on each other. Cultural diversity brings in great impact on verbal and non verbal communication in an organization. The formation of organizational culture can be seen at some business organization which is formed by practice from years and years. Different culture can be seen which are characterized by power, attitude or individualism.
Culture and Values-While having communication both parties should be equally participative and proper dialogue delivering is important. Failing to which communication is disrupted. With different culture and values, one can possess different beliefs, experiences and ideas than t other. Difference in culture, traditions, languages and style can be noticed which would be difficult to understand and might lead to conflict. Person from different culture is expected to have different style, decision-making style, communication style and different knowledge and experience which need to be understood and resolved. People with different cultures also hold different values, behavior and expressions which need to be respected and tolerated by every one.
Culture and Values at work place-It is important to maintain some rules and regulations regarding punctuality, working style and coordination. It is important that employees works in a team and respect each other belief, knowledge and culture so s to ensure performance and team spirit. Communication needs to be carried out smoothly without any disturbance to cultural and values issues among all employees. It is thus important to make business environment intercultural so as to have rcognition and respect to all cultures, beliefs and values by hermeneutical approach. (Nordby, 2012)
Apple is on the top in the list of 10 top companies in the world. It has achieved this position due to its diversity policies that attract people from diverse culture and tradition having diverse values. It offers cooperative environment where people from diverse culture come together with different experience and knowledge. It does not differentiate people on the grounds of discrimination on culture, values, language, race, disability or any other discrimination. It treats all employees on equal grounds and provide them equal platform where they can perform and prove their talent by innovation and creation. This attitude of company makes employees feel integrated, united and respected. (Apple Inc, 2012)
2.2 The use of technology-how it helps communication and also whether it hinders communication. Support with examples.
Today, even small business enterprises are using technologies to communicate with its customers and stakeholders. Effective communication needs to be carried out for effective feedbacks and meeting up with business needs. Modern technology and communication techniques have helped to maintain these standards. Various means of communication are carried out by the companies to make its process and dealings better and easier. Various means of communication through use of technologies are as follows-
1. Telecoms and wireless communications- Business carry out their business dealings through internal telecoms system which helps in transferring information from one department to the other without any charges and expenditure apart from installation charges. Wireless communication system helps to transfer information via phones, mobiles and walkie-talkie which are operated by signals and set-up satellites in the space.
2. Internet-Internet has proved to be bliss to entire world from individuals to the business. Business can operate and communicate through internet facilities which remove time factor and time difference of the countries. It is the fastest means of communication today and effective as well.
1. It is the fastest means of communication breaking geographical differences.
2. Helps in reducing cost of physical paper work and other costs of operations.
3. Provide huge information of required topic and immediate response
1. Misuse of these communication techniques on large for illegal activities
2. Use of modern technique has affected employment level by delayering some layers of staff.
3. Misuse of technology is on wide at personal and professional level.
Apple is a renowned company for manufacturing electronic and uses modern and advanced technology on large. Technology helps to make products competitive and effective in the market. Innovation of new technology and new features in the electronics is the main objective of Apple. Some of the feature that helps Apple to communicate with its stakeholders is application and programs like product feedback, website feedback, contact us, support and service facility along with investors and public relations features helps it to have better communication with its stakeholders around the world. Nowadays, Apple is becoming secretive when it comes to its policies due to some leak on social media and thus has banned on use of social media websites which has affected its policy. Company is held liable for making poor policies that allowed staff to use social media for personal use and has affected company's professional communication when store employees from retail department social media policy was leaked. (Socialvolt.com, 2011)
2.3 The communication policies and procedures and their impact
Company consists of numerous internal and external stakeholders which need to be communicated regularly. Thus communication policies and procedures form an important duty of management for making it an efficient company with good working environment. Policies and procedures to communication help organizations to satisfy their stakeholders' needs and demands. It can be maintained through developing interpersonal skills in the employees and putting right policies and procedures into action.
Some of communicating policies and procedure in companies in general are as follows-
1. Interpersonal Communication-Technique of communication internally which includes verbal, non-verbal and written.
2. Cultural Awareness Policies-Makes workplace environment culturally safe and sound. It includes some policies that bring respect towards different cultures and ways of better communication.
3. Disability Support-Making environment safe and secure for disabled people. It includes policies to techniques of communication and assistance to disabled staff.
4. Conflict Resolution-Policies and procedures to resolve internal and external conflicts through written and verbal communication.
Written communication-It includes emails. Letters, report, agendas, manuals and bulletin boards.
Verbal Communication-It includes handovers, telephonic conversations, messages and meetings information. (Toolboxes, 2012)
Impact of communication policies and procedures
1. Communications is carried out smoothly with internal and external stakeholders with customer satisfaction
2. Helps to fulfill obligations in accordance to rules and regulation and laws in general
3. Formal communication that serves and presents company's objectives and goals to all employees in general.
4. Helps employees' to understand personnel information to keep secretive and prevents disclosure of it.
5. Brings platform of equality and integrity for all employees.
Thus policies and procedures pertaining to the communication not only helps employers but also employees to follow these procedures and be loyal towards company and its confidentiality. (Almaden Minerals Ltd., 2012)
3.1 Evaluate the effectiveness of your own communication skills
One has to identify its own personal communication skills so as to make self-assessment of their own interpersonal skills. Analysis and evaluation of these skills helps to bring improvements whenever needed and makes professional and personal development better.
Personal Non-verbal Skills- Compare to my verbal skills, my non verbal skills are far better. My writing skills have helped to build my professional career as a I am able to draft a good professional email, letters and agendas. My abilities to draft mails at executive level have helped my communication to be better each day and have offered me promotion for the executive post at my workplace. I make use of technical and managerial terms while drafting letters with proper use of grammar and punctuation marks.
Verbal Communication Skills-Speaking with confidence with right postures and gestures has always been important requirement of the business communication. Being a good speaker attribute comes from being a good listener. My verbal communication is bit distorted with less confidence and public fear. I use right gestures and right postures but lack technical words usage while speaking in public. In comparison to public communication, my telephonic conversation is better.
In general, I am a good speaker in my social network but with professional life, I lack communication skills and turn out to be an average speaker while my writing skills seems to be on good side that demands me promotion in professional life.
3.2 Theories of interpersonal communication
Interpersonal communication is a conversation or coordination between two or more people where different methods of communication is used to make information relevant. This method helps to forwards and communicates our information or ideas to the other party. It can be done through direct means and indirect means so as interpretation becomes easier and message sent is clear.
Among many theories of interpersonal communication theory, two mentioned below theories are very popular.
Uncertainty Reduction Theory-This theory helps one person to understand behavioral aspect of the other person. It is uncertain to predict somebody else's behavioral pattern and thus brings uncertainty and makes communication difficult as one loses it track of conversation and also the plans to proceed. Thus this theory helps to reduce this factor and make communication easier process. This uncertainty factor can be eliminated by three ways.
1. Observation Process-Before carrying out conversation or initiating conversation, it is important and suggestive that one should observe other party which is known as passive strategy.
2. Interrogation Process-This is the way of actively taking initiative to ask the person for his or her interest or required information by him which needs to be handle with right communication and interacted.
3. Interactive Process-In this process both parties get into communication process and interact with each other talking, questioning and knowing each other. This strategy helps to bring both the parties close to each other by mutual interaction.
Symbolic interaction Theory-This theory focuses on social and cultural aspects of one tradition where same meaning is carried for interactions. People have shared knowledge and meanings for certain objects and ideas which is commonly shared by them. Certain names are commonly given by same culture as well as symbols to certain objects and ideas. Thus interaction is carried out by shared group of people with common feeling and in a common way. The main idea of this theory is divided into three parts.
Society-Interaction is carried out between one person to another by means of a gesture which has interacted outcome in form of desired result.
Self-This idea is generated from other people's perceptions where self-image arises and is defined in social context with other people in society.
Mind-Things are responded in forms of symbols where meaning for certain thing and objects are put up into signs and symbols and interaction takes place by aligning meaning to that symbols and connected it to the objects.
With these theories one can send message to the other through active, passive or interactive process and expect the message in a similar understanding and knowledge. (Baxter and Breithwaite, 2008)
3.3 Thoughts and Feedback from others
For improving one's good understanding, it is crucial to share our thoughts and knowledge with other so as to bring in more ideas and disclosure that will enable to clear and better owns understandings as suggested by Sidney Jourard who is a psychologist.
Sharing and Disclosure-It helps one's knowledge and information by sharing and disclosure. It also brings in new experience by sending and receiving feedback. Feedback after disclosure improves our understanding for certain concept and brings awareness in us.
Feedback-Feedback must be an honest reply that brings improvement to the communication and better insight. By feedback, one get an opportunity to grow and improve is enlarged. Feedbacks can in the form of suggestions or recommendations. Right feedback is the one that is honest and free from any biasness 360 degree feedback is one of the best methods to get judgment from others at workplace. It is the feedback from higher level to operational level for the self-assessment which helps as a direction for further development. It is also known as multi-rater feedback.
Thoughts and feedback is a whole process that starts with sharing ones feelings and ideas with other in forms of words sent encoded and received that is decoded so as to get feedback in return. Feedback is just not to receive but can be asked for. Once the feedback is received, one has to focus on the weak points and ratings which require more efforts to put in. Sharing thoughts and feedback is a learning and improvement process. (Jourard, 1971)
3.4 Plan your own personal development to improve your own communication skills.
Appropriate planning is required to improve my lacking skills and efforts needs to put in to learn certain lacking skills which would be a challenging job for me as t needs great time, efforts and money to train and get myself acquainted with new required skills.
Email and Report writing
Composition and Style
Use of Theme and use of scholarly article
Computer software training for 2 months
Power point Presentations
Graphs and Charts
Learning PowerPoint and slideshow techniques
Misuse of similar sounding words
Time spending on reading Wren and Martin/
Verbal Skills-Listening Skills
Effective listening training required
Open and close ended questions practice
Time spare to listening audio conversations of formal business calls
Use of words
Regular practice to deliver speech in small groups
Above table clearly states that my communication skills both written and verbal needs to be improved by means of putting personal efforts and professional help required to take training and time need to be devoted to get through my loopholes and lacking skills.
4.1 Communications within Apple Company
Apple website gives a clear vision of communications techniques that is carried out with its stakeholders so as to understand their need and satisfy their demands.
News and Events- through News and events blog, Apple is feeding its updated news on this blog. Hot News comes up with the news on any new products or system that is available for sale as well as any internal report or results or news is popped on this application that helps stakeholders to keep themselves updated all time.
RSS Feeds-is an application that update news, hot lists of music of i-tunes to the browser supported with its knowledge base.
Apple Events-This is full of company presentations and announcements about company's products and company's issues and concerns which are fairly update by the company. It presents all videos of any event at Apple.
Users Group-This is the website where all stakeholders come together and join the club. This tool gives a chance to any ordinary person to become friend of this group and share their views and ideas. People from various countries and different professions have joined this group.
Public Relations-gives all news on latest press releases an all archived message can be extracted. Support services always help to people from various locations. Product feedback blog helps one to share their experience about the product and website feedback helps one to report or submit their comments on any problem encountered by them. Investors' news on the Apple Website provides annual reports and results of the company to help investors keep themselves updated on their profits and earnings. (Apple.com, 2012)
4.2 Application of theories of organizational communication
Many theories had emerged during nineteenth century about organizational communication.
Frederic Taylor's Scientific Management Theory. This theory suggest some techniques for completion of any task and where planning is carried out in a systematic planning which is carried out by workers.
This is a distinctive theory that helps to bring efficiency in the production system. It was replacement of systems that were upon rules of thumbs and certain traditions. It brought efficiency factor in the scene which was considered as a broader theory which was based on logical counting. The four main objectives of these theories are -
1. It replaced traditional rules and develops practice of human effort and element in focus.
2. Training and development practice to e ensured for the best outcome.
3. Cooperation and coordination concept between employees and management can into focus and some policies were drafted for better use.
4. Division of work between management and employee in equal share was forwarded by this theory. Hierarchy system was thus formulated.
Thus revolution in organization was seen after Frederic scientific management theory which has proved to be a corporate reengineering and brought development to the workers. (Skaik, 2008)
Apple Company requires some sort of understanding of management in the organizations so as to improve its operations and employees satisfaction. Managers and executive at higher level should understand their duties and fulfill their obligations. In Apple Company, employee should be given free authority to bring in creativity and innovation. Thus bureaucracy needs to be eliminated and it is important to implement scientific management and general administrative theories by Apple.
The benefits can be seen in different ways-
1. It will help to achieve organizational efficiency
2. Will increase motivation and involvement of employees
3. Will improve relationship between employees and management.
4.3 Recommendations-Plan to improve the workplace communications in Apple
Business and Organizational Culture-Steve Jobs had done his best at Apple since 1977and was rehired in 1997 when company was found in beleagurement and bring the glory back. He was the founder of Apple to put in great effort to bring the best designs and models in the market. Thus it is crucial for Apple to create another Steve Jobs for ensuring its existence and competition in the electronic market.
Strategic Analysis-Apple has poor market penetration. As per strategic analysis, it can be seen that Apple has not covered many markets in the world that are its products. It needs to strengthen its strategies and explore new markets, it can be done by alliances and thus reducing costs. It can see it product in other market which is known for it reliability and standards.
Market Fluctuations-Apple needs to be careful of market and economic fluctuations which can blow most of the international companies like Lehman Brothers. With economic recession not only market is affected but consumers are affected as well. It has to have a careful planning, structuring and other operational activities when coming to new products and strategies. (studymode.com, 2012)
Apple has brought revolution to personal computers and phones. It has altogether changed the phase of phone. It innovation and creation activities has left most of the competitive company struggling. It has become an icon in the electronic market due to high quality, stylish and innovative products. After Steve Jobs, founder of Apple the company has faced many crisis and issues in regards to its innovation and business plans. It needs to formulate some robust and strong policies for it new products and new market by proper product development through modern innovation, competitive pricing and moreover strong marketing and advertising plans in future. These all can be achieved through application of right organizational communication theory which would remove all obstacles from operational to managerial levels and bring in team spirit.