It is very important to manage the skills related to knowledge, communication and information. This promotes the growth and development of a firm. In this era, rapid changes are taking place in communication and technology. In such a scenario, the need of the hour is to achieve competitive advantage over other firms (Maier, 2007). Hence it is very beneficial to manage communication, knowledge and information. For performing everyday operations in a successful manner, managing present knowledge by properly using communication and information skills is very important.
This report gives information on the challenges that are faced while setting up a new business in retail sector. It also gives information on the decisions taken before starting a new business. It also deals with the decisions taken while competing with the other businesses in the retail sector. The second assignment deals with the organizational communication in a small political activists’ organization. This gives information on the existing systems of communication in the organization and the improvements that could be made. It also gives information on the strategy that could be implemented to improve access to systems of information and knowledge.
LO 1. UNDERSTANDING HOW TO ACCESS INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE NEEDS
1.1 Discuss the range of decisions to be taken while starting up the new business
Decision making involves selecting a course of action by a firm to meet its goals and objectives. For starting up a new business in the retail sector, a range of decisions need to be taken. These can be the following:
Senior management- The decisions related to the achievement of the objectives of the new business need to be taken by the chief operating officer and chairman who are included in the senior management (Kent, 2007).
Middle level management- The decisions regarding the major issues that hinder the growth of a firm are taken by them. It includes recruitment and selection of employees.
Coordinator- The decisions that facilitate the smooth functioning of various departments like operations, finance, human resource and marketing are taken by the coordinator.
Departmental heads- The departmental heads take decisions regarding the activities taking place in their processes (Ilonen and et.al., 2011).
1.2 Examine the information and knowledge needed to ensure effective decision making
While starting up new business in the retail sector, the senior level managers should be aware about firm’s goals and objectives. They also need to be aware of the future plans. The middle level managers should ensure that they have knowledge of functioning of various departments. This will help them in giving targets to respective employees (Bourlakis and Bourlakis, 2006). The coordinators should ensure that they are in constant touch with departmental heads for bringing coordination in activities. Also they should have information regarding the short term plans and problems that the employees face. This would facilitate in better functioning of teams.
The employees should have knowledge regarding their weekly targets. They should also be aware of the overall planning of works that are undertaken by the firm. The lower level workers should be aware of their responsibilities and duties (Hart, 2007).
1.3 Assess internal and external sources of information and understanding
In the retail sector, the ones that have the maximum and accurate data with them are the immediate superiors. The second major source of information is the online website of the new business. The internal reports of the business in the retail sector, which are published on the website are the internal source of information (Agnihotri, Rapp and Trainor, 2009). For instance, the annual reports on the total sales of the supermarket, profit and loss, loans and wages to employees can be the internal sources of information for starting up a supermarket business in the retail sector. The external information can be in the form of the surveys and investigations that are done by the outside agencies. They are in the form of printed material, online articles, broadcast reports, newsletters and brochures.
1.4 Justify recommendation for improvements in information selection and analysis
Various improvements can be done in the information and knowledge needs with respect to decision making. This can be done by identification, capture, organization, sharing and evaluation of the sources of knowledge that are used by the mangers of the new business in the retail sector (Kent, 2007). The needs and problems faced by every department must be understood by them. This would help in improving the decision making process. Another recommendation could be outlining a well defined and structured approach. This will help in identifying quality sources of information.
LO 2. CREATING STRATEGIES TO INCREASE PERSONAL NETWORKING TO WIDEN INVOLVEMENT IN DECISION MAKING
2.1 Identify stakeholders for decision making process in relation to starting up a new business
Stakeholders are persons that are affected by the activities of the organization. For the new business in the retail sector, the following stakeholders have been identified:
Stockholders- The role of the stockholders is to provide the required capital to the business. This helps in the growth and expansion of the business by launching its products and services in the market place.
Customers- Consumers act as the heart and soul of any retail business.
Suppliers- The suppliers provide the new business in the retail sector with the products that are to be sold. They are responsible for bringing high quality and reasonably priced products to the consumers of the new business in the retail sector (Ilonen, and et.al., 2011).
Community- The skilled workforce required for the successful running of the new business in the retail sector is provided by the community.
Employees- They helps in successful running of the new business.
Thus the stakeholders are directly and indirectly involved and play a very important part in the decision making process of the new business with respect to various activities.
2.2 Making contact with those identified for developing business relationship
Contacting the stakeholders requires careful planning by the new business. In the retail sector, the new business can contact the customers via telephone, internet and mail. For contacting employees, official meetings could be held in the company itself and future plans could be discussed. A press release can be used to contact shareholders, analysts, investors and press. This will help in notifying the present standing and future plans of the firm. Another way of contacting shareholders is during general meetings.
Volunteers and coordinators could be appointed for contacting the community around the new business in the retail sector (Kent, 2007). Suppliers can be contacted by searching online and using address directory.
2.3 Involve those identified in the decision making as appropriate for the new business in the retail sector
Involving stakeholders in the decision making process of the new business requires following the underlying principle that states that stakeholders’ engagement has potential to influence the decision making process. The present stakeholders can be involved in the following ways. Informal meetings can be held for involving small groups on discussions related to the issues of mutual interest. Surveys can be carried out pertaining to specific issues and questionnaires can be used (Bourlakis and Bourlakis, 2006). Partnership projects can be set up with the communities and non-governmental organizations. A multi stakeholder forum can be created in the form of key stakeholder representatives. Also, dialogue sessions can be conducted for identifying social and environmental issues that are important for the stakeholders in the retail sector.
2.4 Design strategies for improvement
For contacting and engaging stakeholders in the decision making of the new business in the retail sector, it is important to connect with each and every group separately and identify their requirements (Hart and et.al., 2007). While discussing common topics of interest, meetings can be held for ensuring that a solution which is acceptable to all is reached. To avoid situations of chaos, the representatives of the customers, shareholders, community and union can be contacted.
LO3. DEVELOPING COMMUNICATION PROCESSES
3.1 Report on existing processes of communication in an organization
Communication is the transfer of verbal and non-verbal messages. They are conveyed via some medium to the recipient. Hence, communication is a two way process. It is incomplete without the feedback from the recipient. This dual direction flow ensures that the receiver has understood the message properly.
The organization given in the case is a political activists’ organization. It consists of volunteers and supervisors. The supervisor is required to delegate projects to the volunteers. Hence effective communication systems are required so that the projects could be communicated to delegate them to the volunteers.
It is a small voluntary organization and communication work tends to be done in a very ad hoc way. Generally all the communication was being handled by the supervisor. Vertical communication was used by the supervisor in the given organization (Sadri and Tran, 2002). Vertical communication is the communication between different levels of organization. The marketing or the Communication director communicated to the supervisor. The supervisor then communicated the tasks to the volunteers. The emphasis of the volunteer who is the writer was on writing and doing special projects. Vertical communication could not serve the purpose well.
3.2 Design ways to improve appropriateness in the communication in the organization
The main factor that results in miscommunication or improper understanding of the message is the distortion in communication. This occurs because of wrong choice of medium. As a result uncertainty and misunderstanding are caused. This increases the risk of wasting time and money.
Vertical communication involves flow of information between different levels in an organization. Horizontal communication involves flow of information between the people at the same level. The vertical communication can be top down where directions and instructions are given from superior to subordinate (Jones, 2009). In bottom up communication, feedback is given from the subordinate to the superior.
In the present case, the volunteer supervisor was engaged in a number of projects. As a result she could not invest time to communicate projects to delegate to the volunteer. In order to improve appropriateness, time saving communication systems could have been used by the supervisor. These consist of writing memos, e-mails and other written communication methods (Waldron and Kassing, 2010). Also it must be taken into consideration by the supervisor to delegate the tasks that are to be done keeping in mind the time frame available.
3.3 Implement improvements to ensure greater integration of system of communication in the organization
Lack of proper communication skills whether in oral and written form can pose a big problem for a voluntary organization. In the given case, all communication is handled by a single person, the supervisor. She is expected to deal with the web site, direct mail, events, e-marketing, communicating with members and volunteers, media relations and routine examination.
Proper way of communication is very important for a voluntary organization. The organization could be structured hierarchically (Nicholls, 2013). This will help in reducing the complexities in the communication processes. The communication work instead of being allotted to the supervisor alone can be handled by the volunteers also.
Time saving communication systems should be used by the supervisor. As a result she will be able to get time for communicating the projects to the volunteers (Mutch, 2008).
3.4 Creating personal plan to improve communication skills
A communication plan is a road map that would help me in communicating information to the volunteers. I require communicating projects to delegate them to the volunteers. These projects support the cause for which the volunteers have to work (Improving Communication - Developing Effective Communication Skills, 2013). What work is to be done under each project and what each project requires of the volunteers need to be communicated to them. in order to have effective communication I need to implement time saving methods of communication so that the projects could be delegated to all the volunteers. As a part of communication skills, I need to use techniques of clarification and reflection to avoid any confusion in the communication process. Also I would use every possible means to communicate especially on important messages. For this I would use memos, e-mails and other written communication methods.
LO4. IMPROVING SYSTEMS RELATING TO INFORMATION AND KNOWLEDGE
4.1 Existing approaches to collection, formatting, storage and dissemination of information and knowledge
Managing of information consists of proper collection, formatting, storage and dissemination of information form one or more sources and distribution of that information to a number of audiences.
The given organization is a political activists’ organization. The supervisor who was responsible for supervising volunteers was an assistant to the communication director.
4.2 Carry out appropriate changes to improve collection, formatting, storage and dissemination of information and knowledge
For improving collection, formatting, storage and dissemination of information and knowledge, the following changes could be carried out in the given political activists’ organization:
- The volunteers as well as the supervisor can be trained with respect to electronic means of communication. This will ensure time saving processes of communication (Beranek, 2006).
- There should be ready availability of resources needed to collect and disseminate information. This would also save time.
- Proper coordination and collaboration among the volunteers as well as the supervisor will be helpful.
- The communication department of the organization needs to be efficiently managed. This would lessen the burden on the supervisor.
4.3 Implement a strategy to improve access to systems of information and knowledge
In order to manage library system and information flow in Williams College following steps are suggested.
- The volunteer supervisor can delegate another volunteer to hand out written instructions for the volunteer time block (Coombs, 2011).
- The organization can carry out process improvement with respect to electronic resources.
- For developing a standard process with respect to the information flow, the requirements of volunteers as well as the supervisor also need to be identified (Jones, 2009).
- An outside consultant can be used by the organization for managing flow of information.
- The access and control of electronic resources need to be improved.
- The activities in the communication department need to be coordinated.
Activities need to be properly managed with respect to knowledge, communication and information. This is especially important due to the changing scenario of the work all over the world. Starting up a new business involves a number of decisions which require both information and knowledge. Hence proper techniques in the management of communication, knowledge and information facilitate decision making capabilities and stimulate cultural change and innovation.
- Agnihotri, R., Rapp, A. and Trainor, K., 2009. Understanding the role of information communication in the buyer-seller exchange process: antecedents and outcomes. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing. 24(7). pp.474–486.
- Beranek, M. P., 2006. Guidelines for managing dispersed teams: enhancing communication and productivity. Handbook of Business Strategy. 7(1). pp.359–362.
- Bourlakis, M. and Bourlakis, C., 2006. Integrating logistics and information technology strategies for sustainable competitive advantage. Journal of Enterprise Information Management. 19(4). pp.389–402.
- Hart, C. and et.al., 2007. Employer perceptions of skills gaps in retail: issues and implications for UK retailers. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management. 35(4). pp.271–288.
- Ilonen, L. and et.al., 2011. The role of branded retail in manufacturers' international strategy. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management. 39(6). pp.414–433.