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Business Communications – Individual Qualitative Research

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Executive summary

The report analyses the communication adopted by the Greenpeace international in reaching its stakeholders. Its major objective is to determine which have been the most applicable means of communication applied by the organization. It targets the stakeholders as it gives a clear picture of the communication and its transformation over the years. The report employs investigative and explorative research methodology to come up with the analysis.

According to the report study main findings, social media like facebook and twitter have been widely used. Other forms of communication are video conferencing, blogs, websites, emails, multimedia, and videos. The most effective forms of communication applicable when reaching the audience of Greenpeace are the social media followed by multi media.

They are cost effective reliable, user friendly, and reach a wide number of stakeholders. Mass media has been recommended as the most appropriate and effective form of communication that can be applied to reach the audience and the different stakeholders. The organization should relentlessly continue using this form of communication because of the nature of work it is involved in.

Introduction

Communication plays an integral role in an organization. It is important to have channels of communication through which different individuals portray their ideas, opinions, attitudes, and ideologies. Communication has been defined as the transfer of information from one individual or groups to another through a medium of exchange (Barker 2008, p.3). The information relayed may be in the form of news, message, data, or emotions.

The medium of exchange ensures that information is relayed to the targeted recipient in the right time. The content should be understandable, time bound, accurate, and ready to interpret (Barker 2008, p.3). Communication can be either informal or formal as both are applicable in the organizational setting (Barker 2008, p.5).

Different organizations use different forms of communications depending on whom the message or information is being communicated to. For communication to be effective barriers to communication need to be minimized (Wertheim 2008, p.2)

The report explores the different types of communication used by Greenpeace international to present information to its various stakeholders. Based on the analysis, the report will give the most effective form of communication that can be used to reach the target audience supported by evidence. Lastly, it gives recommendations on where the organization can improve and what in do away with of any.

Background information

Greenpeace international is a globally recognized non-governmental organization. It is a campaigning organization with the major role of safeguarding the environment through awareness creation and other conservative measures and policies. It aims at changing the behaviour and attitudes of the general population.

Its major campaigns are in energy revolution, oceans defending, encouraging peace through disarmament and call for abolition of nuclear weapons, sustainable agriculture, and creation of a future free from toxics (Greenpeace 2011).

The organization that was founded 40 years ago is presented in forty states across the pacific, Africa, Asia, America, and Europe. It depends mostly on individual contributions and grants from foundations. Contrary, it “does not accept donations from governments or corporations” (Greenpeace 2011) for independence purposes.

The report targets different stakeholders who need to understand the commonly applicable forms of communications and the most appropriate one. Its major purpose is to evaluate the communication process, mechanism, and form between the Greenpeace international and its numerous stakeholders.

Main findings

Stakeholders

A stakeholder may be defined as any individual, organization, or a group that has either indirect or direct stake or interest in a particular organization (Fassin 2008, p.7). Stakeholders are divided into internal and external stakeholders (Fassin 2008, p.8).

Based on this definition then the different stakeholders of Greenpeace international are, foundations grant, individual supporters, donors, volunteers, employees, environmental communities, national and regional offices as well as the general public. The different stakeholders are presented with information in different types depending on the urgency, confidentiality level, and the time required conveying the information.

Communication between stakeholders and organization

Social media

This is the latest form of communication which is transforming how information is communicated from one individual to another. Social media is a form of online communication where the internet forms the basis from where information can be exchanged in real-time (PWC 2011, p.2).

The commonly used social media channels are Facebook, twitter, and MySpace among many more uprising channels. According to Bengtson (2010) social media has transformed the relationship that exists between organizations and stakeholders. Since the modern stakeholders like a dialogue that it two way and authentic, social media has been the favorite form of communication. Greenpeace has not been left behind.

Being a campaigning organization that relies mostly on activism to relay its information to stakeholders, the organization has been using facebook and twitter among other forms of social media to reach its stakeholders.

Through the social media, the organization is able to reach out to its followers, donors, supporters, and foundation grants and communicate in real-time. For example, these stakeholders are engaged in debates that criticize organization or corporations that do not comply with the values and the objectives of the Greenpeace international.

The use of facebook and twitter has been effective as Greenpeace has used it to communicate with stakeholders on how Apple was developing products with high toxic levels (Bengtson 2010). As a result, Apple was able to reduce its wastes production. Other companies that have been criticized by the stakeholders and Greenpeace international through the social media are Unilever and Nestle (Bengtson 2010). The use of social media to communicate with the different stakeholders has been effective so far as its values and objectives have been restored.

A report by the PWC (2011, p.5) indicate that most of the employees currently are using the social media to share information, research, and network. An organization like the Greenpeace international communicates with its employees through the social media. This is appropriate form of communication given that the organization uses the social media to make its campaigns.

It is a cost effective mode of communication as information can be relayed from the organization management and posted on the organization wall for the employees to see. Although it is a risk venture in dimensions of security and confidentiality, guidelines can be applied to minimize these risks (PWC 2011, p.5).

Other forms based on internet platform

Other than using the social media to reach its stakeholders and convey the required information which is environmental conservation, the Greenpeace international has been involved in the use of blogs, websites, and You Tube (Bengtson 2010). By positing on the organizations blogs and its websites it is easy convenient to have the information readily available to the different stakeholders (Combs & Holladay 2011).

For instance, in the Greenpeace international website, donors, supporters, grants foundations, and other esteemed stakeholders are able to access the financial reports and statements of the organization. This form of transparency and accountability through communication portrays the level of corporate governance in the organization.

Instead of dispatching booklets to all different stakeholders from the 40 countries where Greenpeace initiatives are concentrated, the organization posts on the websites. This form of communication saves time, money, altering the communicated information, and allowing communication of identical information. The information can be accessed at the convenience of the different stakeholders at convenient place and time.

On the other hand, the use of YouTube allows the organization to post videos to showcase to the stakeholders what position or its undertakings and achievements. Any individual connected to internet or can access You Tube through the phone can easily access this form of information.

Greenpeace international has used both the You Tube and blogs to convey information to stakeholders (Bengtson 2010). Through the partnership of the stakeholders and the organization, it has been possible to instill pressure on Unilever and Apple Inc. The organization and the stakeholders have been able to discuss some of the issues over the websites, blogs and You Tube.

Multimedia communication

The advancement in technology has made it possible people to communicate from different regions with different time zones but in real-time (Combs & Holladay 2011; (Barker 2008, p.12; Carayamis, Hovy, Maybury & Stock n.d). Organization can use the multimedia communication which is enabled via the internet (Koegel 1992, p.1).

The specific applicable multimedia communication forms applied by the Greenpeace international are the use of emails, videos, photos, photo essays, slideshows, and ship webcams (Greenpeace 2011). Through these different forms of communication, Greenpeace international is able to relay the information to different stakeholders.

For example, employees, donors, supporters, and the regional offices can be communicated through the use of emails. The advantage of using emails is that it is less costly as information can be dispatched to different stakeholders in bulk form. This saves money, time, and energy that could be used in designing paperwork or paper related documents.

The communities that have partnered with Greenpeace international are reached through the use of multimedia communications. For example, through the use of videos, photos, slideshows, and webcams, the organization is in position to relay the intended information (Horak 2007, p.625).

These have been combined with the application of the internet and the use of the websites. The pictures and the slideshows are available on the organization websites which makes it convenient. For individuals whom are willing to support the organizations or foundations that need to partner with the Greenpeace organization can easily get the required information inform of pectoral format, as data, videos, photos or slideshows. This has made it convenient for the stakeholders especially the external ones.

Webcam is a form of video conferencing that uses the internet and a computer or a phone (Horak 2007, p.624). People are able to communicate in real-time without the need for transport or arrangement for meetings (Horak 2007, p.624). Greenpeace international uses this form of communication to reach the different stakeholders especially in regions that have no offices.

Through ship webcams, information can be relayed to different stakeholders while the management is on transit. This makes it appropriate and convenient for the organization and the stakeholders. The three ships that are always in the ocean are able to collect information and relay it back to the organization and its stakeholders.

The use of either mobile phone or office phone has become a major communication method. Organization like Greenpeace international uses mobile phones to conduct its stakeholders. For example, if an individual is willing to donate or partner with the organization, mobile or telephone number is given (Greenpeace 2011). The numbers is used for conduct purposely and relay the needed information to the stakeholders.

Mass media

During the inception of the Greenpeace international in 1971, the founders of the organization used mass media to communicate with the world (Birch & Mcevoy 1996). The press is able to convey the intended message to the intended party. Although mass media has been the oldest form of communication till technological innovation, it has never become obsolete even after emergence of social media.

Through journalists, Greenpeace captures the information deemed appropriate then communicated to its stakeholders. For example, Greenpeace international has collaborated with different news channels to have its information passed out to the stakeholders (Birch & Mcevoy 1996).

The use of mass media as a form of communication has been supported by (Moussa 1991) who insist that the use of mass media especially news conferences and press reaches a wide range of people. Through use of pictures motion and videos in television as well as newsprint like magazines and newspapers, it is possible to reach the stakeholders.

Radio broadcast, press, and the use of TV channels reach a wide range of people (Moussa 1991). Electronic mass media has helped Greenpeace greatly pass its information (Birch & Mcevoy 1996). The recorded information is released via the electronic mass media channels.

The use of TV and radio by Greenpeace has been occasionally been successful (Birch & Mcevoy 1996). The interplay between motion pictures and sound leaves messages embedded in the minds of the viewers who are also part of the stakeholders. Mass media application has been combined with web and net based media to reach the stakeholders (Birch & Mcevoy 1996).

Through the mass media Greenpeace objectives and core values have been achieved in several times. However, freedom of press has remained as the only hindrance for its full applicability. Nonetheless, social media has been able to have great influence as both forms of media can be intertwined to give the information required to the mass media.

Video conferencing is another form of communication used by the Greenpeace international to reach its stakeholders (Birch & Mcevoy 1996). Video conferencing allows the relay of information in real-time where audio and visual elements are applied (Horak 2007, p.624). It allows face to face communication where the televised information is captured.

This form of communication has been realised through the communication of the Greenpeace international ship members’ crew and in crew in the mass media (Birch & Mcevoy 1996). Upon the collection of information, video conferencing is used to relay the information to the headquarters. Form the headquarters the information is passed on to the stakeholders.

Most effective form of communication in reaching the target audiences and why

Greenpeace international campaigns to ensure that a clean environment is realised (Greenpeace 2011). Through its campaigns, the organization audiences include governments, organizations, general public and corporations that may be involved in pollution of the environment.

The initiatives of the Greenpeace international need to be communicated to the target audience in the appropriate manner. To make sure that the information is relayed, the following forms of communication have been deemed as effective to reach the target audience.

Social media

Social media is the latest technology that has the capability of reaching an audience in the real-time. Greenpeace international uses this form of communication to reach its audience. Ray and Donohew (1990, p.167) in their research concluded that mass media is an appropriate mode of communication that can be applied to ensure public policies are promoted.

The target audience is given a platform from where a discussion based on attitudes and opinions are shared. For instance, through facebook and twitter, Greenpeace international has been able to reach some of its target audience like Apple (Bengtson 2010).

To prove its effectiveness, the organization was in a position to rally campaigns through the infiltration of the corporation facebook page. Through discussions with different stakeholders and other interested parties, Green international realized its goal. It was able to make Apple reduce the toxic materials it was using to manufacture its micro chips.

Social media communication is the most effective form of communication in reaching the target audience as it involves different stakeholders and parties (PWC 2011). The intended message is absorbed and through persistence and double efforts the information is at last relayed. It is a convenient mode of communication as a wide range of population is currently subscribed or using facebook and twitter among other social networks.

For example, there are more than 750, 000, 000 facebook subscribers with more than 100, 000, 000 accessing it through mobile phones (PWC 2011, p.4). Basically, Greenpeace international theme and core values target the public in general, through the use of the social media, it is easy to reach as many people as possible and relay messages. The rallying campaigns can also be necessitated through this form of communication.

Social media is cheap, reliable, effective, and enables communication in real-time (PWC 2011, p.2-5). By real-time it implies that, the organization can communicate with its audience instantly at the same time.

No matter the space and time differences, mass media allows the audiences receive the information without delay. It does not require a lot of cost to initiate and develop. The information relayed through mass media is accurate, understandable, unique, reliable, and easy to interpret making this form of communication appropriate for Greenpeace communication

Multi media

For the sake of the report study, mass media will be used collectively to comprise videos, You Tube, pictures, webcam emails, and slideshows. Multimedia communication is another most effective type of communication that Greenpeace international can apply to reach its audience (Birch &Mcevoy 1996). Through the use of emails, the organization will be in a position to reach the subscribed audiences in a fast and cost effective manner.

Emails need the information to be formulated then dispatched as a group. Websites are readily accessible through the internet and anybody can have access and view the communicated information (Coombs & Holladay 2011). It is an effective form of communication as through the website updates, the target audience will be in a position to know what is happening and what information is being communicated (Coombs & Holladay 2011).

It is cheap, reliable, and convenient as the intended information is relayed at a go to mass audience. For example, operations and what Greenpeace international can be found online and is accessible by any person. Blogs like the mass media allows the target audience to interact freely with the organization at a personal level (Coombs & Holladay 2011).

Although machine like computers are used and that human touch and feeling is not availed, the interaction through exchange of information is crucial to an audience. Photos, slideshows and You Tube allow communication to be carried in pictorial and image form.

The audience is able to associate itself with the information being conveyed by the organization. Through watch of the videos via You Tube, the message is driven home. Webcam allows real-time communication as information is conveyed to the audience in the real-time. It has no transport costs, costs for meeting arrangements, it saves time required in arranging meetings, and it is cheap.

Conclusion

It is imperative to note that Greenpeace international has been successful in communicating with its stakeholders. Through the open communication, the organization has been able to fully drive its messages to the intended parties. The most successful form of communication has been the social media channels like facebook and twitter. These two have helped in getting the attention of the audience and the target audience.

Because of the cost effectiveness, speed, and the real-time communication aspect allowed by mass media, this form of communication has the capacity to reach many stakeholders at a go. Mass media has also played a great role in relaying information to the stakeholders. Through the use of TV and the print media Greenpeace has been in opposition to rally itself to the stakeholders. Mass media has been the oldest form of communication while social media has been latest form of communication. Both work in an interchanging manner

Other forms of communication include video conferencing, webcams, websites, blogs and the multi media. All these for communication allow interactive communication between Greenpeace international and its stakeholders. Mostly important is they convey message in real-time and language barrier or cultural shock is not a problem.

The stakeholders can have the information translated to their national language making the communication effective. The most effective form of communication used to reach the audience is the social media and the multimedia. These two are reliable, cost effective, easy to use, and can pass the intended information in the given time frame.

Recommendations

Based on the report main findings and conclusion, it is recommendable that the organization put more emphasis on social media. It is a vast and fast means and form of communication. Stakeholders need to be interactive with the organization and social media offers that platform.

It is also recommendable that the organization continues with the open and interactive communication to realize its goals and objectives. Lastly, the organization needs to maximize the use of the social media and multimedia in ensuring that its information to the stakeholders is passed on. It should take advantage of the technological advancement and use it for its benefits.

Reference List

Bengtson, B. 2010, Power to the Stakeholders – Nestle, Greenpeace and Facebook. Web.

Barker, K. A. 2008, Organizational communication. Web.

Birch, D. & Mcevoy, C. 1996, Greenpeace. Web.

Carayamis, G., Hovy, E., Maybury, M., & Stock, O., . Web.

Coombs, W. T., & Holladay, S. J. 2011, The Handbook of Crisis Communication, Wiley-Blackwell, London.

Fassin, Y. 2008, The stakeholder model refined, Ghent University, Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Tweekerkenstraat. Web.

Greenpeace 2011. About Greenpeace. Web.

Horak, R. 2007, Telecommunications and data communications handbook, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, N. J.,

Koegel, F. J. et al 1992, ‘Supporting Real-Time Analysis of Multimedia Communication Sessions’, Enabling Technologies for High-Bandwidth Applications, vol. 1785

Moussa, F. 1991. . Web.

PWC 2011. The power of social media: How CIOs can build business value using social media. Web.

Ray, E. B. & Donohew, L. 1990, Communication and health: systems and applications, Library of Congress, New Jersey.

Wertheim, E. G. 2008. The Importance of Effective Communication. Web.

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