This is an analysis report of the Quaker Oats Company where its communication system both internal and external strategies are been covered. The analysis puts emphasis on how these communication strategies are carried out to bring forth effectiveness and efficiency in its performance. However, it has taken into account organizational literature available about this especially the one that relates to its communication procedures.
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Nonetheless, the analysis establishes that communication strategies that are currently being employed by the company are responsible for its continued operational effectiveness. This is as a result of positive revolutions that have taken place since its inception and the continued effectiveness and efficiency experienced in its business operations.
Consequently, internal communication strategies that are being practiced by the company are built on the company’s organizational culture premise which relates to teamwork. As a result, flattened system of organizational structure was adopted by the management to facilitate smooth communication internally as opposed to tall organizational structure that promotes bureaucratic system of communication.
On the other hand, in terms of external communication strategies, the company appreciates social relationship. Therefore, its external communication system is built based on this foundation where by it seeks to develop cordial relationship with its external stakeholders who include its customers. In relation to this, the company practice good public relationship where by it values corporate social responsibility to nurture and develop some good social relationship with its external stakeholders.
Lastly, basing on the analysis carried out, the paper proposes some recommendations that the company can adopt to further its communication effectiveness. For instance, sound communication in change management comes handy to avoid some uncertainties that come with change since it’s inevitable.
Quaker Oats was founded in 1901 as an oats processing company based in Chicago in the United States. However, over the time the company has been revolutionizing and currently it makes instant oatmeal. Consequently, in 1966, instant oatmeal was introduced which became a regular flavor. Nonetheless, in 2001, the company was acquired by PepsiCo which currently controls its operations. In addition, the company has expanded its operations and currently, it has a range of products mainly made from oat.
However, since its inception, the company has made major positive strides. For instance, it has expanded its product base which has resulted to expansion of its operations. As a result of this, its workforce has tremendously increased. In relation to this, effective business communication both internal and external has been the pillar that the company has banked on over the time to assure its effectiveness and efficiency in its business operations.
Communication is the most crucial function in management of any organization. Therefore, improved communication results to improved performance of the organization both internally and externally. However, for this to be accomplished there is need to develop better communication structures that are able to address both internal and external needs of the company. For instance, good internal communication structure helps to prevent issues that could lead to conflict in the organization.
Quaker Oats as a company prioritize communication system in its operational structures. It values communication among its structure of management since its workforce freely communicates to each other irrespective of their level in the organization.
For this reason, the company has flattened its structure of management where traditional tall bureaucratic system of management was replaced to enable free flow of information from any level. According to Nagar (31), flat system of management has few levels which implies that both upward and downward communication are simplified and as a result, there is always less distortion and inaccuracy in the message relayed.
Notably, Quaker Oats adopted flat structure in its management which helps it in its communication system since several benefits are accrued to it. For example, due to decentralization, there is a feeling of personal satisfaction among employees which positively contributes to its growth. Furthermore, this approach gives employees an opportunity to develop skills in decision making since one has to have good critical thinking and decision making qualities to effectively communicate in the organization.
Since the company’s culture is that of building team mentality through teamwork atmosphere, flat system of management provides the best avenue to orchestrate this philosophy. This is so since any form of information in the company is shared freely among its employees. However, to effectively and efficiently accomplish internal communication aims and objectives, the following principles govern its communication structure:
The company uses this principle to encourage its workforce to build strong rapport amongst them. As a result, internal information is able to be relayed effectively due to good cordial relationship built. Furthermore, this principle is able to promote organizational culture of team work since connections built become pillars on which teamwork and communication is orchestrated.
Moreover, according to Wright (119), connection building helps to cultivate some sense of belonging which facilitate human contact, friendships, acceptance, love, teams and social life that are the biggest panacea to effectiveness in internal communication.
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Quaker Oats recognizes communication to be a major asset in performance. Therefore, its communication principles and policies are based on performance. Communication department of the company usually conducts research to determine specific information needs and commits itself in availing the required information. This principle has helped the company by concentrating on issues of communication that are most beneficial to the organization.
Principle of Connecting Unconnected Fraternity
According to Wright (68), any organization consists of acute split between information poverty and information elitism. To this respect, the company employs the principle of connecting its employees who falls under the category of information poverty to reduce information sharing parity among its workforce. For instance, employees are empowered with skills that facilitate their access to information from the global superhighway (the internet) by being equipped with relevant computer skills.
Nonetheless, this internal communication strategy has over the time proved to be efficient in creating good communication environment in the company. In doing so, it has helped to foster its culture, aims, mission, vision and objectives. However, in addition to internal communication system being effective, the company has a separate external communication strategy that fosters its business mission.
External communication entails all efforts that the organization takes to ensure that it continues to exist on the market. The company’s market consists of several stakeholders who are the determinants to the organization’s operations. Therefore, it is imperative for the company to have sound external communication strategies to guarantee its business survival. In respect to this, Quaker Oats adopted several strategies which include:
Quaker Oats recognizes that for external communication to be effective there must be good social relationship with its stakeholders. This strategy is affirmed by Wright (276) who believes that establishing social relationship with stakeholders such as customers can bring a sense of belonging amongst them and therefore any kind of information that is relayed by the company can be received positively.
This is so since they tend to build some loyalty to the company. However, in developing good social relationship, the company uses a variety of techniques which include customer education and good public relationship.
The company established external communication strategy inform of customer education. In this strategy, the company educates its customers on several matters that relate to their products. Since its core business products are food stuffs, the company designed communication system that relates to healthy diet to inform their customers on the best practices to balance their diet and how to live healthy. This forms part of its external communication system since it helps to build its social relationship.
Good Public Relations
The company acknowledges the power of good public relationship which is noted by Kapoor, Justin and Biplab (271) to be one of the key elements in achieving external communication goals. To help build their social relationship, the company has a separate department that mainly takes care of its public relations where corporate social responsibility (CSR) is highly valued. Some of the CSR that the company is involved in include sponsoring several homes such as homes for the needy members of the society by donating food stuffs to them.
Quaker Oats uses several media channels to foster its external communication. With the advent of technology and revolution in information communication technology, the company has adopted the use of World Wide Web (WWW) where it has its company website for external communication.
This website can be accessed globally irrespective of the geographical hindrance. In addition, the company also uses other communication media such print media like newspapers, magazines and the electronic media such as the radio and the television to communicate externally. All these communication media facilitates good linkage with its stakeholders hence advancing its mission.
Quaker Oats has been successful in its business operations since its inception. The company has gone through several positive revolutions that have resulted to growth in its activities. This can be highly attributed to its sound communication strategies both internal and external. However, there are several recommendations that the company can implement to facilitate its communication further in its operations. These include:
- In addition of providing education program to its customers, the company must carry out evaluation exercise to determine its derived effects.
- Have proper communication strategies for change management within and without the organization to avoid adverse effects that are related to change since it is inevitable.
- Provide avenues in the organization where employees can provide their inputs in decision making process. This will promotes sense of belonging and security in the organization hence facilitating internal communication.
Good communication structures both within and without the organization are vital in meeting organizational goals, vision and mission. Quaker Oats has effective internal communication that is highly boosted by its flattened organizational structure.
This structure promotes teamwork which is the core organization’s culture of the company. On the other hand, in terms of the external communication strategies, the company banks on its social relationship philosophy to advance its external communication. This has resulted to positive communication that has facilitated company’s operations.
Kapoor, Ramneek, Justin, Paul & Biplab, Halder. 2011, Services Marketing, New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.
Nagar, Satyawati. Industrial and Organizational Psychology. New Delhi: Kalpaz Publications, 2006. Print.
Wright, Marc. Gower Handbook of Internal Communication. USA: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2009. Print.