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Non Electronic Communication Methods and Practices at Woolworths

Question:

Discuss About the Non Electronic Communication Method and Practices Used By Company?

Communication is an integral part of conducting business as it enables all stakeholders to know about the business of the company. Internally communication helps the staff to understand how they fit into the organization structure and the expectation of the company from them. On the other hand externally communication helps to create awareness of the product and service along with branding and how it can satisfy their needs (Bovee, & Courtland, 2012). In this assignment the contemporary issues in professional business communication is assessed with the help of case study of Woolworths. It is the leading supermarkets chain with the head office in New South Wales, Australia.

Non electronic communication is the tool used by the company where the distribution of message without the aid of any technology. It is done with the help of verbal communication and written communication. The verbal non electronic communication include face to face interaction of staffs and management, meeting conducted by the management and informal gossips at workplace (Carr, & Kaynak, 2007). The written non electronic communication includes letters, flow charts, proposal, reports, memorandums, and invoices. These traditional methods of communication are losing its importance in the corporate environment though they act as alternatives to the more popular electronic communication. The main advantage of non electronic communication is it can be done with the basic skills of talking and writing. The main disadvantage of non electronic communication it is slow if people located far (Carr, & Kaynak, 2007). In context to Woolworths, the company use both verbal and written non electronic communication to engage with stakeholders like staff members, customers, suppliers, vendors, public, media and government.

One needs to use a range of skills while communicating in the workplace. For example when the sales staff is communicating to the potential customers in the supermarket of Woolworths Face to face, the sales staff needs to send a clear signal that they are able to get the message communicated by the customers and their need will be met (Berger, Roloff, & Ewoldsen, 2010). With the objective of communicating this they need to use the eye contact, facial expression and good body language and all these are non electronic communication supporting the verbal non electronic communication. On the other hand Woolworths can issue an invoice to the customers once the customer completes the purchase to get the payment. It includes quantity, rate and amount and it is part of the written non electronic communication. Similarly the sales manager at Woolworths conduct meeting in the morning where he talks to the sales representative about the performance, customer complaints and other issue (Berger, Roloff, & Ewoldsen, 2010). This is again an example of verbal non electronic communication. On the other hand each sales representative of the super market is instructed to prepare their daily sales report and submit to the manager on day to day basis and it is an example of written non electronic communication.

Electronic Communication Strategies at Woolworths

Electronic media and communication strategies are tool used by the company where the distribution of message involves technology. It can be verbal communication and written communication. The verbal communication using electronic media include telephone and mobile communication, video conferencing, Skype (Carroll, 2015). The written communication using electronic media include email, SMS, instant messages, website and social media. The importance of electronic communication is growing in the corporate environment as it provides many advantages. The main advantage of electronic communication is it provides speed, low cost, wide coverage, exchange of feedback and managing global operation (Carroll, 2015). The main disadvantage of electronic communication is the volume of data, legal status, and the cost of development, undelivered data and dependency. In context to Woolworths, the company use telephone, mobile phone email, instant messages, website and social media to communicate with various stakeholders.

Email is the highly effective communication tool and it is widely used mode of business communication. It is also inexpensive as it only needs an internet connection. It supports print out of the message communicated but sift copy can be stored as archive and retrieved easily. The major benefits of Email in Woolworths is it support easy and fast flow of information to different staffs at 961 location operated by the supermarket. It improves efficiency and reduces paper waste and cost (Debrand, & Johnson, 2008). The effective use of Email is done by Woolworths by following standard guidelines for preparing email messages, elements of an effective subject line, netiquette fundamentals and email abbreviations. The staffs of the company are trained on these aspects to use email effectively.

In context to Woolworths, the web page of the company is designed as the public web presence and it is designed in accordance with the principles of for writing effectively for the web. The webpage of Woolworths is well designed in terms of structure, relevancy, usefulness, accuracy, findable, credibility, real time updating, scannable, consistency, voice, simplicity and interesting (Guffey, & Loewy, 2010). It is created by taking into account the customer preference and taste. The webpage has attractive home page that is well organized. The entire site has unified look and graphics are used effectively. In addition the information in the website is updated regularly. It is used to communicate about the product and service and promote online business (click & collect) where customers can shop round the clock. Woolworths also has active in several social media such as Face book, You Tube, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and tumblr (Guffey, & Loewy, 2010). The major advantage os social media it helps Woolworths to interact with the customers directly.

SWOT analysis is analytical tool that helps the company to identify the strength, weaknesses, opportunity and threat. It helps to understand the core competency and area of concern. As discussed above, Woolworths is using both non electronic communication (verbal and written) and electronic communication (verbal and written) to communicate with various stakeholders internally and externally (Helms, & Nixon, 2010). It is also evident from the discussion that each communication tool used by the company has its own advantages and disadvantages.  In this section SWOT analysis on the company’s overall communication methods and practice is performed and the findings described.

The Importance of SWOT Analysis in Business Communication

Woolworths is able to improve the effectiveness of overall communication methods and practice by combining the benefits of both electronic communication (Telephone, Mobile, Video conferencing, Whatsapp Email, Instant messages, Website, Social media) and non electronic communication (Face to Face, Meeting, letters, flow charts, proposal, reports, memorandums, and invoices) to communicate with internal and external stakeholders (Helms, & Nixon, 2010). The Email is most preferred internal tool while Website and social media is the most preferred external tool of communication.  

The major weaknesses related with the overall communication methods and practice is the documentation of reports, proposal and invoice with respect to the non electronic communication. The slow delivery of message to other location is also major issue in non electronic communication (Vonk, Geertman, & Schot, 2007). Similarly if the internet is not working then the electronic media communication comes to standstill while the network problem is major issue related with mobile phones. The cost of development, undelivered data and dependency of electronic media also acts weaknesses.

The growing importance of social media and mobile apps provide huge opportunity to promote electronic media over the non electronic media in the overall communication methods and practice used by the company. The electronic media also support in making the office paperless by disposing the records of written communication related with the non electronic communication (Vonk, Geertman, & Schot, 2007). The two way communication available in the website and social media also provide good opportunity to develop strong relation with customers thereby improving the overall communication methods and practice.

The major threat in face to face communication is there is no evidence for future reference related with the communication. Similarly with respect to letters, reports and proposal, the storage and retrieval is a big issue (Hallahan, et al., 2007). The threat in email, website and social media is the hacking of important data and privacy of the personal information. The threat in using mobile phone is lack of network within office complex and lack of coverage in remote areas.

From the above analysis using SWOT framework it is evident that the company cannot rely on single communication methods and practice owing to the weaknesses of each tool. It is also found that electronic media is cheaper and faster mode of communication compared to the non electronic communication (Hallahan, et al., 2007). The analysis also established the fact that Website and social media provide scope to interact with customers directly and seek their valuable feedback. Though there are threats related with the electronic media and it can impact the data and information of the company.

The main competitor of Woolworths in Australia is other supermarket chain Coles and Aldi. On assessing and comparing the communication practices of Woolworths with its two main competitor Coles and Aldi it is found that the three supermarket chain combine the electronic media communication with non electronic communication to improve effectiveness (Guffey, & Loewy, 2012). On assessing the non electronic communication adopted by three supermarket chain Woolworths, Coles and Aldi, it was observed that all three use Face to face communication as the basic tool along with meeting. The written non electronic communication such as report, proposal, memorandum, and invoice is also used to communicate with staffs, customers, suppliers and government (Guffey, & Loewy, 2012). Further on assessing the electronic communication adopted by three supermarket chain Woolworths, Coles and Aldi it is found that all three use the email and mobile to communicate with internal and external stakeholders. But on comparing the Website and social media as part of the electronic media communication they differ from each other.

The social media used by Woolworths include Face book, You Tube, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and tumblr and it illustrate that the company has strong and active presence in all the major social media. When this is compared with the social media used by Coles it is found that they have presence in Face book, You Tube, Twitter, Instagram. From the comparison of two companies it was found that Colas is not present in Pinterest, and tumblr (Van & Fombrun, 2007). Further when this is compared with the social media used by Aldi it is found that they have presence in Face book, You Tube, Twitter. Thus the comparison stated ALDI has no presence in Pinterest, Instagram and tumblr.

Similarly on comparing the website of Woolworths, Coles and Aldi it is found they are different from each other. On assessing the website of Woolworths it is found that the home page has navigation tabs such as products, specials, recipes, lists, stores, discover. It also provides option if login, sign up and checkout. On comparing this with Coles it is observed that the home page has tabs such as Catalogues & Specials, Shop online, Locations & hours, Recipes & tips, our range and corporate responsibility (Van & Fombrun, 2007).. It also provides option for search groceries and search for keywords, brands or products. On comparing this with Aldi it is found there are main tabs special buys, groceries, shopping at Aldi and About Aldi along with shopping list. Thus it is found from the assessment and comparison that all three websites communicate the products and services of the company and option for conducting the online shopping. The other tabs vary from each other.

Communication practices

Woolworths

Coles

Aldi

Face to Face Communication

Yes

Yes

Yes

Meeting

Yes

Yes

Yes

Report, Proposal, Invoice and Memorandum

Yes

Yes

Yes

Email

Yes

Yes

Yes

Website

7 tabs

6 tabs

4 tabs

Social Media

Face book, You Tube, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and tumblr

Face book, You Tube, Twitter, Instagram

Face book, You Tube, Twitter

Mobile phones

Yes

Yes

Yes

Based on the assessment of the communication and E-Communication strategies of Woolworths, it is found that the company use Face –to -Face communication as one of preferred mode of non-electronic communication to engage with customers, suppliers, staff members and the public (Cornelissen, 2014). From the SWOT analysis conducted it was found that the Face –to-Face communication as  no evidence for future reference so it should be avoided while communicating with customers, suppliers, staff members and the public as they can refuse at later time and it is difficult to prove the point. On the other hand if Face –to Face is only alternative in that situation it should be recorded for future reference. This signifies the growing importance of electronic communication compared to non electronic communication (Cornelissen, 2014). This is the reason Meeting which is another non electronic communication is supported by minutes of meeting that is documented. It is suggested that Woolworths should maintain the documentation of report, proposal, memorandum, and invoice for future reference and there should be proper retrieval system.

With respect to electronic communication, it is found from the assessment that Woolworths focus on email to communicate with internal and external stakeholders. It is no doubt the most cost effective and speedy communication. But it is suggested that the company mail should be password protected and there should be strict instruction to staff that company mail cannot be used for personal purpose (Dozier, Grunig, & Grunig, 2013). Any staff found using company mail for personal use will be penalized. It is also suggested that that staffs are given training about data protection act so that they maintain the privacy of customer information. Similarly the website and social media sites are prone to security risk. It is suggested that the company take the security measures to make this electronic media highly safe and secure so that customers can use them without any fear of data hacking. Further in the use of mobile phones, it is suggested that the company should subscribe to service provider who has proper network coverage so that staffs can communicate without interruption (Dozier, Grunig, & Grunig, 2013). By implementing these suggestion and recommendation, it is possible for Woolworths to improve the communication and engage with internal and external stakeholders in a more effective way.

Conclusion

From the discussion above it is evident that communication plays a significant role in dealing with different stakeholder.  The communication strategy of the company can use non-electronic communication or non electronic communication (Lindlof, & Taylor, 2010). In context to Woolworths it is found that the company use the combination of electronic and non electronic communication to promote internal and external communication. From the SWOT analysis it is found that each tool has its benefits and limitation and the company should use the tool suitable for the situation. It is evident that the electronic communication like email, website and social media is growing as they provide benefits over non electronic communication (Lindlof, & Taylor, 2010). It is also found from the comparison of Woolworths with its main competitor Colas and Aldi that the company use the website and social media more effectively with active presence.

References

Berger, C. R., Roloff, M. E., & Ewoldsen, D. R. (Eds.). (2010). The handbook of communication science. Sage.

Bovee, & Courtland. (2012). Business Communication Today, 10/e. Pearson Education India.

Carr, A. S., & Kaynak, H. (2007). Communication methods, information sharing, supplier development and performance: an empirical study of their relationships. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 27(4), 346-370.

Carroll, C. E. (2015). The handbook of communication and corporate reputation (Vol. 49). John Wiley & Sons.

Cornelissen, J. (2014). Corporate communication: A guide to theory and practice. Sage.

Debrand, C. C., & Johnson, J. J. (2008). Gender differences in email and instant messaging: A study of undergraduate business information systems students. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 48(3), 20-30.

Dozier, D. M., Grunig, L. A., & Grunig, J. E. (2013). Manager's guide to excellence in public relations and communication management. Routledge.

Guffey, M. E., & Loewy, D. (2010). Business communication: Process and product. Cengage Learning.

Guffey, M. E., & Loewy, D. (2012). Essentials of business communication. Cengage Learning.

Hallahan, K., Holtzhausen, D., Van Ruler, B., Ver?i?, D., & Sriramesh, K. (2007). Defining strategic communication. International journal of strategic communication, 1(1), 3-35.

Helms, M. M., & Nixon, J. (2010). Exploring SWOT analysis–where are we now? A review of academic research from the last decade. Journal of strategy and management, 3(3), 215-251.

Lindlof, T. R., & Taylor, B. C. (2010). Qualitative communication research methods. Sage.

Van Riel, C. B., & Fombrun, C. J. (2007). Essentials of corporate communication: Implementing practices for effective reputation management. Routledge.

Vonk, G., Geertman, S., & Schot, P. (2007). A SWOT analysis of planning support systems. Environment and Planning A, 39(7), 1699-1714.

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My Assignment Help. Non Electronic Communication Methods And Practices Used By Woolworths: A Case Study Essay. [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2018 [cited 13 June 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/chsug1002-interpersonal-communication-for-professional-practice.

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