Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Discuss about the PR Practitioners on Managing Stakeholder’s Needs.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) connotes to smart business actions that lead to an improvement in the company as a whole, building integrity and developing sustainability. Public Relations (PR) play a very crucial role in reporting all the actions relating to CSR that the company performs or must perform in order to get more pronounced in the operational market. Thus, it becomes very important for PR Practitioners to offer greater insights in devising and deploying CSR activities that would resonate credibly with the chief stakeholders. They focus on activities to promote productive business with greater consideration to the stakeholders of the companies who frame the base for the better performances of the companies. The PR Professionals have a unique position that is characterized by the rich knowledge that they have relating to the variable needs of stakeholders mainly through their depth in experience with technologies and dialogic communications (Seitel 2017). The messages that the PR Practitioners carry are chiefly based on factual information and are very transparent. They are less promotional and controlled and can leverage CSR activities to be personally important to external stakeholders. Public relations serve to be the driving vehicle that shares the progress made by companies who are engaging themselves in successful embracement of the strategic and integrated nature of CSR to the world. The assert that CSR is a systematic and sustainable approach to business that recognize and integrate the impact on and influence of the stakeholders, that is the employees, shareholders, customers, supply chain and the environment.
Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations, in the present time are references in the communicational activity that lies in the context of communities where the businesses operate (Grunig 2013). The public relations aim to build and maintain a positive impression and popularity of the companies so that the people in general have a clear and transparent idea of the company and its activities. The CSR intends to improve the quality of life of the customers by meeting the various social problems that the communities report to face. Realizing the importance of CSR, the developed countries made it a phenomenon in their businesses that led top the initiation of CSR programs for the benefit of the society. These activities relate to the public relations instrument that strives to improve the image capital of the companies and simultaneously accelerate their financial performances. With the increasing identification of CSR to be very important for the growth of the companies, the concept has begun to be recognized in the other countries as well. CSR and PR activities work in collaboration and both these processes operate within the organizations with a link in between them. The PR department has been considering CSR to be a new solution to improve the image of the companies in their engagement in social problems that would bring clients and partners that are more faithful to the companies.
PR Practitioners and their Role in Reporting and Deploying CSR
The PR coordinates the external relationship of the companies that is not embedded within the functioning of the different structures of the companies. However, it is also important to understand the border that exists between the two phenomenon of corporate social responsibilities and public relations that has been rightly manifested by various specialists and their specialized literature. The concept of CSR is placed under the umbrella of PR since the organizations come closest to the public through the intermediary role that is played by the CSR. The primary activity of the PR is to focus on the researching and defining of the various problems that the public complains about, both inside and outside (Theaker 2017). They trace the attitudes, behaviors and opinions if the people who have a connection with the activities of the company. Thus, they report about the problem and recognize opportunities relating to social and environmental policies that would serve the social demands. They try to understand the relations of stakeholders as well as their expectations and demands and aims to improve the relations with the stakeholders’ network involved in the business. Thus, both PR and CSR use their abilities to analyze and plan the relationship of the companies with various co-interested groups that the companies come in contact with (Coombs and Holladay 2013). PR Professionals also involves in implementing strategies and communicating them to the stakeholders. The not only introduce but also monitors and communicates the strategies to the stakeholders that serve to be a very crucial activity for the growth and development of the businesses. The PR Practitioners also play the vital role of evaluating the pluses and minuses that occurs in the business processes that helps the company to determine their position in relation the community and society where they are operating. Thus, both PR and CSR have similar roles to perform in accordance to the needs of the stakeholders in companies, however they differ in the final role where the PR evaluates the situation where as the CSR implements the processes for the societal benefits (Stacks 2016). The following diagram presents the steps common in between CSR and PR that diverges at the end (Smith 2013).
Step 1: the ability to identify certain problems and opportunities so that a connection is build in between the companies and the groups or people interested in the businesses.
Step 2: the ability to plan and analyze the relation of the companies with the co-interested groups that the companies encounter (Kim 2014).
Collaboration between Public Relations and CSR
Step 3: introducing, monitoring and communicating adequate strategies.
It is evident that the PR shoulders the responsibility of communicating the CSR activities that a company is going to undertake or are already engaged in, with the different types of stakeholders. They help to increase the efficiency of the companies by communicating all the measures that would serve to the demands of the stakeholders, leading to an overall improvement of the relations that the companies share with their customers (Dozier, Grunig and Grunig 2013). Thus, the PR has the primary role to strategically manage the CSR activities of the companies that help them to sustain the relations with the stakeholders for the long term.
According to Kim and Ferguson (2014) PR activities along the CSR activities that the companies undertake have beneficial effects on the image of the respective companies. Simultaneous use of PR and CSR activities brings positive results at both the managerial level and the general impression of the companies (Davis 2013). It is very important to determine the relevance of stakeholders for industries, who are related to the total outcomes of the companies. Considering the importance of the stakeholders, managing them effectively can lead to great differences that would bring success to the businesses. Thus, it is very important to have effective public relations that communicates and understands the stakeholders. For any project relationships, stakeholder management serves to be the lifeblood. Thus, the PR practitioners strive to establish sound relationship that renders the stakeholders with a feeling of trust and relevance of the companies. It also depends on them to make the stakeholders understand their role in contributing to the business processes that would ultimately lead to the meeting and accomplishing of business goals and objectives (Johnston 2014). The public relations practitioners identify the stakeholders, communicate effectively and lead to the development of productive team members who work coordinately focusing on the common targets. This ultimately leads to the success of the businesses.
Considering the negative aspect of ineffective management of stakeholders and overlooking the role of public relations, there can be delay in project or product delivery from businesses, resource drainage, political interventions and project terminations (Heath 2013). This increases risk in businesses that ultimately makes the operations in the businesses unsuccessful. The public relations practitioner is the liaison between the companies and the public. With the communication of the information about the organizations to the outside world, they in turn relay the feelings of the public to the companies. Thus, they build, protect and maintain the reputation of the organizations. Every stakeholder gets attracted and inclined towards the organizations who have a good reputation. The PR practitioners frame the repute of the companies among the people in general that simultaneously develops a consumer’s confidence that serves to be the healthier bottom line and growth of the industries (Bryson 2018). Bad reputation with ineffective PR affects the financial outcome badly that leads to a total declination of the businesses. The PR practitioners interact with news media and holds press conferences. They even indulge in writing press releases considering the requests for greater information from public. They also manage the social media accounts of the organizations and reach out to the various community events to develop public sentiments for the prosperity of the businesses (Culbertson and Chen 2013). Through these processes, the PR practitioners become able to identify the areas that need changes to be made by the companies and provide the organizational leaders with reports for any updates that they must know about, with valid information and data.
PR Practitioners: Critical Role in Communicating CSR Activities
Considering the stakeholders to serve as the basis for growth in industries, it becomes very essential for the PR practitioners to manage stakeholder’s needs and expectations. The stakeholders as a group usually understand the business situation better, thus it is very important to manage them. They have the potential to collapse an entire firm when their expectations are not met. Having their priorities unconsidered by the industries, the business can collapse as whole. Thus, it is very important to recognize the demands and expectations of the stakeholders, who play a very crucial role to bring success in the projects (Gregory 2015). The PR practitioners must identify the intended recipients of communication with the general consideration that different stakeholders would seek different information, varying in forms. They must try to identify the rising issues of concern to each of the stakeholders relating to their decisions with an effective communication approach. Identifying the stakeholders and managing their expectations seeks effective leadership skills and excellent communication skills. All these need to be managed effectively by the PR practitioners who aim to drive the individuals in the projects. Good stakeholder management ensures a better working environment along with a smooth working of the organizations. It helps to mitigate risks to a huge extent, eliminate unnecessary delays and attain business goals in the long term. The stakeholders being the customers, shareholders, regulators, government agencies, users, staffs and others who serve to be the soul of any functioning company have varying opinions and expectations. The PR practitioners need to involve all these considerations and collect the information accordingly.
To manage the expectations, the PR practitioners need to work with greater consideration to their communication and initiating dialogue with the most influential stakeholders (Steyn and Niemann 2014). They must primarily understand the importance of the particular stakeholders that they would deal with and get access to their requirements. The practitioners must also investigate whether the desired outcome of the stakeholders is realistic or not in respect to the present business conditions. The project aims must be clearly stated to the stakeholders and it must be noted that the PR practitioners provide them with regular progress reports. Encouraging delegation wherever necessary, the practitioners must open up less formal lines of communication in order to accommodate the busy stakeholders. The practitioners also trace the accountability and record agreements for the stakeholders to address to them in need. It is equally important for them to be agile to changing market situations that ultimately affect stakeholder expectations. The practitioners, knowing the importance of the stakeholders must constantly reassess the prevailing preconception of stakeholder motivations, expectations and attitudes that account to the evolving and growing business landscape. Thus, with a wide range of communication channels and approaches, the PR practitioners must try to provide all sorts of solutions to every stakeholder.
Benefits of PR and CSR integration
To sustain their reputation in the market, some of the companies who have been able to maintain their standard are Bosch who believes that losing money is better than losing trust. Other such companies prioritizing the CSR activities are Dell, Apple, BMW, Levi Strauss and co., Salesforce, Coca Cola and such others. Such practices show the concern of the companies that commits to sustainability and strengthening communities apart from the sole objective of profit-making. These activities have not only aided the society and the environment in multiple ways but have also led them to be even more popular and trusted by the people all around the world. They not only engage in their business activities revolving around money making but also prioritize the requisites of all their stakeholders and the global society. Thus, considering the role of stakeholders who serve to be the key for success in businesses, it becomes very important for PR practitioners to manage their needs and expectations in a very effective way.
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