Relationship between Effective Internal Communication and Corporate Sustainability
Effective communication is essential for the success of any organization because it helps managers share information with junior employees. Organizations spend a lot of time, efforts and resources to ensure that effective communication takes place between management at all levels. It is essential that the organization’s goals are communicated down the line to the junior employees. However, the feedback to the top management is equally important. For example, human resource management ensures the organization has adequate staff only if the requirement is communicated to him from other departments.
Effective communication enhances organizational performance through promoting cohesion, and harmony among employees. However, despite the importance of effective communication, the subject of the relationship between effective internal communication and corporate sustainability remains mostly unexplored, as most scholars focus on other areas. Hernandez and Grayson argue that effective communication can be the best approach for most of the challenges facing organizations.
Daniela studied the importance of communication on employee satisfaction in public institutions based in the UK. This paper reviews the literature connecting effective internal communication and corporate sustainability.
Meaning of Effective Communication
There are many commonalities among the definition of communication provided by various scholars. Almost all definitions include a sender, a receiver, a message and a medium. Communication is defined as the process of transmitting information from one person to another using a certain medium. For communication to be effective, the sender and the receiver must understand the communicated information. To elaborate this point, some scholars have gone a step further and differentiate between one-way and two-way communication. One-way communication is unidirectional. The sender is not aware if his message has been understood. In two-way communication, the receiver communicates his understanding of the message to the sender through form of a feedback. Another definition of communication is the process for passing messages from one person to another using a given medium. However, to provide a deeper understanding of the concept, especially in an organizational perspective, the scholars discuss the concepts of one-way and two-way communication. According to them, one-way communication occurs when the receiver fails to respond while in two-way communication, the receiver responds. Effective communication occurs when the sender gets feedback. Therefore, it is evident that effective internal communication occurs when there is a continuous flow of information from the top management to the junior staff. However, the junior staff must also give feedback to the top management for communication to be effective.
Meaning of Corporate Sustainability
Unlike communication, the available definitions of corporate sustainability are more diverse. Daniela defines corporate sustainability, as an organization’s responsive measures to development, which is sustainable in nature. Another definition of corporate sustainability is that it is the process of aligning an organization’s services and products to the expectations of different stakeholders. While Daniela’s definition focuses on making internal changes in organization according to the development taking place in the external environment, Singh is more concerned introducing these changes to meet the stakeholders’ expectations. Hence, based on Daniela’s definition, it is evident that corporate sustainability seeks to enhance present and future life conditions for everyone. However, corporate sustainability employs innovative and eco-efficient solutions. According to second definition, corporate sustainability aligns the services in order to add environmental, social, and economic value to the company. Therefore, based on this definition, it is possible that corporate sustainability is an approach in business that focuses on creating long-term shareholder value. Thus, the approach embraces management risks, and opportunities derived from the environmental, social, and economic developments.
Significance of Effective Communication in an Organization
Effective internal communication is essential in an organization. Ugoriji and Oruh believe that effective internal communication is vital as it makes the employees feel part of the organizations, motivates them, and hence enhances efficiency. However, in order to maintain effective internal communication, Ugoriji and Oruh suggest that management should ensure it holds regular meetings with employees, at least once in a week. Further, management should ensure that the junior employees have representatives in charge of presenting their grievances.
Similarly, Singh holds that effective internal communication is vital since it builds employees trust towards the management. If the management regularly communicates with the employees, they are not left to speculate about the organization’s progress and develop trust on the management. This makes them more committed at work which results in enhanced productivity. Further, Singh holds that effective internal communication is significant because it encourages employees to dispense good news about a company. Effective internal communication makes the employees spread good news about an organization as it makes them feel part of the organization. Therefore, through the spread of good news to the public, an organization is able to increase its competitive position and goodwill in the market. In addition, effective internal communication is vital since it boosts the shareholders confidence in the organization. For example, when any person walks into the organization and finds a harmonious environment characterized by happy employees, his or her confidence towards investing in the organization will increase.
Significance of Corporate Sustainability
Just like communication, corporate sustainability is of great importance for an organization. Corporate sustainability is vital because it makes the community relate with the organization. For example, when an organization sponsors the supply of water to a community, as part of corporate sustainability, it will reap many benefits. First, this initiative will make community members feel that the organization cares about their welfare. Therefore, based on this fact, the community members will tend to develop some loyalty to the organization as they can relate to it more easily. Further, corporate sustainability is important because it enhances employees’ satisfaction as well as helps in reducing employee turnover. However, to achieve this objective, the organizations have to plan corporate sustainability programs with care, so that community involvement in a positive way enhances the community’s loyalty toward the organization.
In addition, corporate sustainability is essential because it proactively manages the risks of a business by introducing product differentiation and innovation. It is also important because it enhances reputation, image, and recognition of a brand. This automatically leads to loyalty and increased sales.
Review of Various Scholarly Materials Relevant to the Topic
According to Dubois, corporate sustainability encourages job satisfaction among employees through various activities which appeal to the public in general and at times also require their participation. Some of these activities, in this case, may include planting trees, cleaning rivers, provision of water to the community and offering scholarships to the needy students. However, Singh does not agree with the idea that corporate sustainability contributes to job satisfaction. The author thinks it is a merely a fallacy as job satisfaction entirely depends on other factors, such as proper remuneration and deployment in the right position. For example, the scholar argues that there will be no job satisfaction in an organization active in the area of corporate sustainability, where the employees still receive low wages. Thus, according to Singh, the only factors which relate to job satisfaction are appropriate remuneration, and placement in the right position.
On the other hand, it is arguable that effective internal communication and corporate sustainability relate since they enhance cohesion and teamwork among employees. In this case, effective internal communication encourages teamwork as members meet regularly to discuss various issues affecting them. Consequently, development of a team spirit in the organization is vital in many ways. First, this aspect is essential since it encourages harmony or peaceful coexistence among employees. Secondly, the existence of a harmonious environment in the organization is vital since it enhances the stakeholder’s confidence hence they are willing to continue investing. Similarly, corporate sustainability encourages teamwork among employees, as various corporate sustainability activities bring employees from different departments closer. Thus, in the process the employees get to know each other better, they become one team. By working as a team, the organization may attract many investors, as well as competent employees who will help realize set goals and objectives. However, Singh seemed to take a divergent view arguing that it is not true for a person to insinuate that corporate sustainability creates unity among employees. According to the author, the issue about formation of meaningful associations rests on the attitudes held by employees towards one another. For example, some employees may never mingle with others based on the issues of religion, politics, and race revolving around them. These materials were based on both primary and secondary data gathered by different scholars.
Theories Relevant to the Topic
Various theories applicable in explaining the relationship between effective communication and corporate sustainability exist. One of the theories is excellence theory, formulated by Gruing in 1985. In this regard, the theory incorporates various middle range theories. These include elements of strategic management, publics, employee communication, and public relations. Others include those of evaluating public relations, diversity, gender, activism, social responsibility, global relations, and ethics.
Excellence theory originated through a survey study of chief executive officers and staffs from 328 organizations based in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. At first, excellence theory sought to explain the importance of public relations for an organization, which would eventually help in achieving its goals of corporate sustainability. In this case, the corporate sustainability was based on the relationships between managerial decisions, and the level of association with the stakeholders. The managerial decisions in this regard entailed that of engaging fulfilling the organization’s corporate social responsibility. The stakeholders were people affected by those decisions. According to this theory, engaging in social responsibility is very essential to an organization because it enhances its quality of relationship with the public. In addition, the theory holds that engaging in corporate social responsibility is productive because it enhances employee and stakeholders’ trusts towards the organization. Further, according to the theory engaging in social responsibility, it is essential because it helps enhance the brand image. Therefore, through maintenance of quality relations and enhancement of brand image, an organization is able to increase its productivity, and hence sales. On the other hand, enhancement in trust of the employees towards the organization is essential because it helps in increasing efficiency, as well as employee job satisfaction.
The excellence theory also presents a number of arguments. For example, the theory argues that for an organization to be effective, it must conduct itself in a manner that seeks to address multiple problems. Further, the organization should be geared in a manner that gratifies the stakeholders' and management goals. In this case, if the organization does not satisfy these goals simultaneously, it will face problems. For example, the stakeholders will either oppose or compel the management to change its policies. Stakeholders may oppose the organization’s decisions and policies when it ventures into areas which increase risk and costs. According to the theory, for organizations to behave in a socially acceptable manner, they must assess their environments. Assessing the environment is essential because that is the only way an organization can identify the various segments of public that will be affected by its decisions. Moreover, it is also the only way for an organization to determine the public interested in its making decisions to solve vital issues. Thus, the company must adequately communicate with the public while considering their interests. This will enable the company to establish quality and long-term associations with members of the public.
Further, from the excellence case study, it was evident that maintenance of effective internal communication played a vital role. Effective communication helped increase employees’ job satisfaction in an organization. In addition, the excellence study revealed that corporate sustainability played a vital role in enhancing the public image of an organization. Moreover, effective internal communication helped create an environment of mutual understanding between the organizations’ employees and the top management.
Therefore, it can be concluded that excellence theory is very relevant in explaining the relationship between effective internal communication and corporate sustainability. The theory holds that engaging in corporate sustainability is important because it enhances the quality of an organization’s relationship with the public, helps build employees and stakeholders’ trusts in the organization, and increases job satisfaction. These assertions relate very well to the role played by effective internal communication in an organization as effective internal communication also helps in enhancing job satisfaction. Moreover, effective internal communication enhances trust and confidence among employees because it contributes in creating a happy and harmonious relationship among employees.
The review started by focusing on the meanings of effective internal communication, and corporate sustainability. Based on the review, internal communication is the process of transmitting information from one person to another, using a certain medium. On the other hand, corporate sustainability refers to an organization’s responsive measures aimed at development, which is sustainable in nature.
Further, the review focused on the significance of effective internal communication and corporate sustainability. Moreover, it established that effective internal communication is essential in organizations for multiple reasons. It helps in increasing employee motivation, hence enhancing efficiency. Effective communication makes employees feel part of the organization. Secondly, effective internal communication is vital since it builds employees’ trust towards the management. Regular internal communication helps them develop a closer association with the organization. Their level of trust raises leading to higher levels of commitment and productivity. Thirdly, effective internal communication is significant because it encourages employees to dispense good news about their company as they develop more loyalty.
On the other hand, corporate sustainability is of great importance because it helps the community members in relating with an organization. Corporate sustainability is also important because it enhances employees’ satisfaction, and helps the organization retain its good employees. In addition, corporate sustainability is essential because it proactively manages the risks of a business besides creating a situation of product differentiation. Moreover, corporate sustainability is important since it enhances reputation, image, and recognition of a brand.
In terms of a relationship, the review established that effective internal communication and corporate sustainability relate in the sense that they both encourage job satisfaction. Effective internal communication enhances job satisfaction because of the involvement of employees in key decision-making while corporate sustainability enhances employee job satisfaction through its image-building activities involving the community. Moreover, internal effective communication and corporate sustainability are inter-related because both enhance cohesion and teamwork among employees. They are also interlinked as both enhance productivity in the organization. To elaborate the relationship between corporate sustainability and effective internal communication, the review used case studies of Coca Cola, Unilever, and Barclays bank companies. Further, the paper used excellence theory to elaborate the relationship between effective internal communication, and corporate sustainability.