Managing Communication, Knowledge and Information

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Introduction to Managing Communication, Knowledge and Information

Organizations have to administer communication all through their structures to make their operations of business competitive. They also have to take effective decisions to accomplish desired goals and objectives. For this reason, they are required to gain effective knowledge and information which are also appropriate according to the information needs of the organization. There are a number of information sources which a firm must implement in order to have smooth inflow and outflow of knowledge and information throughout the firm (Jennex, 2007).

This report considers understanding a number of ways of assessing the needs of information and knowledge, and thereby creating strategies to boost personal networking for widening engagement in the process of decision making. 

Russell Hobbs is the organization taken as reference in the first assignment of the report to explain how the company manages its commutation, knowledge and information throughout the organization. it is a household appliances manufacturer based in Failsworth, Greater Manchester, England. It is a private company which was founded in 1952 and now serves consumers across the UK.

ASSIGNMENT 1

LO 1: Assessing Information and Knowledge Needs

1.1 Range of Decisions to be Taken

Strategic Decisions – Strategic decisions are taken at the strategic level and are associated with the strategic choices of direction and identity. In Russell Hobbs, the strategic decision makers are mainly its high designated people like the Chairperson or even the top level management. Their decisions are crucial to start the business and keep it running (Fernie, 2009).

Tactical Decisions – Tactical decisions are concerned with how the performance must be managed to accomplish the strategy. First line managers of Russell Hobbs are mainly responsible to take the various decisions for their subordinates. Their decisions are helpful in managing and getting day-to-day work done by the employees.

Operational Decisions – These decisions are of regular nature and are taken at the operational level. Employees at this level have to follow the rules that came into picture as a result of the operational decisions which are commonly known throughout the organization. In Russell Hobbs, the supervisors are known to take these decisions for the workers to follow them (Szczerbicki, 2009).

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1.2 Information and Knowledge Needed

There are a number of facts and figures that an organization needs to know in order to ensure effective decision making. It is significant that Russell Hobbs has essential information about everything that it requires for the smooth flow of operations during the start-up of the business. A company having sound knowledge about the market and its competitors can take a number of decisions that are crucial for the organizational competitiveness and strength during the initial stages of its existence (Jain, 2008). This is because the more the firm gathers knowledge about its competitors and the industry; the better it can compete for a longer run. In this way, the firm will not only secure its market share but also generate sound responsiveness against uncertain future.

1.3 Internal and External Sources of Information

Internal Sources – Information of performance of marketing and sales, revenues, market shares, distribution channels, assets and information on standards and quality of operations and production. Financial information regarding cost, margins, profits, cash flows, investments etc. and internal documentation in terms of credit notes, order forms, invoices etc. All this information is known to aid Russell Hobbs understand and analyze internal efficiency of the various operations of business during and after the start-up of the business (Frankel, 2008).

External Sources – External sources of information for Russell Hobbs are legislation, census figures, trade journals, national opinion polls, internet and professional publications etc. All these sources can aid the company in obtaining external information effectively about the prevailing trends and competitions in the market (Frankel, 2008).

1.4 Recommendations for Improvement

Russell Hobbs must employ a number of more sources that provide key information to the company for the chief purpose of achieving competitive advantage in the industry. These sources must be focused to gain more competitive knowledge about the competitors and potential new entrants in the industry. This kind of information will be crucial for the company to gain and appreciate more competitive advantage over its competitors (Miller, 2011). The company is also required to ensure that while being in the process of obtaining more information and knowledge about its competitors, it is suggested not to lose focus from its present and potential customers and that firm must keep an equal track to obtain information from both, the competitors’ as well as the customers’ point of view.

LO 2: Creating Strategies to Increase Personal Networking

2.1Identifying Stakeholders

There are a number of stakeholders which a firm must consider to implement its process of decision making. Stakeholders for Russell Hobbs are identified and explained as under:

Suppliers – Suppliers are those stakeholders that supply raw materials to the company and these stakeholders are required to be kept informed of the prevailing level of raw materials’ stock in the company so that smooth and continuous supply can be maintained and thereby sound decisions can be taken (Buono, 2005).

Customers – Customers are those stakeholders that influence the decision making process of Russell Hobbs. The company has to identify actual needs and wants of the customers and accordingly take decisions to meet these needs in the market effectively (Buono, 2005).

2.2 Making Contact with Stakeholders and Develop Business Relationships

Russell Hobbs needs to make sound contact with the identified stakeholders because they are critical for executing the decisions of the company. These decisions must be in terms of project funding, gaining consent to pass and implement decisions, or to manufacture a new product or a concept. For funding these decisions and related activities and business functions, the company has to develop sound contacts with the banks, financial institutions, government, suppliers, customers etc and these contacts are crucial for the smooth running of the business operations and this ultimately aids the firm in developing effective business relationships with the stakeholders (Burstein, 2008).

2.3 Involving Stakeholders in Decision Making

Once all the stakeholders are identified and contacted effectively and also sound business relationships have been developed with them, next step is then to engage them all within the company’s decision making. For this, Russell Hobbs must make it sure that it undertakes a number of considerations for the purpose of involving the stakeholders within the decision making process of the organization. The first step in this is to develop strong and effective communication with the stakeholders so that they can be kept informed and aware of everything taking place within the company and the top management of the firm (Mumby, 2012). Also, the shareholders must be communicated properly and kept informed about the changes in dividend schemes or any further investment etc. This will aid the company in making the shareholders involved in the decision making process of the organization.

2.4 Strategies for Improvement

Russell Hobbs must enhance the way it communicates with its stakeholders internally and externally. Sound communication will aid the company in terms of building sound and strong relationships with all its stakeholders that are internal as well as external to the organization. Thus, this can be one of the strategies for the firm in building effective business relationships within as well as around the organization. Another strategy must be related with the analysis of external factors for global business. Russell Hobbs is a multinational company and many of its major operations are conducted outside the UK. This clearly means that the firm is required to have a strong and robust strategy in order to smoothly conduct its business operations on a global basis (Burstein, 2008). This can be made possible only when the firm has considered properly analyzing internal as well as external factors that are affecting the business. It can be done with the assistance of some analysis tools such as PESTEL, SWOT and Value Chain analysis etc.

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ASSIGNMENT 2

LO 3: Communication Process

3.1   Existing Process of Communication in a Small Voluntary Organization

Proper communication process is very significant in most of the organizations as it is known to aid a company in ensuring that the activities of the organization are being carried out appropriately and on time. The current process of communication being used in a small voluntary organization is that of top down communication in which the sub-ordinates may receive orders from their superiors. As it is evident from the case study, there has been no two-way communication between the supervisors and the employees in the given situation as the supervisor has been busy only in impressing and working for her superiors or top level management. The major focus of the political group of activists was on communicating with the world outside and that supervisor did not seem to communicate well with the employees in the firm (Martins, 2007). It can be taken as evident from the fact that the team members did not establish any mutual goals.

For a small voluntary organization, there can be a number of methods used for making sure sound communication between the superiors and their subordinates. In these types of firms, often written instructions as well as handouts must be used and employed with a purpose of making a proper communication flow in the company. The written method of communication will also help to serve as a proof of various tasks being assigned to different people at the workplace. Other methods which are effective and must be used in such type of organizations involve written memos, emails etc. A staff member can also be appointed as an in-charge of communication that will be responsible to ensure that whatever guidelines and instructions are issued from the higher level management are positively conveyed to the employees at the middle and lower level (More, 2000). Meetings are another mode through which the levels of interaction within the organization can be improved. By organizing meetings on a regular basis, it can be often made sure that all the volunteers as well as the top management is interested in providing their views, suggestions and opinions at the gathering. But verbal mode of sharing can be one of the best methods in a political activist organization. Only when the communicator acquires word power, he/she can influence individuals with his/her oratory skills (Martins, 2007).

3.2, 3.3 Designing and Implementing Improvements to Ensure Greater Integration

There are various types of processes of communication which can be used in an organization. They are explained as under:

Horizontal Process – In horizontal process of communication, the message is known to flow in a straight line. It is called as one way process of sharing of the information as it is transferred among employees or staff members that are working on the same hierarchical post or position in company. The lateral process of interaction focuses on information coordination which is known to enable the staff members with similar ranks to have sound collaboration. Through such a process of contacting, the workforce will be able to accomplish greater satisfaction with the presence of freedom and independence that they are likely to achieve. The process is also helpful in minimizing misunderstandings among the volunteers, management and the staff members, which further increases both the productivity as well as the efficiency of the organization (Quirke, 2006). Through this process, the decisions as well as the guidelines issued by the higher level management can be executed in the organization, as it is known to enable the staff members at all the management levels, whether top or lower, to collaborate and contribute well with each other at workplace.

Two-Way Process – In the two-way process, the sender normally sends messages and the receiver receives the message and sends back some feedback. Such a process is quite beneficial for the staff members in a small firm, as it will enable healthy information flow in the firm. It is called as the most effective course of communication as it is known to make sure that the sender as well as the receiver, both are in regular touch with one another and can identify easily the core purpose behind having an interaction with each other. It is known to increase and enhance mutual trust among the employees and thereby leading to peace, harmony and focus towards the goals and objectives of the firm (George, 2003). Implementation of such a process will effectively aid top management in understanding and identifying what the staff members at lower and middle level think regarding any decision or activity in terms of organizational processes and working. It can be taken as evident from the case that the supervisor has not been performing proper tasks and duties that are required to be appropriately performed in that position. All she did was delegating roles, tasks and responsibilities to the volunteers and never consider taking back of feedback as to whether the tasks assigned are appropriate and are completed or not (Quirke, 2006).

One of the most crucial and effective forms of sharing information as well as knowledge in an activist organization is to adopt two-way process of communication. In this way, assigning tasks, roles and responsibilities will become simpler for the employers or the supervisors. It is also known to provide feedback appropriately. Use of written methods of communication should also be encouraged in the firm. It will aid in comprehending all the roles, responsibilities and tasks that are required to be allotted or assigned to staff members (Quirke, 2006).
To integrate systems and processes of communication, the strategy of interaction and plans will be required to be modified so that a good practice of sharing information and knowledge within the company can be developed. The top level management will need to ensure that the subordinates and the superiors are often in sound conversations with each other and that proper flow of communication exists. In case, when this is not happening then corrective measures must be undertaken to encourage it (Moghaddam, 2013).

3.4 Personal Plan to Enhance Own Communication Skills

The process of communication implemented by an individual always has a range of enhancement. The following steps can be taken by me in order to improve my own communication skills in the organization:

• Having a positive attitude is very useful to attract others. If I have a positive attitude in the organization, I will be capable of presenting my opinions and views in the company where I am working and they may get appreciated by other employees and the top management.

•  Developing an approach which is result-oriented will aid me in interacting effectively with others as it will enable me to share and communicate only that information which is required and relevant to my job and company (Mansell, 2010).

•  Having an approach that involves open mind will also be beneficial as it will also be supportive for me while being open to various suggestions from others as well as feedbacks. Further, it will also send a good message to other team members that I am always ready for constructive talks and that anyone wishing to interact with me regarding anything related with job or the company can approach me anytime (Mankins and Steele, 2004).

•  Following up with the listeners is a very crucial step as it will require performing if I am likely to enhance my skills in communication. By carrying out such a follow up activity, an action plan can be developed and also accountability can be formed regarding the concerned functions to be performed (Mansell, 2010).

•   Another way in which I can often develop abilities of interaction effectively with others is that of gathering as well as confirming information to check whether it is authentic or not. In this way, I will be capable of knowing as to what must be communicated by me and how this can be achieved effectively (Thompson, 2001).

LO4: Improve Systems Relating to Information and Knowledge

4.1, 4.2 Reporting and Improving Existing Approaches to Information Collection, Formatting, Storage and Dissemination

Currently, measures considered by the company for the purpose of collecting, formatting, storing and diffusing information as well as knowledge show that there are no such guidelines to sound management of knowledge and information. So far, top down method of communication is used in the organization, which is contrary to their own concept which has not yet provided much benefit to the firm. Vertical communication has also not been used lately as there has been no requirement of one-on-one sessions between the management and the staff members. Since the firm is a political activist organization, there has been lack of professionalism in the staff members’ attitudes which has resulted in little or no sharing of information among them. So far, only some non-verbal modes of communication have been employed to disseminate knowledge as well as information which have also not gained any desired outcomes (O'Sullivan, 2007). Volunteers also have some feeling of being frustrated as there lays no proper and real time communication amongst them and the management. Although, technology has been positively employed and used to collect, analyze and disseminate information and knowledge, it has been least useful for the organization as whatever systems of technology have been used are significantly outdated.

To properly deal with such issues, the organization will require appointing professionals and specialists that have expertise in identifying and constructing methods in which information can be effectively collected and shared. For example, IT agencies must be identified and hired in order to come up with solutions to such problems of communication (Malmelin, 2007). These agencies are known to work together for firms that require sound systems of interaction that enable individuals to share and collect information and knowledge effectively form each other. Also to enhance dissemination of organizational information, the culture must be developed and modified in such a way that encourages dissemination effectively. Proper time management practices must be identified and implemented so that the practices of ‘on the spot decision-making’ can be stopped and that proper planning and organizing can be done before taking any crucial decisions of the organization. This will also help in enhancing the approach of the firm towards the collection, storage as well as distribution of information throughout the organization (Hirose and Sonehara, 2008).

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4.3 Strategy Implementation to Improve Access to Systems of Information and Knowledge

Access to systems of knowledge and information in an organization can be significantly enhanced if a number of techniques of information sharing and knowledge management can be employed and adopted. These techniques are known to enhance the practices and strategies that can be utilized to handle and manage the flow of knowledge and information in an organization. Various techniques and tools such as database, feedback, and shared project files can be employed to improve the way in which the company can manage knowledge within the organization (Fatt, 2005). In a political activist organization, there can be a number of databases about a number of more matters such as activities and functions that have been performed effectively by various groups over many years etc. While in shared files of a project, the employees of the party can work jointly or collaboratively on various projects in hand. This will enhance the flow of knowledge and information in the firm as well as access to the same

CONCLUSION

Report has understood how Russell Hobbs can assess the needs of information and knowledge and further how these needs can be fulfilled while keeping in mind the present flow of knowledge and information in the organization. It has also created strategies in order to increase personal networking in the company’s process of decision making which helps the company in fulfilling the needs of communication with different networks involving its stakeholders.
In the next assignment, the report develops a communication process and thereby suggests how personal communication can be improved. It also suggests strategies for improving systems with respect to information and knowledge in an organization.

REFERENCES

  • Buono, F. A., 2005. Challenges and Issues in Knowledge Management. IAP.
  • Burstein, F., 2008. Handbook on Decision Support Systems 1: Basic Themes. Springer.
  • Fernie, J., 2009. Logistics and Retail Management: Emerging Issues and New Challenges in the Retail Supply Chain. Kogan Page Publishers.
  • Frankel, G. E., 2008. Quality Decision Management -The Heart of Effective Futures-Oriented Management: A Primer for Effective Decision-Based Management. Springer.
  • Jain, N., 2008. Retail Management: A Realistic Approach. Global India Publications.
  • Jennex, E. M., 2007. Knowledge Management in Modern Organizations. Idea Group Inc (IGI).
  • Martins, B., 2007. Proceedings of the 8th European Conference on Knowledge Management. Academic Conferences Limited.
  • Miller, K., 2011. Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes: Approaches and Processes. Cengage Learning.
  • Mumby, D., 2012. Organizational Communication: A Critical Approach. SAGE Publications.
  • Szczerbicki, E., 2009. Smart Information and Knowledge Management: Advances, Challenges, and Critical Issues. Springer.
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