Sample Undergraduate Business Report
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This report has comprehensively explained how organizational communication functions can let the business grow and what importance corporate communication retains. An organization is named Amazon, a world-known and largest retailer, and book-selling company.
Amazon was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos as an online book store aimed to turn into the everything store. With passing years, Amazon started to grow and sell music and videos later on by 1998. The company used its communication functions effectively and started its international functions with Germany and the U.K. Later on, in 1999, Amazon was able to sell electronics, video games, toys, home improvement items, and much more through its website. The significant discussion that took place below in the report is that Amazon can use the communication strategies efficiently internally and externally and proved itself in the eyes of the world and its competitors.
The report has covered the following aspects of communication functions in Amazon.
- The first part has critically evaluated and analyzed the internal, external, and integrated corporate communication functions within Amazon.
- At the same time, the second part contains the recommendations for the company which Amazon can use to improve its communicative strategies and practices.
- The third and last part of this report includes the self-reflection assessment, which will explain to what extent the module was helpful and how useful it will prove to be in terms of teamwork and communication skills.
Amazon is globally recognized as the world’s largest online retailer and highlighted cloud service provider. Initially, Amazon was a small bookseller, but later on, the company started to sell an enormous variety of digital media, consumer goods, and electronic devices, including Kindle Fire tablet, Kindle e-book reader, Fire Tv, and more. Amazon was incorporated by Jeff Bezos as Cadabra in 1994 but changed to “Amazon” when its website had to launch in 1995 (Majed et al., 2018).
The company is headquartered in Seattle, where the company regulates multiple websites, software development centers, customer service, and fulfillment centers located at different locations of the world. The vision statement of Amazon is focused on dominating at the global level while providing its customers with a worthwhile shopping experience (Bennett et al., 2018).
On the other hand, the mission statement of Amazon theoretically is all about the attractiveness of the overall service and products the company has corporate in stores for its clients (Debter, 2019). The reason to incorporate Amazon in the discussion is to focus on the company’s communications functions and find its relevance to Corporate Communication Strategy.
When the company can convey its concerns clearly to all its stakeholders, formulate a better plan, lead, organize, and control different aspects of the business (Belasen et al., 2019). This report will discuss those communication functions used in Amazon, which it use to convey all the messages clearly to its stakeholders internally and externally.
Simultaneously, the corporate communication strategy has a deep link to Amazon’s operations because it provides its framework to plan communication with its employees, suppliers, customers, and investors. Amazon is evident to use this framework to develop a better understanding of itself and enhance its reputation with individuals whose attitudes and actions impact the success of Amazon (Knight et al., 2020).
Another part of this assessment will include recommendations on how Amazon could improve its internal and external communication to make its business more effective. The last part of the report will include the self-reflection of how the module has helped to develop teamwork and communication skills in person and how it will enhance employability.
Critical evaluation of Communication functions at Amazon
There is a pervasive belief in the management and business world the future of a single company in today’s world depends on how it is perceived and viewed by its key stakeholders, including investors, shareholders, customers, employees, consumers, and more.
Therefore, corporate communications are referred to as the management functions within an organization that provide the vocabulary of effective coordination for all means of communication to achieve the mission and vision of businesses worldwide, including Amazon (Doorley et al., 2020).
Moreover, employee engagement also seems to be boosted up because when communication is more substantial, the employees of Amazon will work harder and depict high creativity and performance. This is why 90% of the world’s executive leaders claim that employee engagement is a significant element in business success (Galloway, 2017).
The corporate communication functions within Amazon are known to fulfill planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Therefore, the company seems to increase because it communicates its vision and goals effectively to help its employees connect their daily tasks to a bigger picture (Acker, 2017).
Internal communication review and evaluation
The theory connects many parts of organizational communication as part of corporate communication strategies. Internal communication (I.C.) in business promotes effective communication among people on different levels in an organization. The production and delivery of messages occur, and campaigns also occur on behalf of an organization’s management (Jacobs et al., 2016).
The dialogue among employees of the organization is facilitated through the internal communications, which eventually means that anything is starting from the announcement of new policies or informing the people about any upcoming event to conduct an organization-wide engagement or regulating the cultural audit (Kang et al., 2017). It is evident that internal communication functions mainly occur among H.R., marketing, P.R. department but can occur by all departments across the organization (Meijer et al., 2016).
Significant evidence shows that Amazon Web Services (A.W.S.), initiated by the company, is a rapidly evolving platform whose first offerings were launched in 2006 to provide online services to client-side applications and websites (Cook, 2018). This was just a part of Amazon’s business, which is now a considerable contribution to its practical internal communication functions.
Therefore, Amazon Web Services (A.W.S.) has implemented different methods of internal communications on the global level to help its employees comprehend their roles and responsibilities and promptly communicate important events of the organization. Amazon uses some significant ways and methods to foster internal communication functions in its processes.
The first way is to conduct training and orientation programs for newly hired employees (Chaudhri, 2016). Another way is the regular management meetings for updates and discusses the latest business performance and other concerns. Moreover, internal communication among Amazon is promoted through auditing and electronic means, including video conferencing, electronic mail messages posting the messages through Amazon intranet to communicate all business concerns to employees of the company (Luhmann, 2018).
Herzberg’s theory of motivation is proposed to find the root of motivation in the workplace. This theory is used by organizations to help them get the best performance out of their teams. The two identified factors are motivators and hygiene factors. Motivators or motivating factors are present within an organization to foster creativity and motivation among employees through effective communication and within the actual job itself (Sanjeev et al., 2016).
At the same time, hygiene factors are what let the employees work harder and surround a specific job. Motivating factors increase employee job satisfaction, resulting in better organizational performance. At the same time, low hygiene factors decrease employee job satisfaction.
This theory has a deep link to the internal communication function within Amazon, where teamwork and communication of ideas matter a lot. The information and opinions are transferred to other levels in an organization only when employees are motivated and have a strong understanding of their goals and objectives.
Figure 1- Herzberg’s two-factor theory
Therefore, Amazon has a firm belief in fostering internal corporate communication functions as it helps keep people informed so that they can work harder at the right time and become more productive. When the I.C. strategies among Amazon are done well, it brings the strong workplace culture into being and fostering employee engagement and productivity (Schotter et al., 2017).
Like all other businesses, Amazon also goes through a crisis and downfall of sales. In these conditions, teams are forced to restructure, and there the company needs internal communication the most (Heath, 2018). Another highlighted benefit of internal communication to Amazon is the channel for feedback, discussion, and debate. When open communication within the company happens, it leads to collaboration and results in better cross-cultural and interpersonal communication.
External communication review and evaluation
As discussed above, corporate communication functions within an organization are always responsible for communicating information about the company to both the internal and external audiences. Therefore, these functions could incorporate crisis communication, media relations, C.S.R., reputation management, and more.
External communication is used when the company spread its information and news about its services, products to the consumers, public, and other business stakeholders (Zerfass et al., 2017). External communication formulates how a company is viewed outside its business, mainly referred to as corporate reputation.
Thus the external communication is fostered when organizations communicate with other organizations to achieve their goals. Amazon, the known retailing online company, tends to achieve its higher business goals by including strategies of external communication by creating its image and identity in front of its stakeholders and through managing media and P.R. (Lerbinger, 2018).
As mentioned above, while managing the crisis within the company, Amazon often needed to enhance its communication to implement changes to have a better outcome. A theory named Kotter’s eight steps change management theory is known to be useful when it comes to managing a change within the organization to deal with the crisis.
The first step of this theory is to create urgency, which means that the opportunities and threats and examined through honest discussion and legitimate reasons are proposed in the organizational meeting. This strategy is keenly followed in Amazon. Forming a strong coalition is the second step, where stakeholders are convinced why a change is necessary.
A vision for change is formulated in the third step, where strategies are created to achieve a change mission. As the fourth stage, communicating the vision of change is crucial. Step five is about removing the obstacles like fostering communication when someone or something resists the change.
Creating short-term wins within the organization will be the sixth step, which Amazon is best because it is already famous for achieving small scale success. The seventh step of this theory is building upon the change, which means that the company acts upon the decided strategies to bring the change. The changes are anchored corporate culture in the final step of this crisis management. This theory proves that communication function plays an essential role while managing the crisis and implementing the change.
Figure 2- Kotter’s change management theory
Amazon Web Services (A.W.S.) has also incorporated external communication by implementing various methods to support its customer base and the community. First of all, the external communications within Amazon allow the customer support team to be notified of operational issues that occurred while moving through the website and impact the customer experience (Viana et al., 2016).
For this cause, a Service Health Dashboard is introduced and maintained by the customer support team of Amazon to alert the customers with any issues which might high a considerable impact (Zeng et al., 2017). Moreover, the A.W.S. cloud security center is also available, which provides the users with security and compliance details about the Amazon Web Services (Moore et al., 2018).
Amazon has also introduced another method of external communication through A.W.S. support, which offers direct communication with the customer support team and provides proactive alerts to any customer-impacting issues (Li et al., 2019).
Amazon has been using different ways to achieve its goals by strengthening its external communications by creating its image and identity.
The company uses various advertising strategies through media, including useful website content, content marketing, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (Marengo et al., 2018). All the strategies mentioned above provide crucial information about Amazon being a huge business or a brand.
Through content marketing and media communication, Amazon ensures its web portal’s visibility on search engines (Martin et al., 2016). Emails and newsletters are other mediums to be used for external communication, which is used by amazon to reveal new offers to the customers so that its sales can increase as well as to build a healthy long-term relationship with its stakeholders, which are external to Amazon. External corporate communication functions provide a vast range of benefits to Amazon, including image building and potential strengthening customers.
Integrating Corporate communications
For any organization to perform effectively, communication plays a vital role where remote control over organizational members is needed. The people in the company should be provided with a guideline and confidence to perform, the means to express themselves in a group, to stand out with their opinion, and make effective decisions (Balmer, 2017).
Jeff Bezos identified his company Amazon.com as the technological providing comfortable ways of the online transaction for its consumers (Denning, 2019). A lot of predictors has said that soon Amazon will be taken over by other well-settled books selling chains, including Noble and Barnes.
But the fact is that Amazon.com grew so fast, reaching 180,000 customer account by 1996. In 1997, the revenue of Amazon jumped from $15.7 million to $148 million (Leite et al., 2020). All the success gained by Amazon is claimed by its founder, which is due to effective integrated communication, which fostered efficient strategic communication functions incorporating sponsorship, Corporate Social Responsibility (C.S.R.), and crisis management through communication (Rivet, 2017).
Some primary integrating corporate functions as claimed by Stephan R. Robbins in his book, “Organizational behavior” play a significant role in business interactions. These functions are control, motivation, emotional expression, and information transfer (Buchanan et al., 2019).
Amazon has followed the integrating communication functions extensively by following efficient marketing and C.S.R. strategies. Firstly, Amazon allows its users to own a personalized homepage with all the products related to their recent purchases. The company sends out emails to customers to inform them of deals and new items in the list, similar to their recently bought things and their interest (Dolata, 2017).
Amazon is also seen to use integrated corporate communication through sponsorship, which means that the company can provide bloggers to post their wish list of reviewed books on their respective blogs (Rossman, 2016). Another integrated marketing communication strategy followed by Amazon is that it allows its users to post reviews on anything they buy from their website, creating a database of reviews and credibility to Amazon.com.
A media richness theory proposed by Daft and Lengel states that media contains the vast ability to transfer information through different mediums having relative richness, and not every media can benefit every organization (Tseng et al., 2017). Amazon, however, can get to learn a lot through this theory.
This theory claims that different media forums for communication have different levels of richness in the information they tend to provide. Some essential criteria judge the media richness for a company. The first one is to incorporate personal focus and convey the message through personal feelings and emotions. For example, Amazon reported on its blog that the company conducts workshops to foster face-to-face communication among employees rather than communicating via email (Bergin, 2016).
Moreover, the immediacy of feedback is another criteria on which Amazon is going great. The customers and employees can deliver feedback to the company whenever they need it, and Amazon assures two-way communication while dealing with feedback. Thus, the most a medium of communication within an organization is rich, the more company tends to achieve success over time.
Figure 3- Media Richness Theory
Moreover, Corporate Social Responsibility (C.S.R.) communication is another way of integrating communication within a company to anticipate stakeholders’ expectations. Different organization communication tools are managed within Amazon to provide accurate and transparent information about the company, which has been integrated its business operations, environmental and social concerns (Dutot et al., 2016). However, Amazon utilizes the product labels, C.S.R. reports, public relations, and its web portals to achieve its goals and objectives in leading the retail business online.
Based on the whole report above, the claim can be made that Amazon is doing great by following powerful techniques and methods of corporate communication functions. Amazon.com, however, claims that its worldwide communication team is focused on protecting and burnishing the company’s reputation. The communication team of Amazon works hard to drive awareness of various innovations and services which the company develops on behalf of consumers by telling them stories about owned, earned, and social channels (Purington et al., 2017).
Firstly, Amazon should work towards transferring the organizational information among all the corporate levels effectively. This means that all the employees within a company should be aware of their job functions and should be known whom they have to report and when (Gao et al., 2018).
This will greatly benefit Amazon in terms of cost and time. Another communication strategy recommendation for Amazon is to strengthen its external corporate communication by persuading clients and company partners. This can be done by communicating all internal and external stakeholders digitally and through media. The effectiveness of information transfer through websites, social media, and emails will have a massive positive impact on the business operations of Amazon (Lopatovska et al., 2018).
Most importantly, if Amazon hires bloggers and make its P.R. department work efficiently, they can promote the platform of Amazon enormously around the world, and people will buy more products from Amazon. This is only possible if the external corporate communication functions of Amazon are made more substantial.
Critically, based on the above research, it can be said that Amazon needs to introduce team building and cross-training programs. Team building can be a fantastic communication strategy to get along through small-scale events, workshops, sporting events, and conferences (Taplin, 2017).
As evident that Amazon is a digital retailer company, but thousands of people work over there. Therefore, Amazon will encounter clear cost-based benefits if it incorporates the employees at an offsite location to foster better communication and enhance creativity. Simultaneously, cross-training can also play an essential role in making the business operations of Amazon effective and successful (Nikolov et al., 2019).
After completing my detailed assessment and learning about the specific module covering corporate communication functions within organizations of different levels, I have concluded. I have learned a lot from this entire learning period and gained much knowledge about communication skills as an employee or employees.
Moreover, the evidence is that teamwork and communication skills are closely related to each other. I want to incorporate both of them to succeed professionally and help my organization grow. First of all, this module helped me to realize the importance of communication skills and teamwork and also helped me to develop these skills from scratch.
Now I know that when I step into professional life, I would need to communicate effectively to foster teamwork. I will develop strong communication skills and will involve other employees by updating them consistently and never assume that every individual has the same information.
I learned that different people within a team of employees might have different perspectives and opinions. All of them do not have to agree with another opinion all the time. This shift of perspective will eventually help me to build better teamwork and communicate the organizational information effectively.
From this module, I learned that I would need a high delegation, consistency in communication, the flow of ideas, and ultimate support. All these aspects will add up to provide a better formulation of communication of ideas and organizational concerns and would eventually strengthen the teamwork.
Another major lesson I gained is to be open to feedback and never get afraid to change. The change always brings positivity with itself, and I will not hesitate to change while communicating and in the team to make myself and the organization grow professionally.
Communication training always proves to be a helpful tool while setting and prioritizing the company’s operations. Thus I will do my best to get trained and implement the training and development programs for other employees. Now the question is how the teamwork and communication skills are going to help me with enhanced employability.
Once I attended a seminar whose core was the interpersonal and cross-functional communication within a business. This seminar has given me a lot in terms of learning. I now believe that adequate knowledge of communication skills and the ability to work in a team can make a person effective about his/ her academic and professional performance in quite an excellent manner.
Suppose I know how to communicate internally and externally to the organization. In that case, I will call myself a successful employee because I prefer feedback, better decision-making through discussion, and sharing opinions. This will boost my creativity and motivation, and I will help the organization achieve more in a shorter period.
The skills, as mentioned above, will help me develop self-confidence and increase my employment opportunities. From the discussion above and throughout the learning of the entire module, I concluded that it is significant to communicate to internal and external audiences of the company because without fostering communication, no business can survive.
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Frequently Asked Questions
To perform critical evaluation of communication functions, assess clarity, effectiveness, and relevance of messages. Consider context, tone, and audience understanding. Review feedback and outcomes. Adjust strategies accordingly. Continuously refine communication skills for improved results.