Communication, knowledge and information can be managed properly so as to ensure effective decision making. Communications does not automatically take place effectively; hence the available knowledge and information might be sufficient for organizational decisions. Therefore, managers have the task of planning effective communication processes and equipping stakeholders with effective communication skills. Communication, knowledge and information are related to IT systems. Adopting the right IT can make a difference in an organization’s communications. The following article will look at how communications, information and knowledge of the organization (Tesco) can be improved with the help of IT system.
Tesco is a leading retailer in UK. As of 2013, Tesco had 6351 stores globally and employs over 537,000 people. Tesco currently operates in 14 countries, and they are constantly expanding. Tesco has grown from a market stall to be a recognized multinational corporation. The company has been taking advantage of opportunities in the market. Most of the Tesco sales are from UK, but other stores globally still bring in a lot of income. Tesco is implementing its strategy of diversifying and growing its business in the international market, at the same time trying to maintain a competitive edge over its competitors.
Understand how to assess information and knowledge needs
Information plays a key role in the achievement of the organization’s goals. Information is processed data about events, people, different variables etc. Information helps in planning, recording, decision making and controlling. Information and knowledge are assessed by establishing sources of information, and analyzing them.
- Major decisions to be taken
Decision refers to the act of making a conclusion regarding an issue after putting it into consideration. There are three types of decisions in business; tactical, strategic and operational decisions. Strategic decisions are complex decisions that define the business identity and direction. Strategic decisions are often made by senior management. For instance, Tesco wants to diversify its products, this is a strategic decision. Tactical decisions are decisions that manage performance in order to achieve desired goals. Tactical decisions are distinctive, but they have clearer boundaries and time frame. They are made by senior and middle managers, and they usually have medium term implications. Lastly, operational decisions are routine decisions in an organization. They are usually made by first line managers, and they have short term affect. Such decisions affect the daily running of operations in an organization, and they involve limited resources.
Tesco is the leading retailer in the UK; hence it is under pressure of retaining its place as the leading retailer. Hence the company has to come up with strategies and decisions that will enhance its competitiveness. For instance, marketing campaign is an example of a tactical decision that will help the company gain a competitive edge over its competitors.
Tesco is planning on diversifying its products so as to meet various customer needs. Tesco is trying to incorporate technology in its operation so as to enhance the effectiveness. Operational decisions in Tesco include decisions made by first line managers when they receive complaints from customers.
1.2 Examine the information and knowledge needed to ensure effective decision taking
Information and knowledge are necessary for any effective decision making. Information available should provide all the background information of the decision being made. For instance, if Tesco wants to diversify its products the company should have information the product marketing features, consumers, competitors and the people that will manage the new product development. Information should allow all activities to flow smoothly.
Knowledge, on the other hand, refers to past experience that affects current decisions. Knowledge is derived from organizational information. Knowledge is usually acquired from people’s experiences, learning and prior understanding. Tesco has been in business since 1919, and it has amassed a lot of knowledge. Tesco has been consistently producing new knowledge, disseminating it through the company and transforming it into new products. Knowledge can be tacit or explicit. Tacit knowledge is the knowledge used by employees when performing their day to day duties; such knowledge can be hardly verbalized. Explicit knowledge on the other hand can be easily communicated for instance details of a product (Helsby, 2002, 118)
For instance, in diversifying its products Tesco will need all the information. The knowledge and information should be reliable, timely, relevant, quality and quantity. Knowledge and information should enable the company to make smart decisions that will boost its competitive edge.
- Assess internal and external sources of information and understanding.
Information should be comprehensive; hence both internal and external sources of information should be assessed. Internal sources of information are within the organization whereas external sources of information provide the organization with intelligence regarding external parties such as consumers, competitors, government and public.
Tesco has its own systems of acquiring internal information. It uses Management Information System (MIS) to gather and disseminate information. MIS gives managers the information they need when making decisions to improve the company’s operation. An information system is a set of hardware, software, communication network, data resources and people that store, retrieve, convert and disseminate information. Tesco has adopted technological advancements in its operations. In fact, it uses the following types of communication; email, memos, website, telephones and SMS to communicate with its employees. This enables easy access of internal communication. Internal information is acquired from various departments such as finance department, sales, marketing etc
External sources of information provide invaluable information about external environmental factors. The company has to be aware of what is going on in the economic front, the legal front and what is going on with its competitors. An organization should constantly scan external factors so as to adjust its operations. External sources of information used in Tesco are databases, research and trade groupings. The media is another source of external information. Tesco usually keeps u with the external market especially the consumers through social media so that they can develop goods needed by the consumer.
- Justify recommendations for improvement
Tesco is a large organization hence it should adopt proper technological systems of storing, processing and disseminating information. Proper information and knowledge management will benefit the organization in various ways. The information system should be improved in that it will simplify operations in an organization.
Tesco needs to adopt more technological advancements such as softwares and databases reduce the tedious work for employees and management. For instance the use of customer relationship management (CRM) systems will provide cloud based computing system that will maintain a database for all clients. Improving the information and knowledge system will also reduce expenses since it will improve the organization’s operations.
Since the company wants to improve its competitiveness, external forms of communication, such as press conferences and public relations, will help it gain the necessary information from the external environment.
Explain how you would create strategies to increase personal networking to widen involvement in the decision making process.
2.1. Identify stakeholders for a decision making process
Quality of an organizational decision is enhanced when there is collective thinking in the decision making process. There are many stakeholders that are usually involved in decision making as they provide consolidated information that will lead to accurate decision. For instance, when a manager is making a decision regarding employees, he should seek input from employees, supervisors and fellow managers.
There are different types of decisions in an organization. Most decisions regarding the improvement of operations in Tesco are non- programmed, hence managers have to seek help from other stakeholders such as employees, customers and suppliers. This is a strategic decision that will be made by upper level management, in collaboration with low level management and employees because they are the ones to implement the decision.
2.1 Discuss how to make contact with those identified and develop business relationships
Developing important business relationships is important for managers. Managers are in charge of making decisions that affect the profitability of the business; hence they should develop good business relationships that will foster their development. Good business relationships fuels business success, hence developing good communication skills with business partners and other stakeholders is important. Tesco has a long history of developing good business relationships with organizations and individuals that will help it achieve its goals.
Manages can make contacts with people identified through various ways. An open communication with the contacts will help in the establishment of good business relationship. Managers should openly communicate with contacts, and establish an environment of trust so that both parties can help each other achieve their goals. In order to build a relationship with contacts, a manager should take time to know the other party, and he should regularly communicate with them so as to let them know about their progress. For instance, Tesco takes time to understand its supplier’s what they stand for, and to establish relationships based on trusts so that they can help each other achieve their objectives.
2.3 Discuss how does personal networking helps in the decision making process?
Personal networking is about building a set of influential people that share same interests. Decision makers usually get input from many people during the decision making process. Different perspectives, context and relationships, ensures that the decision is productive and purposeful. Managers are in charge of making decisions that will improve organizational operations; hence they should use the knowledge and establish links with other people who are knowledgeable in that issue (Keen, 1993, 145).
Lobbying peers and more skilled people will help in gaining organizational support for the decision. Personal networking also makes employees feel like they are part of the decision making process, and they will work towards implementing it since they were consulted. A manager’s personal network should be diverse, and it should offer a comprehensive perspective towards any decision being made.
2.4 Design strategies for improving personal networking.
Networking is a competency and process that should be perfected by any manager/ employee in order to be successful. The first strategy for improving personal networking is through attending company events. Events such as AGM or even simple office parties are usually a great place for networking. For a large organization like Tesco, attending parties is usually a great way to meet with important stakeholders. The next strategy for improving personal networking is adopting a good attitude towards everyone. People should be nice to others, because they can help them out in a tough situation (Bienvenu & Timm 2002, 27)
Growing a relationship database is a good strategy. A person should at least have a certain number of useful contacts. All you have to do is approach these contacts, and ask nicely for their numbers. Building a positive rapport is another strategy for personal networking. People are usually attracted to positive and friendly people. The last strategy is maintaining constant communication with your personal network. Nobody likes to feel like they are being used even in a business relationship, hence maintaining regular communication will build mutual trust with your personal network.
3. Explain how you would help the communication process.
3.1 Considering selected organization evaluate existing processes of communication and make suggestions to improve it
Before any decision is communicated to employees in Tesco, it is usually discussed in the board meeting. If the decision is approved, it has to be passed down to employees immediately, though it depends on the kind of decision. Different systems of communications are used in Tesco; it can be vertical or horizontal.
Therefore, the CEO will pass the information to managers, and then managers will pass the information to supervisors who will inform the staff. Because of the technological advances, information is also posted in the company’s website through employees hardly check them. Common communication media used are telephones, memos, noticeboards, e-mail, SMS, annual reports and the company’s website. Managers usually communicate with employees through meetings, seminars and surveys.
Tesco has adopted almost all forms of communication. The company should consider using social networks when communicating certain information, because employees check their social media more than any other site. The company should communicate differently for the different types of job levels. Some employees prefer word of mouth, especially low level employees, whereas the techno savvy employees prefer emails and websites.
3.2 How will you implement improvements to ensure greater integration of systems of communication in that organization? (AC 3.3)
Integrating the various systems of communication will lead to optimum results. The company’s communication system should be a holistic system that combines the different aspects rather than using different communication tools haphazardly. An organizational communication system is a combination of various communication media, while putting into consideration various factors such as the organizational culture, external environment, and technological environment among others.
An integrated system should be able to perform the following roles. It should foster effective internal and external communication. The system should have all the different levels of communication, namely; organizational level, managerial level, group level and interpersonal communication. An improved system should also foster all the different directions of communication; it should enhance vertical, horizontal and diagonal system of communication. The system should encompass all networks, kinds, channels and means of communication. Various kinds of communication include verbal and non-verbal. The system should enable employees to talk when passing certain messages that require verbal communication and it should also facilitate nonverbal communication.
Implementing an improved communication system is about designing a system that can fulfill all the necessary roles. An improved communication system should serve different needs in an organization.
3.3 Create a personal plan to improve your own communication skills. (AC P3.4.)
The first step on my personal plan is learning how to properly get my points across. Managers sometimes beat around the bush and end up not delivering the message; I will learn tailor my message such that it is specific and straight to the point. The next step is developing skill for communicating to a group of people. Communicating in public is different from one on one communication. Managers have to develop the art of moving crowds and to keep them attentive. Another skill on my plan is learning how to give feedback effectively. The bosses with be relied upon by the employees, to give them feedback. Positive feedback helps in building morale and team spirit. Giving negative feedback will also foster relationships, as employees look up to their managers. Another communication skill on my list is learning to convince my bosses and employees to accept my point of view if it will benefit the organization. Finally I will improve on written communication because as a manager I have to constantly write emails, memos, letters etc
4. Explain how you will improve systems relating to information and knowledge
4.1. Identify and evaluate existing approaches to the collection, formatting, storage and dissemination of information and knowledge.
Tesco uses various approaches of collecting, processing and disseminating information. The company has its Management Information System that keeps track of all company information. Collecting information for such system is easy as the information is just keyed in, and the database will analyze the information. Complex information such as financial reports and marketing trends use specific softwares for processing such information. The company website is used to disseminate most information.
Other systems of collecting information involve simple communication processes such as face to face communication, telephone, and email among others. The company also collects information from its external stakeholders through various approaches.
Simple computer packages such as Excel are used to store and analyze information. Information is also disseminated in the Tesco’s year reports and company magazines.
4.2. What strategies can you design and implement to improve the current approach used
The current approach of data collection, storage and dissemination, is not unified. The best strategy is coming up with a system that is collective and enables us to access all information in one location. This strategy should replace aging systems that are redundant, and replace them with faster systems that are capable of processing a lot of information.
Another strategy for improving the current system is coming up with off-site storage and databases. This will act as backup in case the onsite database crushes. Tesco is a large company with huge amounts of data that require storage and processing, in order to secure their data the company should consider off-site databases. The problem with the current organization system is the fact that it has little integration between the many systems. Therefore, a comprehensive system that allows seamless user experience and extensive communication should be adopted.
4.3. What are the steps you will take to implement a strategy to improve access to systems of information and knowledge?
The first step is coming up with a standardized system that will promote uniformity. Centralizing information management will ensure easy control since Tesco is a large firm with a lot of information.
The second step is focusing on the adoption. After establishing organizational needs and coming up with a system, management has to encourage employees to adopt new changes. Managers should build an environment that fosters. The next step is to prioritize business needs. The system should be able to prioritize certain organizational needs, and avoid crowding the system with useless information.
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