Any individual who has an interest in a business is termed as the stakeholder of that business; this also means that someone who may contribute in some way towards the growth and the success of the business is known as the stakeholder of that business. All the stakeholders differ in their roles and also in their involvement level. When considering the role of particular people, their roles and responsibilities tend to evaluate how critical they are for the operation of the business in reality.
The Chief Executive Officer or the CEO is the term used for the head of the organization; someone who is in charge of the business and has the highest rank in the organization. CEO is accountable to the Board of Directors but in case, CEO is the owner, there is accountability towards the business. The foremost responsibility is to create, communicate and ensure the implementation of the mission, vision and the organizational strategy. CEO must lead and guide the others while also evaluating their work based on the reporting structure. Formulation and implementation of the strategic plan is also the job of CEO and then evaluation of its success follows. The CEO must remain aware of the external opportunities and threats while evaluating the competitive landscape of the business. Until and unless the CEO demonstrates leadership, the mission of the organization cannot be successful.
Public relations is a vital component of an organization which establishes and helps in maintaining the image of the business by communicating the required message to the general public, the customers and even the investors. Creating a positive perception of the business is the most critical responsibility of the PR as it results in generating revenue and bringing improvement to the bottom line. So, they require working with the top management to identify how the business should be perceived and what exactly would be a positive image for the company. The professionals of the public relations team also focus on organizing events which tend to represent the company’s philosophy. The core function is communicating with the media like arranging interviews, and write press releases so that the media remains aware of the company’s situation (Howell and Miller 261--266). In today’s world, the public relations also have to ensure maximizing the positive use of the company towards social media and to build it rapport with the customers and other stakeholders.
Marketing manager must make sure that ethos led by marketing are instilled in the business; it is a core duty of this job to remain aware of the opportunities in the external environment of the business while making sure to understand the current customers also. Managing the relationship with the customer is also what the marketing manager must focus upon and to make sure that a suitable marketing mix is developed. Further, the marketing manager must also manage the agencies, the success, budgets; focus on timely deliveries and to make decisions related to the customers (Webster 18--23). So, everything related to the customers and the market is the duty of the marketing manager.
In modern businesses, media, in particular the social media has a strong role to play as a stakeholder. The goal of media is to ensure disseminating information to the general public and the target audience regarding the business; it plays a critical role in developing the perception of the people. With positive image developed, the purchase behavior of the shopper tends to get triggered while a negative image results in hindering the customers because they perceive what media creates (Lawrence). Whether it is the press, the television, or the social networking sites, their role is to connect people with the business and to spread word about the company.
NGOs which are associated with the fair trade association have direct link with the development of trade; the truth is that they are more affective in fighting against poverty as compared to the humanitarian NGOs (Kehar). These NGOs ensure that trade is fair and no rules are set which are unfair to any party; or else they campaign to change those rules. Some focus on executing microfinance programs and also provide necessary training skills for starting business. Another role played by these organizations is to ensure that rural areas are developed and services are liberalized while competition policy is devised (Shahzad and Sillanpaa 1236--255). They tend to work with the regulators to improve the quality of the marketplace for the consumers.
NGOs are non-governmental organizations that are working in various fields of life; a subsector is the Environmental NGOs which are also sometime linked to the development NGOs. Greenpeace is an example; they act as environmental networks who share information with organization and then after identifying an issue campaign towards it (Hasmath and Hsu 1-15). The issues are related to protecting the environment like deforestation of areas, issues of water pollution or air pollution; and these could be against any particular industry or a company which is causing harm to the environment. These NGOs can conduct research to facilitate dialogue and facilitate in the development of policies which ensure the sustainable lifestyle for the people (Kourula and Laasonen 35--67).
Schmidt Gifts and Novelties, Inc. promote itself as an eco-friendly and socially responsible organization and even its record are clear from any citation by OSHA or the EEOC. The NGOs have accused that the company is violating the fair trade practices by not providing enough benefits to the women manufacturers of the developing country. The company is an importer from a developing nation and it definitely has to ensure that it is not exploiting the resources and the skills of the developing country to benefit its home country. It has always complied with the regulations and has always had a positive image. But recently, one non-governmental organization accused the company of violating the fair trade; this NGO is also a stakeholder of the Schmidt and so it demands that the women workers who are manufacturing the goods in the developing countries must be paid the prices fairly of the imported items. Another stakeholder that is the environmental NGO demands that Schmidt must use the recyclable material for the purpose of packaging as the environment is being highly disturbed or else the company must not use any packaging at all. The media and public relations are also the key stakeholders who have direct link with the business; although the media has not placed any demand yet, but sooner when the demands of the NGOs would reach the consumers, the media would also become an active player (Dong-Hun).
The problem is that when fair trade practices are used, the trade can be done on comparative advantage but not on absolute advantage. The core principle for Fair Trade is to create opportunities for the producers who are economically disadvantaged; although Schmidt has been doing this and has been playing a key role by providing the women workers of this nation work, the NGO has still identified that there is some violation of the fair trade (Du and Bhattacharya et al. 8--19). The company has a history and image of providing good wages and benefits to its employees and also of complying with other environmental regulations. The company has also provided employment to the women and has not discriminated based on gender equity.
The company requires taking these issues under consideration: first of all, it must make sure that the environmental allegations are removed; portraying itself as a green company, Schmidt cannot afford any allegations against it. Protecting the environment is the biggest concern these days and no business can survive until and unless it cares for the environment (Kehar). Due to the rising awareness and the ease of access to information, the public has become highly concerned about the image of the companies and especially the multinational firms like Schmidt must adhere to the international laws and standards. The NGO sector in particular plays a critical role to infuse positive change in the society. NGOs actually function as the providers of information, set agendas, make lobby groups and generate new norms that require be setting and complying by organizations (Davenport and Low 329--348). Schmidt must make sure to eliminate any such practices which are threatening its image and must react quickly to bring about the changes before the public becomes aware and greater risk results.
In the other issue where the Fair trade NGO points towards the unfair practices of the company; so the company must focus in revisiting its human resource strategies for the women workers. Equal employment rights without gender discrimination are the requirement of the NGOs in ensuring fair trade practices. Similarly, like the environmental NGOs, if the company overlooks the demands, the NGOs would protest and would cause distortion in the image of the business (Chung and Lee et al.). Being a foreign based company, Schmidt cannot afford to lose its image as well as its employees; importing from a developing country helps the business to achieve economies of scale but it must assure the international community that it is employing fair practices.
If the demands of the NGO won’t be met, they would meet up with the government; they focus on mobilizing the pressure of the public by collaborating with the media. It has become highly imperative for the businesses to make good connections with the NGOs and they specially appoint a team of public relations to devise specific strategies for the NGOs. The public opinion can be easily influenced by NGOs,; the truth is that fair trade NGOs are the most influential institutions for the businesses (Baur and Schmitz 9--21). Due to globalization, the hold and control of the government regulation has been weakened but with such NGOs in practice, the markets are held together and capitalism is somewhat civilized. The NGOs can influence the business worldwide; if Schmidt does not prove itself, it would have to face global consequences. The NGOs demand globalized rights of labor and the seek assurance that businesses comply with high international standards for environment (Chung and Lee et al.). They also demand that working conditions should be altered in the developing countries; and the women should be paid fairly.
Media is a strong stakeholder for a business as it is the source of spreading information and ensuring that public has all the knowledge and updates. It is also a stakeholder of the general society. If Schmidt responds to the allegations and revisits its strategies, the media would play a positive role and highlight the concern of the business towards the society and its employees (Bushee and Core et al. 1--19). The media would update the general public as to how the company is looking forward to rectifying its problems. But in case, Schmidt does not pay any heed and simply overlooks the allegations, the media would react negatively; the media would still inform the general public about the company. But this time, it would have negative implications; the media would surely spread word about the complaints and the reactions of the business. In addition, the media would also search for further information and this would eventually hurt the position, name, image, and then the sales of the business (Baur and Schmitz 9--21). The company could lose its business with its vendors and customers when everyone becomes aware that Schmidt has not been socially responsible and has not been fair with its employees even.
Moreover, the human resource department would also be involved and the compensation of the employees would be required to revise. Dealing with fair trade issue is imperative; the business cannot afford to lose its employees and hurt its image; it would have to make sure to build credibility with the developing country and must focus on developing its women employees. A global business must work for the improvement of the labor standards being practiced in the developing countries (Archer and Fritsch 103--128) and Schmidt must devise strategies such that the country’s economic growth is ensured.
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