It is therefore important for the organizations to provide excellent and efficient means of communication to the people working in the organization to make sure that all the work that is done is of highest quality (Fritz, Narasiman & Ree 1998). Communication has become an important part of corporate planning. Specialist communication departments and Management Information Technology professionals have been recruited by organizations over the years to streamline its communication resources and flow. These specialist have also developed approaches of Corporate communications have been developed over the last few years to provide organizations around the world as a guide as to what is the best communication approach in the given scenario. There has also been good amount of research done in this field and many new approaches were innovated and test. Although there is no absolute answer as to which approach is the best, an organization is supposed to change its communication approaches over the years in order to obtain the best possible results. The process of communication these days is very different to what was practiced in the past. The developments of internet and cellular communication technologies have changed the entire paradigm of communication. The top level management, as a result of this, is more aware of what is happening at the production lines than they were before. This has improved the decision making as top level management is closer to the production level activities. This is a good thing and further development in the communication strategy and channels would lead to further streamlining of an organization’s operations. (Hax & Majluf 1984) A good example of corporate communication strategy and approach can be learned from the Shell/Royal Dutch Case. In 1995, the company decided to sink its Brent Spar in the Atlantic Ocean. This resulted in protests and a campaign against the company. Many customers boycotted the company’s products, most notably in Germany, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom. As a result, the company experienced massive drop in sales and was financially hurt badly. At first Shell responded stubbornly. It stated sink Brent Spar was the best decision and the accusation by conservationists and Greenpeace were wrong. This did not improve the company’s image and neither changed the public opinion against Shell resulting in further drop down of sales. Nine months down the road, Shell was involved in another controversial environment degradation activity in Nigeria. This time Shell responded more proactively. It invited stakeholders, environment experts, interest groups and other concerned parties for a debate. The change in communication style from Shell was evident this time around. Its communication strategy was changed from “Buffering” to “Bridging”. It was more willing to talk and hear the other side. Later that year Shell published an ethical report on its focus on Corporate Social Responsibility and followed it up with another report. Meanwhile it continued to fund public projects and keep telling the public that it is a socially responsible company. Shell also acknowledge that the problem has arisen because in the past communication was not very open. It issued “Tell Shell” cards to the protestors to put forward their ideas and guide Shell what to do. This is an example of effective communication and it eased the problems that Shell was
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