INTERPERSONAL AND E-COMMUNICATION Essay Example

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Interpersonal and E-communication

Interpersonal and E-communication

Interpersonal and E-communication

Introduction

With the advancement in technology happening so fast competition has increased strongly in the business arena (McFarlane 2010, p.6). Business managers have re-think their strategies with regards to their technological approach to sustain competition. Technology has not only improved marketing strategies, but also communication approaches. Managers are full aware of how important communication is both internally and externally. In this information age, improvement in e-communication has revolutionized way of interrelationships of the people, knowledge and doing operations (McFarlane 2010, p.4). The situation has even forced companies like Zara which had did not invest heavily in communication technology to do so for their survival. Based on the research, this essay will analyze how changes in technology throughout the last 20 years have altered the way business communicates. This discussion will include challenges, the improvements and how these changes have impacted the way modern business operates today. The company in focus will be Zara Company.

Overview of Zara Company and its use of communication technology

According to Zara official website (2014), Zara is a multinational Spanish clothing company established in 1975 in Galicia, Spain. It is a flagship store of the Inditex group which is the largest clothing retailer in the world. This company also owns strong brands like Pull and Bear, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius, Bershka and
Uterqüe (Zara 2014). The company has since expanded and now has
1808 stores and operates in Portugal, the US, France,
Mexico, Greece, South Africa, Australia, Belgium and Sweden among others. In 2001, CNN described Zara as a success story, a situation which improved it image globally (CNN 2001). Today, the company has improved its communication technology to capture customers around the world. Zara depends on sophisticated communication technology, like PDAs integrated with wireless transmission to monitor consumers’ fickle fashion adjustments.

Zara (2014) reported that in 2010, Inditex integrated its first online boutique to sell one of its brands, Zara. Online platform can be accessed in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, France and Italy which are six nations which are amongst the most significant of the 76 markets that the company relies on (Zara 2014). The CEO of Zara, Pablo Isla actually stated that the company was looking forward to demand online demand before going into cyberspace. Improvement in communication technology has ensured that every item on sale at Zara outlets is available online with their prices prices (Zara 2014). Customers may prefer the usual paying methods and decide on either for a postal delivery or free store pick-up.

The online and exchange practices are that same to that of store system, where consumers are granted 30 days so that they can assess the item and change their thinking about the product. Queries are normally tackled by customer service officers or by means of chat messaging on their website, social media or e-mail. Inditex group indicated that iPad and iPhone applications which enabled buying would soon be provided or adopted by the company (Zara 2014). In 2010, Zara company online platform expanded its services to five more nations including Austria, the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg and Belgium (FashionMag 2010). Zara official website (2014) reported that in 2011, the company went ahead to expand its online service to South Korea and the United States. Their simple website enables customers to search and filter for garments in various forms including garment type, size, colors, prices, and reference number. Customers can observe products in accurate detail from various angles and apply a SuperZoom application to get a brilliant close-up appearance for more details of every item.

Earlier challenges of communication in business

Over the last 20 years, businesses have witnessed the communication approaches grow. Managers have come to understand how essential business communication play in the success of the organization. Over the development and improvement in the course of information age of people have observed challenges in a rapidly changing business environment. For several years e-mail has been the primary tool for business communication. On top of that, managers had to rely on conducting several meetings to pass information and even for interpersonal communication (Braun, S 2006, p.3). Organizing meeting most of the times is good for the organization but it consumes their time which the employees and management have spent working of various projects which can improve the performance. The e-mail has had it limitations; in the past twenty years some of the known companies did not have enough computers where every employee could read email sent by the management.

Smartphones which could access the internet also were only owned by a few rich people, meaning not every employee could afford them (Addo 2013, p.51). Such challenges made it difficult to control operation for Fashion Company like Zara who had already entered several markets of the world. Getting the outlet in another country to operate like the parent company proved to be a big challenge. The situation made managers to make decision out of bounded rationality. Fashion industry is one which has experienced competition and customer needs a lot of information so as to make informed decision, since fashion defines social class. However, communication technological challenges made it difficulty for companies to pass information regarding what they offer, save for marketing information which they conveyed through advertisements. To make matters worse, about 20 years the world had no world wide web where businesses could tele-communicate with customers and even network so as to exchange information (McFarlane 2010, p.5).

It is in 1989 that a computer scientist, Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal to develop World Wide Web. It is the same year that he developed the first website. This marked the start of web development which has changed tremendously leading to social media where fashion companies including Zara can now chat with its customers on real time basis. Communication also involves non verbal where companies use pictures and images to showcase what they offer to their customers (Braun 2006, p.7). In the past 20 years, Zara did not have the capability to display clothes the companies offer expect at their stores. There where no effective computer programs which could be used to create pictures and display to the customers who could not access the stores.

Today web cameras are in plenty that the company can use to take pictures of their products and insert them in their website for customer to choose for themselves what they want. In other words, there was limited information through verbal communication. Another challenge in communication is that organizations could not make to many people from, i.e. people from several cultural backgrounds (McFarlane 2010, p.13). At first, website language was only English, which created complexity in marketing to the masses. Today language translator applications have been developed to help companies to market their products globally.

Improvement in communication in organizations

Currently, technological improvement is driving communication revolution in what is referred to as informational age. First, it must be acknowledged that internet has improved they way of doing business, and brought the business near to customers (Kramer & Jenkins, 2007, p.6). Computers have changed tremendously, and are now fast and essential in operating business. Fashion companies can now take pictures via there web cameras and upload it on the internet to display the images to the customers. Computers can be used to access internet so as to communicate with customers, employees, suppliers and other businesses.

The late 1990s witness the rise of Internet use, which ultimately prompted common application of the email, websites, video chat, social networking, Voice-Over-Internet Protocol and blogs (Kramer & Jenkins 2007, p.6). At present, several traditional modes of communication consisting of landline phones and postal mail seem obsolete. Improvement in computers has enabled companies to communicate and promote their products in digital formats. Addo (2013, p.47) argues that mobile phone, especially Smartphones has rapidly turned out to be vital and fundamental communication tool used globally. According to Addo (2013, p.47), the international cell phone market approximates that in 2007, there were 1.8 billion mobile phone subscribers which went up to 3 billion in 2010.
Smartphones also enable users to browse internet, download fashion photos and chat with customer care of Zara. Effective communication holds an important role in the success of Zara, as communication operates to convey information, motivate workers and control behaviors. Effective communication implies the intended message or information which is sent is received by an individual or group of audience with no distortions in the meaning.

Through the e-mail people could receive the e-mail but not in time since most people could not access computers or smart phones (Addo 2013, p.57). With no doubt, developments in communication technology have facilitated the globalization. People now dont have to go the Zara fashion store to know what they have. Ebarefimi et al (2012, p.21) electronic delivery of images, videos and language translation software has enabled customers in different countries to know new offers. Shopping and business trips are lessened in preference of inexpensive and more dynamic communication gadgets. The e-communication has been impacted by the internet has enabled also enabled video conference and video linked business. Zara can use Skype application to communicate with its customers in China or any other company.

Also if the headquarters want to communicate ideas to employees in certain country, let say in Australia. The CEO or any other top manager must not travel to Australia but can initiate the communication via video conference (Braun, S 2006, p.1). As such, technology has reduced cost of doing business. Even though, Zara has to allocate the cost of marketing, the cost is now reduced by new technologies like the social media. Electronic product delivery via e-mail attachments or uploading a file to a server or database saves money and eradicates time waiting on service delivery. Communication technology improvement has made it easy to make decision at communicating it to low level managers rather than calling for a meeting.

The impacts of technology on organization communication

Technology has shaped communication by democratizing discussion within the companies and societies in general (Kramer & Jenkins 2007, p.6). The new technologies have become the real game-changers in the fashion business. In the past, Zara had not invested much on technology to improve communication yet they were doing well. The company has since realized the importance of improving communication channels, both internal and with the stakeholder, that is employees, customers, suppliers and different companies. The company has created online boutique to enable customers view what Zara has in store. The company intends to create an application where clients can use Ipad and Iphone to access the online boutique (Zara 2014).

It is generally thought that information and communication technology makes Zara to reduce the costs and boost capabilities and hence facilitate them to shape inter-organizational coordination. Emergence of new technologies has led to rise of use of social media such as Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and LinkedIn among others (Jha Vinit 2012, p.108). Social media offers a variety of means for consumers to interact through chat, messaging email, voice chat or video, file sharing, discussing groups and blogging (Jha Vinit 2012, p.107).

The new technology has enabled a situation which customers get feedback immediately. This is good from the business as far as competition. There are several fashion houses that customer can choose from, and a delay in feedback means they will move to another company which offer the same product and provide quick feedback concerning certain questions. It is only not about the providing feedback, but how good it is to the consumers. In fact chatting and giving feedback is seen as normal customer service. According to Wu & Keysar (2007, p.174), Feedback determines that future and success of the business; there is power in communication especially in social media. It can attract more customers to Zara or it can be used against the business, in that one persona can mobilize thousands of people to boycott the brand.

Conclusion

In conclusion, technology has grown as a tool of communication. For many individuals it has turned into a critical part of every day life providing varied and new means of communication both at work and at home. This research holds that business communication normally influences the performance of the organizations to a logical extent in fashions. As such managers must keep the concept of communication technological improvement as one top of the agendas. Fashion as industry which falls trend customer would like to be convinced through visual and images, hence companies including Zara must embrace effective media technologies which can communicate their products through non-verbal means.

References

Addo, A 2013, The adoption of mobile phone: How has it changed us socially? Business

Management and Economics Vol.1 (3), pp. 047-060, viewed on 30th April 2014 http://www.journalissues.org/articles/1374101588.pdf

CNN 2001, Zara, a Spanish success story, viewed on 30th April 2014

http://edition.cnn.com/BUSINESS/programs/yourbusiness/stories2001/zara/

Ebarefimi et al 2012, Impact of business communication on organizational performance in

Nigerian companies, Australian Journal of Business and Management Research, vol 2,

pp.16-26, viewed on 30th April 2014 http://www.ajbmr.com/articlepdf/aus_20_35i2n1a3.pdf

FashionMag 2010, Zara.com launches in 5 more countries, viewed on 30th April 2014 http://th.fashionmag.com/news-131301-Zara-com-launches-in-5-more-countries#.U2FtZIGSxGY

Jha Vinit K.U 2012, Social networking sites: Instrument of social change, Journal of Media and

Communication Studies Vol. 4(5), pp.107-109, viewed on 30th April 2014 http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380293580_Utpal.pdf

Kramer, W.J & Jenkins, B 2007, The Role of the Information and Communications Technology

Sector in Expanding Economic Opportunity, Harvard University, pp.6-47 viewed on 30th

April 2014

http://www.hks.harvard.edu/m-rcbg/CSRI/publications/report_22_EO%20ICT%20Final.pdf

McFarlane, D.A 2010, Social Communication in a Technology-Driven Society: A Philosophical

Exploration of Factor-Impacts and Consequences, American Communication Journal,

Vol. 12, pp.1-14, viewed on 30th April 2014

http://ac-journal.org/journal/pubs/2010/McFarlane.pdf

Wu, S & Keysar, B 2007, The Effect of Information Overlap on Communication Effectiveness,

Cognitive Science vol. 31 pp. 169–181

Zara 2014, Zara Official Website, viewed on 30th April 2014 http://www.zara.com/

Braun, S 2006, Multimedia communication technologies and their impact on interpreting,

EU-High-Level Scientific Conference Series, pp.1-15, viewed on 30th April 2014 http://www.euroconferences.info/proceedings/2006_Proceedings/2006_Braun_Sabine.pdf