Importance of Communication And Information Technology, A Manager’s Dilemma

Abstract

The purpose of this research work is to analyse the importance of information and communication technology on business organisations. For the research work ASDA superstore in London has been chosen as the example study case. In the current business environments Information and communication technology facilitates service providing organisations like ASDA superstore to provide better services and products. The objective of this research study involves reviewing of literature to represent the role of ICT in business activities of ASDA superstore. The study was also carried out to involve the impact of adopting ICT properly in business along with the challenges that it presents to the managers of companies. In the first part of the research work detailed description of ICT was given. The background of the research work was represented involving description of previous work on the said topic beside introduction of the company. The research aim, objectives, rationale of study was mentioned to make the research work relevant. The second part constituted of literature review where description, implications and impact of ICT on business organisation like ASDA Superstore was depicted. The third part involved the presentation of research methodology for the study. The chapter encompassed the research design, data collection and data analysis procedures that are followed. The chapter highlighted about relying on primary and secondary data with utilisation of quantitative and qualitative data analysis procedure. The chapter highlighted utilisation of probabilistic and non-probabilistic sampling method. Survey questionnaire method was implemented to extract responses from employees and managers of ASDA Superstore. The fourth chapter included quantitative analysis of the responses of employees of the firm through the use of MS Excel to achieve accurate information. The qualitative analysis was also represented to uphold the views of the managers following descriptive research method. The last part of the research work constitutes of providing conclusions and recommendations like utilisation of mix methods of communication, using of unified communication system, cross-cultural training programmes to fill the gap. The recommendations were provided for facilitating organisation to meet future challenges to manage expectations of different stakeholders of the firm.

Acknowledgement

It has been one of the most memorable and learning experience in my life to conduct this research. The research work contributed towards my knowledge enhancement. The study imparted development of my analytical and management skills. The study was carried out with the support of many people without whom the research would have been incomplete. Firstly, I like to thank my research supervisor ———- for providing me continuous assistance and guidance throughout the work. I also like to thank the organisation personnel who gave valuable support and assisted in providing organisation data. Finally, I like to thank the respondents for their coordination without which the research would remain incomplete.
Thanking You All,
Yours Sincerely

Chapter 1

Introduction

1.0 Introduction:

The main theme of this research study is to analyse the importance of communication and information technology in the current business environment. In the current market scenario, one of the most vital roles for managers is to find out new methods of communication to sustain in the fast changing environment (Laubacher, 2008). Information technology facilitates the process of decision-making in a more authentic and meaningful manner. Efficient and effective information technology system and robust communication framework helps organisations to remain competitive. The managers can communicate with their peers, subordinates and higher authorities by the dint of clearly framed communication channels to meet the desired objectives (Agboola, 2006).
The manager can only make effective decisions on the basis of proper knowledge which depends upon transfer of information through communication. Communication usually takes place in organisations by means of formal and informal types. Information technology forms the backbone on which the functioning of present day organisations rests. As opined by Maznevsk and Chudoba (2002), managers need to utilise the information technology to supplement the operational activity of the firm for extracting maximum benefits. It is essential for managers to maintain and develop the organisation to remain updated with the dynamism of information technology.
The advent and advancement of information technology considerably influences the behaviour and communication aspect of organisations (Fulk, 2003). Information technology enables managers to monitor and assess performance of staffs on a timely basis. The common information technology tools like video conferencing, e-mails etc ensures flexible working aspect for employees. Not only the managers, but information technology has also facilitated the workers to communicate and interact among themselves. The most vital aspect of information technology is that it ensures quality information sharing at the convenience of managers and workers by providing ‘flexi-timing’ or ‘work-from-home’ concepts through laptops and e-mails. Regards to managerial communication, information technology helps to remove the barriers to communication and ensures best possible utilisation of time and resources.

Nowadays, managers are heavily relying on the Management Information System (MIS). It is essentially integrated machine system and supplies information to supplement management decision-making, operational support in terms of information. The MIS is utilised by managers for maintaining and developing, controlling, organising, directing and planning purposes. With the aid of MIS, the organisations are becoming more flexible and systematic in the context of processes and activities (Stohl, 2006).

The advent of globalisation has compelled organisations and managers to counter business completion through the application of information technology and communication. In the current business scenario, the managers need to nurture the information and communication technology (ICT), for increasing the market base of the firms to remain competitive. The managers need to have the ability to understand, interpret and analyse the information received for better alignment of organisational activities (Welmann et al. 2001).The author involved the example of ASDA superstore at Charlton, London to give a practical insight in the subject area of the research work. The research work also encompasses brief description of ASDA Superstore and the spectrum of information and communication technology used by the firm in its business activities.
The author framed the study not only to focus on the benefits of information and communication technology with relation to business activities but also tried to give account of the mismanagement of information technology. The manager of organisations faces dilemma in that, information technology on one hand facilitates business activities but on the other hand it contributes for specific problems to arise within organisations. Organisations that relies on computer systems and internet for its operations faces risk of computer crimes. Managers of firms thus face the challenges to balance the activities of the company with respect to use of technology. As stated by Tredinnic (2006), threats to intellectual property rights are increasing day by day owing to the imitation capability of firms that uses information technology for duplication of unique aspects of other organisations. The manager also faces dilemma with regards to human resources because the advent of information technology contributed in the erosion of human resources in particular areas of operation. The result being the employee-employer relationship has become more complex with managers having to experience the stress to manage the workforce to avoid conflicts (Stohl, 2006).

The study is concerned here is to give a vivid description of the importance of information and communication technology and its impact on managerial decision making with reference to ASDA store, Bugsby way, Charlton, U.K. The ASDA superstore has got operations in pharmacy, petrol stations, grocery with 24 hours service (Your.asda.com. 2014). The author also tried to give a critical overview of the topic by representing the ill-effects of information technology and the problems faced by managers to balance the positive and negative impacts of information technology.

1.1 Background of the study:

In the past, various research work and case studies involving importance of information technology and communication on business activities and strategies had been undertaken. As stated by Olson et al. (2003), information technology ensures organisation to remain competitive in the global perspective. Similar studies were undertaken in the past by different researchers involving different theories and concepts to address the importance of information and communication technologies. As stated by Maznevski, and Chudoba, (2002), firms in the service sector can implement information technology and allied services to make their products and services available to wider network of population. According to Malone and Laubacher (2008), information technology implementation helps manger to frame the research and development policies and procedures involving in relation with business operations.

Information technology and communication technology helps in providing organisations with improvement of operational process and achievement of cost efficiency (Fulk, 2003). Information technology and communication helps in the effective implementation of customer relationship management. Various research studies have shown the impact of information technology on effective inventory management and management of data. Various research studies were also carried out to focus on modern technology like smart phones and voice over internet protocol (VOIP) as tools to facilitate quick, timely and accurate communication.

Most of the early research studies focussed on the beneficial impact of information technology and communication upon managerial decisions and tasks. According to Durant and Shepherd (2009), Information technology and communication help managers to carry out administrative functions with ease. Information systems ensure three most important activities in organisations like business operations and processes, decision-making and alignment of strategies for gaining competitive advantage (Bhawuk, 2009). The development of e-commerce tools and e-business model as result of information technology changed the concept of business activities worldwide. Through the work, the researcher wanted to focus on the challenges met by mangers with regards to information technology. The research work besides also states about the importance of information and communication technology alike previous works of other authors. The challenges that the study talked about is the issues that managers face during implementation of information technology and communication. The research work tried to point out the challenges managers face in aligning information systems to meet the demands of human resources with meeting organisational goals and objectives at the same time.
The research study uses example of ASDA superstore in London to depict the roles, responsibilities and challenges met by the managers of the company owing to its complex network of activities and various forms of information technologies utilised by the store. The study tried to fill the pitfalls associated with previous research work where only importance of information technology and communication were stated. The study also tried to highlight the dilemma managers confront with information and communication technology with relation to meeting of business objectives. The current study is developed by examining the past works on importance of information technology and management identified by various researchers. As opined by Bertschek et al. (2006), information technology and communication system should be dynamic and should also focus on providing ways for predicting future business needs. The future forecast analysis can be very beneficial for mangers to design the strategies and plans to meet business benefits of ASDA, Bugsby way in London.

1.2 Research Aim:

The current research study aims to evaluate the importance of communication and information technology in contemporary business environments considering the case of ASDA superstore, Charlton, London.

1.2.1 Research Objectives:

• To find out the impact of information technology and communication on organisational business operations.
• To analyse the role of information technology in enhancing organisational communication process, considering the case of ASDA superstore, London.
• To investigate the issues experienced by contemporary organisations like ASDA at the time of communication mechanism.
• To recommend ways to improve ASDA’s communication process by overcoming possible barriers.

1.3 Research Questions:

• How information technology affects organisations like ASDA, Bugsby way store?
• What are the communication issues in today’s organisation?
• How the managers can overcome the barriers to communication?

1.4 Justification for choosing the research questions:

The study is concerned to depict overall impact of ICT on the functioning of ASDA superstore in London. The researcher framed the questions keeping in mind the aim of the research. In the first place, the research question involved to seek the overall significance of ICT on the activities of ASDA, which helped the researcher to gain knowledge about the existing methods of ICT in the firm. Secondly, the contemporary communication technologies that are utilised by organisations were framed to make the study relevant in the scenario of modern business environment. The researcher also put forward specific questions for managers to make the study critical and comprehensive through evaluation of the advantages and drawbacks of ICT in current business activities.

1.5 Information and Communication technology as contemporary marketing strategy for improving competency:

Information and communication technology provides accessing of information through internet, e-mails, official websites, and mobile phones in respect of business organisations. Organisations are designing the marketing strategy based on ICT for improving effectiveness and competencies (Stohl, 2006). The advent of ICT has changed the activities regarding shopping, communication, and marketing and hence influences the marketing strategies of any organisation. ICT enabled the development of e-business models involving e-commerce. The utilisation of e-commerce by companies changed the perception of consumers regarding products and services (Fulk, 2003). ICT ensured the creation of social media channels and promotional websites which facilitated the marketing activities of the companies. Hence, the presentation of the importance of ICT on marketing strategy was undertaken in the research work.

1.6 Purpose of the study:

The purpose of the study was to represent the importance of information and communication technology (ICT) and the challenges and dilemmas faced by mangers for implementation of the same. The study was carried out to focus on the impact of information technology on the business activities of the organisation. The study also involved presentation of the benefits that managers can derive from information and communication technology along with the possible challenges that ICT poses on managerial decisions. The study was undertaken to focus on the information and communication technology use of ASDA, Bugsby way, London and how managers and customers of the firm interprets the impact of ICT on the operation of the firm.

1.7 Research rationale:

Organisation in current business scenario uses different strategies to remain competitive. The purpose of this research work is to accomplish the impact of information and communication technology on various processes and aspects of business. The study also involves putting forward the challenges and dilemmas faced by managers of big organisation like ASDA superstore.

Information and communication technology has got both positive and negative effects on the functioning of organisations (Agboola, 2006). The managers of firms like ASDA need to balance the ill-effects and beneficial aspects of ICT to counter challenges and to utilise ICT for achievement of successful business outcomes. Sometimes, extensive and improper utilisation of information and communication technology has been criticised for giving rise to unethical business practices. Over emphasis on ICT by companies poses threats to the utilisation of human resources.

The study finds its relevance in describing the importance of ICT and the dilemmas that managers face in the context of ICT implementation for organisations like ASDA superstore, London. The criticisms of information and communication technology provide scope for future research work to address the pitfalls.

1.8 Dissertation Structure:

For achieving completion of the study the researcher has compiled the following structure:

Chapter1: Introduction:
The chapter represents the aim, objectives and questions of the current study. The rationale provides the extent of relevance of the study. The research purpose was also stated. The study also included a brief description of ASDA superstore in London.

Chapter 2: Literature Review:
Theories and excerpts from the study of past researchers have been represented. Secondary researches pertaining to information technology and communication strategy have also been depicted.

Chapter 3: Methodology:
It explains the methods and approaches adopted to carry out the study. It provides information about the representation of research issues by gathering data from various sources.

Chapter 4: Findings and Analysis:
The study have been represented the findings through the use of graphs and charts. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were undertaken with proper representation of results.

Chapter 5: Conclusion:
The chapter presented the whole study in the form of conclusion. Research objectives have been linked with conclusion to satisfy the objectives of the study. Some suggestions have been tried to focus on the functioning and improvement of communication strategy based on the use of information technology with relation to ASDA Superstore at Bugsby way, Charlton, London.

1.9 Summary:

The chapter highlights the context of the research by evaluating the background of the study. Aims, objectives, research questions with rationale and purpose of the study have been depicted in the chapter. Finally, an overall structure of the research study has been highlighted at the end of the chapter briefing the content of each of the sections.

 

Chapter 2

Literature Review

2.0 Introduction:

The current chapter encompasses a wide range of theories and literatures in relation with communication and information technology and associated impact on organisational business. The researcher has attempted to analyse the existing literatures in this chapter in order to develop an effective theoretical platform for the present research study. Furthermore, by cross checking several theories, the researcher has tried finding any possible gaps between the existing literatures so that the data analysis part in the later section can be conducted precisely. The chapter initially highlights the concept of Information Communication Technology (ICT). Similarly, it tries to focus on the impact of ICT on business productivity along with possible hitches in implementation and approach of enhancement.

2.1 Significance of information and communication technology:

The significance of information and communication technology (ICT) has been evaluated by modern day business organisations and the process is considered to be top priority strategy for maintaining desired competency level in the industry. In the words of Keon et al. (2002), organisations need to keep pace with the continuously changing trend of the industries and ICT is found to be one of the possible viable options in achieving sustainable growth. In the modern era, ICT is rapidly transforming both the developed and developing economies, giving rise to the continuous growth of the business sectors. The ways in which information is transformed within an ICT framework is found to be compatible for continuous learning and developing process which can boost organisational performance.

Recent reports suggest that majority (94% approximately) of the business organisations in the UK use computers for general business purposes among which more than 50% of the companies are connected to the internet while 25% of the organisations have official company web page. Duronto et al. (2005) argued that despite the increased ICT implementation across business sectors there are very few companies that actually have dedicated company website for communicating directly with the customers. The consequences often lead to dissatisfaction among the target customers and hence the area needs to be stressed by the companies. Among other reports, it has been found that the overall business communication process in UK is conducted by means of digital communication modes among which approximately 30% users are found to be frequent users of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) (Ons.gov.uk., 2014).

Kurland and Bailey (2009) believe that reason behind the increasing use of ICT policies is to provide services based on the perceived value of the customers. Customers in modern era want to be continuously updated with the latest happenings across organisational business, using various latest technological platforms. Mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and notebooks are the contemporary devices that enable customers to bring the global news in the palm of the hands. Some of the leading firms have even managed to develop such ICT framework to fulfil the customers’ expectation. Hence, in order to achieve the benchmark and maintain competency, business organisations need to prioritise the implementation of an advanced ICT mechanism so that continuous business growth can be achieved over time.

2.2 ICT applications in business sectors:

Based on the business level requirements, ICT framework can be applied using a wide range of strategies. Although there are not particular standard or benchmark for the ICT development and implementation procedure, the basic philosophy of the application process is the same that is the effective transformation of information for business optimisation. As mentioned by Huber (2000), organisations use the ICT framework to manage a range of information using which, different context involving the business can be analysed and strategies can be measured accordingly. Generally, the majority of the organisations follow customised ICT policies based on business requirement so that relevancy of the process output can be maintained. However, a standard ICT mechanism basically consists of two phases. Initially, information is retrieved from various sources and accordingly, the collected information is stored and processed for interpretation.

2.2.1 Information retrieval mechanism:

Business organisations nowadays are following a number of communication methods with the associated stakeholders in order to collect valuable information. In this context, one of the tried and tested mechanisms is found to be the face-to-face interaction process which the organisations believed is the most effective approach of getting information. Leonardi (2009) cited that face-to-face communication process not only help getting the opinions of the stakeholders but also help to judge the feelings of the stakeholders by observing the facial expression. Despite the effectiveness of the face-to-face interaction process, organisations fail to rely solely on such process in the fast-paced business environment. On the other hand, Grosse (2002) discussed that face-to-face interaction process with the stakeholders would involve considerable amount of resources and time which might not be available all the time. Hence, modern day organisations are implementing several virtual interactive communication processes including email, telephonic discussion, online support etc for retrieving information.

2.2.2 Information storage and processing mechanism:

The collected or generated information within an ICT framework is generally stored and eventually processed for proper interpretation so that the context can be analysed effectively. Nardi and Engeström (2009) acknowledged that based on the storage mechanism and processing of information, the relevancy of the data interpretation can be maintained. In the context of data storage and processing, dissimilarity has been found among the approaches of business organisations. It can be found that organisations in service industry depend on various computing peripherals along with proper database management software for storing information while the use of such technologies is relatively low in case of manufacturing organisations. Majchrzak et al. (2000) highlighted that the inclusion of specific database management system within the ICT can be an effective approach in managing and processing data and reducing operational complexities. Applications such as spreadsheet, word processing and internet tools have turned out to be essential in modern day context in getting in touch with the customers.

2.2.3 Contemporary ICT tools in business sectors:

Apart from the traditional business communication tools including fax or telephone lines, a wide range of contemporary communicating tools are used by modern day organisations within the ICT framework. Stening (2009) contradicted that the traditional communication tools would not be sufficient enough for communicating with modern day customers who are becoming more tech savvy. Hence, organisations are following virtual communication tools such as email, social networking sites, mobile communications e-commerce etc to match customers’ perception.

Email:
Email has turned out to be one of the most easiest and effective communication modes in the era of web 2.0. Wagner (2004) referred email as the primary contemporary approach when it comes to digital communication process. The process enables organisations conducting fast and cheap communication mechanism with the customers. Contemporary service organisations even provide photos, news sellers and official magazines as attachments with promotional emails to maintain effective customer relationship management with the target audience.

Communication network:
The Communication networks concept has turned out to be a scintillating approach when it comes to corporate communication process. Organisations nowadays are following internal and external organisational communication mechanism to transform information relating to business context. Technologies such as Local Area Connection (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN) and Virtual Private Network (VPN) are used for safe, secure and effective communication within organisational work environment while various social medial network channels such as Facebook, Twitter, You Tube etc are used for establishing virtual communication process with the target customers (Agboola, 2006).

Mobile communications:
Mobile communication is another popular contemporary corporate communication process that is soon becoming a first choice communication mode across business sectors. Rozkwitalska (2010) pointed that apart from traditional calling mechanism, organisations are developing supporting apps for mobile platforms which can pass information from one stakeholder to another. Mobile devices nowadays come with high hardware support capable of handling complex software architectures. Since majority of the customers own a smart phone nowadays, organisations are trying developing company dedicated apps for better communication with the customers.

E-commerce:
Along with the emergence of online buying and selling process, the widespread application of the ecommerce mechanism has revolutionised the global business sectors over the years. As per the opinion of Xie et al. (2009), ecommerce has enabled the customers to experience effortless shopping system, sitting in home and following mere clicks on computing devices. However, Zhu et al. (2006) criticised that ecommerce systems are not flawless and there is every possibility of the information being lost or manipulate, resulting in customer dissatisfaction. Despite some security hindrance, the efficacy of the ecommerce mechanism cannot be questioned and the increasing traffic over online retail transaction establishes the fact.

2.3 Role of information technology in managing organizational information and conducting effective communication process:

Managing organisational information has turned out to be a significant challenge for managers and business leaders nowadays as improper management of data or information can lead to irrelevant result following which, ineffective strategies would be measured, affecting business growth. Walther et al. (2009) cited that effective information technology framework is needed to be implemented within organisational work environment in order to manage data properly. However, effective information technology framework implementation would require significant amount of financial resources and non financial resources like efficient workforce which is why, organisational managers are often found to be in dilemma (Foss, 2009). Despite the implementation constraints, the significance of the information technology cannot be argued. An effective information technology framework would emphasise on information needs, information networks, information chain and information value chain ensuring proper transformation of information.

2.3.1 Determining information needs:

The determination of the much needed information is dependent on a wide range of market and non market factors. According to Abramovsky and Griffith (2006), the information managed within IT framework is generally generic in nature and not often considered as resources. The IT process focuses on storage, processing, accessing and use of information considering intrinsic business activities. A standard IT framework would consider information concerning demand and supply in relation with respective businesses and associated business environment.

Demand-oriented information:
The demand related information is generally obtained by following and tracking external business environment factors (Durant and Shepherd, 2009). For instance, factors such as target customers and market trends, new customers and markets and export markets behaviours are often considered as demand oriented information.

Supply oriented information:
Supply oriented information is generally achieved by evaluating internal business environment involving organisational business. The supply oriented information comprised of financial capabilities, inventory details, technological support, workforce capacity and infrastructure compatibility (Huber, 2000).

Business environment related information:
Apart from the demand and supply information, organisations often require some information in relation with the associated business environment such as competitors, threats involved, legal framework and economic infrastructure on the basis of which, business strategies can be developed.

2.3.2 The information chain:

An effective information technology framework would aim to develop a linkage between data, information and knowledge. Constant et al. (2006) emphasised that IT framework aims to convert raw data into information which is finally converted into knowledge, giving rise to an effective communication mechanism. The primary data or raw data are collected as unprocessed information which is often unable to be interpreted. Hence, organisations follow rigorous information technology facilities so that the raw data can be processed into understandable data and the scenario can be analysed effectively. The overall data conversion process undergoes five basic phases.

Raw data collection:
On the outset, data are collected from the associated stakeholders by means of various communication modes. Since collected data can be either relevant or irrelevant, organisations use a combination of physical and virtual communication channels for collecting raw data.

Data processing:
The collected data are processed using several scientific tools and represented as understandable format. Often, business organisations convert the raw data in graphical and numerical format for easy understanding and analytical purposes. The processed data are considered as information which are used for interpretation.

Data storage:
The processed data are stored within the organisational database system for security and avoiding any possible lack of data loss. The stored data are however accessible any time for interpretation using specific commands and queries.

Application of data:
Once data are fully processed and stored within the organisational database system, leaders and managers stress on application of the data for developing improved strategies and decision making.

Measuring strategies:
The final phase of the information chain is the strategy implementation phase in which the processed data are used to evaluate and measure possible strategies for the betterment of the business.

2.3.3 Information value chain:

The value chain analysis has turned out to be a popular strategic approach in contemporary business environment for communicating values through different operational activities. Sillince et al. (2008) emphasised that the information value chain is an effective approach of adding value to the business operations as a result of which, improved service quality is achieved. The information value chain mechanism helps breaking down each business operation separately and analyse the activities individually so that effective strategies can be developed aiming to reduce overall incurred cost of the processes along with the increased performance and efficacy. For instance, the internal information chain mechanism would aim to break down business operations such as marketing, sales, logistics, support activities etc and analyse the information of each in order to developed more efficient strategies.

Although the information value chain is an effective approach of communicating information within various business operations, Tyre and Orlikowski (2004) criticised that analysing each of the business operations separately would take a rigorous approach that would incorporate a significant time and other resources and as a result the implementation of the mechanism is a challenge for the organisational leaders. However, organisations in the modern era have been prioritising the inclusion of the information value chain within IT framework for effective business communications and maintaining competency in the industry. Barnes and Howlett (2008) referred information value chain as a critical mechanism prior to the implementation of the information communication technology (ICT). The following diagram can be used to determine the mechanism of a standard information value chain system, communicating information through various business functions.

2.4 Common barriers that create a hindrance for the contemporary business organisations at the time of communication:

Modern day organisations experience several difficulties at the time of communicating with the stakeholders. Hence, identification of the communication barriers is important so that smooth running communication process can be conducted without any hindrance. Brown and Duguid (2001) acknowledged that there are bound to be some communication barriers for organisations and eventually the communication process would be affected but efforts are always needed to be maintained in minimising the effect of the barriers. Although different authors have opted for different types of communication barriers, some of the common barriers are found to be language barriers, psychological barriers, physiological barriers, physical barriers, systematic barriers and attitudinal barriers.

Language barriers:
Language is supposed to be a common barrier to business communication mechanism. As opined by Zammutto et al. (2007), the language along with the linguistic abilities might affect the overall communication mechanism. A significant number of business organisations are accused of communicating inappropriately over a cross regional market areas. Since different stakeholder is familiar with different languages, a message with a specific language is found to be inappropriate for effective knowledge sharing process. On the other hand, communicating using a single language can also involve some hindrances by means of unknown terminologies. As mentioned by Walther (2005), the success of any communication mechanism is determined by the understanding ability of the target audience. Lack of awareness among the target audiences regarding the used terminologies can act as significant communication barrier.

Psychological barriers:
Psychological barriers can be termed as the perception gap between the sender and receiver involving a communication mechanism. Ribeiro (2007) cited that the difference of the psychologies of the sender and the receiver, the actual meaning of messages is often failed to be promoted to the target audience. On the other hand, other psychological factors such as stress or tension can also work as barriers at the time of communication mechanism. Tredinnick (2006) said that when the audience are found to be in stress or tension, the mind is pre occupied with thoughts and the communicating information would be of less priority to the target audiences. Such psychological factors often turn out to be significant barrier to business communication mechanism which is why, organisations need to make sure that the communicating message is interactive in nature so that better reaction can be achieved from the receivers.

Physiological barriers:
Some of the physiological aspects involving the sender can turn out to be critical barriers to communication process. Orlikowski and Yates (2004) discussed that lack of physiological efficacy of the receivers can be barrier to communication process. For instance, persons with poor eyesight or may be lack of hearing capacity would affect the overall communication process as the message would not be properly promoted to the audiences. For a spoken conversation process, effective hearing capability of the target audience is required while for virtual communication mechanism, good eyesight of the audiences is necessary. Although physiological barriers are experienced in rare cases but imply negative impact significantly. As mentioned by MacGregor and Vrazalic (2005), if the target audiences are found to be physically disable, traditional communication process is needed to be altered and contingent communication process is needed to be stressed on.

Physical barriers:
Physical barrier to communication is generally represented by the geographic distance between the sender and the receiver. Ramirez et al. (2002) suggested that communication process would be less effective with increasing distance in an inversely proportional relationship. Although the fact is true to some extent, the emergence of internet along with various technological tools has helped reducing the communication gaps that supposed to haunt business organisations till the late1980s. However, Markus et al. (2000) believe that even technological utilities might not be sufficient enough to implement error free communication mechanism across long distances. Factors such as network congestion malfunction in internet and security issues may hinder the communication process in this context. Thus, despite advancement in the field of technology, physical barriers still impose substantial barriers to business communication process (Grosse, 2002).

Systematic Barriers:
The factors incorporating systematic barriers can be organisational structure, inappropriate choice of communication channels or ineffective information systems. These factors are considered to be drivers of communication process and inefficiencies involving the factors can affect the business communication mechanism. Aladwani (2001) cited that organisations nowadays depend immensely on information technology and information management system during communicating with the stakeholders. However, the system generated results might not be relevant every time and irrelevant findings can lead to ineffective communication process. On the other hand, Bhawuk (2009) highlighted that the choice of communication channels is pivotal in dictating the critical success factor of communication mechanism. If the communication channels differ with the perception of the target audiences, the process can lead to a failed communication approach. Finally, ineffective organisational structure can turn out to be a barrier. Involvement of improper personnel in the communication process can create troublesome scenarios during communication.

Attitudinal barriers:
The attitude of both sender and receiver of the messages can influence the success rate of the communication mechanism. Attitudinal factors of organisational personnel such a ego, arrogance and pride can turn out to be barrier to communication (Kurland and Bailey, 2009). On the other hand, the receivers’ attitudinal factors such as personal conflict, frustration, personality traits etc can impose negative impact on the communication procedures.

2.5 Possible approaches of enhancing business communication process:

According to Zack and McKenney (2005), communication is an integral part of organisational business which helps maintaining relevancy among the wide range of business operations and at the same time, helps making the customers aware of the organisational service ranges. The enhancement of the business communication is believed to be a never ending process which is needed to be complemented with continuous learning and enhancement activities. However, following factors can be considered as drivers that can possibly enhance the efficacy of a business communication process.

Expansion of the wireless infrastructure:
Expansion of the wireless infrastructure can be a viable option for the business organisations as it can significantly boost the organisational communication mechanism. Munter (2003) believes that with an expanded wireless infrastructure, the stakeholders would be able to communicate with the organisation regardless of time and place. The expansion of wireless infrastructure would allow the employees to communicate from anywhere across organisational premises without missing urgent notifications. On the other hand, customers would be able to connect to organisations with a flexible communication channel.

Increasing remote access options:
Increasing the remote access option would enable organisational employees to communicate with other stakeholders outside corporate work environment. Hinds and Kiesler (2005) argued that in majority of the cases, offsite workers fail to communicate with peers or subordinates and accordingly the organisational productivity hampers. In this context increasing the remote access by means of comprehensive conference system (CCS) and virtual private network (VPN) can be effective in enhancing the communication method. By enabling the organisational stakeholders to communicate over satellite network smooth running business process can be expected.

Improved collaboration:
Improved collaboration among the members of organisations helps in maintaining effective communication process. Establishing the fact, Wellman et al. (2006) acknowledged that the information technology framework is needed to be implemented in such a way that better collaborative work environment can be expected from the workforce. Integrated, voice, data and video communication mechanism is quite popular in contemporary business environments. Such interactive communication methods help in achieving better employee engagement and as a result, better workforce productivity can be expected.

Communicating values with customers:
Organisations generally follow two distinct types of approaches when communicating with internal and external stakeholders. However, Walther (2003) suggested that following a unified communication system would be more effective which would allow developing a single communication policy for both the internal and external organisational stakeholders. Several successful organisations nowadays are linking the VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to CRM (Customer Relationship Management) for reducing the employee call time and at the same time achieving improved customer satisfaction level.

Outsourcing communication process:
If organisations fail to maintain effective communication mechanism, the process can be outsourced to specialist professionals. The approach would not only help improving the quality of the communication process but also would enable organisations to stress more on other business functions. However, Smolensky et al. (2000) contradicted that the outsourcing of communication process would be a costly affair which would influence the overall incurred cost. However, considering the overall business efficiency, greater return on investment can be expected from possible outsourcing process.

2.6 Approaches of ASDA in communicating with various organisational stakeholders:

Considering the case of ASDA, the organisation has been using a wide range of communication channels to communicate with the associated stakeholders. ASDA has developed customised ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions, enabling various internal stakeholders to communicate with each other. The SAP implementation process has turned out to be a success that supports a centralised database system which allows the internal stakeholders to communicate regardless of regions. On the other hand, the organisation is following a blend of traditional and contemporary communication channels when it comes to communicate with the customers. Apart from the traditional telephonic conversations and face-to-face interactions, the organisations is using several social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Google+ etc to get in touch with the customers. The company has dedicated FM channel which is often used to create better customer awareness and feedback analysis process. The online shopping store of ASDA is incorporated with an effective ecommerce system that enables customers to conduct safe and secure transaction (Your.asda.com., 2014).

2.7 PESTEL analysis of ASDA Superstore:

According to Welmann et al. (2001), the PESTEL analysis is concerned with the representation of external environment factors and the impact of the factors on the business activities of organisations. The PESTEL analysis of ASDA is represented as follows-

Political factor: The political factor that contributed ASDA positively is the decision of the European Union to include certain products for the European market. The promotional and marketing strategy of ASDA got boosted up due to the creation of new avenues in the context of product and services. The EU also decided that ASDA like organisations can venture into Chinese market which was formerly prohibited. From the marketing perspective the effect was immense for the organisation.

Economic factors: The economic recession in 2008 prompted ASDA to take innovative marketing approaches to attract prospective customers. The bleak economic condition post 2008 created more attraction towards ASDA due to its low cost product and service delivery. The organisation utilised the situation by tapping the upper end segments through extensive marketing and promotional strategies.

Social factors: The changes in EU regulation facilitated large influx of different ethnic communities in UK. The company utilised the situation by promoting and marketing specific products for particular communities. ASDA designed the marketing campaigns to match with the identity of specific ethnic groups.

Technological factors: Generally firm uses technology particularly through communication medium for marketing and promoting (Tredinnic, 2006). The company utilised information and communication technology through social media, official websites, and customised mails for marketing and promoting activities. The use of technology was enhanced for making inter and intraorganisation communication mainly.

Environmental factors: The organisation in order to comply with environmental norms and to serve in eco-friendly manner introduced the concept of organic food. The organic food segment developed by the firm facilitated for creation of positive self image of the firm in terms of eco-friendly approach. The marketing and promotion activities in this regard focussed to create and maintenance of green economy to the customers and the society at large.

Legal factors: The company follows guidelines and legislations of authorised government in order to maintain fair trade practices. The organisation complies with various trading laws like Groceries supply code practice to comply with U.K. laws (Your.asda.com. 2014). The company also take positive initiatives to address any discrepancies arising out of the breach of laws. The transparency in legal compliance helps ASDA to put forward an image of self –reputation among employees, customers and government.

2.8 Summary:

The literature and theories discussed in the chapter can be summarised as information communication technology (ICT), impact of ICT on organisational business, influence of information technology in information management and developing effective communication, barriers to communication and possible ways using which, existing business communication process can be enhanced. The chapter finally highlights the communication policies of ASDA, the chosen company for the current research study.

Chapter 3

Research Methodology

3.0 Introduction:

The chapter encompasses the initiatives of the researcher in terms of methods and strategies at the time of performing the current research study. As cited by Peffers et al. (2007), particular emphasis is needed to be given on the methods of conducting the research in order to maintain the proper flow of information throughout the study. On the other hand, Scruggs and Mastropieri (2006) discussed that the choice of research methods is crucial, as based on the choice of methods, success or failure of the research study is possible. Hence, attempts have been made to analyse the context of the current study effectively, prior to the strategy selection so that the current research study can be made successful. On the other hand, justifications of the chosen methods have been provided for supporting the preferred research methodologies.

3.1 Overview of the research methods:

The overall research methodologies, followed during the current study, can be categorised into several sections including philosophy, approach, design, data collection and sampling mechanism. Positivism philosophy has been followed to perform the study while the research approach is deductive. Descriptive research design has been followed for conducting a detailed review of the subject matter. The research has used a mix of primary and secondary data to analyse the research context. Primary data used in the study, can be further classified into two categories such as quantitative and qualitative data. Mix method approach consisting of qualitative and quantitative data analysis was performed. Mix method of data analysis generates authentic and comprehensive information (Welman et al. 2005). For quantitative data collection, an online survey questionnaire mechanism was adopted to obtain responses from 50 employees of ASDA Superstore in Charlton, London. In respect of qualitative data collection, 5 managers of the organisation were interviewed. Simple random probabilistic sampling was employed with regards to quantitative data collection. The qualitative data collection process involved the use of non-probabilistic purposive sampling.

3.2 Research philosophy: Positivism

Research philosophy essentially signifies the mental framework of the researcher during the course of the research work. According to Sale et al. (2002), research philosophy encompasses the search for knowledge, values, existence and reason for the research work. Since, the current research is based on the importance of Information and communication technology (ICT) and issues during communication, relevant knowledge regarding the impact of Information and communication technology needs to be gathered for furnishing accurate data. The research work is performed with positivism philosophy which is a constituent of epistemology.

Positivism philosophy involves methodology that is structured highly that ensures general and comprehensive observations based on the use of statistical methods (Johnson, and Onwuegbuzie, 2006). Positivism philosophy encapsulates real time data analysis and is scientific in nature. Positivism philosophy is objective and critical base process. The researcher had chosen positivism philosophy as it facilitates collection of facts and figures with relation to the research issue. The researcher plays the role of an analyst to examine the collected data to produce results to match the research objectives and aims. Positivism philosophy incorporates scientific approach for completion of research work. The researcher employed collection of primary and secondary data from the employees and managers of ASDA superstore in London which signifies scientific approach of research. The researcher undertaken data analysis of the responses collected from the organisation to frame the research work which aptly showed the scientific approach of research.

3.3 Research approach: Deductive

The research approach provides the necessary steps to be followed by the researcher to complete the study for achieving desired objectives (Tripodi and Epstein, 2008). Majority of the researchers fails to obtain precise and accurate outcomes due to the use of inappropriate and haphazard ways of conducting research work. The categorisation of research approaches involves two broad types such as the inductive research approach and the deductive research approach (Allen, 2001). The inductive research method follows observation in the first place and is followed by data collection and analysis. The research hypothesis is framed based upon the data collection process and analysis to generate suitable research theories. Whereas, in the case of deductive research approach the existing theories are interpreted and evaluated to derive research results. Research hypothesises are tested followed by data collection and data analysis to establish the theories. As opined by Podsakoff and Dalton (2007), acknowledged that inductive approach is suitable for theory development while deductive approach is compatible for theory testing. The researcher has chosen deductive approach in conducting the present research study. The current study involves the use of various existing theories on Information and communication technology to develop the research work. The researcher studied several relevant theories on the subject and tried to analyse the real data obtained from the respondents of ASDA superstore in London to test the existing theories.

3.4 Research Design: Descriptive

Research design is based upon studying any scientific problem through systematic planning. The set objectives and research questions along with the knowledge of the researcher regarding the particular domain forms the basis of research design. According to Patton (2009), research design can be categorised into three types such as exploratory, explanatory and descriptive research design. The researcher implemented descriptive research design to supplement the research work. Descriptive research design involves the intense use of theories and models (Mcguire, 2006). The researcher carried out intensive research study on the impact of information and communication technology with reference to ASDA superstore in London to justify the use of deductive research design. The researcher tried to find all the necessary information by framing questions to the managers and employees of organisations in relation with information and communication technology.

The descriptive research approach enables the researcher to collect information from every possible sources to avoid trouble during the research study (Larsson, 2003). Moreover, in conducting the research work real time data, facts and findings were collected and analysed by the researcher in relation to ASDA superstore. Since descriptive research design supports factual studies, it is assumed to be compatible for the current study.

3.5 Data type:

According to Foss (2009), data can be divided into primary data and secondary data based on the nature of information source. Primary data involves collection of information from first hand sources such as through sample surveys, questionnaires. On the other hand, secondary data is obtained from secondary source of information such as books, journals and magazines. For achieving optimum results the researcher needs to use both primary and secondary data (Aldag and Steams, 2008). Hence, the researcher used both primary and secondary data to analyse the importance of Information and communication technology with reference to ASDA Superstore in London. The researcher in this context, collected primary data from the managers and employees of the firm and depended on journals, websites and various scholarly articles for collecting secondary data. The primary data collected can be further subdivided into quantitative data and qualitative data (Vanderstoep and Johnson, 2009). The quantitative data for the present study was gathered from the employees of ASDA superstore and the qualitative data was collected from the managers of the organisation.

3.6 Data collection process:

Proper data collection process influences the accuracy and relevancy of the collected data for the research work (Karimian et al. 2011).The researcher has chosen different approaches for primary and secondary data collection. Secondary data have been collected by evaluating various secondary. The external sources of data can be categorised as different journals, magazines, books.The internal sources of data can be categorised as the official website of ASDA and annual report to get information about the operational activity of the firm. On the other hand, data collection regarding the primary data involved quantitative data collection process and qualitative data collection process.
Quantitative data had been collected through online survey questionnaire approach, online approach was carried out for employees having accessible e-mail id and offline method were applied for the rest of the respondents, engaging the employees of ASDA Superstore, Bugsby way, London whereas in case of qualitative data, managers of ASDA superstore were questioned in a face-to-face interview for mangers whose appointment was successfully obtained and telephonic interview was conducted for managers not accessible in-person for obtaining relevant feedback. The views and opinions of the managers helped the researcher with appropriate qualitative data.

3.7 Sample size:

As stated by the Saunders et al. (2009), quantitative data collection needs to involve large volume of population while qualitative data collection process can be done on few respondents to attain desired results. The researcher considered the sample size of 50 employees of ASDA superstore for quantitative data collection. Whereas, for qualitative data collection process the researcher considered 5 managers of the company for qualitative data collection. For quantitative data collection process the researcher chosen 50 employees and maintaining the authenticity of the information collected. The view of 5 managers of the organisation ensured comprehensive overview of the process without any discrepancies regarding information.

3.8 Sampling method:

As mentioned by Cameroon (2009), choosing appropriate candidates during primary data collection process always poses challenges to researcher. Proper sample method is needed to be undertaken during the research activities as it could influence the success or failure of the research study. However, the researcher has made sure that relevant and accurate data have been collected by following simple random probabilistic sampling method during quantitative data collection and non probabilistic purposive sampling method during qualitative sampling method.
The researcher employed simple random probabilistic sampling to generate large volume of information from the employees of ASDA Superstore, Bugsby way, London. The number of employees chosen for sampling was 50. Since the sample size is considerably larger probability sampling method has been chosen. On the other hand, the researcher believed that following the simple random probability sampling method, equal opportunities have been provided to the respondents.

The researcher has followed non probability purposive sampling process during qualitative data collection in order to collect authentic data from the managers of ASDA superstore. As opined by Brannen (2009), non probability sampling is suitable in the scenario where the number of respondents is smaller. The researcher questioned only 5 managers, hence non-probabilistic sampling technique was used. On the other hand, the mangers are believed to be experts who can provide authentic and relevant data regarding the research context. Hence, non probability purposive sampling is believed to be compatible for the research study.

3.9 Data analysis:

The present research study is concerned with analysis of primary data and secondary data as part of the overall data analysis procedure. Major thrust has been given on analysing quantitative and qualitative data as the findings of the research study heavily dependent on these data types. Secondary data have been analysed by critically reviewing existing theories and articles on the topic. Quantitative data has been mapped in MS Excel sheet by means of tabular and graphical format so that data can be easily analysed and error free interpretation could be conducted. The use of ordinal scales was implemented during quantitative data analysis. The qualitative data analysis involved representation of the opinions and views of the managers of ASDA Superstore to obtain useful information.

3.10 Ethical considerations:

Research studies needs to maintain ethical standards in order to gain acceptability in the society (Bernard, 2011). The researcher tried to maintain ethics throughout the research work, keeping in mind the emotional and feeling aspects of humans. At the time of questioning the respondents, particular emphasis has been given on the human feelings and beliefs of the respondents to maintain ethical standards in the research work. The respondents were assured that the information received would be treated as confidential matter. The responses received would not be disclosed to harm the professional position of the employees and managers of the organisation. Moreover, the researcher stated that the collected data would be used for academic purpose only.

3.11 Research limitations:

The current research work included some limitations which can affect the outcome of the research work to some extent, despite the effort made by the researcher. The research study focussed only on the employees of ASDA for quantitative data analysis which may present some biasness in terms of the responses received. On the other hand, the sample size for quantitative research was 50, which provided scope for further improvement in terms of number of respondents. Besides, the researcher had to conduct the study within limited time which contributed to its limitation.

3.12 Time scale: Gantt chart

  16th Aug. 2013 Sept.2013 Oct. 2013 Nov. 2013 Dec. 2013 Jan. 2014 7th Feb. 2014
Submission of proposal              
Literature review              
Questionnaire designing              
Interviews              
Online data search              
Data analysis              
Data interpretation              
Findings and conclusion              
Proof reading of the thesis              
Submission date              

 

Chapter 4

Findings and Analysis

4.0 Introduction:

Post collecting secondary data on the topic, the present chapter depicts the primary responses gathered from the chosen sample. Primary responses have been collected from the managers and employees of the Bugsby way store of ASDA. The accumulated responses have been presented in two parts: Part A and Part B. In Part A, the researcher illustrated the responses via graphs and charts. The second section (Part B); the descriptive responses have been detailed. Furthermore, a data triangulation process have been undertaken to link the possible analysis with the secondary data studied until yet. The latter process is performed to evaluate and juxtapose both the data collected and derive possible inference from the same.

4.1 Part A: (Response from the employees)

1. Do you think that information technology (IT) and communication plays a crucial role in benefitting businesses operation?
Table 1: Potentiality of attaining operational benefit via effective IT and communication:

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 18 50 36%
Agree 20 50 40%
Neutral 8 50 16%
Disagree 2 50 4%
Strongly disagree 2 50 4%

Finding and Analysis:

40% respondents were of the opinion that organizations could attain the scope improving its operations by practising IT and communication at workplace. As mentioned by Majchrzak et al. (2000) in section 2.2.2 in chapter 2 highlighted the fact that inclusion of specific database management system within the ICT could be an effective approach in reducing operational complexities. However, not all had similar opinion on the same question. As in one hand 16% interviewees did not respond either ways and preferred to stay neutral, 4% managers disagreed on the effectiveness of IT and communication to ensure operational efficiency. MacGregor and Vrazalic (2005) in section 2.3 in chapter 2 criticised the fact that involvement of IT and communication at workplace would be an additional burden on the financial and non-financial resources of the firm thus preventing the scope to attain operational benefit. However, it could be finally inferred that IT and communication has the scope of building operational benefit for business.

2. Which area of business activity uses information and communication technology to the greatest extent in your organization?
Table 2: Specific area using information and communication to greatest extent:

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Finance and accounting 10 50 20%
Human resource 8 50 16%
Operations 11 50 22%
Marketing and communication. 9 50 18%
Sales and support 12 50 24%

Finding and Analysis:

The Bugsby way store of ASDA seems to use IT and communication at all levels of the business. 22% managers were of the opinion that its operational department employs IT and communication system for better functioning. Besides the latter, ASDA store of Bugsby way branch even involves IT and communication within finance and accounting (20%), human resource (16%), marketing (18%) and sales and support (24%), the last percentage of response indicates that the company utilises ICT for successful marketing strategy implementation. As mentioned in Your.asda.com. (2014), section 2.6 of chapter 2, the business have strategized effective IT and communication system to maintain a smooth information flow within the departments. There are no specific department using more of IT systems, rather every departments practises the same at an approximate equal proportion.

3. According to you, information and communication technology has got the greatest impact on which aspect of business performance in your organization?
Table 3: Greatest impact of IT on specific business performance:

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Improvement in customer relationship 17 50 34%
Cost reduction 10 50 20%
Inventory management. 14 50 28%
Time saving 9 50 18%

Finding and Analysis:

34% respondents attributed that IT and communication system assists business to develop closer customer relationship. As mentioned by Rozkwitalska, 2010 in section 2.5 of chapter 5 that several organizations employs VOIP and CRM to maintain close customer relation, the gathered response even supports the same fact. The aspect of customer relationship is an effective tool for achieving successful marketing management strategy. However, not all had similar opinion on the topic. Though 20% managers attributed that IT and communication process has potential to reduce operational cost, Smolensky et al. (2000) in section 2.5 of chapter 2 criticized that businesses could have to bear additional cost for outsourcing the process to some other party. 28% interviews opined that IT and communication system could assist in inventory management while 18% interviewees responded that the process would save time in communication inter-organization and with customers.

4. Do you think information and communication technology is the most vital entity for proper functioning of your organization?
Table 4: Considerations regards the significance of IT for effective business performance:

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 15 50 30%
Agree 20 50 40%
Neutral 3 50 6%
Disagree 8 50 16%
Strongly disagree 4 50 8%

Finding and Analysis:

40% managers agreed on the fact that IT and communication system is indeed required for effective business performnace. 30% respondents strongly agreed on the same fact. Supporting the latter statement, Constant et al. (2006) in section 2.3.2 of chapter 2 pointed out that IT system is indeed essential to covert the gathered raw data into processed information and strategy development. On the contrary, 16% of the respondents disagreed on the topic followed by 8% respondents showing strong disagreement. The negative response could be attributed to the inadequacy of information technology to generate relevant data consistently as highlighted by Aladwani (2001) in section 2.4 Chapter 2, about irrelevant findings that can lead to ineffective communication. 6% of the respondents remained neutral with their views.

5. In which area of operational activity of your organization, information and communication technology is mostly utilized?

Table 5: Specific area of frequent usage of IT:

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Managerial decision-making. 10 50 20%
Employee communication. 15 50 30%
Management span of control. 12 50 24%
Production process 13 50 26%

Finding and Analysis:

From the chart it can be seen that 30% of the respondents opined employee communication is the sector having the most IT usage. The responses are useful in establishing the fact represented by Walther et al. (2009) in section 2.3 chapter 2, where the importance of IT framework to maintain work environment within organisation was cited. 20% of the respondents answered that managerial decision making area is the one having greatest IT usage while 24% argued in favour of management span of control. 26% of the respondents attributed the greatest usage of IT in production process of ASDA, which was supported by Sillince et al. (2008) by emphasising the concept of value addition to produce improved service and products (Refer to section 2.3.3, chapter 2).

6. Do you agree that your organisation has successfully implemented the use of information technology in communication mechanism?

Table 6: Considerations regards the successful implementation of IT for communication:

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 15 50 30%
Agree 22 50 44%
Neutral 5 50 10%
Disagree 3 50 6%
Strongly disagree 5 50 10%

Finding and Analysis:

44% of the respondents agreed with the proposition followed by 30% of the respondents showing strong agreements with the same topic. The respondents view was supported by Rozkwitalska (2010) in section 2.2.3 chapter 2 where traditional method was termed inadequate while stressing on the use of modern applications were prescribed. 6% and 16% of the respondents represented disagree and strongly disagree respectively. The disagreement with the proposition is supplemented by statement of Markus et al. (2000) in section 2.4 chapter 2 where the incapability of technological application for long distance communication was stressed. 10% of the respondents remained neutral in this respect. From the results it can be concluded that different media of communication might be utilised for achieving success regarding marketing strategy.

7. How frequently do you use technology to communicate with your peers and subordinates at your workplace at regular basis?

Table 7: Frequency of usage of IT for inter-branch communication:

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Very frequently 12 50 24%
Moderately 19 50 38%
Less frequently 11 50 22%
Not at all 8 50 16%

Finding and Analysis:

24% of the respondents opined that usage of IT is very frequent in inter branch communication and 38% of the respondents replied that moderate use of IT takes place. The above mentioned responses provides basis for unified communication system to ensure effective communication with internal and external stakeholders which is suggested by Walther (2003), in section 2.5 of chapter 2. 22% and 16% of the respondents replied less frequently and not at all respectively when asked about the topic. On the contrary, Zack and McKenney (2005) in section 2.5 of chapter 2 suggested that wide range of business operations can attain relevancy only through establishment of effective communication between different branches.

8. Identify the specific information technology channel of your organisation that you frequently use for exchange of information or to communicate among the employees?

Table 8: Specific communication channel frequently in use:

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
E- Mail 10 50 20%
Voice chat 12 50 24%
Chat Messenger 15 50 30%
Customised apps 13 50 26%

Finding and Analysis:

From the above chart, it can be seen that 20% of the respondents attributed e-mail to be the specific communication channel which is used. The view of the respondents in this regard is supported by Wagner (2004) in section 2.2.3 chapter 2 where it was stated that email is the primary contemporary approach in terms of digital communication. 24% of the respondents opined voice chat as the specific communication channel while, according to 30% of the respondents chat messenger serves the purpose. 26% of the respondents said that customised apps constituted the specific communication channel which was supported in literature review by Rozkwitalska (2010) in section 2.2.3 chapter 2 where the importance of mobile customised apps was highlighted to pass information to various stakeholders.

9. Do you think the implementation of above information technology tools has improved the customer communication process of your organisation?

Table 9: Improvement of communication process through implement of IT systems:

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Strongly agree 15 50 30%
Agree 20 50 40%
Neutral 4 50 8%
Disagree 6 50 12%
Strongly disagree 5 50 10%

Finding and Analysis:

40% employees agreed to the fact the e-mail and other IT and communication system have truly benefitted the business. The opinion of the employees proves that organisation could utilise the medium for successful marketing strategy implementation. In line with the responses mentioned by 30% respondent and as gathered from Your.asda.com., 2014, section 2.6 of chapter 2, the branch members could easily communicate with each other and its customers by implementing IT and communication system at workplace. However, not all shared similar opinion on the subject. Other than 8% employees who were neutral the topic, 12% disagreed on the same. Possibly the latter respondents were of the opinion that its current position could be acknowledged to several other factors but IT and communication involvement at work.

10. Could you point out the principle purpose of using technology in your organisation?

Table 10: Reasons behind the usage of the IT systems at workplace:

Options Frequency Total Respondents % Response
Information exchange 13 50 26%
Online shopping 14 50 28%
Consultation 15 50 30%
Others 8 50 16%

Finding and Analysis:

Bugsby way branch of ASDA seems to be practising IT and communication systems for multiple purposes. However, the branch possibly employs the specific activity for consultation and discussion within branch members and the customers. Data gathered from Your.asda.com (2014), section 2.6 of chapter 2 stated that the business currently uses IT and communication system as a part of its ERP. Via ERP, the business communicates and consultants with each other. Besides that, 28% sample responded that Bugsby way branch of ASDA uses IT and communication for online shopping system while 26% pointed out that the system is used for information exchange. As mentioned in Your.asda.com. (2014) section 2.6 of chapter 2, the branch is frequent on several social circles to maintain the possibility of exchange of information with customers. The business has even implemented SAP process at work to consult with the members within the branch. Overall , it can be stressed that online shopping accounts for influencing success regarding marketing management strategy.

11. Have you experienced any issues while implementing communication mechanisms at workplace?

Table 11: Issues experienced at the time of communication

Options Number of responses Total Responses Percentage responses (%)
Yes 27 50 54%
No 15 50 30%
Neutral 8 50 16%

Findings and analysis:

Majority of the employees (84% approximately) at ASDA have experienced issues at the time of following communication processes within the workplace. As mentioned by Brown and Duguid (2001), communication issues are inevitable within organisational workplace (refer to section 2.4 in chapter 2). On the other hand, 30% of the employees contradicted the fact by suggesting there is no particular problem with the communication mechanism at ASDA. Perhaps employees are quite satisfied with the communication mechanism followed at ASDA which is conducted using a blend of physical and virtual communication channels (refer to section 2.6 in chapter 2). 16% of the employees were neutral and failed to provide precise responses.

12. Do you think that language and psychological barriers are among the noted issues hampering the scope of following effective communication process at your workplace?

Table 12: Language and psychological barriers as possible issues

Options Number of responses Total Responses Percentage response (%)
Strongly agree 16 50 32%
Agree 23 50 46%
Neutral 7 50 14%
Disagree 4 50 8%
Strongly Disagree 0 50 0%

Findings and analysis:

Approximately 78% of the employees agreed with the fact that both language and psychological barriers affect the organisational communication process at ASDA. Zammutto et al. (2007) established the fact by suggesting that language and linguistic factors can influence communication processes while Ribeiro (2007) pointed that the psychological differences between the receiver and sender can turn out to be a barrier for communication (refer to section 2.4 in chapter 2). 14% of the employees were neutral and 8% disagreed with the fact. Hence, it can be assessed that not every employees at ASDA have found language and psychological barriers at the time of communication. However, considering the majority of the responses, it can be assumed that such barriers are causing problems for employees at the time of communication.

13. Do you consider that lack of education and skill could hamper your businesses scope to practise smooth communication flow with customers?

Table 13: Lack of education and skill as possible communication barrier

Options Number of responses Total Responses Percentage response (%)
Strongly agree 7 50 14%
Agree 27 50 54%
Neutral 6 50 12%
Disagree 10 50 20%
Strongly Disagree 0 50 0%

Findings and analysis:

In reference to the above figure, 54% of the employees agreed with the fact that lack of education and skills can be barriers to communication while 14% strongly agreed with the fact. The knowledge gap between the sender and receiver can result in misinterpretation of messages. It is believed that education and skill set are drivers of minimising knowledge gap between personnel and the communicating personnel need to be in same wavelength so that proper interpretation of the messages can be done. Ribeiro (2007) also highlighted the fact that the sender and receiver needs to possess same sort of psychological attributes or otherwise, perception gap can act as communication barrier (refer to section 2.4 in chapter 2). However, 20% of the employees do not believe that such factors cannot be barriers to communication and 12% were found to be neutral.

14. Attitudinal and systematic process often hampers the scope for business to freely operate and communicate with the target mass.

Table 14: Attitudinal and systematic process as barriers to communication

Options Number of responses Total Responses Percentage response (%)
Strongly agree 15 50 30%
Agree 26 50 52%
Neutral 6 50 12%
Disagree 3 50 6%
Strongly Disagree 0 50 0%

Findings and analysis:

Almost 30% of the employees strongly agreed with the fact that factors such as attitude and systemic process can often turn out to be barriers to communication. Another 52% of the respondents also agreed with the fact. Aladwani (2001) also cited that increasing dependency on systems can often create hindrance for organisational communication process (refer to section 2.4 in chapter 2). The complex system architecture used nowadays by business organisations, often experience technical hitches and accordingly organisational communication process affects as well. Attitudinal factors like ego, pride and arrogance of the employees can also turn out to be barriers to communication. On the contrary, 6% disagreement with the fact implies that the factors might not impose negative impact on the organisational communication process. However, due to minimal in percentage, the negative responses can be overlooked.

15. How do you think physical barrier to communication could hinder your businesses scope of practising smoother communication and effective operations?

Table 15: Consequences of physical communication barriers

Options Number of responses Total Responses Percentage response (%)
Chance of development of noise within communication process 11 50 22%
Distortion of  the actual message 15 50 30%
Misinterpretation of the actual sent message 6 50 12%
Non probability of developing closer customer relationship 3 50 6%
Untimely reach of message due to network congestion 15 50 30%

Finding and Analysis:

From the gathered responses it could be inferred that physical communication barriers have several related drawbacks. However, the related pitfalls, 30% employees were of the opinion that the specific barrier could result in distortion of the actual message. As a result of distance, often the message converts into noise until it reaches the receiver. 6% interviewees were of the opinion that physically communication lacks personal touch and hinders chances of developing closer customer relationship. Confirming the latter statement, Ramirez et al. (2002) in section 2.4 of chapter 2 stated that increasing distance is inversely proportional to building relationship. As mentioned by 30% employees and Grosse (2002) in section 2.4 of chapter 2, physical distance often develops occasion where message cannot be send as desired due to network error and malfunction in the internet. Both the latter problems are a cause of increasing physical distance between the sender and the receiver.

16. What possible barriers have you faced during communicating with the associated stakeholders?

Table 16: Barriers experienced during communicating with stakeholders

Options Number of responses Total Responses Percentage response (%)
Misinterpretation of messages 11 50 22%
Noise disturbance within network 17 50 34%
Inefficient communication media 6 50 12%
Technical problems in IT mechanism 7 50 14%
Cross-cultural gaps 9 50 18%

Finding and Analysis:

The employees of Bugsby way seem to have faced several communicational drawbacks during information exchange with the stakeholders. Among the several drawbacks, 34% of the branch members seem to have been affected by noise disturbance within the network. Thus, technical barriers seem to have affected the branch members the most. In line with the 12% respondents and Aladwani (2001) mentioned in section 2.4, chapter 2, the specific branch even often faces certain technical fault hindering smooth communication flow inter-branch. Besides this, 22% respondents pointed out the common error related to misinterpretation of the message while 18% stated the difference of cultural gap as a noted barrier to smooth communication with associated stakeholders.

17. Among the following strategies, what according to you would be a viable option for reducing the communicating barriers?

Table 17: Strategies for resolving communication barriers

Options Number of responses Total Responses Percentage response (%)
Expanding the organisational wireless network 12 50 24%
Developing a centralised database system 13 50 26%
Increasing remote access 11 50 22%
Improved collaboration 8 50 16%
Outsourcing the communication process 6 50 12%

Findings and analysis:

When the employees were asked to choose appropriate options to resolve barriers and improve communication mechanism, a wide range of possibilities had been experienced. 24% of the employees believe expanding the wireless network would be good option as employees can communicate from any part of the organisational premises. Munter (2003) established the fact by suggesting that wireless communication would influence personnel to communicate regardless of time and place (refer to section 2.5 in chapter 2). Majority (26%) emphasised on developing centralised database system which can help improving inter departmental communication process. 22% believe enhancement in the remote access would help in improving communication process. In the words of Hinds and Kiesler (2005) increasing the remote access would help the employees connecting with each other even outside work environment. Among other factors, improved collaboration and outsourcing communication process are two options that ASDA’s employees think can help in improving organisational communication process.

18. Do you think prioritising social media platforms can help in enhancing the communication process with the customers?

Table 18: Social media as an effective tool for communicating with the customers

Options Number of responses Total Responses Percentage response (%)
Strongly agree 21 50 42%
Agree 25 50 50%
Neutral 2 50 4%
Disagree 1 50 1%
Strongly Disagree 1 50 1%

Findings and analysis:

The responses of the employees of ASDA as shown in the above figure signify the fact that social media platforms can be effective communicating tools while communicating with the customers. Overall, 92% of the respondents agreed with the fact. However, overall 4% of the employees disagreed with the fact while remaining 4% failed to provide proper responses. Like any other retail superstores, ASDA also prefer to use several social media network to communicate with the customers and the response of the employees establishes the fact. As found in section 2.6 in chapter 2, the company has been using social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, You Tube etc to communicate with the customers virtually and the process has been well appreciated by the customers as well. So, employees of ASDA consider social media as an effective communication tool. The use of social media can be perfectly employed by organisation for achieving success regarding positive marketing management strategy.

19. Do you think developing a unified communication system can bridge the perception gap between ASDA’s employees and customers?

Table 19: Positive impact of unified communication mechanism in bridging perception gap

Options Number of responses Total Responses Percentage response (%)
Strongly agree 13 50 26%
Agree 26 50 52%
Neutral 4 50 8%
Disagree 5 50 10%
Strongly Disagree 2 50 4%

Findings and analysis:

Majority (78%) of the respondents agreed with the fact that unified communication mechanism can help bridging the perception gap between the employees and the customers. Walther (2003) also pointed that unified communication system would help communicating values with the customers and as a result, the perception gap can be reduced (refer to section 2.5 in chapter 2). However, 10% of the employees contradicted with the fact while 4% strongly disagreed. May be due to the complexity and security concerns, such employees disagreed with the fact. The above responses indicates that company could implement the unified system for successful marketing strategy.

20. Do you think deploying noise cancellation IT mechanism would help in improving the quality of ASDA’s communication networks?

Table 20: Improving the quality of communication network by deploying noise cancellation mechanism

Options Number of responses Total Responses Percentage response (%)
Strongly agree 17 50 34%
Agree 23 50 46%
Neutral 7 50 14%
Disagree 3 50 6%
Strongly Disagree 0 50 0%

Findings and analysis:

In reference to above figure, majority (80%) of the employees of ASDA agreed with the fact that the quality of the communication networks of the organisation can be improved with prioritising the noise cancellation mechanism within IT framework. The same prospect might help the organisation to frame successful marketing strategy. Employees believe that the noise disturbance during communicating though organisational network is a significant barrier and a consequence, misinterpretation and data loss issues are often experienced during operational activities. On the contrary, 14% of the employees were not so sure about possible deployment of the noise cancellation mechanism while 6% disagreed with the opinion. Perhaps, the fund required and operational complexity involving the integration of noise cancellation mechanism turn out to be barriers but once deployed, the quality of the communication networks can be improved.

4.2 Part B: (Responses from the managers of ASDA superstore, Bugsby way, London):

1. How do you think information technology could impact the communication process of the organisation?

Almost all the respondents agreed on the fact that information technology has got profound impact on communication technology. 3 of the managers were of the opinion that information technology facilitates communication process for creating and achieving sustainable growth. Keon et al. (2002) also suggested that ICT is an option for achievement of sustainable growth (Refer to section 2.1, chapter 2). In the opinion of the later respondent information technology facilitates communication to ensure continuous learning and development within the organisation. Yet another manager stated that information technology helps communication process to be accurate and fast enabling quick responses from the various departments. The responses received represents that all the managers of ASDA agree that information technology has got positive impacts on communication. The positive impact can be mostly utilised for gaining successful marketing strategic option.

It is seen that majority of the managers puts thrust on utilising information technology for general business purpose. The organisation also structured its communication process through Social Medias and official websites to capture customer perception. Similar observations were made by Kurland and Bailey (2009) where it was suggested to provide services based on the perceived value of the customers (Refer to section 2.1, chapter 2). Following the responses of other managers the firm might develop its internal communication process to achieve better alignment of business processes. The firm puts major emphasis on online shopping to match the requirements of tech savvy target customers for achieving continuous business growth.

Following the responses of other managers the firm might develop its internal communication process to achieve better alignment of business processes. The firm puts major emphasis on online shopping to match the requirements of tech savvy target customers for achieving continuous business growth.

2. Do you consider to be facilitated by involvement of information technology to increase the communication process?

From the responses received from the interviews, it could be pointed out that all the managers of the firm agreed that information technology implementation facilitated overall communication process of the organisation.2 of the managers were of the opinion that information technology enabled the proper utilisation of time and resources. The opinion of Groose (2002) supplemented the opinions of managers where it was stated that face to face communication involves considerable amount of time (Refer to section 2.2.1, Chapter 2). The later manger stated that the use of intranet facilitated sharing of information between different functional areas of the business which proved to be most beneficial for ASDA superstore. The other two respondents attributed the benefits of teleconferencing and videoconferencing in providing options for flexi working to utilise the capabilities of the workforce to the fullest extent. The facilitation of communication process can lead to successful marketing management strategy.

The firm, following the opinions of its managers implemented the facilities of intranet for alignment and quick transfer of information internally within the organisation. The organisation needs to utilise information technology in communication to analyse and measure strategies as stated by Huber (2000), (Refer to section 2.2, chapter 2). ASDA needs to utilise emails and videoconferencing facilities more to provide its employees with flexible working time and for instant reporting in times of possible crisis. All the communication processes involved in ASDA superstore signifies the application of information technology to keep pace with the dynamic business environment.

3. Could you recognize any of the information technology issues affecting modern day organizations?

Mixed responses were received from the respondents on this critical question. One of the managers was of the opinion that problem with information technology mainly centres around network congestion. 2 of the manager of ASDA superstore stated that security issues poses problem rather than distance. The opinion of the managers contradicted the statement of Ramirez et al. (2002), regarding communication hindrances with increasing distance (Refer to section 2.4, chapter 2). According to one of the later manager inappropriate utilisation of information technology to support communication channel is the main cause of concerns for modern day organisations. The opinion of the manager supported the view of Bhawuk (2009) where communication channel has been depicted as pivotal factor (Refer to section 2.4, chapter 2). The other manager opined that sometimes system generated results are irrelevant and bears no practical significance. The modern day organisations can also be immensely benefitted in the field of marketing management strategy implementation.

It can be stated that for removing hindrances and solving information technology issues firms like ASDA superstore needs to put emphasis on making the organisational structure more robust. The management of organisation might review the communication approach to reduce over dependency on information technology for achieving effective communication.

4. Have you been affected by any of the communication issues at workplace?

The respondents agreed among themselves about the fact that communication issue sometimes creates obstacles in ASDA superstore. Three of the managers of the organisation said that language is the prime cause of hindrances while communicating. The view of the manager coincided with that of Zamutto et al. (2007). The author represented that linguistic abilities influence for the creation of language barriers during communication (Refer to section 2.4, chapter 2). The organisation might be lacking in the context of providing multiple language options while addressing its stakeholders.
Two of the managers hinted that communication barrier is created due to the aspect of psychology. They opined that sometimes misinterpretation of messages creates disparity of thoughts between sender and receiver. The same point has been shared by Tredinnick (2006), where it is said that actual meaning of the messages often fails to reach the target (Refer to section 2.4, chapter 2). ASDA superstore might be facing some problems in relation to monitoring and reviewing its communication channels and message contents respectively.

5. Identify any possible solutions to the current workplace communication issues affecting your business?

From the responses gathered, it can be conferred that the respondents of the organisation has got different views with relation of providing solutions to the communication issues. Three of the manager of ASDA superstore stated the importance of creating collaboration within the workplace to facilitate communication .The same idea was represented by Wellman et al. (2006), where the importance of collaborative aspect was stated (Refer to section 2.5,Chapter 2). Two of the managers emphasised on the implementation of outsourcing of communication process to improve the quality of communication process. On the contrary, Smolensky et al. (2000) suggested that outsourcing of communication could increase the expenses (Refer to section 2.5, Chapter 2). Organisation like ASDA superstore having robust financial position could implement outsourcing of communication process for improving monitoring of communication media and channels. ASDA might involve in communicating values of the firm with customers to fill the attitudinal gap to enhance customer satisfaction.

Chapter 5

Conclusion and Recommendations

5.0 Introduction:

Post performing a detailed analysis on the topic, in the present chapter the researcher have inferred on the subject. Conclusions would be derived taking into considerations the primary and secondary data collected from the respondents and journals respectively. Each of the objectives framed in the introductory chapter would be linked with the dual types of data collected from sources. Following the linking process, the researcher would be able to relate the similarity between the primary and secondary data collected besides even pointing out any drawbacks in the research process. Recommendations for bettering the scope for managers to effectively implement IT and communication system within Bugsby way branch of ASDA would even be detailed in the chapter. Limitations and scope for future study is also described in the chapter below.

5.1 Objective linking:

Objective 1: To find out the impact of information technology and communication on organisational business operations.

As mentioned by Huber (2000) and Majchrzak et al. (2000) in section 2.2 and section 2.2.2, involvement of effective IT and communication systems at workplace helps in smoother exchange of information across the departments, thus befitting its operations. The specific process is basically a potential source of gathering relevant information, exchange of details and developing universally accepted information across the departments. From question 1 and 3 (part a), it could be inferred that IT and communication systems at workplace would assist business to benefit operations via several forms such as: improvement of customer relationship, cost reduction, inventory management and time saving. From the mention of Kurland and Bailey (2009) in section 2.1, it could be concluded that with the involvement of IT and communication system at workplace, businesses could be sure to attain continuous growth by involving the strategies that are collected online to develop policies that would be required to meet the service demand gap. As stated by Walther et al. (2009) in section 2.3, IT and communication system benefits businesses operations by managing a sequential system of collected data. Following the methodological data gathering, businesses could consult for reference during strategy development at any point of time. It could even be concluded from question 5 (part a) and question 1 (part b), that IT and communication system benefits businesses operations by fostering the chances of employee communication and managerial communication across the departments.

Objective 2: To analyze the role of information technology in enhancing organisational communication process, considering the case of ASDA superstore, London.

From question 6 and 7 (part a), it could be inferred that Bugsby way store of ASDA have actually been able to successfully implement and practice IT and communication system at workplace. IT and communication system assist businesses in attaining information’s: demand related details, supply details and business environment related information (Abramovsky and Griffith, 2006, section 2.3.1). From attaining the latter information details, businesses could judge the performance of its current operations and also develop measures to mend deviations if any. From the response accumulated from question 8 (part a), it could be concluded that the Bugsby way branch of ASDA store employs IT and communication system in several mechanism such as: e-mail, voice chat, chat messenger and customized apps. However, the reason behind IT and communication system is varied. From the accumulated details in question 10 (part a) and question 2 (part b), it could inferred that the branch employs the strategy for communication transfer, online shopping, consultation and for several other purposes. With such considerable advantage that the branch derives from inclusion of IT and communication system, it has been able to position itself as a noted retail brand in UK and in the global map.

Objective 3: To investigate the issues experienced by contemporary organisations like ASDA at the time of communication mechanism.

From the gathered primary and secondary data, it could be inferred that communication process is not averse to risk. Zammutto et al. (2007) in section 2.4 stated that a common communication barrier is physical barrier that could hamper the scope of business to accurately convey the message to the receiver. Besides the latter drawback, modern day businesses even face trouble to freely communicate as a result of psychological and psychological barriers (Ribeiro, 2007 and Orlikowski and Yates, 2004, in section 2.4). Even from the responses derived in question 12 and 13 (part a), it could be inferred that Bugsby way branch of ASDA store has been communication trouble in the form of: language, psychological and lack of education and skills. The latter barrier seems to affect the potentiality of the branch to effectively communicate with its customers and its internal stakeholders. From the response derived from Aladwani (2001) in section 2.4, modern day firms even face trouble concerned with systematic and attitudinal barriers. Both the latter barriers prevent businesses to effectively communicate information process to the customers and internal stakeholders. Question 14 and 15 (part a) and question 3 and 4 (part b), even reflected on the same topic stating that the factors preventing the business to communicate freely are: attitudinal, systematic and physical barriers.

Objective 4: To recommend ways to improve ASDA’s communication process by overcoming possible barriers.

Question 18 (part a) stated the fact that in situations where business could prioritize social media platforms, it could overcome the communication barriers and attain relevant benefits from the communication process. In section 2.5, Zack and McKenney (2005) noted down the fact that there are several process through which businesses would be able to overcome communication barriers: expansion of wireless network, increasing remote access options, improved collaboration and outsourcing communication process. Though none of the latter factors are averse to risk, yet all are effective mechanisms to reduce occasion of probability of not reaching the information to the target mass. While rating the latter recommended factors, the respondents in question 17 (part a) attributed that developing a centralized database system would be the best probable option to ensure smoother communication flow to the customers and the stakeholders. A unified communication channel (question 19, part a) and noise cancellation IT mechanism (question 20, part a) is yet another source for Bugsy branch of ASDA to reduce chances of IT and communication barriers. Similar recommendations have even been provided by the managers in question 5 (part b) to develop occasion of smoother information flow with all its stakeholders. Thus, by creating collaborative approach while being online, the branch could follow an unified approach to ensure customer satisfaction.

5.2 Recommendations:

Analysing the communication mechanism of ASDA, it can be assumed that the brand has been following an effective communication process both in internal and external business environment. However, some issues have been identified such as noise disturbance during communication, security issues, separate communication approach for different stakeholders, perception gap and channel dependency. Hence, following recommendations have been provided so that identified hitches can be resolved and a better communication mechanism can be achieved at ASDA Superstore at London.

Emphasising on noise reduction for improving quality of organisational communication networks:

Noise disturbance during communicating through communication networks is a major issue for not only ASDA but also for majority of the contemporary business organisations. The noise disturbance within communicating networks often results in data loss or misinterpretation of messages. Hence, ASDA superstore is recommended to focus on noise reduction mechanism to reduce noise disturbance at the time of communicating. In this context, the network system can be modified with the appropriate digital and analog circuits along with appropriate firmware and application software. However, implementation of such system architecture would increase the operational complexities. Hence, the organisations can opt for outsourcing the IT process to specialist third party organisations. The implementation of noise cancellation mechanism within the IT framework of ASDA can help achieving distortion free communication networks, resulting in better communication process among the associated stakeholders of the company.
Implementing effective encrypting and decrypting mechanism for secured ICT process:
Data security is one of the major problems for business organisations nowadays and specially for the retail superstores where rigorous communication process is followed. The case of ASDA is no different. The superstore depends significantly on the virtual communication process which can be tracked or hacked or affected by malwares. Hence, the encryption-decryption mechanism can be used to achieve secured communication networks. By this way only the sender and the receiver would be able to communicate with each other, and possible intrusion or interference could be avoided. The process can help prevention of leaking of inter organisational data while customers can also be ensured of secured transaction process.

Implementation of a unified communication system engaging all the associated stakeholders of ASDA:ASDA generally follow different policies for communicating with different stakeholders. The process of internal and external communication process is found to be different. It is believed that the process not only increases operational complexities but also creates perception gap between the internal and external stakeholders associated with the organisation. Hence, the implementation of a unified communication system is recommended to ASDA which would allow all the stakeholders to communicate using a general pattern. The communicating data would be stored within a general database evaluating which, the perception gap between the stakeholders can be resolved. The unified communication system is consisted of a combination of real time and

ASDA generally follow different policies for communicating with different stakeholders. The process of internal and external communication process is found to be different. It is believed that the process not only increases operational complexities but also creates perception gap between the internal and external stakeholders associated with the organisation. Hence, the implementation of a unified communication system is recommended to ASDA which would allow all the stakeholders to communicate using a general pattern. The communicating data would be stored within a general database evaluating which, the perception gap between the stakeholders can be resolved. The unified communication system is consisted of a combination of real time and non real time communication services which also supports automated message receive and delivery mechanism. By this way, effective, prompt and quality communication process can be implemented.

Conducting cross cultural training programs for the employees for reducing the perception gap:

During quantitative data analysis, it has been found that ASDA employees often experience language, attitude and psychological barriers during communicating with each other. Hence, ASDA managers are recommended to stress on cross cultural training programs, engaging employees of different culture, background and educational qualification. Overseas employees are needed to be encouraged to learn English language effectively and language training module is needed to be included within the training and development function. On the other hand, specific education is needed to be provided to the employees so that employees can achieve same wavelength and psychological barriers can be resolved. Focusing on such areas during the training and development campaigns would help in bridging the perception gap between the employees as a result of which, error free communication process can be experienced.

Using the right mix of physical and virtual communication channels for optimum communication process:

Finally, ASDA is recommended to use an effective blend of physical and virtual communication channels for communicating with the associated stakeholders. The recent trend suggests that the company is relying heavily on virtual communication processes and very few physical communication channels are used. However, dependency on a specific mode of communication can incur some problems by time and the virtual communication process often hinders with security and data los issues. On the other hand, physical communication mechanism such as face-to-face interaction, documentation etc are time consuming but are proven methods over the years. Social media use for communicating with the customers is an innovative approach but decreasing number of face-to-face interaction campaigns can affect customer satisfaction in the long run. Hence, finding the right mix of physical and virtual communication channel is crucial is the organisation wishes to achieve an effective communication mechanism and enhanced competence factor in the in the industry.

5.3 Future scope of study:

Considering the fact that the entire study have been restricted on a specific branch, future researchers could lay stress on the effectiveness of the present IT and communication system of ASDA across UK. Even more, later research could even compare the effectiveness of communication channel of ASDA with any of its counterpart.

5.4 Study limitations:

Primarily it was difficult to accumulate response from 50 samples, as all were not obliged to respond freely to the topic. Time constraint was yet another limitation for the study that prevented the author to collect detailed response on the topic. Had the researcher gathered response from even more managers, the study would have been even more accurate and conclusion could have been derived more accurately. It was even time consuming to accumulate recent secondary data as often the past researches had been performed quiet late.

References:

Abramovsky, L. and Griffith, R. (2006) Outsourcing and Offshoring of Business Services: How Important is ICT? Journal of the European Economic Association 4(2-3), pp. 594-601.
Agboola, A. A. (2006) “Electronic payment systems and Tele banking Services in Nigeria”, Journal of Internet Banking and commerce, 11(3), pp. 1-10
Aladwani, A. M. (2001) “Online banking; A field study of drivers, development challenges and expectations”, International Journal of information Management, 21(3), pp. 213-225
Aldag, R. J. and Steams, T. M. (2008) “Issues in research methodology”, Journal of
Allen S. (2001) “Using A Positivist Case Research Methodology to test competing Theories-In-Use Of Business Process Redesign” Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 2(5), pp.87-90
Barnes, J. G. and Howlett, D. M. (2008) “Predictors of equity in relationships Between financial services providers and retail customers”, International journal of bank marketing, 16, pp. 5-23 Bernard, H. R. (2011) Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. 5th ed. Plymouth: Alta Mira Press.
Bertschek, I., Fryges, H. and U. Kaiser (2006) “B2B or not to be: Does B2B e-commerce increase labour productivity?”, International Journal of the Economics of Business, 13(3), pp. 387-405.
Bhawuk, D. (2009) “Intercultural Communication in a Dynamic Environment: Preparing Managers of Developing and Developed Countries Using Cultural Standards”, Psychology Developing Societies, 21(2), pp. 161-181
Brannen, J. (2009) ‘Prologue, mixed methods for novice researchers: reflections and themes, International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 3(1), 8–12.
Brown, J. S. and Duguid, P. (2001) “Organizational learning and communities of practice: Toward a unified view of working, learning and innovation”, Organization Science, 2, pp. 40-57.
Cameron, R. (2009) ‘A sequential mixed model research design: design, analytical and display issues’, International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 3(2), 140-152
Constant, D., Sproull, L. and Kiesler, S. (2006) “The kindness of strangers: The usefulness of electronic weak ties for technical advice”, Organization Science, 7(2), pp. 119-135.
Durant, A. and Shepherd, I. (2009) “’Culture’ and ‘Communication’ in Intercultural Communication”, European Journal of English Studies, 13(2), pp. 147 – 162.
Duronto, P. M., Nishida, T. and Nakayama, S. (2005) “Uncertainty, anxiety, and avoidance in communication with strangers”, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 29 (5), pp.549-560
Foss, N. J. (2009) “Alternative research strategies in the knowledge movement: from macro bias to micro-foundations and multi-level explanation”, Management Review, 12(6), pp.34-45
Fulk, J. (2003) “Social construction of communication technology”, Academy of Management Journal, 36(5), pp. 921-950
Grosse, C. U. (2002) “Managing Communication within Virtual Intercultural Teams”, Business Communication Quarterly, 65, pp. 22-38. Hinds, P. and Kiesler, S. (2005) “Communication across boundaries: Work, structure, and use of communication technologies in a large organization”, Organization Science, 6(4), pp. 373-393.
Huber, G. P. (2000) “A Theory of the Effects of Advanced Information Technologies on Organizational Design, Intelligence, and Decision Making”, Academy of Management Review, 15(1), pp. 47-71.
Johnson, B., and Onwuegbuzie, A. (2006) “Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has come” Educational Researcher, 33(7), pp.14-26
Keon, T. L., Gary S. V. and Thomas, E. S. (2002) “Sophisticated Information Processing Technology: Its Relationship with an Organization’s Environment, Structure and Culture”, Information Resources Management Journal, 5(4), pp. 23-31.
Kurland, N. B. and Bailey, D. E. (2009) “The advantages and challenges of working here, there, anywhere, and anytime”, Organizational Dynamics, 28(2), pp. 53-69
Larsson, R. (2003) “Case survey methodology: Quantitative analysis of patterns across case studies.” Academy of Management Journal, 36(2), pp.1515-1546
Leonardi, P. M. (2009) “Crossing the implementation line: The mutual constitution of technology and organizing across development and use activities”, Communication Theory, 19, pp. 277–309
MacGregor, R. C. and Vrazalic, L. (2005) “A basic model of electronic commerce adoption barriers: A study of regional small businesses in Sweden and Australia”, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 12(4), pp. 510 – 527.
Majchrzak, A., Rice, R. E., Malhotra, A., King, N., and Ba, S. L. (2000) “Technology adaptation: The case of a computer-supported inter-organizational virtual team”, MIS Quarterly, 24, pp. 569–600
Malone, T. and Laubacher, R. J. (2008) “The dawn of the e-lance economy”, Harvard Business Review, 76(5), pp. 144-152
Management, 14 (2), pp. 253-276.
Markus, M. L., Manville, B. and Agres, C. E. (2000) “What makes a virtual organization work?”, Sloan Management Review, 42 (1), pp. 13-26.
Maznevski, M. L. and Chudoba, K. M. (2000) “Bridging space over time: Global virtual team dynamics and effectiveness”, Organization Science, 11(5), pp. 473-492.
McGuire, J. B. (2006) “Management and research methodology” Journal of Management, 12(1), pp. 5-17
Munter, M. (2003) “Cross-cultural communication for managers”, Business Horizons, 36 (3): pp. 69-76.
Nardi, B. A. and Engeström, Y. (2009) “A web on the wind: The structure of invisible work”, Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 8, pp. 1–8
Olson, J. S., Olson, G. M., Storrosten, M. and Carter, M. (2003) “Group-work up close: A comparison of the group design process with and without a simple group editor”, ACM Transactions on Information Systems, 11, pp. 321-348.
Ons.gov.uk. 2014. Information and Communication Activities – ONS. [online] Available at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl=Information+and+Communication+Activities [Accessed: 22 Jan 2014]
Orlikowski, W. J. and Yates, J. (2004) “Genre repertoire: Examining the structuring of communicative practices in organizations”, Administrative Science Quarterly, 39, pp. 541-574.
Patton, M. Q. (2009) “Enhancing the quality and credibility of qualitative analysis” Health Services Research, 34(5), pp.1189-1208
Peffers, K., Tuunanen, T., Rothenberger, M. A. and Chatterjee, S. (2007) “A design science research methodology for information systems research”, Journal of management information systems 24 (3), pp. 45–77
Podsakoff P. M. and Dalton, D. R. (2007) “Research Methodology in Organizational Studies”, Journal of Management, 12(7), pp.419-441
Ramirez, A., Walther, J. B., Burgoon, J. K. and Sunnafrank, M. (2002) “Informal Social Media Use in Organizations 187 attention-seeking strategies, uncertainty, and computer-mediated communication: Toward a conceptual model. Human Communication Research, 28, pp. 213–228
Ribeiro, R. (2007) “The Language Barrier as an Aid to Communication”, Social Studies of Science, 37, pp. 561-572.
Rozkwitalska, M. (2010) “Barriers of Cross-cultural Interactions according to the Research Findings”, Journal of Intercultural Management, 2(2), pp. 37–52
Sale, J., Lohfeld, L. and Brazil, K. (2002) “Revisiting the quantitative-qualitative debate: Implications for mixed Methods” Quality & Quantity, 36(1), pp.43-53
Saunders, M. N., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2009) Research methods for business students, Page 52, 5th ed. Harlow: Prentice Hall
Scruggs, T. E. and Mastropieri, M. A. (2006) Applications of research methodology. Amsterdam: Elsevier JAI.
Sillince, J., Macdonald, S., Lefang, B. and Frost, B. (2008) “Email Adoption, Diffusion, Use and Impact within Small Firms: A Survey of UK Companies” International Journal of Information Management, 18(4), pp. 231-242.
Smolensky, Mark W., Meghan A. Carmody, and Charles G. Halcomb (2000) “The Influence of Task Type, Group Structure and Extraversion on Inhibited Speech in Computer-Mediated Communication,” Computers in Human Behaviour, 16, pp. 261-272.
Stening, B. W. (2009) “Problems in cross-cultural contact: A literature review,” International Journal of international relations, 3(3), pp. 269-313.
Stohl, C. (2006) “The role of memorable messages in the process of organizational socialization”, Communication Quarterly, 34, pp. 231–249
Toloie-Eshlaghy, A., Chitsaz, S., Karimian, L. and Charkhchi, R. (2011) A Classification of Qualitative Research Methods, Research Journal of International Studies, 20, 106-152.
Tredinnick, L. (2006) “Web 2.0 and business. Business Information Review”, 23, pp. 228–234
Tripodi, T. and Epstein, I. (2008) “Incorporating Knowledge of Research Methodology into Social Work Practice”, Journal of Social Service Research, Volume 2(1), 1978, pp. 65– 78
Tyre, M. and Orlikowski, W. J. (2004) “Windows of opportunity: Temporal patterns of technological adaptation in organizations”, Organization Science, 5, pp. 98-118.
VanderStoep, S. W. and Johnson, D. D. (2009) Research Methods for Everyday Life: Blending Qualitative and Approaches. 4th ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Wagner, C. (2004) “A technology for conversational knowledge management and group collaboration”, Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 13, pp. 265–289
Walther, J. (2005) “Relational aspects of computer-mediated communication: Experimental observations over time”, Organization Science, 6(2), pp. 186-203.
Walther, J. B. (2003) “Impression development in computer-mediated interaction”, Western Journal of Communication, 57, pp. 381–398
Walther, J. B., Van Der Heide, B., Hamel, L. M. and Shulman, H. C. (2009) “Self-generated versus other-generated statements and impressions in computer-mediated communication”, Communication Research, 36, pp. 229–253
Wellman, B., Haase, A. Q., Witte, J. and Hampton, K. (2001) “Does the internet increase, decrease, or supplement social capital? Social networks, participation, and community commitment”, American Behavioral Scientist, 45, pp. 436–455
Wellman, B., Salaff, J., Dimitrova, D., Garton, L., Gulia, M. and Haythornthwaite, C. (2006) “Computer networks as social networks: Collaborative work, telework, and virtual community”, Annual Review of Sociology, 22, pp. 213–238
Welman, C., Kruger, F., Mitchell, B. and Huysamen, G. K. (2005) Research methodology Cape Town: Oxford University Press
Xie A., Rau, P. L., Tseng, Y., Su, H. and Zha, C. (2009) “Cross-cultural influence on communication effectiveness and user interface design”, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 33(1), pp. 11-20
Your.asda.com. 2014. Your Asda. [online] Available at: http://your.asda.com/ [Accessed: 22 Jan 2014].
Your.asda.com. 2014. Your Asda. [online] Available at: http://your.asda.com/ [Accessed: 22 Jan 2014].
Zack, M. H. and McKenney, J. L. (2005) “Social context and interaction in ongoing computer-supported management groups”, Organization Science, 6 (4), pp. 394-422
Zammutto, R. G., Griffith, T. L., Majchrzak, A., Dougherty, D. J. and Faraj, S. (2007) “Information technology and the changing fabric of organization”, Organization Science, 18, pp. 749–762
Zhu, Y., Nel, P. and Bhat, R. (2006) “A Cross Cultural Study of Communication Strategies for Building Business Relationships”, International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 6(3), pp. 319–341.

Appendix

Questionnaire for employees
Name:
Designation:
Period of service
1. Do you think that information technology and communication plays a crucial role in benefitting businesses operation?
• Strongly agree
• Agree
• Neutral
• Disagree
• Strongly disagree
2. Which area of business activity uses information and communication technology to the greatest extent in your organisation?
• Finance and accounting
• Human resource
• Operations
• Marketing and communication.
• Sales and support
3. According to you, information and communication technology has got the greatest impact on which aspect of business performance in your organisation?
• Improvement in customer relationship
• Cost reduction
• Inventory management.
• Time saving.
4. Do you think information and communication technology is the most vital entity for proper functioning of your organisation?
• Strongly agree
• Agree
• Neutral
• Disagree
• Strongly disagree
5. In which area of operational activity of your organisation, information and communication technology is mostly utilised?
• Managerial decision-making.
• Employee communication.
• Management span of control.
• Production process.
6. Do you agree that your organisation has successfully implemented the use of information technology in communication mechanism?
• Strongly agree
• Agree
• Neutral
• Disagree
• Strongly disagree
7. How frequently do you use technology to communicate with your peers and subordinates at your workplace at regular basis?
• Very frequently
• Moderately
• Less frequently
• Not at all
8. Identify the specific information technology channel of your organisation that you frequently use for exchange of information or to communicate among the employees?
• E- Mail
• Voice chat
• Chat Messenger
• Customised apps.
9. Do you think the implementation of above information technology tools has improved the customer communication process of your organisation?
• Strongly agree
• Agree
• Neutral
• Disagree
• Strongly disagree
10. Could you point out the principle purpose of using technology in your organisation?
• Information exchange
• Online shopping
• Consultation
• Others
11. Have you experienced any issues while implementing communication mechanisms at workplace?
a. Yes
b. No
c. Neutral
12. Do you think that language and psychological barriers are among the noted issues hampering the scope of following effective communication process at your workplace?
• Strongly agree
• Agree
• Neutral
• Disagree
• Strongly disagree
13. Do you consider that lack of education and skill could hamper your businesses scope to practise smooth communication flow with customers?
• Strongly agree
• Agree
• Neutral
• Disagree
• Strongly disagree
14. Attitudinal and systematic process often hampers the scope for business to freely operate and communicate with the target mass.
• Strongly agree
• Agree
• Neutral
• Disagree
• Strongly disagree
15. How do you think physical barrier to communication could hinder your businesses scope of practising smoother communication and effective operations?
• Chance of development of noise within communication process
• Distortion of the actual message
• Misinterpretation of the actual sent message
• Non probability of developing closer customer relationship
• Untimely reach of message due to network congestion
16. What possible barriers have you faced during communicating with the associated stakeholders?
• Misinterpretation of messages
• Noise disturbance within network
• Inefficient communication media
• Technical problems in IT mechanism
• Cross cultural gaps
17. Among the following strategies, what according to you would be a viable option for reducing the communicating barriers?
• Expanding the organisational wireless network
• Developing a centralised database system
• Increasing remote access
• Improved collaboration
• Outsourcing the communication process
18. Do you think prioritising social media platforms can help in enhancing the communication process?
• Strongly agree
• Agree
• Neutral
• Disagree
• Strongly disagree
19. Do you think developing a unified communication system can bridge the perception gap between ASDA’s employees and customers?
• Strongly agree
• Agree
• Neutral
• Disagree
• Strongly disagree
20. Do you think deploying noise cancellation IT mechanism would help in improving the quality of ASDA’s communication networks?
• Strongly agree
• Agree
• Neutral
• Disagree
• Strongly disagree

Qualitative Questions:
1. How do you think information technology could impact the communication process of the organization?
2. Do you consider to be facilitated by involvement of information technology to increase the communication process?
3. Could you recognize any of the information technology issues affecting modern day organizations?
4. Have you been affected by any of the communication issues at workplace?
5. Identify any possible solutions to the current workplace communication issues affecting your business?

Tags

top