The local content development plays multiple roles and offers several services to internal and external stakeholders such as other departments, government agencies, and private entities. Some of these services include portal access, cybersecurity suppliers, bid box, registration group, supplier performance, supplier qualification, and supplier solutions center. All the department’s services are synchronized to pursue the company’s vision and mission: to pursue distinction in supplier relationship management and local content and develop a competitive supply base by supplier engagement and business development. Although the department has a clear vision, mission, roles, and services, it lacks a clear communication strategy to approach its internal and external stakeholders and promote its services. Therefore, this research proposal aims at creating a standard format for communication to approach the department’s external stakeholders and explore plans that will make the approach more effective and aligned with the vision and mission. The proposal will also recommend some of the tools and resources that the department may require to make the communication strategy effective for the next two years.
Standard Format for Communication to Approach the External Stakeholders (Government Entities and the private sector)
As stated in the previous highlights, government entities and the private sector are external stakeholders whose primary roles are to invest, increase and maximize local content. However, unlike internal stakeholders, the government entities and private industry have a distinct power-interest relation in the company, which can help determine the best communication strategy that the department can use to approach the former. Therefore, the first step in developing a communication approach for the government entities and the private sector is mapping the organization on the power-interest relation matrix to determine the level of interest in the department and the desired level of communication.
Figure 1: Power/Interest Matrix
Different stakeholders fall under the four quadrants of the power-interest matrix, as is evident from the above figure. Ackermann and Colin mention that stakeholders in the upper two categories have the most stake in an entity but varying degree of power (183). For example, stakeholders on the right-hand side exercise high power in the entity but may or may not be highly interested in its activities (Ackermann and Colin 183). Conversely, those at the lower two categories have a minor stake in the entity and varying degrees of interest in the organization. Ginige et al. also add that mapping helps inform an organization about the level of engagement required for the various stakeholder groups (1200). For example, as is evident from the matrix, an organization should keep stakeholders with high power-low interest satisfied through its activities. On the other hand, an entity should keep stakeholders with high interest-low power happy and informed during its operations.
In this case, government entities and the private sector have high power and low interest in the organization because their primary purpose is to bring more investments to increase and maximize the department’s local content. Notably, the agencies and the sector have a strong influence because their investment is of utmost importance to the department’s growth and success. However, the entities may not have a significant interest in everyday departmental activities. Based on the power-interest matrix, it is evident that the government agencies and the private sectors fall in the upper, left-hand quadrant. This information implies that the department should keep the government entities and the private sector satisfied through the adequate provision of services.
In terms of communication, the department should maintain regular but thoughtful and well-planned interactions with the government agencies and the private sector. As the literature suggests, stakeholders in this quadrant should be kept satisfied but not to the degree they become bored by an entity’s messages (Moreno-Marimbaldo and Miguel-Ángel 11). Therefore, the standard format of communication to approach these external stakeholders should include formal communication strategies such as reports, presentation decks, and newsletters.
Monthly or annual reports would be an effective strategy for communicating with the government entities and private sector to inform them about the department’s services, progress, and any upcoming projects that may require their investment. Arguably, this communication strategy would be appropriate because it is formal. Besides, newsletters and reports would be ideal for communicating with the agencies without making them feel bored because information would be thoughtful and intended to raise awareness and keep them informed of important matters.
Apart from the formal communication channels, it would be vital for the department to use a standard communication process to approach the government entities and private sector. As the literature suggests, the communication process consists of eight essential components; source, message, channel, receiver, feedback, environment, context, and interference (“Communication for Business Professionals,” 2018). However, the department would use only five of the essentials; source, message, channel, receiver, and feedback (see figure 2).
Figure 2: Communication Process
The formal communication would begin from the source, the department, where an encoded message, such as an investment request, would be sent to the government agencies’ secretary or the person in charge of communications in the private sector. An appropriate communication medium such as an email or a letter addressed to the agencies may transmit the intended message to the agency. After receiving the message, the government agency and the private sector can decode it, and where necessary, feedback would be sent using the same communication channel.
Plans to Make the Approach More Effective and Aligned with the Department’s Vision and Mission
As highlighted in the vision and mission statements, some of the department’s objectives are to maintain effective relations with the suppliers to enhance its supply base and promote business development. To attain these visions and missions, the department must maintain an interactive communication strategy to engage and build its supplier relationship management. For this reason, one of the strategic plans that may make the approach more effective is exploring more interactive, quick, cost-effective, and formal channels of communication to reach its external stakeholders when the need arises.
Some of these interactive channels may include instant chat and zoom meetings (see figure 3). Scholars note that instant messaging is advantageous because an organization can hold a virtual conference without getting every required stakeholder in a physical conference space (Maina 4). Besides, studies reveal that computer-mediated communications (CMC) such as instant messaging have a 77 percent chance of increasing the speed to access knowledge, 60 percent reducing communication costs, 40 percent reducing operating costs, and 18 percent increasing revenue (Bond-Barnard et al. 41). In this case, the organization could use instant messaging apps to hold virtual meetings with some government representatives to discuss any arising matters and receive prompt feedback during such interactions. For example, suppose the department wants to communicate urgent developments in the local content. In that case, it could invite some of the agencies’ representatives to a zoom meeting and share the information within the least time possible.
Plans to adopt interactive and quick communication mediums such as instant messaging and zoom meetings would make the communication strategy more effective because the department can only communicate the essential information when needed. Besides, the interactive communication plans would align the communication strategy with the department’s vision and mission of maintaining a proper relationship and local content through effective communication with its investors. In essence, exploring and adopting interactive communication channels such as instant messaging and zoom meetings would be the best plan for enhancing the department communication approach.
Figure 3: Instant Messaging Process
Tools and Resources Needed to Make the Strategy Effective for the Next Two Years
For the department to maintain interactive communication channels, it must invest significantly in advanced technology. In the next two years, more communication channels may emerge in the business environment due to improvements and growth in technology. Arguably, more instant, formal, and cost-effective channels of communication may arise with time. However, the organization must have the required technological infrastructure to take advantage of such channels and support communication. For example, the department must invest significantly in modern technology such as computers and portable internet-enabled devices such as tablets to facilitate CMC. Besides, financial and human resources may also be necessary to facilitate effective interactive communication. For example, the department should have an adequate IT workforce to improve and secure its communication system with external stakeholders. The department would also require financial resources such as funds to improve the information communication systems with external stakeholders.
Evidence presented in this paper shows that the local content development department will require a formal communication strategy comprising the five essentials of communication to approach external stakeholders such as government entities. The proposal also recommends the department invest in interactive communication channels such as instant chats and zoom meetings to help pursue its vision of supplier relationship management. Besides, it is recommended that the department should invest in technological infrastructure and maintain financial and human resources to keep the communication strategy effective for the next two years.