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The present report is based on the Garment Industry in Bangladesh and the ongoing unethical practices being followed at the garment Industries. The nature of Garment Industry in Bangladesh is characterized by its labour intensive nature. The industry is also having typical characteristics of a poor public relation practices. The technical expertise and the technical inclusions in these industries are quite less and hence the pain is shifted to the side of labour. This part is openly viewed as sweat crime against the labour and now inviting voices throughout the world especially Australia. The collapse of Rana Plaza an eight story building is one of the recent example related to the same. Australia Companies are becoming very conscious about the source of supply and with passing time the rate of rejection is increasing because of these issues. Public relation is sum total of all communication channels and methods which a company adopts to reach to their consumer base. While drafting and designing a communication channel especially for Public relation purpose the ethical standards should be considered (Wrighr R., 2006).These standards are required to make a positive image of the company in the eyes of authorities and potential consumer. One of the important models proposed in this regard was developed and evolved by Grunig (Grunig, 1984)which can be treated as equally beneficial for the organizations because it analyzes the issues by concentrating on the identities involved their needs and codes of conduct.
The current Public relation issues that Bangladesh Garment Industry is facing
The current public relation issue that Bangladesh Garment Industry is facing is related to the poor conditions of labour and unfair working practices. The rules and regulations governing the factory working is very relaxed in Bangladesh probably this could be one of the reasons of the exploitation of labours especially the young labours in garments factories. The people who are working in these factories are often beaten, exploited and even physical tortures and rapes happen to them in the factories. The sweat shops produce cheap products but now they are inviting criticism as a result on an increasing awareness and application of the ethical practices(Bossert J.L. Raddatz J.R., 2003).The poor labour practices is inviting criticism from the world in relation to their unfair trade practices, working conditions and exploitations of labours as a result of which the Bangladeshi products especially the garment industry products are facing rejections and Australian retailers and wholesalers have set examples in this regard. The important public relation issue that the organizations are facing is how to minimize the loss of business as a result of negative publicity from press and increasing criticism from other retailers/ Countries. As a result of poor practices the companies located in Bangladesh have invited a lot of negativity for them. Today consumer is the king and they are so informative and sensitive that they can easily identify what is going and is it right or wrong, hence the point of problem is that whether to disclose the facts and adopt fully ethical way or whether to continue with same and to adopt a different Public relation strategy. With the help of an active use of the public relations the companies are trying to improve their image in the eyes of potential consumers (Burger T and Helmchen, 2013). With the help of a strong image and an ethical media appeal they might change the image of the company and reduce the critics of foreign counterpart.
Key stakeholders their importance types and identification
Stakeholders are the persons who are having vested interest in the organization they are related to organization internally and externally and have a strong influence on working of the organization. (Grunig and Hunt, 1984) proposed a theory with the help of which different king of stakeholders can be identified and can be further categorized as Active, latent and aware stakeholder. After identification of the organization important stakeholders which are associated with the organization will be identified and their roles, responsibilities and expectation will also be recorded. (Lantos G.P., 2011) has identified the characteristics of one of the important stakeholder that is consumers. The classification given by the scientists is based on their active state of involvement in the issues related to the management and response on organizational issues and functioning.
Latent Stakeholders– These are the stakeholders whom management doesn’t much concentrate. Such kinds of stakeholders are sometimes termed as discretionary stakeholders. They may are having right to ask for legal claims but usually they are powerless so as to influence the organization. All other companies which are located in Australia who are not in direct contact with the Garments companies of Bangladesh can be treated as latent stakeholder in this issue. These companies are not affected by he issue and are not involved directly hence, they do very less or almost nothing to raise and solve these issues. The public relation efforts should cover these latent stakeholders but should not over emphasize on them.
Aware Stake Holders– The stakeholders are demanding and may have urgent claims to be settled but on the other hand they lack legal power to enforce the issues (Karrol A.B. and Buccholz A.K., 2015). They are aware about the ongoing issues in the organization/ country. They get these information and knowledge mostly form Media reports, interactions and literature survey etc. They are the direct beneficiary of the products and services and nay be important but in this case too an over concentration is not required. Pertaining to the issue raised the consumers who are living in Australia, Bangladesh and who are consuming the product (Garment being produced by Sweat Shops in Bangladesh) are the Awake Stakeholder. These stakeholders, present their views, interact with other people, directly involve in the matter involve through a neutral or news agencies and put forward their views and advices (Moij M.D. (2011).
Active Stakeholders– They are basically the dominant stake holders who are having power and scope to influence the business activity. Pertaining to the issue raised the active stakeholders in this case would be Federal government of Australia and the business which are in direct clientele of the garment factory operating in Bangladesh. The Australian Government are making efforts and the Retail chains and wholesalers are also trying their best to improve the sweat shop conditions of the garment factory in Bangladesh.
Ethical Implications for Bangladesh from a Public relation Perspective
The media of Bangladesh as well as of other adjoining countries and world too is criticizing the sweat shop practices in garment factory of Bangladesh. The organization as well as media both should try to adopt an ethical perspective in this regard. The correctness and optimality of the data should be determined and the correct news should be forecasted so as the concerned department, business and agencies could formulate accurate strategic options for the workers working in the garment factories. The company as well as the media should report the truth and relevant data ethically to the correspondents and public so that the awareness regarding poor trade practices and poor plight of the workers be highlighted and different stakeholders may get stimulation to come forward for the efficient management of the conditions.(Daft R.L., 2015) has explained the importance of communication in detail in his work.Proper and optimal media mix strategy targeting the active stakeholders and other related stakeholders should be designed and a balanced approach should be adopted to raise the relevant issues with great care. The intensions behind development and application of the public relation platform should be ethical and correct content should be broadcasted and presented always(Stark J., 2007).A clear message against sweatshops and updated industrial relation practices should be aired to regain the trust of workers, residents, foreign nationals, and the foreign counterpart. The evils and disadvantages of the sweat shop practices and the poor plight of the workers working in the garment factory of Bangladesh should be properly taken care of in this context.
Recommendations from Public Relation Perspective
There can be a lot of recommendations given in this regard but some of the important recommendations which may prove to be important in this regard are as following. The labour practices should be made more transparent and the communication management process should be made stronger in this regard. The reach of the vehicle carrying public related messages should be made more effective. The print, audio and video broadcasting vehicle should carry complete authentic messages regarding the ill practices and poor conditions of workers in garment industry of Bangladesh should be raised systematically. Proper framework in the form of Public relation centers and information centers to be developed which would address the needs of workers and verify that whether the industries are following the proper norms or not. The public relation efforts should empower the workers as well as stakeholders in this regard. Social media is one of the important tools used by organization to communicate their decisions and important announcements (Sacconi L and Antoni G.D., 2011).The efforts and activeness of the selected media on the social platform has to be mapped properly and with an integrated support of internet and Public relation part of the organization could be focused to increase the public relation efforts. On the basis of the research conducted a set of recommendations has to be given to the company to resolve the issue and to strengthen its public relation part and also a list of comprehensive references/ resources will be given which would be actively consulted for the stated purpose.(Cooper D, Schindler P. and Sharma J.K., 2012)
Efforts of organization on Social Media
Public relation part of the organization and in this line itself and activeness of the selected media on the social platform has to be respected. The company which I have selected is a local retail chain “Rang”. The retail chain is having 10 outlets exclusively dedicated in garments in Bangladesh. The company has initiated commendable efforts in raising the bars in the public relation domain; it has also done its efforts to maintain the public relation through active participation on social media. Following are the important efforts initiated/ things uploaded by the company on social media in relation to its public relation efforts on social media
1. The company has highlighted the process of procurement and also the company has provided a complete list of clients from where they procure.
2. The company has also highlighted its code of conduct and ethical practice code on social media platform
3. The company has also promoted consumer groups on social media platform to know about regular and periodic response of consumer
4. The company has highlighted their standard work practiced on social media platform to add stars to its public relation campaign
5. Grievance redressal groups as well as their contacts has also been uploaded along with the relevant Bangladeshi legislature governing the trade and work practices is also present as a link
6. On social platform the company use to display new announcement and commitment on regular basis
Public relations practices are there for maintenance good relationship between organization, public and stakeholders. The Public relation efforts should be ethically designed and properly taken care for the right empowerment of the concerned section. While designing a public relation strategy the objective, ethical needs, reach and accuracy of the strategy should be ensured. A precise public relation effort brings name, fame and goodwill to the organizations which are required to ensure stability and success in long run.
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Burger T and Helmchen (2013), “ Market occupation in a circular market”, “The economics of creativity- Ideas firm and market”, Pp – 309, Routledge Publication- USA, ISBN- 978-0-415-52529-9
Cooper D, Schindler P. and Sharma J.K.(2012), “ Presenting Insight and Findings; Written Reports”, “ Business Research Methods”, Pp – 707, Mc- Graw hill Publications – New Delhi, ISBN – 13: 978-1-25-900185-7
Daft R.L. (2015), “Leadership Communication”, “The Leadership Experience”, P – 258, Cengage Learning Publication. ISBN 13: 978-1-454-6285-4
Karrol A.B. and Buccholz A.K.(2015), “Nike INC and Sweatshops”, “Business and society: Ethics sustainability and stake holders management”, Pp- 602, Cengage Learning, ISBN 13: 978-1-285-73429-3
Lantos G.P. (2011),”The Multiple influences on Consumer Behaviour”, “Consumer Behaviour in Action: Real Life Application for marketing Managers”, Pp – 17, M. E. Sharpe Publication – London, ISBN- 978-0-7656-2090-3
Moij M.D. (2011), “Consumer Behaviour”, “Consumer Behaviour and Culture: Consequences for global marketing and advertising”, Pp – 21, Sage Publications, ISBN – 978-1-4129-7990-0
Sacconi L and Antoni G.D. (2011), “Modeling Cognitive Social capital and corporate social responsibilities as preconditions for sustainable networks for relations”, “Social Capital, corporate social responsibility economic behaviour and performance”, Palgrave McMillan Publications, ISBN – 978-0-230-30618-9
Stark J. (2007),“Global Product Strategy, product life cycle management and the billion customer questions”, “Addressing Potential Problems” Pp – 3.1, Springer Publications, ISBN 13: 9781846289149
Wrighr R. (2006), “Attitude”, “Consumer Behaviour”, Pp – 253, Thomson Publications, ISBN 10: 1- 84480- 138-1