Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Multi-National Companies in China and Their Relationships With the Public

The study asks how Chinese culture affects the relationship-building process of multinational companies, emphasizing the characterization of culture and what particular aspects of said culture relate to the relationships created. 

Research Question
How do the characteristics of Chinese culture affect relationships between a multinational companies with its Chinese audiences?
The Method
As Dr. Flora Hung acknowledges, the study focuses on interpersonal relationships and discusses how relationships are maintained and what makes them desirable.
Dr. Hung, the author of this study, used the following in reaching her findings:
·         theory-based sampling,
·         convenience sampling
·         snowball sampling

These three tactics were used in order to recruit representatives of Fortune world 500 companies. Through these sampling techniques, Dr. Hung was able to conduct 20 interviews with people from 18 organizations. These interviewees were contacted by telephone and through email. Some of the people being interviewed were CEOs and public relations managers of the companies.

To analyze the qualitative data, a collaborative social research approach was used. The intent was to build and construct meanings by working with the participants. Dr. Hung took extensive notes while interviewing participants. There was a significant emphasis on getting detailed explanations from the participants that sometimes needed to be clarified or elaborated upon.

Flora compartmentalized data into multiple categories, which made it far easier to organize the collected data and in turn made it easier to come to conclusions based on different aspects of the information.

At the heart of the reasoning behind these interviews was to study the organization’s relationship-building processes with their audiences, which is what is mainly learned from Hung’s overall thesis. Within the analysis of these relationships are many factors, including how organizations are able to make their audiences (the general public) more comfortable in regards to the relationship between the two parties.

Many factors were identified when examining the relationship between cultural influence and multinational companies.
·         Detailed greatly was family orientation, the concept of self-Other—which refers to collectivistic cultures that put needs and goals of the in-group before beliefs of the individual - and other concepts such as role formalization and reciprocity.
·         Among the findings was that Chinese people tend to try to maintain relational harmony, no matter if they are talking to their superior or an equal.
·         Hung puts a great deal of emphasis on “yuan” in public relations. Yuan is considered to be a calming mechanism when a bad relationship takes place.
·         This concept tends to shape how people in this culture define relationship types and decide how long the relationships will last.
·         Guanxi is another concept that is incorporated into Hung’s research, though it was discovered in a previous study. Guanxi refers to an outsider company that intends to be accepted as an insider, but in order to be considered as such it often has to find someone within the group to form a relationship with.
·         Overall, multinational companies believed relationships with governmental officials were vital in maintaining networks and to ultimately being efficient in the workplace.

A limitation was the sole usage of qualitative interviewing. The types of people who were interviewed were limited, as only CEOs, vice presidents, and public relations managers were able to participate.

Therefore, as a result there was another limitation: the inability to interview the companies’ publics. It was desired that a co-orientation method would be used, which would analyze the topics at hand from both the organizational and public points of view. Time constraints and a small budget prevented this.

Monday, November 5, 2012

How a Government Agency Values Diversity

It is interesting that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission focuses on diversity in how it puts together its organization, considering how serious its daily operations are. The NRC states that through heightened diversity in the workplace comes the opportunity to manage people and the company’s processes more effectively and efficiently.

The NRC defines diversity management as “creating a workplace where differences in heritage, background, style, tradition, and views are valued, respected, and used to increase organizational capacity.” The NRC believes this diversity will create more ideas and open people’s minds to new ways of thinking.

The commission requires diversity management to be a priority for all managers, executives and employees. The NRC particularly wants all employees to support what is called the Comprehensive Diversity Management Plan.

In addition, the NRC is committed to following objectives that fuel efficient and effective diversity management. Among them is improving communication, respecting and appreciating differences among individuals, and, when hiring, selecting the best qualified applicant no matter his or her race, national origin, gender, age, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or disability.

The NRC believes in selecting a group of diverse candidates for leadership programs, and the company thinks it has the ability to enhance uniformity in evaluating accomplishments. There is an emphasis on enhancing awareness and completing diversity management training to be a satisfactory employee.

Also, the NRC strives to develop anti-harassment procedures that focus on employees informing who they need to talk to, to process cases of harassment that is based on any form of discrimination.

Among its goals in relation to diversity management, the NRC strives to recruit diverse employees at all levels and to maintain a diverse employee base through promotion of an environment where differences are valued and everyone feels accepted and welcomed.

Tags: Nuclear Regulation Commission, Diversity, Diversity Management, NRC, Comprehensive Diversity Management Plan

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Feel Confused About Starting Your PR Work Life? Find Your Answers Here.

I interviewed James Watkins this weekend, who works for VOX PR. James provides writing and research account support to the firm and executes strategic communications tactics for his clients. He graduated from the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. James wants to share his experience with undergraduate students who want to engage in the PR field. If you will graduate soon, I hope this article can help you understand more about a career in public relations.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced at work? How did you overcome it?

“The biggest challenge I faced working at VOX was learning how to make pitches to the media. In my first week, I was asked to call reporters here in Portland for an event at Wal-Mart. I had just joined the company and knew very little about the client. However, I was expected to summarize the event for reporters and explain why it was newsworthy. Basically, we wanted them to attend and publish a story about the event. 

Reporters are always on deadline though and don't have much patience. The PR major focuses a lot on writing, but it's impossible to prepare for the professional world of phone pitches to media.”

“I just practiced a lot. It's important to make note of the highlights so you can condense the story to a 30-second pitch to the reporter you need to call. And just make sure you take the time to learn as much as possible about the client; reporters expect you to be an expert in whatever you're pitching.”

What is the biggest difference between public relations at work and public relations in college?

“I think a lot of people see PR as a high profile, glamorous job in which you get to attend events and parties. That's certainly a part of it, but it also requires you to be at a desk and on the computer from 9 to 5 many days. Another big difference is that in college, there's a huge focus on social media like Facebook and Twitter. But the reality is that lots of companies still need to rely on traditional media outreach like news releases, stories in print publications, drafting and revising op-eds and appearing at industry events. We conducted a survey for one of our clients, and most of their customers responded to say that they prefer print mailers to emails or Facebook posts.”

If you have the opportunity to go back to college to continue studying, what ability or skills do you want to improve first?

“I would have liked to learn more about Microsoft Excel and the logistics of working at a PR agency. I have to use data and numbers quite a bit – and I didn't really have any experience with using excel to track it all. I've made learning to use Excel a large priority since I joined VOX.”

“It's especially important when you need to create media lists to distribute material to reporters. Also, It's important to understand how your work fits into the agency.

You need to understand each individual contract and how to allocate your time most effectively to serve each client.”

Do you have any advice for students who will graduate this year and enter the job market?

“I would recommend that you read as much as possible about the industry and check the news every single day. It's your job to be the eyes and ears for clients and identify any news items that might affect their business. If you'd like to read a good book about transitioning from college to the professional world, I would recommend 'They Don't Teach Corporate in College' by Alexandra Levit.”

If you are a job recruiter, what is an ideal employee in your mind? Will you put more emphasis on their academic records or work experience?

You can only learn so much in the classroom. So, yes, work experience is always a huge plus for job candidates. I've never heard of a candidate being asked to provide his or her GPA from high school or college. Most interviews focus on relevant experience, as it provides the strongest indicator of ability and potential. Employers don't have the time to hold your hand every day at work, so it's important for them to know that you're arriving with a base level of understanding. Internships, on-campus organizations and volunteering offer great opportunities to build that area of your resume.”

Have you studied or worked with Asian students? In my opinion, a common challenge for them is they speak less often and might be reluctant to present their ideas. Do you agree with this? Do you have any advice for them?

“I haven't worked much with Asian students, in particular. Obviously, the ability to communicate is extra important when working in public relations.”
“But at the same time, people are always very accepting and open to listening to new ideas. I have a huge amount of respect for anyone that lives or studies in a new country, and I'll always give them the patience they deserve to present their own ideas.
Listening is a huge part of the communications industry. Professionals should be able to do that effectively.”

What are the key qualities for career success in PR?

I think adaptability is a great asset to have as a young professional. Especially early in your career, you'll be expected to pitch in on many different projects and take on new responsibilities every day. If you're confident and eager to learn, you'll have the capacity to succeed in the industry. Beyond that, you must be able to communicate with different types of people and adjust your style accordingly. The phrase 'put yourself in their shoes' is an effective exercise for any public relations professional to understand.”

Monday, October 1, 2012

I believe doing everything should depend on yourself.

I still vividly remember the movie I saw a long time ago called “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm,” acted by child star Shirley Temple.

Shirley plays the role of 8-year-old Rebecca. Rebecca often says, “I always count on myself.” By mistake, Rebecca’s step-father sends her to her aunt’s farm, where she has to learn how to adapt to a new life. She becomes brave and confident in everything she does.

I saw this movie when I was 6 and didn’t know the exact meaning of self-dependence then, but I wanted to be a girl just like Rebecca who can do everything by herself.

From a young age, I learned that falling was not a big deal, and we must learn how to stand up and count on ourselves. I believe this is the simplest and most distinct way to explain my belief of self-dependence.

It has been more than a year since I’ve been in America. As an international student, far away from parents and home, many times I find myself in need of help. However, I am not afraid of dealing with difficulties. I set up all the furniture in my new apartment myself. I even bought a jumper cable to charge my car’s battery when it dies. Usually girls depend on men to do a lot of errands, but I believe trying to do it yourself is more rewarding. You will be amazed at how much potential you have.