Sample Proposal Paper for Communication Improvement at Apple, Inc.

Communication is an inevitable part of organizational operations, and has multiple impacts on both interpersonal communication within the organization and corporate communication with external parties. For Apple, Inc. where the operations revolve around developing products and services that not only satisfy customer needs but are also reflective of the organizational values and beliefs, effective communication is an important practice in day to day activities. Effective communication in this context is that which attains the intended goal, whether persuasion, information or argumentation. For this communication effectiveness to be realized, it is recommended that the company should implement communications training because of its impacts on personality and communications practices of the members of the organization.

Education/Training and Communication Improvement

Apple, Inc. has a communication policy that focuses on customer value and customer satisfaction. The common communication practices at the company are defined by the company values of integrity, respect, confidentiality and honesty. Although dependence on the organizational values has been instrumental in shaping workplace communications at Apple, the existing corporate environment requires stronger communications skills that can only be enhanced through training and education of the staff. The company has also made efforts to enhance communication practices by the product vendors to ensure that they are informed and effective in delivering customer value (Gallo, 2019). The incorporation of communication education and training in the current work environment at Apple, Inc. will result in better outcomes because of the roles of education on communication practice. Education influences both content and context of communication as well as the personalities of the individuals communicating hence has the potential to improve communication effectiveness (Enache & Crisan, 2014). Apple, Inc. can therefore use education or communication training to enhance the quality and outcomes of communication by aligning the education or training to the vision of the company.

Communications Education/Training and Personality

The first strategy for enhancing communication through education or training is by focusing on personalities in the work environment. The impact of education on personality is one of the themes that are widely discussed in exploring the use of education in enhancing communication. Various sub-themes emerge in this area including enhancement of relationships with self, others and in community interactions such as those that take place in the work environment (Bucata & Rizescu, 2017). Communications training in the context of professional development opens avenues for better understanding of best practices for interpersonal communications when dealing with different types of people. Understanding different personality types through education enhances competencies not only for management but also for horizontal communication within the organization.

To utilize education for personality development, the first step for Apple Inc. is to use education and training to enhance awareness about personality differences. A report by Navarra (2019) shows that workplace communication is influenced to a large extent by personality differences; whereby personalities are described based on various characteristics such as one’s favorite world (introversion or extroversion), preferred information (sensing or intuition), decisions making considerations (judgment or thinking) and structure (thinking or feeling). Sixteen combinations of personality traits can be assigned to individuals by picking one characteristic from each of the four categories of personality traits. According to Navarra (2019), individuals with different combinations of personality traits have different communication preferences, which can be a source of conflict in the workplace. For Apple, Inc. the differences in personality traits can be an opportunity for communications improvement by identifying the specific personality traits of all team members and aligning communication practices to their individual preferences. By educating all employees, especially those in the management on recognizing the differences in personality traits among team members, handling all the employees becomes easier across the organization (Navarra, 2019). Educational/training programs for communication focus on strategies for identifying the differences across personalities, the communication practices that are preferred by the different personalities, and how people with diverse personality combinations can compromise in the workplace to create a sense of shared understanding rather than sticking to traditional communication processes that are commonly associated with conflicting interpretations in the work environment (Navarra, 2019). For Apple, such aligned communication will inevitably result in better understanding across teams, ease of sharing and pursuing organizational vision and effectiveness in conflict avoidance and management through communication.

Education/communications training can also impact on personality through changed perspectives on intercultural relationships, which affect communication practices. Apple, Inc. is a c-suite multinational company and cultural diversity is an inescapable part of the organization. For communication to be effective in such an environment therefore, cross-cultural communication has to be part of the general competencies across the entire workplace. The ability to work in and to lead teams with a culturally diverse population such as that at Apple is rarely developed holistically in the general school environment. Instead, communications education and training in the workplace where the employees are able to connect to issues in cultural communication in real-time, is often more effective at developing competencies in inter-cultural communications (Hussain, 2018). The first step towards facilitating the willingness to acquire communications education pertaining to cultural communication is having employees understand that global interdependence implies the inevitability of intercultural communication. Apple, Inc. can use information and communication technologies (ICT), to which it has extensive access, as the avenue for learning. Encouragement of social learning from peers can also be considered an alternative approach to accessing communications education on cultural practice. This would be implemented through encouragement of cultural exchanges among employees, recognition of the values of diverse cultures in the organization and respect of cultural beliefs of others (Hussain, 2018). Through initial implementation of culturally appreciative actions by the management at Apple, Inc., the same practices will be cascaded to all employees through social learning.

Another educational strategy for impacting communication is through impacts on social and cultural responsibility. In the contemporary times, there is increasing recognition of corporate social responsibility and environmental responsibility as key determinants of organizational sustainability (Hussain, 2018). In alignment with this trend, Apple, Inc. has put in place measures to ensure social and cultural responsibility, and the support of the employees is essential at all stages of execution. Through education, the employees will be able to shift their attitudes towards greater social support for collaboration towards the achievement of organizational goals on social and environmental activity. Moreover, education instills skills and knowledge that are useful for shaping the social and political lives of the trained individuals in various ways, hence erasing the cultural, political and social boundaries in the workplace (Morreale & Pearson, 2008). For instance, it is through education that gender sensitivity can be enforced in the workplace. The knowledge and skills applicable for attaining such sensitivity will be useful for Apple, Inc. Since some of the knowledge cannot be attained in a conventional classroom setting, Apple, Inc. can organize intra-organizational training to facilitate knowledge sharing on cultural and social issues that affect workplace communication, hence supporting the growth of employees towards communication that overcomes any social and cultural boundaries.

Education and Communication Practices

Besides its impact on personalities, education/communications training can also result in communications enhancement through improvements in communication practices. One of the outcomes associated with education is that it improves oral communication. Oral communication is a learned skill and the outcomes depend on a variety of factors including the mode of education through which the training is delivered, the trainers, and the environment of practice. The education process comes with various interactions such as discussions among peers and classroom presentations, which are important for the development of oral communication skills. Similarly, the work environment in a company such as Apple, Inc. will entail oral communication in many instances particularly for employees working within the same physical location. Apple can incorporate assessments and requirements for oral presentations during its internal trainings on communication practices. The oral communication skills can be crucial in the organization especially at times when urgent communications need to be passed within a shared space.

Communications education will also address an issue such as conflict management, which is a common phenomenon in any work environment. Conflicts are inevitable in any workplace and are mostly attributed to misunderstanding, differences in communication processes, and feelings of disregard for one’s communication. Misunderstanding or the feeling of being misunderstood can be attributed to differences in communication patterns between parties in an organization (Chatterjee & Kulakli, 2015). Communications training introduces tools and skills that enable parties to communications processes to identify the communication patterns of others, to make little adjustments in individual patterns of communication and to dispense new information in ways that are easy to understand (Chatterjee & Kulakli, 2015). As such, the people receiving communications are also likely to better give feedback regarding their understanding of what is being said. In this way, conflicts are avoided in the workplace. Apple, Inc. can take advantage of such tools and skills delivered during communication education to facilitate improvement in communication practices.

Education can also facilitate addressing communication needs where there is failure to understand the communication processes of others and where there is a perception that emotional needs are not being met. Without undergoing individual or team communications trainings such as the personality communication training outlined above, it can be difficult to understand communications that come from others as people tend to communicate using their own communication patterns by default. For instance, Navarra (2019) reports that introverts are mostly likely to communicate more effectively in written form and are also more likely to wait until they have complete information before communicating to others. On the other hand, extroverts are more likely to communicate verbally and in bits. As such, it is more likely for the extrovert to feel offended when communication from the introvert is delayed; they would prefer phone calls over e-mail, which is the preferred communication medium for the introvert. Apple Inc. can thus use communications training to create an understanding of the differences in communication patterns among individuals and thereby promote effective communication devoid of conflicts.

In addressing unmet needs, education lays the groundwork for effective team expression, whereby every member of the team is able to express their own needs and to understand the needs of others. Conflicts can result where team members feel disrespected, oppressed or ignored, hence creating tension among the team members (Chatterjee & Kulakli, 2015). By sponsoring communications training that facilitates the understanding of different cultures, values, and communication patterns across the team, it will be possible for Apple, Inc. to create an environment in which employees feel free to express their needs. The employees in such an environment will also be able to break the barriers between different levels in an organization as well as within the same levels in their respective departments, hence communicating more effectively.

Communication education for Apple, Inc. will also be essential towards developing an environment that supports employee engagement. Communications skills attained through training can facilitate the development of a workforce with greater productivity and talent. One of these skills is the ability to understand the diversity in team talents and team skills. Communications education helps in developing a company culture that emphasizes interpersonal connection. Mastering the patterns of communication in the workplace, leader empowerment towards understanding the diverse skills and talents of different members of the organization and fast-paced and high thinking communication, are all skills that Apple can develop in its employees through communications education (Bucata & Rizescu, 2017). These skills facilitate employee engagement as they can be replicated across all the levels of Apple, Inc.

Communications education can also help Apple, Inc. to attract greater support from its employees. Education gives leaders the tools required to influence their teams to support the company initiatives. At Apple, Inc., therefore, it is expected that once the leaders have been trained, they will be able to influence others to be more engaged in organizational vision and goals. Additionally, education promotes creativity and innovation. By training the employees on effective communication, they become more capable of sharing their creativity and innovation, taking ownership of organizational projects and promoting effectiveness in problem-solving (Morreale & Pearson, 2008). These outcomes cannot be realized without education that instills an understanding of communication patterns and the ability to express emotional needs. Understanding communication patterns is also essential in the attainment of more strategic team building. This particularly relates to the leaders in the organization who need more information about their followers. Without education on understanding communication patterns, the information would otherwise be overlooked. The insights obtained through communication education foster better communication of strategic decisions to employees, sharing of strategic initiatives more effectively and supporting employee development (Bucata & Rizescu, 2017). These outcomes indicate that communications education at Apple, Inc. will not only result in better communications but will also facilitate advancement in other areas of organizational operations that are dependent on communication and essential towards organizational performance.

Conclusion

Apple, Inc. already has an effective communications policy for its employees. However, implementing communications education for employees at different levels of the organizational hierarchy can enhance the communications practices at the organization. Communications training can have many effects on the employees of the organization by impacting both their personalities and their communications practices. These outcomes have been discussed as part of this proposal and Apple, Inc. should review them for consideration.

 

References

Bucata, G., & Rizescu, M. (2017). The role of communication in enhancing work effectiveness of an organization. Land Forces Academy Review, 22. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316360042_The_Role_of_Communication_in_Enhancing_Work_Effectiveness_of_an_Organization

Chatterjee, A., & Kulakli, A. (2015). A study on the impact of communication system on interpersonal conflict. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, 210, 320-329.

Enache, R., & Crisan, A. (2014). Communication, networking and personal development skills trained during the educational process. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, 159, 524-528.

Gallo, C. (2019, January 9). Apple CEO Tim Cook applies three persuasive communication techniques to answer tough questions. Forbes Magazine. https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2019/01/09/apple-ceo-tim-cook-applies-three-persuasive-communication-techniques-to-answer-tough-questions/#10ce1dc02e40

Hussain, S. (2018). Managing communication challenges in multicultural organizations. International Journal of Media, Journalism and Mass Communication, 4(2), 44-49. https://www.arcjournals.org/pdfs/ijmjmc/v4-i2/5.pdf

Morreale, S. P., & Pearson, J. (2008). Why communication education is important: the centrality of the discipline in the 21st century. Communication Education, 57(2), 224-240. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232924335_Why_Communication_Education_is_Important_The_Centrality_of_the_Discipline_in_the_21st_Century

Navarra, K. (2019, February 27). Understanding personalities in the workplace: Understanding how different personalities process information and make decisions can improve the harmony in your workplace. EquiManagement. https://equimanagement.com/articles/understanding-personalities-in-the-workplace