Dell Case Study
Running head: DELL COMPUTER CORPORATION Improving the Dell Computer Corporation Heather Mueller Corporate Communications Section One Improving the Dell Computer Corporation The key issues presented in the “Dell Computer Corporation” case study is that Dell needs to align its’ identity with its’ image, and stop relying heavily on technology (Dell Case Study P. 58). Increased dependence on technology, along with a gap between image and identity, can cause complications for a company if they are not attended to. Analysis
Corporate communication must be “closely linked to a company’s overall vision and strategy,” (Argenti, 2007, p. 12) and if not, it can cause constituencies to view the company negatively. The Chief Operating Officer of Sony “criticized Dell’s lack of spending on research and development,” therefore, Sony’s image of Dell does not align with Dell’s identity. A company’s image is the “corporation as seen through the eyes of its constituencies, [and] an organization can have different images with different constituencies” (Argenti, 2007, p. 58).
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This differs from an identity, because an identity “consists of a company’s defining attributes,” and should not very from one constituency to another (Argenti, 2007, p. 58). Many of Dell’s constituencies view Dell in a very positive light, and see Dell as an excellent example of how a company should function and communicate with its constituencies. Dell has a well-founded identity called “The Soul of Dell” which is its’ corporate philosophy that “defines the kind of company it is and aspires to become” and shows Dell’s commitment to direct accountability (Argenti, 2007, p. 9). However, “identity building and maintenance requires the ability to conduct research,” and if Dell does not clearly communicate that ability with it’s constituencies, Sony will continue to be discontented with Dell’s identity (Argenti, 2007, p. 50). The founder of Dell Computers, Michael Dell, created an “e-mail based culture” at the company as the primary work environment (Argenti, 2007, p. 62). E-mail can be effective because it allows subordinates to easily communicate with senior management and is an efficient mean of communication across time zones (Argenti, 2007, p. 2). This is important because subordinates can “get the company’s strategy directly from those at the top of the organization” (Argenti, 2007, p. 12). E-mail also helps to create a productive climate in which “managers and employees communicate effectively and support each other” (O’Hair et al. , 2008, p. 181). However, Dell’s “increasing dependence on technology-mediated communication creates an environment that may discourage relational development” (O’Hair et al. , 2008, p. 179).
Nearly all communication takes place digitally because “face-to-face communication has given way to a strictly electronic communication network. ” (O’Hair et al. , 2008, p. 189). Without face-to-face communication, personal relationships within the company may begin to fail, which decreases productivity, and increases isolation and emotional detachment from the company’s identity as well as other employees. If the upper management at Dell does not improve the ways it communicates internally and externally, the company will not continue to grow, thrive or flourish in the changing corporate environment.
If Dell can modify and adapt its’ behavior in a positive way, its constituencies will become aware of Dell’s excellent communications, and this well-built structure will transcend through the company so employees will learn to communicate efficiently as well. Solutions The upper management at Dell needs to make personal and public communication more important within their strategy for maintaining their core identity as “The Soul of Dell. Dell already has a strong relations with constituencies because employees and management “allow for unique working relationships that transcend the ‘us and them’,” so the constituencies feel valued (Argenti, 2007, p. 62). However, a company can always improve its communication with constituencies because communication is an ongoing “process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior” (Communication, 2009, par. ). In order to improve its communications, the upper management at Dell can work more closely with the marketing communications department and create a stronger corporate mission. With today’s quick changing environment, “a clear-cut corporate mission can not only keep employees aligned with what the company is striving to be, but also can act as a source of stability for consumers weary of the constant change surrounding them. (Argenti, 2007, p. 12). The marketing communications department “coordinates and manages publicity relations to products and deals with activities relating to customers,” and could compose ways to strengthen the corporate mission (Argenti, 2007, p. 53). If more focus was put on marketing communications and a stronger corporate mission was created, then employees can better understand the fundamental reasons for the company’s existence.
The employees would be able to clearly demonstrate and publicize each way they illustrate the company’s identity and pursue the continuing purpose of achieving the corporate mission. When a company gets more involved in “quasi-political activities with constituencies [that] claim to represent a firm’s customers,” the company would then be able to control how its constituencies view them, and how the company evaluates its’ identity compared to the constituencies perceived image.
The American Decency Association (ADA) successfully maintained and illustrated its identity involving the need to prevent images of violence and adult content from being promoted by family orientated companies and businesses (ADA, 2008, par. 1). They successfully “lobbied for companies including Kellogg’s, Lowe’s, Tyson Foods, and S. C. Johnson to stop buying additional advertising space on U. S. television shows” with unnecessary violence and adult content such as ABC’s Desperate Housewives and FX Nip/Tuck (Argenti, 2007, p. 53).
The marketing communication team of the ADA ensured that family orientated products and brand promotions were sending the right messages to children. The company stayed true to its corporate mission and never strayed from its foundation of values and beliefs, so that its constituencies would not be anxious of the constantly changing environment that surrounded the media. E-mail constantly causes information overload for employees in a company if it is the main source of communication, and this informal communication process often isolates employees and does not allow them to interact. Spending over 5 hours a day staring at a computer screen increases the risk of depression, insomnia and other mental health problems” as well (O’Hair et al. , 2008, p. 189). This can be solved with increased face-to-face communications through meetings, team building activities, and company outings. If the upper management put more of a emphasis on internal communications, then “the employees would be more engaged, productive, loyal,” and happy, and the strength of company relationships will increase (Argenti, 2007, p. 54). Conclusion
The course of actions that Dell should pursue is working closer with the marketing communications department to create a stronger corporate mission, and to increase face-to-face communications within the company. With increased and improved personal and public communication, Dell will be able to align its image with its identity, and will be able to strengthen relationships to prove themselves as a successful company with a consistent strategy, in the endlessly changing work environment. References ADA. (2008, September 28). ABC/Disney’s desperate housewives.
In American decency association. Retrieved February 9, 2009, from http://www. americandecency. org/main. php? f=updates_new/2008/September/09. 28a. 08 Argenti, P. A. (2007). Corporate communication (4th ed. ). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Communication. (2009). In Merriam-Webster. Retrieved February 10, 2009, from http://www. merriam-webster. com/dictionary/communication O’Hair, D. , Friedrich, G. W. , & Dixon, L. D. (2008). Work relationships. In Strategic communication in businesses and the professions (6th ed. , pp. 178-205). Boston: Pearson education.