Advertising Media Planning

Advertising Media Planning

Dixons UK: Strength out of Weakness

The much publicized advertising wars between Dixons, the high street shops, and their other online competitors reflect the perceived desires of consumers and the projected benefits of sustained firm-customer awareness. The Dixons.co.uk advertising campaign in 2009 seemed to break a lot of rules in advertising and marketing planning while it actually reinforced, in a rather novel way, some key underpinnings of advertising theory. The campaign ultimately shifted perceived consumer psychology by targeting embedded thoughts and feelings in their reproduction in consumer behaviour through a successful repositioning of Dixon’s in the chain of retailers.  Additionally, the firm ultimately freeloaded the media coverage and the counterproductive strategies and positioning of competitors to its advantage.

The ‘Dixons.co.uk Strength out of Weakness’ case study successfully captures a creative “problem-solving” approach that more dogmatic strategists would have rejected, in exploiting the exceptional circumstances and situation of Dixon’s, which in this case, turned to be its weakest.  Coupled with general strategy in the market for technology, the Dixons.co.uk campaign was audacious in turning the perceived “doggedness” of the firm into its greatest asset in its public presentation and appearance.

The case study’s focus is the “Visit us last” ethos and modus operandi of the 2009 campaign. The concept and phrase is ingratiatingly self-deprecating and deterministic, easy to say, and provocative.  Dixon’s, a popular high-street retailer in London and around the UK suffered from a middle position. Web-sales in electronics were up, but Dixons was losing.  Customers did their own research on tech-products and could alternatively enjoy the more customer-friendly environments of retailers such as John Lewis.  The confluence of these factors weighed heavily in Dixon’s decision to use its implicitly lagging behind competitors (“Visit us Last”) message with competitive pricing.  The sensational response to the seemingly benign phrase proved to be provocative, provocatively fortunate as dixons.co.uk enjoyed both paid for coverage in the London Underground, for example, and unpaid coverage in the media, where dixons.co.uk received the majority of the publicity good or bad sharing the stage with many other competitors.

In many instances, and particularly in the fields of marketing and advertising, “theory” is a pejoratively value laden term.  The logocentric practice of advertising may be theoretically averse (for example, ‘theoretically’ often connotes a thought not in practice, or for example, ‘in theory’ is usually referring to something that should work given abstract paradigmatic assumptions).

Just as advertising as a discipline is particularly concerned with human communication and behaviour, the policies and practices of firms in the branding marketplace are engaged in the same mechanisms. The two would benefit greatly from more dialogue, just as advertising and marketing theory has been enriched through its interdisciplinary framework.  Advertising academics interrogate fields as diverse as Linguistics and International Relations (among many other social and behavioural sciences) for example.  In the case of the former, the perceived structure of human cognition as language (Derrida 1970 18) has enabled advertisers to extend neuroscience research with more qualitative data to the greater impact of marketing plans (Hackley 2010).  In the case of the latter, trends say, for example, in fair trade can be linked to the demographic within the developed country of consumption (Landes 1999).  The attitude of modernity understood by academics is dictated by the forces of modernity (Latour 1991).  These social movements have led to the rise in the branding of brands and parts of brands such as Costa and Starbucks to highlight “fair trade” coffee and other products in response to public opinion (Doran 2009).  Here social movement theories, psychology studies have all had an effect on academic advertising, but in order for advertising to affect these important concepts, a paradigmatic theoretical perspective is necessary. Advertising sciences need advertising, and advertising needs cross-disciplinary creative strategies.

The dixons.co.uk strategy defined the problems facing the ailing firm, and worked with the legacy and assets of its beleaguered position in the electronics retail market, and developed a coherent and creative strategy to attract attention and ultimately purchases.

The result however, of a firm advertising without a creative strategy theoretically grounded, is much like the critique of existing advertising initiatives by the Y & R consultancy firm’s outline for creative marketing strategy:

“Without a [creative] strategy, advertising belongs in the theatre of the absurd provocative, ambiguous, uncertain, interesting but what’s it all about?”

Similarly, Vaughn warns of advertising theory’s marginalization in its nascent stages and encourages inquiry:

If we had a proven theory of advertising effectiveness it would help in strategy, planning, response, measurement, and sales prediction.  We have no such theory.  Empirical ‘proof’ is scattered in numerous company and agency files.  The possibility for a scientifically-derived model of advertising seems remote. (Vaughn 1980). However, ‘maverick’, these marketing tools were effectively promoted, and so provoked public interest, not just in firm-awareness, but even of corporate marketing strategy.  In this instance, dixons.co.uk, however sensational its message, followed a very clear and realistic problem solving approach.  The commonly built upon and processed original Y & R Work Plan (1970) worked from such consultancy advocacy to see its creative and practical benefits.  The dixons.co.uk strategy, as outlined in the case study, involved first assessing the primary problems facing the firm.  For the purposes of this essay, it is necessary to briefly discuss the Y & R Working Plan as its skeletal and theoretically pragmatic approach is consistent with the extension of the dixons.co.uk branding.

The Y & R plan departs from four primary elements.  First is in the statement of the “key fact”, based on an analysis of all ‘facts’ pertaining to the key fact (1).  The plan then defines the problem  (2) marketing must engage with in respect to the key fact.  Thirdly, there must be a “statement of the advertising objective (3) which stems from the problem”.  Finally implemented is a creative strategy (4).

The strategy outlined and documented in the case study shows the very reach and multi-pronged media venues of the program, ‘Strength out of weakness’.  Importantly, it works from the perspective of a creative strategy to overcome very immediate hurdles: Significantly, the group determined “the only realistic way anyone would choose and buy from Dixons UK was if they visited already knowing exactly what make and model they wanted”.  This is not the strongest selling point.

If we determine the key fact is to be that Dixon’s “was passed its 80s heyday”, then the following problem resulting from this must be passed as a heteronomy of factors.  First, Dixon’s perceived strengths must be taken into account.  Dixon’s inventory capabilities were massive.  Since it’s high street shops had gone the way of Curry’s, its main issue was that there were very few prospective customers who came to dixons.co.uk directly.  Dixon’s had to attract customer’s straight to dixons.co.uk, the firm’s fate rested on this.  The advertising objective would be to make dixons.co.uk the most attractive online electronics distributor.  The overflow from traditional retail would follow.  The creative strategy implemented marketing signs, specifically in the London Underground, that exaggerated a consumer’s trip to the lofty auspices, and lofty prices of high street retailers, featuring the most desired electronics, ending the perfunctory phrase with “…and then go to Dixons”. Competitive pricing, highly researched consumers of electronics, and a provocative slogan and ad campaign combined to make this very effective for Dixon’s.  Following from this, a coherent capture:

High street retailers have knowledge, expertise and service, but don’t have low prices. Dixons has low prices but doesn’t have great service, expertise or knowledge. Now get devious. So, Dixons has the low prices and they do the service for us.A transposition of the technology market to the FCB grid developed by Richard Vaughn shows how a firm can augment its own position by using the services and positions of competitors to greater penetrate where venue and product meet consumer.  This was Dixon’s strategy.

FCB Grid Advertising Media Planning
FCB Grid Advertising Media Planning

The figure above is an example taken from Richard Vaughn (1986), “organizing advertising effectiveness for strategy planning” (Vaughn 1980 27).  Consumer electronics can be thought of as “high involvement”, as individual specs cater to the consumers’ needs.  Electronics are also both high think and high feel—high think in that consumers read and try extensively, they research electronics.  However, there are inherent stratifications in the electronics market that can only correspond to “feel”, such as that of a hi-fi stereo system or a sterling-silver washing machine.  Dixon’s positioned itself to wedge these three parts of a triangle through its creative marketing triangle.

The high concentration of billboards and advertisements taken in London’s Public Transport created media frenzy as it replicated in exhibition.“…and then go to dixons.co.uk” urging commuters coming home who do not want to deal with lines at Oxford Circus, and the friends they tell about a peculiar ad, etc.

Interestingly, the “tone” of the advertisement, an especially important characteristic in advertising and marketing theory, challenged common perceptions in how a brand could promote itself, and in so doing, created a kind of feedback continuum of interested traffic.  A simple creative solution was needed. Compared to the $3.4 billion GM spent in 2006 in U.S. advertising (Horsky 2006), the much smaller budget of Dixon’s was proving profitable beyond the wildest imaginations of executives.

Placement in the underground was critical, the case study showed a progressive growth in “hits” in London area ISPs, and the underground was once again shown to be a great marketing vehicle for the right advertising strategy.  In this case, marketing and advertising placement was appropriate for the project, as the buyers of electronics are typically as varied as the professionals and musicians and children that travel the Tube.

The dixons.co.uk media coverage descended—much to Dixon’s advantage—to the dirty depths British presses are capable of.  It dragged in some high names, but always featured Dixon’s as the challenger, the underdog, or else the precocious electronics giant—regardless, people now spoke of dixons.co.uk.  This is and has been a significant issue for firms to develop effective and cohesive advertising strategies. Dixon’s capitalized on “major improvements in the quality of consumer information and the growth of targeted media which allow firms to precisely target according to consumer segments within a market” (Iyer et al 2005 461).  The placement of provocative ads on the London underground for example captured a commuting captive audience’s attention. This broad demographic are all in the market for electronics, it’s efficacy was not in declaring its position, but in reactivating products in the mind and imagination of somebody on the Victoria Line, for example..

“Strength out of weakness” was the perfect campaign strategy. It used Dixon’s entrenched market position and vulnerabilities to its advantage by exploiting its legacy, its inventory capabilities, and it’s resolution from one main problem to one basic fact.  “The only realistic way anyone would choose and buy from Dixons UK was if they visited already knowing exactly what make and model they wanted”. The site was subpar.  Product comparison, review of specs, product and design aesthetics: “This wasn’t just a minor difference communications might be able to gloss over. It was fundamental. By identifying the key facts, understand the problem in relation to these key facts, a creative and effective strategy was promoted.  Dixon’s made a good holiday run and then some on this, consistent even with foundational advertising theory thirty years ago even as it appeared radical.

References

Derrida, J. (1974), Of Grammatology, Johns Hopkins UP.

Doran, C. (2009), ‘The Role of Personal Values in Fair Trade Consumption’, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 84, pp. 549-563.

Fill, C. (2009), Marketing Communications: Interactivity, Communities and Content, 5th Edition, FT Prentice Hall.

Hackley, C. (2010), Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Approach, 2nd Edition, Sage Publications LTD.

Hauser, J. and Wisniewski, K. (1982), ‘Dynamic Analysis of Consumer Response to Marketing Strategies’, Management Science, Vol. 28, No. 5, pp. 455-486.

Horsky, S. (2006), ‘The Changing Architecture of Advertising Agencies’, Marketing Science, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 367-383.

Iyer G., Soberman D., and Villas-Boas, J. (2005), ‘The Targeting of Advertising’, Marketing Science, Vol. 24, No. 3, pp. 461-476

Landes, D. (1999), The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, Norton.

Latour, B. (1993), We Have Never Been Modern, Harvard University Press.

Vaughn, R. (1980), ‘How Advertising Works: A Planning Model: putting it all together’, Journal of Advertising Research, pp. 27-33.

Vaughn, R. (1986), ‘How Advertising Works: A Planning Model Revisited’, Journal of Advertising Research, Feb/Mar, pp. 57-65.

Click Here To View Marketing Dissertation Topics

Traditionalism and Modernism

Dissertation – Philosophical and Historical Understanding of Traditionalism and Modernism in the UK

Chapter 1: Introduction

This dissertation is focused on enhancing philosophical and historical understanding of traditionalism and modernism in the UK. The principles of modernity have played an important role in order to contribute to the decline of faith in Britain. It is also concluded that the traditional principles are getting obsolete in a contemporary society and people living within the society are more likely to adopt the modern way of living. The present era is the era of materialism and all goods and services are transformed into commodities for sale which also includes healthcare, religion, education, personal identity and in some cases happiness and people are very less likely to emphasize on the social norms and traditions.

1.1 Main Objectives of the Study

The points of the exploration are:

  1. To provide a philosophical and historical understanding of Traditionalism and Modernism.
  2. To assess how commercialization and commodification have resulted in the decline of religiosity.
  3. To juxtapose the Modernist doctrine of egalitarianism to social solidarity within the construct of a mechanical society.
  4. To assess how objectification of human-beings has resulted in the decline of ‘Sacredness’ through the principles of sexuality.

Chapter 2- Literature Review

This chapter will comprise of a literature review that will examine various components of modernity including: attendance to consumerism and commodification; the ideology behind egalitarianism and its root to capitalism; the shift from social solidarity to individualism and the classical and modern approach to sexuality.

2.1 Attendance to consumerism and commodification

There is much research evidence that argues how faith has played a role during the post-Enlightenment era and pre- Enlightenment era. Sarah Williams in Buckingham (2003) argued that the working class have a more complex way of imagining their belief structures and suggested that this decline does not adequately explain these phenomena. Thus we need to look at the way individuals have conserved faith and how they translate their faith in the modern era.

This suggest that the decline in faith in Britain may be an exaggerated point, as times change individuals must learn to contemporize their Faith by bringing to life the traditional principles that they hold true and living them in a society which demands a modern form of life. In other words Balshaw (2004) says that “the Sacred does not disappear indeed in many ways it is becoming more rather than less prevalent in contemporary society” (Clements and Sarama, 2003).

According to Fredrick Michelle (reference) the Cold War symbolized the battle of two opposing and prominent ideologies, capitalism and communism. These ideologies were best represented by the United States and the U.S.S.R, who during the Second World War were allies in combating the forces of Nazi Germany. Their opposing ideologies twisted not just their own nations but the entire world into a state of conflict, which was perhaps one of the most trying periods in human history. The United States which was the beacon of a free market economy, characterized by democracy was in conflict with the U.S.S.R a totalitarian dictatorship characterized by communism. According to Michelle this conflict had an enormous impact on the social, economic and political sphere.

Coffield, Moseley and Eccleston (2004) added that the demise of the U.S.S.R led to a paradigm shift which resulted in capitalism being the dominant commercial culture globally. This global ideological take-over is more commonly referred to in modern times as consumerism, which is a powerful worldview that has deep effects on the attitude and way of living of people all around the world. Principally consumerism calls for all goods and services to be transformed into commodities for sale. This includes, but is not limited to healthcare, religion, education, personal identity and in some instances happiness as being means of commodification.

In this worldview therefore prosperity is measured in terms of material acquisitions namely in the form of money, as being the ultimate goal to a successful and meaningful life. This attitude has subsequently influenced societies view on religion (Cunningham, 1998). For instance take Christmas or Easter which are both sacred and public holidays in Britian, however According to Gertler and Vinodrai (2002) many grown-up members in religious rituals don’t intentionally comprehend the typical importance of these ceremonies. He added

“You may ask many civilized people in vain for the real meaning of the Christmas tree or of the Easter egg. The fact is they do things without knowing why they do them. I am inclined to the view that things were general”.

Although it is more dominant in Western societies, there is also now an emergence of this worldview even in developing nations, which is leading more and more people to conform (out of necessity) to a commodified worldview (Hamilton, 2003). It would be reasonable to assume that this might infect the world of religion as well, so that commodification effects religious conceptions. Moving into a world of commodification whereby people are tied to seeing things as objects, objects that can be bought and sold. This is something I will investigate in my interview.

In addition, Hall and Thomson (2007) The Protestant Ethic & The Spirit of Capitalism reveals to us how Calvinists in the sixteenth and seventeenth century looked upon an individual’s prosperity inside business and reserve funds was an evidence that they were bound for salvation. We can relate this to the early beginnings of free enterprise and an individual’s obligation and prospects, with time the stress of religious beliefs was disintegrated as a free market system succeeded. With this new society came increasing rationalisation, this lead to disillusionment and definitely alongside that came a reduction in religious belief system and church participation.

As well, spiritual experience is something that can be understood, not by practice or by individual effort, but through a simple exchange, money for ablution. It is therefore not surprising that many religions today have adjusted their fundamental tenants and have become “consumer religions” Loveless (2002), or religions that promise material success by selling religious services. This it is not surprising that in this context religion, both new and old, take matters of the utmost sacredness and commercialize them. That is why in a country with such a rich history such as Japan a funeral can cost more than one million dollars!

 One of the major influencers of formative sociology of religion in Scanlon, Buckingham and Burn (2005) suggests that Western societies are undergoing an extensive period of secularization. He found that in Britain alone church attendance during the mid-nineteenth century had fallen by a staggering forty percent. Juxtaposed with a study conducted in the 1960’s where the decline in church attendance was only ten percent, this shows us that over the course of thirty years there was a decline of over thirty percent in attendance. This highlights that secularization has been part and parcel of the modernist philosophy and it can therefore be concluded that secularization is a component of modernism. Naturally this leads to a question, that is, to what extent has Faith decreased due to the forces of modernity?

2.2 The ideology behind egalitarianism and its root to capitalism

Weber accepted that religion (and particularly Calvinism) really served to offer ascent to the rise of modern capitalism, as he affirmed in his most celebrated and disputable work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

In The Protestant Ethic, Weber contends that capitalism emerged in Europe partially due to how the faith in destiny was deciphered by regular English Puritans. Puritan religious philosophy was dependent upon the Calvinist thought that not everybody might be spared; there was just a particular number of the choose who might avoid damnation, and this was built in light of God’s decided beforehand will and not on any activity you could perform in this life (Sefton-Green and Sinker, 2000).

For all intents and purpose, Weber noted, this was troublesome mentally: individuals were (naturally) restless to know whether they might be endlessly cursed or not. In this way Puritan pioneers started guaranteeing parts that in the event that they started doing great fiscally in their organizations, this might be one informal sign they had God’s approbation and were around the spared – yet just in the event that they utilized the tree grown foods of their work well (Thomson and Hall, 2006).

This alongside the logic suggested by monotheism prompted the advancement of normal accounting and the computed quest for fiscal achievement past what one required basically to live – and this is the “soul of capitalism.” Over time, the propensities connected with the soul of private enterprise lost their religious essentialness, and balanced quest for benefit turned into its own particular profit. Resulting to inequalities (class, race, gender, sex) in different institutions within society.

In 2005 Wilson concluded based on the finds of another study that only six percent of people in the Christian populous attend church (Thomson and Hall, 2006). His study outlines the pre-existing notion which has been upheld that there is a drastic decline of religious values, beliefs and practices which ultimately resulted in the loss of its social significance due to commercialism. To provide a succinct example of this, gone are the days when something as sacred as a wedding ceremony occurs in a church.

 Most dream weddings today are about the honeymoon not about the marriage itself. In nearly each culture, the marriage could be a vital life event that involves celebration in a very deeply personal and memorable method. People, place, and preparation are the foundation of the marriage, as couples style a ceremony that tells their story. While the motivations and preferences of every couple are terribly completely different, the deep desire to celebrate love in a very special and lasting method is consistent across ages and cultures. Wedding tourism, that is, voyaging universally with the end goal of getting hitched or commending a wedding (Sefton-Green and Sinker, 2000) has ended up progressively mainstream lately (Loveless, 2002).

Weddings have become a commodity, providing opportunities for every host destination to plug itself as an area wherever a special life event is commemorated in Associate in an unforgettable method (Boden, 2001). According to Cunningham (1998), a UK primarily based supplier of marketing research, one in 5 United Kingdom and Northern Ireland weddings takes place abroad; between 2005 and 2010, the amount of weddings abroad exaggerated by twenty seven percent. The need to honeymoon abroad has additionally been growing, as client preference analysis discovered that the share of consumers eager to honeymoon abroad has up from fifty seven percent to seventy percent within the period from 2008 to 2010 (Mintel, 2010).

It is therefore logical to conclude that commercialization and commodification are, as previously mentioned, characteristics of capitalism. Another facet which emerges from this ideological worldview is egalitarianism and in particular its connection with globalization. Cunningham (1998) highlights that religion is the “opiate of the masses” -a way for the elites to reinforce the oppression of the lower classes. This results to class inequalities taking place on both global and local level.

According to Cunningham (1998), economically speaking, 20% of the world population is rich. This shows that 80% of the worlds wealth is controlling the economics of the world. The social effect of globalization which promotes inequality is largely due to geo political influences and the internet. Berger (1967) states that with the fast development of technologies, media and sciences comes a decay of religion and an addressing of its place in the public eye. He happens to state that religion, previously, has held the explanations for our unanswerable inquiries and offered intending to lives. Notwithstanding that our inquiries are currently replied by science and innovation then the congregation and religion is no more required. This procedure is additionally alluded to as the Rational Choice Theory (RTC) of Religion.

The influence of the internet and the meta geo politics effects different countries. For instance, if one nation (Britain) is going through the credit crunch and recession process, this affects other countries within. For example the case of the Twin tower bombings in Washington paved the way for Muslims to be viewed as terrorist not only on a local front but on a global front too.

This influenced the notion of individualism in religion, whereby members of society are somewhat forced to practice their faith behind closed doors.

2.3 Shift from social solidarity to individualism

Buckingham (2003) did an investigation of the Arunta native tribes in Australia. He found that religion has social capacities for its parts. Clements and Sarama (2003) discovered tribes treated most things as normal yet a few things were separate as taboo and move wonder. Durkheim contended these exceptional things speak to something of incredible force and in his view this can only be society. Thus worshipping these things is worshipping society, regardless of the possibility that these tribes weren’t mindful of it. Durkhiem argued that the collective consciousness of society was deteriorating and as a result, individualism has taken over.

Buckingham (2003) argues faith performs a social occasion by providing psychological support throughout times of emotional stress that may otherwise threaten social life. This shows how Religion plays a solidarity role in individuals life, by allowing them to have a sense of belonging.

Balshaw (2004) contended that Individualisation sees religion as progressively ‘a matter of individual decision’ not just as far as things like love, additionally as far as a ‘pick and blend ” approach to religions (joining together different plans and rationalities to make customized manifestations of conviction). Such individualisation advances to fulfil religious desires in circumstances where people ‘can no more depend on social foundations.

Religion is genuine for Durkhiem; it is an articulation of social order itself, and undoubtedly, there is no social order that has no religion. This shows that the standards of religion still however exist in modern society. Thus Religion is a declaration of our aggregate cognizance, which is the union of the greater part of our distinctive awareness, which then makes an actuality of its own. Along these lines without the faith in confidence we see an increment in Anomie. Where by people create a feeling of norm lessness which regularly has a pessimistic effect on their mental, physical and enthusiastic soundness. Also the development in libertarianism and independence heads a development in Def interest, which than prompts secularization and outcomes to the decay of confidence. Hence the value of egalitarianism leads to the breakdown of social solidarity whereby individualism is the core principle as appose to solidarity. As Wagner (2004) so skilfully expressed “But ultimately, modernity is about the increase of individualism and individuality.” whereby shared beliefs within ones community is not embraced through a collective consciousness but through individuality. For instance if one was invited to attend a wedding, one will only attend if the dates are suitable and fits the schedule of that particular individual.

“We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society today” Hillary Clinton, (1993) however in modern day individuals represent their own particular interest toward oneself. Collaborating just to the extent that needed by Laws, Contracts and Public opinions that constrains their actions. This is something I will explore in my research, by inspiring my interviewee’s to discuss their personal views on religion in relation to solidarity or individualism.

2.4 Classical and modern approach to sexuality

In The Transformation of Intimacy (1992) Giddens alludes to the new examples of sexuality. He contends that the radicalized modernity is converting intimacy. Sexuality has ended up unreservedly drifting. argued that sexuality in modern society is fixated with the notion of sex being freed from both reproduction and subservience to a fixed object. This is something I will investigate in my research, by eliciting my interviewee on their perception of intimacy and sex in modern era.

In Addition, several factors have begun to wear down the power of clergy in the Western world: the shortage of male priests (Hoge 1987), non-ordained women performing clerical tasks (Wallace 1992), the presence of women clergy (Lehman 1987) and the changes they have introduced (Ice 1987), declining church attendance and participation. Thus this therefore highlights how sexuality tends to play a role of a limitation rather than a strength when discussing the decline of faith in Britain. Men no longer have the only authoritarian role within the church, women are allowed to participate in such activities.

The traditional point of sexuality – Clements and Sarama (2003) discusses the traditional Chinese philosophy in understanding sexuality. She argues that the Ying and Yang example whereby both sexes complement each other, whereby Yin and yang are complementary opposites within a greater whole. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, which continuously work and act together, never existing in total stasis. However in modern era, we see the notion of Ying and Yang deteriorate dramatically due to the increase of same sex relationships. This state’s how traditionalist philosophy has perhaps extended its branches and as a result of this, Traditionalism only exists to a certain extent in the modern era philosophy, due to features of modernity where individuals take for granted the notion of “free will” and use it perhaps for selfish and material advantage as appose to spiritual and generous way of living.

Cunningham (1998) had a fixation on sex. He developed a theory of how our sexuality begins at a very young age and develops through various fixations as one gets older. Many of his theories was based on pleasure principle, which was developed because of sex. In modern society, sex pleasure is not limited to genital satisfaction.

politically speaking, sexual abusive has only in recent years been brought to the surface in modern society. Individuals who were brought up in a mechanical society, whereby women were used as sex objects, rape victims, was more or less seen as a norm.

Angela Davis argued that women of a particular ethic background was more at a disadvantage of being abused as appose to their white counter part. However due to the various policies implemented in modern society such as the 1967 act on abortion, and the sexual effect Act implemented in 2003 shows how sexuality has shifted from traditional to modernistic views. Whereby Sex cannot be used as a patriarchy act rather it is know against the law to treat Women as sex objects,

It is also important to highlight the fact that homosexuality is booming in the UK, with the gay and lesbian marriages now being legalised. Almost three-quarters of a million UK adults say they are gay, lesbian or bisexual – equivalent to 1.5% of the population, a survey suggests. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says 480,000 (1%) consider themselves gay or lesbian, and 245,000 (0.5%) bisexual. Not only does this show the shift in traditional to modern philosophy but also how the traditional notion of sex has completely and utterly been dismantled because of “new” types of sexuality.

In addition with the enhancement of medical practice and cures, doctors are now able to robot-ify the notion of reproduction through IVF and other medical procedures which kills the traditional approach to reproduce.

The holiness of marriage is dead, Goode (1971) and Gibson (1994) contend that secularization has brought about marriage getting less consecrated and to a lesser degree a profound union and even more a viable responsibility which can without much of a stretch be relinquished. Research British Affiliation association indicates that 65 per cent of marriages no longer involve a religious ceremony, so many people do not attach much religious significance to their marriages. Not to mention the increased commercialisation and commodification of sexuality through pornography and mass media communications (Hall and Thomson, 2007)

Cash based foundations advertise private enterprise; wage obliges employment, and families oblige pay. Along these lines, the economy has profound/great impacts on examples of sexuality, particularly marriage and childbearing (Gertler and Vinodrai, 2002). The family has normally/(previously) been a solid organization, underpinned by both religion and the lawful framework. It is identified with a stress that attracts regard for family capacities of help and childrearing, typical practices of dependability, and the familial lust (illegal in the public arena). Medication has ended up more critical in the creation and control of sexuality, a pattern alluded to as the medicalization of sexuality (Tiefer, 2004). Traditional society might not have the intends to take care of sexual issues, for example, sexual transmitted deceases or abortion.

Chapter Three: Methodology

This chapter describes and explains the methodology deployed in this study and at the research methods reading which informed my choice of methods. This study is a practical project of field study type.

Chapter One introduced the subject of this dissertation, i.e. to investigate the nature and impact of national and local initiatives on geography teaching in schools with ICT (Information and Communication Technology). The focus is particularly the significant factors that influence and facilitate teachers’ ability to embrace ICT and incorporate it in their geography teaching and use it with pupils. I am interested in discovering what the main barriers are to teachers who do not integrate ICT in the geography curriculum. This had to be “doable within the time, space and resources available” (Blaxter, et. al., 1999, p.25) and was refined from the early rather ambitious aims to being more focused.

There are many models of the research process, most of them devised according to a series of stages. Cohen and Manion (1994) identify eight stages of action research, which appeared rather too scientific in approach, as I was seeking to “understand individuals’ perceptions of the world” (Bell, 1999, p.7). Other representations of the research process, including one with five stages of research shown in diagrammatic form showing design, sampling, data collection, data analysis and the report are presented by Blaxter et. al. (1999, p.8). This seems to be a rather over-simplification of a long and complex process.

Johnson identifies the following “stages of activity which must be worked through in carrying out and completing an investigation” (Johnson, 1994, p.172).

  1. Establishing the focus of the study
  2. Identifying the specific objectives of the study
  3. Selecting the research method
  4. Arranging research access
  5. Developing the research instrument
  6. Collecting the data
  7. Pulling out of the investigative phase
  8. Ordering the data
  9. Analysing the data
  10. Writing up
  11. Enabling dissemination

(Johnson, 1994, p. 172)

These and other “representations of the research process” such as those presented in diagrammatic format by Blaxter et. al. are “simplifications and idealizations of the research process” (Blaxter et. al. 1999, p.7). They acknowledge that the work of researchers is “anything but linear” (Blaxter et. al. 1999, p.7). They present some other models of research, including their own preferred “research spiral” which shows the process going through “a number of cycles, the effects of each one impacting upon the way in which successive cycles are approached” (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p.10). However, Johnson’s stages have guided my research as my preferred approach is through clearly defined small steps and which fits well with the model of geographical enquiry. Johnson also moves beyond the dissertation report as being the final stage, through to dissemination of the findings, which I identified early as being an objective of the research process.

Using the Johnson model the remainder of this chapter describes and explains the methods I undertook in the ten-month period of the research.

3.1 Establishing the focus of the study

This was relatively straightforward as it stemmed from my interest in geography as a school subject and in ICT as a tool for teaching and learning. Blaxter et. al. see research as being “powerfully affected by the researchers own motivations and values” (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p.15) and this seems to be essential in order to sustain the interest over a period of time, to be able to utilise strengths and prior knowledge and for the research to be useful in my professional life.

3.2 Identifying the specific objectives of the study

Cohen and Manion (1994) identify the first stage in the research process as being identification and formulation of the “problem”. There may not always be a “problem” as such as the focus for research, but in this instance there is. The problem identified is that despite statutory curriculum requirements and government initiatives to support the development of teachers skills and to provide curriculum materials, “the use of ICT is underdeveloped” and “new technology is used effectively in geography in only three schools in three” (Ofsted, 2001a, p.1).

Traditionalism and Modernism
Traditionalism and Modernism

At about the same time as I commenced this work in January 1999, the Government announced details of NOF training (funded through proceeds from the National Lottery) as an entitlement for all teachers. This was a particularly interesting development as it raised expectations for the integration of ICT in geography teaching and I decided that NOF training would become the focus for my research. The geography support team of Staffordshire Local Education Authority, of which I am one of two officers, was encouraged to bid for approved training provider status working in partnership with the School of Computing at Staffordshire University. The bid was successful and Staffordshire ICT for Teachers (SIfT) initially became a regional provider of geography ICT training for the NOF initiative and subsequently became a national provider, attracting teachers from schools all over England. Johnson advises that it is important to “attempt to define specific objectives in advance” and this development provided me with the trigger to assist in “identifying particular objectives” including help with “choosing the research method and deciding on the forms of access needed” (Johnson, 1994, p. 173).

Background reading and the literature review was an on-going process. Initial reading influenced “formation of research objectives” (Johnson, 1994, p.173) but new official reports were published during my research, specifically by Ofsted (2001b) and Teacher Training Agency, (2001), which had a significant impact on my work, predominantly to reinforce my own findings, so reading continued throughout the research period. In the literature review I have attempted to “provide the reader with a picture …. of the state of knowledge and of major questions in the subject area being investigated” (Bell, 1999, p.93).

3.3 Selecting the research method

Guided by Johnson (1994, p. 174) I found that selecting the research methods was a “crucial element” in the research process. I decided to use a variety of complementary research methods which were largely qualitative through interviews with teachers and observations and examination of documentary evidence in order to form case studies, but with some initial quantitative research to gather background evidence of teachers’ experience and attitudes, in order to set the scene.

Case studies were used to “follow up and to put flesh on the bones” (Bell, 1999, p.11) of the initial survey and to examine “participants’ perceptions and judgements” (Simons, 1996, p.229). Although case study research has had its critics in the past, it is “now widely accepted as a form of research” (Simons, 1996, p.225) and fits my objectives of investigating how individual geography teachers view the use of ICT in their teaching and how they are supported or otherwise in their schools. The notion of the “paradox of case study” is introduced by Simons (1996, p. 225) who claims “by studying the uniqueness of the particular, we come to understand the universal” Simons (1996, p. 231).

Johnson (1994, p.183) notes that “qualitative methods are slow” and indeed visiting six schools to interview eight teachers, was a time-consuming process, but one which I felt was worth pursuing in order to obtain a better illustration of the varied nature of the schools and to reflect the individual perceptions and experiences of the teachers during their NOF training.

3.4 Arranging research access

Through my work as Geography Adviser and as a member of the NOF Approved Training Provider, SIfT, I was “totally enmeshed in the subject” of my research and “an active participant” (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p. 11). My close involvement is significant because it explains how I gained access to the teachers I interviewed and provided relatively easy access to geography teachers. I gave out questionnaires to teachers embarking on their NOF training with SIfT during the period September 2000 to April 2001. This work has been “affected by the researcher’s own motivations and values” (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p.15) although it does not aim to investigate the quality of a single training provider, the SIfT schedule and materials, but the wider impact of strategies and initiatives. This research therefore is as “open and transparent as possible” (Blaxter et. al, 1999, p.16). The sample of teachers is small, all undertaking their NOF training with SIfT but broadly representative of geography teachers from a range of schools, as shown in Chapter Four. Retrospectively, it could have been possible to include a school in this study which had not started NOF training yet, in order to make comparisons with those who had.

3.5 Developing the research instrument

Three main research instruments were used during this work. An initial survey questionnaire was given to teachers embarking on their NOF training with SIfT. The questionnaire evolved after being trialled with a teacher who was not part of the sample. Bell (1999) provides sound common-sense advice on designing and administering questionnaires. The questionnaire was designed to be quick and easy for teachers to complete, with several questions involving a choice of tick boxes, with a minimum amount of written response required. Twenty-nine questionnaires were returned, so it was a relatively small sample. The sample was a “non-probability sample” (Cohen and Manion, 1994, p.88) with the participants selected for “convenience” as they attended initial “face-to-face” training days at the start of their SIfT training. Most of the respondents completed the questionnaire during their training day and returned it at the end of the day, thus maximising the return with minimal inconvenience to the teachers.

The data from the returned questionnaires was collated and analysed and the findings can be found in Chapter Four. The questionnaire was designed to “gather data at a particular point in time with the intention of describing the nature of existing conditions”, (Cohen and Manion, 1994, p.83). From this initial questionnaire a small sample of teachers was identified who would be “prepared to complete a more detailed questionnaire in 4 – 6 months time” which would form the basis of the more detailed case studies.

The next stage was undertaking the research to form the case studies. I visited each of the six schools and conducted a prolonged interview based on another, more detailed questionnaire with one or two members of the geography department. I support the view that “a major advantage of the interview is its adaptability” (Bell, 1999, p.135) and each interview was “semi-structured”, although based on the same questionnaire schedule, differed according to the responses of the teachers involved and their experiences set against different school contexts.

Traditionalism and Modernism Dissertation
Traditionalism and Modernism Dissertation

As part of the background to the school, reference was also made to the most recent Ofsted report available for the school. In most of the case study schools an examination was made of pupils’ work using ICT and in some cases informal lesson observations were undertaken during these visits. These were used to provide a recognised context for the case study and to draw some conclusions with Ofsted’s annual subject report.

3.6 Collecting the data

Questionnaires were distributed to and collected from teachers at the start of their NOF training, from September 2000 to April 2001. It was important to gauge the experiences of teachers prior to the start of their NOF training in order to gather information to provide the background to the case studies. The initial questionnaire was confidential, but teachers who were offering to take part in a follow-up questionnaire and school visit were invited to give their names. Anonymity in the report was promised and respected. The questionnaires provided a mixture of data. Some of the data was subsequently analysed in a quantitative way, largely to do with the background and experience of the teachers and the ICT resources which they had experience of. Other data, to do with perceptions of ICT in geography and the NOF training was more qualitative.

The fieldwork period took place in May and June 2001 and was a “distinct and discrete phase of the investigation” (Johnson, 1994, p.177). During this time visits were made to six schools, and eight teachers were interviewed based on the follow-up questionnaire and some classroom observations and scrutiny of pupils’ work were also undertaken. The interviews were used to gather information about teachers’ experiences and opinions of NOF and provision of ICT support in school and their plans for the future with regard to ICT developments. These visits took place four to eight months after teachers had started their NOF training, so that the case studies could start to examine the impact of the training. The interviews, classroom observations and Ofsted reports provided more detailed qualitative data used to form the case studies, which can be read in Chapter Four.

3.7 Pulling out of the investigative phase

The fieldwork period was a most significant part of the research and the part in which I found I was “investing most in the study, by way of time and personal involvement” (Johnson, 1994, p. 177). I tried to avoid the “open-ended period of data collection” (Johnson, 1994, p. 178) as I intended to include six case studies from the start. However, because this stage was arguably the most interesting and rewarding, it was tempting to visit more schools, although this was impossible because of time constraints. Each visit lasted on average three hours, which included a general tour of the geography department, the interview, classroom observation and talking to pupils.

The research was intentionally undertaken during teachers’ involvement in significant professional development, as this was critical to the issue. However, some schools were still at an early stage in their development of ICT in geography and in School C, Teacher 5 said “Come back in January and see what we have done then” when developments would be further embedded in practice. This is a frustration of small-scale research, which in some ways never seems complete.

3.8 Ordering the data

All the questionnaires were “collated and classified” and kept for subsequent analysis and held on file even after the research was complete so that the researcher was “prepared to be accountable for the investigations” (Johnson, 1994, p.179). Field notes were written up based on the interviews and classroom observations.

3.9 Analysing the data

The data collected from the questionnaires and school visits form much of the substance of Chapter Four, to help evaluate the specific experience of some teachers in order to make generalisations. The tension between the study of the unique and the need to generalise is necessary to reveal both the unique and the universal and the unity of that understanding (Simmons, 1996, p.238).

The findings from my research are compared to findings from my background reading and of official reports from Ofsted and TTA, to avoid the weakness noted by Johnson that in many dissertations “little use is made of the data collected in the eventual discussion of the thesis topic” (Johnson, 1994, p. 179). The initial questionnaires were analysed and the data is presented in Chapter Four in statistical and tabular format where appropriate. This is compared with research from elsewhere, especially with findings from Ofsted and TTA. The data collected from interviews and classroom observations during school visits form the basis of the case studies partly though quotations from teachers and to make recommendations which can be found in Chapter Five.

3.10 Writing up

The aim of this stage was so that “the overall conclusions or ‘message’ of the research be summarized in an assimilable and memorable form” (Johnson, 1994, p. 179) and to communicate “the researchers empirical experience” to a wider audience (Johnson, 1994, p. 180). The case studies in Chapter Four are “ideally suited to the needs and resources of the small-scale researcher” (Blaxter et. al., 1999, p.66).

3.11 Enabling dissemination

It was important to research an aspect of education that was topical and relevant to today’s teachers. It was an important part of the research process that the findings and particularly the recommendations are made available to a wider audience of teachers through my work as Adviser and as a member of the Geographical Association’s ICT Working Group. Consequently some of the findings, results and conclusions will be used on courses. I feel that I have a “duty to make dissemination possible” (Johnson, 1994, p. 180) to the rest of the SIfT Geography team in order to influence future developments and strategies.

Chapter 4 – Findings and Analysis

In this chapter the results of the data analysis are presented. The data were collected and then processed in response to the problems posed in chapter1 of this dissertation. Three fundamental goals drove the collection of the data and the subsequent data analysis. The findings presented in this chapter demonstrate those goals were to develop a base of knowledge about the relationship between the individual and their own faith in modern society. Their interpretation of the scared holidays such as Christmas and Eid. And their personal views on sexuality and faith. These objectives were accomplished.

One of the first inquiries for my Investigation is to see whether you belong with a religious affiliation? My outcomes uncovered larger part of my members had a place with a religious association. However during my semi structured interview, I came across a candidate who was atheist in their views of the manifestation of the divine. This highlighted a slight increase as non-religious believers in UK. As stated by the 2001 consensus In the UK, the individuals who portray themselves as non-religious have climbed from 31% to half between 1983 and 2009 as stated by the British Social Attitudes Survey’s 28th report issued in 2011.

The data reported in this project during my focus group method, suggested that participants were only answering the question based on what their fellow group members would answers were. During my focus group interview I found that only one participant agreed to belong to a religious affiliation. However when leading my semi structured interview, I found that my members were more calm in noting my inquiries in a truthful way without needing to stress over different members replies. This brought about my information to overflow legitimacy.

Furthermore when asking my participants, weather they attend a place of worship. I found that throughout my centre gathering strategy, members non-verbal communication were unbelievably unfriendly with dubious answers, for example, “as often as one can attend”. Applicant B, throughout the focus group interviews included “I attend my place of worship because I am born into a faith and therefore I must practice by it”. This explanation specifically highlighted to me how maybe the more established era have neglected to install in the more youthful era the exclusive explanations for the importance of heading into a place of worship.

What was staggering is when asked the same inquiry throughout my semi structured interview, participants were more quiet into going in-profundity with their replies. Applicant D for example said “I attend my place of worship because it is a part of my identity, tradition and history. It provides a sense of solidarity within the community and family and gives us a sense of belonging “. Needless to say, the general contention here to highlight is the way that 75 percent of my participants concluded up in not having attended a place of worship. What’s more, when asked what relatives are less averse to go to a place of worship, majority of my participants addressed the elderly parts of the house hold. The older generation are more religious than the youthful ones; ‘for many young individuals, disengaged conviction is, progressively, offering path to no conviction whatsoever’ (Davie, 1990: 462).

This indeed highlights how the more seasoned era who have existed by their Faiths standards and customs, principles and ethics as pair to the new era who fit in with the post illumination period have diverse perspectives on attending a place of worship.

Moreover, the commodification of religion was highlighted throughout my research. When my participants were asked why they attended a place of worship, candidate A answered” was only a result of a special occasion such as Holi” . This demonstrated to me to what degree commodification has really occurred in advanced time. Christmas and Holi are holy days which have obscure philosophical implications which happened to be obfuscated because of the strengths of a free market system and consumerism. Whereby everything including religious, occupation, wellbeing, and training is utilized as a product to upgrade capital for public opinion

Interestingly, a census completed by the Yougov in walk 2012 in the interest of the British Humanitarian Association demonstrated most individuals in Britain (63%) had not attended a place of worship, 43% of individuals attended a place of worship over a year ago and 20% of individuals had never attended. Only 9% of people had attended a place of worship within the last week. Furthermore statistics collected by the National Centre for Social Research in 2009, showed membership of most religions is lower now than it was 30 years ago.

Question 5 in my research was revolved around identity and what element helps the essentialness of their character (religion, family, occupation, training) . Throughout the focus group discussion, all the members said either Family or Education was a number one necessity in their lives. However not one member picked religion as an essential element that shapes their character. Similarly when conducting my semi structured interview, the same results were presented to me in contrast to focus groups . Greater part of the members said “occupation” as their component which shapes their character. Candidate A discussed how ” imperative it was for them to have a better quality of life therefore, working would be the only solution. I can buy all the things I want too”. This fortified Durkhiem belief system of independence. Whereby individuals in the public arena today is really so self image orientated. the “I” is more essential than “we”. Realism over rides mysticism in current.

The third aim of my research was focused around the traditional and modern principles of sexuality. With a recent report stating that 4 out of 10 marriages are expected to end in divorce (Morrison, 2002). This could be said to show a declining importance of religious morals and beliefs in people’s lives. At the point when participants were requested their opinion on “sex before marriage”. The effects of this was shocking without a doubt with 99 percent of my members concurred with the idea of having intercourse before marriage. Only one participant did not agree with this thought.

What was much all the more amazing, is that the discourse changed from sex before marriage to what the Holy religious scriptures sayings were in reference to sexuality. This demonstrated to me, that my members were completely mindful of the conventional perspective of sexuality, then again they pick not to pay heed to that. It is as though Faith has not part in Modernity.

When asking participants whether religion is a big part of their everyday life? is it a private or public matter? Focus groups, outcomes demonstrated a large portion of my members concurred with religion being an imperative part of their lives, in any case they included that religion in particular a private matter. This to me highlights the idea of independence existing in modern society. It doesn’t however indicate that there has been a decrease in religion but instead we immerse ourselves into the modern era, we accumulate characteristics of the modernity in order for us to fit in within society.

Semi structured interviews showed 100 percent of my members concurred with religion being a private matter. Applicants and B and C went further on by examining how the global forces have impacted their choice in making religion as a private matter. Candidate B utilized the illustration of the 9/11 bombings making it perilous for Muslims to stroll around out in the open because of generalization.

Chapter 5: Conclusion

On the basis of the above discussions, it can be concluded that the principles of modernity have played an important role in order to contribute to the decline of faith in Britain. It is also concluded that the traditional principles are getting obsolete in a contemporary society and people living within the society are more likely to adopt the modern way of living. The present era is the era of materialism and all goods and services are transformed into commodities for sale which also includes healthcare, religion, education, personal identity and in some cases happiness and people are very less likely to emphasize on the social norms and traditions (Short, 2003). The people nowadays are measuring prosperity in monetary terms and it is considered to be the ultimate goal to a successful and meaningful life. According to Clements (2010), the emphasis of materialism in the modern era is due to decline of faith and misconceptions about the religion and people are not following the religious values which is very alarming situation. This can be understood from the fact that attendance in the churches is continuously decreasing in many countries of the world (Calthorpe and William, 2001). It is not only very common in the developed nations like United Kingdom but it is emerging in the under developed countries. One of the main reasons behind this is faith has come to mean an acceptance of creedal truths as objective facts and the religious scholars are not successful in convincing people about God’s existence. There are significant percentage of people who believe that existence of God is an Illusionary thing. Religion also has been used by the elites in order to exploit the lower classes which are creating inequalities both at the global and local level. This is more common in those countries where the literacy rate is low and people don’t have necessary awareness about their rights. The lack of awareness regarding the individual rights results in exploitation which is also harmful for the society. Although there is no religion in this world which allows exploitation of the people, however, the negative use of religion is also common in some parts of the world.

The recent development of technologies, sciences and media has also contributed significantly in order to reduce the interest of the people in religion. The strong confidence of the people on science and technological progress has decreased their faith on religion. The people living in different parts of the world have started believing that religion has nothing to do with the modern society. However, it is a fact that religion plays an important role in order to bring peace and comfort in the people life by allowing them to have a strong sense of belonging. It has been used by the people in order to improve their quality of life and bring prosperity in the society by following the ethical and moral standards. On the basis of the discussions which are made in the literature review chapter, it is also concluded that in the present era, there is a strong shift from social solidarity to individualism. This shows that instead of thinking about the over the overall society, the people are more concerned about their individual benefits. Although the standard of religion still exists in the society, however, people all over the world are not following the religious values or standards in order to spend their life. It is a fact that few decades back religion was considered one of the most important factors that can help to transform the life of the people. However, in the present world, there is a slight increase in the non religious believers in the UK and all over the world. The individuals who claim themselves as non-religious are increasing and there are very few people who are ready to show their religious affiliations.

The discussions made in the research findings chapter helps to explain that older generation were more religious than the youthful ones and if necessary measures are not taken in order to increase the religious affiliations of the people then after few years there will be very small percentage of people who will claim themselves as religious. According to Ofsted (2009), nothing is more dangerous than the elimination of religious values from the society. The discussion reflects that there are very few people nowadays who believe that religion is an important element that shapes their character and help to improve their life. The high modernity in the society is as a result of capitalism and industrialization and it is more likely to reorder to natural and social world. This helps to understand that there will be a strong impact of capitalism and industrialization on the society (Short, 2003). It is also concluded that due to capitalist and industrial development, people are more concerned about movement of goods and capital and there is a strong decline on faith and on the traditional forms of society. The research objective of providing a philosophical and historical understanding of Traditionalism and Modernism has been achieved through the discussions which are made in various sections of the dissertation. The discussions made in the literature review chapter reflect that few decades back people had deeper respect for long held cultural and religious values and these values were considered to be an important part of the society. Therefore, people were more traditional and prefer to adopt the traditional values. However, in the modern era, there is a criticism on traditionalism and majority of the researchers believe that traditional values restricted both individual freedom and the pursuit of happiness (Ofsted, 2009). This increases the importance of modernism and it has motivated the people to follow the modern values, norms and traditions.

The proponents of modernism believes that in order to grow in the society, exploit the economic opportunities in an effective manner and achieve the desired level of economic growth and prosperity, it is essential to follow the modern values because the traditional methods and values are no longer effective in the modern society (Clements, 2010). There is a common perception that traditional values were more effective in the past and the present world demands implementation of the modern values. However, there are also some researchers who believe that it is important to have a combination of modern and traditional values because both values have significant importance in improving the overall society (Stark and Laurence, 1992). The research objective of assessing how commercialization and commodification have resulted in the decline of religiosity also has been achieved. The discussion made under the literature view section of the research shows that in the modern era of globalization and capitalism, the different societies of the world are more focused on commercialization and there is a strong decline of religiosity. One of the main reasons behind this is everything in the present era has been commercialized and people have started believing that implementation of the religious values could create hurdles in the growth and development of the society. This opinion is not correct because religion always have an important role in order to meet the needs and requirements of the humans and society (Richard, 1978).

References

Balshaw, M. (2004). “Risking creativity: building the creative context”.Support for Learning 19 (2): 71-76.

Buckingham, D. (2003). “Living in a young country?: youthful creativity and cultural Policy in the United Kingdom”. Youth Cultures: Texts, Images and Identities. Eds. K. Mallan and S. Pearce. Westport Conneticut, London: Praeger: 92-107.

Clements, D. H. and Sarama, J. (2003). “Strip mining for gold: Research and policy in educational technology – A Response to “Fool’s Gold” EducationalTechnology Review 11 (1): 7-69.

Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., Eccleston, K. (2004). Learning Styles and Pedagogy in Post-16 learning. London: Learning and Skills Research Centre.

Cunningham, H. (1998). ‘Digital Culture – the view from the dance Floor’ in Digital Diversions: Youth Culture in the Age of Multimedia. Ed. Sefton-Green, J. London: UCL Press: 128-148.

Gertler, M. S., Florida, R. Gates, G. and Vinodrai, T. (2002). Competing on Creativity: Placing Ontario’s Cities in North American Context. Report prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Enterprise, Opportunity and Innovation and the Institute of Competitiveness and Prosperity. Ontario, Canada.

Hall, C. and Thomson, P. (2007). “Creative Partnerships? Cultural policy and inclusive arts practice in one primary school.” British Educational Research Journal 33 (3): 315 – 329.

Loveless, A. M. (2002). Literature Review in Creativity, New Technologies and Learning. NESTA Futurelab.

Scanlon, M., Buckingham, D. and Burn, A. (2005). “Motivating Maths: Digital Games and Mathematical Learning”. Technology, Pedagogy and Education 14 (1): 127-139.

Sefton-Green, J. and Sinker, R Eds. (2000). Evaluating Creativity: making and learning by young people. London and New York: Routledge.

Thomson, P. and Hall, C (2006) Seminar presentation, Centre for the Study of Children Youth and Media, January 16th 2006. Vygotsky, L.S. (1978) Mind in Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Click Here To View Sociology Dissertation Topics

Discrimination Human Rights

Is discrimination ever tolerable? When should discrimination become a human rights issue?

If one had to explain what exactly discrimination is, in the context of mutual human relations, one could simply say that it is an action in which an individual is treated unfairly in comparison with another person, under similar circumstances. But the issue is far more complex than could be expressed so briefly as there are many forms of discrimination, both direct and indirect. While defining discrimination in plain and simple language would not be possible,  it can be stated that discrimination becomes noticeable only when a person is unjustifiably excluded from an activity or expelled completely from a group of people; and after it becomes noticeable it also becomes a human rights issue and needs to be dealt with seriously.

While unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people can be termed as discriminatory and illegal, it certainly does not mean that discrimination is always unlawful. Two common examples of justified discrimination are affirmative action and varying height requirements for men and women who wish to be part of the Police Force. This kind of discrimination is, in fact, aimed at ironing out the existing inequalities. Affirmative action is used to give opportunities to already underrepresented groups. Similarly, having different height requirements for men and women means women are given an equal chance to be part of the Police Force.

There are instances where discrimination becomes absolutely essential and if not practiced there is a serious risk of causing harm to one or more persons. One would not expect a blind person or a person with limited vision to be issued with a driver’s license. The act of discriminating against him in this case, is crucial in ensuring his own safety and the safety of people on the road. In other words, discrimination against people with some kind of physical or mental disability becomes vital when it means putting them in life endangering situations. Similarly, one would not hire a person with learning disabilities to teach school children. One needs someone who can effectively teach the students and that would be impossible in this case. Discrimination in cases where a person is considered to be unqualified for a particular job should not actually be regarded as discrimination at all. If a person is not qualified for a particular profession or job, there might be many other opportunities that fit perfectly with their skills and expertise.

Discrimination in Society

Instances of justifiable gender discrimination can be seen in society and are definitely not considered to be wrong. A woman is treated with love and affection by her boyfriend. He would not do the same with one of his male friends, (if he’s heterosexual) and this is not discriminatory at all. Justifiably, a man with a terminal disease would either be unable to get health insurance or get it at a very high rate. A person who gets pulled over for driving drunk a couple of times, may get his license revoked and this is definitely rational discrimination.

The only negative side to defending certain forms of discrimination is that sometimes the line between the benefits and harms of discrimination is somewhat distorted. What seems right at the time from every logical angle may eventually turn out to be discriminatory in the future. In many ancient societies women were rarely allowed outside the house; they were considered to be weak and mentally less capable and therefore, not fit to do things other than household chores. At that time this was considered to be the norm but today it comes under gender-based discrimination. The only rational way to decide on an issue like this is to consider whether the particular discrimination has more benefits or harms and to decide accordingly.

Generally, discrimination becomes illegal when it is carried out in respect of a person (persons) belonging to a specific social group. If one doesn’t hire a mentally challenged person for a teaching job that would not be discrimination but if one excludes him simply because he is Asian, it definitely comes under discrimination. If this happens in rare instances, the said individual could always find a job elsewhere but if it becomes a general practice in society, whereby the person is unable to find a job anywhere, it is social discrimination. This means a personal dislike for a certain social group cannot always be fought against; every human being has the right to have likes and dislikes. However, if this dislike is so widespread in society that it affects a person’s right to a normal life, it is clearly discrimination.

Even in cases where the intention was not to discriminate, if the final outcome is the exclusion of a particular group and unequal opportunities for them, it will still be called discrimination. For example, if there is the same height requirement for men and women who wish to enter the army, this would mean fewer women would get in. If this gender inequality is present in other parts of society as well, then it means fewer employment opportunities for women and therefore, it is definitely discriminatory even if the intent was not there.

There are certain factors that are uncontrollable and therefore, being discriminated against on account of these factors is completely unjustified and unlawful. For example, one has no control over the color of one’s skin or one’s country of origin. Discrimination based on these factors, is thus all the more unfair.

There are five main factors which are used to discriminate against individuals. Discrimination against people from a particular race or a certain ethnic background is the most common one. Treating a person unfairly because of his/her sexual preferences is another. Using a person’s religion or belief system against him in a way where he is denied equal opportunities and is unable to profess his beliefs is also wrong. Age-based discrimination, whether it is because the person is too young or too old is still unjust. The last is unfavorable treatment of people with disabilities, both in employment and in general dealing.

Discrimination
Discrimination

Most countries in the world have some form of legislation to deal with cases of discrimination. The people of New Zealand, for example are protected against discrimination in a number of different areas in accordance with the Human Rights Act 1993 and with United Nations conventions. Similarly, the Employment and Industrial Relations Act (2002) completely prohibits discrimination in the workplace. Federal law prohibits discrimination based on (but not limited to) race, sex, religion, disability or age and yet it is only the state of Michigan and 6 other cities that have actually imposed a ban on discriminating against hiring people who are overweight. It is understandable if obese persons are unable to perform their duties but to overlook them simply because they don’t look good is completely unwarranted. The Citizens Medical Center in Texas only hires people with a body mass index less than 35. They claim that the intent is to hire people who appear normal and therefore do not attract attention to themselves. The policy clearly goes against the federal law on discrimination. Certain companies refrain from hiring smokers which is justifiable considering the side effects of the habit and the consequent higher health insurance premiums for such people. However, any form of physical appearance, which does not hinder the person from performing his work efficiently, cannot be used to discriminate against him. Appearance discrimination indicates intolerance towards the physical appearance of people which is completely and totally unjustified.

There are several courses of action that can be taken by a person who is being discriminated against. Going to court is one option but before going to the court one can also file a complaint with one of the several government bodies. These include the Industrial Tribunal  (under the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, 2002), the National Commission for Persons with Disability (under the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act) , the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality for Men and Women  (under the Equality for Men and Women Act), the Public Service Commission (under the constitution of Malta), the Ombudsman (under the Ombudsman Act), the Broadcasting Authority (under the Constitution of Malta), and the Employment Commission (under the Constitution of Malta) .

In order for the authorities to take action, the complaint must be made by the victim himself. Legal Notice 461 0f 2004 and Legal Notice 85 of 2007 however, allows people or organizations with a legitimate interest in the case, to support the individual in judicial or administrative procedures, with his permission. By law, the National Commission for Persons with Disability has the power to assist such people. The assistance could be of a financial or legal nature or it could simply be help in writing the complaint. The Commissioner for the Promotion of Equality is empowered under Article 11 of the Equal Treatment of Persons Order, to investigate the matter and to take necessary steps if the complainant needs help in formulating the complaint itself.

Under the Employment and Industrial Relations Act, if there is a case where an employee has been dismissed without due cause or if there is any other violation under Title 1 of this Act, the matter will be transferred to the Industrial Tribunal for a decision, following a referral made by the complainant or someone acting on his behalf.

Conclusion

To conclude it needs to be emphasized that the defining factors in the act of discrimination change with time. What we consider a normal act today, might become discriminatory in the not-too-distant future. However, discriminatory actions against certain individuals or a particular group have far-reaching consequences and therefore cannot be taken lightly. Steps have to be taken to regulate society through effective legislation and through regulatory bodies that can take action against individuals or parties that are guilty of such discrimination.

Click Here To View Sociology Dissertation Topics

Corporate Strategy Sony Corporation

Corporate Strategy Sony Corporation

Sony is a multinational corporation comprising of other corporations engaged in different businesses that fall under one corporate structure. According to Cooper and Glazer (2010) it involves a parent company and subsidiaries, the parent company in this case was started in Konan, Minato, Tokyo, Japan, it’s considered to the largest media conglomerate with revenues estimated to be more than $ 267.1 in 2011 fiscal year. The company’s business corporation include Sony corporations (electronics), Sony financial services, Sony pictures (movies& music) and Sony computer entertainment. Sony also produces communication items and video games for it customers and professional market (Byars 1991). This report is written on Corporate Strategy Sony Corporation.

Vision

To create exciting new digital entertainment experiences for consumers by bringing together cutting-edge products with latest generation content and services.

Mission

To develop a wide range of innovative products and multimedia services that challenge the way consumer’s access and enjoy digital entertainment. The level of saturation within the electronics industry is placing huge difficulties and pressures on Sony in achieving long term competitive advantage. However, The Sony Corporation appears to be striving, achieving record growth to the point where analysts have said it could become the world’s largest electronics industry with time. The purpose of this paper is to understand what origins have driven the success of the Sony organisation. Incorporated within this document: first the paper delves into a brief history of Sony Corporation and then into the description and application of strategic analytical tools. Finally it will provide conclusion to the findings.

Background to Sony Corporation

Sony Company was started by two electrical engineers geniuses Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita in Japan the year 1946.they were concerned with what the company was to make and how it would be made (McCurry 2008). Their advice was used in production of transistors which they pioneered in its invention. Sony research and development is different from those of other companies with its great flexibility in its essence. Sony is still a Japanese company traditionally. Employment is lifetime with strategy creating values being observed strongly through employee actions. Instead of fringe benefits and bonuses for superior achievements, employees are given status through awards (crystal award). There is also the strong seniority system such as the mentor and apprentice relationship that’s typical of Japanese firm. Strategy formation is considered a collective behaviour.

Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantage is a description of how an organization is able to achieve success over her competitors. This strategy aims at giving customers quality services unlike the ones offered by the competitors that enable the given organization to earn a high average return in terms of profits (Byars 1991).  The competitive strategy should be in line with the organization’s goals and a true reflection of the market where the given organization is situated. It is defined as “delivering superior value to customers and in doing so earning an above average return for the company and its stakeholders”. Potters (1998) states ‘Competitive advantage is achieved whenever you do something better than the competition’ (Capron & Glazer 1987).  Porter goes on to suggest in his work that competitive advantage “grows out of the value a firm is able to create for its buyers that exceeds the firms cost of creating it”. (Kotler 1998). Competitive advantage should support organisational strategy and reflect key market capabilities

Internal analysis

This is the internal organization of the business and how it operates including the factors that affect its smooth operation (Kotler & Schlesinger 1991). Sony being the world largest electronic manufacture since 1946 it engages in research and development for it to maintain its leading position in the market. Sony global (2010) states that the electronic business sector is currently Sony’s cash cow representing 65% of the total revenues. In this segment, two products are vital: TVs (25% of the electronics revenues) and digital and video cameras (21% of the revenue). According to Data monitor, the global consumer electronics market grew by 4% in 2008 to reach a value of $267.2 billion. In 2013, the global consumer electronics market is forecast to have a value of $306.1 billion; therefore research on this area will be pivotal in market share command. This business sector employs world class marketing tactics and skills thus making Sony an international mega brand. At this stage to answer what make the electronics sector such a successful world class business unit in the selected market of China we will look at:

Accounting ratio analysis

Accounting ration analysis is the ratio that is mostly used to evaluate the relationships that exist among the financial statement items. These ratios are used to come up with the trends within a given period of time for a given company and to compare the performance of two or more companies. With theses ratios one would be able to know the success of an organization. Financial statement analysis looks into the liquidity of a business, the profitability, and its solvency (Capron & Glazer 1987).

Corporate Strategy Sony
Corporate Strategy Sony

In the year 2011 Sony electronics operating profit margin accounting ratio in China market was 0.018 (0.045 in the year 2010), return to shareholder equity was 0.006 (0.007 in 2010) while total asset return was 0.002(0.002 in 2010).the high investment rate does not correspond to the business sectors profitability. These poor results show that aspects of the electronic sector had not been managed well in China thus making it hard to achieve average even returns.

Financial resources

Financial resources are concerned with the operations of an organization that make it realize the profits and its strategic goals (Johnson & Scholes 1993). Sony electronic net sales in China for 2011were $21 billion (3% higher than in 2010).however $0.49 billion earned in 2011 as operating income represents a 40% decrease compared to 2010.this is an indication that Sony electronics in China has been eroded significantly.

Organization design and structure

Organizational structure is a form of management in an organization that aims at bringing together the people in the given organization, information and technology. This integration is aimed at making the organization achieve its goals. Through the designing process, most organizations are able to work towards the profitability of the organization. Nevertheless, the design process is an internal change with the facilitation of an external person (Johnson & Scholes 1993).  The management and the employees need to work together to understand the organization’s needs and creating systems to meet those needs in the most effective manner.

With immense and increasing growth in China, Sony electronics employed the Strategic Business Unit way of the multi-division structure to institutionalize and implement its diversification structure. The electronic sector is divided into four SBU (cameras & camcorders, TV, Stereos &radios and VCR & DVD) which are further divided into smaller functional units known as divisions. This functional division are sub related yet different in commonality. This SBU financial and strategic controlled are exercised at the headquarters of Sony electronics in China.

Physical resources

Physical resources are skills such as in the buildings, technology, and other skills that enable the organization’s work to be simple (Cooper 2000). Sony electronics despite its infrastructure in china it still continues to invest heavily in the same infrastructure so as to meet its ever growing customer needs and demand in china. Like in 2009 Sony electronics acquired Chinese based companies Xing Electricals and Guangzhou Electricals Appliances Company in 2010.by 2011 Sony electronics owned 14 manufacturing plants in china, this was after seeing the closure of 3 in the northern part of the country.

Technological resources

Technological resources are the resources that use technology that is applied by an organization to ensure that the delivery of its services is effective and make it gain a competitive advantage. Sony electronic was first in areas such as camcorders, Trinitron, walkman and robot dog in china. The company is advanced technologically than its competitors in china e.g. its DVD offer high performance with new features like record and play making possible complex effects such as viewing oneself while seeing on TV from the DVD in 3 D form. Sony TV also has new features. Above this Sony electronics is capable of leveraging its competitor’s ability well and ahead to create high quality electrical appliances for china’s customer base and it market at large.

Human resource management

Human resource management is the function within the organization that is concerned with the recruitment, management and giving the directions for the employees. It moreover deals with issues such as compensation of employees, hiring, performance management, organizational development administration and training. All these functions relate to the smooth functioning of the organization in service delivery and hence need to be managed in the most efficient manner (Kolter & Schlesinger 1991).

Sony electrical china website stresses that the development and vitality of Sony employees in china drives dynamic growth for Sony electrical. At the moment Sony electrical offers training to it employees for them to be superior in quality production of electrical appliances. Curriculums tailored to local Chinese managers are being provided by Sony electrical in the china region. Sony electronics in china has the ability to identify high calibre managers to take managerial posts for the company sector in china to continue being well managed and innovative culture proliferated business sector.

For these Sony electronics employees in china are recognized and awarded for their outstanding and good performance. This makes Sony electronics human resource management in the china market capable of motivating it employees thus improving productivity of its staff.

Reputation resources

Reputation of resources is one of the strategies in an organization. Public relations are important in the ever changing world and that the way the organization engages with the public is important. This can be through the use of social media that is finding its way into the market.  Reputation resource management makes it possible that the information about an organization is accessible by the public in the most efficient manner such as the use of media and online resources (Johnson & Scholes 1993).

Sony electronics china has the reputation as the best managed company in the region. In 2011 it was proclaimed as china’s largest consumer electronic company a significant media industry player and the fast growing TV maker in china. In short Sony electrical china is one of china’s most recognizable and trusted brands.

Risk management

Risk management is an important tool in the planning of most business organizations. This process reduces the occurrence of certain kinds of events that might affect the organization. This process involves identifying, assessing and giving more priorities to a variety of risks. Once the risks are known, then the risk manager has to minimize its occurrence.  Depending on the type of risk identified, there are a variety of strategies to be applied. Risk standards can be developed by an organization or the organization can use the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The risk here includes pure risk and price risk.fpr pure risk, for Sony electronics to be successful in the China market then it must be able to take into consideration the various measures of risk management and standards. They need to purchase insurance policies to mitigate them. Price risk will be mitigated by the use of foreign exchange forward contracts and currency swap agreements.

Summary

The internal analysis of the Sony organization has been important in establishing the internal problems within the organization and trying to solve them with an intention of the smooth running of the organization.

Value Chain Analysis

Customer Value Chain Analysis is concerned with the customers and the stakeholders, taking into view their value “propositions” and their relationship to the development of the automobile industry products. Research shows that the definition of a product is vital to providing quality products for the customers. Understanding the various stakeholders involved in the product chain too is vital in the successful production of a product (McCurry 2008).

Together they form value chain analysis. Cost and assets are attached to each activity in the value chain. The cost behaviour depends on a number of causal factors known as cost drivers.

Inbound logistics

In this case Sony electronics in the china market will engage third parties in the production of complex in bound logistics. Sony electronics engaged Ziang a china company in the production of its products components so that Sony electronics will continue being a leading and challenging player in the china market. Sony electronics will have to transfer its production to china to make use of the available cheap labour cost thus making managing complex and regionally spread inbound logistics activities of Sony electrical strengths.

Operations

Sony electronics business will range in china will range to different provinces in Chinese market. Sony electronics production spreads from Europe, Asia and ameerica.teh details can be summarized as: 1) Total annual production for 2011 in electronics, 30% was sold in the Chinese market, 2) Asia excluding china and Japan was responsible for 20% of total annual production, and 3) U.S, Africa and Europe accounted for the rest. Sony electrical though will face and still faces  duplication off products thus making it unable to address inter-operative linked issues which is a cause of alarm which create the company’s sector weakness.

Outbound logistics

Sony electronics in the china market will have to be well connected to the channels of distribution that every country has. Outbound logistics will have to be automated to track movements of finished electronics and the payments made for such electrical products in the Chinese markets. A prominent magazine in china reported that in the year 2011 Sony electronics were rated among the best in china and worldwide as well, and that their staffs are well equipped with the knowledge to any operation. The ability to train employees and outsource outbound logistics is Sony’s Electronics strengths.

Marketing and Sales

Sony electronics strategy for the china market is to make itself a leading provider of electronics in the region and brand itself as a manufacturer of high quality electronics which enables it to sell it products at a higher premium than its competitors. Massive marketing is done and will continue being done for these electrical products which has helped to create several successful sub brands in electronic products such as Trinitron and WEGA. This success strengthens the Sony brand. Due to sensitivity to its competitors actions and reactions the company has no qualms of incurring unwanted expenses, so by doing this  it solidifies the company’s reputation and image. Sony electronics market shrewdness took the first spot on china according to Yao Xing (2011). Due to this Sony electronics marketing is a strength that’s hard to copy and of great value.

Services

Sony electronics sector will have to establish service related activity in the Chinese market that will promote customer satisfaction which will make the customers feel that the product has met the expected required customer qualities. The support activities for Sony electrical in china will be as:

Human Resource Management

This will involve how the company will recruit, train, develop and compensate all personnel (Kotler 1998). At the moment Sony electrical offers training to it employees for them to be superior in quality production of electrical appliances. Curriculums tailored to local Chinese managers are being provided by Sony electrical in the china region. Sony electronics in china has the ability to identify high calibre managers to take managerial posts for the company sector in china to continue being well managed and innovative culture proliferated business sector.  For this Sony electronics employees in china are recognized and awarded for their outstanding and good performance. This makes Sony electronics human resource management in the china market capable of motivating it employees thus improving productivity of its staff.

Technological development

This will include how the company which is Sony in this case in engaged in process design ,products design and how it research and development in carried out to production of better products for the consumers. The company is advanced technologically than its competitors in china e.g. its DVD offer high performance with new features like record and play making possible complex effects such as viewing oneself while seeing on TV from the DVD in 3 D form. Sony TV also has new features. Above this Sony electronics is capable of leveraging its competitor’s ability well and ahead to create high quality electrical appliances for china’s customer base and it market at large.

Procurement

Sony electrical should be keen on how purchase its raw materials that’s it should be having a strong and working procurement system for this to happen. Their suppliers should be acting and supplying the required supplies in time. Highest quality goods should be obtained here in low prices for materials necessary for the company’s operations.

Firm infrastructure

This includes planning and control systems, such as finance, accounting, and corporate strategy etc. (Lynch, 2003). Sony electronics despite its infrastructure in china it still continues to invest heavily in the same infrastructure so as to meet its ever growing customer needs and demand in china. Like in 2009 Sony electronics acquired Chinese based companies Xing Electricals and Guangzhou Electricals Appliances Company in 2010.by 2011 Sony electronics owned 14 manufacturing plants in china, this was after seeing the closure of 3 in the northern part of the country.

To understand Sony electronics activities in china through which competitive advantage is created while observing and maximizing shareholder value, series of value generating activities known as value chain will divide the business system. Transforming input into output looked to have problems and required immediate response from Sony electronics to fix it. If not fixed and solve urgently they might affect the effectiveness and efficiency of operations of the primary activities of sonny electronics business sector downwardly. Though electronics has witnessed a significant increase in internal cooperation between hardware and software managers more work and effort need to be put. The nature of good and fine networking sought to become the habit of Sony electronics sector for it to enjoy a commanding competitive advantage in the Chinese market.

Summary of Sony’s Electrical Sector strength and weaknesses

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Able to motivate and improve employees productivity
  • Positive Sony reputation contributes to increase in sales and revenues
  • World class marketing tool which makes Sony’s mega brands
  • Innovation ability which mesmerizes customers to buy them.
  • Ability to leverage on technology well ahead of competitors
  • High debt ratio put the company in danger in case debtors demand their money.
  • Weakness of divisional structure that include duplication of activities leading to high cost
  • Competing business unit engage in office politic instead strategy formulation and implementation

Resource competency use on Sony’s Electronic models primary and support activities

Functional Activity Capabilities Bundle of Resources Available
Inbound logistics Able to conduct complex inbound logistics for smooth organization operations Technology, human, financial, innovation and infrastructure
operations Capable to innovate and build mesmerising products to customers Technology, human, financial, innovation and infrastructure
Outbound operation Capable of training employees to perform vast complex outbound logistics activities Technology, human, financial, innovation and infrastructure
Marketing and sales World class marketing tools for making Sony mega brands human, financial, innovation
services Able to integrate various resources and functional activities to meet customer need in china Technology, human, financial, innovation and infrastructure
Finance and infrastructure Possess various physical resources to help create competitive advantage human, financial, innovation and infrastructure
Human resource Provision of numerous packages and training that help motivate employees human, financial
technology Able to leverage on technology well and ahead of it competitors Technology, human, financial, innovation and physical
procurement Possess procurement know how that leads to high quality at low costs Technology, human, financial, innovation

Environmental PESTEL Analysis

Environmental analysis is the study of the company’s competitiveness and the whole

Environment where it operates, this will have an impact on the decisions the organization makes in regard to the strategies the organization is to employ in order to achieve profits. (Kotler 1998). PESTEL is one tool used to identify primary factors for consideration in the general environment. When applying a PESTEL analysis it should be recognised that the categories are not ‘mutually exclusive’ (Byars 1991). This section will analyze the companies PESTEL and it consists of political, economic, social cultural, environmental and legal forces impacting Sony electronics in the Chinese market.

Political Factors

Political influence has been particularly evident in recent times. Extreme security measures have been established since rise of the terrorist threat. Government of china policies obviously are of value in running the country successful. Since Sony electronic headquarters in Minato Japan, the corporations policy differ with those in Chinese market. Here marketing strategies and decision activities are restrained and controlled by various laws and regulations established by political institutions in the People’s Republic of China. China will enact laws to preserve a competitive atmosphere or it consumers who in this case are the china people. The extent of the impacts on these laws on the marketing mix variable will depend on Sony electronics sector will interpret such provision that they might be subjected to heavy regulations.

Some political changes in china might make Sony electrical activities difficult and they may encounter political risks during their operations e.g. times of war, political unrest, terrorist activities. The concerns of Sony electronics strategist in this scenario is to understand china’s political system or policies, the government of china’s commitment to the rule of the game ,expectation of change in government and the expected change in business practices.

Economic Factors

The economic status of any country plays a vital role to the success of the industries located in that country. These factors affect the consumers’ decision on the purchase of the products because the economy of a country includes exchange rates, inflation and the income of the individuals. Globalization led to emergence o international production markets. It also led to access of foreign goods and services; due to this the demand for products went high. Strategists at Sony electronics sector should be able to understand the economic variables present in the china market. The economic forces can affect the market either positively or negatively.

Sony electronics sector should be aware of china’s inflation rates which in 2011 was at 1.0003%.the knowledge of this would lead to strategies to counter this economic menace. Sony Electronics should know china’s level of economic condition, is it boom, recovery, recession or depression. The availability of natural resources that can be used by Sony corporation in china to aide it operations in the country. Sony corporation should also know of china business atmosphere is it friendly or otherwise.

Sony corporation should understands china’s purchasing power of the market as this will dictate the levels of income, prices, savings, debts and credit availability. By understanding china’s industrial structure of the economy Sony corporations will determine the level and distribution of income and this will in turn impact on the business organization performance. Some of the important factors to be considered by Sony electrical corporation in the Chinese market are: 1) Economic stage of china, 2) Economic structure adopted by china which in this case is Socialism, 3) Economic policies by china e.g. industrial, monitoring and physical. Nevertheless, Chinas national indices like; National income, distribution of income, rate and growth of GNP, per capita income, disposable income rate, rate of savings, and balance of payment. Infrastructural factors in china like communication, transportation and insurance facilities.

Social Cultural Factors

The socio-cultural factors include demand and the tastes of the consumers. These factors on the other hand vary depending on the fashion, the disposable income, and the general changes that provide the opportunities and threats for given companies. In several cases, products for a given industry have to change depending on the market situation and here prices and the strategies involved in promotion have to change. The society in which people live shapes up their beliefs, values and norms. People of china will absorb a world view that defines their relationship to themselves, others, to nature and to the universe at large. Sony corporation electronics sector should be aware of china’s people core beliefs and values that tend to persist. The knowledge of this factor will ease the penetration of Sony electronics into china’s market.

Technological Environment

Technology is vital on strategic management of any company (Camp 2007). Technology creates a strategic advantage. However, other external factors such as the government support and encouragement affect the use of technology by an organization. This involves the rate and level of change which affects the people of china lifestyle. Technology is seen in electronics through camcorders, computing mobile phones.

This will influence how Sony electronics will produce its products, advertise them, personal selling, market research and pricing. The technological advancement of china will lead to how Sony electronic will invent new electrical products and new methods of production for the Chinese market in China.

The total output of Sony electronics in china market can increase through increased productivity, reduced cost and new type of products.

Sony should be aware that other Chinese companies are able to copy its technologies in a shorter period of time and sell them at throw away prices. Due to this the technological margin is diminishing and Sony corporations through it electronics sector should be cognisant with that.

Effect of Technology

This can be evidenced in the types of products made and sold by Sony electronics. Therefore technology will lead to home working in China, service manufacturing in China and database marketing through the website in China.

Legal Factors

Sony corporation electronic sector should analyze China’s intellectual property and property right which they are capable of applying for their electronics as well commercialization. This will offer Sony in the china market a significant source of comparative merit of enterprise. The PESTEL analysis has proven to be important for the market analysis for the Sony Corporation. It has assisted in identifying vital external factors that affect the operation of the organization and its expansion.

Porter’s Five Forces Model

Porter (1998) suggests that Five forces will look at; threat of substitute products, bargaining power of suppliers, bargaining power of buyers, threat of new entrants and the intensity of rivalry in the Chinese market. From porter five forces model the competition in the electronics industry is fierce thus any company making an entry into the industry in the china market will experience difficulties in profit making. This does not imply that the company will get the same profitability result it got in the previous fiscal period; if Sony applies its business competencies well in china it will still get profits above the industry level.

Porters Five Force Model
Porters Five Force Model

Threat of substitute goods

For the china market the threat of substitute goods is high since substitutes from other industries are a lot and most of them seem to be current and innovative. Although the threat is high Sony corporations through its electronics sector has established and positioned itself by building good reputation and customer loyalty in the Chinese market. This positions Sony electronics effectively against any product from substitutes in the china market.

9.2 Bargaining power of buyer

The buyers bargaining power in china is high since they can swiftly change from one product to another. The access of interest in china has led to consumers finding information on prices charged by various manufacturers thus making the change form one from one manufacturer to another who offers cheaper prices for the same goods as those offered by Sony electrical. Bargaining power in the Chinese market has also increased due to online shopping.

Bargaining power of suppliers

Supplier bargaining power in china is lower due to the fact that a large number of suppliers and customers exist. Sony electronics operate in global chains thus making its supplies less concentrated and above all they are small in size thus commanding a weak supplier bargaining power in china. Due to its direct negotiations with its suppliers they normally cheaper prices though reliable.

Threat of new entrants

The threat of new entrants in the china market is too low due to the fact that they will incur high costs, economies of scale, product differentiation as well as high technology and innovation knowledge. This market in china is regulated by requiring every new entrant to have approval from the relevant authorities being eligible to operate.

Competitive Rivalries

Competitive rivalry in china as a market is high due to intense competition and high exit cost. This rivalry characterized by numerous and equally balanced competition in china due to high research and development, fixed and storage costs, intensity of competition in this market is further heightened by slow growth in the industry.

Summary

Porter’s five analyses has been used by Sony Corporation to gain a clear understanding of the market and enable the organization build a competitive advantage over her rivals in the industry.

Competitive strategies

Competition represent a major determinant of corporate success and if Sony  corporation through its electronic sector fails to take detailed consideration of competitors strength and weaknesses in the Chinese market may lead to poor performance and greater exposure to competitive disadvantage which may lead to make Sony a follower instead of a leader in that market. Cooper and Glazer ( 2006, P.10-21). In this case Sony Corporation should:

Identify its competitors in the Chinese market.

Who they are and how many. This will enable Sony to understand competitors’ moves and monitor them easily and appropriately prepare a marketing defence. The danger though is from emerging competitors and their numbers. In china Sony electronic competitors include; Philips, Toshiba, sharp, Samsung, LG, Kodak & Fuji, Matsushita.

What are the competitors’ goals and objective?

This involves determining the competitors’ goal and objectives. Sony should try to answer what each competitor is seeking in the Chinese market and what drives the competitors aim in the market. Sony should also know how a competitor weighs each objective as this can help them know how they are likely to react to different types of attack.

What are the competitors’ strategies?

 Sony should try to identify competitors’ strategy amongst those competitors within the same market with the same strategy.

What are the competitors’ strength and weaknesses?

Sony electronics sector in the Chinese market should try t identify competitors strength and weaknesses by gathering information on each competitive business. The information will help Sony Corporation on who to attack and how to attack.

What’s the competitors’ reaction and response towards competition?

 Sony predicts this about its Chinese competitors from the competitors’ philosophy of doing business. Sony here will need a deep understanding of the competitors’ mind set so as to anticipate their likely reactions. Strategies that can be adopted by Sony electrical in the Chinese market are;

Cost leadership

 Sony can try to control the Chinese market by being the low cost producer. For this strategy the product is typically undifferentiated. In case of discounts in this stage they shouldn’t be too high so as to offset cost advantages.

Differentiation

In this strategy Sony Corporation will offer products regarded as unique in areas which are high valued by customers. The product uniqueness will protect Sony from competition. However the price premium received should not outweigh the cost of providing differentiated product for this strategy to be successful.

Focus

Sony can use this strategy whereby it either uses cost or differentiation but rather than serving the entire Chinese market it decides to operate in particular attractive segments of that same market.

Recommendations

For Sony electronics to continue enjoying the leader position in the Chinese market it should reduce the cost of its products to increase profit margins. They should also create project based work teams that report to top management, this will reduce office politics and encourage strategic thinking. The employees in the sector should improve interaction and communication, by this team spirit will be high. Sony should incorporate customer oriented features; this will make customers feel they they’re part of the company thus increase customer loyalty. Sony should maintain it leader position in the Chinese market as this will make it outshine it competitors in the market. They should also encourage dreams as this will inspire employees to strive and achieve their dreams thus leading to innovations. Above all Sony should work with the people’s republic of china government.

Conclusion

The Chinese market is a harbour with many business potentials, if Sony Corporation through it electronic sector focus on it seriously it will reap hugely. This is so since Sony is considered as a market leader in the region with strong financial resources, obsession with innovation culture visionary leadership and the pioneer advantage. It should continue marketing it products to stay in touch with its Chinese customer (McCurry 2008). Clearly, despite the increased competition in this industry, Sony Corporation has succeeded in becoming one of the world’s most successful operators. It has recorded highest levels of growth. In contradiction to Porters belief that an industry’s structural characteristics determine the attractiveness and profitability of a market or industry Sony Corporation has excelled. Clearly, the factors that have contributed to the success of this organization come for three distinct areas: financial backing and investment into rapid growth and capital, holistic corporate dedication to its vision of quality and customer service, and vast Branding coverage of noteworthy promotional medium.

References

Byars, L. (1991) Strategic Management, Formulation and Implementation – Concepts and Cases, New York: HarperCollins.

Capron, N. and Glazer, R. (1987) Marketing and technology: a strategic co-alignment, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 51 Issue 3, pp.10-21.

Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. New York: Free Press, 1998.

Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. New York: Free Press, 1998.

Cooper, L. (2000) Strategic marketing planning for radically new products, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 64 Issue 1, pp.1-15.

Johnson, G. and Scholes, K. (1993) Exploring Corporate Strategy – Text and Cases, Hemel Hempstead: Prentice-Hall

Kotter, J. and Schlesinger, L. (1991) Choosing strategies for change, Harvard Business Review, pp.24-29.

Kotler, P. (1998). Marketing Management – Analysis, Planning, Implementation. Online Journal, Vol. (6)

McCurry, J. (2008).  Sony to cut 8,000 jobs worldwide. The Guardian, London, Retrieved 23 May 2010. Control, 9th Edition, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

Porter, M. (1998). Michael Porter on Competition. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1998.

Pearce, J. and Robinson, R (2005) Strategic Management, 9th Edition, New York: McGraw-Hill.

Robinson, S., Hichens, R. and Wade, D. (1978). The directional policy matrix-tool for strategic planning, Long Range Planning Journal, Vol. 11, pp.8-15.

Slater, S.  and Olson E. Fresh Look at Industry and Market Analysis; Business Horizons 45. No. 1, (2002, January/February): 153.

Sony Global (2010), Corporate Information.

Thompson, J. (2002) Strategic Management, 4th Edition, London: Thomson.

Click Here To View Business Management Dissertation Topics

Corporate Communication Strategies

Corporate Communication Strategies

Discuss the purpose of corporate communication strategies

Corporate communication is the overall effort of an organization to communicate effectively and profitably. For the achievement of set goals of an organization, it depends largely on character and organization’s relationship with its stakeholders such as community, employees, clients and suppliers. Thus, it is a strategic tool for an organisation to have competitive advantage over its competitors. It is used to motivate, inform employees, lead and persuade the clients. Corporate communication strategies should be aligned according to different organisation members who may not necessarily be having the same interests. Below are the purposes of corporate communication strategies. Public information: here communication is described as dissemination of information through the media such as bronchus and newsletters. Two ways symmetric: here is a dialog rather than a monolog, communication efforts are seen in terms of its research based and the use of communication in enhancing understanding with stakeholders. Press a gentry: it tries to gain coverage from mass media. Here information is given and no more information is collected from the stakeholders.

Assess how corporate communications link to corporate objectives

Significant relationship between corporate objectives and corporate communication is evident. The top management should ensure that the corporate objectives are clearly communicated to the lower management through the middle. Lack of effective communication may lead to poor or no strategy implementation. Percentage growth, market share in the market, future revenue targets as well as creating more values for stakeholders are examples of corporate objectives, which helps in running of the organization. This makes the organisation have a strong link between the corporate objectives and the corporate communication.

Analyze the relationship between corporate communication and corporate branding

There is a great relationship between the corporate communication and corporate branding. Corporate branding is the symbol used by corporate to identify itself to its audiences or clients. Corporate branding is important as it helps in creating awareness and act as a reminder of the existence of an organization. It is through effective communication in an organization that will enhance corporate branding. In addition to corporate branding, we need to consider the corporate image, which is the perceived sum of organization such as plans and objectives. It includes management style, services, products and communication activities.

Section 2

Demonstrate how you would plan an internal corporate communication audits

A communication audit is an indicator of a corporate current communication practices and their effectives. A communication audit can cover internal and external communication as separate or both depending on the desired outcome and the objectives of the corporate. An audit points out problems such as information blocks, information duplication and misunderstanding. When planning for a communication audits, formal and informal strategies should be used. For instance use of surveys which is a form of quantities research, use of interviews (qualitative research), analysis and reports and action planning. A communication audit is important in that it helps in highlighting current practices as well as possible lacking elements in an organization.

Explain how you would conduct an internal corporate communications audits

Here we have to consider various steps in corporate communication auditing. Determining key areas to audited. By considering both the internal and the external communications; consider everything from your standard branding pieces such as logos and business cards.

Choose research method. When conduction a corporate communication audits you have to select from a variety of research methods such as online survey, interviews and focus groups. This helps in collecting relevant information.

Collect and evaluate your past communications. Here you have to consider all the types of communications and information passed from the management to the middle and lower management. You need to ask questions like; who were our key audiences? Key messages? Did we reach our clients with the correct information? This helps you in knowing where to start with your corporate communication audits.

Look outward. This is where you focus on the customers and your community. Use questions to analyze your communication from your community and customers point of view. Try to find out what is their perception about your organization.

Look inward. Staffs and volunteers are the most important consideration in this stage. You need to collect their views about your organization’s communication. Ask, what are your reactions of communications during the past year? What could be improved? Did internal documents serve your needs? This helps you to have an overview of what is required of you, Put together a plan for future communications. You need to use your research as the starting point for making a corporate communication audit for your organization.

Corporate Communication Strategies Dissertations
Corporate Communication Strategies Dissertations

Critically evaluate the effectiveness of the current levels of practice in your organisation

In evaluating the level of effectiveness, you need to consider the commitment of the organisation. In terms of commitment, the organisation should be effective in that it ensures that all the objectives of organization are achieved through proper communication.

Another effective practice is the human resource. Through effective communication in the organization, various functions such as section, recruitment, in-services training are taken care off. Administration and finance control. In the running of the organization through effective communication of the set objectives, the management is in a position to control how the finances are used.

Explain how you would conduct an external corporate communication audits

An external communication audit is an indicator of current communication practices in an organization. It gives an organization’s information to the external stakeholders such as the local community, the government, the media, clients and suppliers. When planning for an external corporate communication audits you should consider various factors such as the target audiences. This will help in knowing the type of information you are going to pass from your organization to the target audience, thus enhancing the effectiveness of communication.

Demonstrate how you would conduct an external corporate communication audits

When conducting an external corporate communication audits, you have in use things like signage, posters, newspapers, voice messages and bronchus. The following steps are used in achieving it.

Understanding strategic communication practices. This helps in measuring your communication efforts. You need to ask questions that will help you determine strategic communication practices such as what is your communication vision. In addition, how does it relate to your organization’s mission? Are your communication goals well defined and measurable?

Identify the level of practice. There are various levels of practice such as institutional practices that are routine and improved over a time, Optimized practices are continuously evaluated and improved over a considerable period with sufficient resources.

Access the current performance. Here you need to know the levels of your organization performances through interviewing your audiences, use of focus groups. This helps in understanding where to start and what information to change about your organization.

Identify the areas for improvement. Getting feedback from your audiences, you now have an idea of where to change or improve in the organization. This enhances how communication has been done in the organisation. Here you need to ensure that media coverage is taken care off to pass the relevant information to the target audiences. After all this is done, you need to plan for future communication. This increases the effectiveness of your organization.

Critically evaluates the effectiveness of the current levels of practice in your organisation

As a result of effective communication in the organization there is a great change in practices such as community relation. This is as a result of corporate communication branding and imaging in the organization which helps the organization to change a lot. Through enhancement of communication with the local community; the organization has known the tastes and preferences of the community. Program management is another sector that is effective. Due to communication done with various departments in the organization, programs are run effectively thus enhancing the relationship

Financial management: It is through effective communication in the organization that budget administration is taken care of by knowing what the target audiences need you are in a position to budget well.

Demonstrate how you would plan the development of a corporate communication strategy

Having in mind what you need to achieve, you need to know what your communication plans are by asking yourself the following questions; do you want to improve your organization reputation? Do you want to generate more online or offline news coverage? You just need to lay down your organization objectives. The objectives need to be SMART: specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time.

In planning your strategy, you need to define how you will achieve you objectives. Your strategy should include a profile start such as; do you want to generate maximum or minimum coverage? By having this in mind you are in a position to have an effective corporate communication strategy in your organization.

Selecting the audiences to influence with a corporate strategy

When selecting audiences to influence your corporate communication strategy you need to consider both the internal and external audiences in your organization. First consider how employees who are the internal audiences influence your communication strategy. What information about your organization do you want to pass to your employees? Consider the external audiences such as the media, suppliers’, clients and how they influence your communication strategy. The information about your organization passed to the audiences should be clear information in order to protect the image of your organization. Both the internal and external audiences influence your communication strategy as you need to know how to deal with them.

Plan appropriate measures to monitor a planned corporate communication strategy

Participatory monitoring and evaluation covers any process that allows all stakeholders – particularly the target audience – to take part in the design of a Project, its ongoing assessment and the response to findings. It gives stakeholders the chance to help define a programme’s key messages, set success indicators, and provides them with tools to measure success. They include problem ranking, surveys and mapping. This helps in monitoring your communication strategy.

References

Hopper M – Organisational Communication Satisfaction (LAP Publishing, 2010) ISBN: 3838317084.

Blundell R and Ippolito K – Effective Organisational Communication: Perspectives, Principles, Practices (FT-Prentice Hall, 2008) ISBN: 0273713752.

Beyerlein M M and Harris C L — Guiding the Journey to Collaborative Work Systems: A Strategic Design Workbook (Jossey Bass Wiley, 2003) ISBN: 0787967882.

Clutterbuck D and Hirst S — Talking Business; Making Communications Work (Butterworth Heinemann 2003) ISBN: 0750654996.

Dawson R — Living Networks: Leading Your Company, Customers and Partners in the Hyper-connected Economy (FT-Prentice Hall, 2003) ISBN: 0130353337.

Daya K T — International Communications: Continuity and Change (Hodder, 2000) ISBN: 0340741317.

McKenzie J and van Winkelen C — Understanding the Knowledgeable Organisation (Thomson Learning, 2004) ISBN: 1861528957.

Preston P — Reshaping Communications (Sage Publications, 2001) ISBN: 0803985630.

Quirke B — Making the Connections: Using Internal Communication to Turn Strategy into Action (Gower, 2002) ISBN: 0566085178.

Quirke B —Communicating Corporate Change (McGraw-Hill, 1996) ISBN: 0077093119.

Stewart J (editor) — Bridges Not Walls; A Book about Interpersonal Communication (McGraw Hill, 2001) ISBN: 007240082X.

Click Here To View Marketing Dissertation Topics