The Lesotho National Manpower Development Secretariat in the stakeholder century : an intergrated marketing communication approach
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Stakeholders are not passive, but have a huge impact on the functioning of organisations. The fierce competition amongst companies to win stakeholders’ interest and loyalty poses a challenge to organisations to seek the means of strengthening long-term relationships with their stakeholders. The Lesotho National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) is a government department that, like any other organisation, has to take note of the challenges of the stakeholder century. The relationship between the NMDS and its stakeholders has been unfavourable. Regardless the cause, the situation affirms the impression that the NMDS is failing to feature in the stakeholder century. The aim of this study is to provide guidelines to improve the relationship between the NMDS and its stakeholders. The aim will be achieved through a discussion of the environment in which stakeholder relationships are pursued. A reflection on the stakeholder concept and an exploration of the marketing communication activities that the NMDS embark on to establish relationships with its stakeholders will be highlighted. The stated goal will be achieved through the combination of qualitative and quantitative research approaches. The grounded theory will be used to address the qualitative section, whilst in the quantitative section a survey research strategy will be employed. Firstly, the analysis revealed that the NMDS’ mission and brand are not well-known among stakeholders. It was further extrapolated that communication between top management and the employees of the NMDS was poor. It is also apparent that the organisation’s ability to communicate with its stakeholders using various techniques has been very poor. Furthermore it became clear that there is absolutely no message consistency within the organisation. The causes thereof were poor internal communication, employees lacking knowledge of their work, absence of policies and differences in perception. Stakeholders further lamented the discrimination prevalent within the NMDS, particularly during the scholarship renewal period. It was revealed that nepotism, favoritism, corruption and administrative irregularities are the major causes. The NMDS employees’ motivation is under suspicion. Suggestions such as increased remuneration, training and counseling were put forward as possible correctional measures of the status quo. The NMDS’ stakeholders suggested that information dissemination at the NMDS could be improved through using different media, use of word of mouth, and empowering the public relations office. It is imperative to mention that the challenges which faced the stakeholder of the NMDS were information inaccessibility, employees’ inefficiency and a total lack of stakeholder consciousness. The results of the study revealed that the NMDS’ interaction with its stakeholders can be enhanced through involving stakeholders on issues affecting them, using various marketing communication techniques, and training staff on stakeholder care. Finally, the use of ICT has been rated by stakeholders as being very low at the NMDS. Utilising ICT may be of great assistance in improving the relations between the organisation and its stakeholders. In the next chapter the conclusions drawn from the research findings of this study, together with the recommendations, will be presented. It is anticipated that this study will provide a theoretical framework for the NMDS to improve its marketing communication activities to improve its relationship with its stakeholders. Improved relationships will lead to improved service standards, which in turn will make stakeholders true assets of the NMDS.
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