Channels of communication in Multi national organisations

Communication plays a major role in the development of any multinational organization. The communication flow is controlled by a hierarchical system of managers making the decisions from higher to lower levels in the hierarchical In this process the generated responses and reports communicate from lower to higher level in the organization. Managers also spend time communicating with their peers. Therefore, the upward and downward of the communication indicates its effective functionality in a lateral direction.

Mead (1998) describes a multinational corporation (MNC) as services produced in the one or more countries but established as a head office in one country. Here, the functionality of Communication plays a vital role in any organization, in the multinational corporation, MNC, when compared to any localized company. The communication among these channels plays a unique and major role in a MNC at the same time for any complexity in communication of the MNC requires an effective communication which is a challenging task to accomplish.


Jack Cohen who was a stallholder for selling groceries in London market founded Tesco in 1919. In fact TESCO was formed out of a merger with T.E. The first store was opened in 1929 in Burnt Oak, Edgware in North West London where he bought the tea to sell in the stall. From there Tesco was expanded up to 2,200 stores which include hyper markets and Tesco express outlets across the world to satisfy the needs for every customer. Not only being as a company Tesco also provides different kinds of goods and services such as banking, online shopping and insurance to meet the customer satisfactory results becoming the Britain’s largest retail industry including in the other three continents and also making a profit margin of up to £3.4 billion with a 468,000 employee force. Tesco is now planning to make a move into market of non-foods with a goal to take a lead position in Asia and even in Central Europe.

The Research Problem

A in the fields of organizational strategies and internal communication has been conducted and it seems to be a threat regarding the communication and in theories of MNC’s. This research will therefore investigate the channels of communication and communication process of TESCO. In the scenario of practical environment this research will analyse the process of internal and external way of communication and the build the gap between the advantages and disadvantages of Tesco.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this research is to investigate and expel the internal and external methods of communication there by focussing on the advantages and disadvantages (barriers), of TESCO. 


To study of the communication process in sTESCO

To study of the channels of communication in TESCO

To study of the internal and external communications of TESCO

To find out the communication barriers in TESCO

Literature review

In any kind of business environment Communication can be described as an exchange of messages from one person to the other person and giving an acknowledgement of the particular message received is understood and expecting some kind of action as a result.

According to Wilbur Schramm (1955), communication ‘is the process of establishing a commonness or oneness of thought between a sender and a receiver’. In other words, it helps employees to work towards the same goals, by giving them a similar direction through which effectiveness in communication is achieved and helps to create a base and direction for every activity.

Communication process in TESCO

The purpose of communication within an organisation such as Tesco would be to give information to its public and employees e.g. to perhaps inform staff of a future meeting, or to provide customers with details of a promotion. Also Tesco need to collect information e.g. such as personal details of employees, which would be needed for personnel records, or market research data on sales of products. Communication is needed to keep Tesco running smoothly, Tesco employees need to know what he/she has to do, and do it to the best of their ability’s. For Tesco to have a good reputation to the public they need to have good communication to eliminate errors, manage problems and deal efficiently with customers complaints/queries. Communication can take place internally (through bosses and employees, subordinates, colleagues) or it can take place externally (Customers, Suppliers, Media, Shareholders)

In businesses, you will find that the point of communication is to influence something in the business. The message is often an instruction and the response should be that the job is done.

Communication process

Communication involves four elements:

• A Sender • A Message • A Receiver • A Feedback

These four elements are the principals to getting a message across in resulting in effective communication; you will also find that communication goes in all directions

Tesco need to communicate with a range of individuals and organisations. Including their customers, their competitors and their suppliers. Good communication in Tesco is essential if it is going to achieve its objectives and to operate effectively. Tesco have a lot of channels of communication internally/externally between their functional areas.

Channels of communication in TESCO

Tesco being a large company with 729 stores in the U.K, 979 stores nationally, and employing 280 million nationally, means they have to use reliable sources of communication in order to run an efficient business. Channels of communication played a key role in TESCO. It has established various channels, formal, informal verbal, non-verbal oral, written, technological different electronically means to facilitate the transmission of information throughout the organization.

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Formal & Informal Communication Formal communication is when employees communicate through the official channels that have been set by the business, e.g. weekly staff meetings, reports, forms, memos. TESCO would definitely resort to this type f communication a lot, as Tesco is a big company, there would usually be board meetings for the board of directors etc. Formal communication is much more associated with vertical communication; it usually involves a good organised system, which has to work efficiently and quickly.

Informal communication is when people within an organisation communicate but not by using the chain of command or the official channels. You will find this type of communication between employees of the same level, and is very much associated with horizontal and diagonal communication. This type of communication is usually voluntary, and helps to build cooperation between staff. This communication would take place a lot between employees in Tesco.

Internal and External Communication

Internal communication is communication that is shared by people at all levels within a company. External communication occurs between parties inside a company and parties outside the company, such as suppliers, customers, and investors. Both internal and external forms of communication include everything from formal e-mail and official reports to face-to-face conversations and casual phone calls. External communication also takes such forms as customer and supplier Web sites, news releases, and advertising

Internal communication Channels are used by Tesco Phone/mobile, fax, email, memo, club cards, letters, notices, meetings, reports.

External communication channels are used by Tesco Websites, Tesco cards, Vouchers Telivision advertisements,  Tesco online (internet), video conferencing,  forms.

Communication is vital to Tesco because then everyone is clear about objectives, there is smooth and accurate communication both within the organisation (internal) and between the organisation and other individuals (external), ideas and views are clearly heard and everyone in the organisation is kept informed of developments and changes. Tesco uses internal and external communication channels effectively. These channels are influence to the company. By using these channels customers satisfaction is good.

Advantages and disadvantages (barriers) of communication in Tesco

Communication is an extremely important factor in motivating employees. This may be through 1-to-1 discussions with managers, through the company intranet or newsletters or through more formal structures such as appraisals. Line managers hold a daily Team Meeting to update staff on what is happening for the day and to give out Value Awards. These awards can be given from any member of staff to another as a way of saying ‘thank you’ and celebrating achievements.

.The employees would feel good that the have a say in the work thus motivating them to work hard. Good communication would clear up any misunderstandings and jobs would get done well, and on time. Communication would provide the manager with feedback on previous decisions, and because the company would be consistent and organised less problems would transpire and would brighten the image of the organisation.  

Advantages Business dealings are made more effective, fast and reliable Information on customers provides information on customer satisfaction. Tesco is made more accessible to customers, with better quality services, and better communication between the customers and Tesco. Communication internally and externally is made more effective. In Tesco greater communication is there between employees, customers and stake holders. there are many advantages using channels of communication in Tesco.

Memo is a perfect channel of communication for employees working in the same branch who want to write quick informal messages.

Club-cards are advantage of communication because Tesco stores every item that you have bought when your card is swiped; this means that they know what’s been selling the most and the least in that certain Tesco. This information is stored in a database and used for many things such as knowing what items to stock extra of, & finding ways of promoting the least selling items 

Tesco employees would use word of mouth to communicate in their own branch. Its good for passing brief messages and gets straight to the point without any confusion and misunderstanding.

Tescos hold a staff meeting every month. It’s to discuss problems, new arrangements, new ideas, promotion ideas etc it’s a very good form of communication because all staff members are together to all give their input 

Websites are used to store lots of information for customers, e.g. latest CDs sold in Tesco’s, wine, store locaters, careers at Tesco, information on a baby and toddler club etc. 

 Disadvantages/Barriers of the use of channels of communication in Tesco

Barriers can get in the way of effective communication. List different barriers to communication Wrong format, Technical breakdown, Receiver unable to understand message, Attitudes towards sender, Wrong channel, No feedback, Poor timing, Use of jargon, Unclear message, Wrong targets. When determining what barriers might exist to channels of communication in a company, there are various potential barriers to the channels of communication in Tesco.

Many problems in an organization occur due to inadequate and imperfect communication. Brooke (1996) states that encoding and decoding processes are the main barriers for communication both between individuals and groups, as well as between different levels in the organization. Poor choice of communication channels can also present a barrier to communication. Finally, cultural differences can be a barrier in that they effect the communication between people from different departments in the organization; for example, the R&D department has a long time horizon whereas the production department is concerned with achieving daily targets.

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Communication barriers

Tesco is one of the world largest company. It has good communication channels in company because of that they have less disadvantages/barriers is there.

Phoning allows Tesco to contact local Tesco branches, which is ideal for brief messages but could be a problem for Tesco to phone foreign Tesco’s due to bad frequency, expensive phone bills & misunderstood messages. Texting from mobiles would only be appropriate for your branch or local branches.

Fax is ideal for Tesco to send urgent documents and contracts. The problems of sending a fax is that you would not be sure who would be reading your fax, you can’t send thick booklet’s and physical barriers such as lack of paper may occur.

Tesco use email because its good for them to communicate with local(LAN) and national (WAN)branches because they can send quick messages. But it is disadvantage sometimes the problems are that you can’t be sure that your message will be read.

TV advertisements are good because of the large amount of viewers. It’s a chance for viewers to see new items and promotions. Some times it is a communicating barrier because of the people who might not pay attention to adverts. 

Overcoming the barriers

Tesco has a one of the largest company in the world. It has good communication channels. But some barriers is there. If communication is bad then managers may not keep in touch with employees views this could result in frustration which could lead to a strike. Also the outcome of poor communication is bad decisions being made from bad communication and could result in loss of business opportunities, which could lead to lost money and jobs, this could give the company a bad reputation. Because of this Tesco should reduce these barriers.

The company should take some actions to overcome communication barriers. The company will reduce the existing barriers and their consequences will facilitate a more effective communication among the employees.. Company should give good frequency to phone calls to contact the local branches. Every fax message must read because of this company will not miss any urgent documents and contracts. Company use the communication channels to their full capacity. Company has come up with diverse ways of communicating by carefully targeting its messages to individuals rather than groups. Company able to sort out issues and control campaigns on key issues that affect its members as well as the public at large.


Research design

This report has involved various sources and information which is important for any researcher investigates a multinational organisation. This research explains the communication process and the data necessary for this study. Channels of communication in multi national organisation states “a case study approach is particularly appropriate for individual researchers because covers a wide arrange of sources, including facts, figures, news, opinions and theories, and obtaining the highest quality of information. The standards of a good research therefore will include exploring, describing, explaining, and finally evaluating the information (Ruane, 2005). The case study approach plays an important role in research which deals with the communication process, internal and external communication in the research investigation. Whereas a survey is a “systematic collection of information from large study groups usually by means of questionnaires administered to samples of units of population” The researcher suggests case study method to conduct this research along with an employee survey because case study method is a qualitative method (Gerring, 2007).

The researcher would study the particular problem in depth only in a particular multinational organisation and there is no mean to generalise the findings to other organisations or industries. In this research the evaluations are based on qualitative data which may be defined as “the research is that involves analysing and interpreting texts and interviews in order to discover meaningful patterns descriptive of a particular phenomenon (Auerbach & Silverstein, 2003, p.3)” As the research is qualitative the researcher decided that inductive analysis would be constructive because the inductive method allows theory to be constructed from the outline emerging from research data (Henn et al. 2006 cited in Brown 2008, p 191). However, Saunders et al. (2007, p.120) further points out that unlike the deductive method, inductive method is more flexible and uses qualitative data. For this reason the researcher would be using the inductive method.

Data collection method

It is planned data to collect primary data by web based approach. Researcher used chosen organisation website to find the data. It generally results in a higher response rate and faster than other methods. The official website of TESCO had distributed via email both internally and externally. de Vaus (2002, cited in Saunders et al., 2007) defined questionnaire as a general term that includes all techniques of data collection in which each person is asked to respond to the same set of questions in a predetermined order.

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The aim of questionnaires are to gather information and views on channels of communication in multinational organisation, therefore the researcher made certain that each question encompassed this area. Each question was to achieve the aim and objectives of this research, and information was to achieve reaching this goals. At the planning stage the researcher made sure that each question revealed information which are needed and not merely wanted. To maximise the success of the questionnaire, the researcher applied various techniques such as giving the questionnaire a meaningful title, keeping questions short and succinct as possible, offering incentives for the return of questionnaire, and providing the prepaid self reply envelopes with each questionnaire.


The selection of the case company was discussed in the introduction of the thesis and, therefore, the focus here is to describe the sample selection within the chosen organization, TESCO. Within a specific case study there are numerous sites to be visited, events or activities to be observed, and documents to be read (Merriam 1998). In our embedded single case study we visited the web sites of organization however; we had to choose the relevant times for visiting websites. Our method for sampling was non-probability Methodology sampling, meaning that we choose specifically which people would be most relevant and interesting for us to interview with regards to the d problems. Within the frames of this non-probability sampling, we conducted a purposeful sampling.

Data analysis

During the collection of the primary data, we were very systematic in organizing it in order to have a well-structured database, from which we would later conduct an analysis. We also added our own thoughts and observations in the different documents. The way of getting information is that contact to tesco employees and visit the company websites.

From the analysis of the empirical data, we were able to present a number of recommendations to the case company. Further, the data analysis provided us with a proper foundation from which we were able to draw conclusions as well as to discover various theoretical implications.

Limitations, validity and reliability

The proposed research has some limitations which hampered the validity and realiability of the research. In order to carry out this investigation the researcher has contact Tesco employees, read business communicatio books and search information on tesco website. The results of this research are applicable only selected is suggested to carry out a different categories if applicable.The other limitation is that the findings and conclusions totally depends on Questionnaire. Respondents are answering the given questions and if the questions are not designed properly to get the required data from employees the researcher will not perform the objectives of the research.

Ethical issues of the research report

Ethical issues are always a part & parcel of a research project. As Best (2001) points out that ‘the data or information collected should remain unbiased and relevant to the research’. There are some ethical issues in this particular research. The researcher will attend these issues and give due importance to this aspect of research. The respondents of the questionnaires will be briefed about the purpose of the project and it will help to build the confidence and participation. Also their participation will be voluntary in nature and they will have the right to withdraw from the process at any time. Also the details of respondents and data collected can be against the right of employees. Reliability of data and intellectual property rights when reviewing the literature.


I therefore conclude that from my research I have gathered that emailing is the best form of communicating internally and externally of Tesco’s simply because all Tesco’s have the internet so all branches can communicate and also compared to other forms of communication email is the most reliable because physical barriers wouldn’t occur as frequently as faxing or texting. Also from an environmental point of view emailing is very friendly because no paper is being used which would prevent deforestation unlike faxing, letters and leaflets.

Computers are rapidly evolving and you can easily say that majority of the public have a computer which is a great from a business point of view for Tesco because the public would be receiving plenty of information through their computer such as vouchers which would entice them to shop there. 

Like all big companies, Tesco relies on different departments to help it run, which need communication between them all the time, meaning that if one didn’t exist, Tesco would not do so well. Tesco has a tall organisational Structure, due to the number of departments within the business. In order to make sure that these departments work perfectly with each other, Tesco relies heavily on Communication as well, from Written to Verbal, Horizontal to Diagonal, and Formal to Informal.



List of




SEP/DEC 2010



Literature review

Books, journals,

Internet, computer


Design the


Computer, internet and



Preparation of


Computer books and internet


Collecting e-mail

addresses and sending the





Receiving the




Data analysis



Final report





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