There are many cases in Malaysia lately that are related to stress or mental illness. This study intends to identify the factors causing stress at the workplace in Malaysia.
With regard to job stress, the statements on the instrument indicate that the respondents do not experienced feeling of emotionally drained to their job, burnout, frustrated, emotionally tension, losing appetite, mentally and physically pressure about their job. All mean values of the symptoms of stress are below than 2 which indicate that the employees show a minimum level of stress in their work.
The National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) conducted by the Health Ministry last year revealed that the incidence of mental health problems was higher among younger adults — those in the 16-19 age group accounted for 34.7 per cent and those in the 20-24 age group accounted for 32.1 per cent.
The study found that the prevalence of mental health problems among people aged 16 and above is 29.2 per cent. This is a marked increase from the same study done in 2006, which reported a figure of 11.2 per cent. It also revealed a higher prevalence of mental health problems among adults from low household income families. By occupation, the prevalence was lowest among government and semi-government employees.
Mental health is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a state of wellbeing upon which an individual realises his or her potential, can cope with normal stress every day, work productively and contribute to society. Therefore, workers need to achieve a good state of mental health to be able to function and be at their best performance. (sources https://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/04/142074/work-stress-and-mental-health, 28 April 2016)
Employees spend their time more at work than at home. A good workplace can be considered as a healthy workplace or a second home for many. It’s a place where both employer and employee can carry out their work duties efficiently and effectively. Good working environment increased their productivity to generate profit to the department or organization they belong to.
However, a workplace can become a place where the worker suffers from unnecessary stress which will affect the worker personally and the organization they working with. Stress can be regarded as something which is normal for every worker to feel when they carry out their duties regardless where they work. (Tay Swee Noi & Peter J. Smith, 1990, p. 1). Every workplace has its own level of stress
Occupational or work related stress may be considered a type of occupational disease. This is a condition where the individual worker may experience high level of anxiety, mental fatigue, and other related symptoms.
Occupational or work related stress can be happen due many reasons as results from various interactions of the worker and the working environment which they carry out their working responsibilities.
Common examples of causes of occupational or work relates stress can be due to work overload like unrealistic deadlines and expectation given by the employer, unmanageable workloads schedules or time table, and under recruitment of staff to carry out the work. Poor or unsupportive relationships with colleagues and or employers can also be a potential source of stress. In addition, stress can also occur if individuals feel isolated, unfairly or unprofessionally treated in the workplace. The demands of work have the potential to spill over and affect the workers personal and home life and so put a strain on relationships outside work. Stress may result from lack of information about what is going on in the organization, lack over the feedback on the worker performance, lack or no adequate training to do the job and lack or no proper or suitable equipment and resources to do carry out the task or job. The financial rewards associated with a work are important in terms of lifestyle. Worker need to be properly and adequately paid according to their efforts and contribution to the organization. Although financial reward may not be a prime motivator over the issue concerning occupational or work related stress, it could also become a factor especially when the worker try to cope with the sudden increased in cost of living. There are potential sources of stress that relate to the fundamental nature of the job itself. Factors such as the physical working conditions, type of tasks given and the amount of satisfaction derived from the work can become important factor to give rise to any stress issue.
Another factor which can give rise to stress at workplace is when the worker has to fulfill unrealistic Key Performance Indicators (KPI). KPI is a measures used to help an organization to define and evaluate how successful it is, typically in terms of making progress towards its long-term organizational goals. The KPIs differ depending on the nature of the organization and the organization’s strategy. They help to evaluate the progress of an organization towards its vision and long-term goals, especially toward difficult to quantify knowledge – based goals. Setting up a good KPI is sometimes seen as an art, because many organizations find it hard to decide on what to measure they should set up. Some organizations may also develop their own KPI but it may not be the right one and unachievable. KPI must be realistic, meaningful, measurable, and understood by all workers. There is no point giving a worker an unrealistic goal, or not giving the worker with all the necessary resources and materials to achieve the goal. Setting someone up to fail is not good for the morale for a long term. The KPI must, in some way, is reasonable, logic and targetable. A bad KPI will certainly give rise to unnecessary stress level amongst the workers in the workplace.
The unnecessary stress at the workplace can also affect the productivity of the worker and consequently affecting the organization profit as well as its reputation. According to many studies, stressful working conditions can lead to three types of major effect namely behavioral effect like absenteeism or poor performance by the worker, physical effect like having headaches, sleeping disorder, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and others, and psychological effect like having an anxiety or mood disorder (Jex, S. M. (1998) & Gilbert Rethual, 2003, pp. 97 – 159). If exposure to stressors in the workplace is prolonged, then chronic health problems can occur including fatality. (Tsutsumi, Akizumi; Kayaba, Kazunori; Kario, Kazuomi; Ishikawa, Shizukiyo (2009), pp. 56 – 61).
There are ways to manage stress. Taking practical steps to manage your stress can reduce or prevent these effects. The following are some tips that may help you to cope with stress:
◉ Recognize the Signs of your body’s response to stress, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol and other substance use, being easily angered, feeling depressed, and having low energy.
◉ Talk to Your Doctor or Health Care Provider. Get proper health care for existing or new health problems.
◉ Get Regular Exercise. Just 30 minutes per day of walking can help boost your mood and reduce stress.
◉ Try a Relaxing Activity. Explore stress coping programs, which may incorporate meditation, yoga, tai chi, or other gentle exercises. For some stress-related conditions, these approaches are used in addition to other forms of treatment. Schedule regular times for these and other healthy and relaxing activities. Learn more about these techniques on the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) website at (www.nccih.nih.gov/health/stress).
◉ Set Goals and Priorities. Decide what must get done and what can wait, and learn to say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload. Note what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do.
◉ Stay connected with people who can provide emotional and other support. To reduce stress, ask for help from friends, family, and community or religious organizations.
◉ Consider a Clinical Trial. Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NCCIH, and other research facilities across the country are studying the causes and effects of psychological stress, and stress management techniques. (www.nimh.nih.gov/joinastudy or www.clinicaltrials.gov .
There are no single solutions to address the issue on occupational or work related stress problem. Effort must be taken by adopting and implementing several possible solutions to prevent the issue before it becoming out of control and starting to affect the worker. There are several solutions which can be consider by the organization management as well as the country legislator to create harmonious working environment and put an end to element of stress within the working place.
Implementing work life balance policy in our world today, certain work and career choices are sometimes incompatible with spending meaningful time with your family and friends. Having an active work – life balance is vital towards achieving a rich socio –economic environment. (Abdul Aziz Yusof & Tan Fee Yean, 2014, p. 154). The worker shouldn’t be spending their lives in the office, nor should they be too fixed in a comfort zone. (The Star, 26 February 2016). Work life balance policy is about effectively managing the duties and responsibilities at work and at the same time able to spend quality time with family, taking part in sport and recreation, volunteering or undertaking further study, and others. (David Posen, 2010, pp. 42 – 45). Research suggests that improving the balance between our working lives and our lives outside work can bring real benefits for employees and employers. The finding of a 2015 Global Kelly Workforce Index on “Worker Preference and Workplace Agility” shows that two – thirds or 67 per cent of workers in Malaysia will consider a career that can strike a balance between life and career more attractive than a fatter paycheck. (Borneo Post, 1 May 2015). Amongst the steps which been recently implemented in the country for having work – life balance policy is the implementation of flexible working arrangement (FWA) (The Star, 25 October 2013) and the suggestion to establish child care center at every work place. (Utusan Malaysia, 23 April 2015) 5.2 Formulating proper rules and regulations Without doubt, rules and regulations can play important roles to combat the issue concerning occupational or work related stress in the country. By having rules and regulation, the matter can be tackle efficiently and effectively. Although there is no specific legislation, no specific Act of Parliament, which addressed the issue of occupational stress in the country, the employment relationship namely the relationship between an employer and an employee is still been governed by the law in the country, both under the law of contract and the law of tort. In the former an action may be taken for breach of contract, in the latter an action can be taken for negligence. There is also the concept of the duty of care where a duty owed by an employer to ensure the health, safety and welfare of his employees. Breaches of this duty of care may lead to a criminal prosecution in the criminal courts and or a civil action. (Siti Zaharah Jamaluddin, 2000, pp. 153 – 177, Sharifah Suhanah Syed Ahmad, 2012, pp. 179 – 196, & Ashgar Ali Ali Mohamed, 2014, pp. 35 – 74). Though having no specific legislation on the issue, the areas which have been given a focus by the country leadership to deal with the problem is on the implementation of flexible working hours and preventing sexual harassment at the workplace. The Malaysian government’s proposal to introduce the Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) during the last 2014 Malaysian budget announcement received the thumbs up by many workers in the country. The announcement pleased many employees, especially female’s employees in the country, as they would be able to balance between career and family commitments, and the move would also ensure a more supportive working environment. However, such proposal has not been received enough support especially by private sectors due many reasons which include lack of understanding over the process over its implementation and lack of proper procedures and regulations needed to control its implementation.
As Malaysia becoming fully developed nation by year 2020, having similar legislation been seen as the best option. On the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace which can create unnecessary stress amongst the workers, it’s time for the government to handle the matter swiftly. This due to the recent report which indicated the increased statistic number over the allegation of sexual harassment at the workplace.(Berita Harian, 19 March 2016). Though there have been many steps been taken by the Malaysian government to deal with the problem of sexual harassment through rules and regulations by amending the country Penal Code (Act 574) and Employment Act 1955 (Act 265). Far back in 2001, the Malaysian Joint Action Group against Violation against Women (JAG) which consists a number of the Non – Governmental Organizations (NGO) and the Malaysian Trades Union Congress is pressing for a comprehensive bill on sexual harassment. (Sunday Mail, 17 August 2003). It is known as the Proposed Malaysian Sexual Harassment Bill 2001 (Hereinafter shall be call as “proposed bill”). This proposed bill adequately addresses work related sexual harassment. The proposed bill covers occurrences of sexual harassment in the workplace and in circumstances where at least one party is working. The proposed bill is divided into seven parts namely Part 1 is a preliminary section that outlines definitions used in the proposed bill; Part 2 addresses the various forms of sexual harassment that are prohibited under the proposed bill; Part 3 states that victimisation of those who make complaints, and anyone who assists them, is prohibited. It also contains the vicarious liability sections, stating that employers who do not formulate their own in-house mechanisms to prevent sexual harassment or adequately address complaints will be held liable; Part 4 addresses the positions and duties of the director and tribunal; Part 5 outlines the complaints process, from the laying of a complaint to its resolution. Each process must be completed within a set timeframe. It also covers miscellaneous issues, including the proposed bill’s relation to dismissals and the Industrial Relations Act, 1967; Part 6 deals with offences under the bill; and Part 7 includes general issues such as areas of non-application of the proposed bill, actions of corporations, liability issues and the making of regulations. Section 2 of the proposed bill defined workplace as “means any place where a person attends for the purpose of carrying out any functions in relation to his or her employment, occupation, business, trade or profession and need not be a person’s principal place of business or employment including a ship, aircraft, vehicle, and virtual or cyber spaces and any other context that results from employment responsibilities or employment relationships”. The proposed bill also covers harassment at sporting activities, educational institutions, and legislative bodies. If passed, the proposed bill will bring about significant changes as it addresses two fundamental points needed to cope with the sensitivity and complexity of workplace sexual harassment cases: firstly, it will requires all employers to prevent sexual harassment by creation of in – house mechanisms and secondly, it provides victims of sexual harassment in the workplace with timely and meaningful access to legal redress.
Another way to prevent the issue of occupational or work related stress is by creating awareness amongst all workers on the important to behave professionally. Every workers should know their duties and responsibility and must try their best to work together to achieve the goals stipulated by the organizations. The organizations can conduct many activities and programs to create awareness amongst their workers on this issue. The management can invite outside speaker to come and deliver a talk on the issue. The management can also organize several religious activities program focusing on the problem. The management can develop their policy on how the to prevent or cope with the issue of stress in the workplace.
Stress is a part and parcel of life. Stress becomes more common in any workplace as worker need to deal with so many matters in carrying out their duties and responsibility. However, normal stress should be distinguished with unnecessary or preventable stress. As mentioned above, unnecessary or preventable stress can happen when any of the workers behave unprofessionally which affect the life of others within the workplace. Such behavior if not been tackle quickly, eventually it will cause stress to develop amongst the workers. As such, it’s the duty of every workers especially the employer to reduce or prevent any element of stress within their workplace. Employer must ensure that the workload given is in line with workers capabilities and resources, management must define clearly workers roles and responsibilities. There should be good communications amongst all workers from all level in the organization. Management must combat any unethical or unprofessional behavior at the workplace as well as encouraging work-life balance policies.
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Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Puma and Fila are popular among sportswear consumers in Malaysia. Sportswear is popular and becoming trend among young people as they identify them with relaxed lifestyle, fashion and comfort. This has prompted manufacturers like Nike and Adidas to start expanding their business particularly in Asia as it has the potential to give them higher volume of sales for their products.
Most companies enhance their brand loyalty among their customers. Brand loyalty is a consumer’s conscious or unconscious decision that is expressed through the intention or behaviour to repurchase a particular brand continually. Brand loyalty has been proclaimed to be the ultimate goal of marketing (Reicheld and Sasser, 1990). In marketing, brand loyalty consists of a consumer’s commitment to repurchase the brand through repeated buying of a product or a service or other positive behaviour such as word of mouth. This indicates that the repurchase decision very much depends on trust and quality performance of the product or service (Chaudhuri and Holbrook, 2001).
The purpose of this research is to learn and understand Nike’s corporate advertising. I will be using Nike as the subject, analysing Nike’s corporate advertising practices which covers; the three communication effects of corporate advertising, and guidelines and tips for organising an effective corporate advertising campaign
The objective of advertising is to sell products or services, to make the brand or organization known. The company pays the advertisement company to have a message that simultaneously explains its brand or product distributed to as many people as possible. It is also designed to win an audience over to a point of view. Such advertising is called institutional or corporate advertising.
Advertising can be national or local; it can address itself to any kind of audience; it can use any medium. When designed it often resembles editorial matter in the newspapers and magazines, offering an opinion or point of view. An obvious example of institutional advertising is a full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times urging some political action or appealing for funds. Often such advertising is an exercise in self-praise. It attempts to build a favorable image for its sponsor.
Image is particularly important among organizations whose products or services are relatively uniform. How a company advertises projects that image. The image must be concise, express the mission of the company, and its delivery must be consistent each time it is used.
If an attempt to sell a product creeps into institutional advertising, it does so in a passive voice. It can be aimed at a business, a consumer, or involve two businesses and slanted as a cooperative advertising. No matter its form, corporate advertising is meant to highlight and publicize the actions, products, or services of a company.
Media such as TV, radio, print, and online delivers advertising from corporations and institutions to the public or a targeted consumer group. Conventional ads, such as those seen in newspapers or magazines, banner ads online, and commercials heard and seen on TV and radio, communicate corporate messages to the public in the hopes that the desired action is taken; a sale, an enrolment, an inquiry, etc. Corporate advertising can take the form of advice, offer helpful information in times of crisis, congratulate a public or political figure, or announce a special event or occurrence that is of interest to a well-defined group or demographic. It is passive advertising that guides with an implied called to action that is subtle, unconventional, and never clearly stated, but the desired results is always the same; to get someone to take action or pay attention to something that is advantageous to the corporation or institution.
Institutional advertising use the same approaches and techniques that apply to product-oriented advertising: image, branding techniques, clear messaging, a call to action, and selling benefits as opposed to features. These characteristics are applicable to commercial as well as to social marketing activities. It is part of the “promotional mix” that exists within the discipline of marketing.
Advocacy advertising is related to institutional advertising. The difference is that in advocacy advertising, the sponsor pushes a point of view that may have nothing to do with selling the product or building an image.
According to Professor Robert Shayon of the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School of Communications, corporations have taken to advocacy advertising because they feel they are not getting a fair shake from what they believe to be a generally hostile press; and because they are convinced that the business world can make significant contributions to public debate on issues of great importance-energy, nuclear power, conservation, environment, taxation, and free enterprise, among others.
Some state legislatures have drafted laws to restrict this kind of advertising, and the Internal Revenue Service does not regard the advertising as a necessary business expense. However, it is difficult to identify the difference between advocacy advertising and institutional advertising, which is a tax-deductible expense.
Founded in January 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) by University of Oregon track athlete Philip Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman, the company was initially a distributor for the Japanese shoemaker Onitsuka Co and their brand Tiger. In 1966, it opened the first BRS retail store in Sana Monica, California.
In those days, Bowerman would often rip apart the Tiger brand shoes to see how he could make them lighter and better. He used to take help from university runners to test his creations and collect their feedback. By 1971, through BRS revenue had touched $1 million, the business relationship with Onitsuka was turned sour. So, they moved on from being distributors of athletic footwear to designers and manufactures of athletic footwear and took full control over their value chain. In 1973, they called their brand Nike after the Greek goddess of victory. A design student Carolyn Davidson created the famous ‘swoosh’ logo for $35. Today, they estimated market value of Nike is about $10.7 billion.
THREE COMMUNICATION EFFECTS OF CORPORATE ADVERTISING
Brand awareness is the first and crucial stage of consumer’s preference. It referred to the strength of a brand’s presence in the consumers’ mind (Aakers, 1996). Nike has been successful in building awareness. The ‘Swoosh” symbol has been appeared everywhere, on shoes, hats, billboards and soccer balls across the globe too remarkably to such extent that one author used the title “the Swooshification of the world” on sports illustrated column that imaged a future which the swoosh could surpass sports to become “a letter of the alphabet and the new presidential seal, among other things” (Keller, 2008).
Nike has been a recognized brand name even by the youngest group (aged from 4 to 6 years old). Nike has built its brand awareness by sponsorship, advertising and experience focused retailing. Strategy used by Nike is by athlete endorsement which can be considered as the most significant success of Nike Brand.
Nike has been invested millions of dollars to associate their brand names with famous athletes. With the aim of brand image building (1.6 dollars is spent on multiyear athlete endorsement by Nike according to Horrow (2007). Athletes at the top of their respective sport such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong who are popular and respected by fans of the brand’s target audience are chosen as endoresers to associate the Nike brand with the athlete’s celebrity image. Tiger Woods and Nike annual sales for Nike Golf have exceeded to nearly $500 million dollars with an estimated 24 percent growth per year in the first five years of the agreement (Pike, 2006 cited by Carlson and Donavan, 2008).
The willingness of a customer to buy a certain product or a certain service is known as purchase intention. Strong brand images, such as Nike improve perceptions of quality and benefits, reduce perceived risk and soften the consumer tendency to evaluate only the basis of price. Taken together, these factors all improve consumer purchase intentions. Luring by “good shoe with innovative functionality” and athletic aspiration value, Nike has indeed come to ‘mind’ and ‘heart’ of its customers. By the mid of 1990s, 77 percent of male Americans from the age of 18 to 25 chose Nike as their “favourite shoe”, according to Rozanski et al (1999). The figure still remains stably despite of the “up” and “down” year Nike has been experience, gaining the high score of customer satisfaction at 79 percent rated by The American Customer Satisfaction Index Organization (2009).
It could be said that loyalty to the Nike brand is driven by many external and internal factors such as brands’ subjective and objective characteristics and loyalty building programs.
One visible example of creating innovative method to capture the strong relationships with Nike users is that creating innovative method to capture the strong relationships with Nike users is that creating Joya.com, a social network site for football fans. Launching quietly in the early 2006, the site become an instant hit, peaking at 7.5 million viewers when Nike showed Ronaldinho video clips, according to Nike (2006). More than 1 million members from 140 countries signed up by mid July. In this site, fans can create their personal blogs, build communities around favorite teams or players, download video and organize pickup games. By enrolling consumers in building and shaping the content of the website, Nike pulled their loyal customers closer, nurtured deeper bonds of loyalty and advocacy. (kotler and Armstrong, 2007)
Brand attitude is an opinion of consumers toward a product determined through market research. The brand attitude will tell what people think about a product or service, whether the product answers a consumer need, and just how much the product is wanted by the consumer. Knowledge of brand attitude is very helpful in planning an advertising campaign.
Attitude can be broken into different characteristics: hedonic and utilarian (Voss, Spangenberg, & Grohman) Measuring the Hedonic and Utilitarian Dimenstions of consumer Attitude, 2013). As stated by Voss, Spangenberg, and Crowley (1977), “We use goods in two ways. We use goods as symbols of stateus, and simultaneously as instruments to achieve some end in view”(235). While utilitarian and hedonic characteristics are different in nature, they are not necessarily exclusive from one another. Many times, a consumer will weigh both attitudinal functions when making a purchase decision. Depending on the situation, one factor could have more weight than another (Batra & Ahtola, 1990).
According to Voss, Spangenberg, and Grohman, (2003) “The hedonic dimension results from sensations derived from the experience of using products” (p.310). Hedonic attitude generates from an individual’s sensory attributes. It has also been described as the function of consumer behavior that relate an individual’s emotions to their product experience (Voss, Spangenber, & Crowley, 1997). Hedonic attitude can be desrivbed as how a consumer feels towards and agrees with a product or service (Batra & Ahtola, 1990). Based on how a consumer feels about a product or service, it is easy to see that hedonic attitude aligns with self-concept.
As mentioned previously, utilitarian attitude concepts align with many of the same concepts as functional congruity. Sharaon Shavvit (1989) states that, “The role of attitude in maintaining rewards is referred to as the utilitarian function” (125). Utilitarian dimentions are generated from the functions that consumer’s receive from products (Voss, Spangenberg, & Grohman, measuring the Hedonic and Utilitarian Dimensions of consumer Attitude, 2013). In other words, how useful/functional is a product/service to a given consumer?
Effective corporate advertising are far more than selling. In order to sell your product or services you need to have the answer for your ‘what, why, where, when, who and how’ to understand what to deliver to customers. Here are some guidelines and tips for effective corporate advertising campaign.
- Target Audience – An advertising campaign should be geared toward your niche market. It is a common mistake to create generic ads that do not speak the language or grab the attention of your potential customers. Ask yourself what kind of customers you want to attract, and make sure your ads speak to them on a personal level.
- Establish an image
- Effective corporate advertising should be memorable
- Resonate with consumers by ringing true and delivering a personally meaningful message, even if the brand has a huge target audience like Nike’s
- Communicate how the product or service fits into consumers’ lives or work to make them better, more productive, happier, more fulfilled
- Stand for values above and beyond the product or service
- Be inextricably linked to the brand, so the ad won’t be attributed to a competitor
Winning brands combine powerful, meaningful, inspirational messages delivered in ways that touch their audiences, with great products and services that perform to expectations, are credible and trustworthy. Great ad campaigns are often founded on deep psychological insights. The messages, delivered in novel and thought-provoking ways, increase the odds they’ll be shared virally by brand fans, who further add credibility and awareness. Great campaigns help brands avoid being commoditized and compete only on price. They increase loyalty and good will, and can encourage purchase across more items within the brand umbrella.
Here are some examples of powerful advertisement;
Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty, followed by the Sketches Campaign is designed to encourage debate regarding the definition of beauty and how women see themselves. Unilever created a public dialog about a deeply important message that challenged stereotypical views of beauty. Their goal was to make more women feel beautiful, appreciate themselves more, and feel more confident. Like Nike’s message, it’s empowering, inclusive, and broadly relatable. The umbrella campaign supports a very broad product line. Unilever engaged psychologists to uncover and explore the depth and breadth of the insight.
Nike’s Find Your Greatness Campaign touches all of us because it’s such a positive inclusive message. It says we don’t need to be technically amazing, as long as we try and do our own personal best. The message inspires everyone. It follows Nike’s previous message of Just Do It!: also broadly meaningful because it says “action is better than no action” and because it pushes people to take a risk, try something new, do something they’ve always wanted to. The implication is that Nike products are there to back us up and help you accomplish our personal goals.
Nike name have been a brand with concepts of victory, success and speed. Nike has been keeping its great speed in the fierce competitive environment. Nike’s three communication effects of corporate advertising have shown that Nike is brand with many fans.
Nike’s recruitment advertisement and benefit published in the website easily attract anyone to try their luck to be part of Nike’s team.
Nike has touched people heart with its powerful advertisement with the help of famous athlete and sponsored.
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Each family is unique due to variation of personal characteristic and cultural style. Family is the first training centre for any human being before stepping out to the world. Home and family is the first place they learn how to adapt to their surroundings. Family is a basic unit in a society and a healthy nation are made from strong society which comes from strong family. Each members of the family have a part in the family.
In these modern era, where most things become easy with technology and social interaction have been taken over by social media. Relationship become vulnerable, family can easily become distance. Family don’t talk anymore, they text each other and this becoming a trend. If you look at people around, at the restaurant, at the park, shopping complex and even in any gathering, most will be on the hand phone rather than talking to each other. People don’t talk anymore, they texting and this scenario can be pretty scary.
Many people especially family member having communication break-down. Divorce rate are getting higher each day because of conflict among family. Conflicts that are not resolved peacefully can lead to arguments and resentment. Communication in a positive way can help reduce conflict so that family members can reach a peaceful resolution.
Communication is the healthy key to any healthy relationships especially family. Effective communication and listening skills are important skills that need to be learnt. Poor communication skills or lack of listening skills may create miscommunication which leads to conflict and tension among family members.
OBJECTIVES OF STUDIES
Communication in a family are very important, a good communication is a key to healthy relationships among family. Objective of this study is to learn the importance of communication in a family system. How communication affected family relationship, good and open communication is essential to establish a harmonious relation among family members based on certain important characteristics. Poor communication among family will lead to conflicts and family problems such as separation and divorce.
This assignment is requires a discussion on;
The importance of communication in a family system.
The factors contributing to the occurrence of a conflict among family system? And
The effective strategies on how to avoid or reduce conflicts among family members.
COMMUNICATION IN FAMILY SYSTEM
Communication is sharing of ideas, thoughts and feelings among people, communication doesn’t have to include words or verbal. Non-verbal are also considered as part of communication, when we ask a child to agree on something and the child nod, means the child agree with you without saying yes or no. Communication involves the ability to pay attention to what others are thinking and feeling. In other words, an important part of communication is not just talking, but listening to what others have to say.
There are four main points in the communication concept of a family system. They are as follows:
There are no such things as an ideal family. Every family attempts to form a distinctive identity as a result of both happy and sad experienced in their lives. Imperfection makes a family system perfect together.
Communication in a family system is process that happens when a family member discusses and shares meaning with other members of the same family. Through this interaction, we shape ad determine the identities and relationships of the members within the family and society.
A healthy family will attempt to adapt and shape changes in order to maintain closeness within the family as well as control and handle any conflicts.
The family is the best example of the context of communication involving multiple generations that is from the smallest members of family to the adults and the elderly.
Although communicating with family members may seem complex at times, family communication styles can be broken down into two major constructs: clearness of the message and directness of the communication. There are four basic communication styles: clear and direct, clear and indirect, masked and direct and masked and indirect. Clarity in communication refers to how easily a message is understood, while directness refers to whether the message is spoken directly to the person for whom it was intended.
Clear and direct communication is considered the healthier form of communication in families. Clear and direct communication occurs when a message is stated plainly and directly to the person for whom the message is intended. An example of clear and direct communication is a statement such as “Honey, I’m so proud of you for completing your homework early.”
In clear and indirect communication, a message is clearly communicated, but the person for whom the message is intended is not clear. This type of communication is probably meant for someone but don’t want it to show it directly. For example, a mother saying “all of you make this house is in a mess” sends a clear message, but does not address directly to the person for who it intended. This type of communication can be a problem, it create tension rather than a solution.
Masked and direct communication occurs when a family member is directly identified, but the message communicated is not. Masked communication may be viewed as passive-aggressive, because it vaguely discusses concerns without directly addressing them. For an example, you are upset with your daughter for not able to clean her room, stating “I cannot imagine how someone can sleep in a room like this”. It is clear that you are upset with your daughter for not cleaning her room but without giving her instruction on what to do.
The least effective method of communication is masked and indirect communication. This communication style does not identify the intended recipient for the message, nor does it clearly state the message that you are trying to convey. A statement such as “People don’t care about keeping a clean house anymore,” is both vague and does not directly identify any one person in the family.
Family system theory stresses that the whole of the family is more important relative to the individual contributions each family member provides. The system theory concept of wholeness emphasizes that the sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts.” Thus, families can be understood not through individual members’ experiences (which can vary widely from one another-think “beloved sister” and “black sheep” here) but, rather, through the unique dynamics and overall climate achieved in a family; that is, families should be measured at the system level (e.g. size, rigidity, climate) rather than the individual family level (e.g., perceptions of satisfaction, emotional experiences)
As in roles theory, where one parent is the resource provider and the other is the nurturer-caregiver. Both functions must be achieved for the family to function, so both parents rely on one another, and the children rely on both of the parents. The concept of homeostasis (balance) stresses the nature of families as goal-attaining systems. The family have goal to attain a well raised children, social and emotional well-being and family’s satisfaction.
For example if there is certain issues in the family, such as a child create problem in school. The parents may need to set their goal and attempting to regain balance within the family system.
First, families use communication, which functions to connect the self-aware, self-directed, independent identities within the families. Second, families must use sociopolitical negotiation to achieve joint decisions by members with individual needs and independent wills. Thus, families require a far more elaborate executive mechanism than is found in other types of systems. Third, attributions regarding families must be made at the social system level. In other words, attributions about as system are different (e.g. size, rigidity, development) from those of individuals (e.g., marital satisfaction). Fourth, families use social distance regulation as they approach and avoid members within the family and across family boundaries.
Rules of communication shape how we communicate with various family members, inform us regarding the best way to verbally talk to, or nonverbal communicate with, other member of our family. Rules help us know that we are obligated to tell our mothers what time we will be home and with whom we are going out. Rules also let us know that it is preferred that we communicate in pleasant ways and swearing at our mothers is strictly prohibited.
No family can escape from having conflicts, as it is normal to disagree with each other from time to time. We face conflict on everyday events but minor issues, such as having different opinion can easily be resolved. Conflicts which involved strong emotions or the power imbalances that can be present in relationships are difficult to resolve. Some stages a family goes trough such as learning to live as a new couple, birth of a baby, just to name a few can also leads to conflicts. Certain change in the family situation that requires major decisions, roles or power are also contributes to conflict. Here are some examples;
A newly married couple usually start their journey together by staying at their parent’s house before they have a house of their own. According to Amsa Naidu cited in The Star.com.my (30/08/2016), there have been more couples filing for divorce these years and dealing with this people every week rather than one or two cases at one time when she started before.
Amsa, who has been practicing family law for 17 years, says some get a divorce after just three months of marriage and says common reasons among her clients, is interference from in-law.
Based on the initial findings of the fifth Malaysian Population and Family Survey conducted in 2014 by the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN, Lembaga Penduduk dan Pembangunan Keluarga Negara), divorce cases in the country are mostly caused by “incompatibility” at 35.3 per cent, which was cited as couples growing apart, lack of intimacy, and careers getting in the way of the relationship, followed by adultery (20.2 per cent), irresponsible husband (14.1 per cent), involvement from in-laws (7.3 per cent), financial problems (5 per cent), and among other reasons (18.1 per cent). (Malaysiandigest.com, 2016)
The Star.com.my dated 30 August 2015, cited that The Islamic Development Department (Jakim, Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia) defined irreconcilable differences as being disrespectful towards a spouse, communication problems, selfishness and laziness has been the reason of divorce in this country. Malaysian Syariah Lawyer Association President Musa Awang says cases of irreconcilable differences occur when both parties can no longer accept each other or do not have feeling towards one another and there are also some couples who live in the same house but sleep in different rooms. Musa also shares that some of his clients divorce for the simplest of reasons, for instance a case where a woman wanting to leave the marriage because her husband spent too much time playing video games, while another man complained that his wife did not cook for him and was slow in making drinks. And fight over best telecaster pickguard from MF’s
These reasons can be seen as simple and should not end to break up. Negotiations, mutual understandings and how we communicate towards each other may help to reach a peaceful resolution. Communication has not always easy. Each family member plays different roles in the family system. Each of these roles carries with it different responsibilities and expectations.
Electronic gadget and social media such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, just to name a few has been also blame for conflict and divorce rates in Malaysia. As stated in The Star.com.my (14 January 2016), Dean of the Education Faculty, University Malaysia Associate Professor Dr Mariani Mohd Nor said WhatsApp have become a platform for young couples to express their anger during domestic conflicts and cheat on their partners by befriending others.
It has been a trend that family create WhatsApp group for family, in my opinion it can be good for small family but for big family, texting can easily create conflicts. Expressing or sharing information via messages in WhatsApp can give different perception and intonation from what is actually intended by the sender.
Having children and being a parent has never been easy. From the birth of a baby, having more children, child going to school, child going through adolescent, choosing a college, and giving support on career are just some example of stages that can be potential conflict. During these stages, there will be conflict and problems that family need to address and resolve. Talking to children age 5 are different when talking to a teenager.
Giving instruction or requesting help from a child, can too create conflict. For example, a mother asking her child to help her with the dishes, rather than helping, her child gives excuses and this create conflict between a child and mother.
Another example, if a family has a special child that need attention, this can create tension amongs family members especially husband and wife. Dealing with special need can be stressful and teamwork from the family.
Financial problems are one of the leading causes of divorce. A couple may feel overwhelmed by the amount of money they owe, which affects how much they can afford to do or buy for the family. Financial stress can also occur when a husband and wife disagree about how, where or when money is spent. Other family conflicts arise as a result of unemployment. When someone is out of work for a long period of time, she might feel anxious, depressed or ashamed, and such negative emotions can fuel arguments with her spouse.
We can’t escape ourselves from having conflict within the family unit but no matter how big or small the conflict is, there will always ways to solve it. Nobody is perfect but how we communicate towards each other will help ease or resolve conflict.
Communication is the important tools among families therefore everyone should learn and improve their communication skills. Here are some suggestions on how to improve communication.
Here are the active listening skills;
Be attentive and pay attention to the person speaking with you. Listen to what the person saying without interrupting.
Respect the speaker and attention to both verbal and nonverbal clues. Body language, facial expressions, and posture can all provide a detailed picture of what’s going on.
Avoid letting your personal preferences affect how you listen. Try to keep your personal beliefs from clouding the speaker’s statements.
If you don’t understand what’s being said, clarify by asking questions and try not to become distracted or lose track of what’s being said.
Give appropriate nonverbal clues. When you’re actively listening to someone, your body language will show whether you’re paying attention or not. Maintain eye contact while talking, this is to show that you are interested in listening. Nodding your head is another indication that you are focusing and listening.
Lastly is to repeat back what you heard. This lets the speaker know that you’re really listening. Also, when you say what you understood, it gives them a chance to clarify any miscommunication.
Make time to communicate with each other. After a long work for parent and school for children, the only place family can sit and talk are while having dinner. Learn to limit or keep gadget away when at home. It is better to keep gadget, such as handphone when you are at home with family, this will allow you to have time to communicate with family members instead of texting or checking email or social media.
Learn to say words of encouragement and show appreciation in daily communication within family. This will make family feel appreciated and love. Have a reading time with family member and share about the book to each other, this not only create quality time but sharing informative and education.
It is good to use affective communications; it is the way individual family members share their emotions with one another, for example, expressing how sad they are in a situation. Most Asian family may have a problem with affective communication compare to western family but nowadays healthy families all over the world able to express themselves openly.
Communicate openly and honestly among family members will make it easier to understand how each other’s feel on certain issues.
Expressing feeling openly, help ease stress and not hold grudges. Share feelings of frustration with your spouse and receive suggestions in return will make relationship closer. Communication using text, or expressing anger in the social media should be avoided.
Everybody wants to be heard, every unit in a family has a needs and voice that requires attention. A father wants respect from his family; a mother wants her children to obey her rules and children need attention and love. Tension happened when we feel our children not listening to us, we want them to listen and act to what we asked them to do. But when they don’t give the respond we want or give excuses, we feel stress.
There is five love languages of children, there are physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts and act of service. Once the parent understand their child’s primary love language, it will be easier for both child and parent to interact. For example, if a child’s primary language is physical touch is to look at their face, hold his or her hand and tell them what to do. A hug will make them feel better and for younger children, reading stories together with your child on your lap make them feel happy.
There is another ways of communication that may help relationship amongst family. That is using NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programing). To be an effective communicator you need to learn & be always aware of the 3 human primary modes that people use to process thoughts during communication.
There are Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. Just like being right-handed primary, each of us uses one of the 3 modes as our primary form to convey messages during communication. Understanding which one the person you are speaking with is using is a step forward to being a better communicator. The moment you understand the type of person you are talking to, may it your parents, spouse or children, you can build rapport easily and communicate better.
If we are too angry, we tend to shut our ear and heart to any explanation. We don’t want to listen to explanation but only want to win in any argument. It helps if everyone decides as a family to try listening to each other and negotiating instead.
Try to separate the problem from the person and before getting into discussion, try to cool down first. Remember that the other party isn’t obliged to always agree with you on everything but learn to calm.
For example, if you sharing a home with your in-law, you need negotiate on certain things, for both families can stay in harmony. Try to find points of common ground and at certain time we need to learn to agree to disagree.
This assignment has explained the important of communication in family, what are the factors contributing conflict among family member and some suggestions on how to avoid conflict. In conclusion to this, conflicts such as learning to live as a family, marriage problem, financial problem, the use of electronic gadget and social media has been the reasons of separation and divorce. Sadly, divorce rate in Malaysia are getting higher each year.
There is no problem without solutions; good communication is the best solution to deal with conflicts. It is important for family to learn on effective communication. In order to solve conflicts, learn to be an active listener. Communicate frequently, openly and honestly is the key to healthy relationships among family members. Agree to negotiate in a way will help family to stay in peace and harmony with each other.
Dealing with children, from the start the child was born, adolescence, adulthood, choosing school and career are the conflict or issues a family go through by stages. Understanding the right language to talk to different age children make it easier. Learning to understand the type of person we communicate can also help family to communicate easy and better.
To conclude, communication is an important tool in family relationship. Open and honest communication is part of effective communication. In order to have a good relationship, it is good for family to understand and learn to communicate effectively.
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