A framework for strategic communication management in small sized pharmacies in the Dr. Kenneth Kaunda District
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The healthcare market has become increasingly competitive due to the opening of in-store, chain store pharmacies such as Dis-Chem, Clicks, Medirite, Spar and even Pick n Pay countrywide. The growth in the number of chain store pharmacies underscores the fact that large buyers have a competitive advantage. Due to the unpredictability of environmental issues, clearer communication is needed to remove operational barriers. The benefits of a communication strategy to ensure that the communication plan is on track cannot be underestimated, and therefore formative and summative research should be conducted. In addition, top management, who must approve project plans, budgets, and personnel decisions, should be involved on a frequent basis. This will guarantee their understanding of the implications and limitations, which should be conveyed clearly and confidently through forthright communication. Attention must also be focused on the complexities within the pharmaceutical management environment, and the role that strategic communication planning can play within this context. The contributing part of the pharmacy owner or -manager should not be overlooked, as they have the potential to enhance the pharmacy's success by utilising the management process. Ultimately, the glue that holds these elements together will be set out in the communication strategies, which will aim to reduce the complexity of communication. In order to adhere to the previously mentioned, the guiding steps in the process were consulting literature by utilising books, journals, and internet browsers such as Google Scholar, EBSCOhost, JSTOR, Medline and Nexus. The empirical research methods strived to answer particular research questions by means of empirical observations or data collection. Thereafter, semi-structured interviews supplied a clear set of guidelines that had contributed to producing qualitative, comparable and reliable data. Multi-stage sampling were used. Cluster sampling allowed for all the small pharmacies within the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District to be included in the study. A stratified sampling process took place within each cluster. Thereafter, a convenience sample within each stratified cluster, was used. Based on qualitative thematic analysis and on the data gathered, fusion between the literature and current practices resulted in the findings with regard to strategic communication and pharmacy management, and, building on the overall interview questions, it indicated that the interviewees have in some intuitive instances established their own strategic stakeholder needs and issues. Suggestions towards the resulting impact of communication and relationship management were advised upon. Consequently, recommendations were made with regard to the prioritisation of stakeholders, key strategic issues, identification of whom and what in order to utilise communication, as well as the focus on relationship building, keeping in mind the time limitations and financial constraints. The interviewees focused on issues, such as communication campaigns, stakeholder prioritisation, or management areas such as marketing- and strategic management in order for the small pharmacies in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District to apply their sparse resources carefully and with the utmost long-lasting effect.
- Humanities 
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