عنوان مقاله [English]
Aim and Introduction: The main purpose of this study is the meta-synthesis of effective signaling to internal and external stakeholders. Signaling theory is trying to determine the important role of signaling by different players in changing the economic results through making more information asymmetry (Connelly et al., 2011). On the other hand, a stakeholder is an entity whose decisions affect the company and vice versa (Beringer et al., 2013). In this study, two types of stakeholders are considered: internal and external. The study is developmental, qualitative in terms of data nature, and documentary-meta-synthesis in terms of data collection.
Methodology: In this research CASP- Critical Assessment Skills Program is used for evaluating articles. For 72 selected articles from valid scientific databases from 1996 to 2021, the process of extracting information was performed from the results and analysis of these articles. After evaluating each of them, finally, 48 articles were approved and screened by 10 qualitative criteria (Sandelowski & Barroso, 2006). By examining the backgrounds and models of the approved articles, a conceptual model is resulted based on the achieved codes and categories.
In this part, there are three different phases: combining the findings, quality control, and reporting the final results. The purpose of meta-synthesis is to build the cohere and new interpretation for results. This method has been used for clearing up the concepts and patterns in accepted references (Kant, 2006); because of that, all findings in this process are considered as codes and themes which are mentioned totally in the paper.
Findings: The result of the analysis of approved papers’ models and contents, based on the methodology above, appears in 4 categories and 27 codes. The main categories are signal, effective signal attributes, internal stakeholders, and external stakeholders. Social responsibility, product quality, and product innovation are the most repetitive signals, which mentioned in researches. Other signals can be set to receivers like process innovation, marketing innovation, consequence, commitment, and intent. In the signaling attribute category, signal observability is the main code, which can define the effectiveness of signal and signaling in general. On the other hand, in the internal stakeholder category, staff and in external stakeholders, competitors, business partners, and customers are the main signal receivers. Signal and signaling attributes impact signaling effectiveness: signal cost, observability, fit, frequency, validity, and consistency. Among these attributes, observability has a major impact on signaling effectiveness. Finally, the conceptual model which contains signals, their attributes, and their main receivers is formed based on analysis.
Discussion and Conclusion: The company gives different signals to its target audience with its different actions and chosen signaling mix. Depending on the company's signaling goals and the company’s signaling mix, the receivers of the signals can be a group of internal and external stakeholders of the company. According to research articles, the focus is more on some kind of signals and also some stakeholders as receivers; For example, companies generally target their external stakeholders, especially the customer and competitor (Talke & O'Connor,2011). On the other hand, the repetition of signaling to internal stakeholders is less among the studies. By reviewing the contents of the company’s signaling portfolio, the most emphasis in studies is on social responsibility, reliability, innovativeness, and quality of the company and its products.
The emphasis of this study is on effective signaling to stakeholders, because the company tries to signal the true quality of it and the next reason is decreasing the gap between perceived signals and intended ones to get to its signaling goals. The characteristics of the signals and the signaling process, in general, can determine the effectiveness of the signals and signaling itself. That group of characteristics includes transparency pf signal, the validity of signal, stability of the signal, signal cost (Certo & et al.,2003), signal fit, and signal frequency (Carter, 2006) which the signal transparency and observability have got the most weight between others (Ramaswami et al., 2010).
For further researches, researchers can consider some suggested subjects by authors in this very area: identifying other elements affecting the effectiveness of signals and signaling besides the mentioned elements like the characteristics of the signal sender, the characteristics of signal receivers, signaling environment, chosen signaling mix, framing the proper signaling mix for sending to specific receiver for specific goals, comparing the main aim of signaler of sending signals with the probable perception of the signal receiver, the probable reaction of signal receivers to signals based on their perception and the dimension of reactions(Debruyne et al.,2002).