There is a widespread belief in the professional universe that in today’s society the hereafter of any one company depends critically on how it is viewed by cardinal stakeholders such as stockholders and investors. clients and consumers. employees. and members of the community in which the company resides. Public activism. globalisation and recent accounting dirts have farther strengthened this belief ; and have besides brought the importance of strategic communications direction into closer orbit.
Not surprisingly. therefore. both the academic and professional universes have been proposing models and theoretical accounts that prescribe stairss towards the ‘strategic’ usage of communications including such thoughts as ‘integrated selling communications’ ( Kitchen and Schultz. 1999 ) . ‘corporate individuality management’ ( Van Riel and Balmer. 1997 ) . ‘reputation management’ ( Fombrun. 1996 ) . ‘stakeholder communications’ ( Christensen and Cheney. 1994 ) and ‘excellent public relations’ ( Grunig and Grunig. 1998 ) .
Much of this work has been normative in proposing models for pull offing communications and for pull offing firm-stakeholder interactions. as opposed to a more grounded and elaborate apprehension of the patterns of stigmatization and communications professionals and how these may do a difference in the direction of firm-stakeholder relationships.
Such an apprehension is. we suggest. peculiarly of import given the rift between the importance placed by CEO’s and senior executives uponstrategiccorporate communications. that is. associating communications activities with the overall corporate scheme and aims of the house. and their positions that there is a immense under-performance in the communications profession in the US. the UK and Continental Europe because of a deficiency of qualified forces and a limited apprehension ofwhatcommunicating patterns really make a difference ( Argentiet Al.. 2005 ; Murray and White. 2004 ; Van der Jagt. 2005 ) .
Against this background. I conducted primary research into patterns ( duties. functions and activities ) of communications professionals in four corporations ( Siemens. Nokia. Shell and Philips ) that have had systematically strong and glowing reputes over the past old ages. despite market reverses and negative coverage in the media.
The overall purpose here was to arouse and gestate in more item the activities and issues that define CC as a public relation map in pattern. This drawn-out conceptualisation is based upon a position of CC as a ‘practice’ . which focuses upon how practicians engage in the making the ‘real work’ ( Cook and Brown. 1999. p. 387 ) – a position that. I hope. will excite conceptual argument and empirical research and offer a more informed footing for practicians to do sense of their professional worlds and act upon it.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE AND CRITIQUE
Harmonizing to authors Ewen ( 1996 ) and Cutlip ( 1995 ) the professional subject of public dealingss ( PR ) – communicating activities undertaken by an organisation to inform. carry or otherwise relate to persons and groups in its outside environment – developed itself. spread outing in its range and activities. because of public incredulity. political reform. convulsion and activism throughout the twentieth century. In PR’s early yearss as a subject. at the tallness of the Industrial Revolution. power was mostly concentrated with large concerns. although the balance has since so shifted towards powerful groups in society including authoritiess. trade brotherhoods. investors and shareholders ( Broomet Al.. 1991 ) .
In response to the increased salience and power of such groups. new countries of expertness such as investor dealingss. public personal businesss. issues direction and employee communications were added to the bing fortes of media dealingss and promotion. and PR bit by bit developed into a fully fledged ‘managerial discipline’ in the early 1970s ( Olasky. 1987 ) . The ‘managerial discipline’ of PR has since so. as authors Van Riel ( 1995 ) and Cornelissen ( 2004 ) have documented. evolved into the ‘managerial function’ of CC. The cardinal contrast being that under CC communications activities and fortes ( eg media dealingss. authorities dealingss. employee communications. community dealingss. advertisement. investor dealingss. corporate design and issues direction ) have been progressively taken together and consolidated into one or a few units or sections and. significantly. these activities are progressively given form and coordinated from thestrategicinvolvements of the organisation as a whole.
Van Riel ( 1995: 26 ) for illustration suggests in this respect that CC as a managerial map is ‘aninstrumentof direction by agencies of which all consciously used signifiers of internal and external communicating are harmonized as efficaciously and expeditiously as possible’ . with the overall aim of making ‘a favourable footing for relationships with groups upon which the company is dependent’ .
The development of PR into CC and its acknowledgmentas a managerial mapis moreover documented in the comparatively high place of communications directors and sections ( e. g. ‘Corporate communications’ . ‘Public Affairs’ or ‘Corporate affairs’ ) within organizations’ hierarchal constructions ( Cornelissen. 2004 ) . the rise of a new ‘style’ more concern understanding ‘corporate communications’ director ( Freeman. 1984 ; Harris and Bryant. 1986 ; Marion. 1998 ) . and the widespread acceptance of the CC vocabulary of ‘stakeholders’ . ‘identity’ and ‘reputation’ ( Argenti. 1996 ; Van Riel. 1997 ) .
For illustration. a recent study of Fortune 500 companies found that instead than utilizing PR nomenclature around populaces ( ie people who mobilize themselves against an organisation on the footing of some common issue or concern to them ) . pull offing ‘reputations’ with stakeholders is today considered the lead doctrine among communicating sections ( Huttonet Al.. 2001 ) .
In reexamining these literatures that have dealt with the map and procedure of communications between houses and groups in their several environments. we observed two cardinal points about the current conceptualisation of CC and its incarnation as a managerial map in houses around the Earth. First. theories and theoretical models in these literatures implicate the importance of communications in firm-stakeholder interactions – and in that sense are coming together ( californium Schultzet Al.. 2000: 3 ) – but merely concentrate on theprocedureof pass oning between a house and stakeholders in its environment.
These theories have been peculiarly focused on stakeholder effects and results ( e. g. images. reputes. relationships ) established. but have paid really small attending to the managerial activities. professional issues and organisational contexts that characterize CC as a managerial map ( cf Vercic and Grunig. 2000 ) . Some work to this consequence has emerged in recent old ages ( Cornelissen. 2004 ; Scholes and Clutterbuck. 1998. 1997 ) . but is still a long manner off from to the full gestating and depicting CC as a direction map and pattern – at least in comparing with other direction maps and patterns as for case scheme ( Whittington. 2003 ) and accounting ( Hopwood and Miller. 1994 ) .
Second. there has been small existent empirical research into CC as a direction map. despite the recognized importance of the map and a proliferating watercourse of literatures that straight or indirectly refer to it. Therefore. there is a spread between theoretical deliberations on the relevancy and importance of CC. and descriptive histories of its existent usage and incarnation in pattern. We argue that a practice-based conceptualisation of CC histories for these restrictions and provides non merely a model for extended theorizing and empirical research but besides a agency for practicians to achieve a Fuller and richer apprehension of this critical direction map.
The Organization of Communication Work
The manner in which communicating practicians and functional countries are organized is of import as it non merely determines to a big extent whether the communications map is enabled to supply strategic input into decision-making at the corporate degree. but besides whether the communicating activities that are carried out at assorted topographic points within the organisation are streamlined and coordinated. In other words. the manner in which communications is organized carries of import strategic and political dimensions and is besides important for the effectual support and integrating of communicating activities.
Ever since the 1970s. academic and practitioner Hagiographas have emphasized that houses should consolidate instead than break up their communications by conveying practicians and functional countries together into cardinal organisational sections. with the intent of pooling and heightening communicating expertness and increasing the organisational liberty and visibleness of communications within the organisation ( e. g. Cook. 1973 ; Dozier and Grunig. 1992 ; Grunig and Grunig. 1998 ; Schultzet Al.. 1993 ; Van Riel. 1995 ) .
Mhos. for illustration. has consolidated all of its communications staff and their duties into a ‘corporate trade name and design’ section responsible for the strategic development and policing of the Siemens umbrella trade name values. trade name design and trade name portfolio direction. a ‘corporate communications’ section which includes advertisement. internal communications and media dealingss. and a cardinal ‘corporate messages’ unit embracing both senior communications professionals responsible for developing and guarding the overall corporate narrative of Siemens and transcript authors for addresss of senior directors.
Such consolidation is harmonizing to a figure of research studies ( eg Cornelissen and Thorpe. 2001 ) now commonplace. with the exclusion of a few big corporations like General Motors which instead than conveying functional countries together into a few cardinal communications sections have devolved them as stand-alone units ( eg a governmental personal businesss unit ) or subordinated to other maps such as human resources or finance. By and large. so. at that place app-ears to be a greater consolidation of communications into a few sections. yet still in separate ‘corporate communications’ and ‘marketing’ or ‘corporate branding’ sections.
Within big houses. such as multidivisional houses and transnational corporations like Siemens. Nokia. Philips and Shell. the relationship between the corporate centre or group central offices and the assorted business-units is normally a major strategic issue. One cardinal structural consideration here. is as Argenti ( 1998: 5 ) suggests. to hold ‘all communications focused by centralising the activity under one senior officer at a corporation’s central office or to deconcentrate activities and let single concern units to make up one’s mind how best to manage communications’ .
Most big multinationals like Siemens. Shell. Nokia and Philips have a combination of centralised ‘global’ sections at the corporate centre and decentralized ‘local’ sections. squads and professionals in business-units around the universe. Within both Philips and Siemens. the ‘corporate branding’ and ‘corporate communications’ sections have defined a trade name charter and a figure of work procedures to help professionals within the concern with their specific communicating plans.
The obvious logical thinking behind these illustrations is that although conveying communications specializers togetherverticallyinto one or a few sections may take to enhanced efficiency. to the ability to develop specialised. typical capablenesss. and to ease of direction through the centralisation and consolidation of communicating activities. it may non take to coordination between communication-related sections and with other functional countries ( eg human resources ) outside those sections. and it risks ‘turf wars’ . functional nearsightedness. and over specialisation.
A horizontal construction covering the perpendicular construction. therefore. is frequently seen as necessary for organizing disparate communications undertakings and activities. which besides recognizes that communications with cardinal stakeholders might emerge from assorted topographic points within the organisation and that the procedure of developing and put to deathing communicating plans is hence basically cross-functional or cross-disciplinary ( Heath. 1994 ) .
Horizontal construction can take assorted signifiers including multidisciplinary undertaking or undertaking squads. formal lines of communicating. standardised work procedures ( Philips ) . council meetings ( Shell. Siemens ) . communicating guidelines ( Siemens. Philips ) a corporative vision and communications scheme ( Nokia ) or the usage of ‘czars’ ( senior practicians working as planimeters between sections ) . Large organisations in both the private and public sectors by and large need at least some of these horizontal constructions. Particularly in multidivisional houses runing across geographical boundary lines. horizontal constructions do non look to be a luxury but an absolute necessity.
In recent old ages at that place has been a batch of treatment around the departmental agreement of communications and the coverage relationship of the cardinal corporate personal businesss section ( see Cornelissen. 2004 ) . Ultimately. the bets of this treatment are about the professional position of corporate communications ( six-a-visother established maps as human resources and finance ) and its strategic engagement in decision-making at the highest corporate degree. Claims that have been made to this consequence include the statements that different communications subjectsshould be consolidatedin a individual section. and that the caput of this sectionshould describe straight to the Chief executive officerorthe senior direction squad( or be a member of this squad ) to bolster and procure the functional expertness every bit good as the strategic engagement of corporate communications in decision-making.
Broom and Dozier ( 1986 ) and Grunig and Grunig ( 1998 ) characterized this engagement in organisational decision-making as possibly most of import to the communications practician than any other step of professional growing. The steering thought in this respect is that a direct coverage relationship to the CEO may be seen as an indicant that there is so a wide. turning acknowledgment among corporate executives and corporate boards that the ability to win will depend upon the firm’s ability to efficaciously pass on with its stakeholders ; and that therefore the communications map is recognized as an absolute. built-in portion of the top direction map. White and Mazur ( 1995 ) have added that such a direct coverage relationship is besides of import as it leads to excellent communications direction as senior direction is counseled on issues. and stakeholder and individuality considerations may more easy acquire factored into the procedure of organisational decision-making.
The consequences from a figure of surveies indicate that in the big bulk of instances. there is so such a direct coverage relationship from the staff communications section to the CEO and/or executive squad ( e. g. Argenti and Forman. 2000 ; Cornelissen and Thorpe. 2001 ; Grunig and Grunig. 1998 ; Gruniget Al.. 2002 ; Van Ruler and De Lange. 2003 ) . In most big houses. such a direct coverage relationships consist of guidance and reding the Chief executive officer and senior executive squad on stakeholder and repute issues. instead than holding a direct engagement ( through a place on the executive squad ) in corporate decision-making.
In a recent survey in the UK. Mosset Al.( 2000 ) found that within the sample of companies studied communications managers report straight to the CEO or president of the senior direction squad. but were non formal members of the senior direction squad responsible for finding corporate scheme and strategic decision-making. In other words. all of the managers in the survey indicated that ‘they were frequently consulted on of import issues likely to impact their organisations. [ but ] their engagement in cardinal operational decision-making was frequently limited toredingon how best to show policies to the outside universe or to internal stakeholders’ ( Mosset Al.. 2000: 299 ) . Similarly. within companies such as Shell. Siemens and Nokia. the senior vice-president in the country of CC sits on the second-tier direction squad ( one degree below the senior executive squad ) . and in that capacity advises and counsels the Chief executive officer and senior executive squad sing corporate decision-making.
Political and Cultural Issues
This is non to state. of class. that the communications manager should non hold a place on the executive board and should stay in this consultative capacity. but the UK survey did demo the current hindrances to such a move. On the one manus. there is still a considerable deficiency of apprehension and a deficiency of committedness to communications among senior directors. On the other manus. many senior communicating practicians frequently do non run into the demands of senior directors to supply communications advice and an input into corporate scheme in ways that contribute to the achievement of organisational aims and that affect the bottom line.
In other words.strategiccorporate communications stands or falls with extremely qualified input from the communicating practician at the decision-making tabular array ; and merely so will at that place be such a receptive environment for that part. The practician hence needs to bring forth strategically focussed recommendations for strategic corporate action ; conveying to the attending of top directors a wide apprehension of the strategic direction procedure and of those issues that may impact and impact upon a company’s repute ( Cornelissen. 2004 ; Cropp and Pincus. 2001 ) .
Otherwise. communications will be seen as a mostly tactical or ‘functionary’ activity ; in which practicians are considered ‘communications technicians’ . Gruniget Al.( 2002 ) have argued that for many houses. the strategic potency of CC in its boundary-spanning function appears to travel mostly unfulfilled. This is the instance. Gruniget Al.( 2002 ) argue. as senior direction every bit tends to handle communications mostly as a tactical map. concerned chiefly with the proficient assemblage of information and with transporting out promotion and publicity runs to external audiences.
Contribution of Work and Activities
The part and ingestion of work and activities carried out by communicating practicians takes topographic point at three degrees within big houses: the corporate. market ( or business-unit ) . and operational degrees. Schemes and activities at the corporate degree are concerned with the overall intent ( mission and vision ) and range of the house to run into its assorted stakeholder outlooks and demands. Schemes and activities at the market degree are concerned with finding how the house will vie successfully in peculiar markets. Schemes and activities at the operational degree concern the manner in which CC manages its ain resources. procedures and people to assistdelivercorporate and market-level strategic ends.
Central to the inquiry of whattypeof part CC makes and whether this is located at the corporate. business-unit or purely operational degree. is the definition and passage of the map as either strategic or tactical. As a strategic map. there is likely to be strategic engagement of communications practicians in managerial decision-making at the corporate and business-unit degrees. Such a strategic position of communications. which in portion has already been realized within the concern universe but in portion is besides still aspirational ( Cornelissen. 2004 ) . means that communications scheme is non merely seen as a set of ends and tactics at the operational degree – at the degree of the CC map – but that its range and engagement in fact stretches to corporate and business-unit-wide determinations and activities.
At the corporate degree. where scheme and activities are concerned with the corporate mission and vision every bit good as corporate placement. communicating practicians can help directors in developing schemes for interaction with the environment. In this sense. communicating practicians are straight involved or back up strategic decision-making through their ‘environmental scanning’ activities which may help corporate strategy-makers in analysing the organization’s place and placing emerging issues which may hold important deductions for the house and for future scheme development.
Communication practicians can at this corporate degree besides bring individuality inquiries and a stakeholder position into the strategic direction procedure. stand foring the likely reaction of stakeholders to alternative scheme options. and thereby giving senior direction a more balanced consideration to the attraction and feasibleness of the strategic options open to them.
This happened in each of the four houses ( Shell. Nokia. Philips. Siemens ) in our instance surveies. In add-on. communications practicians in these four companies besides implemented the corporate scheme by assisting to pass on the firm’s strategic purposes to both internal and external stakeholders. which may assist avoid misinterpretations that might otherwise acquire in the manner of the smooth execution of the firm’s scheme.
This research uses a instance survey attack to measure to asses the improved internal corporate communications in four houses. Gerald R. Adams and Jay D. Schvaneveldt ( 1997 ) specify the instance survey attack as “an in-depth survey of one or a limited figure of instances in which each instance is treated as a whole” . The writers farther added. “The instance survey attack is peculiarly helpful when deeper apprehension is needed and when there is small concern about generalising to a big population” ( Adams & A ; Schvaneveldt. 1997 ) .
These instance surveies were conducted with four European corporations with strong reputes with their stakeholders and the market place: Nokia. Shell. Phillips and Siemens. These four corporations were selected chiefly for two grounds. First. each of these four corporations is a multi-divisional house runing under the same corporate umbrella. As such. they are typical of other big houses with a corporate communications ( CC ) presence
– as opposed to little to moderate-sized endeavors ( SMEs ) . where communications duties and activities may non hold evolved into one or more full-fl edged functional countries. allow entirely into a managerial map ( cf Kotler and Mindak. 1978 ) .
Second. each of the four corporations has an first-class repute in the eyes of their stakeholders and the general public harmonizing to ToMAC ( Top of Mind Awareness of Corporate Brands ) tonss and repute rankings published in recent old ages. The inclusion of these corporations hence allows us to analyze non merely the scope and sort of activities carried out within CC. but besides to what extent these make a difference ( given the strong reputes enjoyed by these four corporations ) .
An analytical case-study attack was chosen as most appropriate for our theory-building intents ( Yin. 2003 ) . It allowed us to analyze CC holistically and address each of the ‘practice’ dimensions mentioned above. Interviews were conducted with up to four senior directors of each organisation. for illustration. president of corporate communicating and selling communicating. communicating directors within divisions. and if possible. a board member who is responsible for ( corporate ) trade name communicating.
Here. a subject usher was used with subjects that are relevant in the context of the pattern of CC. However. the usher left adequate room for the respondent to pass on his or her peculiar positions on in what manner activities and dimensions ( construction. political and cultural issues. professionals ) are linked and it prevented us from pre-structuring the construct of ‘ pattern ’ in any manner.
The subject usher consisted of the undermentioned subjects: communicating organisation ( How are communications activities and the staff responsible for them departmentalized and structured within the corporation? What organisational procedures and installations exist to back up communications? What is the professional ethos and civilization of communications staff and of people in other sections of the corporation? ) . communications work ( What is the general position of people within the corporation ( ie the CEO and senior directors. selling staff. communications staff. and others ) of communications and its function and part to the corporation?
How is decision-making refering communications scheme organized? What does the procedure of communications scheme formation expression like. in both corporate and market-led communications? What general activities does your occupation affect? ) and communications professionals ( What is the general profile of communications practicians working in the corporation? How are communications staff recruited and selected? What preparation and development enterprises and flights exist for communications staff? ) . We analyzed the informations by looking for common subjects across the interviewees and four corporations and by placing links between the dimensions of CC pattern.
The pattern of CC was conceptualized by circumscribing in really wide footings four dimensions: ( 1 ) the functions. accomplishments and activities of practicians. ( 2 ) the organisation of these practicians and their work. ( 3 ) political and cultural issues that contextualize and intercede these activities. and ( 4 ) the communicating and ingestion of the procedure and merchandises of activities performed. Throughout treatment. and in the class of the primary research with Shell. Phillips. Siemens and Nokia. I identified two cardinal procedures in the pattern of CC that cut across these four dimensions. and look to be cardinal to the field.
The first procedure labeled asstrategic placementdescribes the on-going attempts of communicating practicians to place themselves as believable communications directors to senior executives within the executive squad and in other maps by developing staff. by happening appropriate mechanisms for organizing work. by developing value-added activities and by pass oning the part of CC.
Underliing this procedure is possibly the realisation that communicating practicians need to ordain managerial functions through direction activities like environmental scanning. guidance and strategic planning that provably add value to the corporation. and that they need to compete for an organisational agreement that gives them a cardinal. recognizable topographic point in the house from where to advocate and support senior direction every bit good as directors in other functional countries. To exemplify. within Siemens the accent on corporate stigmatization and the development of a corporate trade name architecture was presented as cardinal to the corporate scheme of the house:
We have to act upon determinations about what concerns do we put in and trade name as Siemens and what concerns we do non desire to be in … We have a clear concern scheme ‘ spell for net income and growing ’ . which sounds truly general but behind this is an intensive and really elaborate plan. the Siemens direction system. which our stigmatization architecture and systems tie into. The overall corporate mark is to achieve world-wide leading in each of the concerns that we are active in. Business success is the most of import thing and that is driving the trade name values and the trade name strategy’ ( Director of Brand Architecture ) .
There is a changeless concern with the strategic placement of corporate stigmatization and corporate communications. non merely to increase and pass on the current public presentation but besides to procure a receptive environment at the senior direction tabular array.
The caput of corporate communicating worldwide is a close adviser of our CEO. In fact. the incoming CEO. Kleinfeld. has a doctor’s degree on the subject of corporate individuality. and has a deep apprehension of stigmatization and communications’ ( Vice President Corporate Brand and Design ) .
A 2nd procedure that we identified involves what we termcultural adjustmentwhich describes how CC. its practicians. its organisation and the general manner in which
it is practiced is embedded in the cultural context of the house. Efficaciously. the picks made by Philips. Nokia. Shell and Siemens sing staffing. preparation and development. structuring and the theoretical account of communicating scheme development are all extremely varied. yet linked to the nucleus of their concern. history and civilization.
Such assortment and cultural version may indicate to what Gratton and Ghoshal ( 2005 ) call signature patterns ; patterns and processes that embody a company ’ s character and are hence slightly alone and idiosyncratic. instead than general and cosmopolitan for the full industry. Signature patterns are linked with the nucleus values of the organisation and evolve from a company-specific history and are embedded in its civilization and nucleus values.
Within Philips. as mentioned. corporate communications is seen as a portion of an Organization-wide technocratic technology civilization where every map and the work processes involved are documented and standardized. so that these can be invariably monitored. updated and optimized. Work processes ( e. g. media enquiries ) within corporate communications have every bit been documented and standardized in flow-charts and worksheets ( following ISO quality specifications ) . This sort of signature procedure may non work in other companies in the consumer electronics industry ( or so other industries ) as it is tied to Philips ’ core cultural values and company history.
Within Nokia. in contrast. the corporate vision of ‘connecting people’ together with the fact that members of the company have a strong bond between them ( ‘ holding embarked on the technological journey together ’ ) has led to an ‘ informal ’ . ‘ advanced ’ and ‘ can-do ’ civilization of cognition sharing and of organizing work procedures. There are small formalistic work forms or lines of communicating between communicating professionals within Nokia ; they instead liaise often and informally with one another.
The preceding subdivision is the decision on the ‘practice’ position on CC and conceptualized the of import dimensions of this position. These are ( 1 ) the functions. accomplishments and activities of practicians. ( 2 ) the organisation of these practicians and their work. ( 3 ) political and cultural issues that contextualize and intercede these activities. and ( 4 ) the communicating and ingestion of the procedure and merchandises of activities performed. Together. these dimensions ( see Table 1 ) supply a model for sing the pattern of CC in its entireness and in a much more comprehensive mode than old work has done.
Table 1: Summary of the pattern conceptualisation of corporate communications
Functions and activities of — Manager V technician
practicians — Generalist V specializer
— Professional development. position and
Organization of — Departmental agreement
communicating work — Reporting relationship and/or place on executive
— Centralization V decentalisation
Political and cultural issues
- Status of communicating practicians and their
— Added value of communicating activities
— Cultural adjustment
Contribution of work and activities — Strategic or tactical part
- Input into corporate scheme and decision-
- Interface between communicating and other
Functional countries ( e. g. Finance. Human Resources. etc )
I besides articulated two procedures ( strategic placement and cultural adjustment ) that appear to be cardinal to the pattern of CC. In all. the practice-based conceptualisation of CC makes the undermentioned parts. First. it has started to open up the ‘black box’ of the organisation in which CC activities take topographic point. CC is conceptualized as an organisational phenomenon instead than a macro scheme job detached from the internal kineticss of the organisation.
Internal political relations. construction and cultural issues are introduced into the field of pull offing CC. non as inevitable weaknesss or troubles within houses. but as important for communications scheme results. possibly even as properties to be exploited positively for the position and part of CC. Second. the ‘practice’ conceptualisation of CC has started to ‘humanize’ the field ( cf Pettigrewet Al.. 2002: 12 ) .
Unlike much anterior work that has focused on the strategic results of CC activities ( e. g. strong reputes and relationships with stakeholders ) . a ‘practice’ position populates the field of CC with human existences. In consequence. all forces and activities are seen to emerge from human action – from the actions and parts of communications practicians. every bit good as the reactions by senior directors and directors in other functional countries ( human resources. finance. etc. ) of the house.
Third. and related to the old points. the position of CC as ‘practice’ has started to research the bureau of communications practicians to convey about alterations in corporate scheme and in the interaction between the house and its environment. amidst general professional every bit good as situational restraints ( Whittington. 1988 ) . Practitioners can be captured in wider professional belief systems about their functions and work – that is. the aforesaid differentiation between ‘manager’ and ‘technician’ functions ( Pieczka and L’ Etang. 2000 ) – that consequence and restrain their possibilities for action.
Similarly. the political and structural facets of the work state of affairs in their houses – that is. whether there is a receptive environment among senior directors for an input from CC. and whether communications practicians are located in sections with entree ( through a coverage relationship or place on the direction squad ) to senior direction at the corporate degree of the house – effects the micro activities and bureau of communicating practicians.
Fourth. a pattern position and our instance surveies suggest that there are clear interrelatednesss between the functions and backgrounds of practicians. their activities. the political and cultural state of affairs environing their work. the manner in which they are organized. and their input and part to the house at the corporate and market degrees of the house. As such. it connects macro phenomena with micro accounts.
It does non deny the importance of research that has raised the consciousness of cardinal macro issues and challenges ; the challenge of accomplishing and prolonging strong corporate reputes with stakeholders. of placing and edifice on alone organisational assets or the ‘ corporate individuality ’ of the house. of pull offing international communications for transnational houses. Alternatively. it extends such macro degree histories with descriptions and accounts of the patterns and activities that underpin and constitute such phenomena. In add-on. as our instance surveies demonstrated. the pattern of CC consists of interconnected dimensions. and as such we extend anterior positions that have narrowly focused on either dimension or merely on the strategic results of CC activities.
Any alteration in strategic results ( i. e. stronger corporate reputes with stakeholders ) is non merely a instance of a originative run or of bettering one dimension ( e. g. repute measuring to show answerability ) but finally depends on a whole scope of factors. including the professional functions and competences of practicians and the manner in which they are organized. Table 2 summarizes the chief differences between a ‘practice’ position on CC and the more traditional positions on CC that have chiefly focused on macro strategic results.
Table 2: A pattern position versus traditional positions on corporate
Traditional positions on CC A pattern position on CC
Primary focal point Macro: strategic results Micro: practicians. procedures and
( reputes and repute constructions within the organisation
Explanations of Deductive: infer best patterns from Inductive: grounded in the existent
Performance repute tonss across houses activities of professionals and how
these add value and do a
part to a house
Key strategic ‘Alignment’ between the repute Strategic placement and cultural
procedures and the individuality or positioning adjustment within the house
A 5th part concerns its practical deductions. A pattern position on CC extends macro degree accounts of CC as results of what goes on in organisations to the activities that constitute them. This position is concerned with the same strategic issues of importance to senior directors and communicating practicians ( i. vitamin E.how to construct and keep strong corporatereputes with stakeholders of the house? ). but in footings of the organisational activities and patterns. which are their cloth. As such. it provides a more comprehensive and elaborate image of how communications is and so can be managed.
The relationships between the pattern dimensions ( i. e. the backgrounds of practicians. their activities. the political and cultural state of affairs environing their work. the manner in which they are organized. and their input and part to the house at the corporate and market degrees of the house ) in peculiar provide directors and communicating practicians with concrete factors or attributes that can be understood and. if needed. challenged or manipulated. To communications practicians. the profound deduction is non merely a greater apprehension of their work but besides suggestions and prescriptions for how their work can be changed or improved.
More specifically. if practicians aspire a developmental displacement from a ‘tactical’ or ‘craft ’orientation to communications. characterized by technician function passage and communications service sections or units transporting out low-level communicating mechanics. to a strategic direction map. they know that they need to ordain managerial functions through direction activities like environmental scanning. guidance and strategic planning that provably add value to the corporation. and that they need to compete for an organisational agreement that gives them a cardinal. recognizable topographic point in the house from where to advocate and support senior direction every bit good as directors in other functional countries.
The two procedures of ‘ strategic placement ’ and ‘ cultural adjustment ’ that we observed in our four instance surveies may besides be taken to manus by practicians to convey about alterations in their houses in such a manner that these alterations are in line with their houses ’ civilization and better the public presentation and standing of CC.
Recommendations for Research
In amount. the pattern conceptualisation of CC suggests a demand to set the micro into macro in order to both uncover plausible linkages to public presentation ( with stakeholder groups ) and to offer touchable ushers to managerial action. Some of import penetrations. albeit preliminary and exemplifying. on micro issues in CC are offered through our four instance surveies. However. beyond these preliminary instance surveies. we make two chief recommendations in line with this research docket.
First. we recommend farther little sample in-depth surveies of CC within houses. to develop the contextual and holistic apprehension of the pattern dimensions of CC that is indispensable to take outing the complex drive forces of the direction of CC and its strategic results with stakeholders of the house. In-depth surveies. peculiarly at this early phase of theoretical development on CC. are a necessary characteristic of fostering the conceptualisation and apprehension of CC as an country of pattern.
Second. we recommend process research as a methodological analysis for capturing and explicating how the pattern of CC evolves within fi rms. Process research is concerned with understanding how things evolve over clip and why they evolve in this manner ( see Langley. 1999 ; Van de Ven and Huber. 1990 ) . and procedure informations hence consist mostly of narratives about what happened and who did what when – that is. events. activities. and picks ordered over clip.
In his authoritative work on organisation theory. Mohr ( 1982 ) makes a differentiation between what he calls ‘variance theory’ and ‘process theory’ . Whereas discrepancy theories provide accounts for phenomena in footings of relationships among dependent and independent variables ( eg more ofTenand more ofYttriumbring forth more ofOmega) . procedure theories provide accounts in footings of the sequence of events taking to an result ( eg do A and so B to acquire C ) . Temporal ordination and probabilistic interaction between entities are of import here ( Mohr. 1982 ) .
Within the context of CC. the accent is with procedure research on understanding forms in events ( eg the nexus between activities and tools of communicating practicians and alterations in stakeholder reputes ) . either as a narrative form or analytical sequence of events. Such procedure research so consists of longitudinal instance surveies or event-history methods. frequently with the research worker plunging him / herself in the house and roll uping powdered qualitative informations through interviews. ( participative ) observations and analyses of company studies and paperss. The thick empirical descriptions produced by procedure research may so in clip. we suggest. be consistently compared across instances and extended with survey-based research of general issues and subjects within the pattern of CC.
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