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The organisation of integrated communications: toward flexible integration

Lars Thøger Christensen (Department of Marketing & Management, The University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark)
A. Fuat Fırat (Department of Management, Marketing & International Business, University of Texas – Pan American, Edinburg, Texas, USA)
Simon Torp (Department of Marketing & Management, The University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 4 April 2008

Abstract

Purpose

Marketing organisations increasingly talk about the importance of integrating their communications, of aligning symbols, messages, procedures and behaviours across formal organisational boundaries. Often this implies tighter central control over communications and other organisational processes. This paper sets out to discuss potential negative consequences of such tight control in terms of organisational incapability to react to market changes in increasingly fluid environments due to a loss of sufficient corporate complexity and diversity.

Design/methodology/approach

In response, a flexible integration approach that draws attention to the handling of difference and variety within the context of an integrated communications project is articulated. The paper proposes a framework that balances centralisation and decentralisation through attention to dimensions of endogenous control, tight and loose couplings, networks, and common process rules.

Findings

The paper demonstrated that, in order to integrate its communications, an organisation needs to embrace diversity and variety and to balance the wisdom of its many voices with the effort to secure clarity and consistency in its overall expression.

Practical implications

The flexible integration approach advanced in this paper opens new avenues of research, practice and pedagogy, encouraging scholars, practitioners and teachers to explore the following dimensions of integrated communications: reception, variability, organisation, voice, couplings and transferability.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the literature on integrated communications and corporate communications by addressing the organisational dimensions of integration and suggesting a new avenue of integrated communications research that is far more sensitive to the organisational context in which projects of integration exist and unfold.

Keywords

Citation

Thøger Christensen, L., Fuat Fırat, A. and Torp, S. (2008), "The organisation of integrated communications: toward flexible integration", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 42 No. 3/4, pp. 423-452. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090560810853002

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited