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Staying connected: The communication between organizations and their environment

Cees van Woerkum (Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands)
Noelle Aarts (Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 9 May 2008




The purpose of this paper is to systematically explore the basic ideas of what organizations should do to get “in tune” with the environment they depend on.


Literature was selected and studied in the domain of corporate communication, interactive modalities, and negotiation, and related to communication‐management of organizations.


The paper offers a well‐considered and structural overview of different communication tasks, how they are related, and how they can be managed coherently using the state‐of‐the‐art perspectives on effective communication.

Practical implications

The paper provides a model that gives a better insight into the range of activities a communications manager has to deal with in the strategic planning phase and in the execution phase. Therefore, the model can be used to get a more balanced distribution of consts and efforts. In addition, the paper reveals the kinds of competences that are at issue, and therefore criteria can be derived to evaluate existing competence profiles. These criteria are useful in the recruitment of communication specialists, as well as in the training and supervision of staff members.


Although numerous models can be found for depicting and categorizing the environment of organizations, little attention has been given to the way such continuous reflection can be achieved. This paper offers a global and systematic overview of the communication activities required. The model, developed in the paper, can be applied in comparative studies of corporate communication practices and how these relate to performances.



van Woerkum, C. and Aarts, N. (2008), "Staying connected: The communication between organizations and their environment", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 197-211.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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