New tensions and challenges in integrated communications

Lars Thøger Christensen (The Department of Marketing and Management, The University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark)
A. Fuat Fırat (University of Texas – Pan American, Edinburg, Texas, USA)
Joep Cornelissen (Leeds University Business School, Leeds, UK)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how tensions and challenges associated with the implementation of integrated communications in practice have intensified in recent years under the impact of two conflicting trends: new social and organizational “drivers” towards integration; and the appearance of savvy and sophisticated audiences.


Taking the point of departure in now classical discussions of structural “barriers” to integration, today more fundamental difficulties limit the implementation of integrated communications – difficulties rooted in epistemological issues of organization and communication are argued.


Integrated communications present a paradox to contemporary communication management. On the one hand, integration seems to be the most logical and sensible way of managing communications in a complex world of multiple and critical audiences. On the other hand, its prescriptions are essentially at odds with what is known today about organization and human communication. While representing a significant communication ideal, integration in communications is simultaneously beyond reach – at least if the full process of communication is taken into proper consideration.


The paper usefully makes the claim that it needs to adapt the ideals of what integrated communications is to what integration can possibly do to an organization and its communications.



Thøger Christensen, L., Fuat Fırat, A. and Cornelissen, J. (2009), "New tensions and challenges in integrated communications", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 207-219.

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