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The role of physical metaphors for decision-making in integrated corporate communication

Alfonso Siano (Department of Political, Social and Communication Studies, University of Salerno, Italy)
Agostino Vollero (Department of Political, Social and Communication Studies, University of Salerno, Italy)
Maddalena Della Volpe (Department of Business Science, Management and Innovation Systems/DISA-MIS, University of Salerno, Italy)
Maria Giovanna Confetto (Department of Political, Social and Communication Sciences, University of Salerno, Italy)
Pantea Foroudi (Business School, Middlesex University, UK)
Maria Palazzo (Department of Political, Social and Communication Studies, University of Salerno, Italy)

The Bottom Line

ISSN: 0888-045X

Article publication date: 12 March 2018

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381

Abstract

Purpose

The role of metaphors in information management has generally been acknowledged owing to their ability to convey immediately huge amounts of information and richness. Their role is more and more important in the current digital context of communication and marketing activities, as the decision speed and accuracy are crucial. The purpose of this study is, thus, to analyze physical metaphors as tools for making sequential decisions to achieve effective integrated corporate communication (ICC).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on the critical analysis of literature on corporate communication and stakeholder management as building blocks for implementing an integrated approach to corporate communications.

Findings

A revision of two well-known physical metaphors in the communication literature (the “wheel” and “umbrella”) has been proposed. It is argued that integrated communication within corporate communications is more complex than in marketing communications, as it involves a greater variety of elements to coordinate and harmonize. The proposed physical metaphors suggest an effective sequential decision-making as they allow a clear distinction between different decision levels.

Research limitations/implications

The paper adds to the debate on the link between theory and practice of ICC. From a practical standpoint, the proposed metaphors as simple and concrete tools for handling complex information and ICC problems could aid novice practitioners and students of corporate communications courses.

Originality/value

The paper shows that while scholars have concurred that ICC is crucial for different type of organizations, the use of physical metaphors can be beneficial for the reality-based challenge of ICC.

Keywords

Citation

Siano, A., Vollero, A., Della Volpe, M., Confetto, M.G., Foroudi, P. and Palazzo, M. (2018), "The role of physical metaphors for decision-making in integrated corporate communication", The Bottom Line, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 42-55. https://doi.org/10.1108/BL-09-2017-0030

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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