To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

The use of big data in corporate communication

Christian Wiencierz (Department of Communication, University of Münster, Münster, Germany)
Ulrike Röttger (Department of Communication, University of Münster, Münster, Germany)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 7 August 2017



The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the current state of research on the significance of big data in and for corporate communication and to introduce a framework which provides specific connecting points for future research. This is achieved by summarizing and reviewing the insights provided by relevant articles in the most significant scholarly journals. The paper also investigates trends in the literature.


On the basis of a systematic literature review, 53 key articles from 2010 to 2015 were further analyzed.


The literature review illustrates the potentialities of big data for corporate communication, especially with regard to the field of marketing communication. It also reveals a dramatic lack of research in the fields of public relations and internal communication with respect to big data applications.

Research limitations/implications

The online databases used in this paper comprised of refereed scientific journals with the highest impact factor in the respective disciplines. Journals with a lower impact factor and books were not included in the search process for this thematic analysis.

Practical implications

This paper provides a conceptual framework that describes four phases of strategic big data usage in corporate communication. The results show how big data is able to highlight stakeholders’ insights so that more effective communication strategies can be created.


This paper brings together previously disparate streams of work in the fields of communication science, marketing, and information systems with respect to big data applications in corporate communication. It represents the first attempt to undertake a systematic and comprehensive interdisciplinary overview of this kind.



The authors would like to thank Janne Stahl and Carl Wietholt for their extremely useful feedback given to previous versions of the manuscripts. This research is funded by Academic Society for Corporate Management & Communication.


Wiencierz, C. and Röttger, U. (2017), "The use of big data in corporate communication", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 258-272.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited