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Determining factors of success in internal communication management in Spanish companies: The influence of social media

Marta Ingelmo Palomares (Universidad de Valladolid Facultad de Comercio, Valladolid, Spain)
Cristina Navarro (Gulf University for Science and Technology, Hawally, Kuwait)
José Ángel Sanz Lara (Universidad de Valladolid Facultad de Comercio, Valladolid, Spain)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 11 May 2018

Issue publication date: 19 June 2018




The purpose of this paper is to explore the factors that influence the success of internal communication in Spanish companies, specifically the importance of the channels used, activities conducted through ISM and the role played by the communication professional.


The model employed argues that to obtain success in internal communication, three factors are considered necessary: first, communication professionals must participate in strategic decisions; second, they have to use together social media channel and classical channel to communicate with employees; and finally they must choose which activities they carry out during the use of social media. These elements are developed in the literature review. To research practices of internal digital communications and level of success of internal communication across types of organizations, a quantitative survey between professionals from Spanish companies was conducted.


The results revealed that the hierarchical level, participation in the strategic decision process and dedication of the communication practitioner, alongside with the use of face-to-face and online communication channels, and the perceived importance of communication activities conducted through social media platforms are the key factors that influence the quality of internal communication. However, no significant relationship between the level of success and the use of social media channels was found.

Research limitations/implications

The current study has several limitations that should be noted and addressed in future research. The main limitation lies in the fact that the dependent variable – success in communication – is entirely based on communication professionals’ perceptions. Replication studies can be conducted to cross-validate the results obtained from this study using business outcome metrics to measure the communication effectiveness. A further limitation is related to the sampling procedure. Obtaining a representative sample of communications professionals in Spanish companies poses a number of limitations due to the impossibility of having accurate data on the total population.

Practical implications

The findings of the current study provide important implications for public relations professionals on what (i.e. the content) and how to (i.e. the channels) communicate within an organization. In general, internal communicators should move from historical roles as information producers and distributors to advisory roles in strategic decision making. Additionally, the implementation and use of ISM should be carefully revaluated. Communication practitioners should examine and address the difficulties involved in choosing the correct channels, devoting the necessary time to their adequate management, analyzing employees’ feedback and improving the engagement.


The study shows that internal communication practices in Spanish companies are changing. The model used in this research can be applied in an individual organization to evaluate what factors improve the communication of its employees and carry out additional research in other countries or types of organizations to identity new challenges.



Ingelmo Palomares, M., Navarro, C. and Sanz Lara, J.Á. (2018), "Determining factors of success in internal communication management in Spanish companies: The influence of social media", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 405-422.



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