Elving, W.J.L. (2014), "Editorial", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 19 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-08-2014-0054Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Volume 19, Issue 4
What do we contribute?
This issue brings to a close the 19th Volume of CCIJ. Next year the journal will celebrate its 20th anniversary – clear proof that we do make a difference and that Corporate Communications is a vital field of study.
This editorial was composed in July 2014, in the middle of the conference season, during the 21st Bled.com (www.bledcom.com) conference, organized by the University of Ljubljana. In a truly beautiful place we talked about the digital future in PR.
I enjoy this conference in particular because it is attended by a high number of practitioners, which makes it a unique event. Although some of these practitioners had tight schedules that meant there was no room for networking, luckily others stayed for both days. One of the more significant take home messages I had – along with many others – from this conference is the growing gap between academia and PR or Corporate Communication professionals. A frequent complaint of practitioners is, what they perceive to be, the lengthy process to publish the original thinking that comes out of academia (on average 18 months after first submission), which is, in their digital reality, way too long. They prefer (often out of necessity) to listen to their peers and hear their experiences, rather than wait for research that is at least two years old, given the extra time needed to design research and report it accurately. I think they have a good point, but academic publishing needs thoroughly checked articles, with complete references, state of the art statistical and theoretical underpinnings, and these take time.
To be able to limit these time, we are planning to take some measurements that hopefully will help. The review procedure requires active reviewers, preferably experts in the field with sound knowledge of Corporate Communications. Someone who wants to be part of the Corporate Communication scientific community needs to take this active reviewer role, although it is a time consuming task, and it remains a voluntary task. Selecting reviewers is in many cases a hard job, given the unavailability of many colleagues after moving to new institutions without changing their contact information in the reviewer database. Another important delay occurs when a reviewer does not respond after initially accepting the invitation to review. To help resolve these problems CCIJ has taken a proactive approach in cleaning up its reviewer database, and will request for an update on areas of expertise, in order to create a more active and accurate database. But we also ask the community, of which you are part, to keep up the good work and serve our community with generously accepting the invitations for reviews.
On average it takes almost eight months for in CCIJ to publish the papers online and in print. But that is how scientific publishing works, we cannot alter this, for reasons of accuracy and precision that are the basics of academic publishing. A new idea to speed up availability of information and support the research is to give the option for authors to submit a blog alongside their manuscript covering the main points of their research. A team of academics and professionals could review this blog, and we could actually serve the community by actively promoting these blogs and create more awareness of our efforts. We will consult the Editorial Advisory Board about these plans.
Furthermore, new digital media asks for another way of communication. Digital possibilities create a new corporate reality that the online public is actively engaging in. From our research it shows that organizations certainly have not explored all digital opportunities and many mistakes are being made. The presentations at Bledcom, but I am certain replicated at other conferences, shows differences in how organizations are operating in the digital world. There is still a lot for us, and for practitioners, to discover and to value the complete assets of the digital world. For us, this will require new theories and new models and insights in what has changed. Sometimes we need to think differently and reflect more upon our own work and address what value our research will have in the foreseeable future? Will my research still be cited (important for a scientist) in, lets say 15 or 50 years? Our main ambition still should be to develop ground breaking theory that will help illustrate the broader picture of clarifying and creating new insights in corporate communication and serving the community.
Sometimes it seems that, in too many cases, we are fixated on the wrong practices and mistakes carried out by organizations and practitioners. Our community, given the origin of Corporate Communication, which is corporations and practitioners that are responsible of this corporate communication as a whole, will not benefit if we create a gap between practice and academia. Rather the community will benefit from academia that serves them with theory, insights, and research into the various elements of our field of study, and feed them with these insights. We should always include the broader picture into our studies: what does the presented paper add to our knowledge in the field? Why it is important to present this? What are the managerial implications?
If we want to make impact, we need to rethink our processes and our procedures. This is a task that we need to take seriously. Of course, mainstream administrative procedures and policies of publishers do not per se help in this. To have an academic career academics need three star rated publications and grants, both of which are very hard to achieve within Corporate Communication. To obtain three star publications we need to publish outside our most important field of study (Corporate Communication), since in our field, but also in related fields, we do not have these journals. Also obtaining grants within Corporate Communication is very hard, since, at least in my country, the national science foundations view Corporate Communication as an applied field of study, and in their eyes not the fundamental field of science that is eligible of funding. In this sense, it seems very important to bridge the gap between academia and practitioners, since our research funding needs to come from industry.
All the plans presented above (refreshing our reviewers database, proposals to limit the time needed for publication, and renewal of our Editorial Advisory Board) will be combined with an application of an ISI ranking. Given the popularity of CCIJ, with downloads that exceed on average 175,000 articles per year, we think we stand a good chance of obtaining this ranking. Besides that, we will celebrate the 20th Volume with breath taking articles, a special issue and other initiatives.
The current issue contains a special section of the CCI 2013 conference. This conference, organized by the Corporate Communication International of the Baruch University New York City, has been a supporter of CCIJ for over a decade. This special section is a tribute to professor Michael Goodman and Christina Genest of CCI of their tremendous efforts for the field of Corporate Communications. The special section contains three very interesting articles. The first is about investor relations and how to report on environmental, social, and governance issues in investor relations. The second article deals with enterprise social media in internal communications. The last article of the special section is about Corporate Communication in South East Asia, and represents a critical article because we do not have a lot of research streaming from this region.
The other articles in this issue are conceptual ones about a societal role for Corporate Communication. Also included is an interesting article on how to monitor social media, what aims can be chosen and which methods are used in this. The last article is about corporate history, and introduces an integrated and dynamic perspective.
Wim J.L. Elving