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Management tools in corporate communication: a survey about tool use and reflections about the gap between theory and practice

Sophia Charlotte Volk (Institute of Communication and Media Studies, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany)
Ansgar Zerfass (Institute of Communication and Media Studies, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany) (Department of Communication and Culture, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 12 September 2020

Issue publication date: 8 February 2021

1374

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to introduce the research field of management tools to communication management scholarship and open up new avenues for the field.

Design/methodology/approach

The first part examines established knowledge from the strategic management literature about management tools as a means to support and facilitate organizational decision-making. The second part reports on a survey among 125 communication practitioners in corporate communication departments about the use of 32 tools for the analysis, planning, implementation and evaluation of communication.

Findings

The study sheds light on the perceived relevance and benefits of tools, as well as on knowledge and satisfaction and on general patterns of tool use. The findings demonstrate that tools are gaining in importance, but there is a lack of understanding, training and documentation of tools. Tools for planning and implementing communication are most widely spread, reflecting the operational focus of corporate communication.

Practical implications

Practitioners find value in the compilation of the most popular tools and implications on how to reflect about tool usage and outcomes.

Originality/value

The article provides directions for future research and reflects about tools as a means to bridge the divide between theory and practice.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge the support of Christoph Lautenbach and Melanie Jakubowitz from Lautenbach Sass in conducting the study.

Citation

Volk, S.C. and Zerfass, A. (2021), "Management tools in corporate communication: a survey about tool use and reflections about the gap between theory and practice", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 50-67. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-02-2020-0011

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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