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Beyond the c-suite: corporate communications’ power and influence

Marlene S. Neill (Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA.)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Article publication date: 5 May 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine what formal executive-level committees senior corporate communications executives are members of and what value they contribute.

Design/methodology/approach

The researcher conducted in-depth interviews with 30 senior executives at four US companies who discussed corporate communications’ involvement in eight strategic issues.

Findings

The focus on the C-Suite is too narrow as strategic issues arise at the division level and in executive-level committees. Corporate communications is often in competition with marketing for influence and coveted seats in the board rooms. Corporate communications is most likely to be included in decision making when issues are perceived as falling within their domain, when the function has support from the CEO, when working in industries with frequent crises or those focussing on reputation management, and in companies that utilize integrated decision teams.

Practical implications

Corporate communicators need to enhance their research skills and educate other colleagues about their domain beyond media relations.

Originality/value

Study includes the perspectives of executives outside of corporate communications such as marketing, sales, human resources, investor relations, finance, and operations as well as division presidents.

Keywords

Citation

Neill, M.S. (2015), "Beyond the c-suite: corporate communications’ power and influence", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 118-132. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-06-2013-0046

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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