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Article
Publication date: 10 May 2011

Catrin Johansson and Ann T. Ottestig

The purpose of this research is to study how communication executives perceive their internal and external legitimacy, how they reflect on recent developments in their…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to study how communication executives perceive their internal and external legitimacy, how they reflect on recent developments in their work, and which future challenges they perceive as being important.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach takes the form of in‐depth interviews with communication executives.

Findings

Communication executives have a distinct strategic managerial role within their organizations. The executive role involves three different performances: the organizational leader; the communication leader; and the communication manager. Executives perceived high external legitimacy, whereas internal legitimacy varied between organizations, and status and formal position were both dynamic and subject to negotiation. The communication technology development, termed as a “revolution”, has considerably affected executives' work. Future communication challenges such as globalization and organizational change were discussed.

Research limitations/implications

Recent changes have strengthened the roles of the communication executives. Internal status and legitimacy appear to be dependent on the attitudes of the other executives. These relationships and the emerging executive roles will be an important basis for study in future research.

Practical implications

Internal legitimacy was clearly an issue of negotiation, which is important for practitioners to consider. Acting out the educational role, working with communication support and the coaching of managers, and initiating and pursuing strategic organizational issues may be means by which communication executives are further able to enhance their internal legitimacy.

Originality/value

New insights with regard to the legitimacy, practice and self‐perceptions of communication executives are provided. This is the first study of Swedish communication executives, adding to the knowledge base derived from studies from The Netherlands, UK and USA.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 May 2015

Marlene S. Neill

– 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.

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.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Ansgar Zerfass and Muschda Sherzada

The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceptions and expectations of chief executive officers (CEOs) and executive board members concerning: the relevance of public…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceptions and expectations of chief executive officers (CEOs) and executive board members concerning: the relevance of public opinion and contribution of communication performance to organizational success, the communicative role of top executives and their interaction with professional communicators, the objectives and values of corporate communications, and the importance of various disciplines and instruments.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative survey was conducted among top executives of listed and private companies operating in the largest European country, Germany (n=602).

Findings

The study identifies a traditional mindset: top executives focus on primary stakeholders (customers, employees) instead of secondary stakeholders (politicians, activists), they value mass media higher than social media, and they rate speaking more important than listening. Moreover, communication professionals are not always the first choice when CEOs and board members reflect on the topics at hand. Advanced visions of strategic communication developed in academia and practice have not yet arrived in many boardrooms.

Research limitations/implications

The sample is not representative for all CEOs in corporations and it is limited to one country.

Originality/value

While the performance of corporate communications depends heavily on the perceptions, beliefs, and expectations that top executives hold towards communication and its contribution to organizational goal, little is known about this. Most knowledge is based on qualitative interviews and small-scale samples. This study provides an overview of previous insights and takes a broader empirical approach.

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Article
Publication date: 5 January 2010

Courtney Barnes and Reid Walker

A central theme that has always separated C‐suite executives from communications practitioners – the ability to operate within the parameters of immutable data – is

Abstract

Purpose

A central theme that has always separated C‐suite executives from communications practitioners – the ability to operate within the parameters of immutable data – is beginning to unravel as uncontrollable external forces challenge traditional business approaches. However, while communicators' skills are being recognized as essential to building and maintaining strong reputations and bottom lines, the importance of data‐driven accountability has by no means dissipated; on the contrary, it has only grown as resources dwindle in today's business climate. This paper's purpose is two‐fold: giving communications executives a roadmap for achieving data‐wielding parity in the C‐suite, and offering senior management teams a process through which they can leverage this function's strategic value to a much greater effect – all by applying techniques drawn from Lean Six Sigma (LSS) methodology.

Design/methodology/approach

The article introduces executives who are not LSS experts – who may even be wary of the concept – to “communications process improvement,” effective LSS methods that can be executed by non‐experts. It details a process for applying communications process improvement (CPI) to various business functions and activities in the context of LSS‐derived procedures.

Findings

The article examines the application of CPI to specific organizational activities, including marketing, communications planning and customer service. When applied as a step‐by‐step procedure mirroring that of LSS (where the steps are define, measure, analyze, improve, control), CPI generates constant, cross‐functional awareness of how things should happen, why they're not happening that way now, and how to make sure they are done properly on a continuously improving basis going forward.

Originality/value

Lean Six Sigma is an established business management strategy that seeks to identify and remove inefficiencies in manufacturing processes. While it is well known in this context, there is very little evidence that management teams are applying the same methodologies to more intangible functions within the other departments – specifically, corporate communications. This article offers executives a standard, step‐by‐step process for doing just that, which they can begin implementing today to transform their communications departments into customer‐facing, data‐driven, proactive cultures of excellence, based on accountability and focused on demonstrable results.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 26 August 2016

Holger Sievert, Lars Rademacher and Anna Weber

This chapter discusses the relevance of business knowledge and management education for the success of communication managers. Invitations into senior management circles…

Abstract

This chapter discusses the relevance of business knowledge and management education for the success of communication managers. Invitations into senior management circles or an enhanced cross-department employability are, amongst other factors, valued as indicators of success. From a sample of 751 answers of participants from German-speaking countries we find that business knowledge has not grown in importance during the last decade. To the contrary, the craftsmanship in communication matters has increased in value. Communication executives seem to profit from additional business education on a personal level, but this is no secure path to a better career.

Details

The Management Game of Communication
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-716-8

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2007

Michael B. Goodman and Jay Wang

With China's economic development over the last two decades, the spirit and practice of Chinese companies have been radically transformed from administrative functions in

Abstract

Purpose

With China's economic development over the last two decades, the spirit and practice of Chinese companies have been radically transformed from administrative functions in a centrally planned economy toward that of market‐oriented enterprises. As Chinese enterprises restructure, the communication function is also undergoing dramatic changes. Discussion of the CCI Corporate Communication Practices and Trends 2005 Study and the CCI Corporate Communication Practices and Trends: A China Benchmark 2006 allow some insight into the state of the art in China, and help us to infer how best to communicate with the Chinese for a successful business relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

The observations in this article are based on the CCI Corporate Communication Practices and Trends: A China Benchmark Study 2006, which was underwritten by Prudential Financial, Inc., and conducted in Beijing, China, in December 2005 and July 2006 through a partnership of the Corporate Communication Institute, Beijing Horizon Market Research Group, and Dr Jian “Jay” Wang of Purdue University.

Findings

Business communication and relationships are integral to success for Chinese companies and their executives. Five years into its membership of the World Trade Organization, China is the world's fastest growing economy. Its companies are developing global business cultures and corporate communication management functions as they make the transition from government control to market‐driven enterprises. This development is revealing when compared with the corporate communication best practices of multinational corporations in relationships with customers, the media, employees, the community and society, and the government, as well as communication in a crisis. Understanding these contemporary practices can lead to healthy business relationship in China. Like any new venture, communication for Chinese businesses is focused on branding, marketing, and identity building. Their executives are developing global practices for relations with employees, and they are developing media relations practices. Many companies are well on their way to creating socially responsible policies and practices for the environment, energy, and relationships with the community. They are rapidly taking on responsibility, once entirely that of the government, for communication in crises.

Research limitations/implications

Based on the findings of the CCI Corporate Communication Practices and Trends: A China Benchmark Study 2006, the Corporate Communication Institute at Fairleigh Dickinson University will conduct a study of Chinese companies and foreign companies operating in China, using a much larger sample.

Practical implications

This discussion should provide some insight into the state of the art in China, and help us to infer how best to communicate with the Chinese for a successful business relationship.

Originality/value

This paper discusses the findings of a first‐of‐its‐kind study of corporate communication practices and trends among Chinese companies.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 April 2012

Christina Grandien and Catrin Johansson

Development and expansion of the communication management function in organizations has recently been discussed in relation to the concept of institutionalization…

Abstract

Purpose

Development and expansion of the communication management function in organizations has recently been discussed in relation to the concept of institutionalization. Empirical evidence has illustrated that the role of communication executives and communication managers varies between organizations, and could also be subjected to change within an organization. The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize institutionalization of communication management as a process. It aims to develop a theoretical framework that integrates important factors that influence and regulate this process.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review resulted in a number of factors potentially influencing the institutionalization process. These factors were attributed to three main theoretical areas and four different levels of analysis, using institutional theory as a guiding framework. The theoretical areas and analysis levels, were proposed to be mutually interdependent, and were compiled in a theoretical framework, illustrated in a model.

Findings

The theoretical framework includes three main areas: organizational structure, social capital, and perceptions of the profession; and four levels of analysis: the societal, the organizational field, the organizational and the individual levels.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the study of institutionalization of communication management in organizations by providing a theoretical framework, which can be used to further investigate the development of the communication function and the role of communication executives and communication managers in organizations. By conceptualizing institutionalization of communication management as a process, and exploring and defining the important elements that influence and regulate this process, an important theoretical contribution to the field is made.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2016

Colleen Killingsworth and Terence Flynn

The purpose of this paper is to assess the leadership skills and competencies defined in the Pathways to the Profession and understand the value senior corporate…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the leadership skills and competencies defined in the Pathways to the Profession and understand the value senior corporate communications managers place on those skills and competencies and how senior-level corporate communicators demonstration of those skills and competencies.

Design/methodology/approach

Institutional review board approval was obtained for a qualitative research design based on focus groups conducted in four Canadian cities with 25 senior corporate communicators, human resources professionals, and general business managers.

Findings

This research has validated the competencies and credentials for senior-level corporate communications and public relations executives as highlighted in the Pathways to the Profession framework. It has also provided the profession with an understanding of the value senior public relations and organizational managers place on professional association membership and professional and academic credentials. This research is an important contribution to the growing body of knowledge on competency frameworks as professional associations, such as the Canadian Public Relations Society, take leadership positions in providing educational institutions with sets of standards for public relations and corporate communications education in Canada.

Practical implications

This research will help the public relations and corporate communications profession provide guidance to educational institutions programming for senior-level public relations and communications management education based on quantifiable data on the value executives place on a particular set of skills and competencies.

Originality/value

This is the first study of its kind that examines the perceived competencies and skills of Canadian senior public relations/communications management leadership. Further this research sought to assess the value of academic and professional credentials necessary for participation in executive leadership roles.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 October 1990

Kenneth J. Calhoun and Albert L. Lederer

A key to the effective implementation of strategic plans is the communication of the strategic plans to executives in functional areas. A study of eighteen organizations…

Abstract

A key to the effective implementation of strategic plans is the communication of the strategic plans to executives in functional areas. A study of eighteen organizations revealed that their functional executives’ knowledge of the strategic plan was closely tied to their corporate planners’ assessment of the quality of the communication of the plan. In contrast, the functional executives’ knowledge was not so closely tied to the planners’ assessment of merely the quality of the business plan itself.Different organizations use different communication tactics. These tactics suggest practical actions to enable strategic planners to improve the communication of their plans.

Details

American Journal of Business, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1935-5181

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2015

Juan Meng

The purpose of this paper is to motivate by the desire to better understand the interplay between cultural perceptions, both at the national and the organizational levels…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to motivate by the desire to better understand the interplay between cultural perceptions, both at the national and the organizational levels, and leadership effectiveness in corporate communication practice. In doing so, the research presented in this paper systematically compared views on communication leadership from senior communication executives in two different national cultures: England and Singapore.

Design/methodology/approach

A series of in-depth interviews with the same interview guide were carried out in two leading cities of selected cultures (London and Singapore). A purposive sampling strategy was used to recruit participants for this study. Finally, 20 senior communication executives (n=11 in London and n=9 in Singapore) participated in this study. All interviews ranged from 60 to 90 minutes and were recorded and fully transcribed.

Findings

Results suggest that communication executives believe that communication leadership should be treated as a multi-faceted influencing and learning process. Results also reveal that effective leadership qualities go beyond the national cultural boundaries. A more convergent view emerged on communication leadership.

Practical implications

Communication executives should definitely tailor their leadership initiatives to fit the different cultural mechanisms that underlie organizational structures across cultures. Although the author agrees that communication strategies should place a great emphasis on the social dimension of cultural values in a given society, leadership initiatives, and actions should also be carried out to embrace the organizational structure and culture.

Originality/value

The study provides insights into the impact of cultural orientations on the effectiveness of communication leadership. It is important and unique to confirm that organizational culture inserts a more profound influence on the application of leadership skills if compared to the national cultures.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

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