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Article
Publication date: 18 June 2020

Olaf Hoffjann, Karina Hoffstedde and Franziska Jaworek

Although the market for communication consultancies has been booming worldwide for many years now, there are still only a handful of theoretical concepts and empirical…

Abstract

Purpose

Although the market for communication consultancies has been booming worldwide for many years now, there are still only a handful of theoretical concepts and empirical findings pertaining to communication consulting. This is the fundamental starting point for this paper, which sets out to answer the following research questions: What is the function of communication consulting? What are the differences between consultants' expectations of consulting and those of clients? How do consultants and clients deal with the contradiction between proximity and distance? What are the potential threats to the autonomy of consulting?

Design/methodology/approach

The paper combines a theoretical framework of communication consulting with a survey of German communication consultants and clients.

Findings

First, a theoretical framework is developed in which communication consulting is defined as follows: First, it opens up decision-related contingency and thus produces additional options for managing communicative relationships with internal and external target groups, before helping to close decision-related contingency. The results of the survey show that the expectations of clients and consultants for communication consulting are largely similar. In the closing dimension especially, most clients share the active role of self-conception of most consultants. On the other hand, in some opening activities, clients wish for more critical, independent and courageous consulting.

Research limitations/implications

The scope of the empirical material is limited to communication consultants and clients in Germany and may therefore not be valid in other cultural contexts.

Originality/value

The paper closes a gap in both theory building and empirical research in communication consulting. The theory presented conceives of communication consulting as a hybrid of management consulting and process consulting and, in addition to the opening dimension, also takes the closing dimension of consulting into consideration for the first time. The study reveals a certain schizophrenia in clients: on the one hand, clients demand more critical consultants and thus call for more distance; on the other hand, clients prefer to be close to their consultants, particularly if they wish to work with them for the long-term.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 26 August 2016

Olaf Hoffjann and Philine Hachmeister

The distinction between external communication services and internal consulting services plays an important role in most public relations (PR) theories dealing with PR as…

Abstract

The distinction between external communication services and internal consulting services plays an important role in most public relations (PR) theories dealing with PR as an organisational function. In these theories, two perspectives are at the centre of discussion: either PR succeeds in changing the environment or the organisation has to adapt to it. This chapter suggests a descriptive approach. It analyses theoretically and empirically the question of how PR manages the difference between external communication and internal consulting. A theoretical framework based on systems theory is presented. Key aspects of the approach have been tested with a quantitative online survey among communication professionals in Germany.

Details

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

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 26 November 2020

Olaf Hoffjann

The objective of this chapter is to introduce the new concept of outside-in-content, which facilitates a new perspective in the decoupling discourse. Based on the…

Abstract

The objective of this chapter is to introduce the new concept of outside-in-content, which facilitates a new perspective in the decoupling discourse. Based on the requirements for the contents of strategic communication, the concept of outside-in- and inside-out-content is introduced. The mechanisms of outside-in-content are explained using examples of practices from strategic communication management, such as sponsorship, corporate giving, celebrities and brand worlds. Next, the effects of outside-in-content are described. Lastly, in the context of the discourse on decoupling, the question of whether – or how – outside-in-content encourages talk–action inconsistency is answered. In inside-out-content, strategic communication looks within the organization for events, characteristics, services, persons and topics capable of attaining strategic communication targets. In the case of outside-in-content, the path is reversed: here, the selection process for strategic communication begins outside the organization and asks which existing or new events, persons or topics outside the organization are capable of attaining strategic communication goals and raising interest among the target group. Outside-in-content tends to be more reliable in attaining profile-raising and image goals. Outside-in-content encourages decoupling for three reasons: (1) like a lighthouse, it draws attention away from negative issues. (2) As neither-true-nor-false-content, it encourages noncommittal and arbitrary strategic communication. (3) If organizations no longer talk about themselves, or do so less frequently, talk and action can also no longer be examined using the standards of tight or loose coupling.

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2012

Juliana Raupp and Olaf Hoffjann

The purpose of this article is to provide a new perspective on the relationship between communication management as a strategic process and corporate strategy.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to provide a new perspective on the relationship between communication management as a strategic process and corporate strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper compares approaches of the prescriptive and the descriptive branch of strategy research and highlights how these seemingly contradictory strategy concepts are interrelated. It integrates decision‐making and interpretive perspectives on strategy in management and transfers those perspectives to strategy in communication management. Two areas of communication management, problem definition and the identification of stakeholders, serve as examples to illustrate the conceptual framework.

Findings

A conceptual model of strategic decision making in communication management is developed. Strategy in communication management is understood as deliberately creating decision‐making situations. Strategic decisions in communication management are part of both retrospective and prospective sensemaking processes in organizations.

Originality/value

This paper points to fruitful tensions between different strategy concepts and suggests ways to resolve this tension partly. It offers further insights into the role of strategy in communication management by providing a comprehensive view on strategies of communication management from the perspectives of strategy content and strategy process research.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 26 November 2020

Abstract

Details

Joy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-240-6

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Book part
Publication date: 26 August 2016

Abstract

Details

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

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 26 August 2016

Abstract

Details

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

To view the access options for this content please click here
Book part
Publication date: 26 August 2016

Abstract

Details

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

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