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Book part
Publication date: 24 September 2018

Maria Borner and Ansgar Zerfass

This chapter attempts to broaden corporate communications and public relations research by introducing a theoretical foundation for the inbound (in contrast to the…

Abstract

This chapter attempts to broaden corporate communications and public relations research by introducing a theoretical foundation for the inbound (in contrast to the outbound) perspective of communication. The idea of organisational listening has recently been introduced by a small number of researchers. However, current concepts are mostly based on the relational paradigm of public relations. Listening is positively connoted in those concepts because it might help to foster mutual understanding, advance favourable relationships with stakeholders and support normative ideals of deliberation in democratic societies. This is not convincing from the point of view of communication managers who align their strategies and budgets to overarching organisational goals. The chapter aims to develop a new approach beyond the relational approach by linking corporate listening to corporate value. In a first step, current definitions and concepts of organisational listening are discussed in order to underline the need for a new approach. Secondly, the need for an inbound perspective of communication is explained by referring to Giddens’ structuration theory and its consequences for managing communications. Thirdly, corporate listening is conceptualised as a strategic mode of communication by referring to the overarching concept of strategic communication. Last but not least, the chapter elaborates on the value of listening for corporations and concludes with a broadened understanding of strategic communication.

Details

Public Relations and the Power of Creativity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-291-6

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 November 2021

Ieva Zaumane and Maira Leščevica

Despite the proven link between internal communication and more effective business results, only a few attempts have been made to answer the essential question of who is…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite the proven link between internal communication and more effective business results, only a few attempts have been made to answer the essential question of who is responsible for managing internal communication in an organisation. This paper aims to examine the presence of internal communication management (ICM) practices in companies in Latvia and launch a new discussion on who should manage internal communication in a modern company to support business strategy and development.

Design/methodology/approach

In the first phase of the study, a survey was conducted in three business sectors in Latvia involved in managing and implementing the internal communications function. Using the multiple case study method, the second phase of the study examined in-depth, ICM and the implementation practices in four different Latvian companies. In total, 13 in-depth interviews were conducted within 4 companies, and thematic analysis was used to analyse the material gained from the interviews.

Findings

The target companies and relevant professionals from different fields have divergent opinions about who should manage the internal communication function. From the research across four companies, it was concluded that internal communication was implemented in a fragmented manner. There was a weak understanding of the meaning and goal of internal communication. The potential of effective internal communication in reaching strategic goals has not been realised. Responsibility for ICM is often limited to the reactive performance of public relations departments, human resources or marketing specialists. The companies clearly did not have a defined scope of responsibilities for managing internal communication amongst the different parts of their organisations. It can be concluded that company managers should pay attention to how internal communication is conducted, clearly delegate this function to a manager and define the expected results that meet the company’s strategic goals. The results of this research can be used to inform recommendations for integrating the ICM function.

Originality/value

Only a few research papers have discussed responsibility for internal communication functions. This research particularly fills this gap and emphasises the need to assign responsibility for an organisation’s ICM function as it is the core factor in strategic implementation and input related to business goals.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 September 2021

Olaf Hoffjann

Ambiguity has become a central concept in strategic communication research in recent years. This paper addresses three central deficits in the research to date. First…

Abstract

Purpose

Ambiguity has become a central concept in strategic communication research in recent years. This paper addresses three central deficits in the research to date. First, clarity-focused approaches and ambiguity-focused approaches are in opposition to each other, resulting in an exaggeration of the advantages and opportunities of the respective favored perspective and affording the opposing position little justification at best. Second, research on strategic ambiguity is by and large limited to the organizational perspective and has little interest in societal change. Third, there has been barely any research into concrete practices of strategic ambiguity and these practices have never been systematized.

Design/methodology/approach

The research questions will be answered on the basis of the “Theory of Social Systems” (TSS) by Niklas Luhmann, which can be attributed to the “Communication Constitutes Organization” (CCO) perspective. This perspective seems appropriate because the important concepts of communication and decision making play a central role in the TSS.

Findings

Strategic communication oscillates between clarity and ambiguity in order to defuse the dilemma and paradox. The re-entry of the distinction is a second-order observation and, thus, reveals the blind spots of clarity- and ambiguity-focused approaches. On this basis, a systematic approach is developed that encompasses various different dimensions of strategic clarity and ambiguity.

Practical implications

The paper focuses on the oscillation between strategic ambiguity and strategic clarity, making clear that the aim is not simply to substitute a new dominance of ambiguity for the clarity that has dominated textbooks thus far. Instead, it is a matter of reflective management of the distinction between strategic ambiguity and strategic clarity. The systematization of the practices of strategic ambiguity and strategic clarity can ultimately be used as a toolbox for the concrete application of strategic ambiguity and strategic clarity.

Originality/value

Overcoming the dualism of clarity-focused and ambiguity-focused approaches makes it possible, first, to explore the situational use of strategic clarity and strategic ambiguity. Second, the societal theoretical perspective shows the way in which organizations respond with strategic ambiguity to the increase in social contradictions without, however, being able to abandon strategic clarity. Third, using the systematic approach to the dimensions presented here, these practices can be described and examined in context.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2006

Triveni Kuchi

Purpose – Libraries have been experiencing relentless change and uncertainty in their environment. The literature on corporate communications, strategic management and…

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Abstract

Purpose – Libraries have been experiencing relentless change and uncertainty in their environment. The literature on corporate communications, strategic management and planning, marketing and public relations more recently, has been recommending using communications as a strategy to coherently and proactively handle and foresee change. Planning and using an overall communications strategy will bring integrity and adherence to the library's goals and direction while reducing the discomfort of change. This selected bibliography is a quick starting point for understanding the significance of an overall communication strategy and its use for managing conflicts and changes in the library's environment strategically. Design/methodology/approach – This article covers books and articles from mid‐1980s to 2004, published around the world. The sources are listed alphabetically by author and then chronologically for different sources by the same author, providing brief but useful information about the content covered for each source. Findings – This bibliography illustrates a variety of research from corporate communications, strategic planning, communications management, marketing and public relations literature that emphasize the role of communication in strategic management. Research limitations/implications – It records a comprehensive list of publications covering international perspectives as well as publications about communication strategy. Practical implications – This selected bibliography is primarily intended for librarians, library planners, managers or administrators, but is also relevant to corporate and business professionals, planners and administrators. Further, it would also be a useful resource for students, faculty and researchers of communication. Originality/value – This bibliography presents a much needed resource list for gathering insights into the strategic role of communication for organizations such as the library that are in a state of constant change.

Details

Library Management, vol. 27 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Article
Publication date: 21 April 2020

Angela Preciado-Hoyos

The purpose of this study is to determine the perception of communication and PR agency directors in Colombia regarding strategic communication and its relationship with…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine the perception of communication and PR agency directors in Colombia regarding strategic communication and its relationship with consultancy when involved with three types of activities: bringing the context close to the organization, providing new knowledge and facilitating change.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides an exploratory study based on semi-structured interviews of a sample of 55 communication and PR agency directors.

Findings

Among the directors interviewed, there are different criteria concerning strategic communication and the services this entails. Although the literature mentions that consultancy should focus on counseling, accompanying, advising and orienting without making decisions for the client or performing any operative activities, many Colombian agencies offer these services, in addition to other technical ones. This is because these are the most requested ones by their clients and so are important in acquiring contracts in the country's communication sector.

Research limitations/implications

The limitation of this study is the absence of a regularly and systematically updated directory and database with the current size of the communications sector and its yearly revenue in Colombia.

Practical implications

Lack of consensus regarding strategic communication consultancy may lead to unfair competition on prices and confounding strategic and nonstrategic services in the market.

Social implications

New academic knowledge for the communication practices in communication agencies in Colombia and Latin America.

Originality/value

This article arises from initial research done in Colombia on the perceptions of the communication sector's directors regarding the meaning of strategic communication and key capacities in the provision of services under that remit.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2014

Jesper Falkheimer

– The purpose of this study is to describe and reflect on strategic communication and its relevance for organizational development and the service sciences.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to describe and reflect on strategic communication and its relevance for organizational development and the service sciences.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is conceptual and based on an analysis of relevant earlier research. In the first part of the paper, contemporary organizational challenges are discussed, using a communication perspective. Then, a discussion about communication foundations follows. Finally, four arguments why strategic communication is valuable for organizational development is discussed, raising questions for further empirical research.

Findings

The main driving force behind the increased interest in strategic communication is the organizational need of legitimacy to operate in the late modern society. The analysis concludes that there are possible synergies to be made between strategic communication (following a holistic and ritual approach to communication) and the service sciences. The four arguments for focusing strategic communication for organizational development are its relevance for organizational efficiency, image, identity and transparency. There is need of further empirical research.

Originality/value

Communication has for many years mainly been viewed as a transmission system and organizational function for production and distribution. In this paper, strategic communication is viewed as a critical organizational management process.

Details

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, vol. 6 no. 2/3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-669X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2016

Helle Kryger Aggerholm and Birte Asmuß

The purpose of this paper is to link the authentic, communicative activities, e.g. organization-wide meetings at the micro-level, to the institutionalized practices at the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to link the authentic, communicative activities, e.g. organization-wide meetings at the micro-level, to the institutionalized practices at the macro-level within an organization, e.g. change management decisions and communication strategy (Steyn, 2003). Thus, the concern is with the relationship between institutionalized strategic management and the real-life strategic communication processes, thus advancing the understanding of the role of texts and discourses in the actual practice of strategic communication in an organizational context of strategic change processes.

Design/methodology/approach

The data are based on a large corpus of video-taped management meetings and organization-wide meetings in a large Danish public, knowledge-based organization. The method applied for studying the management discourse is a conversation-analytical approach (Sacks et al., 1974; Sidnell, 2010). This method has been chosen as it enables the authors to focus on micro-aspects of organizational practices (Nicolini, 2013) by investigating the interactional patterns that serve as resources for doing legitimation as an institutionalized practice.

Findings

The common denominator for the entire analysis is legitimation accomplished through the discursive use of distanciation and the analysis identifies three different discursive elements or micro-level strategies directly related to the concrete doing of strategic communication. First, legitimation is created by reference to the socio-economic context of the organization. Second, legitimation is generated by means of pointing to the abnormality of the strategic situation. And third legitimation is fostered by the use of idiomatic expressions. These different ways of accomplishing legitimacy are in a strategy-as-practice perspective related to the specific, in-situ communicative praxis and accomplished by the concrete actions of the strategic communicators, and thus the authors can position the instances of strategic communication at the organizational micro-level.

Originality/value

This paper studies at a micro-level how strategic actors use various discursive resources to legitimize strategic decisions and how these resources constitute the discursive basis of strategic communication as a managerial practice. The authors focus on the role of discourse in the legitimization processes of strategic managerial decisions analyzing micro-level instances of organizational communication. The paper thereby links the actor process activities (Langley, 2007), e.g. organization-wide meetings at the micro-level, to the institutional field practices at the macro-level within an organization, e.g. strategy and planning (Johnson et al., 2007).

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 May 2020

Øyvind Ihlen

There is a great potential in pulling together science communication and strategic communication, especially given how the former has gained importance in organizational…

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Abstract

Purpose

There is a great potential in pulling together science communication and strategic communication, especially given how the former has gained importance in organizational contexts. Strategic communication, including rhetorical theory, can offer insights that are invaluable to understand the contests over what “truth” is and how different political perspectives influence such debates. The case of vaccine hesitancy is used as an illustration of the challenges posed to organizations and organizational communication around science-related issues today. There is a need to understand the audience in order to build credibility, or ethos, while at the same time recognizing the contingent and situational character of this endeavor.

Findings

Rhetoric and strategic communication can offer science communication the essential knowledge to strengthen credibility. While much attention has been geared toward understanding the audience, strategic communication and rhetoric in particular go further and also spell out the strategic implications for communication that is intended to strengthen credibility. Additionally, rhetoric alerts us to how credibility, or ethos, is not a fixed quality in a sender or a text but is situational and constantly negotiated. While the case of vaccine hesitancy and health authorities is used as an illustration, all organizations share the need to somehow have others believe in what they are saying. The toolboxes of strategic communication and rhetoric hold a number of insights and approaches that could benefit science communication.

Originality/value

The study pulls together insights from rhetoric and strategic communication that can inform science communication.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 22 January 2021

Christian Pieter Hoffmann and Sandra Binder-Tietz

While several extant studies have discussed the strategic importance of investor relations (IR) for listed corporations, few have tried to apply findings from strategic

Abstract

Purpose

While several extant studies have discussed the strategic importance of investor relations (IR) for listed corporations, few have tried to apply findings from strategic communication research to IR. Therefore, little is known about the planning and evaluation of IR programs, with even less data available on IR's involvement in top management decision-making. The purpose of this paper is to examine research on planning and evaluation practices in German Prime Standard corporations' IR departments.

Design/methodology/approach

The method entailed a survey of 51 heads of IR departments from the largest corporations listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange concerning the topic of measurement and evaluation.

Findings

The findings highlight an intermediate stage in the professionalization of the still-emergent IR function. While IR has been established as an independent function with some consideration in strategic leadership, strategic management of the function is still evolving. This study shows that while some form of planning is the norm, IR departments at smaller companies tend to focus more on departmental objectives than on deriving objectives from the corporate strategy. Also, systematic evaluation remains lacking in many smaller companies' IR departments. As a result, IR managers from smaller companies are consulted less frequently during top management meetings on corporate strategy.

Research limitations/implications

This study is based on data collected only from German Prime Standard corporations. While satisfactory in the context of quantitative IR studies, the response rate from the reported survey was only 32%. Furthermore, the average level of strategic IR management among German listed companies actually may be somewhat lower than reported in this paper, as large listed companies are somewhat overrepresented in the sample.

Originality/value

This study addresses an apparent research gap, i.e. to date, little is known about the strategic management of the IR function, especially in a non-US context. This analysis shows that theories and frameworks from strategic communication management can be applied to the IR function.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 May 2018

Jesper Falkheimer and Katarina Gentzel Sandberg

The purpose of this paper is to describe strategic improvisation, a contemporary concept and approach based on the creative arts and organizational crisis theory, as a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe strategic improvisation, a contemporary concept and approach based on the creative arts and organizational crisis theory, as a valuable approach for communication professionals. Strategic improvisation combines the need for planning and structure with creative action, and is a normative idea of how to work in an efficient way.

Design/methodology/approach

The concept is developed in a collaborative project between a major Swedish communications agency and a university scholar. The empirical foundation consists of 25 qualitative interviews with a strategic selection of successful communication professionals, identified as typical strategic improvisers.

Findings

An analysis of the interviews led to 11 defining patterns or themes typical for strategic improvisation and strategic improvisers. The interviews and the theoretical framework is the foundation of a communication model. Strategic improvisation is defined as a situational interpretation within a given framework. The model has three interconnected parts: a clear framework (composition), a professional interpretation (interpretation) and a situational adaptation based on given possibilities and conditions (improvisation).

Research limitations/implications

This is not a peer reviewed paper, but a paper in the section “In Practice,” directed toward communication professionals.

Originality/value

The ideas and model are connected to theories of improvisation, especially in music, which is rare in the field of communication management, and developed in a collaborative project between practice and research.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

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