Corporate Communications An International Journal

Published by Emerald
Online ISSN: 1356-3289
Publications
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the growing literature field of intellectual capital (IC) by analysing corporate IC disclosures by leading Spanish firms over a three‐year period from 2000 to 2002. Design/methodology/approach – Content analysis methodology was applied to the annual reports of 12 Spanish companies over a three‐year period. Findings – A statistically significant increase was found in the volume of IC disclosures over a three‐year period. There is a greater volume of communication in the area of external (customer/relational) capital than in either internal or employee capital. This corresponds with the results of other country‐based studies. However, IC reporting remains at a relatively limited level, and disclosures are dominated by customer relational items. Originality/value – This paper makes an original contribution to the growing body of empirical studies on IC reporting and describes the development of IC reporting in Spain.
 
Article
This paper examines an important, albeit neglected aspect of communication in the workplace, namely, rumour and gossip in organisations. Drawing on literature from multiple disciplines the paper provides an analysis of the role played by rumour and gossip within organisations, including, but not limited to, its meaning, hidden reasons and its management. The paper discusses both antecedent and outcome variables that are associated with organisational rumour and gossip. It is contended that the different types of rumour and gossip serve different purposes which, in turn, result in a range of outcomes. Moreover, and in spite of the tendency to ascribe rumour and gossip as morally reprehensible, not all of these outcomes are shown to be harmful within organisations. The authors use this finding to argue that scholars and managers alike should avoid making negative judgements about rumour and gossip in all such cases.
 
Conceptual framework for the study of corporate identity management 
Levels of culture in relation to corporate identity 
Article
Although there has been an enduring interest in corporate identity and image management, there is relatively little systematic empirical research on the topic. Largely due to the diffuse interpretations and dubious denotation that have characterized the subject of corporate identity so far, the authors present an integrative conceptual framework of dimensions and determinants of corporate identity management. This framework and its constructs specify the concept of corporate identity and can be used on a predictive basis to guide, frame and model empirical research into this area.
 
Article
This paper attempts to establish the existence of a professional language genre for public relations by evaluating the history of genre analysis and its application in professional contexts. Bhatia's work, in 1993, demonstrates professional language genre analysis in similar contexts to public relations writing, which make the mapping of the process both relevant and workable for this discipline. The application of Bhatia's and Swale's work, in 1990, on modelling the rhetorical moves behind communicative purposes of a genre has been successfully applied within the paper to the news release genre. The paper therefore proposes a model of professional language genre analysis, which may provide a useful guide to writing effective news releases for practitioners and students working in the fields of public relations and corporate communications.
 
Article
Academic research concerning the implications of international business protocols is practically nonexistent. Most information is in the practitioner literature, is scattered and tends to focus on do’s and don’ts of etiquette rather than protocol. The results of this research shows that there are important differences between the USA and Chile in their approach to the protocol of bonding which involves public relations based on gift exchange, relationships, friendship, and loyalty. The implications of these differences are the particular expectations that American and Chilean participants in the business transaction have about the behaviour of the other. When these expectations are not fulfilled, or they are violated, then there is a high possibility that the relationship will fail with the resulting breakdown of customer relations.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this article is to examine the influence of corporate culture on the practice of corporate philanthropy in a global environment. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses content analysis of corporate texts and media; interviews with global philanthropy practitioners. Findings – The paper finds that: corporate philanthropy is a reflector of corporate values; global corporate philanthropists have a history of commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities; global companies practice international philanthropy; program delivery differs as a reflection of corporate history, values, mission, and business drivers; global corporations utilize CSR to gain and maintain their “license to operate”; and corporate cultural learning is pursued as an explicit activity; cross-cultural learning is generally perceived as an implicit outcome. CSR shares values, opportunity for integrated cultural learning. Research limitations/implications – This research is not generalizable. Its findings could be explored by surveying a larger purposive sample. Practical implications – The practical implications of this research are the sharing of corporate values and the inclusion of cultural learning through the integration of CSR activities, including philanthropy. Originality/value – The study found corporate opportunities for cultural learning valuable to the development of the global corporation as global corporate citizen, a prerequisite to the effective practice of philanthropy and for doing business globally.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the future of corporate communication professionals and researchers; to present the findings of the Corporate Communication International (CCI) Corporate Communication Practices and Trends Study 2009; and to introduce the issues presented in the papers from the CCI Conference on Corporate Communication 2009 published in this special issue. Design/methodology/approach – The paper presents a discussion of the future of the corporate communication and the findings of the CCI Corporate Communication Practices and Trends Study 2009. Findings – The paper implies strategic knowledge of business processes and practice for effective corporate communication. Research limitations/implications – The paper implies several areas for further research. Originality/value – The paper articulates complex challenges facing corporate communicators.
 
Article
Purpose – A deliberate and planned crisis communication strategy is an important part of key account management. The purpose of this paper is to draw links between key account managers (KAM) and crisis communication and explore the elements critical to crisis communication in key account relationships. Design/methodology/approach – The approach is qualitative. Data were gathered from people experienced in crisis communication and responsible for strategic accounts. The paper analysed managers’ stories of crisis processes and related communication in relationships. Findings – Successful crisis communication requires an open and active crisis communicator, one willing to solve problems, and also the company being a partner worth trusting and the retention of the relationship being worthwhile for the customer. Research limitations/implications – The present study focuses on the managerial view, and therefore a dyadic approach is suggested for future studies. Practical implications – The role of the KAM as a crisis communicator and primary identifier of the crisis is emphasized. Originality/value – Existing crisis communication discussions have been very media focused. This study focuses on the key account relationship and the related crisis communication. In addition, although earlier studies examine the influences of crises on business relationships (e.g. Salo et al. , 2009; Thiessen and Ingenhoff, 2010; Tähtinen and Vaaland, 2006), research on crisis communication in business-to-business key account relationships is still scarce. The results will help to understand the characteristics of crisis communication in key account relationships and enhance communication with strategic accounts.
 
Article
Advances in new media and web technology are making it easier for organizations and their employees, suppliers, customers and stakeholders to participate in the creation and management of content. It is therefore, useful to understand how a corporate communication strategy can leverage these trends. Purpose; this paper discusses the take-up and use of new media in organizations, highlighting a current approach to implementation issues. Methodology/approach; we review and explore new media in organizations from three ecological layers: the social, discursive and technical, addressing who is communicating, the communication content and new media technology used. Findings; the paper recommends a customer-centered approach to implementing new media adoption in organisations using action research. Practical implications; new media and Web 2.0 services can be employed to work in tandem with conventional communication tools such as phone, fax and corporate intranets. Such a hybrid approach enables organizations to maintain and strengthen existing stakeholder relationships, but also reach out and build relationships with new stakeholders who were previously inaccessible or invisible. Research limitations/implications; academic literature is lagging behind the pace of technological change, and evaluation studies are limited.
 
Article
This article describes corporate reputation as it pertains to corporate practice. Key areas treated are worldwide executive opinion on their ability to affect corporate reputation; three specific strategic benefits and goals of strong corporate reputation (preference in doing business with a company when products/services are similar, support for a company in time of controversy, and company value in the financial marketplace); the six key factors that drive corporate reputation; examples of how these drivers vary in importance in different countries, in different industries in the same country, and in the context of the three different goals; and illustrations of how company behaviour, relative to public expectations, can erode corporate reputation. Credibility is cited as the central link between company behaviour and public confidence, also encompassing the “promise/performance gap” between consumer expectations and product/service delivery.
 
Analytical model of communication in issue arenas 
Article
Purpose – This paper seeks to contribute to the field of corporate communication by clarifying the theoretical basis of communication in issue arenas and proposing an agenda for research on issue arenas. Design/methodology/approach – Drawing on insights from stakeholder thinking, network theory, issues management, and agenda-setting theory, the authors identify different levels of analysis that could explain the behaviour of organisations in the public debate on current issues. Findings – The organisation-centred approach is replaced by a strong emphasis on interaction in networks of organisations, groups and individuals. Decision-making on communication strategies can be further developed by analysing the particularities of each issue arena, in particular the characteristics of the issue and the actors involved as well as the course of the debate and the communication strategies utilised in stakeholder interaction. Research limitations/implications – This theoretical approach calls for further research, but offers an agenda and suggests four starting levels for analysis. Practical implications – This paper provides a timely approach to the analysis of corporate communication that may help understand the complexities of a rapidly changing organisational environment and, ultimately, assist organisations in developing customised communication strategies suited to each issue arena relevant to their operations. Originality/value – Insights from various theories are brought together to serve as a starting point for the further analysis of communication in issue arenas.
 
Article
Purpose – The concept of “communicative leadership” is used in organisations that analyse and develop leaders' communication competence. A scholarly definition of this concept is lacking, and the implications of leaders' communication and the development of communication competence for organisations are rarely discussed. The purpose of this paper is to create a theoretical framework around the concept of “communicative leadership”, which can contribute to future research and development of leaders' communication competence. Design/methodology/approach – Three research questions were addressed: what communicative behaviours are central to leaders? How can “communicative leaders” be characterised? What is a “communicative leader”? Literature from the leadership and communication research fields was reviewed and related to these questions. Findings – Four central communicative behaviours of leaders (i.e. structuring, facilitating, relating, and representing), eight principles of communicative leadership, and a tentative definition are presented. A communicative leader is defined as someone who engages employees in dialogue, actively shares and seeks feedback, practices participative decision making, and is perceived as open and involved. Practical implications – A theoretical foundation to the practice of analysing and developing leaders' communication competence is provided, which is related to employee engagement and organisational performance. Originality/value – Communicative leadership is a concept emerging from organisational needs, articulated by corporate and public organisation leaders. This article links its core constructs to academic quantitative and qualitative research in an integrated framework, which can guide further research and the development of leaders' communication competence.
 
Article
Purpose – This study is a part of two sequential studies (quantitative and qualitative) carried out to study the impact of managerial communication on employees’ attitudes and behaviours. The paper aims to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach – Using the critical incident technique, this study explores the effects of managerial communication practices on employees’ happiness, job performance, commitment, absenteeism, and turnover intentions. Totally, 101 employees in three manufacturing organisations in eastern India narrated critical incidents related to happiness and superior performance, unhappiness and inferior performance, absenteeism, and the desire to stay or quit. The incidents were further content-analysed. Findings – Results revealed that collaborative approach, respect and recognition, flexible working arrangements, trust, clear direction, autonomous and challenging tasks are important indicators to make employees happy and drive them towards superior performance. Contrarily, the dominant nature of the superior and more bossism than required, humiliation, biased approach, and lack of flexible working arrangements are detrimental to employees’ performance. Collaborative approach, respect/recognition, person-job match, autonomous and challenging tasks, flexible working arrangements, brand image, and location near hometown are the propellers for continuing service in organisations. Contrarily, hierarchical/dominant approach, humiliation, lack of respect and recognition, biased approach – different rules for different people, monotonous and boring assignments, and uncompetitive pay are the propellers for not continuing service in organisations. Humiliation, lack of flexible arrangements, and overwork are the causes for employees’ absenteeism. Research limitations/implications – This study is not without limitations. First, there were some critical incidents with apparent overlapping content areas. To overcome this situation, the authors decided to give preference to the primary theme emerging out of an incident. Second, the observations made in this study were limited to descriptions of what happened in only three organisations. This limits the ability to generalise the results. Practical implications – Organisations can train supervisors to develop people-centric communication practices, communicate with respect and recognition, implement flexible working arrangements, improve job design, involve employees in important decisions, offer them with autonomous and challenging tasks, so that employees realise their full potential and become happy contributors to their organisations. Originality/value – The study attempted to capture employees’ lived experiences and provided them with narrations of situations that are commonly and uniquely experienced.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this study is to contribute to the field of diversity studies with novel insights on how language diversity and communication frequency influence dissimilarity attitudes. Design/methodology/approach – The authors examine language diversity and communication frequency as group‐level antecedents for positive dissimilarity attitudes by use of questionnaire responses from 489 members of academic culturally diverse departments. Findings – The results showed that communication frequency has strong positive relationships with three variables depicting positive dissimilarity attitudes, namely openness to linguistic, visible and informational diversity. Contradicting our predictions, language diversity had positive associations with all variables portraying positive dissimilarity attitudes. The implications of these findings are discussed in detail. Originality/value – Few prior studies have dealt with the relations between language, communication and dissimilarity attitudes.
 
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) communication model  
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how corporate social responsibility (CSR) appears and is communicated in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on theory and research on CSR communication in general and in SMEs and a qualitative case study of the attitudes and beliefs of Danish SME managers regarding CSR and CSR communication. Findings – The case study demonstrates that CSR is primarily considered to be an ethical and moral issue which is isolated from strategic communication including public relations and reputation management. Rather than being a strategic instrument, CSR seems to be rooted in practice and regulated by the personal values and beliefs of managers. It is argued that in principle, SMEs like the ones in the case study which are based on employee commitment and the use of indirect word-of-mouth communication with internal and local stakeholders have a fruitful platform for adopting strategic CSR communication. The problem is how they should communicate CSR to their external stakeholders. Practical implications – This paper provides insights into the social and societal commitment of SMEs and ways in which SMEs can respond to the challenges of communicating CSR more explicitly to external stakeholders. Originality/value – Attention is paid to the rather complicated balance between CSR communication as window-dressing and CSR communication as a strategic instrument.
 
Article
States that there are concerns within the banking industry that its image may be confused, which raises the question, by what criteria do the stakeholders perceive their banks and, consequently, how can banks establish programmes to develop their image? Concludes that Britons are largely satisfied with the performance of banks, and are less antagonistic than the media indicate.
 
Article
Reviews evidence to support the view that improved internal communication facilitates business success. Details the content of what have been identified as successful internal communications programmes. Focuses on those behaviours which produce improved interpersonal relationships in the workplace, and which could be widely emulated by managers seeking to promote good practice in their own organizations. Considers attitudinal barriers to the implementation of such approaches.
 
Article
This paper explores the concept of ethical branding and its link to corporate reputation. Brands have traditionally been studied only as an economic construct. Brands, as a social construct, have not yet been fully understood due to the lack of research. A corporate brand is a vital part of the corporate reputation management. An ethical brand enhances the firm’s reputation; such a reputation reinforces the brand in turn. On the other hand, any unethical behaviour will severely damage or even destroy the total intangible asset as evidenced by the recent high profile corporate scandals. Ethical branding could provide the company with a differential advantage as a growing number of consumers become more ethically conscious.
 
Article
It can be argued that corporate branding is essentially a strategic task spanning across functional boundaries and internal and external sphere of the organisation. What is the opinion of practitioners on the concept? This paper presents the findings from a study in the UK retail sector. The purpose of the study is to assess whether the practitioners share the view that the corporate brand is an integrative device and the process of corporate branding is holistic in nature.
 
Article
Based on the findings of an empirical study among communication executives in 11 multinational companies we propose an increasingly integrated approach to corporate branding. Key aspects which support our claim are the growing importance of the financial community, the augmenting skills shortage driving competition for current and future employees, and the enhanced transparency of corporate activities being greatly supported by the particular characteristics of the Internet. In order to achieve greater integration and eventually a favourable reputation we propose an organisational model combining centralisation and team organisation which particularly aims to support integration across the various functions responsible for stakeholder relations.
 
Article
This paper examines the managerial skills and role perceptions between the design leader and the client's in-house professional staff which affect corporate communications. It also examines the consequential factors that influence the time taken to finalise the design for commercial building projects. Whilst all aspects of the design should be discussed to achieve a good product, the time spent on the development of design should not be so long that it affects the overall construction time and the achievement of the client's desired financial objectives. Each specialist in the design team will have something to contribute to the project which may consequently increase the complexity of conventional design development for commercial properties. The research methodology adopted in this study involves in-depth case studies of two building projects which fundamentally seek to determine the organisational change, leadership and communication factors that influence effective design development of commercial building projects.
 
Article
Corporate gifts are an important tool in the marketing communication mix. This paper is divided into two parts. It first reviews the literature of corporate gifts and incentives, focusing on major issues in the use of corporate gifts: marketing issues, practical considerations, and ethical and cultural concerns. In the second part, it presents a survey in the UK airline industry. Corporate gifts are found to be used mainly as a means of enhancing corporate image and creating goodwill. They are also used to help reinforce other elements in the marketing communication mix such as advertising and sales promotion.
 
Article
Implicit in the traditional model of communication is the assumption that an individual or organization sends a single message to one receiver, or class of receivers. However, in practice there are often multiple senders, targeted receivers and even messages. This paper proposes expanding the traditional model of communication to include these additional facets and thus make the model more representative of business communication.
 
Article
Japanese business people face a unique situation in figuring out if and how to incorporate the use of e-mail in their business practices. While e-mail has many advantages as a tool or corporate communication, Japanese people seem not to fully enjoy such advantages because of their language habits. E-mail was born and developed in the US, and when we look into the reason, we can see why it collides with Japanese business customs and the language habits of Japanese. In e-mail no immediate response from the receiver is expected, as it is in speech. In order to write effective e-mail, one should put oneself in the shoes of the recipient.
 
Article
Reviews symmetrical communication as corporate strategy. Qualitative data gathered from owners and managers of a wide variety of small businesses, using both questionnaires and interviews, points to the fact that, in common with many other areas of small business management, the practice of corporate communication is largely unplanned. Concludes that it is an area which is characterized by a lack of understanding both of what corporate communication is and how it can be of benefit to the small business.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how Malaysian CEO Statements represent corporate social responsibility (CSR). Design/methodology/approach – A corpus of 27 CEO Statements was analyzed using Fairclough’s three-dimensional critical discourse analysis (CDA) model, which proposes analyzing text, discourse practice and social practice. The analysis emphasized image and language features in text while it explored intertextuality in discourse practice and ideology in social practice. Findings – The analysis revealed that selected image and language features contribute to six themes about CSR, namely achievement, identification, aspiration, disclosure, recognition and appreciation. The analysis also revealed that policies, standards and studies are often cited to reduce a credibility gap. These analyses indicate that CEO Statements represent CSR as a corporation’s philanthropic initiatives for stakeholders. This representation reflects the ideology of CEO Statements. It establishes corporations as an agent of positive change in society, which helps to improve the social legitimacy of corporations. Research limitations/implications – Since the corpus was limited to ten corporations in three years, the findings might not be representative of the genre of CEO Statements. The corpus could be extended to include CEO Statements from other years, countries and languages and it can launch a productive enterprise in intercultural studies. Originality/value – This paper demonstrates CDA as an approach to understand CEO Statements. It may be useful to people practicing and teaching corporate communication because it encourages them to consider the meaning implied by image and language features, which can influence the meaning of CEO Statements.
 
Article
The message an investment company sends to shareholders in its annual report summarizes and explains the financial and economic performance which is presented. These companies are becoming aware that the annual report is an increasingly potent tool for marketing to potential clients as well as combining their statutory duty to report to shareholders. Uncovers the major themes of the Chairman's report from samples of companies in this sector. In particular, seeks to determine the differences in messages associated with the mission of the company; increasing share value, increasing dividends or both. Also aims to uncover differences in content resulting from positive and negative financial performance. Uses content analysis to uncover the major themes in these annual reports. Methods include word frequency counts, KWIK-Key Word in Context and concordances which list words by type into construct categories. The smaller the unit of examination the more difficult it is to analyse, but the more conclusive the results. Compares the results of this content analysis with previous research in this area and on this construct Records and analyses them quantitatively using appropriate statistical analysis to determine the strength of association between the variables measured and the hypothetical constructs or categories considered.
 
Article
The effective management of shareholder communications requires a close understanding of both the formal and informal components of companies' relationships with their major shareholders. The ownership of listed companies is very concentrated and typically the ten largest investors control around one-third of their shares. Although these shareholders are also those most likely to vote, their greatest influence on companies is through their direct relationships and private meetings with key members of the board. These are a key component of corporate governance, but are not consistently effective in dealing with under-performing companies, nor are investors outside the top ten or 20 fund managers in the UK often involved. Companies and investors need to balance the apparent efficiency of these relationships with their impact on corporate performance. Limited transparency leads to reduced accountability, both of which need to be addressed in the planning and implementation of companies' communications programmes if long-term shareholder value is to be maximized.
 
Article
Collaborative writing is pervasive in the contemporary corporate workplace. North American research reports that nine out of ten business professionals produce some of their documents as part of a team. As workplace writers seek to meet the business goals of their employers, and further their own careers, they require sophisticated skills in joining with other writers to collaboratively produce documents. Taking advantage of the benefits, and meeting the challenges of this demand, requires corporate and academic communities to collaborate: to address gaps in the knowledge about collaborative writing and to train and develop competent collaborative writers.
 
Article
Posits that the context of internal communication is changing rapidly, and that most organizations are seeking to reduce communications. Identifies nine roles of communication, including: cultural conscience, interpreter of ethics, facilitator of re-visioning and openness, and communication planner. Concludes that communication is vital for future success.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how digital communication tools are used for internal communication (IC) in multinational corporations (MNCs). Specifically, the study illustrates the role of digital channels in IC, the benefits they bring and the difficulties involved in using them. Design/methodology/approach – This research features a single-case study focusing on a listed Finnish multinational industrial corporation with a long history. Data for the study come from semi-structured theme interviews and a workshop in which the results were discussed. Findings – Digital IC tools are able to facilitate IC in MNCs, although some challenges may arise in relation to planning their utilization. Related to the role of digital channels in IC, these findings highlight the importance of face-to-face channels in everyday IC and the role of digital channels as more formal communication channels. Research limitations/implications – This paper focuses on a single organization. Additional research would be required to attain generalizable results. Practical implications – The effective use of new digital communication tools requires common guidelines across all areas of an MNC. Despite the great potential of new tools, the importance of face-to-face communication should not be ignored. Originality/value – Most of the research on IC in MNCs was conducted before the digital communications era. Recent advances in information technology have created new challenges and opportunities for IC.
 
Article
Based on Plato's thinking, connects several aspects of communication and leadership theory to focus on charismatic leadership. Speculates on the application of Plato's ideas to managerial communication and makes recommendations.
 
Article
Event marketing is currently at the infant stage in China, but holds a great potential in future. This is concluded from an Internet-based survey. The respondents believe that event marketing provides international companies with a viable alternative to the increasingly cluttered mass media, and plays a key role in the integrated marketing communications (IMC). Sponsoring sports and music events is found particularly effective in reaching the opinion leaders and innovators, and establishing favourable links between the audience and the sponsor’s brand image.
 
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how organizational resources: mass media corporate reputation and relative performance influences firms choice between organic, hybrid and inorganic growth strategies and how industry competition moderates this relationship. Design/methodology/approach – Using panel data and Tobit regression on sample of firms from emerging markets, i.e. India, the study is conducted. Findings – The results indicate that firm's corporate reputation, its relative performance with respect to competitors, positively influences hybrid growth strategy and negatively influences organic growth strategies. Further, results show that competition acts as a moderator of firm's relative performance and growth choice. Originality/value – The study contribute to resource-based view of the firm and corporate reputation literature by the extending the deterministic role of corporate reputation to not only firms’ market-based performance but also strategic choice.
 
Article
Purpose – Good stakeholder relations are crucial for the corporate image and reputation of modern organisations. One important management tool for use in successfully establishing good stakeholder relations involves management conversations. Until now these conversations have not been investigated extensively either in general or specifically within the field of corporate communication. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to this developing field of research by presenting the results of a study of management conversations. Design/methodology/approach – The paper investigates the ways in which various management conversations are used strategically in companies to benefit relations with stakeholders and the image or reputation of the company concerned. The conversations studied are recruitment conversations, job appraisal interviews, round-table sickness leave conversations and dismissal conversations. Findings – The paper shows that the companies involved are aware that such conversations should be used as tools for implementing their company strategy and values. However, the strategic potential of these conversations is not fully exploited, and specific crucial aspects like values communication are more prevalent in some conversations than in others. Originality/value – The paper highlights the need to gain deeper insight into the correlation between various management conversations on the one hand, and management conversations and strategy on the other.
 
The structure of the Intangibles Global Report (IGR)
Article
Purpose - Intangibles are the main value drivers of a firm. This consideration implies that it becomes more and more important/ urgent to measure and report intellectual capital. The new reporting statement (intellectual capital report) is not yet commonly used by firms, but many, on a voluntary basis, already publish, environmental, social and sustainability reports, which contain much information on intangibles. Starting from this point, our main aim here is to demonstrate that it is possible to integrate the information contained in both reports in a single ad hoc integrated document having both external and internal communication aims.Methodology – The paper addresses three research questions, namely whether the theoretical premises exist for the integration of the two different frameworks, which frameworks should be chosen as a starting point and which features should have an integrated framework. Theoretical premises for integration have been found in the research based view (RBV) theory. To chose the social report and intellectual capital report framework to use as starting points, we analyze the frameworks from the IC and CSR literature. We then chose the frameworks (GRI3 and Meritum reports) founded on an evolved notions of, respectively, corporate responsibility and intellectual capital, which share the same features: the orientation towards stakeholders, the managerial approach, and the focus on intangible activities that a new integrated framework should respect. Findings – Starting from the selected CSR and ICR frameworks, the authors planned and designed a new, ad hoc model of corporate communication, able to integrate the social and intangible dimensions in a single document, named Intangible Global Report (IGR). The IGR framework is composed of five dimensions, three derived from the ICR (human capital, structural capital, relational capital) and two from the GRI report (environmental, social). The different aspects of each dimensions are surveyed in terms of intangible resources, activities and impacts, measured by financial and non-financial indicators.Originality/value – The main originality of the paper consists in providing a general framework for firms to integrate all their intangible information in a single document: the IGR framework, focused on the firm’s strategy, which allows the stakeholder to visualize all the firm’s intangibles, how a company conducts its activities and the impacts that such activities have on the environmental, social and IC dimensions.
 
Communication strategies for corporate legitimacy 
Self-centred and dialogical strategy: most frequent words for companies and audience 
Dialogical strategy: attention and affective orientation’s congruence by topic, audience and companies 
Self-centred strategy: attention and affective orientations congruence by topic, audience and companies 
Article
Organization legitimacy is a general reflection of the relationship between an organization and its environment. By adopting an institutional approach and defining moral legitimacy as “a positive normative evaluation of the organization and its activities'” (Suchman, 1995:p.579), the goal of this paper is to investigate which corporate communication strategy adopted in online social media is more effective to create convergence between corporations and stakeholders’ social expectations, and thereby, to increase corporate legitimacy.Using the entire Twitter social graph from June to December 2009, we select companies from the 100 Best Corporate Citizens 2009 list who have a Twitter account dedicated to corporate social responsibility and their social graphs. We used network analysis to study the structural properties of the communities, such as the level of reciprocity, and advanced data mining techniques, i.e. topic and sentiment analysis, to investigate the communicational dynamics, in terms of attention and affective orientation towards CSR topics. Organizational legitimacy can be regarded as the congruence between companies’ CSR agenda and stakeholders’ social expectations. Our analysis investigates the ability of different communication strategies used by companies in online social media to create congruence and therefore to increase organizational legitimacy. We find that neither the engaging nor the information strategies lead to congruence. We show that companies tend primarily to converse about themselves in association to CSR contents.This paper originally investigates organizational legitimacy in the context of social media. Theoretically, we empirically investigate corporate strategies for legitimacy in the new context of social media. Empirically, we make use of advanced techniques that allow the analysis of large amount of information available online.
 
Article
Purpose – The primary objective of this article is to explore what senior managers think they should be doing to improve communication in their organization, what they actually do in communication terms, and the high work load which senior managers undertake. Design/methodology/approach – This understanding is advanced by using the results of a communication audit which was conducted in a major European health-care organization (HCO) undergoing significant internal re-organization. A communication audit can be defined as: “a comprehensive and thorough study of communication philosophy, concepts, structure, flow and practice within an organisation”. It assists managers by “providing an objective picture of what is happening compared with what senior executives think (or have been told) is happening”. Findings – First, senior managers who over-work are even less likely to have the time for reflection, followed by behaviour change. Second, the absence of adequate upward communication may blind managers to the full nature of their problems, which in turn guides the search for solutions. Research limitations/implications – Clearly there is a need to examine other types of organizations to establish the universality of the communication issues and problems that were found in a large HCO in Europe, using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Practical implications – The data suggest that attempting to cover up communication weaknesses by managers working even longer hours only has the effect of further disempowering people, and so accentuating rather than alleviating the underlying difficulty. Originality/value – The article has value to fellow academics and managers in practice and contributes to the debate on upward communication and the workload of managers.
 
Example of risk life cycle in the car industry  
Article
Purpose of the paper: Risk orientated disclosure is a focal issue of corporate communication. Many provisions have been implemented in the USA and in Europe to promote transparency about risks faced by companies, especially by quoted ones. The increase of mandatory risk reporting applying to companies leads to the question of whether or how companies are compliant with these regulations. The answer itself implies further questions: what is required to be disclosed? And what is risk? The purpose of this paper is to address these issues.Methodology: The paper uses a qualitative methodology based on Huberman and Miles (1994) in order to explore the collected data (annual reports of companies, laws, accounting standards, professional sources).Findings: The paper established an inventory of rules currently existing in order to identify the risk disclosure context faced by French companies and found that there is no consensus between the different pieces of legislation. It is demonstrated that the terminology referred to by companies tends to differ from one to another.Research limitations: The study focused on risk disclosure within annual reports of listed companies and on risk reporting within mandatory provisions. Practical implications: A consensus on the definition of risk needs to be reached in order to assess company management, as well as their compliance with provisions. Originality/value: An attempt is made to set up a framework which could eliminate deficiencies in the lack of consensus in laws and company practice. oui
 
Article
Organisational culture is largely the result of the interaction between the people of an organisation over time and communication plays a major role in such intra-organisational interaction. The prevailing organisational culture will reciprocally determine the communication of the organisation, not only internally, but also externally with all of its stakeholder groups, and particularly with its customers. This external communication is particularly relevant to an organisation's ability to render service to its customers. This article investigates differences in the way in which managers and employees perceive the role of communication in an organisation in the automotive industry. The results indicate that managers consistently evaluate prevailing service-related communication contexts more positively than employees. It is concluded that progress in service quality can be seriously inhibited by a false sense of security about prevailing service related communication procedures and practices among the managers of an organisation.
 
Article
This articles proposes that the leadership role for the future is one of teaching organizational members to think about their thinking to solve complex problems. Organizational members must realize how they create reality, and how they can go about changing it. They must come to understand that one's thinking and subsequent actions create one's problems, and problems can no longer be solved with the same mentality which created them. The article offers a number of specific communicative devices for the leader as teacher. Language for leaders includes questioning, modelling dialogue, using metaphor, and telling stories. The way in which these communicative devices function as leader-teacher tools is explained.
 
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Purpose: Extant research on CSR communication primarily relies on a transmission model of communication that treats organizations and communication as distinct phenomena. This approach has been criticized for neglecting the formative role of communication in the emergence of organizations. In this paper, we propose to reconceptualize CSR communication by drawing on the “communication constitutes organizations” (CCO) perspective. Approach: This is a conceptual paper. We explore the implications of switching from an instrumental to a constitutive notion of communication. Findings: Our study brings forth four main findings: (1) From the CCO view, organizations are constituted by several, partly dissonant, and potentially contradictory communicative practices. From that viewpoint, the potential impact of CSR communication becomes a matter of connectivity of CSR to other practices of organizational communication. (2) Communication practices that concern CSR should not be generally dismissed as mere “greenwashing” — given that some forms of talk can be action. Consequently, we need to investigate which specific speech acts create accountability and commitment in the context of CSR. (3) The CCO view shows that CSR communication potentially extends the boundary of the organization through the involvement of third parties. Thus, it is fruitful to study CSR communication as a set of practices that aims at boundary maintenance and extension. (4) Organizations are stabilized by various non-human entities that “act” on their behalf. Accordingly, CSR communication should also take into account non-human agency and responsibility. Originality/value: Our paper links the literature on CSR communication to broader debates in organizational communication studies and, in particular, to the CCO perspective. By applying the CCO view, we reconceptualize CSR communication as a complex process of meaning negotiation.
 
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Organizations seek to innovate in order to improve their effectiveness. There is, however, some confusion about what the concept of innovation actually refers to and what is involved in the process of innovation. Attempts to clarify the meaning and nature of organizational innovation and examines a number of key communication factors which innovators should take into account.
 
Convergences and specificities among the four business-related communication disciplines 
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Purpose – The aim of this paper is to better understand the concept of communication in organizations through the comparison of definitions given by scholars from different business-related communication disciplines: marketing, public relations, organizational communication and corporate communication. Design/methodology/approach – A review of prevalent definitions in the four mentioned disciplines; discussion of communication aims, communication categorizations, theoretical background and innovations in each of these disciplines; and finally analysis of convergences and differences. Findings – All the disciplines considered in this study converge in looking at the entire communication of a business, adopting a relational perspective, valuing some intangible resources as outcomes of communication. They highlight also some nuanced differences. Research limitations/implications – Higher value should be attached to research results in the communication field that come from considering multiple points of view, because each discipline contributes specific connotations to the comprehension of communication. Originality/value – The paper compares some business-related communication disciplines and considers each as independent while benefiting from cross-fertilization. The multiple points of view allow a multidisciplinary approach and the awareness of the polysemic nature of communication.
 
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Trust is built largely through the way in which the culture of communication is implemented by the organizational leadership. The role of the leader as a listener, communicator and educator is imperative in formulating and facilitating a positive organizational culture. Addresses the proposition that the central tenet of successful leadership is the building, consolidating and maintenance of successful relationships. These relationships are increasingly being identified as the cornerstone of the soft skills needed to manage and lead organizations of the twenty-first century where an empowered workforce engages in trust-initiated roles.
 
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Argues for the importance of developing strategies for the management of communication between managers and staff. Examines the benefits which this produces and looks closely at the term “communication strategy”. Proposes a clear definition of communication strategy as a means of clarifying current management practice, and outlines key steps in transforming this definition into operational policies.
 
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Reports on a mailed questionnaire survey of corporate managers and executives from fields other than communication and public relations (accounting, administration, engineering, legal, operations, marketing, etc.) in four major corporations. Analysis included frequency and mean tests plus factor analysis. Results suggest these managers and executives consider the public relations function to be significantly important to their organization. However, most of those surveyed do not know what the public relations function in their organization is or does. Respondents (n = 423) ranked external communication activities to be considerably more important than internal communication. Technical public relations skills were also considered more necessary than public relations management abilities. Few thought corporate communication or public relations people needed to be involved in strategic planning or organizational decision making.
 
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Suggests that corporate communicators and Internet users work in a third-party editorial environment that they cannot control, unlike advertisers. Identifies how the Internet is being used by communications managers, executives and professional staff and visualizes an emerging picture of how they forsee Internet use changing for them in the next four years.
 
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Purpose – The article has two major purposes. The first purpose is to examine the roles and practices of communication professionals in relation to internal aspects of crisis communication. The second is to suggest new roles and practices for communication professionals that will enable a strategic approach to internal crisis communication. This article is based on empirical material from a larger three-year research project that focuses on internal crisis communication at a university hospital (UH) in Sweden. Design/methodology/approach – This article is based on empirical material from a larger, three-year research project that focuses on internal crisis communication at a university hospital (UH). For the purpose of this article the authors have mainly analysed transcripts of 24 semi-structured interviews that lasted 1-1.5 hours each. The authors chose to interview both communication professionals and other key persons/crisis managers in order to have the role and practices of communication professionals elucidated not only from the perspective of communication professionals themselves. Findings – A conclusion from the case study is that communication professionals have a rather limited role in internal crisis communication. Their role is primarily focused on information distribution through the intranet, even though they are also involved in strategic managerial work during the acute stage of the crisis. The communication professionals are first and foremost called for once the crisis has already occurred, which can be seen as a “communication on demand” approach, which limits a strategic orientation. In this paper some new roles and practices for communication professionals are suggested, which involve a strategic approach and cover all the stages of crisis. Research limitations/implications – Future research needs to go deeper into the practices and processes of these roles. Practical implications – Important prerequisites for fulfilling a strategic role as a communication professional are membership of the board, diversified communication roles, a developed managerial role, being closer to core operations, and legitimacy. Originality/value – The absence of a strategic crisis management thinking and discourse in organisations delimits communication professionals to a technical role rather than a managerial and strategic role. Taking internal crisis communication seriously and adopting a broader view of crises will raise new demands on communication professionals, which go beyond the operational and tactical roles in the acute phase of a crisis.
 
Top-cited authors
Wim Elving
  • Hanzehogeschool Groningen
Anne Ellerup Nielsen
  • Aarhus University
Christa Thomsen
  • Aarhus Business School
Manto Gotsi
  • Cardiff University
Clare D'Souza
  • La Trobe University