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The Theory and Practice of Corporate Communication

The Theory and Practice of Corporate Communication
A Competing Values Perspective

August 2007 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"It provides an integrated an broad perspective for addressing the diversity of corporate communications as a field of study and a community of practice.  As an organizing scheme it helps capture the richness, complexity and interdependence of communication theories."

"Professor Belasen's integration of theoretical insights with practical experience distinguishes this book from any other on the subject. The value to students is that it will enable them to think about corporate communication in a sophisticated and critical way. Not only will they learn to do their jobs well, they will also understand why." —Gary P. Radford, Fairleigh Dickinson University

The Theory and Practice of Corporate Communication: A Competing Values Perspective offers an integrative approach to corporate communication. Author Alan T. Belasen covers theoretical aspects and uses practical examples and case applications to illustrate the broader, strategic view of the field of corporate communication. The book draws on an adaptation of the Competing Values Framework to provide a fuller and more coherent view of corporate communication in which a dynamic interplay of complementary and often competing message orientations takes place.

As an organizing schema, the Competing Values Framework for Corporate Communication (CVFCC) helps capture the richness, complexity, and interdependence of communication approaches (e.g., rationalistic, humanistic), functions (e.g., media relations, employee relations, government relations, investor relations), managerial roles (e.g., broker, director, mentor, innovator), and organizational stakeholders (e.g., employees, customers, regulators, investors, reporters). As a practical approach, it enables corporate communication executives and professionals to operate under the burden of contradictory and often inconsistent expectations coming from diverse constituencies. Responding to these expectations is vital for building a strong identity and sustaining a credible organizational image.

The CVFCC brings the whole (corporate communication) and parts (marketing communication, financial communication, organizational communication, management communication) into a more sophisticated theoretical treatment of corporate communication that goes beyond merely discussing "best practices."

Key Features

· The CVFCC is integrated throughout, providing the necessary roadmap for navigating the diverse range of activities and organizational functions that fall under the heading of "corporate communication"

· Using case studies and practical applications (from such companies and organizations as Starbucks, NASA, the American Red Cross, Johnson & Johnson, FedEx, and Oracle, among others), the book promotes the teaching of corporate communication from a strategic viewpoint

· Each chapter ends with a case study to help readers make sense of the connections between actual situations (what happened?) and theory (how do we make sense of what happened?)

· By examining recent corporate failures, learning methods for identifying effective corporate governance practices, and developing integrity programs, readers learn that corporate social responsibility requires not only ethical leaders, but also effective corporate communication strategy, strong corporate culture, and individual involvement

Foreword by Elliot Luber: The Science of Corporate Communication
Gods and General Managers  
L'essence de L'elephant  
Just in Time...  
A Brave New, Flat World  
The Take Away  
A. Why a New Book on Corporate Communication?
1. Corporate Communication as a Field of Study and a Community of Practice
The Missing Link of Corporate Communication as a Field of Study  
Corporate Communication as a Community of Practice  
Attempts to Integrate the Field of Corporate Communication  
The Challenge to Identify the Construct Space of Corporate Communication  
Overhauling the Field  
The Need for a Theoretically Based Organizing Framework  
Review Questions  
B. Strategic Corporate Communication: An Integrated View
2. Competing Values Framework for Corporate Communication (CVFCC)
Communication Perspectives  
Critical Approaches  
Communication as Organizing  
Apollo 13  
High Reliability Organizations  
Communication Systems and Goals  
Balancing Competing Tensions  
Review Questions  
Case Study: Satellite Systems  
3. Strategic Corporate Communication: External Image, Internal Identity
Integrated Corporate Communication  
Sustaining and Managing Identity Programs  
Primary Functions of Corporate Communication  
Media Relations  
Employee Relations  
Government Relations  
Investor Relations  
Review Questions  
Case Study: Starbucks Coffee Company  
4. Identity, Reputation, and the Functions of Corporate Communication: A Strategic View
GE: Managing Image and Corporate Identity  
Target: Managing Corporate Reputation  
McDonald’s: Promoting the New Image  
Effective Communication Strategies  
External Communications  
Review Questions  
Case Study: The Power of Symbols: Creating Corporate Identity at Agilent Technologies  
C. Functions of Corporate Communication
5. Media Relations
Reputation and Media Relations  
Enhancing Public Image through Issue Management  
Branding the Image and Identity  
Public Relations and Media Relations  
Johnson & Johnson  
Public Relations and Investor Relations  
The Corporate Spokesperson  
Review Questions  
Case Study: Adolph Coors Company  
6. Investor Relations
Working with Financial Analysts  
Managing Stockholder Confidence  
Financial Reporting  
Investor Relations and Corporate Reputation  
Corporate Social Responsibility  
Financial Performance and Corporate Reputation  
Investor Relations Success Story  
Financial Ethics  
Review Questions  
Case Study: The Press and the Stockholders  
7. Government Relations
Externally Derived, Internally Enforced  
Policy Fields  
Firms Rush to End Reform  
Importance of Government Relations  
American Red Cross  
Regulations and Boundary Spanning  
Shaping Favorite Policies through Issue Management  
Supplier Relations  
Review Questions  
Case Study: The Anti-Trust Case against Microsoft  
8. Employee Relations
Aligning Identity with External Image  
Strategic Conversation  
Asking the Right Questions Rather than Giving Solutions  
Motivating Employees  
Integrating and Assimilating Employees—The Role of Culture  
Mapping Culture in the Training Organization  
Avoiding the Trap of Knowing-Doing  
Positive Communication Relationships  
Message Orientations  
Mapping Message Orientations  
A Diamond Model of Interactions  
Managing for Organizational Integrity: The Social Contract with Employees  
Review Questions  
Case Study: Hanover Software  
D. External and Internal Communication
9. Marketing Communication and Corporate Advertising
Integrated Marketing Communication  
Southwest Airlines  
Issue Management and Corporate Advertising  
PR and Corporate Advertising  
Nonprofit Organizations  
Managing Organizational Constituencies  
Marketing Communication in Nonprofit Organizations  
Marketing to Employees in Nonprofit Organizations  
E-Channels for Nonprofit Organizations  
Marketing Communication and Ethical Advertising  
Review Questions  
Case Study: Wal-Mart and Its Communications Strategy  
10. Financial Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility
Enron: The Corporate Tactics  
Arthur Andersen: Turning the Blind Eye  
Tyco: Stealing the Vanity  
WorldCom: The Giant Falls  
Union Carbide  
Financial Communication: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002  
Implementation Challenges  
Review Questions  
Case Study: Illinois Power and “60 Minutes”: Communicating About the Communications  
11. Organizational and Management Communication
Rule Theory: Rationalistic Approach to Communication  
The Humanistic Approach  
Rationalistic and Humanistic Communication Roles: A Competing Values Perspective  
Facilitating Vertical Communication  
Information Communication Technology  
The Role of Informal Networks in Management Communication  
Aligning Communication with Structures  
Horizontal Management  
Aligning Communication Processes in Loosely Coupled Structures  
Managerial Ethics and Social Responsibility  
The CEO and the Board of Directors  
Structural Regulations  
Policies and Standards  
The Ethical CEO  
Communication between the CEO and Board Members  
Building an Effective Board of Directors  
Review Questions  
Case Study: The Paradoxical Twins—Acme and Omega Electronics  
E. Analysis and Control
12. Stakeholder Analysis
Communicating with Stakeholders: A CVFCC Approach  
Firm-Stakeholder Relationships  
Principles of Stakeholder Management  
Communicating Messages to Stakeholders  
Steps in Stakeholder Analysis  
Sources of Power  
Assessing Stakeholders’ Perceptions Using the CVFCC  
Review Questions  
Case Study: Granite City: Doing More with Less  
13. Communication Audits within Organizations
Uncertainty Reduction  
The Process of a Communication Audit  
Identifying Communication Activities Across Managerial Levels  
The Importance of Contextual Factors  
Assessment of Managerial Communication Roles and Skills  
Diagnosing Organizational Culture  
Cultural Types  
Cultural Audit in a Health Care Organization  
Review Questions  
Case Study: Planning the Project  
F. Crisis Communication and Patterns of Corporate Response
14. Crisis Communication and Message Strategies
Fire at Deloitte Office Tower in Madrid: Deloitte Spain Maintains Activity  
Southwest Airlines  
Communication Failures  
Failure at Dow Corning  
Failure at the University of Maryland  
Success for NASA  
Success for Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation  
Verizon: Effective Corporate Communication  
Protecting the Image  
Organizing the Exchange of Information  
Restoring the Image  
Stages of Crisis  
The Importance of Culture in Managing Crises  
Review Questions  
Case Study: Tylenol Tampering Scare  
15. Conclusion
Corporate Communication: The Maestro  
Strategic Corporate Communication  
The Theory and Practice of Corporate Communication  
Integrative Case Study: The Acquisition of Abbott Hospital  
Case Study: Mt. Mercy Acquires Abbott  
Case Study: The End of the First Six Months  
Integrative Case Study: BelBeck Production  
About the Author

"His framework for CC's "system and goals" has "innovation, information, regulation and integration" in the four quadrants, with associated words "transform, perform, conform, and reform", to answer important questions...a book that can add pep to the hassled in "corp comm"!"


It is excellent, informative and very well structured. The book gives excellent insight into the structure of corporate communications. Thank you

Mr Lefteris Emmanuel Heretakis
Communications , Izmir University of Economics
March 9, 2016

This book is very well written and the concepts of trade-off and stakeholder analysis are key to understanding corporate communication (especially when dealing with foreign students).

Dr Jennifer Breese-Vitelli
Communication, Lasell College
July 16, 2013

A useful book to provide students with a more varied and up-to-date understanding of corporate communication. This book covers a large section of the students curriculum and will be highly recommended.

Miss Katie Angliss
Plymouth Business School, University of Plymouth
May 16, 2013

Comprehensive, well-written guide to corporate communication.

Ms Anne Stuart
Communications , Lasell College
April 19, 2012

Excellent text; very suitable for course

Dr Barry Eisenberg
Business Mgmt Economics Dept, Suny Empire State College - Saratoga
March 11, 2010
Key features
  • The Competing Values Perspective is based on over 15 years of consulting work, academic teaching, curriculum development, conference papers, and publications in the areas of communication, management development, cultural transformation, and organizational leadership.  As the framework for the book it presents a balance among the four perspectives on corporate communication: marketing communication with its emphasis on media relations; financial communication with its emphasis on investor relations; organizational communication with its emphasis on government and supplier relations; and management communication with its emphasis on employee relations. The framework is particularly useful in helping communication students, researchers, and practitioners form a better understanding of the scope and range of communication activities that affect organizations both internally and externally.
  • Practical examples and case studies from a wide variety of industries illustrate theoretical concepts and aid student understanding.
  • Encourages critical thinking and planning by promoting the development of communication responses that consider the objectives and consequences of employing different messages when addressing different audiences.
  • Communication audit instruments help students and practitioners diagnose their communication roles and skills, identify strengths and weaknesses, and develop action plans for improvement.
  • Teaches students that corporate social responsibility not only requires ethical leaders, but also effective strategy, strong corporate culture, and individual involvement.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 3

Chapter 12

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ISBN: 9781412950350