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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
How does a company's internal communication help to create its identity in the minds of its employees and stakeholders? In what ways does a company's external communication affect its reputation in the market at large?

Corporate communication is a dynamic interplay of complementary and often competing orientations: unity and variety; consistency and creativity. The Theory and Practice of Corporate Communication offers a coherent, integrative approach by examing the topic and tasks from the framework of the Competing Values Perspective. This perspective allows for the exploration of corporate communication as a unified, highly interdependent function.

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
November 12, 2015

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

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 3

Chapter 12

Alan T. Belasen

Alan Belasen (Ph.D., University at Albany; M.A. & B.A., Hebrew University, Israel) is currently chair of the M.B.A. program at SUNY—Empire State College and holds positions in the Department of Communica­tion at the University of Albany and in the School of Management at Union College.  Belasen has taught organizational and corporate communication topics at both undergraduate and graduate levels at the De­partment of Communication, University at Albany, and the MBA program, SUNY-Empire State College for more than 15 years.   His consulting and communication audit activities cover diverse organizations including private enterprises, not... More About Author

Also available as a South Asia Edition.

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ISBN: 9781412950350