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The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
www.emeraldinsight.com/1356-3289.htm
CCIJ
19,2
216
Received 21 December 2011
Revised 13 June 2013
Accepted 9 July 2013
A multidisciplinary approach for
a new understanding of corporate
communication
Alessandra Mazzei
Institute of Economics and Marketing, IULM University, Milan, Italy
Abstract
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.
Keywords Marketing, Corporate communication, Public relations, Disciplines cross-fertilization,
Multidisciplinary approach, Organizational communication
Paper type Conceptual paper
Corporate Communications: An
International Journal
Vol. 19 No. 2, 2014
pp. 216-230
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
1356-3289
DOI 10.1108/CCIJ-12-2011-0073
Introduction
What is corporate communication? How do the terms corporate communication,
organizational communication, public relations, integrated communication, holistic
communication, business communication and the like, each of which refers to the
communication of an organization, differ from each other and how do they overlap?
Many fields of study have developed different points-of-view on the concept of
communication: political science, economics, sociology, psychology, management
science, anthropology, linguistics, cybernetics, biology, philosophy and government
(Varey, 2000). The list could be extended further with business-related communication
field of studies: advertising, corporate communication, marketing, organizational
communication, public relations, mass communication and semiotics. Each of the
above-mentioned fields is institutionalized as a discipline, because there are
field-specific manuals, journals, university courses, professional associations and
academic networks.
The contents of journals and courses in the different fields overlap, and as a
consequence it is not clear if it is simply the case that academics call similar things by
different names (Shelby, 1993). The abundance of terms could create confusion (Cropp
and Pincus, 2001, p. 195). It is not just a matter of words, because the concept of
communication adopted is relevant both for practice and research (Varey, 2000). Many
scholars have dealt with the issue of multiple disciplines and terms referring to the
communication of organizations because this issue is linked to their own disciplinary
identity and the possibility of producing a better understanding of the communication
phenomenon.
This study contributes to the understanding of communication of organizations
using perspectives from several disciplines in order to enhance its understanding. The
effort presented in this article traces areas of overlap and differences among the
various business-related communication disciplines in order to reach a better
understanding of the meaning of communication in organizations.
The article reviews previous studies that dealt with the issue of multiple disciplines
of communication. Then it discusses a comparative analysis between four
business-related communication disciplines: marketing, organizational
communication, public relations and corporate communication. In conclusion the
article reports some elements of convergence and difference and highlights some issues
that call for a multidisciplinary approach, preserving a more comprehensive
understanding. Finally, it proposes suggestions for further research and the
development of managerial implications.
Previous studies
Previous studies treat the issue of similarities and differences among multiple
communication disciplines in different ways. Some scholars have proposed
comparisons between some of these disciplines. For example several investigations
have explored relationships between public relations and marketing (Cornelissen, 2008;
Cornelissen and Harris, 2004; Kitchen, 2003; Hutton, 2010; McKie and Willis, 2012) and
among public relations, communication management and organizational
communication (Wehmeier, 2008). Also an attempt has been made to analyze the
boundaries and the relationships among organizational, business, management and
corporate communication, focusing in particular on differences (Shelby, 1993). A very
recent study (Frandsen and Johansen, 2013) highlights some differences between
corporate communication and four related disciplines (public relations, organizational
communication, marketing and business communication) although considers
promising the efforts to connect them.
Others have discussed an integrative approach. For example, researchers have
examined interrelationships between organizational communication and public
relations (Theis-Berglmair, 2008), between public relations and communication
management (Szyszka, 2008) and between marketing communication and general
management (Varey, 2000). One proposal has highlighted some intersections between
research in corporate communication and organizational communication (Christensen
and Cornelissen, 2011). Other scholars have regarded some of these disciplines as
specializations of another field. For example, integrated marketing communication has
been treated as a specialism of public relations and corporate communication (Tench
and Yeomans, 2009).
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One study proposes an interdisciplinary definition (Zerfass et al., 2008). Strategic
communication considers all communications in organizations from an integrated
multidisciplinary perspective elaborating on various academic fields: corporate
communication, marketing, advertising and public relations, business communication
skills and organizational behavior (Hallahnan et al., 2007). Some of these terms –
corporate communication, public relations and organizational communication – have
been considered synonymous because they share the same body of knowledge, skills
and professional areas (Invernizzi, 2005).
Another study underlines different approaches in American and European
definitions of corporate communication (Goodman and Hirsch, 2010). Other analyses
lead to a preference for maintaining a distinction, in order to preserve the autonomy of
public relations from marketing (Grunig and Grunig, 1998; Hutton, 2010).
Research design and methodology
The present article explores a new approach in order to better understand the concept
of corporate communication: it adopts the perspectives of several disciplines in order to
enhance its understanding. It avoids systematizations which tend to subsume a
number of fields within a major discipline, and it does not attempt to reach an
all-inclusive definition. Instead, this study chooses to analyze each area as a discipline
that has evolved independently while benefiting from cross-fertilization. Its aim is to
investigate whether the different disciplines present areas of overlap and specificity, in
order to understand what kind of approach would be most appropriate for research and
practice.
This study examines definitions derived from four business-related communication
disciplines: marketing, organizational communication, public relations and corporate
communication. They have been chosen among many disciplines dealing with
communication by and inside organizations and sharing a common foundation and
linked to each other (Elving, 2012). It does not offer a comprehensive literature review;
that is not the aim of this article and it would be impossible due to the enormous
volume of studies. It presents an analysis based on key articles and textbooks for each
discipline, selected among those considered to be a point of reference for each
discipline.
The study adopts a comparative approach, in order to identify the existence and the
extent of similarities and differences among phenomena. Like variable-oriented
methods, comparative methods examine patterns of relationships among variables
(Ragin and Rubison, 2009). This study compares definitions given by the four
disciplines on the basis of the following conceptual variables: the purpose of
communication, the criteria applied for categorizing communication and the theoretical
background. These variables have been identified analyzing the elements that recur in
each discipline when they present their own definition.
Marketing: integrated marketing communication and totally integrated
communication
Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) is the process of developing and implementing
various forms of persuasive communications programs with customers and prospects over
time (Kitchen et al., 2004, p. 22).
Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) sees communication as the focal point of
relationships with customers because it creates brand value in the form of sales, profits
and brand equity (Kitchen et al., 2004). IMC adopts an outside-in logic: it starts with the
analysis of the relational needs of customers in order to develop suitable products and
services and to align communication activities. All moments of contact between the
company and the clients are valuable since every communication that emanates from
the company contributes to developing customer loyalty and organizational reputation
(Kitchen and Schultz, 2003).
Marketing communication has been divided into four areas (Guatri et al., 1999):
marketing communication addressed to customers; institutional communication
dealing with all stakeholders including customers, opinion leaders, politicians, citizens,
activist groups and so on; management communication targeted to all roles that
contribute to the value chain of the company including employees, suppliers, industrial
partners and retailers; and financial communication addressed to investors including
shareholders, stockholders and banks. Each area has specific targets, content and aims.
Nevertheless, some targets, content and aims overlap, creating an area in common that
the authors suggest calling “integrated business communication” that should
harmonize targets, content and aims in order to seek synergy and avoid contradictions.
Integration at a strategic level of all communications is crucial in order to build and
reinforce brands and to establish loyalty and long-term relationships (Duncan and
Moriarty, 1998). Messages should be non-contradictory and complementary (Moriarty,
1994). Integrated messages stem from the sender, namely the company, but the
receiving process involves making sense of messages and is greatly influenced by
customers and stakeholders. Consequently, effective integrated communication
requires a culture of partnership (Christensen et al., 2009). In order to avoid
integrated communication becoming marketing controlled communication, the
“flexible integration approach” focuses on both consistency and inclusion of variety
(Christensen et al., 2009). This broad interpretation of integrated communication
encompasses the sending and interpreting processes and also the internal integration
of the organizational culture (Torp, 2009).
Nowadays marketing is becoming more oriented to creating and maintaining
positive relationships with all stakeholders in order to balance the company’s need to
make a profit with customer satisfaction and the public interest (Kitchen and Schultz,
2003). In addition, marketing studies stress that the corporate brand transfers its
values from the corporate identity to the single product brands, reinforcing them. For
this reason, both product and corporate communication activities are important in
achieving marketing objectives. Therefore, the concepts of totally integrated
communication (Kitchen and Schultz, 2003) and total communications (Aberg, 1990)
are emerging. They refer to the integration of communication at both single brand and
company level and encompass all communication initiatives carried out by the
company directed toward its stakeholders, from a coordinated and synergetic
management perspective.
Organizational communication
Organizational communication is the process of creating and exchanging messages within a
network of interdependent relationships to cope with environmental uncertainty (Goldhaber,
1993, p. 15).
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The very large number of theories and volume of research in organizational
communication (Jablin and Putnam, 2001) have been synthesized into six metaphor
clusters (Putnam et al., 1996). The conduit metaphor views organizations as containers or
channels, and communication is a tool for information transmission. The lens metaphor
views the organization as an eye that scans the environment seeking information and
relaying information. Communication is a filtering, reception and perception process.
The linkage metaphor defines the organization as a relationship network, and
communication is equated with connections. It views the organization as coordinated
actions that enact their own rules, structures and environment through social
interactions. Communication is social interaction and sense-making.
The symbol metaphor considers the organization as a literary text and a symbolic
milieu. Communication is interpretation through meaning creation and sharing. The
voice metaphor views the organization as a chorus. Communication is the expression
and distortion of the voices of organizational members. The discourse metaphor
considers the organization as texts and patterns of interaction. Communication is
equated with conversation that intertwines action and meaning.
Research studies in the field of organizational communication assume, implicitly or
explicitly, a peculiar view of human communication synthetized into four perspectives.
The mechanistic perspective sees communication as the transmission of messages
across space, via a channel from one sender to a receiver. It is a causal and linear model
of communication and primarily focuses on the channels. The psychological
perspective primarily concentrates on how the characteristics of individuals, such as
cognition, attitudes and conceptual filters, affect the communication process. The
interpretive-symbolic perspective adopts the ideas of the process of organizing (Weick,
1979) and states that organizational communication consists of coordinated behaviors
that build the socially constructed reality. The focus is on congruence between the
meanings given to events and on culture that impacts the interpretive process. The
system interaction perspective focuses on sequences of patterned behaviors. The
communication process is greater than the sum of its parts.
Organizational communication studies show, first, that communication and
organization are two equivalent concepts (Tompkins and Wanca-Thibault, 2001).
Second, it appears that communication is not contained in the organization, nor does it
mirror or reflect reality. On the contrary, communication is formative and creates the
organization (McPhee and Scott Poole, 2001): “Communication and organization are
equivalent (. . .); it is the paint and the canvas, the figure and the ground” (Tompkins
and Wanca-Thibault, 2001, p. xxix).
There is a growing tendency to focus organizational communication research on the
“communication theory of organization” (Deetz, 2001, p. 5). Organization is “a text
produced by a set of authors, through conversation” (Taylor, 1993, p. 96). In other words,
what emerges is the idea that the organization is communicative by nature. This concept
is synthesized in the idea of the “expressive organization” (Schultz et al., 2000).
More recently, the notion has emerged in the field of organizational communication
of “Communication Constitutive of Organizing” (Ashcraft et al., 2009; Putnam and
Nicotera, 2009). This concept derives from Weick’s notion of “process of organizing”
(Weick, 1979), which contrasts with the concept of a static organization. It points out
the relevance of language and collective sense-making communication processes to
create the organization. The communicative constitution of organization relies on four
kinds of interaction processes: membership negotiation, self-structuring, activity
coordination, and institutional positioning (McPhee and Zaug, 2000).
Public relations
Scholars in the field of public relations adopt several paradigms (Edwards, 2012)
generating many terms associated with it (Cropp and Pincus, 2001). The concept of
public relations can assume three meanings. The first is to communicate with the
publics of an organization in order to persuade them. For example:
The goal of PR is to influence the behaviours of groups of people in relation to each other
(White and Mazur, 1996, p. 11; cited in Tench and Yeomans, 2009).
This meaning includes the “press agency-publicity”, the “public information” and the
“two-way asymmetric” models of public relations (Grunig and Hunt, 1984). Through a
scientific approach based on persuasion techniques and audience analysis, public
relations specialists have honed their abilities to construct and disseminate persuasive
messages.
The second meaning refers to public relations as relationship management. It was
introduced by Ferguson (1984) and then supported by many scholars, including Cutlip
et al. (2006), Broom and Dozier (1990), Guatri et al. (1999), and Hutton (1999).
This type of definition refers explicitly to systems theory by defining public
relations as a subsystem that connects the organizational system to the environmental
system (Grunig and Hunt, 1984). Ledingham and Bruning (2000) developed this model
and applied it to specialized areas of public relations. Kent and Taylor (2002) expanded
the concept to the one of dialogic public relations. The most recent and promising trend
in public relations is the transition from functionalism to the co-creation perspective
(Botan and Taylor, 2004).
The third meaning refers to public relations as a mean for positioning the
organization (Cropp and Pincus, 2001) and its reputation (Hutton, 1999). Crucial to this
step is the maturing of the role of public relations professional from technical to
managerial (Grunig and Hunt, 1984; Grunig et al., 2002; Broom and Smith, 1979; Dozier,
1984). The communication technician’s work focuses on message creation, its
spreading at a tactical level and implementing decisions taken by other people in the
company. The communication manager develops communication strategies and
policies with a long-term horizon (Dozier, 1984). The managerial role implies extending
the skills of public relations practitioners to financial and economic analysis,
decision-making and project management. Mastering managerial skills can legitimize
public relations professionals within the executive management board of the company.
The various concepts of public relations are part of a continuum and they overlap.
They do not disregard each other but rather integrate each other (Cropp and Pincus,
2001). Furthermore, scholars in the field adopt assumptions that are connected,
showing that public relations cannot be compartmentalized (Edwards, 2012).
Public relations have been divided into specialist areas such as media relations,
internal communications, community relations, issue management, crisis management,
public affairs, financial relations and sponsorship (Grunig and Hunt, 1984; Kitchen,
2003; Cutlip et al., 2006; Tench and Yeomans, 2009). This kind of categorization
implicitly refers to the specialized competencies and skills supposed to be mastered by
the professionals and managers in the field.
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Corporate communication
Definitions of corporate communication (Goodman and Hirsch, 2010) in the US are
centered on the concept of strategic management (for example Argenti, 2009), whereas
in Europe, they are more theoretically based (for example, Cornelissen, 2008; and van
Riel, 2003).
222
Corporate Communication is the orchestration of all the instruments in the field of
organizational identity (communications, symbols and behaviours of organizational
members) in such an attractive and realistic manner as to create or maintain a positive
reputation for groups with which the organization has an interdependent relationship (van
Riel, 2003, p. 53).
The common features of some of the prevailing definitions of corporate communication
(van Riel, 1995, van Riel, 2003; Goodman and Hirsch, 2010; Cornelissen, 2008), have
been synthetized in three points (Frandsen and Johansen, 2013). First, corporate
communication is a strategic management function that takes a strategic approach to
communication activities and is tied the overall strategy of the company. Second, it
integrates external and internal communication activities spread among a series of
organizational practices to build, maintain, change and/or repair one or more positive
images and/or reputations. Third, all this activities take place inside relationships with
the external and internal stakeholders of the company.
Corporate communication encompasses and manages all company’s communication
activities as an integrated whole with the aim of building and maintaining a valuable
corporate reputation across different stakeholder groups, markets and audiences
(Christensen and Cornelissen, 2011; Cornelissen, 2008). The corporate communication
paradigm privileges the sender’s point-of-view, assumes for itself an orchestration role,
and justifies centralized control of the communication function (Christensen and
Cornelissen, 2011).
Corporate communication includes three categories of communication defined by
the senders or the receivers of the communication (van Riel, 1995):
(1) Management communication implemented by senior managers for planning,
organizing, supervising, coordinating and monitoring. It is useful to develop a
shared vision within the organization, gain and maintain trust in corporate
leadership, enable and manage change processes and, finally, help employees to
grow professionally.
(2) Organizational communication includes heterogeneous communication
activities: public relations, public affairs, CSR communication, investor
relations, communication with the labour market, corporate advertising and
internal communications.
(3) Marketing communication encompasses commercial communication activities
developed to support the sale of goods and services. It typically includes the
promotional mix: advertising, direct mail, personal sales and product
sponsorship.
Other scholars of corporate communication have proposed categorizations based on
specialist areas such as media relations, internal communication and change
communication, issue and crisis management, identity, image and reputation,
corporate responsibility and investor relations (Goodman and Hirsch, 2010; Argenti,
2009; Cornelissen, 2008). Corporate communication is used as a broad and
comprehensive term to include a variety of communication and management
activities (Christensen and Cornelissen, 2011; Shelby, 1993).
Studies of corporate communication have recently focused on value and reputation
management as the primary asset of the company (van Riel and Fombrun, 2004).
Reputation has been defined as “a collective representation of a firm’s past actions and
results that describes the firm’s ability to deliver valued outcomes to multiple
stakeholders. It gauges a firm’s relative standing both internally with employees and
externally with its stakeholders, in both its competitive and institutional
environments” (Fombrun and Rindova, 1996). Reputation is seen as a fundamental
signal for financial markets, which reward companies with the best reputation.
Core themes of corporate communication are corporate identity, image and
reputation; the integration of verbal and behavioral activities; and the relation between
the organization and its stakeholders (Frandsen and Johansen, 2013).
Discussion and conclusions: convergences and different nuances
This section compares the definitions of communication from the disciplines of
marketing, organizational communication, public relations and corporate
communication, referring to the following conceptual variables: the purpose of
communication, the criteria used to identify communication categories and the
theoretical background.
The prevailing purpose of communication in organizations, according to marketing,
is the building of loyal relationships with all stakeholders (Kitchen and Schultz, 2003).
For organizational communication it is the social creation of the process of organizing
(Ashcraft et al., 2009). For public relations it is the managing of relationships to
position the organization’s reputation (Cropp and Pincus, 2001). And for corporate
communication it is reputation management.
The criteria used to categorize communication at a conceptual level are contents and
receivers for marketing, the perspectives on human communication for organizational
communication, the areas of specialization for public relations, and the receivers and
the sources of communication as well as the areas of specializations for corporate
communication.
The theoretical backgrounds privileged by the four disciplines are wide.
Nevertheless it is possible to indicate some prevalent theories. Marketing
communication studies are rooted in marketing and management theories.
Organizational communication is mainly based on human communication theories
and organizational behavior theories. Public relations use mass communication,
sociology, psychology, and system theories. Corporate communication is mainly rooted
into management and strategic studies.
The comparative analysis of the disciplines of marketing, organizational
communication, public relations and corporate communication highlights some
convergences and some issues that highlight divergent perspectives (see Figure 1).
They converge in three aspects. First, they consider the communication of an
organization as an indivisible concept. Marketing underlines the concept of total
business communications, encompassing all the contact points with stakeholders.
Organizational communication highlights the network of relationships that crosses
organizational boundaries. Public relations comprise dialogue activities with all
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Figure 1.
Convergences and
specificities among the
four business-related
communication disciplines
publics, even though it is based on professional specialization. Corporate
communication identifies itself with a holistic view of communication.
The second convergence is that all the disciplines adopt, implicitly or explicitly, a
relational perspective. Marketing stresses the relations with customers and all
stakeholders, developing relationship marketing (Duncan and Moriarty, 1998; Morgan
and Hunt, 1994). Organizational communication focuses on networks of inter- and
intra-organizational relationships (Monge and Contractor, 2001). Public relations
assume that relationship management is one of the key features of its role (Ledingham,
Bruning, 2000). Corporate communication places the building of relationships with all
the company’s stakeholders among its purposes (van Riel, 2003). This point provides
the transition from the notion of communication as a connection between two points to
that of interaction between players.
The third convergence is that all the disciplines assume that communication in
organizations supports the creation of intangible resources. Intangible resources, for
example, knowledge, trust, loyalty, reputation, identification, are valuable, rare,
inimitable, organization-specific and they are key assets for long-term competitive
advantage (Barney, 1991). They are generated through networks of trust relationships
(Coleman, 1988, 1990).
Marketing highlights how relationships with different partners generate loyalty
and knowledge. Organizational communication underlines the knowledge creation
processes. Public relations and corporate communication focus on reputation as a
valuable resource.
The three convergences among business-related communication disciplines
represent a very important area of overlap and correspond to the core identity of
communication in organizations. The concluding remark is that all the disciplines
considered look at the same phenomenon – i.e. communication by and inside
organizations – starting from a specific point-of-view.
Although there are these points of convergence, the analysis of the four disciplines
indicates some differences, as previous studies have already done (Frandsen and
Johansen, 2013). The comparative analysis in the study highlights in particular some
specific nuances. Marketing underlines the competitive value of the intangible
resources generated by means of communicative interactions. Organizational
communication points out the role of communication as constitutive of
organizations. Public relations value the social relevance of relationships with
stakeholders and professional competencies. Corporate communication clarifies the
organizational and managerial role of communication as a company function that can
be used for the governance of consistent communication.
To conclude, the comparative analysis presented in this article shows that the
disciplines of marketing, organizational communication, public relations and corporate
communication refer to the same phenomenon, although they give to business-related
communication different names and highlight specific nuances. This variance is not
negative per se, although it may generate some confusion. On the one hand, the
plurality of definitions creates confusion among scholars and practitioners, while on
the other hand, it highlights the multi-faceted nature of the concept of communication.
Communication is a polysemic phenomenon and in constant evolution (Gould, 2004).
The different ways of interpreting and defining the concept of communication should
be understood as the expression of different points-of-view arising from various
cultural and professional backgrounds.
In highlighting the convergences among the academic disciplines of marketing,
organizational communication, public relations and corporate communication,
preserving the specificity of each of them, this study supports an approach that
goes far beyond a single discipline in order to embrace a multidisciplinary perspective.
A disciplinary definition would be based on constraining disciplinary boundaries
and risk being based in a too narrow perspective. It might cause scholars to ignore
some evidence only because it is not consistent with a single discipline (Gordon, 2006).
“Disciplinary decadence” emerges when disciplines forget “their impetus in living
human subjects and their crucial role in both maintenance and transformation of
knowledge-production practices” (Gordon, 2006, p. 1). Looking at the world from a
disciplinary point-of-view could lead to one being constrained by already
well-established ideas: “The communication discipline, like many others, lacks the
capacity to actively engage the irreducibly living human presence within our work
because deeply entrenched ideas that guide our prereflectively embodied practices”
(Martinez, 2011, p. 19). Disciplines nowadays are required to respond to an
environment that anticipates intersections among them. The complexity of the
phenomena studied requires complex thinking (McKie and Willis, 2012). Consequently,
the new approach should go beyond the boundaries of specific disciplines and continue
in the effort of building bridges among them (Christensen and Cornelissen, 2011) and
adopting a cross-disciplinary perspective (Zorn, 2002).
Scholars are pressured by the need to adopt a wide spectrum of concepts in order to
better understand communication in organizations. In fact, it is common to find articles
and research referring to a wide range of previous studies from different fields.
Although disciplines exist, scholars frequently move across their boundaries, simply
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because they must borrow concepts from many fields in order to generate valuable
knowledge.
A first research implication emerges: there is a need to study if and how scholars in
the field of business-related communication merge literature sources, theories and
research methods. This could be done through a content analysis of articles from the
most important journals of considered disciplines or through interviews with a sample
of eminent scholars. The topics of such study could be academic backgrounds, main
theoretical frameworks, research topics, differences and intersections they perceive
among communication fields, areas of beneficial mutual cross-fertilization, areas of
conflict and divergences, difficulties and the advantages of multidisciplinarity.
Multidisciplinarity could add value in research in the communication field: each
discipline would contribute specific connotations to the comprehension of
communication. For example, the discipline of organizational communication can
broaden the perspective and the topics covered by corporate communication scholars
to embrace politics, voice and social coordination (Christensen and Cornelissen, 2011).
The present study has a number of limitations. It considered only four
business-related communication disciplines, and it might be interesting to extend
the analysis to other fields. This study should be thought as a work in progress
because in recent years the number of articles about the issue of the relationship among
communication disciplines is growing, consequently providing continuous new
insights.
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Further reading
Grunig, J.E. (1992), Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management, Erlbaum,
Hillsdale, NJ.
Moss, D. and DeSanto, B. (2012), Public Relations. A Managerial Perspective, Sage Publications,
Thousand Oaks, CA.
About the author
Alessandra Mazzei is Associate Professor of Corporate Communication at IULM University of
Milan where she is the co-Director of the Master of International Communication and part of the
Faculty of the Doctoral School in Corporate Communication. She has been Visiting Researcher at
Department of Communication Studies, Baruch College/City University of New York and
Visiting Professor at Center for Corporate Communication, Aarhus School of Business and Social
Sciences, University of Aarhus, Denmark. Her research interests and publications focus on
internal communication, crisis communication, relationship management, corporate reputation
management, marketing and communication of credence goods. Alessandra Mazzei can be
contacted at: [email protected]
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