Corporate Communication - et udtryk, der gør indtryk?

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Gitte Caspersen
  • Martin Bagger Jensen
4. term, Communication, Master (Master Programme)
In this Master’s thesis we set out to explore the discipline ‘corporate communication’ . The discipline seeks to establish an integrated and orchestrated approach to communication, with the common goal of creating a corporate profile; a corporate brand. The thesis investigates whether or not the CC-discipline can hold it´s own, when viewed through the eyes of the many different stakeholders, among whom CC seeks to establish a coherent and uniform corporate image of the organization, and aims to create a favorable reputation for the organization. Also our aim is to examine whether or not CC can incorporate the multiple interests of an organizations multiple stakeholders, as we seek to understand the presumable difference of stakeholder groups and interests on their own premises. For conducting this investigation, we first establish an approach based on a humanistic, explorative and hermeneutical view of science and communication, based on a epistemological social constructivist stance. Also our understanding of communication entails that both sender and receiver has a saying in the communication process, and that interaction – not transmission – is a more proper take for approaching communication. Our travel, or quest, so to speak, initially leads us to take an in-depth look at CC, and expand our view by delving into the theory of stakeholding. We procede through a thorough exploration of the concept of stakeholders, their interests, as well as CC and stakeholder literature’s enunciation of both. This exploration is expanded through a case analysis of four groups of stakeholders; employees, union representatives, the press and consumers. We find that each group has both shared and distinct qualities. But our finding leaves us with only a slight greater insight into the nature and interests of these four distinct groups on their own premises. For instance, the CC and stakeholder theories only speaks of ‘customer’, as proposed to ‘consumers’, the latter which we find are postmodern individuals who consume primarily for their own benefit – not the organizations. We move on to identify our chosen representatives for CC and stakeholder theory as normative works of science. We find that the focus in these works is, among others, based on a view of stakeholders as strategic resources. This view is unlike our own position, which is geared towards understanding and gaining insight into the specifics of humans. We therefore find that our chosen theories cannot provide us with an answer for our investigation, and press on to find an alternative for understanding the stakeholders on their own premises. Through application of Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmanns theory of social construction, we first propose to view each stakeholdergroup as a specific kind of institution. We then move on to include sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas´ model of the bourgeois public sphere, in order for us to identify the historical origin and some of the development of each institution. Further we seek to explore the postmodern individuals, who make up the institutions. This is conducted through a combined working knowledge of Anthony Giddens and Zygmund Bauman. Each offers a frame of reference for understanding how the postmodern individual conducts himself in order to HHV preserve a sense of self-identity, according to Giddens, and a self-constitution, according to Bauman. Bauman also invokes a presumption that each stakeholder can be viewed as a consumer of one sort or another. We return to our understanding of communication as interaction and include the view that individual´s lifeworld and codes is prime in understanding how meaning is constructed through communication. We also exemplify this by viewing communication as a process of sign-exchanging. We draw on semiotics in order to exemplify the adherence of meaning to communication through the exchange of signs, and take a closer look at a specific type of sign; the metaphor, because metaphors reflects a very profound way of organizing human thinking and understanding. We conclude that in its current state, the CC discipline needs to be more explicit about its fundamental premises, and, among other things, include more in-depth understanding of the stakeholders on their own premises, and thus better be able to hold its own. We end our journey by suggesting the notion of viewing integrated communication not as one voice, but rather as a jazz orchestra version, in which each stakeholder can contribute and expand his own understanding from a loosely formed common ground, based on an organizations idea and, for example, expressed through one or more deep metaphors. In order to succeed, CC needs to “loosen up a bit”.
Publication date2009
Number of pages140
Publishing institutionInstitut for Kommunikation
ID: 17987980