Corporate Communication and it’s Purposes

Definition of Corporate Communication

Corporate Communication is the total of a corporation’s efforts to communicate effectively and profitably. Obviously the action that any particular corporation takes to achieve that goal depends in large part on the character of the organization and its relationship with its stakeholders (suppliers, community, employees, and customers). In practice, corporate communication is a strategic tool for the contemporary corporation to gain a competitive advantage over its competitors. Managers use it to lead, motivate, persuade, and inform employees and the public as well.

Corporate communication is more art than science. Its intellectual foundations and body of knowledge began with the Greeks and Romans with rhetoric. Its theoretical foundation is interdisciplinary, using the methods and findings of:

  • Anthropology
  • Communications
  • Language and linguistics
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Management and marketing (also PR)

As a focus of academic study, corporate communication can be considered in the large context presented here, or it can be seen as a part of public relations. Given the business environment, the more encompassing definition works well in both: the applied context of the workplace; as well as within the context of academic study.

Corporate communication is the term used to describe a wide variety of management functions related to an organization’s internal and external communications. Depending on the organization, corporate communications can include such traditional disciplines as:

  • Public relations,
    • Investor relations,
    • Employee relations,
    • Community relations,
    • Media relations,
    • Labor relations,
    • Government relations,
  • Advertising,
  • Technical communications,
  • Training and employee development,
  • Marketing communications, and
  • Management communications.
  • Many organizations also include:
    • Philanthropic activity,
    • Crisis and emergency communications, and advertising as part of corporate communications functions.

The Purposes of Corporate Communications

The four public relations models show 4 historical eras or stages in the evolution of the corporate communication function. They can also be regarded as 4 different world-views, indicating the different purposes that organizational members see for the corporate communication function. Note: Corporate Communication = PR (without negative part).

  1. Press agentry:  purpose of corporate communication is publicity à trying to gain coverage from the mass media in almost any way possible. This model describes the purpose of corporate communication as being publicity, trying to gain coverage from the mass media in almost any way possible. It serves a propaganda function and spreads the faith of the organization involved, often through incomplete, distorted, or half-true information. Press-agentry is a one-way model where information is given, but the organization does not seek information from stakeholders.
  2. Public information: In this one-way model, communication is seen as the dissemination of information through the mass and controlled media such as newsletters, brochures, direct mail or the Internet. Negative information is rarely volunteered. In this one-way model, communication is seen as the dissemination of information (not necessarily with a persuasive intent) through the mass and controlled media such as newsletters, brochures, direct mail or the Internet. Negative information is rarely volunteered.
  3. Two-way asymmetric: information flows between the organization and its stakeholders, but is imbalanced in favor of the organization. In this two-way model, information flows between the organization and its stakeholders, but is imbalanced in favor of the organization. This model is not confined to the dissemination of information and research plays a key role. However, research here is (only) used to determine the most appropriate channels and messages to persuade stakeholders to behave as the organization wants, without the organization itself changing its behavior.
  4. Two-way symmetric: communication consists more of dialogue than monologue. In this two-way model, communication consists more of dialogue than monologue. Communication efforts are described in terms of its research base as well as the use of communication in improving understanding with key stakeholders. It presents the classic win-win situation, and implies that both the organization and its stakeholders are benefiting. The organization is adjusted to fit the environment. This requires bargaining, negotiating, and using strategies of conflict resolution to bring symbiotic changes in the ideas, attitudes, and behaviors of the organization and its stakeholders.

Communication with Internet

The Internet started as two-way communication, but became one-way communication when it was commercialized – used mainly to disseminate information. However, because of its interactive nature, some organizations have started to use the Internet to build two-way, interactive relationships with their stakeholders, fostering dialogue through various methods.

The Internet is not about mass marketing and mass markets. It’s about people – individuals with unique aspirations, needs, desires, and cultural backgrounds. It’s not as much a mass market of 60 million people as it is 60 million markets, each containing one person.

A need therefore exists to crystallize a message to individuals in one-to-one communication and to build one-to-one relationships at the same time. The Internet is the medium to provide in this need.

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Further Readings: 

PS: Thanks to MR. Syafiq B. Assegaf for giving the lectures

Research Methods in Mass Communication

What is research?

Regardless of how the word research is used, it essentially means the same thing: an attempt to discover something. We all do this every day. Research can be very informal, with only a few (or no) specific plans or steps, or it can be formal, where a researcher follows highly defined and exacting procedures. The lack of exacting procedures in informal research does not mean the approach is incorrect, and the use of exacting procedures does not automatically make formal research correct. Both procedures can be good or bad—it depends on how the research is conducted. The important thing for all researchers to understand is the correct methods to follow to ensure the best results.

Research is divided into two major sectors, academic and private, which are sometimes called “basic” and “applied,” respectively, although we do not use these terms in this text because research in both sectors can be basic or applied. The two sectors are equally important and in many cases work together to answer mass media questions.

Research phases in Media

  • Phase 1: The medium itself. There is an interest in the medium itself. What is it? How does it work? What technology does it involve? How is it similar to or different from what we already have? What functions or services does it provide? Who will have access to the new medium? How much will it cost?
  • Phase 2: Uses and users of the medium. Begins once the medium is developed. In this phase, specific information is accumulated about the uses and the users of the medium. How do people use the medium in real life? Do they use it for information only, to save time, for entertainment, or for some other reason? Do children use it? Do adults use it? Why? What gratifications does the new medium provide? What other types of information and entertainment does the new medium replace? Were original projections about the use of the medium correct? What uses are evident other than those that were predicted from initial research?
  • Phase 3: Effects of the medium. Includes investigations of the social, psychological, and physical effects of the medium. How much time do people spend with the medium? Does it change people’s perspectives about anything? What do the users of the medium want and expect to hear or see? Are there any harmful effects related to using the medium? In what way, if any, does the medium help people? Can the medium be combined with other media or technology to make it even more useful?
  • Phase 4: How the medium can be improved. Research is conducted to determine how the medium can be improved, either in its use or through technological developments. Can the medium provide information or entertainment to more types of people? How can new technology be used to perfect or enhance the sight and/or sound of the medium? Is there a way to change the content to be more valuable or entertaining?

One theory of mass media, later named the “hypodermic needle” model of communication, suggested that mass communicators need only “shoot” messages at an audience and those messages would produce pre-planned and almost universal effects. The belief then was that all people behave in similar ways when they encounter media messages. We know now that individual differences among people rule out this overly simplistic view.

Media Research and Scientific Method

Scientific research is an organized, objective, controlled, qualitative or quantitative empirical analysis of one or more variables. The terms that define the scientific research method describe a procedure that has been accepted for centuries. All research, whether formal or informal, begins with a basic question or proposition about a specific phenomenon.

Methods of Knowing

There are several possible approaches in answering research questions. Kerlinger and Lee (2000), using definitions provided nearly a century ago by C. S. Peirce, discuss four approaches to finding answers, or methods of knowing: tenacity, intuition, authority, and science.

  • Method of Tenacity: true because it is always true (ex. I don’t believe advertising because my parents said so).
  • Method of Intuition: true because it is self-evidence (ex. A Creative Director uses certain method and always work).
  • Method of Authority: true because an authoritarian person said so.
  • Method of Science: scientific method; definition: “an organized, objective, controlled, qualitative or quantitative empirical analysis of one or more variables”. Scientific method is the standard procedures

Research Procedures

The purpose of the scientific method of research is to provide an objective, unbiased collection and evaluation of data. To investigate research questions and hypotheses systematically, both academic and private sector researchers follow a basic eight-step procedure. However, simply following the eight research steps does not guarantee that the research is good, valid, reliable, or useful. An almost countless number of intervening variables (influences) can destroy even the best-planned research project. The situation is similar to someone assuming he or she can bake a cake by just following the recipe. The cake may be ruined by an oven that doesn’t work properly, spoiled ingredients, altitude, or numerous other variables. The typical research process consists of these eight steps:

  1. Select a problem.
  2. Review existing research and theory (when relevant).
  3. Develop hypotheses or research questions.
  4. Determine an appropriate methodology/research design.
  5. Collect relevant data.
  6. Analyze and interpret the results.
  7. Present the results in an appropriate form.
  8. Replicate the study (when necessary).

Notes: Step 4 includes deciding whether to use qualitative research (such as focus groups or one-on-one interviews) with small samples or quantitative research (such as telephone interviews), in which large samples are used to allow results to be generalized to the population under study. Steps 2 and 8 are optional in the private sector, where some research is conducted to answer a specific and unique question related to a future decision, such as whether to invest a large sum of money in a developing medium. In this type of project, there generally is no previous research to consult, and there seldom is a reason to replicate the study because a decision is made based on the first analysis. However, if the research produces inconclusive results, the study is revised and replicated. 

Each step in the eight-step process depends on all the others to produce a maximally efficient research study. For example, before a literature search is possible, the researcher must have a clearly stated research problem; to design the most efficient method of investigating a problem, the researcher must know what types of studies have been conducted; and so on. In addition, all the steps are interactive—a literature search may refine and even alter the initial research problem, or a study conducted previously by another company or business in the private sector might expedite (or complicate) the current research effort.

Determining Topic Relevance

  • Q1: Is the topic too broad?
  • Q2: Can the problem really be investigated?
  • Q3: Can the data be analyzed?
  • Q4: Is the problem significant?
  • Q5: Can the result of the study be generalized?
  • Q6: What cost and time are involved in the analysis?
  • Q7: Is the planned approach appropriate to the project?
  • Q8: Is there any potential harms to the subjects?

Validity in Research Methods

Internal Validity:

The study is investigating the right subjects or variables. “Artifacts” or “confounding variables”

Factors in internal validity:

  1. History: events during study infulence subjects.
  2. Maturation: subjects’ psychological change.
  3. Testing: subject is influenced by the test.
  4. Instrumentation: deterioration during study (“instrument decay”).
  5. Statistical regression: extreme response influences the study result.

External Validity:

The study is using valid methodology and therefore can be generalized.

Factors in external validity:

  1. Experimental mortality
  2. Sample selection
  3. Demand characteristics
  4. Experimenter bias
  5. Evaluation apprehension
  6. Causal time order
  7. Diffusion or imitation of treatments
  8. Compensation
  9. Compensatory rivalry
  10. Demoralization

 

Mass Communication Theory: Definitions and Eras

What is Mass Communication?

Mass Communication is “when a source, typically an organization, employs a technology as a medium to communicate with a large audience“. Questions: If you send an email to a “mailing list,” or if you write a note in your blog or facebook, does mass communication occure here? Or if a marketing company sends you a “customized” email, is it a mass communication process?

Most theories will be discussed in the book (“Mass Communication Theory: Foundation, Ferment and Future”, Baran: 2010) were developed before the modern communication revolutions (the internet, etc). New communication technologies enable us to communicate differently from the mass communication “era”. We need to think of mediated communication as existing on a continuum between interpersonal communication and mass communication on the other end.

Today, the number and variety of mass communication theories have steadily increased. More or less independent body of knowledge from the social science and humanities literature, developed by scholars from social sciences (sociology, psychology) and humanities (philosophy, literary analysis). Some theories are grand, some are “small” and specific.

There are 4 major categories in Mass Communication Theory:

  • Postpositivism
    • Positivism: Knowledge can be gained only through empirical, observable, measurable phenomena (physics, chemistry, etc.). Do you think it will be applicable to study a society? Why?
    • Postpositivism: based on empirical observation guided by scientific method, but recognizing the complexity of human behavior. Goals: explanation, prediction and control. Case study: Indonesian political marketing
  • Hermeneutic theory
    • Study of understanding, especially through the systematic interpretation of action or texts. Began as the study or interpretation of the Bible and sacred texts. Goals: To understand how and why a behavior occurs in the social world.
  • Critical theory
    • Theory seeking emancipation and change  in a dominant social order. Starting from the assumption that some aspects of the social world are deeply flawed and in need of transformation. Goals: Transformation of the society. Example: Karl Marx.
  • Normative theory
    • Theory explaining how a media system should operate in order to conform to or realize a set of ideal social values. Goals: to set an ideal standard against which the operation of a given media system can be judged. Commonly used by theoriests interested in press role in democracy.

Four Eras of Media Theory

Theories will be discussed chronologically, so you have a broad and historically grounded perspective on media. It does not mean that theories developed in orderly, chronologically stable way. Also, older theories are not completely obsolete. Newer theories, as radical as it look, for the most part are updated version of old ideas. Notes: These theories were developed in the Western culture context. Are they applicable in non-Western cultures? This is a big question.

  1. The Era of Mass Society and Mass Culture Theory. Begun at the 2nd half of the 19th century. Mass society theory: Perspective on Western, industrial society that attributess an influential but often negative role to media. Media was feared because it was regarded as a threat to the traditional social order. The audience was considered as a passive target of media. Will be discussed later: Gemeinschaft vs. Gesellschaft (Tonnies); mechanical and organic solidarity (Durkheim); propaganda theory; magic bullet theories; normative theories of media; social responsibility theory; etc.
  2. The Emergence of a Scientific Perspective. Starting in 1940s, especially by Paul Lazarsfeld who fled from Nazi Germany to the US. The use of scientific approach, carefully designed field experiment and measurement, to observe media influence on society. “Media were not as powerful as previously imagined” Thus, the effect of media towards the audience is limited. “People had numerous ways of resisting media influence and were influenced by many competing factors”. “Media seemed to reinforce existing social trends and strenghthen rather that threaten the status quo”. We will discuss the studies by Lazarsfeld, Hovland, etc.
  3. The Era of Limited Effects. By the mid-1960, the debate between mass society and limited effects was over, in which the latter gained more support. The empirical research findings confirmed the latter view. Since no “big problem” in media, Berelson (1959) declared the field communication research to be dead. During the 1960s and into the 1970s, the limited effects paradigm dominated American mass communication research. We will discuss: information flow theory, diffusion theory, phenomenistic theory, etc.
  4. The Era of Cultural Criticism. Mass society notions continued to flourish in Europe. Both left wing and right wing concerns about the power of media, learning from the trauma of the WW II. During the 1960s, neomarxist in Britain developed a school of social theory widely referred to as British cultural studiesNeomarxist: Social theorists asserting that media enable dominant social elites to maintain power. In North America, there was an attempt ot create an “american culture studies” (Innis and McLuhan, for example).

The Emergence of Moderate Effects; The limited effects paradigm have undergone a transformation, due to the pressure of cultural studies and new comm technology. The idea of active audience that uses media content to create meaningful experience. Acknowledges that media effects can occur over longer period of time (while limited effect was unable to understand the media role in cultural changes).

The diversity of theory in mass communication

So you’ll find many theories in mass comm. No single theory could explain all aspects of mass comm. There will not be a “final theory” in mass comm. Macroscopic theory and microcospic theory. It is difficult to implement scientific method to social phenomena. There are four reasons why it is difficult to implement scientific method to social phenomena:

  • Most of the significant and interesting forms of human behavior are quite difficult to measure
  • Human behavior is exceedingly complex
  • Humans have goals and are self-reflexive
  • The simple notion of causality is sometimes troubling when it is applied to ourselves

Conclusion: The situation is complicated because social science itself is somewhat schizophrenic—it is many different things to many different people. However, theories need to be developed to understand the phenomenon, albeit partially.

For further readings:

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PS: Thanks to Mr. Putut Widjanarko for the lectures. 

A Success Recipes for a Country from @AniesBaswedan

Indonesia has 62 million youngsters between 15 to 30 years old out of 237 million citizens, plus superb amount of natural resources all over the soil. But, our true future capitals are those 62 million youngsters not gas, coal, petrol nor gold inside our soil.

What would we do if we have those natural resources without great human resources to manage and make it sustainable resources? And what would we do when all those natural resources ran out, and we don’t have enough scientists on technology that creates innovations? The whole nation will run dry on consumptions. And that’s it, end of story.

Higher education (especially on science and technology) plays an important role in building and shaping the future of a country, everybody knew that already. But, not everyone feels that it’s important to fight for it, by means of, an equal opportunity of education for each children and citizens. On Friday September 14th 2012, Mr. Anies Baswedan gave a lecture on role of higher education to build global competitiveness.

It’s not enough for our country to have scholars who’s managing natural resources, we have to move forward. We have to go and take a good look at science and technology fields. Look at China and its human resources. Almost every factory related to Science and Technology today from iPhone to Blackberry, from Netbook to Ultrabook, they were all labeled “made in China” even some of our Batik printed in China. They truly are the Dragon in the 21st century. Why? Because the government and majority of its citizen believe that to have that Great Leap Forward thay have to invest in human resources.  You might want to check the list of Ph.D.’s in best universities all over the world full with Chinese investing their time on higher education. Yes, the future is in their hands.

On Indonesian cases, we haven’t conquered science and technology fields as powerful as China. Because even if we have it, we haven’t started the industry, maybe because foreign investment aren’t as good as in China or maybe investors level of trust to our government weren’t that good. I myself (saying this without regret), if I could turn back time, I’d rather to have mathematics or physics or engineering as my first degree.

Anyhow, here are list of success recipes for a country according to MR. Anies:

  • Education: Education is key to success. Without education, we have nothing today. Today, education is key for Western countries to rule the world.
  • Science and Technology: The mastery of science and technology enabled the West to go forth, conquer, and colonize the world. Portugal, a small country of 4 million inhabitants, colonized South America, Africa, and even parts of India and China.
  • Meritocracy: Meritocracy is about realizing that good brains exist at all levels of society. People at the bottom of the pyramid now have opportunity to rise, either from rich family or poor family.
  • Rule of Law: What determines the success or failure of a country is not its political system. Rather progress hinges on whether it has a reasonable degree of rule of law, creating a fair, level playing field that allows economic enterprises to thrive and provide an environment within which one can exchange goods and services.
  • Culture of Peace: Today, guns are silent. Their silence has endured, proof of the well-considered decision of policy makers that energy should not be spent on war but on development.
  • Pragmatism: It does not matter if a cat is black or white as long as it catches mice (Deng Xiaoping). Deng Xiaoping advised to forget ideology and focus on what works. And today, we can see raise of China.
  • Free and Fair Market Economies: Asia (read: China, Singapore, South-Korea, Taiwan, Japan) is doing well because they understand the value of free market economics. In China, communist party remains in power because successful to implement free market economics in China.

Now, if we have some time to think about this, which pointers above that we already have? None? Hahaha..

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ps: Thanks a lot Pak Anies for giving a rather straight-forward and depressing data on Indonesia. Sorry, I couldn’t attached the statistical data inside this posting.

Tips on Academic Writings

Being a graduate student for the second time wasn’t easy for me, i need to have a serious time management problem that needs to be solved, especially because of work. Nevertheless, I am going use my 7 to 9 pm time to attend corporate communication class and keep my class notes posted inside my blog. You can see the previous notes within “class notes” category. I hope readers can also learn something without attending the class itself. Below is my notes on Mr. Putut Widjanarko’s matriculation class on Academic Writing. Well, Happy Reading!

“Being a graduate student is like becoming all of the Seven Dwarves. In the beginning you’re Dopey and Bashful. In the middle, you are usually sick (Sneezy), tired (Sleepy), and irritable (Grumpy). But at the end, they call you Doc, and then you’re Happy.” Ronald T. Azuma

Choose your topic.

  • Pick a topic that you are most interested in. It will be easier to write if you have particular interest in the topic.
  • Pick a specific and managable topic.
  • You might also choose the most familiar with you, because you might have special access to the topic.àit will save time, coz you don’t have much time as “part time” graduate students.
  • The challenge is to put it in the communication perspectives you learn in the class.

Think big, at least for the start…

  • Get the big picture to start. Wikipedia is a good start, but you can’t use it for your reference.
  • Check Google Scholar, Google BookSearch, and Gigapedia.
  • KITLV search engine will help you to locate references specific to Indonesian studies.
  • SASI (The southeast asian serial index)
  • More on this later………

Write an outline, don’t get lost.

  • An unorganized paper will give you a bad grade. You can avoid it by writing an outline.
  • A good outline will serve as the roadmap for your paper. Making a mind mapping is also a good strategy to begin with.
  • You might discuss your outline with your lecturer to see whether you are moving into the right direction.

Support your paper with sufficient evidence

  • Use credible sources: journal articles, statistics, books, authoritative persons, etc. Use the most updated sources.
  • Be sure not to rely too heavily on examples. Use examples to ilustrate.
  • Do not list the resources you did not use in the paper in your Bibliography.
  • Follow and be consistent to a style of writing (APA, MLA, others)

Write a good introduction

  • Try attract your readers with interesting facts, statistics, anecdots.
  • Include also in this part your thesis statement or problem.
  • Be sure that the readers will get what you are about to explain in the rest of the paper.

Summarize your paper

  • Be sure that what you have mentioned in your problem statement will be briefly answered in this part
  • Summary is not a copy and paste of the discussion.

Never plagiarize(!!!!)

  • Plagiarism is the biggest sin in the academic world.
  • Copy and paste from the internet is very easy to track.
  • Experienced lecturers can easilyrecognize the possible plagiarism. Remember, they have been many years in the business and have read probably hundreds of papers.

Check your paper before submitting it.

  • Make sure your paper is neat.
  • Check your grammar, spelling, typo errors. Underestimate these things make your paper looks poorly written
  • Revise your paper if necessary and if you have time.

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ps: Thanks to Mr. Putut Widjanarko on your enlightenment last night.

Two type of Readers

In the whole universe, if I may assume, there are two types of readers, mostly influenced by whether he/she has an open-mind or close-mind. Readers with an open-mind tend to be “the critical – reflective readers” with this attitude towards a reading:

  • Most successful college writers are also sophisticated, critical readers.
  •  The meaning of a text readers resides in the interaction between reader and words
  1. Assume a skeptical attitude towards texts
  2. Critically examine author’s ideals
  3. Critically examine responses to the reading
  4. Ask questions about words, mark passages, take note
  5. Draw connections between author’s idea

While readers with close-mind tend to “the unreflective readers” with this attitude towards a reading:

  1. Tend to accept unquestioningly what seen in print
  2. If published, it must be accurate
  3. Believe that the meaning of a text can be found in words
  4. Only try to understand the meaning of author’s words
  5. Reading is simple, straight-forward, read through text
  6. After understanding the words, then move on to the next reading

We are not talking about both of stated above; we will only talk about the “critical – reflective readers”. Here are some questions you might want to ask in regards to the article or essay that you read:

  • Concerning the authorWho is the author, What are his/her credentials, What else has she/he written on the topic, What possible biases might have influenced his/her work
  • Concerning the publicationIn what regards is the publication held by professionals in the field, Toward what type of readership is the publication aimed, How long ago was it published, What generally is the editorial stance of the publication
  • Concerning your own views of the topicWhat are your belief about the issues address in the reading, How open are you to new ideas on the topic
  • Concerning writer’s purposeWhat was the author’s purpose in writing the piece, What is the author’s piece, Does the author successfully achieve his/her goal
  • Concerning contextWhat are the author’s major assertions or findings, How does the author support the assertions or findings
  • Concerning the sourcesHow does the author use other people’s ideas or findings, How credible are the sources

I hope that with this note you might find more things interesting in your readings, regardless of its form (newspaper’s article, essay in a magazine, research on a journal, textbooks, et cetera). Thanks to Mr. Sugeng Purwanto for the knowledge given at our class.