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COMMUNICATION

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DIRECTOR

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600 IN-HOUSE PEERS 60 SPEAKERS 6 PLENARY SESSIONS 55 BEST CASES, WORKSHOPS & PEER DEBATE Brian Lott Mubadala Development

Virginie Coulloudon Transpareny International

Gianluca Comin Enel

Stacey Minton Celgene International

Blake Cahill Philips

Sean MacNiven SAP

Martin von Arronet Electrolux

Lars Silberbauer Andersen LEGO Group

Julia Leihener Deutsche Telekom

Christof Ehrhart Deutsche Post DHL

Kate James Pearson

THE NEXT DIGITAL STAGE: CONNECTING COMMUNCATIONS

Anthony Lamy Facebook

José María Palomares ING Spain

Paula Hanneman change.org

John McLaren AkzoNobel

10 /11

Dana White Renault-Nissan Alliance

JULY 2014

BRUSSELS Hanna Aase Wonderloop.me

Patrick Kammerer Coca-Cola

Alejandro Arango Kaspersky Lab

Constance Kann European Investment Bank

Christian Lawrence Munich Re

Adrian Monck World Economic Forum

Caroline Wouters Wolters Kluwer

W W W. C O M M U N I C AT I O N - S U M M I T. E U

Jaume Duch Guillot The European Parliament


I N T E R N AT I O N A L C O N F E R E N C E F O R C O R P O R AT E C O M M U N I C AT I O N A N D P U B L I C R E L AT I O N S

THE STATE OF THE ART IN COMMUNICATIONS AND LEADERSHIP MEDIA RELATIONS & CAMPAIGNS

CHANGE COMMUNICATION

REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

James Woudhuysen De Montfort University

Nicole Gorfer Roche Pharma

COMMUNICATION STRATEGY

Thierry Nicolet Schneider Electric

NOW! Virginie Louis Red Cross EU Office

INTERNAL COMMUNICATION

SOCIAL MEDIA

CRISIS COMMUNICATION

Arja Suominen Finnair

REGISTER

Lars Bolle DER Touristik (REWE Group)

PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Pete Blackshaw Nestlé

David Shing AOL

Didrik de Schaetzen ALDE Party

Laura Illia IE School of Business

Pascal Finette Entrepreneur & formerly Mozilla Labs

Médard Schoenmaeckers HSBC Bank

COMMUNICATION

Dani Meyer Danone

DIRECTOR

Magazine for Corporate Communications and Public Relations

Jimmy Maymann The Huffington Post

Sinan Cem Sahin TTNET


APRIL 28/29, 2014 QUADRIGA FORUM BERLIN

DESIGNING CONTENT CREATING VIDEOS REACHING TARGET GR OUPS

SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

ASTRID DEILMANN WWF

PER NILSSON Volvo Trucks

WIEN DE GEYTER Febelfin

XAVIER ROUSSEL Dole Fresh Fruit Europe

WWW.PLAY-CONFERENCE.EU

LASSE HOEGFELD Jyske Bank TV


EDITORIAL

O

n November 9 this year, the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall will be the cue for lengthy discussions about its signif icance to today’s world, a world which in many ways is utterly unlike that which existed in 1989. This is partly due to the fact that, as many commentators have noted, the fall of the Wall was the harbinger of modern globalisation – the global market revolution that followed emancipated hundreds of millions of people, ushering in changes about whose effects it is still too soon to tell. Nevertheless, this issue of Communication Director takes a look at the impact of globalisation on corporate communications. How does the global scope of the profession affect the way corporate communicators and public relations professionals work, the environment in which they work, and the theories on which they base their approach to their work? It’s a fascinating subject to unpack, throwing up several different variables that force us to look at the topic from new angles. For example, questions of vertical or horizontal, central or decentralised communication f lows take on a new dimension when the playing f ield is spread over continents. New and social media also play their part in this story: communication technologies have driven globalisation since the growth of the telegraph industry changed national media and political structures from the end of the 19th century. All this has to be taken into account by today’s communications professionals, whether they work for a multinational whose well-established operations span the globe, an ambitious company that wants to break into an emerging market, or for a smaller f irm whose range of potential audiences has opened up in recent years. And f inally, lest we believe that globalisation is all about prosperity and growth, we remind ourselves that the work of communication professionals is not always about “globalisation from above”, that is, state authorities and corporations. That’s why you can read in this issue how the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development helps multinationals to lighten their footprint wherever they operate, and, as a reminder that communicators help give voice to the powerless and marginalised around the world, we hear from anti-corruption non-governmental organisation Transparency International.

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Photo: Moritz Vennemann

Marc-Oliver Voigt Publisher marc-oliver.voigt@communication-director.eu

01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR


48 “In the current age of the security-conscious imperial state, cable landing licences remain a powerful instrument.”

TEAM PLAYER

AGENDA SETTER

How to improve personnel management and your career

Communication ideas in the eyes of experts

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Looking into the future Debating big ideas with tomorrow’s influencers

PR ESSENTIALS Key aspects of corporate communication and public relations

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28

Akram Al Ariss

32

Under the spotlight, but not at the table How close are senior communication executives to a seat at the executive table?

Some of our favourite communications blogs

Piet Verhoeven and Ingmar de Goojier

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The corporate and academic stand on communication

Setting the stage with metaphor A surefire way of spicing up your business communications

The way of zhong dao How Chinese philosophy can offer a corrective to narrow, Eurocentic models of management

More than just a matter of etiquette, politeness is an important part of business life

THE STORY OF PR Looking back at landmark communications

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Guo-Ming Chen

Building a new generation Today’s practitioners have several chances to play a part in the exciting story of public relations in Bulgaria

Maria Gergova

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Politeness in the globalised workplace Dániel Z. Kádár

Elzbieta Jendrych

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Helping businesses benefit from diverse and flexible workforces from around the world

Europe’s best blogs

STRATEGIC THINKER 20

Effective global talent management

Cables and empire How telegraph companies in the 19th century set the stage for modern globalisation

Robert Pike and Dwayne Winseck

01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

Photo:s: Wikimedia Commons; Private

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“Any national communications campaign in India is the same as a global campaign.”


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“History has repeatedly shown us that people think alike in various parts of the world at any given time.”

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“The challenge lies in applying these strategies to suit the multiple local cultures that multinationals encounter.”

THE BIG INTERVIEW Key communicators under the spotlight

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Roma Balwani The ground-breaking chief group communictions officer at Indian multinational Mahindra & Mahindra

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Spreading the word

Benetton’s head of communications shares his career-long insights into international communications

Interview with Luca Biondolillo

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STORY TELLER Looking at the important questions of communication

“You have to understand the nuances”

Embracing dissent How have new media helped communicators meet the challenges of globalisation?

Friederike Schultz and Mette Morsing

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Communicators need better training in order to work across boundaries of culture and geography

A global crusade How Transparency International have honed their global communications in the fight against corruption

Virgine Coulloudon

Krishnamurthy Sriramesh

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There are several key issues facing business in a changing global economy

Robert Ward and Jake Statham

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Photo: www.dreamstime.com

Book Reviews

86

The press release as intercultural challenge

Better business by multinationals

European Association of Communication Directors

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The OECD issue guidelines for multinationals to ensure they have a better chance of a positive impact

Grooming global teams for success What kind of training does your international team need in order to work well together?

The latest developments in the EACD

QUESTIONS TO...

Anthony Gooch

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A round up of recent titles

ASSOCIATION

Why it is vital to adapt your communications to fit different markets around th world

Britta Lange-Stolle

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COMMUNICATIONS READER

A brave new world

The personal side of communication directors

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Stephanie Saïssay Head of Communications, South West Europe, Adobe

Laura Bacci 01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

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AGENDA SETTER Communication ideas in the eyes of experts

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE How Siemens combines engaging potential employees, developing business ideas and promoting sustainability in one project. By Dafydd Phillips

C

ompanies are today being challenged to engage with stakeholders that do not fit the traditional template of investors, customers, employees and business contacts. New sets of stakeholders are sought to help the company engage with previously overlooked socioeconomic or cultural groups, while new tools and channels bridge previouslyimpassable chasms between the company and groups that fall outside the traditional stakeholder sphere. This development in stakeholder relations helps to explain the approach taken by Germany-headquartered technology firm Siemens, who have initiated what they describe as an “exclusive global community” called Future Influencers. Siemens have created an online think tank that fosters relations between young thought leaders and

Siemens wanted to build a platform where the company could foster relationships with future decision makers.

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the venerable conglomerate, and generates ideas on sustainability-related topics like growung cities or the future of energy supply. As Michael Rossa, senior vice president of customers and prospects at the Communications and Government Affairs Center at Siemens told Communication Director: “In a time where not only communication but also relationships define access to our audiences, Siemens wanted to build a platform where the company could foster honest long-term relationships with future decision makers. For a company like Siemens it is crucial to be in close contact with those people who are or will be our customers and/or influence our business.” 01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

ADDING EXPERTISE Developed by the company’s communications department (who continue to centrally steer the project), Future Influencers offers the chance for young people from around the globe to take part in invitation-only discussions about sustainability issues. Participants are found either through Siemens’ own research or via members’ recommendations. The criteria are few but firm: members must be under the age of 33, they must be engaged in sustainability matters and they should be very visible in the online space. For the second criteria, Siemens looks for winners of awards or scholarships or for young entrepreneurs or owners of small green companies. For the third criteria, Siemens looks for topic authority reflected in very active Twitter accounts, blogs, Facebook pages and so on. So far so good. But what marks out Future Influencers from several other similar youth-oriented, corporate sponsored online platforms is that Siemens has partnered on the project with the Harvard Business Review, adding real expertise to what could otherwise be, presumably, a lot of hot air. “We think the Harvard Business Review is a


Photos: Future Influencers

AGENDA SETTER

great partner,” says Rossa, “since our community is based on highlevel and sometimes controversial discussions.” Describing the management magazine – produced by the publishing subsidiary of Harvard University – as a “very academic yet hands-on institution”, Rossa praises the magazine for its ability to enrich the Future Influencers’ discussions with “smart insights and a sense for business development”. The second partner of the project is The World Resources Institute, a non-profit that works in environmental and socio-economic developmental affairs (and whose slogan “making big ideas happen” could almost be taken as a statement of intent for the Future Influencers). Once entrepreneurial young experts have been cherry-picked by Siemens, they are invited to log onto futureinfluencers.com and encouraged to discuss among each other topics centred around sustainability issues, relevant for Siemens business or linked to global events that somehow involve Siemens (for example, From January 17 until March 6 2014, Future Influencers tackle the question: “New perspectives on the Energy business – challenges and opportunities arising from the changing role of the US”). Participants are also invited to suggest their own ideas for topics. Discussions are moderated by Siemens’ project manager Sarah Hashish, working out of the social media department, as well as by the project’s partners, whose input usually aims to open up new questions or avenues of discussion. A recent posting by the moderators gives a good indication of the general tone of the undertaking and the encouragement given by Siemens:

An image from the Future Influencers website

“First of all we would like to thank you for your efforts so far. It is very interesting to read your contributions and to watch your discussions on the changing role of the US energy business. We know that is not an easy task to develop ideas for “a new age of power generation”, as we called it in the introduction, but this is one of the big challenges we face at Siemens Energy every day. So, we are highly interested in exchanging ideas and thoughts with you. Of course, we cannot rise to this challenge alone and it is therefore no coincidence that we put this question on the agenda now. (…) So, keep up the great work you are doing here ...”

GAINING AUTHENTIC INSIGHTS These discussions take place once or twice a year and last for approximately six to eight weeks: the aim is to create and develop a project idea together to be presented at the end of each collaboration. These “top ideas” are conceptualised by the members and three selected community representatives are invited by Siemens to present the final concept at a sustainability event of global importance: past examples include the UN Climate Change Conferences or Rio +20. These presentations usually take place in the form of a panel debate with members of Future Influencers alongside established experts and members of Siemen’s top management. The 01/2014

COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

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PR ESSENTIALS Key aspects of communications

EUROPE S BEST

BLOGS From the range and diversity of European public relations and communications blogs, we present a few of our favourites.

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Conversationblog Editor Philippe Borremans First post August 2003 Topics Social media, crisis communications and social enterprise Motivation for blogging “Our jobs and responsibilities are changing drastically and, together with others, I do feel the need to document this change and add to the thinking process.” conversationblog.com

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Finn Editors Raf Weverbergh & Kristien Vermoesen First post February 2009 Topics PR, social media and corporate communication Most popular posts “We definitely see the biggest traffic to our yearly rankings and lists.” finn.be/blogs


PR ESSENTIALS

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Marketing 360 Editor Radostina Savova First blog post February 2012 Topics News, interviews, inside opinions, campaigns

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Manage Social First post October 2013 Topics Social media news, events, trends Goal of the blog “Community education and building trust in social media.” mngsocial.com/en/blog

Editor’s favourite post? “My favourite article personally was about the public relations of the best known pop singers in Bulgaria.” mkt360.eu

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Because I am one of the early adopters in PR blogging, most of us feel connected around the world and some of the early PR bloggers (and newer ones) really became friends. Not that we meet that often but when we do it feels like meeting an old friend.

Mediablogi Editor Matti Lintulahti First post February 2005 Topics Content marketing and communications Most popular posts “How big companies do content marketing and create media of their own.” mattilintulahti.net

Philippe Borremans, conversationblog.com

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Kforum Chief Editor Timme Bisgaard Munk First post1999 Topics Politics, society, culture, design and marketing from a communications perspective Need to know “In general, Danes have a little trust in authorities. Therefore, working as a communicator is mainly about creating engagement and involving the audience.” kforum.dk

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Ei oo totta!* Editor Katleena Kortesuo First post December 2008 Topics Communications, content marketing, personal branding, writing, blogging, publishing Motivation for blogging “To improve Finnish communications as a business. I also analyse PR cases and give communication tips in order to help my readers get their message through.” eioototta.fi *Ei oo totta means 'can’t be true' or 'get outta here!'

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Lehmätkin Lentäis Chief Editor Harto Pönkä First post November 2006 Topics Education, social media, ITC and media criticism Motivation for blogging “I think that we (Finnish teachers and educators) need to find new ways to motivate learners and use technology to support learning. But technology is not the most important thing, but pedagogy.You could say that this is my blog‘s mission.” harto.wordpress.com

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STRATEGIC THINKER STRATEGIC THINKER

The corporate and academic stand on communication

SETTING THE STAGE WITH METAPHOR Metaphors enable business communicators to bring colour, life and drama to their work. By Elzbieta Jendrych

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STRATEGIC THINKER

F

igurative expressions are generally accepted as a way of strengthening business communication, whether written or verbal. A prime example of figurative expression is metaphor, which is the transference of a word from one context into another and the basis for the metaphor is an act of either comparison or resemblance. Some of these metaphoric expressions, the so-called standard or ‘dead’ metaphors like cut prices, advertising campaign or team player, have been used for a long time and language experts consider them as natural as other language chunks (in language studies, ‘chunks’ are several words that are customarily used together in a fixed expression). New metaphors are created daily: these are called novel or ‘living’ metaphors. Some of them are frequently repeated and with time they become standard metaphors, while others are quickly forgotten. What is interesting, however, is the fact that users of business English can easily understand their figurative meaning. Metaphors have long been used to add variety, imagery, spice and colour to language. Thanks to metaphors, English users can express their views, feelings and opinions in a stronger, often more emotional way. Furthermore, metaphor has become fundamental to the way business people express their ideas about themselves and about the world of business. The Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics says that “metaphors are important means by which words carry both cultural and semantic meanings, and each language has its own metaphors that have been accumulated over time”. This statement

suggests why metaphoric expressions are widely used in business communication.

METAPHORS IN USE Today, people often perceive do-

ing business as a fight in which only the strongest and the fittest can survive. In a fiercely competitive world of business, companies have to outperform their rivals. They have to develop marketing strategies and advertising campaigns in order to trigger sales. They need a good leader, and a successful business professional is like a hunter, shark or predator. As a result of such an attitude to business dealings, the language of business communication is particularly rich in metaphors of fight and war. The old expression time is money is often used in a business context. In western culture, business professionals often perceive time as a limited resource and a valuable commodity which should be saved and invested wisely rather than wasted. Idle money does not bring any profits. A good businessman cannot lose time on unimportant matters that do not generate profits. Production managers should do their best to avoid bottlenecks and idle time. Money is liquid, it inflows or outflows, it is in circulation. If a company wants to be solvent, it should constantly monitor its cash flow. Inflow of capital is always welcome. Free

Metaphor is fundamental to the way business people express their ideas about themselves. flow of capital is something which can boost the economy. On the other hand, if the economic situation is difficult and an industry becomes much weaker, we can witness a financial meltdown. A flood of credit into the housing market may fuel house-price inflation. In extreme cases a company suffering from a cash-flow crisis may lose liquidity and become insolvent. Business also means risk and profit. In business the name of the game is profit and profit is always accompanied by a certain degree of risk. Handsome profits are likely to attract many potential investors. However, if you fail to assess risk properly, you are likely to suffer heavy losses and you may even find it impossible to recover from crisis. Even if you use creative accounting and try to cook the books, it may not help and in the worst case scenario you may even find that your company is at the edge of bankruptcy. Sometimes a business organisation is perceived as a big family in which we may have paternalistic leadership, junior and senior managers or positions, a parent company, a 01/2014

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STRATEGIC THINKER

THE WAY OF ZHONG DAO The Chinese philosophy of zhong dao, or ‘middle way’, offers an integrative model of management to fit the interconnectedness of human societies in the new century. By Guo-Ming Chen

T 24

he ideal management situation in western corporations is embedded in the belief that the leader has high positional power, a clearly structured task and is able to maintain good social relations with other group members. This ideal is embodied through the regulation of individual, relational, organisational and environmental factors that serve as the measurement of the organisation’s management effectiveness. While this goal of effectiveness is commonly pursued in different societies, the way to achieve it tends to vary due to the impact of cultural differences. This is especially manifested as human society continues its way into the 21st century. The new century reveals a critical turn in the perception of management because of the impetus of globalisation. Globalisation has been pushed to its highest level in human history by the innovation of transportation and communication technologies. Globalisation has shrunk the world and has led to the establishment of a global interconnected network where close interaction is the norm rather than exception. It is under this circumstance that we witness the integration of intercultural and organisational studies burgeoning in the early 1990s and rapidly developing in the 21st century. Unfortunately, the study and practice of management has been dominated by Eurocentrism in the last two centuries. Eurocentric beliefs result in the overemphasis of self-reliance, a single view of reality, and the dominance of western power. This Eurocentric orientation, however, has shown its limitations and faces challenges from other cultural groups. An effective way to improve the problem of eurocentric domination is to give prominence to the culture-general approach by encouraging scholars and practitioners from different cultures and geographical areas to collaborate in the process of knowledge production and business transaction.

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CULTURAL MODELS Management is typically a contextually-dependent process, which reflects its own specific cultural traits. Thus it is necessary for scholars and practitioners to learn management from its own cultural perspective in order to better understand its uniqueness, and then make an effort to explore the possibility of integrating cultural components of differing groups through the understanding and respect of cultural differences, so that a way can be found to help people and managers become more productive and successful in global society. My aim here is to present a management model based on the Chinese philosophical thought of zhong dao and project it to the context of global society. In order to examine the zhong dao model of management in a global context, we first need to understand the paradigmatic assumptions of Chinese culture and how they serve as the principles of Chinese management. HARMONY AND RESPECT Figure I illustrates the foundational paradigmatic assumptions of eastern/Chinese and western cultures. In a nutshell, from the Chinese perspective: ontologically, Chinese culture dictates that wholeness is the ultimate reality of the universe, which is like a running river with-


STRATEGIC THINKER

Figure 1: The paradigmatic assumptions of eastern and western cultures

Ontology East

West

Holistic

Atomistic

submerged collectivistic

discrete individualistic

Axiology East

Epistemology West

East

Methodology West

East

West

Harmonious

Confrontational

Interconnected

Reductionistic

Intuitive

Logical

- indirect - subtle - adaptive - consensual - agreeable

- direct - expressive - dialectical - divisive - sermonic

- reciprocity - we - hierarchical - associative - ascribed

- independent -I - equal - free will - achieved

- subjective - nonlinear - ambiguous - ritual - accommodative

- objective - linear - analytical - justificatory - manipulative

out a beginning and an end; axiologically, Chinese culture considers harmony as the lubricant smoothing the interconnected knots among humans, nature, and the supernatural; epistemologically, the Chinese believe that all things only become meaningful and perceivable in relation to others; and methodologically, Chinese culture favours a more intuitive, sensitive, and indirect way of expression. Ontologically, Chinese culture treats management as a holistic process which is constantly changing and transforming according to the endless but orderly cycle of the universe, and the process is never absolutely completed or finished. It is in this cyclic, transformational and endless process that we see subject and object are interpenetrated and unified as a whole. This is the way of Tao. Thus, the awareness of the interpenetration and identification between the two interactants is the key to unlocking the mystery of management. Axiologically, Chinese management aims to achieve the goal of communicating with dignity and

influence in a mutual and interdependent network on the basis of cooperation through harmony. Thus, the ethics of management are to crystallise the duty of cooperation between interactants by a sincere display of mutually wholehearted concern, rather than to display verbal or behavioural strategies to overcome one’s counterpart. Harmony as the ultimate goal of management is upheld by a set of personal and societal values. For instance, the Chinese put a great emphasis on personal values, such as hard work, respect for learning, honesty, self-discipline and the fulfilment of obligations; and on societal values, such as an orderly society, respect for authority, consensus and official accountability. The ability to reach a harmonious state of

Chinese culture treats management as a holistic process which is constantly changing and transforming. human relationships therefore serves as the cardinal criterion to define management competence from the Chinese cultural perspective. Epistemologically, genuine knowledge in Chinese management is embedded in the interconnectedness between superior and subordinate; both interfuse with each other and are free from all contradictions and determinations. Thus, it is manifested in the concern for the feelings of one’s counterpart, in the adoption of different roles in different contexts and in the display of reciprocity and active listening, so that interactional rapport can be natu01/2014

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TEAM PLAYER

How to improve personnel management and your career

EFFECTIVE GLOBAL TALENT MANAGEMENT Companies are taking a world-wide approach to seeking out new talent and making full use of a diverse and skilled work force. By Akram Al Ariss

I

t seems that everyone is talking about it, from academics and businesses to governments: global talent management is the working world’s latest craze. Rulers in the Arab Gulf push through new legislation to manage the talents of their national and expatriate workforce. Western states, like Australia and Canada, attempt to attract talented migrants by picking and choosing the talent that will be best for these countries. But what is global talent management? Why has it become so important, and what will it look like in the future? First, let us look at the concept of talent management. Unlike many other business concepts, talent management

Academics have identified two different approaches to talent management.

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was not conceived in academia and then later introduced into the world of business; rather it was born of and directly into the world of consultancy. Once there, it attracted the attention of academics. The generally-agreed definition of talent management is the identification, recruitment, development, retention and management of talent, all for the sake of helping organisations to meet their business or economic objectives. Academics have since identified two different approaches to talent management, or more specifically to what or who is ‘talent’. These are known as the inclusive and exclusive approaches. The inclusive approach sees every person in a company as talent, or as human capital, each needing the opportunity to develop his or her personal skills in order to move on and upward in his or her career. However, this 01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

approach is taken by few organisations; it is the exclusive approach that dominates. This approach focuses on a select minority of employees considered as highly talented in terms of their capacity to help develop the business. These ‘best performers’ will find themselves on the fast track, their skills monitored and developed by the company, their path to the top facilitated; in short, they become the focus of the talent management process. Given that human resource management is traditionally responsible for people management in the workplace, how does it differ from talent management? While human resource management accounts for every person in a company, talent management targets the talents, and in its exclusive form this means only that specific minority of highly talented individuals. What’s more, human resource management comprises all those old administrative functions: managing the payroll, the hiring and firing procedures and so on. Talent management does not carry that burden: its focus is on people and how to make the most of them within the company in the most efficient way. The very term, then, is a sign for companies


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to show to employees, future employees, customers and stake holders that their focus is on valuing the people they employ and getting the best out of them.

WHAT IS GLOBAL TALENT MANAGEMENT? Quite simply,

global talent management is talent management on a global scale and there are three main situations in which it operates. The first occurs when having to manage an expatriate workforce. For example, Airbus has thousands of expatriates around the world and whose personal and professional well-being all need to

be managed in their move from one country to another, in such a way that best maintains business performance. The second situation is when managing (non-expatriate) employees located internationally. Consider large multinationals that need to manage their talent across different countries to meet the business objectives set by the company’s headquarters. This entails standardising human resource management processes across various countries. The third situation is managing people in emerging or developing economies. This last situation is a new, increasingly visible manifestation of global talent management. Most academic and practical work on talent management has been undertaken in a western context: now we see increasing activity outside this context taking place in emerging economic contexts such as India, the Middle East, Chi01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

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UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT, BUT NOT AT THE TABLE Senior communications executives play an increasingly critical role in advancing the business agenda. But has this translated to a seat on the executive board? By Piet Verhoeven and Ingmar de Gooijer

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esearch by the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) in cooperation with the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD) and Russell Reynolds Associates shows that 24.2 per cent of Financial Times 500 companies have a Chief Communications Officer (CCO) on their executive board. To study the position of communications officers in large organisations the researchers conducted a content analysis of the websites and/or annual reports of the Financial Times top 500 global companies, a survey among human resources managers of global companies; and semi-structured interviews with chief executive officers (CEOs). The results of the study were recently published in the joint research report titled The Chief Communications Officer and the C-Suite and discussed at the regional EACD Forum at the USB Conference Center in Zurich last November, when the study was launched. If 24.2 per cent of the surveyed companies have a CCO or a comparable officer on the executive board, more than three quarters of them do not have such a representative on the board, indicating that board membership is still rare for communications executives. The job titles of those who represent communications on the executive board are diverse, varying from ‘chief communication officer’ to some kind of president (executive, senior, vice or a combination) of corporate communication or corporate affairs. The distribution of CCOs on the executive board differs per region. North America leads (33.8 per cent), followed by Europe (23.5 per cent), Asia (6.6 per cent), Australia(28.6 per cent) and the Middle East (50 per cent). Most CCOs as board members are found in healthcare (38.2 per cent), followed by respectively consumer goods (29.1 per cent), 01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

industry and natural resources (27.3 per cent), technology, media and telecom (23.4 per cent), financial services (14.7 per cent) and business and professional services (8.7 per cent). When comparing sectors on the level of business to business or business to consumer, and sectors with more or less regulated communications, no differences were found. Also economic factors like market value, turnover, net income, total assets, number of employees, price, price/earnings ratio and dividend percentage are no predictors for having a CCO on the executive board. Almost a quarter of FT500 companies have a CCO on the executive committee Only 24.2% of FT 500 companies include their top communications executive as a member of the executive committee.

24.2 % CCOs sit on the executive board


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CCO

among 107 global human resources managers underline the results of the content analysis. More than 27 per cent of the surveyed human resources heads said that they have a CCO or comparable officer on the executive board. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority (almost 80 per cent) of communication officers who are not on the board report to a member of the organisation’s executive board, most of them to the CEO. Companies ask for different competences from their communication officer in order to give substance to their responsibilities. To fulfill their responsibilities, human resources managers find that communication skills (written, oral, message production) are very important. Also, the communication officer’s communication knowledge is considered an important personal asset. In addition, companies attach importance to communication officers that demonstrate general business knowledge, leadership skills and business acumen. According to our interviews, financial and operational skills are considered moderately important

Top communication leaders are more likely to attain executive committee seats in North America than in Europe. In North American companies, 33.8% of top communications officers hold an executive committee membership; in contrast, only 23.5% of top communications officers at European companies hold a seat on the executive committee.

No CCO

THE HUMAN RESOURCES VIEW The results of the survey

76.5 % Europe

More than 27 per cent of the surveyed HR heads said that they have a CCO or comparable officer in the executive board. by the human resources managers. These competences are not rated differently by organisations where communication officers are on the executive committee or not. To rate the performance of the communication officer on these competences and responsibilities, companies use various metrics such

66.2 %

100 %

North South America America

93.4 %

50 %

85.7 %

71.4 %

Asia

Middle East

Africa

Australia

as media coverage, rating the satisfaction of internal clients, public opinion about the organisation and the opinion of key internal stakeholders about the organisation. The impact of communications on financial and strategic targets is rarely used to measure the communication officer’s performance. Metrics used do not vary between world regions or industrial sectors with the exception of the measurement of public opinion. That is considered of higher importance in companies with higher revenue than in companies with smaller revenue. Notably the metric financial and strategic targets are more used in companies with a communication officer on the executive committee than in companies where the communication officer does not have a seat on the board. When competences are being rated by the human resources managers, the communication officers are considered to perform effectively in terms of communication skills, communication knowledge and general business knowledge. When looking at business acumen and leadership skills, communication officers are rated as moderately effective, whereas their financial skills are considered to be slightly ineffective. Notably, financial and operational skills and business acumen are both rated higher in companies that have a communication officer on the executive board compared to companies that do not have a communication officer on the board. Finally, when recruiting a communication officer organisations prefer candidates to have a university master’s degree in communication science or related social science, 01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

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POLITENESS IN THE GLOBALISED WORKPLACE More than just a matter of etiquette, politeness is a serious part of business life, empowering individuals to work better together, regardless of their background. By Dรกniel Z. Kรกdรกr

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01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR


TEAM PLAYER

U

Photo: www.dreamstime.com

pon hearing the word ‘pol iteness’, many people think of the etiquette of a civil society, while others may associate politeness with respect, formality and similar notions. Irrespective of its actual definition, politeness seems to be a key aspect of business life, which is simply essential for an individual or a team to succeed. This essential characteristic of politeness is evidenced by the frustration that one feels in a rude workplace, not to mention the anger of customers or business partners when a service provider acts rudely: appropriate behaviour is so much an expected part of our daily lives that we tend to notice its absence rather than presence. While using internet search engines is not a scientific approach to describe this phenomenon, results produced by the comparative online search of ‘polite’ versus ‘impolite’ notions speak for themselves. For example, a search for “rude service” versus “polite service” in the popular engine Google Fight resulted at the time of writing this article in 21,300,000 versus 8,700,000 hits, indicating that, a topic of discussion, “rude service” is nearly three times as popular as its polite equivalent.

A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD In spite of its oft-required nature, politeness is not inherently perceived positively. For example, in early modern England politeness was interpreted as a property of a fortunate group of gentlemen, and similar definitions applied to the culturespecific equivalents of this notion in many other countries across Europe

and Asia. It is therefore not a coincidence that politeness does not necessarily connote positive things. For example, politeness researchers have found that in certain regional and social settings in England politeness is interpreted as a sign of being insincere. As politeness (and its culture-specific equivalents) can be interpreted both positively and negatively, one could argue that ‘being polite’ is a double-edged sword: while in corporate and business life one cannot usually succeed through uncivil behaviour, certain forms of politeness might be interpreted negatively and as such may have a reverse effect. As a typical example, let us refer to a recent (August 16 2012) blog entry in The Economist, in which the author complained about automatically generated polite messages:

I’ve always found automatic thank-yous off-putting. I know that Home Depot’s computers fulfilled my order and then automatically reached into a database for the desired thing they wanted to communicate to me... It feels about as personal as a nice warm handshake from Robocop. This quotation clearly illustrates the complexity surrounding politeness as a phenomenon: although the insincerity of auto-messages is a recurrent issue in online discussion boards and other forums, the lack of such responses would be evaluated in an equally (if not more) negative way. This dual positive-and-negative interpretability shows that the politeness phenomenon is both more significant and more complex than what the word ‘politeness’ tends to indicate. Since the publication of a high-impact monograph by Gino Eelen (A Critique of Politeness Theories, 2001) many researchers in the field agree that politeness comes into existence at least partly through individuals’ evaluation. The fact that politeness is perceived in different ways may indicate that it is simply impossible to properly define this phenomenon, or at least to capture it within a single framework. However, potentially contradictory perceptions of politeness discussed above reflect popular understandings of this phenomenon; and although such understandings are important from a scholarly point of view, they do not necessarily coincide with the way in which researchers define politeness. Having such a scientific definition is useful because those who perceive this phenomenon positively or negatively may have very different things in mind in the case of politeness, whereas they would actually be much more likely to agree that politeness, defined in a scholarly sense, is essentially positive and 01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

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THE STORY OF PR Looking back at landmark communications

BUILDING A NEW GENERATION Today’s practitioners have several chances to play a part in the exciting story of public relations in Bulgaria. By Maria Gergova

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ike many other eastern European countries, Bulgaria only discovered public relations after the seismic changes of 1989. During its transition to democracy, Bulgaria found itself in a new historical situation. All of its political, economic, social and technological organisations underwent radical changes. Quite naturally the first public relations specialists appeared in the field of politics: the newly-founded political parties, associations and civil organisations needed spokespersons, faces to represent them in the over-politicised public environment and to ensure their presence in the media. This ‘new’ profession attracted many journalists to whom media were a familiar field and who had already developed their skills in professionally communicating to different segments of the public. “In western societies public relations emerge and develop to meet the need of business corporations and their customers whereas in the young democracies in eastern Europe they appear as a necessary means of reorganisation of social interactions and relations in a period of total crisis.” These words on the future of public relations were written by the media sociologist Todor Petev. During the transition period, Bulgarians became aware of the crucial role of communication and the need of freely sharing their opinion. In 1992-93 the first studies and publications in the field of public relations and advertising were published in Bulgaria. The country’s education in public relations began in 1995 in the shape of an UNESCO Chair of Communica01/2014

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tion and Public Relations at the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communications at Sofia University. Its main objective was to develop and reinforce knowledge and expertise


THE STORY OF PR

of access to information. After these early steps, the years between 1996 and 2000 were characterised by the expanding scope and practice of public relations, with a growing number of publications and intensifying international co-operation. In 1996 the first professional organisation was established: the Bulgarian Public Relations Society (BPRS). A few years later, in July 2005, a code of professional standards was adopted on the basis of the acting codes of a number of public relations organisations. The first annual award ceremony for best practices was held in 2001. In 1998 the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) opened a branch in Bulgaria.

In the transition to the market economy many international companies entered Bulgaria.

in the field: emphasis was placed on the role of communication and public relations in a democratic society, on professional standards and ethical codes and to the importance

COMMUNICATING THE MARKET ECONOMY In retrospect it can be seen that the socialist system did not allow competition or the promotion of corporations, brands or products, and there was a lack of public awareness and interest in companies’ activities. The government controlled the media and news broadcasts were restricted. However, since that time, changes in Bulgarian society have been most evident in the media field. Following the collapse of totalitarian rule, the Bulgarian media acquired a new image. It can be argued that it was in the media field that the market economy entered Bulgaria for the first time. Furthermore, important steps have been made in the liberalisation of the print and electronic media. In the transition to the market economy many international companies entered Bulgaria, bringing with them not only quality products but also effective instruments of public relations and advertising. Communications services were in increasing demand. Economic growth was accompanied by extended investment in advertising and other areas, including marketing and non-commercial communications. Institutions and firms needed communication, and this was contracted through agencies or consultancies or created through internal structures with qualified professionals. In 2001 the Bulgarian Association of Public Relations Agencies (BAPRA) was established by four of the major agencies on the market: APRA Porter-Novelli, Janev & Janev, Marc Communications and United Partners. 2003 brought the first IPRA World Golden Award for a Bulgarian agency (best corporate social responsibility 01/2014

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THE STORY OF PR

“Eastern Telegraph Co.’s System and its General Connections” 1901

CABLES AND EMPIRE In the 19th century, competitive telegraph companies helped set the stage for the modern global media system.

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T

he global media system took shape in the last half of the 19th century as key players from the telegraph industry – for example John Pender, the world’s most important telegraph and cable mogul and longreigning head of the Eastern Telegraph Company, from Britain, William Siemens from Germany, C.F. Tietgen and Henrik Erichsen of Denmark, Gordon Bennett and Jay Gould from the US, and a tight-knit coterie of other figures – parlayed their domestic experience into positions at the apex of the global media system. As they did, they also, at least initially, forged strong ties with news agencies and the press. Indeed, the global news agencies and com-

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mercial press relied heavily on the telegraphs and cables and were some of the earliest investors in them. These links revolutionised the daily press and news agency operations. Almost everywhere they reached, the transcontinental cables, interlinked with urban and national telegraphs, affected the competitive landscape of the nascent mass commercial press. Press rivalry in Australia and New Zealand turned on connections to the worldwide cable system, and on exclusionary con-

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

By Robert Pike and Dwayne Winseck


THE STORY OF PR

tracts between domestic news agencies in both countries and Reuters, the world’s largest news agency. Likewise, the advent of wealthy papers such as La Nacion and La Prensa in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the 1860s and 1870s offered new markets for the cable companies and news agencies. Obviously, global news flows mixed extensively with regional ones as well. And nowhere was this more evident than in the ‘treaty ports’, or city-states, of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tianjin and Xiamen arrayed along China’s vast coast, where the arrival of cable networks and telegraphs in the 1870s paved the way for a new era of journalism and press history. Indeed, Shanghai was so important to Reuters that it made the city the base of its Far Eastern operations after 1871. At the same time, charges that the cable and telegraph firms, news agencies and the press had colluded to create news monopolies were found to have a great deal of merit by inquiries in Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the US between the 1880s and 1910. Over time, however, even the press and news agencies emerged as strident critics of cable monopolies and cartels, especially once wireless communication (radio) emerged as an alternative distribution network by the 1920s.

UNIVERSAL VISIONS Whether in the well-developed economies of the transatlantic region or cities scattered along the outlying tentacles of the global media system, these trends were part of broadreaching cultural changes as well. In China, for example, they intersected with the rising influence of modernising forces in business, pol-

itics, science and technology from the 1860s and allowed more affordable, speedy and reliable news to flow into the country and underpinned a huge leap in the number of newspapers published in China. In the established imperial powers ‘visionary imperialists’ such as the Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming offered some of the most utopian views of communications ever penned. For instance, in a series of essays titled To the Citizens of the Empire (1907), Fleming chided the monopolistic private cable companies for maintaining prohibitively high rates, whilst calling on governments of the British Empire to establish

an unbroken chain of state-owned cables connecting the self-governing British communities in both hemispheres. It is believed most thoroughly that the proposal will eventually be consummated, and that by bringing the several governmental units, now separated by great oceans, into one friendly neighborhood, electrically and telegraphically, results will follow of the most satisfactory character.... And in the nascent American Empire, others, such as the Third Secretary of State Ernest Power, offered a progressivist view of imperialism that was wholly consistent with trends prevalent in the US at the time. In 1919 Power chastised “the iniquities of the financially highly selfish cable combinations” and called for a “universal review of the situation” as part and parcel of efforts to create what

The global news agencies and commercial press relied heavily on the telegraphs and cables . he called “a democratic world empire”. Power’s comments reveal the ubiquitous cultural sensibility of the era which saw the global media as fundamental to all aspects of making, or in this case, rebuilding, the ‘modern world system’ of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The global media also created the informational underpinnings of global capitalism. The new means of communication were critical parts of often audacious development projects throughout Europe, North and South America, parts of the Middle East and Asia. The firms behind the global media were also some of the largest multinational firms of their times, with the British-based Eastern Telegraph Company standing as the Microsoft of its age. The telegraph and cables were also, in the view of Colonel Holvier, the Secretary of Lloyds of London, 01/2014

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THE BIG INTERVIEW Key communicators under the spotlight

ROMA BALWANI Chief Group Communications Officer, Mahindra & Mahindra Interview: Dafydd Phillips

01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

more, the advent of social media has truly transferred power to the people. Now anyone with an internet connection has the potential to influence your brand. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for public relations professionals. In what sense was the global rebranding exercise Mahindra Rise an attempt to bring cohesion to the Group’s communications? Over the past few years there has been a sharp erosion in customer trust in the corporate world. In gen-

Photo: Private

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The Mahindra Group works in a huge variety of areas, from aerospace to financial services, real estate to farm equipment. In addition to this, it operates in over 100 countries. What are the challenges of communicating across such a wide range of specialties and locations? Communications today requires a certain level of global cultural, political and social awareness. Of course a majority of your communications is still going to be designed with the local community in mind. However this does not mean that we can’t show an acceptable level of awareness and sensitivity to global issues. The trick then is to have a strong master brand communications plan where all your businesses, across borders and geographies, communicate one overarching brand message in conjunction with individual product marketing. Further-


THE BIG INTERVIEW

eral, customers have been yearning for a different mind-set among companies, one that demands a greater sense of responsibility toward society and the environment. We saw customers gravitating toward organisations and brands that reflected this growing aspiration for social awareness and change. Through our new brand position Rise, we urged people to unify around shared ideas and values. Rise unleashed a hidden energy within the organisation, galvanis-

Being an Indian company certainly has its global business advantages in certain sectors. ing our diverse and global employee base behind the ideas of ‘accepting no limits’, ‘alternative thinking’ and ‘driving positive change’. This in turn enabled us to effectively communicate our brand pillars with one voice across geographies and industries. With Mahindra’s global reach, is it a challenge to craft a brand message that is at once authentic to its Indian roots but which can also speak to markets around the world with very different cultures? I believe the idea of Rise is universal. Implicit in the Rise message is the belief that anything is possible, that we can achieve whatever we set our minds to. Our Millions Against Malaria awareness campaign is a great example of the universality of the ‘Rise’ message. In 2012, GippsAero, a Mahindra aerospace company and the Australian aircraft manufacturer of the GA8 Airvan, sponsored the flight of two veteran pilots around the world to

raise awareness about malaria, a preventable disease that affects millions of people worldwide. The truly global campaign took the Airvan and its crew to four continents, 16 countries and over 28,000 nautical miles! At its centre was the idea of Rise, pushing everyone to accept no limits in finding a solution for this curable disease. India evokes vivid images in people’s imaginations. Is working from a context of such a strong national brand a help or hindrance when it comes to engaging with new markets? That’s a very interesting question. Being an Indian company certainly has its global business advantages in certain sectors. Tech Mahindra, our information technology business and India’s fifth largest information technology firm, benefits greatly from India’s tech savvy global image. However, there’s a flip side to this as well. Ever since its inception in 1994, our North American business, Mahindra USA, or MUSA, has had to follow a niche brand strategy to battle prevailing perceptions about Indian manufacturers. Rather than trying to develop a product that could compete with well-established bigger brands, MUSA targeted a smaller agricultural niche – hobby farmers, landscapers, and building contractors – and coupled this strategy with personalised service, building close relationships with dealers and customers. Even MUSA’s corporate social responsibility activities played a key strategic role in cultivating the Mahindra brand image of an Indian company that provides value and superior performance through its affordable products. This differentiation continues today and we are noticing a marked change in brand perception and awareness among North American target audiences. You are credited for elevating public relations to board-level function at your company. How did you make the case for this? When we initiated Rise, the Group’s executive board was confronted with the challenge of communicating this transformation in a clear and controlled manner across more than 100 countries and 18 industries. They quickly realised the need for a strategic approach to communications for both internal and external audiences. By including public relations at the top of the decision making chain, we ensured that organisational behaviour and organisational communications were perfectly aligned. The Group’s communications head is included in key business strategy meetings as per their annual planning cycles. India has the biggest newspaper market in the world, with over 70,000 titles. How has this huge market faced the chal01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

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STORY TELLER Looking at the important questions of communication

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STORY TELLER

GET INTO THE GLOBAL CONVERSATION Corporate communications in a globalised world “Spreading the word” by Krishnamurthy Sriramesh page 54 – 57

“A brave new world” by Robert Ward and Jake Statham page 58 – 61

“The press release as intercultural challenge” by Britta Lange-Stolle page 62 – 65

“Better business by multinationals” by Anthony Gooch page 66 – 69

“Grooming global teams for success” by Laura Bacci page 70 – 73

“You have to understand the nuances” Interview with Luca Biondolillo page 74 – 77

“Embracing dissent” by Friederike Schultz and Mette Morsing page 78 – 81

“A global crusade” by Virgine Coulloudon page 82 – 85

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STORY TELLER

SPREADING THE WORD When it comes to ensuring that professionals are equipped to communicate on a global level, there remains room for improvement. By Krishnamurthy Sriramesh

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G

lobalisation is not new to the 21st century, having occurred at various times in previous millennia through political conquests, trade or religious missions. However, the current era of globalisation has some unique features such as the presence of information and communication technologies and collapsing trade barriers. During this new era of globalisation, organisations have increasingly found that cross-cultural communication is important to their 01/2014 COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

success. This realisation provides opportunities while also posing challenges to public relations practitioners prompting educators to ask the question: are public relations programmes preparing students to become eective cross-cultural communicators who can help organisations cope with the demands of a globalising world?


STORY TELLER

Public relations scholarship is young, with about a 50-year history by most accounts. Scholarship in global public relations is even younger, with a brief history of less than two decades. One key aspect that scholars have tried to address is the global versus local conundrum that practitioners face in setting up public relations programmes for multinational organisations. Should the communication manager of a multinational use a unified public relations programme for all countries, or provide a unique programme for each culture within which the organisation operates? While each of these polar approaches has some advantages, each is also fraught with many pitfalls. Public relations scholarship has offered a comprehensive conceptual framework with a glocal approach that combines setting global public relations strategies (the generic principles of global public relations) while suggesting the need to localise them to suit host cultures (the five environmental variables).

GLOBAL STRATEGIES Among other things, the 10 generic principles of public relations address the need for a unified public relations strategy for a multinational by recommending that public relations be strategically practiced, which is possible only when the public relations unit is headed by a manager who has the requisite knowledge and skills required for such practice. A strategic public relations department will be in a position to assist senior executives in aligning organisational policies with the expectations of key stakeholders. The generic principles also recommend that the public relations manager be part of the senior leadership team or at least have a direct reporting relationship to

these senior managers so that the intelligence gathered from stakeholders can be shared with them for integration into organisational policies for a better fit between the organisation and its environment – especially key for a global enterprise that is making forays into new markets. Symmetrical internal communication systems also aid by fostering cohesive organisation cultures. In sum, the 10 generic principles prescribe that it is reasonably possible for multinationals to set communication strategies at the global level. Having set global strategies, the challenge lies in applying these strategies to suit the multiple local cultures that multinationals encounter. Scholars have offered a much broader definition of culture than anthropologists have, to include five interdependent societal dimensions: the political culture, economic culture, societal and organisational culture, media culture and activist culture. The conceptual connections between these five interlinked socio-cultural variables and public relations practice have been explained in scores of academic publications. The following section

The challenge lies in applying these strategies to suit the multiple local cultures that multinationals encounter. offers a brief overview displaying the relevance of these five cultures to the global public relations practitioner.

I. POLITICAL CULTURE The notion that influencing public opinion is the primary task of public relations practitioners has been popular both in practice and scholarship. The democratic-authoritarian continuum is just one of the political ideologies that determine the ability of communicators to influence public opinion. Globalisation has forced public relations practitioners into operating in countries that do not have pluralistic democratic systems of governance. Public relations currently lacks a body of empirical evidence on how it is influenced by different political systems. Often, political boundaries do not signify that a nation is homogeneous with several examples of a single ‘nation’ that consists of many unique cultures (nations within nations). Freedom to hold opinions and communicating them freely within society is determined by the political ideology prevalent in a nation and therefore very relevant for public relations practitioners. Further, public relations itself often plays a role in fostering, and maintaining, the political ideology of a nation. For all these reasons, a keen knowledge of the political systems of 01/2014

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Get Into the Global Conversation: Communication Director 01/2014  

Latest issue of Communication Director magazine. with a special focus on corporate communications and public relations in a globalised world

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