Take the Reins in Corporate Governance: With Their Unique Skills, Communicators Have a Chance to Improve Compliance Efforts

Article excerpt

Enron, WorldCom, Parmalat Group Italy, Robert Maxwell and the U.K.'s Daily Mirror--these are examples where company oversight has proven inadequate, with disastrous results. Corporate governance frameworks, when effective, can help organizations avoid potential compliance violations while promoting prosperity, consumer confidence and public trust. Communicators can help make such frameworks more than an ineffective checklist.

A Deloitte study of 800 North American companies published last year found that well-planned and well-executed corporate governance programs brought about significant business benefits, including enhanced market confidence and reputation management, reduced risk of loss through fraud, improved acquisition integration, better control over management and information systems, standardization of processes and controls, and improved disclosure for stakeholders.

Today, policymakers worldwide are challenged with striking a balance between market forces and regulation and with implementing internationally recognized principles of responsibility, accountability, transparency and fairness. Communicators have a significant contribution to make in this effort, because they know how to change people's attitudes and behaviors to obtain positive internal outcomes, as well as how to manage reputation externally. IABC's Gold Quill Awards case studies and academic publications alike point to the role that communicators can play in effecting change.

Two of the greatest difficulties for business communicators in tackling corporate governance are defining it and then understanding what contribution they can make. …