Management of Corporate Communication: From Interpersonal Contacts to External Affairs

Management of Corporate Communication: From Interpersonal Contacts to External Affairs

Management of Corporate Communication: From Interpersonal Contacts to External Affairs

Management of Corporate Communication: From Interpersonal Contacts to External Affairs

Synopsis

Whereas many organizational communication texts address internal communication processes, few consider the efforts that companies expend to communicate with external stakeholders. Likewise, many texts that concentrate on public relations or advertising consider external communication, but fail to give attention to internal communication. Combining both points of view, this text explains how an entire organization operates through enactments of personnel and external stakeholders.

Central to this book is a concern for meaning and its influence on the performance of jobs in response to expectations of co-workers and external publics. The concept of narrative is used to explain how individual and organization performance is the expression of personae that are best when enacted jointly -- in varying degrees of coordination -- to satisfy mutual performance expectations. Narrative explains the power of organizational meaning, interpersonal contacts, group performance, stakeholder negotiation, and internal and external organizational zones of meaning -- assumptions that are shared by people who enact an organization through coordinated efforts.

Excerpt

The term management is synonymous with guidance, conduct, control, and actions taken to bring something about, to achieve goals. As used in this book, management is thought of as joint enactments by people as they coordinate efforts and interact with stakeholders outside of the company with the intention of achieving mutual benefit. This view assumes that managers cannot control, but can guide employees. Employees influence and sometimes control managers. The key to understanding how companies operate is to realize that joint efforts are required to bring them to life. Enactment is an excellent metaphor for grasping this dynamism. It emphasizes how companies result from joint (joined) efforts, between persons inside the organization, and between the organization and people outside of it. The central theme of this book, trying to balance the dynamic influence between management and personnel, is that successful organizations exhibit joint enactment. Managers are best when they enact a drama with employees rather than attempt to direct the actions of employees.

Chapter 1 provides an overview of enactment theory. It discusses how the meanings people have of their company, market, environment, customers, themselves, and jobs affect their job performance. They enact their jobs as actors enact the scripts in plays. The difference, however, between people in companies and actors on a stage is that members of companies help write the scripts they enact. How people think of their job, their company, their management, and themselves can determine whether they believe themselves to be empowered. The assumption is that the culture of the company empowers or disempowers employees, which in turn affects their productivity and the quality of their work. The upshot of this analysis is to argue for a view of organizational communication that combines information, rhetoric, and dialectic. Chapter 2 argues that the expectations people have of one another and communicate to each other affect what they do together and how they act toward people outside of the company. What happens during enactment depends on the extent to which the meaning of people involved is compatible enough to allow them to coordinate their efforts and attain harmony instead of disharmony. The chapter sets forth principles that are explored in the book and poses a model of enactment that features the organization as shared . . .

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