Communication focussing corporations

by Jan Christof Scheffold (Author) Niels Gliwitzky (Author)

Term Paper 2002 11 Pages

Engineering - Industrial Engineering and Management


1 Introduction

Everywhere in the world communication is present 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But this rather complex interaction of two or more people can hardly be defined and a whole lot of scientists (biologists, evolution theorists, sociologists, psychologists and medical personnel) do research.1

In the past there was a famous example what could happen, when communication failed.

The building of the tower of Babel, where god punished the mankind because of their inability to communicate and to come to an agreement. Therefore, the bible says, the people have different languages. And this caused by a lack of communication. Somehow irrational.

The second example is the modern communication. Almost everyone has got a mobile, one telephone at home, one in the office. Furthermore one or more faxes, a lot of different eMails which have to be controlled every now and then. Otherwise you are „out“ of the communication process by the blink of an eye. Because communication is nowadays everywhere, anytime and only little

private and personal, a little poem development in a literal way:

„immer mehr und immer schneller können wir einander mitteilen

daß wir

immer mehr und immer schneller immer mehr und immer schneller einander mitteilen müsen2

(in German, I am afraid) shows the

Because of our focus on corporations, communication as such in companies (internal) and of companies (external) will be topic of our following text.

2 Definition of communication

First of all communication in general can hardly be defined. Because many things, like body language, facial expressions are included in our daily communication. Much of it not even noticed or being seen as „usual“ aspect. Therefore the communication is obvious, permanent and done without (direct) instructions. This can be seen in the following quotation as well:

„A fish would be the last to discover the existence of water (...) because water was such a pervasive and important part of a fish’s environment, its existence would not even be noticed unless it were absent.“3

Nevertheless „to communicate“ has it’s roots in the Latin language and can more or less be defined as: „to inform somebody about something, to be connected“.4

2.1 Reasons for communication problems

Communication in companies does not differ much from the alldaycommunication in e.g. families. The difference is, there is a framework being given from the corporation (legal framework, offices, buildings, etc.). The rules and the hierarchy of a company influence the corporate communication. If you go more deep into the structure, then you have the department and the group influencing the employee’s behaviour and communication.

To a certain grade every individual has it’s own communication plans, aims to be reached by convincing him or her in a communicative way. Some aims people only have because the instructions, or company’s aims are to be reached. But all in all there are rules to be followed to make the way to a targetoriented co-ordination of the communication-process.5

Influencing factors on employee’s communication:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Graphic 1: corporate structures influencing the employee’s communication

To illustrate this we would like to explain the influencing factors in the following chapter.

2.2 Influencing factors

In contrast to common communication, the communication and interaction process in companies is influenced in many Let us first have a view on the following graphic, showing the influences:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Graphic 2: Factors influencing corporate communication process

Within a company there are different departments acting and interacting. Therefore we have the influencing behaviour of others on the communication process. This needs to be controlled by certain rules (e.g. hierarchy, commitments, etc).

If you are an ordinary employee in the most companies it is a really hard trip to talk to your head of department or even to the head of a company. In some, mostly America-based companies, there are other hierarchies and less regulative systems for communication. There you could even talk to the head of the company without any problems. Nevertheless status and power influence a lot people’s behaviour and communicative processes.

Mostly the influencing factors are invisible and hidden. But it can be seen, that empowered people talk more and have more „weight“ influencing and directing decisions in their way. Power influences people.6

3 Corporate communication

In times of the information age, communication becomes the key to success.

In terms of the economists, corporate communication can be seen as corporate culture or „Unternehmenskultur“ in German. Well, as you already know from the example „power“ (we have seen in another work, that power means in German a hundred different things like „strength, force, persuasion, capital, ability, etc“),the difficulty in explaining in another language exactly what is meant is also immanent in „Unternehmenskultur“ or corporate culture.

As we will see in the following chapters, corporate culture is only a part of the corporate communication. The German „Unternehmenskultur“ exactly translates to corporate culture, but means the comprehensive - and includes everything like corporate communication.7

It is said that all activities of a company are initiated by and focused on communication. Communication therefore is the essential part of the daily work.8

Furthermore it can be said that corporate communication influences the employee’s behaviour in every part of the company.

In future this will be a factor distinguishing from the competitors and leading to better results.9

3.1 Definition corporate communication

All in all the corporate communication is the sum of the four Cs: corporate image, corporate identity, corporate design and corporate culture. That includes all communicative activities, internally and externally on all -strategical and operational- levels of corporations.

It describes all communication activities which are being initiated and then adjusted to reach the over all target. Without communication there is no way to successfully act target oriented.

The aim is, to design and maintain the image, products and services of an organisation.

To reach the target-groups within the mass is getting more and more difficult. Nowadays the opportunities are countless. But although the tendency to differentiate communication is obvious, it becomes more and more important to co-ordinate all interactive elements.10

To give an overview of existing elements the following graphic helps:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Graphic 3: Elements of communication overview

The upper graphic shows elements of communication influencing corporate communication and being corporate communication in the mean time. This interactive situation is dependant on many factors, of course.


1 Wahren, H.: Zwischenmenschliche Kommunikation und Interaktion in Unternehmen, S. 7

2 Seethaler, H.: Gedichte zum Pflücken, 1999

3 Wahren, H.: Zwischenmenschliche Kommunikation und Interaktion in Unternehmen, S. 7

4 Burkhart, W.: Grosses Universal Lexikon, 1982, S. 1117

5 Wahren, H.: Zwischenmenschliche Kommunikation und Interaktion in Unternehmen, S. 45f.

6 Wahren, H.: Zwischenmenschliche Kommunikation und Interaktion in Unternehmen, S. 63ff.

7 Heinen, E.: Unternehmenskultur, München, S. 2f.

8 Wahren, H.: Zwischenmenschliche Kommunikation und Interaktion in Unternehmen, S. 48

9 Heinen, E.: Unternehmenskultur, München, S. 2f.

10 Reineke, W.: Gesamtkommunikation, Heidelberg, S. 13f.


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University of Applied Sciences Bremen – Industrial Engineering
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Kommunikation Corporate Communication Marketing Public Relation PR CD CI CC




Title: Communication focussing corporations