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Corporate Communication

Critical Business Asset for Strategic Global Change

Michael Goodman and Peter B. Hirsch

The communication role in organizations has changed, just as the nature of organizations has changed in response to the explosion of new communication technologies as well as global networks within organizations. Communication is more complex, strategic, and vital to the health of the organization than it used to be, and it will become increasingly important in the information-driven economy. This book builds upon the authors’ 2010 book, Corporate Communication: Strategic Adaptation for Global Practice, which focused on the role of the communicator. This volume examines, analyzes, and illustrates the practice of corporate communication as a critical business asset in a time of global change. It looks at the major communication needs in the lifecycle of organizations: M&A (mergers and acquisitions), structural change, culture change, innovation, new leadership, downsizing, global expansion, competition, ethical decision-making, political action, and employee engagement. These are all significant value-creating, and potentially value-destroying, events in which corporate communication, if used correctly, functions as a critical and strategic business asset.
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Chapter Seven: Technology and the Social Network

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← 126 | 127 → CHAPTER SEVEN

Technology and the Social Network

This chapter analyzes how digital media—the Web—have created internal and external communication challenges for corporations, examines what they are, and suggests some of the ways in which companies deal with them. The challenges include globalization, employee use of social media in a networked enterprise, news aggregation and timely corporate responses in an instantaneous media environment, and the use of electronic media in the regulated environment of investor relations.

The Internet has had a transformative influence on corporate communication from its beginnings to its current form as the Web. That influence extends not only to the introduction of a wide array of new communications channels, but also to the very core of what we consider to be corporate communication. The extraordinarily high levels of interactivity and transparency enabled by the Internet have made the elemental practices of corporate communication—corporate reputation, employee engagement, shareholder communication, public affairs, community relations, and media relations—ever more important over the last few years with the rise of social media adoption.

The current transformation will continue, and it is likely that we will look back on this era as having changed not only the way companies communicate with these stakeholders, but also the very nature of those relationships as well. We may be able to say in a few years that “the medium is the relationship.” Or perhaps we will adopt the concept proposed by Rich...

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