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Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise.- Genres and Trends

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Giuliana Elena Garzone and Maurizio Gotti

This book brings together a selection of papers originally presented at the fifth conference on Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise (DICOEN V) held in Milan in September 2009, and mainly focuses on the relevance of discourse and communication to the world of business and organizations as seen from a variety of disciplines (linguistics, communication studies, management studies, sociology, marketing). What unites the contributions is the discursive framework they adopt for the analysis of corporate communication, looking at it as a situated activity in a broadly constructionist paradigm. The various sections are organized along an internal-to-external-communication gradient, starting from the analysis of communication within a company’s ordinary operational activities and moving gradually towards types of discourse that are specifically aimed at communication to the public at large, including their representation in the media. The picture that emerges is a good approximation to an accurate and updated snapshot of the state of the art in research and expertise in the area of corporate and institutional communication.

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GIULIANA GARZONE / MAURIZIO GOTTI - Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise. An Introduction - 9

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Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise. An Introduction 9 company’s activities, those related to communication are perceived as crucial for its performance and reputation. As van Riel and Fombrun (2007: 1) point out: Communication is the lifeblood of all organizations: it is the medium through which companies large and small access the vital resources they need in order to operate. It is through communication that organizations acquire the primary resources they need (such as capital, labor and raw materials) and build up valuable stocks of secondary resources (such as ‘legitimacy’ and ‘reputation’) that enable them to operate. Thus communication determines not only a company’s performance, but also its ability to influence the context in which it operates and keep a dialogue going with stakeholders and with other social actors. Within the enterprise, this set of tasks – on account of its complexity – tends to be carried out by a multiplicity of specialized individuals and/or groups working towards the acquisition of physical and symbolic resources that are absolutely valuable for the enterprise’s life and prosperity, a state of things which, incidentally, determines the absolute need to integrate the various functions and actors involved. All voices, all forms of information transmission, all interactions – oral and written – taking place within the sphere of an enterprise’s activities, and not only those specifically aimed at controlling communication, will contribute to its efficient operation as well as to its overall collective organizational image and reputation (Balmer/Greyser 2006). In this respect, a useful notion is that of ‘corporate personality’...

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