INSTITUTIONALISING THE STRATEGIC ROLE OF CORPORATE
COMMUNICATION/PUBLIC RELATIONS THROUGH ITS
CONTRIBUTION TO ENTERPRISE STRATEGY AND ENTERPRISE
Paper submitted to the 10th Annual EUPRERA Conference,
to be held in Milan from 16-18 October 2008
Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Enterprise strategy, corporate governance, sustainability, social responsibility, corporate social performance, strategic role of corporate communication, role of the public relations strategist role, Triple Bottom Line, non-financial goals, environmental monitoring, ROI
This paper is based on the Master’s dissertation (MTech Public Relations Management) of Lynne Niemann. The supervisor was Benita Steyn.
INSTITUTIONALISING THE STRATEGIC ROLE OF CORPORATE
COMMUNICATION THROUGH ITS CONTRIBUTION TO ENTERPRISE
STRATEGY AND ENTERPRISE GOVERNANCE
In the new business paradigm with its focus on social, environmental and economic sustainability -- characterised by a Triple Bottom Line approach to strategic management -- organisations are increasingly ‘regulated’ by societal expectations for good corporate governance, socially responsible and ethical behaviour, rather than by the law. The ‘business of business’ is no longer only business (‘Profit’) and shareholders are no longer the only important stakeholders. In their strategic decision making and behaviour, private and public sector organisations now need to consider the environment (‘Planet’) as well as strategic stakeholders such as employees, customers, regulators, the community, the media, activists and a myriad of others (‘People’). In this new era, society might even be considered the most ‘strategic’ stakeholder.
Organisations of the 21st century therefore have to consider/fulfil/adapt to societal expectations, values, norms and standards in order to secure legitimacy; obtain and maintain a good reputation; and to be regarded as societally responsible, trustworthy and a good (corporate) citizen.
This paper will explore i) the concept of ‘enterprise strategy’ (Ansoff, 1979; Digman, 1990; Freeman, 1984; Hemphill, 1996; Judge & Hema, 1994; Stead & Stead, 2002) as a mechanism for incorporating societal expectations, values, norms and standards into organisations’ strategic decision making processes; ii). the role of the corporate communication/public relations strategist verified by Steyn (2000a, 2000b, 2003a, 2003b) and its contribution to enterprise strategy development, as conceptualised by Steyn (in Toth, 2007); and iii) the relationship between enterprise strategy, corporate governance and the strategic role of corporate communication.
2. PROBLEM STATEMENT
Few organisational decision makers (especially in the private sector) would disagree that there is an increasing need to incorporate societal expectations, values, norms and standards into their organisation’s strategy development processes. However, there is a practical problem in doing so: Firstly, apart from the possibilities offered by the concept of enterprise strategy, there is no mechanism or framework for identifying and managing societal expectations internally, making it part of strategic decision-making. (In essence, this is a theoretical problem). Secondly, there is no organisational function/role/position designated to carry the responsibility for doing so. Thirdly, enterprise strategy is not a wellknown (or much used) concept -- even though it was first conceptualised three decades ago. It therefore needs to be further explored and developed.
Few corporate communication/public relations (PR) academics or practitioners would disagree that the strategic role of corporate communication needs to be further explored, especially with regards to its contribution to top-level strategies and key organisational priorities...
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