Paul A. Argenti in his book titled Corporate Communication, 6th edition, analyses importance of corporate communication and its functions in organizations both internally and externally. Argenti talks of the ways in which organizations can use corporate communication strategies to be able to achieve the highest success. It is essential to point out that not all aspects that Argenti talks about can be applied for the benefit of organizations. However, the principle objectives of corporate communication that Argenti addresses are important and should be critically analyzed. This paper looks at the principle objectives of corporate communications that Argenti lays out and critiques the positions that have been outlined.
It is widely known that success not only in business but also in other realms is heavily dependent on the communication strategy that is put in place. Argenti clearly states that success of a company’s communication strategy is largely dependent on the manner in which the communication strategy is tied to strategy of the business as an entity. This is very true because communication strategy cannot be established in a company where strategy does not work in life with the overall business strategy of the company. The communication strategy just like other strategies within an organization is meant to ensure that the organization achieves the highest potential in its dealings. Therefore, whatever communication strategy is employed in an organization it should reflect an alignment with other strategies that have been adopted within the organization. This is because all strategies including the communication strategy should reflect the mission and vision of an organization and work towards realization of that mission and vision. Therefore, I agree with Argenti that communication strategy in a company must be closely tied to the business strategy of the company, which requires careful planning in order to achieve success. The resource department in linkage with other departments must put corporate communication strategies at the core of their activities and ensure that it is linked to the central mission of the company (Argenti 64).
Argenti also states that there is a need for corporate communications professionals to perform a variety of subfunctions within their functions. He also states that their roles will continue to broaden and diversify as aspects of globalization and information flows change. This is true in the sense that the world continues to change in terms of expectations, technologies and ways of doing things. This means that corporate communication professionals must change their practices to reflect these changes and address the challenges that come with these changes. The changes in corporate communication professionals and departments must be effected both internally and externally.
Both external and internal stakeholders are important for a business success. Despite the fact that customers are an important aspect for business, there are other important stakeholders in businesses, especially employees. Argenti states that for a long time managers have been concentrating on the customer care when planning the corporate communication strategies. However, more recently they have started paying more attention to their employees because they have discovered that employees are the most important aspect of a company, especially when it comes to success of a business. Internal communications have been found highly effective when dealing with employees. In the current world, internal communications are more than the form of agents of communication. It is about creating a corporate culture that is based on the values and potential that can help change organizations towards success. The complex, highly competitive and ever-changing environment have put more pressure on employees to put more effort in production and area of internal communications. As such, employees demand participation in company decisions and consider non-invitation as alienation and non-appreciation.
In the third and seventh chapters of Corporate Communication Argenti provides several instances of how he believes companies ought to communicate with a number of their stakeholders both within and without their doors. For instance, he argues that effective corporate communications are very different from what used to be called “public relations” or “flaking” (Argenti 48). He claims that neither of these terms is very complimentary but today’s business communication is generally more trustworthy and effective than that undertaken in the past. This is true because public relations is a concept that is concentrated too much on the public image of a company meaning that its focus was mainly on the external aspect of communication. Public relations gives customers and other outside stakeholders importance of communications and ignores the internal concepts. However, corporate communications is a concept that integrates both the internal and external aspects giving importance to both customers and employees as important aspects of organizational success. Both the external and internal stakeholders must be engaged in participation because they all have an essential role to play in overall company communication and ultimate success.
He goes on to state that a company’s reputation really consists in determining how a firm wants to be perceived with different constituencies and how it chooses to identify itself, which is the cornerstone function of corporate communication (Argenti 59). This is an intriguing definition of business reputation. I agree with Argenti to a certain extent in this definition. The different constituencies play a significant role in determining how a company formulates its business dealings to achieve a certain perception from various stakeholders. Likewise, a company has a bigger role in decision-making with regard to the perception it wants several constituencies to have over it. However, not all issues of perception are always tied to the business reputation because perception and actual business dealings and performance are two different things. On the one hand, a company can create good outside perception with its various stakeholders or constituencies while, on the other, internally engage in practices that are not up to the standard that the perception speaks of that company. Therefore, the manner in which a firm wants to be perceived with different constituencies and how it chooses to identify itself could help the company formulate strategies and engage in practices that attract good reputation, for instance, by producing quality products, engaging in safe production practices and having good human resource and customer care strategies. Encompassing all these is the corporate communication strategy. In order to work with different constituencies and ensure that a firm creates good perception with them, corporate communications must be adequately and effectively planned to ensure that these constituencies are addressed in a professional and fulfilling manner.
As a final instance of the points that Argenti makes, he contends that “employees have more to do with the success of a business than virtually any other constituency. Internal communications in the twenty-first century is more than the memos, publications, and broadcasts that comprise it; it is about building a corporate culture and having the potential to drive organizational change” (Argenti 175). I agree fully with Argenti in this. Despite the fact that all constituencies or stakeholders in and outside a company are important, employees are the most important and have more to do with success of an organization than have any other stakeholder. Employees participate in production, decision-making, communication, handling customers and various pressures that arise within organization. Employees are the ones who determine if the issues and activities that the company engages in will be identified with perception and reputation that the company wants to have with all other stakeholders. In addition, success of a firm or business entity is closely tied to the returns or profits that the business entity makes after a certain period. These returns cannot be realized without participation of each single employee within the business entity. Therefore, despite the fact that the company pays the employees to work or the fact that some employees might be considered to add little value to the organization, they all are essential for the overall success of the organization or business entity. In addition, it is important to note that many customers and other stakeholders identify the business entity with its employees. If employees appear to care less about what happens within the organization or even in handling customers, then the business entity is bound to fail. On the other hand, if employees are identified as motivated, customer friendly, professional and timely, then the business entity is bound to achieve high levels of success. Therefore, the employees are more important than any other constituency or stakeholder group of a business entity or company.
I disagree with Argenti in several aspects. First, Argenti states that managers need to get out from behind their desk, put down their smart phones and go out and get to know people who are working for them (Argenti 191). However, this is a waste of time and is not essential because managers have their own responsibilities to undertake more than just knowing all their employees. In fact, this is difficult when addressing large companies, such as multinational companies. Managers can know their employees by working with them and not going to know them. I had an experience of two types of managers. One manager always stayed in the office, had monitors in every classroom, and watched not only students but also teachers. It was probably good for parents who came to see their children in school, but this put teachers into unnecessary tension. The other manager was free. He moved around the school, interacted with teachers and students and we felt comfortable around him.
The author also states that smart phones make employee work in and out from the office, they are useful and practical. While this might be true, it has negative consequences because people will misuse them and engage in their personal issues and conversations instead of working. Besides, smart phones will kill communications because people will engage in fewer conversations and concentrate on texting. However, I partially agree with this point, because it makes employees and their managers familiar and know about each other.
I agree with Argenti that internal publications, memos and using letters to communicate to employees about deals or important contracts are significant as part of corporate communications. These forms create an understanding about managers and employees. It is a good way to be impressive to the media. For instance, I applied to one company for summer internship and the most interesting thing about this company was that it had an interactive website between the company and employees and showed the news about company and employees. This attracted me to apply. This shows positive and cooperative relationships between them and the media.
Argenti states that companies must ensure that news come directly from employees as this reduces gossips and poor morale within the company (Argenti 64). Argenti also talks about grapevine. He asserts that companies should use and embrace gossips or rumors as part of the communication process. This can be helpful in acquiring information that no one is ready to openly speak about. However, this is bound to create tension in the workplace. Therefore, other means, such as suggestion boxes or complaint boxes, should be used instead of rumors or gossips. I was once hired on a part time job, but I had much burden of work as much as like employee had. However, the payment was not satisfying, maybe because I was on part time, meaning I would not work for them for a long time. I was hired as a teaching assistant at first, then I was changed to a full teacher because the boss liked my teaching style. However, the payment did not improve much. I had poor morale and was demotivated.