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Corporate Reputation Review Volume 8 Number 4

In Practice
A Managerial Look at the Interaction
Between Internal Communication and
Corporate Reputation

Arin Dortok
Kesisim Publication and Communication Services, Istanbul, Turkey

ABSTRACT interaction between corporate reputation and


This paper is based on the hypothesis that there is internal communication is in effect. The purpose
a correlation between corporate reputation and of this paper is to provide a new perspective on the
internal communication. Qualitative research has discussions about the subject.
been conducted based on the hypothesis that com-
panies with high reputation and companies with KEYWORDS: business objectives, business
lower reputation differ in their attitudes towards results, corporate reputation, employee, internal
the ‘relation between corporate reputation and communication
internal communication’. This study is based on
research called the ‘Most Admired Companies’ INTRODUCTION
conducted annually over the past three years by Today people find themselves in a market
one of Turkey’s leading business magazines, environment, where the conditions are con-
Capital. In this research, for comparative pur- tinuously changing. The competition is
poses, only the top 10 and the bottom 10 compa- heating up, information is being dissemi-
nies listed in the above-mentioned ‘Most Admired nated faster than ever — thanks to develop-
Companies’ research have been taken into consid- ing technology — and emotional factors are
eration. The research method that was used in this given priority over material values, as pro-
study for the purposes of determining the attitude ducts and services look more and more
of senior communication managers toward inter- alike. Given the changing conditions of the
nal communication was the ‘survey method’. market, it is now a must that not only pro-
Although the sample size of the survey was duction, finance and business processes, but
limited to the numbers noted above, statistically also communication processes are managed
significant results have been obtained. These strategically. There is now an awareness of
include the following: the top 10 companies give the possibility that, with increasing compe-
weight to internal communication; they consider tition, stakeholders — such as shareholders,
measurement a significant factor in their activities investors, customers, consumers, suppliers,
and believe that ‘commitment’ is a major contribu- employees and the general public who can
tion towards business results; they develop and influence the company or be influenced by
put into effect internal communication plans more its operations — can change their decisions
Corporate Reputation Review,
often than the bottom 10 companies; and they anytime. On the other hand, the assumption
Vol. 8, No. 4, 2006, pp. 322–338 believe in the impact of internal communication that a company’s interaction with its stake-
# Palgrave Macmillan Ltd,
1479–1889/06 $30.00 on corporate reputation. This study states that an holders is what makes up its corporate repu-

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Dortok

tation and that this interaction has an impact employees. The employees serve as the
on the company’s business results, has been perfect source and they are a competitive
discussed and confirmed as compelling. advantage when sharing the corporate
Companies are now confronted by a brand with potential customers, existing
need to measure the expectations of their ones and with other stakeholders.’
stakeholders and to express clearly their (Angelo, 2000)
own vision, on the one hand, a need to
‘manage the future’ by establishing a con- Employees play a key role in helping
nection between the two, on the other. companies achieve their business results.
‘It is possible to compare reputation with a The relation of the employees with their
monetary value, but it is not easy’, says company is gaining more importance in the
Charles J. Fombrun (1996), the Executive achievement of business results such as
Director of the Reputation Institute. His increasing company profit and in achieving
approach towards ‘corporate reputation’ is a competitive standing in the market.
rather solid: reputation affects how a com-
pany gains the support of people and in ‘Companies with good reputations
return is influential on the degree of their attract good employees, who produce
willingness to contribute to the company. new and innovative products and serve
For listed companies, the only simple mea- customers well. Earnings grow,
sure is to analyze the ‘book value’ and the employees and customers stay happy,
market value and the difference between and the strong reputation continues. On
them. The result is the ‘intangible assets’ the other hand, companies at the bottom
gained by the company from the market and of the reputation list with low reputation
that makes up an average of 55 per cent of ratings have their own reasoning. Bad
the company value. Intangible values consist performance causes financial problems.
of two different assets: intellectual capital Both the Company and its employees
and reputation capital. The latter is gaining and the customers lose, which makes the
importance as a source of financial value.1 bad performance even worse.’
(Vergin, 2003)
Corporate Reputation in the Eyes of
Employees The Corporate Communications Survey
Corporate reputation, which has become a conducted by Strateji/GfK research in
major concern for companies, is now a December 2003 among stakeholders from
value that is hard to achieve and yet easy the ‘general public’ sets forth that in the
to lose. In order to accurately manage cor- trust/frequency index, the employee ranks in
porate reputation, it is necessary to identify the top three as an information source.
and analyze the stakeholders’ expectations (Figure 1)2
and the role they play in a corporate repu- Employees have an influence on other
tation. Among the stakeholders who influ- stakeholders. One other survey in support of
ence corporate reputation and are this assertion was conducted by Wirthlin
influenced by it, employees are a significant Worldwide Research for Burson–Marstel-
factor and their significant role becomes ler. The survey results provided a ranking of
increasingly effective every day. Paula M. five groups of stakeholders with influence on
Angelo’s statement supports this assertion: corporate reputation (Burson–Marsteller
and Wirthlin Worldwide, 1998: 1).
‘The reputation of the company is The collective perception of all stake-
always important in the eyes of its holders noted in Table 1 is what deter-

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The Interaction Between Internal Communication and Corporate Reputation

Figure 1: Information sources about the benchmark company

Table 1: Collective Perception of Stakeholders Determining Corporate Reputation

Ask Ask CEOs Ask media Ask board Ask Ask Wall Ask government
executives members consumers Street

Customers Customers Customers Customers Customers Customers Customers


Employees Employees Employees Employees Employees Employees Employees
The Media The Media The Media The Media General CEO Community
public
Wall Street CEO Community Wall Street The Media Wall Street General public
CEO Wall Street General CEO Community The Media The Media
public

mines whether the corporate reputation is they can work better, pay more
good or bad. Therefore it is crucial for attention on their products and this in
employees to identify themselves with turn strengthens the corporate culture.
their companies. Given the opportunity, they can act as
ambassadors of the company. Therefore,
‘The reputation of a company is a receiving the support of employees is
mirror reflecting what is going on crucial for sustaining a strong reputa-
inside the company. If employees tion.’
identify themselves with their company, (Fombrun, 1996: 14)

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Dortok

The Influence of Intangible Values on The perception of other stakeholders is


Employees influenced by the perception of employees
Having a good corporate reputation and about their own company. Therefore it is
maintaining it is impossible without the sup- of great significance that the employees
port of employees. ‘Without a good internal embrace and internalize the company cul-
reputation, your external reputation will not be ture, which is only possible through fully
good either. If your employees do not trust embracing and internalizing the intangible
you, they can openly voice their feelings and emotional values, and not only the
and thoughts to everybody, hence brutally functional and tangible ones.
damaging your reputation and invalidating The necessity for employees to act as
your successes’ (Young, 1996: 11–12). their companies’ advocates in order to
Today, one often comes across literature create a change in the perceptions and
expressions such as ‘employees’ commit- behavior of other stakeholders becomes
ment to the company’ and ‘employees’ evident. The extent of employees’ relations
pride in being part of the company’ Expres- to their companies can be seen in the Mori
sions like ‘employee satisfaction’ and ‘custo- Excellence Model (Figure 2).
mer satisfaction’ are used and ‘reputation’ The attitudes laid out in Figure 2 are
and ‘employee’ are often used together. valid for all stakeholders and they consti-
tute the main subjects of both internal
‘The behavior that supports a corporate communication and corporate reputation.
reputation or brand needs to be more Various research on reputation points out
deeply rooted, it needs to rest in the the possibility of a negative impact created
organization’s identity. Employees must by corporate members on their company’s
feel the message they are sending with reputation and in this connection research-
their behavior, not just go through ers draw attention to the significance of
motions. Thus, increasingly organiza- emotional factors.
tions compete based on their ability to
express who they are and what they ‘Since beliefs about organizational
stand for.’ identity affect members’ motivation and
(Schultz et al., 2000: 80) commitment, protecting and enhancing

Figure 2: The Mori Excellence Model

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The Interaction Between Internal Communication and Corporate Reputation

the organization’s reputation affect its Figure 3 provides examples of significant


ability to manage its employees.’ intangible values that are influential in
(Schultz et al., 2000: 80) encouraging employees to be proud of
their company and to become their compa-
Employees are in need of a feeling of trust ny’s advocates.3
for their companies; they want to acquire Intangible factors that can help employ-
company related information directly, to ees become advocates of their companies
contribute to the future decisions of their and affect other stakeholders can be mana-
company and to be proud of the company ged by internal communication, which in
they work for. In their paper: ‘Gaps turn is related to corporate reputation.
between the internal and external percep- When the studies are examined about
tions of the corporate brand,’ Gary Davis employees and corporate reputation in an
and Rosa Chun of the Manchester Business attempt to analyze the interaction between
School explain employee satisfaction as internal communication and corporate
follows: ‘Employee satisfaction here refers reputation, it is seen that employees are
to the degree which an employee has posi- important stakeholders in corporate reputa-
tive emotions towards the ‘‘organization’’, tion and influence the business results.
not towards the ‘‘specific work role’’, which Employees, on the other hand, are them-
is relevant to ‘‘job satisfaction’’ ’ (Davies and selves positively influenced by good corpo-
Chun, 2002). In that paper, the authors rate reputation.
assert that while satisfaction has two aspects Below is a summary of Capital’s ‘Most
— rational and emotional — during the Admired Companies’ research which has
study branding activity was focused on the been an inspiration for this study on the
emotional aspect. The emotional aspect is interaction of internal communication with
described by such concepts as ‘happy’, corporate reputation. While this study pre-
‘pleased’ and ‘proud’. sents an outlook on general opinion, a sub-
Among the most significant factors that sequent study, ‘A Managerial Look at the
help employees perceive their companies Interaction between Internal Communica-
and act as the company’s advocates are the tion and Corporate Reputation Research’,
intangible values. Today, tangible factors reveals the correlation and the interaction
such as salary and bonus that can be between corporate reputation and internal
described as functional are considered communication.
‘default’.
CAPITAL’S ‘MOST ADMIRED
‘There is increasing evidence that the COMPANIES’ RESEARCH4
good employees demand more from The methodology that the Capital maga-
their place of employment than a zine applied in its ‘Most Admired Com-
competitive wage, professional develop- panies’ research, which has been used as a
ment, and a career path. Bright, source for this research on the relation
dynamic, independent, and creative between corporate reputation and internal
employees want to feel that the communication, is as follows:
corporate values, that the organization
provides them with an arena for — Turkey’s most admired companies of
meaningful work and personal develop- 2002 as well as the most admired
ment and that they can be proud of their companies from 38 different industries
place of work.’ were identified
(Pruzan, 2002) — In total 550 of the companies listed

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Figure 3: Business results (%) — Benchmark

I would support every kind of

0.9
4.9
commercial activity 94.2

I would support every kind of social


2.0 12.7 85.3
activity

Is a company I would like to work


2.8

for/ I would want my child to work 7.5 89.7


for

I would buy shares for the long

0.9
term if/ when I have money 16.3 19.9 62.9
3.1

0.2
Is a company I am proud of 17.7 79.0
1.2

Is a company I trust 8.4 90.4

I would purchase its products/


1.7

0.3
services in new areas 9.6 88.5

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

Do not agree Neither agree nor disagree Agree No opinion

under the 38 most admired industries, — Managers were allowed, however, to


including their 1,329 senior and junior evaluate the companies they work for
managers, were contacted via tele- within the same 18 criteria
phone, e-mail, fax, mail and the — The field study took place between
internet August 2002 and September 2002; the
— First, the managers evaluated 18 criteria data analysis and reporting were done
that can potentially generate admira- in October 2002.
tion for a company, over a scale of ten.
Following this, without differentiating Research criteria were as follows:
the industry in which a given company
operates, they identified the company 1 Information and technology invest-
they admired most and provided their ments
reasons 2 Quality of service or product
— After identifying the ‘Most Admired 3 Financial reliability
Company of Turkey’, leading figures 4 New product development, innovation
from 38 different industries were asked 5 Quality of management
to identify the three companies they 6 Social benefits and rights of employees
admired most, on the conditions that 7 Payment policy and wage ranges
they exclude their own companies, 8 Improvement of employee qualifica-
choose companies in their own industry tions
and state their reasons for their choice 9 Marketing and sales strategies

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The Interaction Between Internal Communication and Corporate Reputation

10 Communications and PR throughout the world. The subject of this


11 Employee qualifications research is the approach of managers
12 Ethics in competitive behavior responsible for communication towards the
13 Employee satisfaction interaction between corporate reputation
14 Customer satisfaction and internal communication. The question
15 Management and company transpar- for the research was as follows: ‘In compa-
ency nies with high and relatively low reputa-
16 Creating value for the investor tion, what is the extent of the weight
17 Social liability given by senior managers in charge of
18 Integration into international markets. communication to the interaction between
corporate reputation and internal commu-
The Scope and Course of the ‘Most nication; and what is their attitude when
Admired Companies’ Research facing this interaction?’.
— Ranking of the criteria (18 criteria that
can potentially generate admiration for The Purpose of the Research
a company) The purpose of this study’s research was to
— The most admired company of Turkey obtain the opinions of senior managers in
and their reasons for their choice charge of communication in companies
— The top three most admired companies with high and relatively low reputations
in the industry with reasons (according about ‘the interaction between corporate
to the degree of fondness) reputation and internal communication’
— Evaluation of the most admired and to use this data for concluding whether
company in the industry he/she oper- such an interaction exists or not.
ates within in each criteria on a scale of
10 (18 criteria that can potentially Main hypotheses
generate admiration for a company)
— Evaluation of his/her own company in H1: There is an interaction between corpo-
each criteria on a scale of 10 (18 criteria rate reputation and internal communica-
that can potentially generate admira- tion.
tion for a company) H2: The approach of the top and bottom 10
— Profile: age, gender, degree of educa- companies to internal communication
tion, title, years spent in the company, differs from one another.
favorite magazines and papers, ISP, cell
phone make and model, favorite soccer The sub-hypotheses tested in the study
team, favorite commercials and promo-
tional campaigns. — Companies with a high reputation give
more importance to internal communi-
‘A MANAGERIAL LOOK AT THE cation compared with companies with
INTERACTION BETWEEN INTERNAL lower reputation
COMMUNICATION AND CORPORATE — Companies with a lower reputation
REPUTATION’ — THE RESEARCH have a stronger belief in the necessity
for an ideal company to have an
The Subject of the Research and the internal communication plan than
Problem companies with a high reputation
The interaction between corporate reputa- — The possibility of maintaining an
tion and internal communication has been internal communication plan in a
identified by several studies undertaken company is greater in companies with

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Dortok

a high reputation than it is with com- ited in its field study of Turkey. Despite its
panies with a lower reputation relatively small sample size, tests were
— The top 10 companies assign greater applied to prove that the results are statisti-
significance to communication plans as cally significant. Any evaluation apart
an impact on company reputation than from this is the author’s personal qualita-
the bottom 10 companies tive comment.
— Companies with a higher reputation The following headlines have been used
consider measurement of internal to prepare the questions:
communication plans with greater
significance than companies with a — Importance of internal communication
lower reputation — Measuring the internal communication
— The rate of measurement of internal activities and the frequency of measure-
communication activities that actually ment
take place is greater in companies with — Contribution of internal communication
a high reputation than it is in compa- towards reaching the business objectives
nies with a lower reputation — Contribution of internal communica-
— The belief that a company should main- tion to the business results of the
tain a permanent team exclusively company (which also affect the reputa-
responsible for internal communication tion)
is a belief more commonly shared in — Contribution of internal communica-
companies with a high reputation than it tion to corporate reputation
is in companies with a lower reputation — Priorities of internal communication
— The possibility of maintaining a perma- tools
nent team exclusively responsible for — Existence of an internal communication
internal communication is greater in team
companies with a high reputation than — Communication revenues
it is in companies with a lower reputa- — The share of internal communication
tion. within communication revenues.

The t-tests and w-square tests were used to The survey consists of three main parts.
see the statistical differences between the First, demographic information of partici-
top 10 and bottom 10 companies using a pants: title, age, gender, years spent in the
90 per cent confidentiality level. company and the industry of the company.
Secondly, participants’ definition of an ideal
The Methodology company: their opinion about the concept
Because the question of interaction of ‘interaction between internal communi-
between corporate reputation and internal cation and corporate reputation’ for an ideal
communication in companies — and parti- company. Thirdly, participants’ description
cularly in companies that are included on of the current situation in their companies:
the reputation list — has hitherto been their remarks about ‘interaction between
overlooked in the literature, this paper internal communication and corporate
aims to lay out a framework for a discus- reputation’ in their company.
sion. Based on the ‘Most Admired Com- Questions for the survey were prepared
panies’ research of Capital magazine, this in a way suitable for comparative evalua-
research is limited in its scope to a compar- tion. A scale of 5 (1: not important at all;
ison of only the top and the bottom 10 5: very important) has been preferred over
companies on Capital’s list and is also lim- a scale of 10 or 7 in order to make the

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The Interaction Between Internal Communication and Corporate Reputation

comparison easier. The answers given to The Research Calendar and its
the questions have been evaluated in per- Application
centages. Two questions that were aimed The questions of the survey used in the
at finding out the communication budgets research have been prepared after the com-
have been prepared with open ends. The pletion of the first two chapters, which
survey was carried out both face-to-face include the literature study, relevant studies
and through e-mail/fax. made in the world as well as Capital’s
The report of Capital’s ‘Most Admired ‘Most Admired Companies’ research. The
Companies’ survey lists only the companies research was completed between March 1,
in top 20 positions. Table 2 gives informa- 2003 and August 31st, 2003, a period of
tion about the top 10 and bottom 10 com- five months.
panies with which the survey was
conducted.

Table 2: List of Participants in the Survey ‘A Managerial Look at the Interaction between
Internal Communication and Corporate Reputation’

Title Age Sex Industry Years spent Top 10 or


(years) at the bottom 10
company

Communication coordinator 35–40 Male Food 8 Top 10


Deputy general manager 35–40 Male Banking 6 Top 10
responsible for HR
General manager 40–45 Male Durable consumer 4 Top 10
goods
Head of corporate 35–40 Female GSM 1.5 Top 10
communication department
Director of advertisement 35–40 Female Conglomerate 12 Top 10
and PR
Director of corporate 50–55 Male Durable consumer 6 Top 10
communication goods
President responsible for 50–55 Male Conglomerate 28 Top 10
corporate communication
and external relations
Deputy coordinator of 35–40 Male Medicine and health 15 Top 10
corporate communication services, construction
materials, consumer
goods, finance,
information technologies
Director of HR and 35–40 Male Food 3 Bottom 10
administration
Director of PR 35–40 Female Textile 8 Bottom 10
HR officer 25–30 Female Construction 3 Bottom 10
Sales manager 35–40 Male Import 5 Bottom 10
Director of HR and 40–45 Male Food 1 Bottom 10
personnel
HR officer 40–45 Female Finance 8 Bottom 10

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Dortok

Evaluating the Findings such a plan, the ratio is not higher than
One of the most remarkable findings is 66.7 per cent for the bottom 10 companies
that companies with high reputations (independent sample t-test and w-square
attached more importance to internal com- test; 90 per cent confidence level). Another
munication compared with companies result is that the top 10 companies matched
with lower reputations (independent the definition of an ‘ideal company’
sample t-test and w-square test; 90 per cent (Figure 5).
confidence level). Ideally, both the top 10 The question that was posed only to
and the bottom 10 companies shared the those companies with an internal commu-
idea that internal communication is impor- nication plan leads to the conclusion that,
tant. Both groups, however, stated that the although this difference is not statistically
importance given to internal communica- significantly different, the bottom 10 com-
tion in their company was lower than it panies considered their plans sufficient,
should be. Also, the importance attached to which is not the case for the top 10 compa-
internal communication by the bottom 10 nies (Figure 6).
companies was relatively lower compared Companies with high corporate reputa-
with the top 10 companies (Figure 4). tions paid more attention to the measure-
Another finding supporting this is that ment of internal communication activities
all of the top 10 companies had an internal compared to companies with lower reputa-
communication plan. Both the top and tions (independent sample t-test and w-
the bottom 10 companies shared the idea square test; 90 per cent confidence level)
that an ideal company should have an (Figure 7).
internal communication plan. Nevertheless, Companies with high corporate reputa-
whereas all of the top 10 companies had tions stated that internal communication
was playing an important role in achieving
Figure 4: Importance of internal their business objectives and they had per-
communication
Question 1: How much importance do you think should
be given by companies to internal communication? Figure 5: Necessity/importance of internal
Question 13: Generally, how much importance does your communication plans
company give to internal communication?
5. Should give highest amount of importance Question 2: How necessary do you think are the internal
4. Should give high importance communication plans for companies?
3. Neutral 5. Very necessary 4. Necessary 3. Neutral
2. Should give low importance 2. Less necessary 1. Not necessary at all
1. Should give lowest amount of importance Question 14: Does your company have an internal
communication plan?
1. Yes 2. No

4.63

Ideal 100.0

5.00
Necessity

100.0

4.25
100.0
Present

4.17 Present
66.7

Top 10 Bottom 10
Top 10 Bottom 10
Average

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The Interaction Between Internal Communication and Corporate Reputation

Figure 6: Sufficiency of the internal tioned by the top 10 companies as


communication plan important business results for them and the
Question 15: If you have one, do you think that your ideal company, can also be found in the
company’s internal communication plan is sufficient? foreground of research on corporate reputa-
5. Very sufficient 4. Sufficient 3. Neutral tion. These business results match with some
2. Not sufficient 1. Not sufficient at all
components of corporate reputation, ie
‘employees’ commitment’, ‘a good place to
3.50
work’ and ‘value attached to employees by
the company’. When this connection is
taken into consideration, answers given by
the top 10 companies can be evaluated more
3.75
realistically. Another important finding
from this question is that internal communi-
Top 10 Bottom 10 cation was mentioned to be important for
the ‘commitment’ business result more by
Figure 7: Importance of measuring the the top 10 companies than it was mentioned
efficiency of internal communication activities by the bottom 10 companies (Figure 9).
Question 3: Do you think that it is important to measure Although there was a perfect consensus
the efficiency of companies’ internal communication about the contribution of internal commu-
activities? nication to corporate reputation, the
5. Very important 4. Important 3. Neutral
2. Not important 1. Not important at all degree of perceived efficiency of the com-
panies’ own internal communication activ-
ities affecting their reputation was greater
for the top 10 companies compared with
4.63
those in the bottom 10 (independent
sample t-test and w-square test; 90 per cent
confidence level) (Figure 10).
Importance
level
As a tool of internal communication, the
‘annual meetings’ were more common in
the top 10 companies. Sharing corporate
3.83 strategies, business objectives and future
plans with employees was more important
for companies with high reputations. This
evaluation is supported by the fact that
Top 10 Bottom 10 ‘internal publications’ and the ‘intranet’
Average
were vital tools for the top 10 companies
(Figure 11).
sonally experienced this in their companies The top 10 companies attached more
(Figure 8). importance to the measurement of internal
When asked about which business results communication activities compared with
were influenced by internal communication, the bottom 10. Two interesting points are
the top 10 companies rated themselves that the bottom 10 companies believed that
lower than the ideal, whereas the bottom 10 the measurement should be done for both
companies rated themselves higher than the abstract (loyalty, recommendation etc) and
ideal, which is a remarkable result. It can be concrete values (financial indicators etc)
seen, however, that the concepts of ‘com- and that the current situation indicated that
mitment’ and ‘pride’, which were men- there was only a narrow and insignificant

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Figure 8: Influence/contribution of internal communication to achieving business objectives


Question 4: What is the influence/contribution of internal communication to achieving business objectives?
Question 17: What is the influence/contribution of your company’s internal communication activities to achieving your
business objectives?
5. Very influential 4. Influential 3. Neutral 2. Not influential 1. Not influential at all

4.25

Ideal

4.33

4.13

Present

3.83

Top 10 Bottom 10
Average

Figure 9: Influence/contribution of internal communication to business results


Question 5: What is the influence/contribution of internal communication to business results listed below?
Question 18: What is the influence/contribution of your company’s internal communication activities to business results
listed below?
5. Very influential 4. Influential 3. Neutral 2. Not influential 1. Not influential at all

In companies In your company


4.75 4.38
‘Commitment’
4.00 4.00
4.50 4.25
‘Pride’
3.83 4.17
4.38 4.13
‘Efficiency’
4.00 4.33
4.38 4.13
‘Recommendation’
3.67 3.83
4.25 4.25
‘Satisfaction’
3.83 4.33
4.00 3.88
‘Intellectual value
added’ 4.17 4.17

Top 10 Bottom 10 Top 10 Bottom 10

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The Interaction Between Internal Communication and Corporate Reputation

Figure 10: Influence/contribution of internal communication to corporate reputation


Question 6: What is the influence/contribution of internal communication to corporate reputation?
Question 18: What is the influence/contribution of your company’s internal communication activities to your corporate
reputation?
5. Very influential 4. Influential 3. Neutral 2. Not influential 1. Not influential at all

4.50

Ideal

4.67

4.25

Present

3.83

Top 10 Bottom 10

Figure 11: Tools that should be used for internal communication


Question 7: Which of the below should be used for internal communication with priority?
Question 20: What are the internal communication tools you are using most in your company?

Ideal Present
Annual meetings 17.8 22.4
9.6 8.2
17.1 9.9
Oral/written messages from
the top management 11.4 19.1
16.4 17.1
Intranet
14.0 19.1
15.8 12.5
M eetings with the managers periodically
20.2 16.4
15.8 17.8
Internal publications
12.3 10.9
8.6 6.6
Reward ceremonies 8.8 5.5
3.3 6.6
Announcement boards 9.6 9.1
2.6 2.6
Inter-departmental meetings
11.4 7.3
2.0 2.0
Activities (like p icnics) 2.6 2.7
0.7 2.6
Contests 0.9
0.0

Top 10 Bottom 10 Top 10 Bottom 10

gap between the top and the bottom 10 On one hand, the top 10 companies were
companies. Other findings have to be attaching more importance to the measure-
taken into consideration in order to make a ment of internal communication activities
correct evaluation (Figure 12). on both an annual and a project basis

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Figure 12: Methods of measuring companies’ internal communication activities


Question 8: How do you think the results of companies’ internal communication activities should be measured?
Question 21: How do you think the results of your company’s internal communication activities should be measured?

Ideal Present

25.0 37.5
Business results that are non-
financial like loyalty,
recommendation, satisfaction etc
0.0 40.0

Both financial and non-financial 75.0 62.5


business results as loyalty,
recommendation, satisfaction etc

100.0 60.0

Top 10 Bottom 10 Top 10 Bottom 10

Figure 13: Ideal frequency of measuring the Figure 14: Frequency of measuring the internal
internal communication activities communication activities annually (present)
Question 9: How often do you think companies should Question 16a: Does your company measure its internal
measure their internal communication activities? communication activities?

12.5
Annually 62.5
33.3
Yes, every year 20.0
12.5
On the basis of internal
37.5
communication projects 33.3
Yes, from time
37.5 60.0
Both
to time
16.7 0.0

37.5 Never
Other 20.0

16.7
Top 10 Bottom 10

Top 10 Bottom10

compared with the bottom 10 companies measured once every 6 months, 3 months or
and, in fact, they made regular measure- 2 years, whereas 20 per cent of the bottom 10
ments (Figure 13). On the other hand, some companies did not make any measurement
of the top 10 companies mentioned that they at all (Figures 14 and 15).

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The Interaction Between Internal Communication and Corporate Reputation

Figure 15: Frequency of measuring internal communication activities (present)


Question 16b: Do you measure the effectiveness of internal communication activities in your company?

On Project Basis
0.0

Yes , after every


project 0.0

87.5
Yes, after some
projects 80.0

12.5
Never
20.0

Top 10 Bottom 10

Figure 16: The degree of necessity of a team responsible for internal communication
Question 10: Do you think that companies should have a team responsible for internal communication?
Question 22: Does your company have a team responsible for internal communication?

50.0

Necessity

50.0

62.5

Present
33.3

Top 10 Bottom 10

Consequently, measurement was more tion activities through measurements in


important for the top 10 companies com- certain periods.
pared with the bottom 10 companies and Another crucial finding is that half of the
they evaluated their internal communica- companies in both groups agreed that there

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should be a team responsible for internal On the other hand, the most important
communication. The proportion of com- point identified is that the employee is the
panies that actually had such a team, leading stakeholder carrying the corporate
although not statistically significantly dif- reputation, be it good or bad, and influen-
ferent, was higher for the top 10 companies cing it. Similarly, corporate reputation
(Figure 16). influences employees as well. If the com-
When findings related to the communi- pany is recommended as a good place to
cation budget and the share of internal work, employees can work more happily
communication within this budget were and efficiently and the company gains
evaluated, one could not determine a stan- talented employees.
dard figure for the budget, neither in Models and studies of corporate reputa-
actual cases nor as the ideal. In the current tion prove that employees are important
situation, all the companies spent a different stakeholders of corporate reputation and
portion of their budget on internal com- they can influence the company’s business
munication, while some companies refused results, directly or indirectly. At the same
to answer this question. time employees are positively influenced
It is possible to conclude that companies by good corporate reputation.
with high reputations attached more impor- The following generalizations can be
tance to internal communication. They had made about the evaluations made by
internal communication plans and they reg- worldwide studies on the subject:
ularly measured the activities carried out
within the framework of these plans. They — Corporate reputation influences
also stated that internal communication con- employees
tributed to business objectives, business — Employees influence corporate reputa-
results and corporate reputation; in addition, tion
they were using appropriate communica- — Corporate reputation affects the perfor-
tion tools. mance of the employee
— Companies with high reputations
CONCLUSION invest more in internal communication
Establishing relations with employees or, in compared with those with lower repu-
other words, undertaking activities aimed tations
at one-way information flow or increased — There is a strategic relation between
employee motivation are not enough on internal communication and business
their own. Instead, internal communication results
needs to be undertaken strategically to — With respect to business results, compa-
encourage employees to a ‘value adding’ nies with high reputations see commu-
attitude, thereby taking the company to nication as a strategic function and
the future. This is the dominant approach associate communication with making
in all the models related to internal com- a difference in competition and solving
munication examined. Internal communi- strategic problems
cation is a cycle consisting of a — For companies paying attention to
communication strategy appropriate for reputation, internal communication is
the future of the company, an internal also very important
communication plan aligning employees’ — In Europe:
expectations with the expectations of the — The most important components
company, as well as application, measure- affecting corporate reputation are,
ment and evaluation. in order, ‘products/services’, ‘social

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The Interaction Between Internal Communication and Corporate Reputation

responsibility’ and ‘work environ- this paper. This study also has special sig-
ment’ nificance in the way that it presents a
— The most influential factor within reflection of the current company profiles
the ‘work environment’ component in Turkey.
is perceived as ‘a good place to
work’ NOTES
— The extent to which the company 1 ‘Stakeholder’, Sabah Business Magazine, No. 6,
is appreciated is affected by the August 2003, 36.
value attached by the company to 2 STRATEJIGfK Corporate Communications
Survey, December 2003, Istanbul, Turkey.
its employees and the rights it
3 STRATEJIGfK Corporate Communications
provides for them. Survey, December 2003, Istanbul, Turkey.
4 ‘Most Admired Companies’ Capital Magazine,
This research: ‘A Managerial Look at the Istanbul, Turkey, 2002.
Interaction Between Internal Communica-
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