Journal article

The rehabilitation of the “nation variable” : links between corporate communications and the cultural context in five countries

Published in:
  • Corporate communications: an international journal. - Emerald. - 2015, vol. 20, no. 4, p. 483-499
English Purpose – Despite an impressive body of international research, there is a lack of empirical evidence describing the ways in which organisational environments influence the practices of corporate communications (CC). A cross-cultural survey in five countries contributes to closing this research gap. The paper aims to discuss this issue. Design/methodology/approach – What makes the research design innovative is that the questionnaire incorporates both practitioners’ perceptions of the cultural context and the relevance of CC practices. The sample comprises 418 practitioners from the most senior positions in CC in the biggest companies in Australia, Austria, Germany, Indonesia, and Switzerland. By choosing a systematic access to the field the authors circumvent shortcomings of “snowball” sampling techniques. Findings – While cultural perceptions and CC priorities vary to a certain degree, there are hardly any significant correlations between the two. Meanwhile, the “nation variable”, and the institutional settings associated with it, are more instructive when explaining differences in CC. Research limitations/implications – A large cross-cultural survey needs to take a “birds eye view” and, as such, is able to identify only general tendencies when describing relations between perceptions of culture and CC practices. Future case studies and qualitative research could explore more subtle ways in which CC is influenced not only by the cultural context, but also – and probably even more – by institutional environments. Originality/value – This is the first cross-cultural survey to systematically describe on the level of primary data, the links between CC practices and perceptions of the organisational environment. Since the results indicate only a limited impact of culture, the authors would recommend the rehabilitation of the “nation variable”. Provided it is understood and differentiated as a representation of specific institutional contexts, the nation variable is likely to prove highly instructive when accounting for the diversity of CC observed around the world.
Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales
Département des sciences de la communication et des médias
  • English
Information, communication and media sciences
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