Communication and C-Suite: Some Strategic Contributions


  • Mónica Recalde Viana Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. University of Navarra
  • Elena Gutiérrez-García Faculty of Communication. University of Navarra.


In the current complexity of public communication, the debate regarding relationships between organizations and their stakeholders demands special attention, in particular the responsibility of business in social contexts and environmental sustainability. Academic discussion in recent decades has increased the interest in the role of communication in the professional sphere. However, academia has not explicitly addressed its relationship with the key leadership process that is decision-making. To what extent does good management of communication links provide managers with good guidelines for corporate governance? Taking an original approach, this article aims to analyze to what extent communication and the establishment of relationships with stakeholders enrich the difficult task of making decisions in the company. For this purpose, the authors encourage an interdisciplinary discussion that examines the most significant doctrinal concepts: public relations, corporate communications and the stakeholder theory. Finally, the article makes a proposal that clarifies concepts and provides business with some keys for using communication to make a strategic contribution.


strategic communication, corporate governance, management, stakeholders, relationships


ARGENTI, P. (2014). Comunicación estratégica y su contribución a la reputación. Madrid: LID. 1a. ed.

ARMENDÁRIZ, E. (2012). “Relaciones públicas en España. Algunos precedentes en la primera mitad del siglo XX y pasos preliminares de la nueva profesión”. Anàlisi: Quaderns de comunicació i cultura. Núm. 45, pág. 15-31.

AULA, P. & MANTERE, S. (2008). Strategic reputation management. Towards a company of good. Nueva York: Routledge. 1a. ed.

BISHOP, B. (2006). “Theory and practice converge: a proposed set of corporate communication principles”. Corporate Communications: An International Journal. Vol. 11, Núm. 3, pág. 214-231.

BUYSSE, K. & VERBEKE, A. (2003). “Proactive Environmental Strategies: A Stakeholder Management Perspective”. Strategic Management Journal. Vol. 24, Núm. 5, pág. 453-470.

CAPRIOTTI, P. (2007). “El concepto de relación como fundamento de la naturaleza de los públicos en Relaciones Públicas”. Sphera Pública, Núm. 7, pág. 65-80.

CASTILLO, A. (2004). “Comunicación empresarial e institucional: estrategias de comunicación”. Zer: Revista de Estudios de Comunicación, Núm. 17, págs. 189-207.

CHRISTENSEN, L.T., MORSING, M. & CHENEY, G. (2008). Corporate Communications: Convention, Complexity, and Critique. Londres: Sage. 1a. ed.

CLARKE, T. & CLEGG, S. (1998). Changing ParadiEME: The Transformation of Management Knowledge for the 21st Century. Londres: HaperCollins Business. 1a ed.

CLARKSON, M.B.E. (1995). “A stakeholder framework for analyzing and evaluating corporate social performance”. Academy of Management Review. Núm. 20, pág. 92-117.

CORNELISSEN, J. (2004). Corporate communications: theory and practice. Londres: SAGE Publications. 1a ed.

CORNELISSEN, J. & THORPE, R. (2001). “The organisation of external communication disciplines in UK companies: a conceptual and empirical analysis of dimensions and determinants”. The Journal of Business Communication. Vol. 38, Núm 3, pág. 413-438.

CUTLIP, S.M., CENTER, A.H. & BROOM, G.M. (2000). Effective Public Relations. Nueva Jersey: Prentice-Hall. 7a ed.

DAWKINS, C.E. (2014). “The principle of good faith: Toward substantive stakeholder engagement”. Journal of Business Ethics. Núm. 121, pág. 283-295.

DESANTO, B. & MOSS, D. (2004). “Rediscovering what PR managers do: Rethinking the measurement of managerial behaviour in the public relations context”. Journal of Communication Management. Vol. 9, Núm. 2, págs. 179–196.

DONALDSON, T. & PRESTON, L.E. (1995). “The stakeholder theory of the corporation: concepts, evidence and implications”. Academy of Management Review. Vol. 20, pág. 65-92.

DOSSA, Z. & KAEUFER, K. (2014). “Understanding sustainability innovations through positive ethical networks”. Journal of Business Ethics. Vol. 119, pág. 543–559.

EHLING, W.P. (1992). “Estimating the value of public relations and communication to an organization”. En: J.E. GRUNIG, D.M. DOZIER, W.P. EHLING, L.A. GRUNIG, F.C. REPPER & J. WHITE (ed.). Excellence in public relations and communication management. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1a. ed., pág. 616–638.

FERGUSON, M. A. (1984). “Building theory in public relations: interorganizational relationships”. Paper presentado en la Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Gainesville, FL.

FOMBRUN, C.J. & VAN RIEL, C.B.M. (2004). Fame and Fortune: How Successful Companies Build Winning Reputation. Nueva Jersey: Pearson Education. 1a ed.

FREEMAN, R.E; HARRISON, J.S., MECHAS, A.C., PARMAR, B.L. & DE COLLE, S. (2010). Stakeholder theory: the state of the art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1a ed.

FREEMAN, R.E. & REED, D.L. (1983). “Stockholders and Stakeholders: A new perspective on corporate governance”. California Management Review. Vol. 25, Núm. 3, pág. 93-94.

FREEMAN, E. (1984). Strategic Management: A stakeholder approach. Nueva Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs. 1a ed.

GOODPASTER, K.E. (1991). “Business ethics and stakeholder analysis”. Business Ethics Quarterly. Vol. 1, Núm 1, pág. 53-73.

GREGORY, A. & WILLIS, P. (2013). Strategic public relations leadership. Nueva York: Routledge. 1a ed.

GREGORY, A. (2008). “Competencies of senior communication practitioners in the UK: an initial study”. Public Relations Review. Núm. 34, pág. 215-223.

GRUNIG, J.E. (2006). “Research in Public Relations: current status and new directions”. Anàlisi: Quaderns de comunicación i cultura. Núm. 34, pág. 49-65.

GRUNIG, J. E., & GRUNIG, L. A. (1992). “Models of public relations and communication”. En: J.A. LEDINGHAM & S.D.

BRUNING (ed.). Public relations as relationship management: A relational approach to public relations. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 1a ed., pág. 3–22.

GRUNIG, J.E. & HUANG, Y.H. (2002). “The effect of relationships on reputation and on relationships: A cognitive, behavioral study”. Paper presentado en la 5ª Edición de Educator's Academy, Public Relations Society of America. Miami, FL.

GUTIÉRREZ-GARCÍA, E. (2014). “Las relaciones comunicativas y su gestión en entornos multistakeholder: un viaje por las tradiciones académicas”. En: J. VILLAFAÑE (ed.). Anuario. La comunicación empresarial y la gestión de intangibles en España y Lationamérica. Barcelona: Prentice Hall, pág. 215-233.

GUTIÉRREZ-GARCÍA, E. (2010). “Dimensión comunicativa del buen gobierno empresarial”. Revista empresa y humanismo. Vol. 13, Núm 2, pág. 149-182.

HALLAHAN, K., HOLTZHAUSEN, D., VAN RULER, B., VER?I?, D & SRIRAMESH, K. (2007). “Defining Strategic Communication”. International Journal of Strategic Communication. Vol. 1, Núm. 1, pág. 3-35.

HEATH, R.L. (2013). “The journey to understand and champion OPR takes many roads, some not yet well travelled”. Public Relations Review. Vol. 39, pág. 426-431.

HEATH, R.L. & PALENCHAR, M.J, (2009). Strategic issues management. Organizations and public policy challenges. Thousand Oaks: Sage. 2a ed.

IHLEN, Ø., BARTLETT, J.L. & MAY, S. (2011). “Corporate Social Responsibility and Communication”. En: Ø. IHLEN, J.L. BARTLETT & S. MAY (ed.). The handbook of Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2a ed., pág. 3-22.

JOHANSEN, T.S. & ANDERSEN, S.E. (2012). “Co-creating ONE: rethinking integration within communication”. Corporate Communications: An International Journal. Vol 17, Núm. 3, pág. 272–288.

JOHANSEN, T.S. & NIELSEN, A.E. (2011). “Strategic stakeholder dialogues: a discursive perspective on relationship building”. Corporate Communications: An International Journal. Vol 16, Núm. 3, pág. 204-217.

JOHANSSON, C. & OTTESTING, A.T. (2011). “Communication executives in a changing world: legitimacy beyond organizational borders”. Journal of Communication Management. Vol 15, Núm. 2, págs. 144-164.

KI, E.J. & SHIN, J.H. (2006). “Status of organization–public relationship research from an analysis of published articles, 1985–2004”. Public Relations Review. Vol. 32, Núm. 2, pág. 194–195.

KROHLING KUNSCH, M.M. (2006). “Planejamento e gestao estrategica de relaçoes públicas nas organizaçoes contemporâneas”. Anàlisi: Quaderns de comunicación i cultura. Vol. 34, pág. 125-139.

LA PORTE, J.M. (2009). “La comunicación institucional como fundamento integrador”. En: J.M. MORA. (ed.). 10 ensayos de comunicación institucional. Pamplona: EUNSA. 1a ed. pág. 29-50.

L'ETANG, J. (2003). “The myth of the 'ethical guardian': An examination of its origins, potency and illusions”. Journal of Communication Management. Vol. 8, Núm. 1, pág. 53-67.

LEDINGHAM, J. A. (2003). “Explicating relationship management as a general theory of public relations”. Journal of Public Relations Research. Vol. 15, Núm. 2, pág. 181–198.

LEDINGHAM, J.A. & BRUNING, S.D. (2000). Public relations as relationship management: A relational approach to the study and practice of public relations. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 1a ed.

LEDINGHAM, J.A. (2006). “Relationship management: a general theory of public relations”. En: C. BOTAN & V. HAZLETON (ed.). Public relations theory II. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 1a ed., pág. 465-477.

LEITCH, S. & NEILSON, D. (2001). “Bringing publics into public relations: new theoretical frameworks for practice”. En: R.L. HEATH (ed.). Handbook of Public Relations. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage. 1a ed., pág. 127-138.

LOSADA DÍAZ, J.C. (2009). “Los 10 frentes de la comunicación corporativa”. Doxa Comunicación. Vol. 9, pág. 145-164.

LOUGOVOY, C. & LINON, M. (1983). Relaciones Públicas: función de gobierno de la empresa y de la administración. Barcelona: Editorial Hispano Europea. 3a ed.

LUOMA-AHO, V. & PALOVIITA, A. (2010). “Actor-networking stakeholder theory for today's corporate communications”. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 15, Núm. 1, pág. 49-67.

MAGALLÓN, S. (2006). “Concepto y elementos de las RRPP”. Anàlisi: Quaderns de comunicación i cultura. Núm. 34, pág. 103-109.

MASON, C. & SIMMONS, J. (2014). “Embedding Corporate Social Responsibility in Corporate Governance: a stakeholder systems approach”. Journal of Business Ethics. Vol. 119, pág. 77-86.

MARTÍN MARTÍN, F. (2004). Diccionario de comunicación corporativa e institucional y relaciones públicas. Madrid: Fragua. 1a ed.

MATILLA, K. & MARCA, G. (2012). “The accountability gap: The use of preliminary and evaluative research in Spain”. Public Relations Review. Vol. 38, Núm. 5, pág. 825-830.

MAY, S. (2011). “Organizational Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility”. En: Ø. IHLEN, J.L.

BARTLETT & S. MAY (ed.). The handbook of Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons. 1a.ed., pág. 87-109.

MAZZEI, A. (2014). “A multidisciplinary approach for a new understanding of corporate communication”. Corporate Communication: An International Journal. Vol. 19; Núm. 2, pág. 216-230.

MINOJA, M. (2012). “Stakeholder management theory, firm strategy, and ambidexterity”. Journal of Business Ethics. Vol. 109, pág. 67-82.

MINTZBERG, H., RAISINGHANI, D., & THEORET, A. (1976). “The structure of “unstructured” decision processes”. Administrative Science Quarterly. Vol. 21, pág. 246-275.

MINTZBERG, H. & WESTLEY, F. (2006). “Tres modelos para mejorar la toma de decisiones”. Harvard Deusto Business Review. Vol. 12, pág. 54-60.

MORA, J.M. (2009). “El departamento de comunicación, factor de cohesión y dinamismo”. En: J.M. MORA (ed.). 10 ensayos de comunicación institucional. Barañáin: EUNSA. 1a ed., pág. 67-94.

MORALES-LUGO, F. & ENRIQUE, A.M. (2007). “La figura del “Dircom” su importancia en el modelo de comunicación integral”. Anàlisi: Quaderns de comunicación i cultura. Núm. 35, pág. 83-93.

MORENO, M.A., NAVARRO, C.R. & ZERFASS, A. (2012). “Relaciones públicas, un término desacreditado en España y el resto de Europa. Conclusiones del European Communication Monitor 2011”. Hologramática. Vol. 17, Núm. 2, pág. 115-140.

MOSS, D. & GREEN, R. (2001). “Re-examining the manager´s role in public relations: what management and public relations research teaches us”. Journal of Communication. Vol. 6, Núm. 2, pág. 118-132.

MOSS, D., WARNABY, G. & NEWMAN, A.J. (2000). “Public relations practitioner role enactment at the senior management level within UK companies”. Journal of Public Relations Research. Vol. 12, Núm. 4, pág. 277-307.

NOGUERO I GRAU, A. (2006). “Consideraciones acerca de las RRPP en el siglo XX y su incardinación actual en el fenómeno de la Globalización”. Anàlisi: Quaderns de comunicación i cultura. Núm. 34, pág. 87-102.

PIECZKA, M. & L´ETANG, J. (2001). Public relations and the question of professionalism. En: R.L. HEATH (ed.). Handbook of public relations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 1a ed., pág. 223-236.

POST, J. E., PRESTON, L. E. & SACHS, S. (2002). Redefining the corporation: stakeholder management and organizational wealth. Standford: Standford Business Books. 1a ed.

RADFORD, F.P. & GOLDSTEIN, S.Z. (2002). ”El papel de los métodos de investigación en comunicación corporativa”. Corporate Communication: An International Journal. Vol. 7, Núm. 4, pág. 252-256.

RECALDE, M. (2010). “¿De qué modo contribuye la comunicación al logro de una empresa más responsable? Algunas propiedades y principios de gestión”. Cuadernos de la Información. Vol. 27, Núm. 2, pág. 111-122.

RAUPP, J. & HOFFJANN, O. (2012). “Understanding strategy in communication management”. Journal of Communication Management. Vol. 16, Núm. 2, pág. 146–161.

RODRÍGUEZ SALCEDO, N. (2007). “La historia como tendencia actual de las relaciones públicas”. En: AIRP (ed.). Tendencias actuales en las relaciones públicas. AIRP: Madrid. 1a ed., pág. 184-204.

SALES, A., FOURNIER, M. & SÉNÉCHAL, Y. (2007). “Knowledge, communication, reflexive creativity and social change”. En: A. SALES & M. FOURNIER (ed.). Knowledge, Communication & Creativity. Londres: Sage. 1a ed., pág. 3-27.

SCHULTZ, D.E. (1996). “The inevitability of integrated communications”. Journal of Business Research. Vol. 37, Núm. 3, pág. 139-146.

SMITH, B.G. (2012). “Public relations identity and the stakeholder–organization relationship: A revised theoretical position for public relations scholarship”. Public Relations Review. Vol. 38, Núm. 5, pág. 838–845.

SWERLING, J. THORSON, K. & ZERFASS, A. (2013). “The role and the status of communication practice in the USA and Europe. Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 18, Núm. 1, pág. 2-15.

TSENG, H.C., DUAN, C.H., TUNG, H.L. & KUNG H.J. (2010). “Modern business ethics research: concepts, theories, and relationships”. Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 91, pág. 587-597.

VAN RIEL, C.B.M. (1995). Principles of Corporate Communication. Nueva York: Prentice Hall. 1a ed.

VAN RIEL, C.B.M. & FOMBRUN, C.J. (2007). Essentials of corporate communication. Nueva York: Routledge. 1a ed.

VELDHUIZEN, M., BLOK, V. & DENTONI, D. (2013). “Organizational drivers of capabilities for multi-stakeholder dialogue and knowledge integration”. Journal of Chain and Network Science. Vol. 13, Núm. 2, pág. 107-117.

VERBOS, A.K., & MILLER, J.S. (2013). “When harm is at stake: ethical value orientation, managerial decisions, and relational outcomes”. Journal of Business Ethics. Vol. 127, Núm.1, pág. 149-163.

VINTEN, G. (2001). “Shareholder vs stakeholder - is there a governance-dilemma?” Corporate Governance: An International Review. Vol. 9, Núm. 1, pág. 36-47.

WHITE, J. & MAZUR, L. (1995). Strategic Communications Management. Addison-Wesley Publishing. Cambridge. 1a ed.

WILCOX, D.L. (2006). “The landscape of today´s global Public Relations”. Anàlisi: Quaderns de comunicación i cultura, Núm. 34, pág. 67-85.

WILCOX, D.L., CAMERON, G.T., XIFRA, J. & MORENO, A. (2012). Relaciones públicas: Estrategias y tácticas. Madrid: Pearson Educación. 10a ed.

WOERKUM C.V. & AARTS, N. (2008). “Staying connected. The communication between organizations and their environment”. Corporate Communications: An International Journal. Vol. 13, Núm. 2, pág. 197-211.

WU, X. (2007). “Stakeholder identifying and positioning (SIP) models: from Google’s operation in China to a general case-analysis framework”. Public Relations Review. Vol. 33, Núm. 4, pág. 415-425.

XIFRA, J. (2005). Planificación estratégica de las relaciones públicas. Barcelona: Paidós Ibérica. 1a ed.

Author Biographies

Mónica Recalde Viana, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration. University of Navarra

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Economics and Business. PhD in Communication Studies at the University of Navarra.

Elena Gutiérrez-García, Faculty of Communication. University of Navarra.

Aggregate Professor of the School of Communication at the University of Navarra and deputy director of the Master in Political and Corporate Communication at the same university.




Download data is not yet available.