Common viewpoints as well as divergences between top executives and communication professionals influence the institutionalization of strategic communication. However, there is little empirical evidence on the accordance between both groups. Most research explores either communication professionals or chief communication officers (CCOs). Very few studies have combined both perspectives. This article identifies the research gap, explores insights from previous research, and contributes to the body of knowledge in strategic communication with an original study that is based on two surveys with replies from 602 CEOs and executive board members as well as 1,251 communication managers from companies in the largest European country, Germany. While top executives rate the information and motivation of employees as the most important objective of corporate communication, communication professionals focus on the creation of a positive image. Respondents from both groups also state different opinions about dealing with the demand for transparency. Both top executives and communicators give most support to a role model that describes communication professionals as a facilitator between an organization and its publics. Nevertheless the overall conclusion is that perspectives diverge quite often and attention should be directed towards a better alignment between top management and those leading the strategic communication function.
Zerfass, Ansgar et al. 2014. “Corporate communications from the top and from the center: comparing experiences and expectations of CEOs and communicators.” International Journal of Strategic Communication, 8(2):61-78