Financial data in internal communication

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School of Business | Master's thesis
MSc program in Corporate Communication
MSc program in Corporate Communication
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Objectives of the Study: This Master's Thesis had three objectives. The first objective was to investigate how financial data is used in the internal communication processes of the six case companies. Another goal was to find out to which extent this communication is tailored towards the personnel. Since the financial literacy of the employees varies from that of the primary target of financial communication, i.e. investors, the personnel might require simplified or otherwise tailored messages. The main objective was to identify effective practices in communicating financial data and enhancing the understanding of the employees. The improvement methods examined were the use of visualization, and the utilization of different channels and languages. Methodology and Conceptual Framework: Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with communication professionals in six case companies to achieve the data for this study. The case organizations included three Finnish multinational publicly listed companies, a large city in Finland, and two communication agencies in Finland. The conceptual framework of using financial data in internal communication was constructed particularly for this project and was based on the key findings of the literature review. The framework presents the key stakeholders, the sources of the communication, and their interactions. Findings and Conclusions: The study resulted in five main findings. 1) The publicly listed companies base their internal financial communication on external financial disclosures, and in general, approach tailoring the materials very cautiously. 2) The production of financial data and formulation of the materials for financial communication are centralized, whereas digital channels, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) presentations and team meetings by middle managers are used to deliver and explain the messages further. 3) It is considered beneficial for the company to communicate their financial data in an understandable form. Differently tailored messages should be provided to different units, levels, or departments considering the employees' financial literacy. 4) Changes were especially considered as important situations that need to be justified with financial data. 5) The most important method to enhance the understanding of employees is clear and simple face-to-face communication by middle managers.
financial communication, internal communication, financial data, financial literacy, employee understanding, communication channels, visualization, reporting language, talousviestintä, sisäinen viestintä, taloudellinen tieto, taloudellinen lukutaito, työntekijän ymmärrys, viestintäkanavat, visualisointi, raportointikieli
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