Integrated internal communications in the multinational corporation

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School of Business | Doctoral thesis (article-based) | Defence date: 2006-11-10
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Kansainvälinen yritysviestintä
International Business Communication
Degree programme
186 s.
Acta Universitatis oeconomicae Helsingiensis. A, 280
Hanna Kalla International Business Communication PhD Abstract Integrated Internal Communications in the Multinational Corporation This research stems from a desire to better understand the role of internal communications in the setting of the multinational corporation (MNC). More specifically, links between internal communications, social capital, knowledge sharing, and certain aspects of diversity are explored in order to more fully comprehend the potential influence of internal communications for the functioning of the MNC. This will be accomplished by looking at previous literature, developing a theoretical framework, and analysing empirical data obtained from a leading telecoms multinational corporation that serves as the case company in this study. This Doctoral Dissertation is divided into two parts. Part I explores the theoretical foundations; Part II explores the phenomenon through three essays, which are based on empirical data formed of qualitative thematic interviews (n = 12) and quantitative questionnaire survey data (n = 749). In Part I, the role of internal communications is examined from a multidisciplinary and multilevel perspective, which is where a current research gap exists. This multidisciplinary and multilevel perspective to internal communications is here termed integrated internal communications. On the one hand, a multidisciplinary perspective here refers to the incorporation of different communication internal disciplines (i.e., organisational, corporate, management, and business communication) and also the inclusion of communication external disciplines (e.g., management and international business). On the other hand, a multilevel perspective refers to the incorporation of all formal and informal communication taking place internally at all levels of an organisation. The overall research question this study aims to answer is: “What is the nature and role of integrated internal communications in the MNC?” In Part II, the three essays examine the theoretical issues through empirical data. Essay 1 examines, through qualitative interviews, how integrated internal communications manifests itself in the MNC. The contribution of this essay is to give more theoretical insight and empirical evidence of integrated internal communications as a multidisciplinary and multilevel phenomenon. Essay 2 addresses the relationships that exist between integrated internal communications, social capital, and knowledge sharing by using regression analysis on the questionnaire survey data. The findings show that communication intensity positively influences both, hence giving support to the view that communication plays a strategic role in the MNC. Essay 3 approaches the phenomenon of integrated internal communications by assessing the impact of diversity on different communication patterns via applying analysis of variance (ANOVA) on the questionnaire survey data. This essay highlights the role of the multi-contextual nature of the MNC, and illustrates that diversity may influence intra-workgroup communication patterns differently when compared with those of the inter-workgroup. Overall, the theoretical and empirical findings of this study contribute to an enhanced understanding of the multi-faceted phenomenon of internal communications in the MNC context through an integrated internal communications framework
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Charles, Mirjaliisa, professor
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