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Book explores what constitutes excellence in strategic communication


A new book by a Leeds Beckett University academic based on 10 years of empirical data outlines key rules to leverage the full potential of public relations for organisations has been published.

Ralph Tench

The book, published by Palgrave Macmillan, and written by Professor Ralph Tench from Leeds Business School at Leeds Beckett, outlines the nine commandments that define communication excellence for the best performing organisations, departments and people.

The book, Communication Excellence – How to develop, manage and lead exceptional communication, puts forward a new framework of communication excellence based upon 10 years of empirical data and the views of over 21,000 practitioners in communication across 46 countries in Europe.

The excellence thesis in the book breaks down high performance communication into three levels, the organisation, the department and then the individual (figure 1). Each of these levels in the framework has a dedicated chapter – or commandment – with three commandments for each level of the framework (figure 2).

Figure 1

Figure 2

Within the organisational level there are discussions of how the organisation must be connected, evidenced through being (1) globalised, (2) mediatised and (3) reflective. The department must be (4) embedded within the organisation, (5) datafied and (6) strategised. At the personal or professional level practitioners must be knowledgeable and (7) sagacious, well connected or (8) linked and working within a high moral and ethical framework to be (9) solid.

Written by renowned European communication researchers Ralph Tench, Dejan Verčič, Ansgar Zerfass, Angeles Moreno and Piet Verhoeven, the book discusses the excellence framework with clear reference back to the experience of practice and practitioners in high performing organisations and departments. Case studies are used to exemplify each of the commandments from well known international brands such as Santander, Electrolux, Porsche, KMPG, DHL and more.

The book is aimed at practitioners as well as researchers in the discipline who are keen to explore and understand more about contemporary strategic communication and what factors contribute to high performance in this competitive environment.

The book is based on data from the European Communication Monitor (ECM), the largest global study of public relations and strategic communication practice. It has been conducted annually since 2007 and is complemented by bi-annual surveys in other regions (Latin America, Asia-Pacific) since 2014. The communication monitor series covers more than 80 countries altogether. It is the only continuous global research in the field which adheres to full standards of empirical research and provides transparency about its sampling procedures and respondents. A joint study by academia and practice, the ECM is organised by the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) and the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD), supported by different partners over the years.

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