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Public Relations & Internal Communciations

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Please help me with these questions:

1. Why is it important to keep internal publics informed?
2. How does corporate culture affect an organization's internal communications?
3. What are some tools/techniques used to inform, influence, and motivate internal publics?
4. What are the ramifications of ineffective communications to internal publics?

Thank you.

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Solution Preview

Let's take a closer look at the four questions by discussion and illustrative examples. I also provided an excellent article at the end of this response, which clearly demonstrates the lines of internal publics communication (and external) in the military.


1. Why is it important to keep internal publics informed?

Public relations (PR): Building sustainable relations with all publics in order to create a positive brand image or company reputation. There are many goals to be achieved by the practice of public relations, including education, correcting a mistruth, or building or improving an image. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_relations

Informing internal publics is essential for the smooth operation of the business, so that everyone is on the same page. It also avoids miscommunication and internal conflict, associated with low morale, motivation and job satisfaction, which are all linked to low levels of productivity. However, external relation is also essential to business performance, as the external publics are the customers. It promotes a company's reputation or image.

2. How does corporate culture affect an organization's internal communications?

The corporate culture affects an organization's internal communications through the organization structure and leadership style. For example, a flattened structure promotes a culture associated with the team approach, encouraging shared decision making and an open vertical line of communication. Autonomy and self-responsibility is encouraged, so people free to openly express their opinions without reprimand. Associated with a flattened structure is an egalitarian/transformative/participatory leader.

Conversely, a hierarchical structure is opposite. It promotes a closed internal communication system, with centralized chain of command coming from the top. Closed internal line of communication stops creativity and innovation, and the top managers give the orders and the lower internal publics simply 'obey' the commands.

3. What are some tools/techniques used to inform, influence, and motivate internal publics?

Some of the tools/techniques used to inform, influence and motivate internal publics range from weekly or biweekly newsletters, with the internal publics encouraged to submit story ideas, or letters stating opinions about the company activities, policies, etc. to staff meetings. The employees for example, are also encouraged to respond immediately to media calls or news releases and press conferences in the appropriate way. Some organizations have team or group meetings for special projects or morning half hour debriefing of important issues.

For other tools and techniques please see the illustrative example below, which promotes two-way communication.


Communication With Internal and External Audiences

TVA maintains open, two-way communication with employees to inform them about decisions, events, plans and strategies that affect them or that their efforts will support.

TVA is committed to communicating openly with the employees, news media, customers, stakeholders, host communities and the general public about TVA's operations, activities and plans.

· All employees
· External audiences, including the news media, customers, stakeholders, host communities and the general public
· Retirees

Two-way communication is vital in establishing a clear mission and purpose among employees and in securing the understanding and support the agency needs from others to achieve its business objectives.

It is imperative that the agency speaks with one voice and provides clear and consistent messages to its various publics through its relationships with the employees, news media, and stakeholders.


TVA's comprehensive internal communications program is aimed at reaching all employees with news of TVA's activities, plans, business objectives and strategies through a biweekly newspaper, Inside TVA, and a daily electronic newsletter, TVA

Today. Employees are strongly encouraged to participate by:
· Submitting story ideas and news items to the Editor, Inside TVA (Knoxville) - 865/632-8004, or the Editor, TVA Today, 865/632-8054. Fax is 865/632-7902.
· Submitting letters expressing opinions or posing questions about TVA practices or actions to: Inside TVA, Letters to the Editor, ET 6E-K, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, Knoxville, TN 37902.

Because employees have expressed a preference for receiving important information from their supervisors, supervisors are responsible for holding staff meetings to communicate important information as required. Employees are encouraged to ask any questions they may have during these meetings, and supervisors are responsible for assuring that employees receive answers to any questions.

Employees at all locations should immediately refer any calls from the news media to the Media Relations 24-hour line - 865/632-6000. This number provides 24-hour access to a Media Relations staff member who can determine the appropriate response.

Employees are encouraged to contact the Media Relations department with news they believe may be appropriate for announcement via a news release or press conference. Media Relations:
· Determines the appropriateness and timing of all press conferences, press events and news releases.
· Prepares and issues all news releases.
· Plans all press conferences and events.

Contact the Media Relations Manager in Knoxville for more information about news conferences and news releases.

Video productions are developed to communicate news about TVA's corporate goals and objectives and to promote and market programs, activities and accomplishments to internal and external audiences. Other video productions are done on an as-requested basis to meet the needs of the requesting office. Contact Corporate Tele-productions at 865/632-8088 for assistance.


· Share responsibility for two-way communication within TVA.
· Refer any calls from the news media to the Media Relations 24-hour line.
· Contact Media Relations about any events that might merit a news release or news conference.
· Contact Public Relations specialists for information about opportunities.

· Keep employees informed about agency or organizational plans and activities that may affect employees or their work.
· Initiate company-wide communications by contacting Communications.

· Keeps employees and the public informed about TVA activities.
· Assists organizations throughout TVA with their communications responsibilities.
· Maintain positive media relations in all TVA communities.
· Determines when news releases and news conferences are appropriate.
· Responds to all media calls.

Organizational Officers
· Communicate with the employees of their organizations about activities or changes within the organization.
· Use available company-wide communications tools to ensure that news of interest to the rest of TVA is communicated.

· TVA Today Editor
· Inside TVA Editor
· Public Relations Staff
· Media Relations Staff
· Media Relations 24-hour line - 865/632-6000

Principles & Practices Table of Contents Last Revised 10/1999
Source: http://www.tva.gov/foia/readroom/policy/prinprac/com03.htm

4. What are the ramifications of ineffective communications to internal publics?

The ramifications of ineffective communications to internal publics are many. It often means lower productivity, lower internal public morale and motivation and reported lower levels of job satisfaction. The organizational culture promoted is one of f isolation, miscommunication and higher levels of internal conflict. The business suffers immensely from ineffective internal publics, which might also include more sick days off and higher employee retention. It might be more difficult to hire and retain high quality staff as well.

This is not exhaustive, but touches on many of the main points. Please see the article that follows.


Other links:

Extra reading: Article

Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies
REDES 2001
Research and Education in Defense and Security Studies
May 22-25, 2001, Washington DC

Panel on Military-Media Relations
Military Public Relations in the Americas:
Learning to Promote the Flow

By Stephen Johnson

Policy Analyst for Latin America
The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies
The Heritage Foundation
214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002


The unrestricted flow of information is the lifeblood of any democracy. Public control of government institutions especially depends on truthful accounting of activities conducted in the name of the citizenry. Public affairs is the effort of government institutions to identify with the citizens' interest, seek informed support, and render accounts of work performed. The power of public opinion and the need to maintain public favor are concepts long appreciated throughout history. In the United States they have guided the actions of the earliest patriots and ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses why it is important to keep internal publics informed, as well as how corporate culture affects an organization's internal communications. It discusses several tools/techniques used to inform, influence, and motivate internal publics. Finally, it discusses the ramifications of ineffective communications to internal publics.