The tensions between the central communications departments at the group level and local communications practitioners at the level of individual business units are typical for all multinational corporations. First of all, it is important to note that over the last ten years the corporate communication patterns tend to change - the communications system becomes less centralized in terms of subsidiary control, but, from the other side, the communications management gets more centralized within the individual business units when the clear guidelines are created to assist managers in the communication with press…
When all of the divisions have their own communications strategy and there is no overall corporate guideline on communications, it is hard to control communications functions, especially when the company is multinational. Sara Lee Corporation is trying to find the balance between centralized control of communications and the development of communications strategies at the local level, many other multinationals are having the same struggle.
The major point is to bring all of the communications professionals from marketing, public relations and internal communications into a single department so that the knowledge can be shared, the experience enhanced and the visibility of communications sector within the company ensured (p. 127). Such cross-functional integration over and above departments is needed because most of the work related to communications cuts across different knowledge and skills domains. In addition, the communications within the company are mostly informal (p. ...
ations are separate), while under horizontal structure there is no clear line of subordination and each department has a unique function and undertakes the portion of company's overall mission. Moreover, under the vertical structure the corporate communication is placed high within the company and involves the formal collaboration.
As it was mentioned on the page 133, the survey of the 75 largest US corporations has proved that the vast majority of these companies have communications and marketing departments functioning on the same level (the horizontal structure). The same tendency is observed in UK and European companies. Therefore, the communications function is divided into two major fields -direct communication (such as employee communication, corporate design, all internal and media communications) and direct marketing (such as branding and advertising). It is worth to note that this division is not always appropriate for the small business units because the communications function is not developed so well and involves fewer specialists compared to the internationals such as Sara Lee Corporation. Moreover, the preferred interdependence and at the same times sovereignty of two departments reflects their importance to the company. Even though the tendency to divide communications function within the company, there are some exclusions. For example, in the Netherlands the communications disciplines are consolidated in a single department with high position within the company.
Sara Lee Corporations tensions are quite traditional for the majority of multinationals. There is the need to separate central communication departments from marketing because some of the communication areas fall outside the operational. For example, marketing has to deal with ...
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