Vital communicative competencies

What the public and private sectors tell us about the competencies required of communications professionals

Ten years ago, writing in the European Journal of Marketing, UK academics G. Hogg and D. Doolan pointed out that the role an individual plays within an organisation is determined by what senior managers understand the role to be and the value they place on it. Hence, if they believe the role of the communications director is wide-ranging, crucial to the whole wellbeing of the company and they place a high value on it as an activity, the communications director role will be located highly in the organisation. The task would then be to recruit an individual capable of fulfilling that role. Unfortunately, the same research also discovered that CEOs did not regard their professional communicators as necessary members of the highest decision-making coalition because this elite must have broadly-based and high-level business skills, including financial and technical knowledge relating to their sector and their specific business. On the whole, they found that professional communicators lacked such skills and were preoccupied with the operational and tactical.

Anne Gregory

Anne Gregory is the UK’s only full-time professor of public relations and is director of the Centre for Public Relations Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University, which is home to the largest department of public relations in the UK. The centre specialises in academic and contract research, consultancy and training. Gregory is also a Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University.