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School of Business | Department of Communication | International Business Communication | 2011
Thesis number: 12705
"Strong but stronger together" - Perceptions of communication in cooperation projects by representatives of Finnish sports, wellbeing and design business: case Ready Steady GO! Finland
Author: Leskinen, Lauri-Matti
Title: "Strong but stronger together" - Perceptions of communication in cooperation projects by representatives of Finnish sports, wellbeing and design business: case Ready Steady GO! Finland
Year: 2011  Language: eng
Department: Department of Communication
Academic subject: International Business Communication
Index terms: yritysviestintä; business communication; viestintä; communication; kansainvälinen; international; yhteistyö; cooperation
Pages: 85
Key terms: organizational communication; interorganizational cooperation; internal communication; external communication; interdisciplinary communication
Objective of the Study

The objective of the study was to find out how the participating organizations of the multidisciplinary cooperation project Ready Steady GO! Finland perceived the needs of internal and external communication in the context of the project. The study explored three types of communication needs: the current roles and experiences on communication in the participating organizations, the messages that needed to be communicated and the preferred tools for communication.

Methodology and the Theoretical Framework

The source of data in the qualitative single case study consisted of 18 semi-structured interviews conducted among the organizations participating in Ready Steady GO! Finland. The theoretical framework combines the perception of Grunig (1992, 1997) that aligning internal and external communication in organizations makes it easier to both make sense of the information coming from the environment and to give sense to the messages the organizations send to the environment to the structured three-level model of communication planning that encompasses operational, tactical and strategic aspects of communication planning developed by Åberg (2000).

Findings and Conclusions

The findings of the study were numerous. The findings related to the interviewed organizations’ current use and experiences related to communication, indicated that the most usual channels of internal communication were e-mail, telephone, formal or informal meetings and publications, there was a strong need for developing internal communication strategies and, finally, the potential of social media in internal communication was widely recognized. In light of the findings related to external communication experiences, external communication seemed more developed in the interviewed companies than internal communication, the most usual communication channels were e-mail, telephone, company websites and publications, there was a strong need for consultation on the development of external communication strategies, press contacts were in demand, there was extensive experience in face-to-face communication, synchronizing the messages in communication channels was perceived difficult and the companies experiences on print materials were controversial. The messages that need to be communicated in the context of Ready Steady GO! Finland was approached from three directions: the messages that needed to be communicated in and between the participating organizations, messages that needed to be communicated externally about Ready Steady GO! Finland and its participants and messages that the participating organizations needed to be communicated about. The messages to be communicated internally in the participating organizations were the potential and realized opportunities as well as reasons for participating, sense of purpose and commitment. The subjects that needed communication between the participating organizations were introducing each other as companies, aspirations for cooperation, exchanging experiences about doing business in a free, open atmosphere, learning from other participants, cooperation, end products of cooperation and other participants’ contact networks. The messages to be communicated externally were relating Ready Steady GO! Finland to similar activities in other fields of business, the way of working in Ready Steady GO! Finland, the variety of participating organizations, possible cooperation, joint ventures and end results and the strong supporters. Finally, the participants needed to be communicated about concrete actions, cooperation, schedule, the participating organizations, internationalization and legal matters such as contracting.

The findings related to the preferred channels of communication were numerous. News packages sent by e-mail were perceived sufficient for spreading information inside the companies. Between the companies it seemed that both virtual and face-to-face communication is needed, social media was seen in quite a positive light, constant communication in the form of regular newsletters and e-mails was in demand and the perceptions on intranet were ambiguous. Regarding preferred channels for external communication, websites were perceived as a priority. Supporting communication channels were relevant print media, fair presentations and direct face-to-face contacts. Suggestions for organizing the communication functions were given at the end of the study.
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