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What we do > PhD Seminar and Network > Strategic Comm. and Entrepren. Role of CCOs
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Strategic Communication
and the Entrepreneurial Role of CCOs

(page latest update: September 2015)

Considering the recent evolution of communication/PR profession in large organizations both private and public, many scholars agree that communication is playing a strategic role, mainly in the most innovative and successful organizations. In other words, communication’s importance has been growing, reaching in the last years a strategic position as a lever for the companies’ governance.

A first objective of this project is to describe, looking at management and communication/PR literature, how and to what extent communication has become strategic. As it will be discussed, communication has become strategic within companies’ governance in order to help each organization to develop consistently – mainly in terms of values – with its environment.

A second objective is to describe, looking at the entrepreneurial organizational theory and communication/PR literature, another side of the strategic evolution of PR, which is to help each organization to develop – mainly in terms of services, products and reputation – as a different, or better unique, entity as compared to the other organizations.

A third objective is to analyze the evolution of the strategic contribution that CCOs are playing, both on the isomorphic and on the entrepreneurial-innovative side, within organizations’ decision making processes in order to support their organizations to become successful. 

These assumptions will be tested using the results of a survey conducted on the CCOs of the largest Italian companies compared with the results of the ECM annual research and of several case-studies made on a sample of innovative companies of several European countries.

Project leader

Project team members

  • Prof. Dr. Anne Gregory, University of Huddersfield, UK
  • Prof. Dr. Francesco Lurati, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Switzerland
  • Dr. (Assistant Prof.) Stefania Romenti, Università IULM, Italy
  • Dr. (Postdoctoral Fellow) Grazia Murtarelli, Università IULM, Italy

Overall timeline

The project started in May 2013 and it will end in December 2016.

Results until now

  • Quantitative survey 2015-1ST phase: definition and planning of national survey addressed to communication professionals of large companies operating in Italy
  • Case study analysis: implementation of interviews with Italian Communication Directors of companies where communication seems to play a relevant role; desk analysis focused on the same companies.
  • Articles:
    • Invernizzi, E., Romenti, S. (2014), “Imprenditività e ruolo strategico della comunicazione nelle grandi aziende”, Harvard Business Review Italia, September 2014.
    • Invernizzi, E., Murtarelli, G., Romenti, S. (2014), “CCOs’ Strategic Role in Large Italian Companies / El papel del Dircom en las grandes organizaciones italianas”, Revista Internacional de Relaciones Públicas, Vol. 4, N.8
    • Invernizzi, E., Romenti, S., Murtarelli, G., Virginio, L. (2015), “Good for You, Good for the Planet: Creating Shared Value Through Communication in Barilla”, paper presented at XVII Euprera Congress, Oslo, October 1-3. 

Milestones for the next six months

The project team at the moment is based in Italy, UK and Switzerland and is open to other European researcher. The project team will meet up during the XVII Euprera Annual Congress in Oslo for discussing intermediary results. The research group will present a paper based on Barilla case study related to the entrepreneurial role of CCO.

Resource planning

The project is fully financed by Ketchum Italia.

Can Euprera members still join the project?

The project is open to researchers of European countries interested into, and who have knowledge and experience of, the strategic communication issue. The commitment should be in joining the project meetings and running case-studies in their own countries (not necessarily local surveys), the research goal being mainly to compare the qualitative results of case-studies in order to understand how and to what extent CCOs participate to the strategic decision making processes of organizations.

The benefit for potential members will be mainly to use the overall data collected in the paper and to co-author papers using the main results of the research.

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