Rethinking Bernstein communication wheel: a re-visitation of a communication tool

Siano, Alfonso, Palazzo, Maria, Foroudi, Pantea ORCID: and Vollero, Agostino (2017) Rethinking Bernstein communication wheel: a re-visitation of a communication tool. The Bottom Line, 30 (3) . pp. 186-194. ISSN 0888-045X [Article] (doi:10.1108/BL-08-2017-0018)

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Purpose – The aim of this conceptual paper is to review Bernstein’s communication wheel in order to make it a tool that can be used in the selection of a corporate communication mix.

Design/methodology/approach – A critical analysis of Bernstein’s communication wheel shows it to be a checklist, a starting point in the examination of corporate communication mix, but it is not as such of great help to the decision-maker.

Findings – The findings of reviewing literature highlight that the principle of a clear distinction between strategic decisions and operational decisions is applicable also in the field of corporate communication. For each stakeholder relationship, our framework suggests typical combinations of activities and means to be employed. These combinations are useful to experiment with expert systems which are functional to the choices of corporate communication mix.

Research limitations/implications – The analysis of communication gaps gives directions for formulating strategic decisions. In our framework tactical decisions concern the components of the communication mix architecture (or communication chain): activities, means and vehicles of communication. On the contrary, Bernstein’s communication wheel includes only generic channels (or media) and gives no indications as to the architecture of the communication mix.

Originality/value – This study illustrates the hierarchy of decisions relating to corporate communication mix, the communication wheel could also be useful in communication planning. If this assumption is held to be true it then becomes possible to lay out a framework for a progressive decision-making path that means making sequential choices (first strategic, then tactical). In the stakeholder approach, the aim of strategic decisions is to choose the stakeholder groups on which a firm has to focus its corporate communication activities.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School
Item ID: 22404
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Depositing User: Pantea Foroudi
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2017 09:13
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2021 00:41

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