This week in class we will be discussing Corporate Communication in television and movies. NBC’s show The Office, starring Steve Carell, is a prime example of Corporate Communication gone wrong. Each episode humorously depicts stereotypes of life in the office while giving countless examples of incorrectly used communication tactics.
A specific example of this is during the Product Recall episode, when an obscene watermark is printed on papers for a local high school. One important aspect of Corporate Communication is a company’s ability to manage relationships with stakeholders. They do this through building and maintaining strong, differentiated corporate reputations. These reputations are created and established when organizations are able to communicate a consistent vision and image to their stakeholders. In the Product Recall episode, the employees of Dunder Mifflin exemplified very poor crisis management skills. For example, certain employees are coached on how to answer phone calls from upset customers and instead of effectively addressing the problem, they were told that if they “got bored they should try using fake names and accents”, making a joke of the entire situation.
Another example was when in preparation for the arrival of the press the employees found it most important to hand select the most attractive people to put in the front, focusing all their attention on physical appearance rather than position or knowledge of the subject. In addition to these two examples, in this episode The Office also completely showed disregard to the importance of stakeholders and their effect on the company. Specifically, the client who was given the paper with the obscene watermark, one of the Dunder Mifflin’s most important customers, met with Regional Manager, Michael Scott, to discuss the situation. Instead of showing sincere remorse for the outcome of the paper, Michael verbalized that “she was pretty unimportant”, more than likely losing her future business with no cares.
While this is only one example of ways The Office teaches us how NOT to implement Corporate Communication, every episode holds many examples. Effectively dealing with crisis in an appropriate way and communicating a consistent and clear image and reputation to publics is vital to the success of any company. If every corporation had a Regional Manager like Michael Scott Corporate Communication would have an entirely different definition.
-Arielle, Haley, Lora, Danielle