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Public Relations Journal

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Internal communication is increasingly vital to organizational success due to the influence of social media, yet it remains understudied within public relations research. Using a qualitative content analysis of 181 websites, this study examines how leading public relations agency websites frame the value of internal communication and its connection to social media. Findings reveal internal communication is largely missing from the frame. When explicitly referenced, it is mostly framed as synonymous with employee communication as a means for management to communicate to employees, though some portrayals are more robust. Websites frame internal communication’s value as enhancing financial outcomes by improving workplace culture, employee engagement, and workers’ willingness to support management’s preferred organization brand or reputation. Social media are disconnected from internal communication and are mostly framed as tools that require additional employee training to use in order to reach external audiences. A handful of agencies urge organizations to include social media and internal stakeholders within the internal communication function. Recommendations are made for future internal communication research and practice.


This article was originally published in Public Relations Journal, 2017, Volume 11, Issue 1.