When It Comes To Organizational Structures, Form Must Fit Function

As former General Electric CEO Jack Welch has said, "An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage." The statement is sagacious enough on its own, but its implications to the corporate communications function are tenfold: Transforming learning into action is a pillar of effective communications, but that proverbial "competitive advantage" is impossible to achieve if the function's organizational structure allows messages to get lost in translation. Communications executives have been known to complain about the difficulty in becoming an integral part of the organization's overall mission, but that excuse has become jaded with the passage of time. The most successful corporations have already given key roles to communications and PR managers, and their business has thrived accordingly. But, in order to do so, organizations must be structured in a way that best facilitates movement across business units and takes into consideration the company's size and resources.

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