Corporations as Diplomatic Actors: Conceptualizing International Communication Tools

Corporations as Diplomatic Actors: Conceptualizing International Communication Tools

Efe Sevin, Hazal Sena Karaca
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9806-2.ch019
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This chapter presents a theoretical look on the available international communication tools that can be used by multinational corporations (MNCs) to engage in diplomatic relations. Specifically, the chapter will provide details about three concepts: lobbying, nation brands, and commercial diplomacy. The research objective is to propose a conceptual framework that (i) explains when and how a specific tool should be used and (ii) demonstrates the inherent connection between the tools. The main assumption in this research is that communication is an essential aspect of conducting international businesses. There are two different categories at the center of these communication attempts. First, MNCs address politicians and other key decision-makers within the local political systems in order to start their businesses. Second, local populations should be persuaded to consume their goods and services. The focus in this chapter is the interplay between the three communication tools that are used to address these two audiences. It is argued that even though there are differences between the needs and expectations of decision-makers and consumers, the communication campaigns used to address one audience affects the other.
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Background: Mncs And International Business

During the last couple of decades, MNCs became the cornerstone of both local economies and the global economy. Practically, two thirds of all exports of goods and services are connected to MNCs (Dunning, 2002). With 52 of the 100 biggest economies of the world – including countries – being multinational corporations (UNCTAD, 2005), it is seen that the business operations of these private entities have the potential to influence the overall structure of various economies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Nation Brands: Nation brands refer to the perception of a country by foreign audiences.

International Communication: International communication refers to communication activities that include two or more different countries.

Commercial Diplomacy: Commercial diplomacy refers to all the diplomatic activities done to promote national businesses in foreign countries and to create future business opportunities.

Multinational Corporations (MNCs): MNCs are private business identities that operate in more than one country.

Lobbying: Lobbying is a political communication process in which actors aim to generate favorable political outcomes by influencing decision-makers.

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