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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Webocracy? 

The last few weeks I've been noodling a question that may or may not be a problem. It is this. Should companies restructure communications departments around the Web and if so, how?

What I mean is who reports to whom in the organization and how is reporting related to the CEO and the senior level? Today, communications structure in most corporations I know appears to be audience structured. Communications departments are placed closest to audiences they serve. Should it be this way when the most efficient medium in reaching all audiences is the Web? I don't have an answer, and I don't know if there is an answer. I'm not sure it is even a question that needs to be asked.

The reason I'm asking it is that it makes a difference where communications departments are placed. The difference comes in access and power to get things done. A communications department reporting directly to a CEO has more flexibility and reach. A communications department reporting to a Chief Marketing Officer will lean toward marketing and sales. A communications department reporting to HR will have internal more than external concerns. Communications reporting to the General Counsel will be more protective.

Every company because of its place in the market, predilection of management and needs has a different demand for marketing PR, corporate PR, IR and internal communications. But, today, all messages end up on the Web, mostly in the same place. Therefore, should all departments today be in a Web department and should the Web department report to (fill in the blank)?

I'll let you know if and when I figure this out.

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