The Role of the Communication Department in an Organization

by Melanie J. Martin; Updated September 26, 2017
A communications department must consult with other departments regularly.

The communication department may assume the name of "public relations" or "public affairs" department. The department must work closely with other departments to ensure it understands the dynamics of the organization and the information it needs to communicate. The communication department plays a crucial role in an organization's success, raising the market value by 29.5 percent, according to a study by the human resources consulting firm Watson Wyatt.

Internal Communications

An internal communications department facilitates communication inside an organization. This department is most necessary in a larger corporation rather than a smaller one. The department typically develops procedures for effective communication, and advises other departments on communicating effectively with one another. The communications department may produce written materials like newsletters or periodicals for employees. It may provide information to employees about organizational changes, or provide advice on how to introduce this information. For instance, the department might advise a boss on the best way to introduce a reorganization of the company, or produce a pamphlet on a new benefit plan. The department may produce training materials for staff as well.

External Communications

An external communications department may plan and produce content that the public or stakeholders read, like a periodical, newsletter or web content. The department may work to improve relationships with shareholders by assisting other departments in communicating information with shareholders. Department staff might write speeches and handle media relations, communicating important stories to the press. The department may also assume marketing responsibilities, developing the organization's marketing strategy and developing advertisements. Marketing duties normally fall to a separate marketing department, but the communication department must maintain strong communication with marketing staff to ensure they put forth similar messages. If the department assumes a public relations role, it may also line up speaking engagements and plan events.

Expanding Duties

As technologies expand, the duties of a communication department may change. The department might hire a computer programmer to develop the website, or have a designer produce new online content on a daily basis. These professionals might work solely for the communications department, or handle work for various departments in the organization. The department may need to contract specialized workers to produce content such as videos.

Additional Considerations

A communications department might handle both internal and external communications. Having an internal communications department does not exclude other departments from developing effective communication procedures. Good communication requires effort from all parties involved.


  • "Effective Internal Communication"; Lyn Smith and Pamela Mounter;
  • "The Essentials of Corporate Communications and Public Relations"; Society for Human Resource Management;
  • "Sport Public Relations: Managing Organizational Communication, Volume 10"; G. Clayton Stoldt et al;

About the Author

Melanie J. Martin specializes in environmental issues and sustainable living. Her work has appeared in venues such as the Environmental News Network, "Ocean" magazine and "GREEN Retailer." Martin holds a Master of Arts in English.

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