This essay seeks to illustrate the complexity in which international corporate communications occurs and how important is it for globally-engaged corporate communicators to be knowledgeable about target countries, target institutions, target contents and target actors (and why public relations professionals must ensure that employees or service providers have the necessary knowledge). With the right information at hand, PR professionals are in a position to create a kind of international corporate communications compass with regard to four contexts: 1) the norms or general characteristics of political, economic and media systems; 2) the structures or models on which companies are organized; 3) a functional context that includes distinctive dimensions of culture, and 4) the role context, which includes knowledge of the characteristics and alignment among various players. How many and which particular compass axes should be selected for an individual strategic communications goal depends upon the situation. In any case, by combining the points on the individual axes, a kind of rough map emerges to guide international corporate communications strategies and actions.
From Back Seat to Dashboard: The Global Navigation of International Corporate Communications