Creating a framework of knowledge for IC

When thinking through the skills and knowledge internal communication professionals need to have, what do you cite as the most important and relevant?

Dr Mary Welch is a senior lecturer in communication management for the Division of Communication, Marketing and Public Relations at Lancashire Business School – University of Central Lancashire, UK.

Mary WelchShe has written for an academic journal, Public Relations Review on: Mastering internal communication: Knowledge foundations and postgraduate education.

Usually such papers have restricted (paid) access. However, until 26 March, the publishers have made it openly available via temporary free access.

Mary has produced an internal communication knowledge framework diagram to go with her article. It’s the image on this page and you can access it for free here too.

Knowledge framework

Knowledge framework

The knowledge framework is based on research and has 10 component knowledge areas in four clusters.

They include:

  • Fundamental specialist knowledge
: Employee relations (e.g. employee engagement)
  • Strategic communication management
: Leadership (e.g. leadership communication)
, Management (e.g. relationship management)
, Strategy (Internal communication strategy and objectives
  • Underpinning theory and research
: Communication science (e.g. employee communication needs), 
Concepts and theory (e.g. Internal communication theory)
, Research and evaluation (e.g. Internal communication audits)
  • Context and tactical considerations
: Organisational culture and context
, Internal issues and crisis communication
, Emergent communication methods (e.g. social media).

Mary told me: “With expectations of internal communication rising and pressures on IC professionals mounting, continuing professional development is becoming more important than ever.

“This internal knowledge framework may help IC professionals audit their own knowledge base. They can use it as a checklist to highlight areas they have expertise in, and flag up topics to study in the future. So it could help with personal development planning.

“Internal communication is a dynamic communications practice, and the knowledge needed by practitioners won’t remain static. So I’m interested in hearing about additional topics communication professionals would add, and topics they’d delete from the framework.”

Imagine you are creating an education specification for evolutionary internal communication professionals.  What would you add to this matrix of required knowledge? And what, if anything, would you strike from the matrix?”

You can contact Mary at with your thoughts, and she would welcome your input.

Post author: Rachel Miller.

First published on the All Things IC blog 18 February 2014.

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