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Why and how universities should develop a ‘network’ communications department


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Universities are increasingly evolving into network organisations 3.0. In these new organisations, hierarchically connected components are no longer the norm. Instead, departments and teams have their own internal and external relationships. To best support a network organisation 3.0, the focus of the communications department needs to shift to managing conversations and connecting the organisation with its surroundings. A communications department is best able to achieve this when it is itself structured as a network. In response to the network organisation 3.0, HAN University of Applied Sciences changed its communications department’s organisational structure from a central staff department to a matrix department with central and decentralised teams. The department also created specific centres of knowledge in which members of central and decentralised teams participate simultaneously. These centres have further developed into networks. Additionally, the communications department at HAN is part of an extensive regional platform of professionals who specialise in marketing, communications, science and creative design. Participation in the regional network ensures up-to-date expertise and great flexibility, while also fostering partnerships that arise as a result of mutual attraction between the parties.

Keywords: collaboration; communications; decentralisation; dialogue; network organisation; organisation 3.0

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2016

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  • Journal of Education Advancement & Marketing is the major new professional journal publishing in-depth, peer-reviewed articles and case studies on advancement, development, alumni relations, fundraising, marketing and communications for educational institutions. Content will be written by and for professionals in the field with no advertising or sales pitches.

    Each quarterly 100-page issue – published both in print and online – will feature detailed, practical articles which showcase the latest thought leadership in how to identify, build and steward life-long relationships with alumni, businesses and other donors, along with actionable advice and ‘lessons learned’ on advancement, development, marketing and communications strategy for educational institutions. It will not publish advertising but rather detailed analysis of new thinking and practice at a wide range of universities, colleges and schools worldwide for readers to benchmark their organization against, with every article being peer-reviewed by an expert Editorial Board to ensure that it focuses on the advancement professional’s perspective, the challenges they face and how they can tackle them.

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