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MD Sarah Parsons takes Strategic Communications Course at LSE to support Japanese Companies in the UK.

Updated: Feb 28

To complement EWI’s support for Japanese companies and organisations with their cross-cultural strategic communications*, our MD Sarah Parsons has enrolled upon the London School of Economics Online Course: ‘Strategic Communications in Society: Power, Ethics and Practice.

When asked why she chose this course, Sarah said:

 “The course has a good mix of academic rigour and business-based case studies including guest speakers from the communications industry.  After speaking to one of the course convenors, Professor Lee Edwards, I really liked the fact that she had created the course based on the role of a company as a social actor-we definitely need more focus on that in the West, where our style of corporate governance sees the company primarily as a profit maker and prioritises the shareholders’ interests over other stakeholders. This focus on a social actor ties in quite closely with how Japanese businesses have established themselves within the wider context of stakeholder governance-seeing their responsibilities as wider than just to the shareholders. I often speak about this when giving briefings to Western companies wanting to understand the Japanese business environment and have recently spoken about it in an article I wrote for Forbes Japan as to how Japanese companies could use this more within their strategic communications and dealings with their overseas business interests.

There have been some excellent representations of Japanese companies acting in a society-focussed way when they invest overseas: not only do they create jobs but they invest heavily in educational initiatives, internships, community focussed outreach and cross-cultural exchange. However, these initiatives are not always effectively promoted to the wider public in their overseas activities-this may be because many Japanese companies haven’t always adopted a Western way of communicating within different cultural contexts outside of the Japanese norms. It only takes one scandal like the one with Fujitsu in the UK to taint the reputation of a country within the public mindset, which is such a shame as Japanese investment is so important in the West and they have so much to offer from their business philosophies through to their added value to skills and education.

EWI are becoming more involved in supporting Japanese investment and longevity in the West and I can see that this course will give me a deeper understanding of the strategic communications involved. Being an academic myself, who has brought in many academic research into real life business practices, I recognise the value of understanding the theoretical and practical aspects alongside each other. I can already see from the diverse range of communication professionals on this course from around the globe that I will learn from them too and understand even more cultural contexts of strategic communications. As I am an Associate for the Chartered Institute for Public Relations in the UK, this course will also count towards my CPD.”

*This 'strategic communications support' for Japanese companies adds to the already existing support EWI offers to companies with their cross-cultural communications; through staff training and briefings and also focussed research projects with cross-cultural teams to formulate the best strategies to communicate and build up trust.

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