Zainal Arifin Md Tahir, *Zulhamri Abdullah, Nurul Ain Mohd Hasan & Syed Agil Alsagoff
With the Malaysian government having a direct controlling stake, government-linked media companies (GLMCs) are deemed to be more exposed to political influence or state intervention compared to private media corporations. Conceivable linkages as such may negatively impact the credibility and accountability as well as contribute to other reputational challenges that media companies already face. In sustaining or improving corporate reputation, highlighting the communication function and stewardship of the chief executive officer (CEO) is pivotal, similar to how the expansion of digital media now upholds greater CEO visibility in reinforcing public trust, creating meaningful relationships, and boosting corporate reputation. A qualitative study involving in-depth interviews with the CEOs and senior management executives of GLMCs explored the following: 1) How important is communication to leaders as an asset of GLMCs in carrying out government mandates? 2) How do leaders demonstrate leadership communication to improve the corporate reputation of GLMCs? 3) How do leaders communicate with people in the industry? The voice-recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed for patterns and emerging themes. The participants indicate that, as a GLMC entity, they are shouldering government mandates that media regards as an intangible asset and this plays a great role in shaping the reputation of the leader. The participants also associated communication with leadership in improving credibility. Overall, the CEO and senior management team of GLMCs need to collectively practise overall principles related to leadership communication to carry out government mandates as well as to enhance their corporate reputation. Lastly, this study contributes to the existing literature by examining the institutionalisation and management of corporate reputation through leadership communication.
Keywords: Corporate reputation, leadership communication, corporate communication