Purpose – Studies that inquire in-depth into whether the Corporate Communications Officer (CCO) is an entrusted corporate executive and enacts a genuine leadership of his/her own style are generally neglected. The purpose of this paper is to unravel the leadership nature of the CCO beyond the managerial role. More specifically, the authors collected accounts of the span of the professional life and job experiences of CCOs, with the aim of understanding how their leadership, if any, can be depicted. Design/methodology/approach – The authors developed a qualitative research design to grasp the complexity of the CCO job experience. The authors chose a narrative approach involving a purposive sample of CCOs operating in global companies based in Italy to elicit and nurture their spontaneous reconstruction of the significant moments of their working lives. Findings – Based on the interpretive analysis, the capability of the CCO to overcome the trap of the formal appointment seems to rely on the organic emergence of a genuine leadership. The turning point between his/her resting on the appointment or becoming a genuine leader is marked by the display of his/her humanistic nature that can be ascribed to the enactment of a conversational leadership. Originality/value – While this is an exploratory qualitative study, it holds heuristic value in deepening the specific nature of genuine CCO leadership beyond an essentially task-based analysis of its managerial profile.
- Corporate Communications Officer
- communication management
- conversational leadership
- corporate communications