Source of the Month

Ariel Reconnaissance: Uncovering the Origins of the BBC’s Internal Communication – Source of the Month (May 2024)

In our eighteen months of study, no archive has rivalled the BBC’s behind-the-scenes insights into internal communication strategy. Spanning 1927 to 1989, its archive holds a collection of minutes and memos that tell a story of how the initiation of a magazine in 1927 evolved into a major organisational operation. An almost continuous run from …

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Boots on the Ground: Employee Welfare and the Five-Day Week – Source of the Month (April 2024)

Today is the ninetieth anniversary of an important step in employee welfare. On 30 April 1934, Boots Pure Drug Company Limited began an experiment with having a five-day working week. The interwar period was an important time in the evolution of industrial welfare. Emerging from the aftermath of the First World War, figures in the …

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Chapter 5 of the History of Internal Communication (1878 to 2024): The Digital Era and the Journey into the Future

Across this week, we have explored the major chapters in the history of internal communication. The final chapter, which we are still watching unfold today, has seen digital technology revolutionise the way that we communicate. Although the origins of digital technology are much earlier, the 1990s is the decade in which it began to have …

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Chapter 4 of the History of Internal Communication (1878 to 2024): Communication Developments in the Pre-Digital Age

Yesterday, we explored how the Second World War drew attention to the importance of communication. After the war, internal communication underwent a series of significant transformations. One of these was an explosion in company magazines and readership.  From an estimated 350 magazines in Britain in 1938 company magazines expanded to 1,000 in 1950, 1,500 in …

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Chapter 3 of the History of Internal Communication (1878 to 2024): The Second World War and its Aftermath

Yesterday, we explored how magazines spread in the interwar years. With the Second World War, internal communication underwent significant transformations. The war itself led to backward steps in relation to the communication channels that had developed in the interwar years. Most notably, shortages of paper meant that many publications became slimmed down. Interestingly, internal communication …

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Chapter 2 of the History of Internal Communication (1878 to 2024): Communication in the First World War

Yesterday’s post looked at the origins of the company magazine in the late nineteenth century. The First World War marked a significant turning point in the history of internal communication within organisations. The war itself was a stimulus for some companies to begin a magazine, a notable example being Boots, which used its Comrades in …

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Chapter 1 of the History of Internal Communication (1878 to 2024): Nineteenth-Century Origins

As the Institute of Internal Communication marks its 75th anniversary, this blog post takes a step back in time to discover how internal communication has got to where it is today. Taking us from the first known dedicated company magazine in 1878 through to the launch of AI software, this story aims to be the …

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Counsel Culture: The Origins of John Lewis’ Iconic Staff Consultation Practices – Source of the Month (February 2024)

The journey of The Gazette (the company newspaper of John Lewis) mirrors today’s challenges in internal communication and workplace culture. This blog post explores The Gazette’s story and how it highlights the timeless challenge that workplace cultures cannot be changed overnight. Instead, they require a gradual process of institutionalisation. In the digital age, the evolution …

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A Message in a Battle: Contested Interpretations in Communication – Source of the Month (January 2024)

From Industrial Welfare, the magazine of the Industrial Society, in April 1965. What did you take as the message of this picture? For many of you, it was probably the environmental consequences of a throw-away culture. When this advert was produced in 1965, the complete opposite reaction was anticipated from readers. The hope was that …

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The Sunlight Way and the Dawn of Brand Communities – Source of the Month (December 2023)

“Oh! please listen to what I say — For comfort and ease And your husband to please, Wash all your clothes in The Sunlight Way.” Mrs Howard, Keston, Kent. Progress magazine, November 1900, p. 592. The ‘Sunlight Way’ The above verse is more than advice on laundry. It reflects a new discourse made possible by …

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