International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)

The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is one of the leading professional associations for individuals engaged in strategic business communication. Established in 1970 through a merger of the American Association of Industrial Editors and the International Council of Industrial Editors, IABC has more than 13,000 members located in over 70 countries.(1) Representing a cross-section of members employed in a variety of professions including public relations, journalism, and education, the mission of the non-profit organization is to improve organizational effectiveness through strategic, interactive and integrated business communication management. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, IABC has an annual operating budget of USD 5.1 million and is represented by over 100 chapters. Membership is granted through subscription, and annual membership dues range from USD 141.00 to 311.00.(2) At the international level the Association is managed by an elected executive board of volunteers, and staffed by a team of over 30 full-time employees. In 1974 Corporate Communicators Canada joined IABC, and today Canadian members are represented by 15 chapters distributed across two regional divisions. The benefits of IABC membership include:

IABC offers a variety of online and print publications. Members can access an online clearinghouse of industry specific literature. Members also receive a monthly electronic newsletter and six annual issues of the Associations signature magazine Communication World. The Association develops a limited collection of publications, and the IABC book store stocks a vast catalog of manuals, books, templates and reports focused on communications.

Professional Development
IABC offers courses, web seminars, workshops and informal education sessions on a variety of topics via its regional chapters and the Association’s headquarters. Each year IABC hosts a number of regional, national and international conferences that bring together professionals possessing thousands of years of collective experience. IABC’s annual international conference is held in June and is attended by over 1,800 communicators from around the world.

IABC grants an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) designation, which the organization claims represents “the highest standard of practice” for the business communications profession. Accreditation is a rigorous assessment process comprising written and verbal tests and the submission of a portfolio. The ABC designation is recognized worldwide and allows practitioners to both receive official recognition of their competency, and to demonstrate their ability to think and plan strategically.(3)

IABC offers its members and non-members the opportunity to have their work reviewed and judged by peers and experts and evaluated against IABC’s standards of excellence. Many regional chapters offer local awards, and the Association grants awards at both the national and international level, recognizing a range of professional achievements and accomplishments.

Employment Resources
IABC’s national job center and regional chapter web sites offer job seekers and employers a variety of services and tools, including a forum to post and review resumes. The Association’s employment resources provide a gateway to paid and volunteer professional opportunities.

IABC hosts an assortment of virtual and face-to-face networking opportunities designed to connect members with each other; and designed to connect members with the business community. Members have access to an online membership directory, and regional and international networking opportunities through blogging platforms, chat forums and podcasts.(4)

Code of Ethics
In recent years IABC’s Code of Ethicshas elevated the Association’s profile within the North American business community.(5) The Code, which emphasizes the necessity of measuring communication against the principles and values of legality, ethics and good taste, was developed for an international audience and is published in several languages. Compliance of the Code is voluntary and fostered through global communication campaigns. IABC members whose actions are considered in violation of the Code can have their Association membership terminated.(6)

Research Foundation
The IABC Research Foundationhas also contributed to heightening awareness of both the Association and the importance of research throughout the communications process. Established in 1982, the Foundation funds and publishes research aimed at enhancing the communications profession. The Foundation translates communication theory into practice and attempts to demonstrate the value of strategic organizational communication.

[1] Gordon, G. (2002). A history of IABC communicators: Forty-six years of shaping the corporate world. Communications World, August-September.
[2] Membership Dues. Retrieved October 15, 2008 from
[3] Brody, E.W. (1984). The credentials of public relations: Licensing? certification? accreditation? Public Relations Quarterly.
[4] What Membership Provides. Retrieved October 15, 2008 from
Roth, N., Hunt, T., Stavropoulos, M., & Babik, K. (2006). Can't we all just get along: Cultural variables in codes of ethics. Public Relations Review, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp. 151-161.
[6] Grunig, J., & Gruing L. (2003). Implications of the IABC excellence study for PR education. Journal of Communication Management. Volumn 7, Number 1, pp. 34-42(9)
Bowen, S. (2007). Ethics and public relations. institute for public relations. Retrieved
September 28, 2008, from