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Diverging principles for strategic communication in government agencies
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Strategic Communication, ISSN 1553-118X, E-ISSN 1553-1198Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to analyze how public authorities deal with strategic communication and how it gets redefined and reformulated in relation to rules, norms and ideas permeating different contexts. Research on strategic communication tends to oversee such differences and what consequences they have for what it is that mobilizes the use of communication in various settings. Instead mainstream literature often stresses the commonalities and the idea of strategic communication as guided by one set of values. This limited focus tends to make the literature insensitive to the context where communication takes place, what aim it is set to fulfil, and what organization there is at hand.

Informed by an increasing literature on organizational institutionalism we seek to challenge these assumptions. With a textual analysis of policies and strategy documents from 173 Swedish government agencies we examine what multiple and contradictory institutional conditions mean for how strategic communication is conceptualized. The results show that there are four frequent principles for strategic communication mobilized by the agencies. The results also show that a vast majority of the agencies are trying to handle conflicting principles when they form frameworks and strategies for their communication activities.

We use the results as a point of departure for a critical discussion whether complex and pluralistic conditions are to be defined as problematic and necessary to be resolved (as mainstream literature would suggest) or as unavoidable and something authorities must be able to handle.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Diverging principles; Government agencies; Organizational institutionalism; Strategic communication
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies; Business Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-277162OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-277162DiVA: diva2:904009
Management structures and mediatization of governmental agencies - translations and consequences
Swedish Research Council, 2014-36150-113533-18
Available from: 2016-02-17 Created: 2016-02-17 Last updated: 2016-02-18

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Pallas, Josef
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