hw - 93 Nordicom Review 28 (2007) 1, pp. 93-110 Research on...

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Unformatted text preview: 93 Nordicom Review 28 (2007) 1, pp. 93-110 Research on Organizational Communication The Case of Sweden C ATRIN J OHANSSON Abstract Swedish research on organizational communication is characterized by empirical, quali- tative research. The tradition of holistic and profound case studies is strong. In this arti- cle, a wide definition of organizational communication is employed, including research focusing on both internal and external communication. Research themes and methods are reviewed and discussed. The majority of the studies concern public information, includ- ing health communication and crisis communication. Particularly, scholars have studied planning and evaluation of information campaigns concerning health, traffic and environ- ment; and more recently, authority communication during major crises in society. Research focusing on organizations internal communication includes topics such as superior-sub- ordinate communication, organizational learning, sensemaking, communication strategies and communication efficiency. Strengths and weaknesses following from this empirical case study research tradition are highlighted. Finally, the contribution of Swedish research in an international perspec- tive is discussed. Key Words: organizational communication, public relations, research review Introduction Societies and organizations are continuously constructed by their members through communicative processes. In Weicks terms, communication is the core process of or- ganizing (Weick 1979). Organizational communication as an academic discipline em- braces the study of symbols, messages, media, interactions, relationships, networks, persuasive campaigns, and broader discourses within an organization be it a corpo- ration, governmental agency, religious institution, social movement, or the like (cf. Cheney et al. 2004). In some respects the field is broad as the area of media and com- munication science in a confined setting. However, organizational communication could also be used as a general term to cover public relations, public affairs, investor relations, labour market communication, corporate advertising, environmental communication and internal communication (van Riel 1995). This holistic view seems to be more advocated by European researchers. Moreover, since organizations both influence and are influenced by the larger social, political, cultural, economic, and technological contexts in which they operate, organi- 94 zations, and their internal and external communication, are important research objects for media and communication researchers. In an international perspective, organizational communication is a flourishing field of research. Its breadth and diversity makes it impossible to review as a whole, accord- ing to Jones et al. (2004: 723). Within International Communication Association, ICA, organizational communication is the fourth largest group (July, 2005). At the turn of the twenty-first century many countries are pursuing the study, although it has had a U.S.twenty-first century many countries are pursuing the study, although it has had a U....
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hw - 93 Nordicom Review 28 (2007) 1, pp. 93-110 Research on...

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