Within research focusing on external communication

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Within research focusing on external communication issues, studies consider organi- zations’ risk communication and communication strategies. Topics within the areas that have attracted the largest number of studies include: public information and crisis communication, governmental organizations’ communica- tion on health issues, environmental issues and the European Union. Among the crises examined are the sinking of the ferry ”Estonia”, the murder of foreign minister Anna Lindh, the fire in a disco in Gothenburg and the 11th September attack. Studies integrating internal and external communication were not found. Leader – Co-worker Communication Starting on a micro-level, with internal communication, the first topic covered is supe- rior-subordinate communication – or as I prefer to name it leader-’co-worker’ commu-
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96 nication. 1 Some of these studies depart from a micro-perspective, and focus on interper- sonal communication. A few of them belong to the academic field of linguistics, for example Adelswärd’s study on employment interviews (1988) and Lindgren’s study on performance reviews (2001). A couple of studies focus on meetings. Milles studied in- teraction and gender differences in meetings at work (2003) and Gunnarsson (1995) gender and interaction in research seminars at a university. In a case study at Volvo Cars, Simonsson (2002) studied communication between department managers and employees in meetings. Simonsson concludes that the man- agers she studied at Volvo to a large extent are caught in an informative and distribu- tive communication role. Examples illuminate managers’ transmission of information, without placing news in context or relating it to employees’ work. Communication between managers and employees has not changed, in spite of or- ganizational changes towards more decentralization and self-managed groups. New theories on leadership emphasize the important role of sensemaking, and both manag- ers and employees speak of the importance of dialogue. However this rhetoric is not put into practice, concludes Simonsson (2002). Instead, leadership in this organization is permeated with the transmission view of communication. Communication problems are defined in structural and technical terms. Concepts such as meaning, understanding and interpretation are rarely mentioned when interviewees express their views on commu- nication and their communicative roles. Noone states that managers ought to create a common understanding and a common basis for values. In other words, important as- pects of leadership are overlooked. There are similarities between this study and Johansson’s study (2003) on the commu- nication of mission statement from managers at group level to employees in a company. Both are case studies with ethnographic influences, combining observations and inter- views, and in the Johansson study, discourse analysis. The fieldwork extended over a rela- tively long period, of one and a half years, in both studies. Theories on sensemaking and dialogue are conspicuous and analyses depart from an interpretive framework.
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