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Organizations and communication

Research group
Active research
Project owner
The Department of Journalism, Media and Communication

Short description

Communication is essential for organizations, including corporations, public administrations and interest groups. By the use of communication organizations manage their activities and formulate their goals. Moreover, communication has become an increasingly important means for organizations to achieve their goals and influence the surrounding world’s perceptions of their activities. This development is related to the growth seen in globalization, digitalization, marketization and other structural transformations.
Research on organizations’ communication refers to a number of different types of organization but pay particular attention to public sector organizations.

Starting from the above notions, we ask why organizations communicate, how policies are shaped and applied in communication, how communication is organized and managed, with whom organizations communicate, what they convey and how the answers to these questions vary by context. Additional recurrent questions concern how other activities and citizens are affected by organizations’ different ways of communicating. For instance, are certain principles that guide communication work of importance to how organizations distribute resources, organize themselves, prioritize various activities and make decisions?

Research on organizations’ communication refers to a number of different types of organization but pay particular attention to public sector organizations.

Some central themes 

  • The institutional conditions for organizational communication: How are institutional rules, norms and ideas maintained and negotiated in different forms of communication? How are institutions reproduced and changed in concrete social interactions?
  • Brand orientation: What does the ”brand” stand for in different contexts and what has caused organizations to largely based their communication on their brand? How has organizations’ brand orientation changed over time and how does it vary across different kinds of organizations? What does an increasing focus on the brand entail for communication activities and what consequences does it have for other activities?
  • How government agencies deal with the media: To what extent and in what way do government agencies adapt their activities to media norms, working methods and routines? What are the reasons for such adaptation, how does it affect communication activities and how does it vary across different kinds of government agencies?
  • Government agencies’ interactions with citizens/clients: How are policy and the potentially contradictory goals of agencies’ activities (efficiency, high level of service, correct and impartial rule application, consideration of individual needs and living conditions) translated into direct communication with citizens?
  • Public organizations and dialogues with citizens: How do different actors make sense of and act upon various ideas and conceptions in conversations, meetings, documents and plans? Based on ideas about dialogue and the role of the democratic conversation, how are encounters and conversations with citizens carried out? What strategies are used, and what roles and positions emerge and are negotiated in, e.g., dialogues between citizens and politicians, various deliberations, city development meetings or other kinds of participatory processes?

Mats Ekström, professor

Magnus Fredriksson, associate professor

Sara Ivarsson, doctoral student

Maria Sjögren, doctoral student