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Mediability and Public Sector Organizations

Conference contribution
Authors Josef Pallas
Magnus Fredriksson
Published in 75th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Vancouver, 7-10 August 2015
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Keywords Institutional practice, Mediatization, Public sector
Subject categories Media and Communications, Public Administration Studies

Abstract

The aim of the paper is to contribute to our understanding of how organizational members respond to and enact an ambiguous institutional practice. We use a case of mediatization –taken-for- granted values and norms for how to manage, organize and conduct media activities- and the way it gets maintained, challenged and re- constructed within the realm of specific organizational settings. By way of focusing on how mediatization gets contested and negotiated, the paper addresses media activities of organizations as mediability – an active and skillful process through which organizational members translate mediatization rationales into activities of their organizations. In empirical terms, the paper addresses how one of the major Swedish Governmental Agencies reasons about and understands its activities and responsibilities in different contexts where media are brought to fore; and how these understandings of media influence the agency’s communication. The study rests on observational data collected between April and June 2012 and 19 interviews with representatives from the agency. The results show that mediability reflects a process that, despite its institutional embeddedness, unfolds unevenly as its different aspects (news products, practices, professional values and organizational structures and forms) are strategically contested and continuously renegotiated between different professions involved in the media activities of the agency. Mediatization remains thereby in a constant contestation both at the level of individual organizations as well as in its institutional form. With respect to its uneven influences on different aspects of an organization’s communication activities, the notion of mediability as non-conclusive process paves the way for a more context-sensitive analysis of organizational responses to institutional ambiguity.

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