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Diverging Principles for Strategic Communication in Government Agencies

Journal article
Authors Magnus Fredriksson
J. Pallas
Published in International Journal of Strategic Communication
Volume 10
Issue 3
Pages 153-164
ISSN 1553-1198
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Pages 153-164
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/1553118X.2016.11...
Subject categories Communication Studies, Public Administration Studies, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Abstract

The aim of this article is to analyze how public agencies 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. Informed by an increasing literature on organizational institutionalism we seek to overcome these limitations. With a textual analysis of policies and strategy documents from 179 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 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. © 2016 Taylor & Francis.

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