Exploring internal crisis communication in multicultural environments

Silvia Ravazzani (Department of Business Communication, School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Publication date: 1 February 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore managers’ perspectives on and practices of internal crisis communication in multicultural environments.

Design/methodology/approach

After a review of relevant literature on crisis, culture and internal communication to define the framework and relevance of this study, results from qualitative interviews with Danish managers are presented.

Findings

Interviewees acknowledge the relevance of the cultural backgrounds of employees in relation to internal communication, especially in crisis situations. Cultural aspects affect message framing and employee sensemaking, especially when it comes to employees located in other countries. Line managers and local communicators are key in the adaptation of verbal and non-verbal communicative features. Employees are also seen as active sensegivers and communicators.

Research limitations/implications

Findings show how demographic and globalisation patterns, which are changing domestic and international workplaces, have important implications for internal communication and internal crisis communication. There is therefore a call for further research, especially from the perspective of employees.

Originality/value

Although cultural aspects have been highlighted as a recurrent feature of most crises today, and one of the new research areas to be explored, studies within this area are very few and concern mainly external audiences and practices. The present research study contributes to this overlooked area by offering valuable insights into internal crisis communication in organisations with a multicultural environment.

Keywords

Citation

Ravazzani, S. (2016), "Exploring internal crisis communication in multicultural environments", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 73-88. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-02-2015-0011

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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