Joy: Volume 5

Cover of Joy

Using Strategic Communication to Improve Well-being and Organizational Success


Table of contents

(14 chapters)


Pages i-xxii
Content available

Part I Strategic Communication and Organizational Goals


This chapter adds to emerging research exploring the construct of joy by drawing attention to the value of more loving stakeholder relationships. Relationship management research has focussed attention on the antecedents, outcomes and quality of an organization's relationships with various publics and stakeholders and has examined strategies that can nurture these relationships. However, not much of this research has addressed intimacy and passion in these relationships.

Accordingly, this chapter draws on the theory of brand love developed in relationship marketing research and the theory of love from psychological research to build a theoretical framework of organization–stakeholder love (OSL) that can be applied to organizational relationships with publics and stakeholders. An OSL framework switches emphasis from how organizations can attract stakeholder affection (e.g., love) towards organizations to how organizations can and should love their stakeholders. The proposition put forward in this chapter is that OSL can and should become a driving force behind organizations' interactions with stakeholders, thus contributing to ethical public relations practices.

OSL is important because it has the potential to contribute to addressing public relations' image problems (e.g., relating to terms such as spin and corporate greenwashing); it offers a new love orientation that guides organizations towards a focus on the primacy of stakeholder needs and values, which in turn may shape the way organizations initiate and manage relationships with stakeholders. This chapter concludes with practical ways to implement OSL and a research agenda suggesting ways OSL may open up new research opportunities in public relations.


People decide what is good or bad, or what they should or should not do, based on the values they cherish. Someone's values create the feeling that something is important for him or her, and then motivate him or her to take action. Therefore, personal values are important psychological aspects that serve as predictors of many types of human behaviour. The use of values to evaluate, to predict or to assess behavioural choices and their outcomes has received increasing attention in psychology in recent years. An important psychological insight is that similarities between personal values and values provided by the context (e.g., not only values cherished by the people who are close to us but also values embedded in the brands that are relevant for us or in the communication messages we are confronted with) have an impact on subjective well-being. This psychological insight makes values relevant for other domains as well. This chapter explores the use of values in communication, and introduces mechanisms through which values can be used to stimulate communication effectiveness.


The objective of this chapter is to introduce the new concept of outside-in-content, which facilitates a new perspective in the decoupling discourse. Based on the requirements for the contents of strategic communication, the concept of outside-in- and inside-out-content is introduced. The mechanisms of outside-in-content are explained using examples of practices from strategic communication management, such as sponsorship, corporate giving, celebrities and brand worlds. Next, the effects of outside-in-content are described. Lastly, in the context of the discourse on decoupling, the question of whether – or how – outside-in-content encourages talk–action inconsistency is answered. In inside-out-content, strategic communication looks within the organization for events, characteristics, services, persons and topics capable of attaining strategic communication targets. In the case of outside-in-content, the path is reversed: here, the selection process for strategic communication begins outside the organization and asks which existing or new events, persons or topics outside the organization are capable of attaining strategic communication goals and raising interest among the target group. Outside-in-content tends to be more reliable in attaining profile-raising and image goals. Outside-in-content encourages decoupling for three reasons: (1) like a lighthouse, it draws attention away from negative issues. (2) As neither-true-nor-false-content, it encourages noncommittal and arbitrary strategic communication. (3) If organizations no longer talk about themselves, or do so less frequently, talk and action can also no longer be examined using the standards of tight or loose coupling.


This chapter draws on both theoretical and empirical literature on trust and discusses the role of trust in strategic communication. It also examines the importance of trust for organizational success, the dimensions of trust and distrust and discusses quantifiable proxies to measure trust and distrust on social media. The theoretically driven dimensions of trust and distrust served as a framework to examine how Boeing and Airbus use Twitter to communicate with their stakeholders and publics. 6,926 Twitter messages were examined in the process of content analysis. The following proxies of stakeholder and publics' trust in an organization were identified for Twitter: number of followers, friends and likes; frequency of online activities; length of messages; use of hashtags, links, exclamation and questions marks; and use of specific words and phrases in messages. Two separate lists of words and phrases were created, one for proxies of trust and one for proxies of distrust. In addition, the following trust building actions that organization can engage in on Twitter were identified: listening and engaging in dialogue by following users, mentioning users in messages, replying to enquiries, providing and encouraging feedback.

Part II Internal and Employee Communication


This chapter presents a research model aimed to investigate internal communication satisfaction (ICS) and employee engagement as prerequisites of employee happiness. Employee engagement is seen as a dependent variable to ICS and as an independent variable to happiness. The research is based on quantitative data collected from 174 employees working in 12 international firms who specialize in IT and creative industries and have representative office in Serbia. Partial least squares structural equation modelling is used to identify relationships between constructs. The results demonstrate that ICS increases employee engagement, which in turn increases employee happiness. Employee engagement represents complementary mediation of the relationship between ICS and subjective happiness. The outcomes reveal how organizations can employ an internal communications strategy in order to enhance engagement of their employees and their happiness as the ultimate goal. This chapter addresses an understudied topic in the public relations and strategic communication field and its findings are opening new questions which may inspire research community to search for detailed explanation of the effect that ICS has on employee happiness.


This study explores interactions on internal social media (ISM) in a Danish bank in order to understand how communicative leadership is enacted in social media dialogues within an organizational context. Three months of posts, comments and likes from September to November 2018 were analyzed to identify communicative leadership roles and communicative leadership behaviours. Three types of communicative leadership arose in this study: formal communicative leadership, coconstructed communicative leadership and peer communicative leadership. Communicative leadership was further identified in communicative acts such as setting directions, making sense, solving problems and listening. The findings suggest that communicative leadership is coconstructed in interactions between managers and employees as well as in interactions among employees. In this respect, communicative leadership on ISM is not only enacted by formal managers but aslo by knowledgeable individual organizational members and it is also coconstructed by groups of employees. In this respect, the findings help us understand leadership as a complex set of interactions in organizational contexts and know that empowering communication on ISM can therefore enhance employee engagement.


The aim of this chapter is to shed light on a growing phenomenon in communication practice: employees speaking voluntarily for, about or on behalf of their organization, hereafter labelled as corporate ambassadors. The goal of this qualitative study is to analyze the role of corporate ambassadors within an organization and explore the perceived benefits and risks from three perspectives: the communication department, other departments such as marketing or human resources, and corporate ambassadors themselves. The research is based on an interdisciplinary literature review and 25 qualitative in-depth interviews with employees in one large, internationally operating German organization. By combining the theoretical and empirical insights, a conceptual framework that depicts the benefits (e.g., joy, increased trust, positive impact on reputation) and risks (e.g., work stress, lack of integration, loss of quality) of integrating corporate ambassadors into the overall communication of the organization was developed. In addition, this chapter suggests two typologies that help to distinguish between different roles of communication professionals and of corporate ambassadors. The contribution of this study is to lay a groundwork for further discussions about corporate ambassadors in the field of corporate communications. The chapter outlines directions for future research and implications for practice on how the framework can be applied in organizations.

Part III Joyfully Practising Communication


In recent years, only a small number of studies have touched upon the question of job satisfaction of communication managers. The European Communication Monitor studies (2007–2020) series, for example, continuously returns to the issue across Europe, with its 2018 edition stating that overall job satisfaction is slowly decreasing (compared to previous studies) and connects satisfaction to an individual's willingness to change their current job profile. Recent studies in Germany (Hoffjann, Köster, & Wieczorek, 2019) indicate that communication consultants, in particular, are discontent with their current work. In general, these studies relate job satisfaction to salaries, types of organization (e.g., corporates vs NGO), the position in the organizational hierarchy, stress and pressure in a working environment.

Younger generations (e.g., Millennials; Generations Y and Z) that have entered the business over the last 10 years are known for preferring purpose-driven job profiles that are related to fields like sustainability, corporate responsibility, health, education, etc. Does this attitude also make a difference when it comes to working in communication management? This chapter discusses the connection between a good cause and job satisfaction and the difference it makes when it comes to working in communication management over time. Unlike other studies, the focus in the chapter is on purpose-driven projects as a change in business routine to stay motivated.


In February 2015, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO of the LEGO Group, invited the national and international press to a financial briefing at the company's headquarters in Billund (Denmark). 2014 had been an exceptional year of growth for the LEGO group. Nevertheless, most of the journalists present in the room were surprised when the Danish CEO suddenly began to dance in front of the audience while singing ‘Everything is awesome’ from the LEGO Movie. Why did he do it? Was it out of spontaneous joy? Or was there a strategy behind his actions? And what were the reactions of the media and LEGO employees? What can a CEO who is dancing and singing for a few seconds or minutes in front of a group of journalists tell us about leadership roles and leadership communication? The aim of this chapter is to provide plausible answers to these questions. We combine theory of dancing with three different approaches to the study of leadership: (1) a strategic approach: the CEO as a Performer, (2) a positive organizational scholarship approach: the CEO as a Chief Happiness Officer and (3) a critical approach: the CEO as a Seducer. At the end of the chapter, we discuss how this small case study can contribute to a broader understanding of strategic communication that includes a dramaturgical and multimodal perspective.


The purpose of this chapter is to reflect on the necessity of incorporating practical and experiential learning modalities in higher education to prepare communication and relationship management students for engaging others in potentially conflicting socio-cultural heterogeneous settings. It is argued that cultural diversity sensitivity, cultivated in teaching modalities, could enhance social cohesion and aid nation-building endeavours. Participative action research was applied in a case study of second year communication students enrolled for a module concerning the application of relationship management in communication specialisms. Students generally comprehend the foundational theorem and praxis of communication and relationship management but failed to successfully apply these principles in practice. This impedes the emotional and intellectual preparation of students for work and negates social cohesion efforts in a diverse society like South Africa. The case study conclusively illustrates students' general anxiety to engage people from different ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds. Teachers should create ‘safe spaces’ in the classroom to equip and prepare students in utilizing the principles of communication and relationship management in politically charged and diverse settings. Innovative teaching strategies are recommended to foster harmony, tolerance, understanding and cultural sensitivity in Communication and Relationship Management education.


Educating audiences towards positive transformational change and targeted towards the improvement of quality of life in the field of strategic communication is almost a fairy tale. The controversy surrounding the Croatian pension fund system and its reform, low pensions, the negative demographic trends and low levels of financial and retirement literacy has put pension funds in a constant position of dealing with crisis communication strategies. At the same time, strategic communication in the industry is very traditional and is usually unnoticed. Taking a step back from a traditional goal of customer acquisitions, Croatian pension funds have pooled their efforts within the Association of Pension Funds and Pension Fund Insurance Companies in order to act as a unified group when dealing with joint interest. Recognizing the need of society to raise awareness of personal engagement in the process of retirement savings, they have decided to use education as a tool of strategic communication. This chapter has the purpose of showing how purposeful content-based valuable information can be created with the aim of influencing attitudes and behaviours in the field of personal and pension savings. During the project a quantitative study was conducted in order to investigate the effectiveness of the education on the attitudes and knowledge related to pension fund savings. The results of the quasi experiment indicate that the education has increased respondents' knowledge and positive attitudes towards retirement savings.


This chapter focusses on the contribution of health professionals' communication competences to patients. We propose a model of communication to be used in the therapeutic relationship, supported by a literature review. The methodology is qualitative. Four focus groups (FGs) composed of Portuguese health professionals (N = 25), such as medical doctors, nurses and professors in health fields, were conducted during 2017 and 2018. All the participants of FGs validated a three-factor aggregated and interdependent model, which is composed of assertiveness, clear language and positivity (ACP model). The factors reinforce the therapeutic relationship and improve health literacy, thus reinforcing the patient's health and well-being. The argument is that health is wealth, so if the communication can improve health, then this has positive social implications. The study is a response to the lack of consensus in the literature on what specific and operative communication competences the health professional should perform in clinical encounters with the patients, and how these competences can improve, in the final instance, their health and well-being.


Pages 223-229
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Cover of Joy
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Book series
Advances in Public Relations and Communication Management
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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