Table of contents(15 chapters)
Challenges of Change in Unpredictable Times
This chapter presents results of a research project in which we give direction to the further design of the technical research that will lay the foundation for an automated digital feedback module. This module will help residents in saving energy and making home improvements in the context of the heat/energy transition. Interviews with residents and field experts were used to gain data about motivations and barriers residents experience when making home adjustments in the heat transition. Results reveal the experiences residents have in this transition. Based on the results, recommendations are made for the further development of an automated digital feedback module.
Croatian universities are autonomous from the government, but the majority of universities are financially dependent on the state. Croatian universities function as public authorities and often ignore communication with relevant publics, which indicates insufficient integration of communication activities into the universities' development plans, i.e. a lack of strategic communication as an essential tool for achieving the organisation's goals. Heide et al. emphasised the importance of the human element in communication management as ‘a move from organizations based on hierarchies, rules and close supervision to organizations built on loosely structured networks’ (Heide et al., 2018, p. 453). This chapter examines the usage of strategic communication at Croatian universities in 2018 and 2020–2021 and compares communication in 2020–21 during the COVID-19 pandemic with communication during non-crisis 2018. This chapter uses Hallahan et al.'s approach to strategic communication, who defined it as ‘the purposeful use of communication by an organisation to fulfil its mission’ (2007, p. 3). This case study of strategic communication of Croatian universities used the following research methods: (1) content analysis of universities web pages, (2) in-depth interviews with communication specialists from universities and (3) comparison of their communication during 2018 and 2020–2021. Conclusion is that communication of Croatian universities is not strategic and can hardly serve as a management function. Reasons for this situation indicate a lack of the social impact of the universities, i.e. lack of the Triple Helix model of the Croatian universities. This chapter is the first research of the usage of strategic communication at Croatian universities.
This chapter examines what was the feminist approach of the political crisis communication adopted by the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, within the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on a specific time frame: 17 March 2020–30 December 2020. It identifies and examines the feminist values that shaped her crisis communicational approach through a content analysis implemented on a selection of speeches delivered at media briefings. The analysis is conducted using the theory of ethics of care, with a focus on four concepts related to it, namely: delayed reciprocity, social change, sense of responsibility and relationality. The chapter, further on, detects patterns shaped mostly by feminist values gathered under the umbrella of longing for social change and sense of responsibility and identifies specific contexts while each of the analysed concepts was used, how often and together with each other one. The results also show that three other feminist traits participate strongly in building the given speeches, which can be summarized in: a sense of gratitude, personal honesty and well-being for others.
Codes of ethics are a moral reflection centred on the duties and rights of a given profession that establishes the minimum moral standards required. These codes imply self-regulation and therefore an individual application on the conduct of professionals. In this chapter we reflect on the main values that guide PR practice based on Schwartz's theory of basic human values, which measures universal values that are recognised throughout all major cultures. A qualitative and quantitative content analysis was carried out of the codes of ethics of six national PR and communication associations and of the Global Alliance's code. The ethics codes were analysed to study the priorities of values stressed by PR professional associations and to highlight the motivational values that may be present in them. Findings show that values contained in the codes of ethics are based on a system of 32 human values; three of the values – the common good, integrity and truthfulness – are identified in all the codes; motivational values relating to universalism, benevolence and conformity are also covered to varying degrees in all the texts. It has been confirmed that the Global Alliance code is the only text that deals with the values of all the motivations described by Schwartz. The PR codes of ethics are based on a list of common ethical values of a collective nature, which are mostly contemplated by the Global Alliance; the main difference at the national level is that Latin countries include in their texts more principles of ethical universalism.
The Human Element in Employee Communication
This chapter presents a study on the role of internal communication for diversity and inclusion (D&I) management in organisations. It sheds light on how the units D&I management and internal communication are linked to each other in terms of exchanging and sharing ideas and know-how and the (common) pursuit and achievement of strategically set objectives. In total, 20 D&I experts (17 D&I managers and three D&I management consultants) from Austria and Germany were interviewed. The focus of the interviews was on the development of D&I management strategies and concomitant measures as well as the internal D&I communication activities. The findings indicate the importance of internal communication to communicate D&I goals and measures. In this context, the internal communication department plays the role of a service provider and advisor. Numerous communication channels are used to communicate D&I initiatives, with ‘rich’ media such as interpersonal communication and social intranet being particularly common. Furthermore, the results show that storytelling is a particularly popular form of communication. The study contributes to the scholarly examination of the role of internal communication in D&I management, to what extent and how the two units collaborate, and what communication measures are taken to pursue D&I management goals.
Effective strategic internal communication is instrumental for meaningful relationships and productive work climates within organizations and, therefore, for overall organizational success. Currently, demographic shifts, the dramatically changing work environments because of pandemics and technology, and longer working lives challenge internal communication experts to assess the implications of generational differences for respective workforce target audiences. Effectively addressing the target audiences requires a focus on and understanding of their needs and behaviours. Surprisingly, little research has been conducted on the segmentation criteria of internal stakeholders, and even less on the implications of different generations for internal communication management. This study is novel as it discusses the value and practicality of different generations as a segmentation criterion for effective internal communication from the perspective of internal communication professionals. A multi-method qualitative research approach was employed, including 49 unstructured interviews, eight focus groups and 13 semi-structured interviews with internal communication professionals in Swiss companies on a strategic and operational level. The results show, first, that the segmentation of the internal audiences is dominated by traditional one-dimensional top-down stakeholder-oriented approaches. Second, while an awareness of the importance of generations is high and the need for multi-dimensional segmentation is evident, formal segmentation by generation is rarely implemented and remains controversial. Third, internal communication can foster more inclusive and productive workplaces by better considering the needs and preferences of the different internal segments and by simultaneously standardizing and customizing communication. The study also discusses inherent limitations and suggests avenues for future research.
Organisations have recently become more aware of the importance of their employees and their contributions to organisational success (Bakker and Schaufeli, 2008). Employee engagement is one of the contributors that has been recognised to have several positive outcomes for organisations. This study was conducted in order to explore how different employee-related concepts affect employee engagement. Its purpose was to determine whether internal communication can influence employee engagement by insuring employees perceive a fulfilled psychological contract, as well as adequate organisational support. A total of 3,457 employees from 26 different organisations completed a survey that measured internal communication satisfaction, employee engagement, level of psychological fulfilment and perceived organisational support. To test the relationship between these variables, mediation analysis was conducted. Two research models with internal communication satisfaction as a mediator between the relationship of psychological contract fulfilment and engagement, and perceived organisational support and engagement were tested. The results show that internal communication satisfaction is a significant mediator of both the relationship of psychological contract fulfilment and engagement, as well as the relationship between perceived organisational support and engagement. This indicates that internal communication could be used in order to manage psychological contract fulfilment and perceived organisational support with the intent of increasing employee engagement, and consequently, overall organisational performance.
Employees are increasingly speaking out against their employer on relevant social issues, which raises the human factor to a next level in organisational affairs. The aim of this chapter is to shed light on the concept of employee activism and locate it in the academic and professional discussion about employees' active role as organisational communicators. After scrutinising some of the most popular cases from recent years, the relevant literature in the fields of social activism and employee communication as well as strategic organisational communication and public relations is critically reviewed with the idea to (1) provide a terminological clarification regarding employee activism, (2) outline the unique characteristics of its current forms, (3) discuss several factors that may trigger externally directed employee activism and (4) elaborate on the communicative nature of this phenomenon as well as its implications for organisational development and reputation. As a result, five propositions are suggested to explain what constitutes employee activism as a specific form of employee communication behaviour. The chapter also calls particular attention to related risks and opportunities for organisations and opens up questions for further research.
The People Behind Strategic Communication
Many critical descriptions can be found for public relations. While research has so far been limited to describing the negative image of the PR profession or has understood it as a peripheral problem, this chapter takes a more fundamental approach. Focusing on media relations as part of PR, the concerns about the profession are to be understood as a central part of its social identity, which others have initially assigned to it. This subsequently shapes their behaviour towards PR professionals, specifically spokespersons, just as it shapes the spokespersons' self-perception. Media relations is therefore characterised by something discrediting, which shapes the attitudes and behaviour of both the publics and the spokespersons themselves. In sociology, this is described by Erving Goffman's concept of stigma, which serves as the theoretical framework of the chapter. Drawing on Habermas, the discrediting characteristic of media relations is determined by the self-interest, success- and power-oriented character of strategic action. The empirical study, a survey of 429 journalists and spokespersons in Germany, addresses the following two research questions: How widespread is the stigma of spokespersons among spokespersons and journalists? And: What are the consequences of perceived stigma for job satisfaction? The findings are somewhat ambivalent showing that, on the one hand, about three out of five journalists stigmatise spokespersons. On the other hand, only about one in five spokespersons perceive themselves as stigmatised.
The research of lobbying within public relations scholarship is a small but emerging field, having hitherto been largely the reserve of political science. While there is rightly interaction between the two disciplines, lobbying is a communicative act with a clear human element, usually involving (and in some cases, required by law before it is deemed to be lobbying) face to face interactions between actors, namely lobbying practitioners and those with influence and power such as politicians. This chapter contains the findings of a survey of professional lobbyists working in Scotland. The survey seeks to gain a better understanding of the profile of Scottish lobbyists, and to understand if there is any change in their practice as a result of the lobbying transparency legislation which was introduced shortly before the study commenced. The survey was conducted by online questionnaire and completed by 71 respondents between September 2019 and February 2020. The study finds that lobbyists in Scotland are predominantly male, have at some point been active in party politics and that there has been little behaviour change since the introduction of lobbying transparency regulation. It also finds that non-commercial interest groups are the largest group in Scottish lobbying, but only slightly. This study adds to the literature of lobbying practice and lobbying regulation and aims to create a better understanding of the relatively young Scottish lobbying sector. It therefore provides a basis from which to conduct further studies in Scotland and other jurisdictions.
In Finland the use of public relations (PR) agencies and consultants in political decision making has increased in the last two decades. The development of the Finnish political realm has been similar to that of other Nordic countries where the PR industry has built a strong linkage to the political sphere. The present study analyses how Finnish PR consultants with a political background use and attempt to influence the news media as part of lobbying processes to advance their clients' causes. The chapter is based on 11 interviews with PR consultants that were conducted during November 2018. The main findings indicate that Finnish PR consultants consider the news media and journalists as an important part of lobbying. The media and journalists are considered supportive or alternative forums for advocacy and political debate. PR consultants use the media strategically to establish relationships and networks with journalists, and to advocate long-term political decision making and agendas. Overall, the study indicates that Finnish PR consultants want to be active political interpreters, who together with their clients engage in shaping the political agenda and discourses. This is done by taking advantage of previous political experience and networks, constructing the political agenda for media communication, organising a network of media representatives to influence and finally by framing political messages to the media.
Digital transformation, and the use and pervasiveness of social media in particular, have changed society. Politicians and political institutions increasingly use social media channels; hence political communication is changing as well. Continuous availability through smartphones and other devices has not only led to more information exchange between political and public actors, but also lobbyists, who classically communicate remotely, are also starting to respond to these changes and use tools such as Twitter, Facebook and the like. Against this background, this study provides insights into the effects of digital transformation, especially social media, on lobbying in Germany. Data were gathered from 15 interviews and seven focus groups with lobbyists and political decision makers in Berlin. The analysis shows that digital lobbying operates within a novel logic, due to the public context of social media. It is the human element that becomes the decisive factor in digital lobbying due to the social aspect in social media. Accordingly, investigating digital lobbying is critical to establish implications for theory and for practice.
- Publication date
- Book series
- Advances in Public Relations and Communication Management
- Series copyright holder
- Emerald Publishing Limited
- Book series ISSN