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Article
Publication date: 25 April 2022

Lorena Blasco-Arcas, Jesper Falkheimer and Mats Heide

The purpose of this article is to offer new insights into crisis communication in service ecosystems. The authors present a framework to conceptually categorize service…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to offer new insights into crisis communication in service ecosystems. The authors present a framework to conceptually categorize service crises and then analyze key aspects of crisis communication among different stakeholders in a service ecosystem.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on crisis communication and service ecosystems research, we propose a framework to better understand crisis communication during service crises in service ecosystems. In doing so, we propose a typology of service crisis in service ecosystems and identify the main factors of crisis communication under the lens of the Rhetorical Arena Theory (RAT).

Findings

This article integrates communication theory and service research in the area and identifies different key dimensions to gain a deeper understanding of crisis communication in service ecosystems. Moreover, and building on RAT, several research lines are recommended in order to explore further macro (i.e. the role and interactions between different stakeholders in the event of a crisis) and micro (i.e. individual aspects related to the context, media, genre and text) dimensions, and their importance during the communication process.

Originality/value

Our framework offers a typology of service crises and suggests the importance of considering a multi-actor, multi-channel perspective in communication when a crisis occurs in order to monitor and avoid the potential negative impact for both the organization's recovery and the service ecosystem evolution afterward.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 33 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 7 June 2021

Mats Heide and Charlotte Simonsson

The aim of this paper is to contribute with increased knowledge of the complex role of internal communication during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. More…

4990

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to contribute with increased knowledge of the complex role of internal communication during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, the authors want to address the following research questions. How can the overall approach to internal crisis communication during the pandemic be interpreted, and what view of internal crisis communication does this approach reflect? What has been characteristic of the leadership communication during the pandemic? What do coworkers think of their communication role and how well does the internal communication support that role?

Design/methodology/approach

This article is based on a case study of an authority with 1,000 employees. The empirical material consists of both documents and interviews. The analyzed documents include steering documents, e-mails to managers from the support function and newsletters from the top manager. The 17 interviews comprise managers, coworkers and communication managers. All interviews were recorded and the authors have conducted verbatim transcriptions.

Findings

The pandemic is an example of a wicked problem that involves a lot of ambiguity. Often organizations try to handle wicked problems by trying to control it through traditional management skills and practices. A pandemic demands a leadership, culture and communicative approach that highlights the importance of coworkers. In the studied organization the authors found knowledge and rhetoric about the value of coworkers and communicative coworkership. However, top management does not encourage, support and award practices that are in line with the espoused culture. The key to success is top managers that walk the talk and act as role models.

Practical implications

Crisis managers and crisis communicators need to focus more on improvisation, flexibility, listening and how to approach and make sense of the uncertain. In general, there is a tendency to rely too much on simple tools and to oversimplify complexity. Complex crises such as the pandemic raise new demands on leadership. Effective crisis leadership in a complex crisis seems to be much more democratic and collaborative than often assumed. If coworkers are expected to act as ambassadors or organizational representatives, they also need to be given better support for that role.

Originality/value

This article highlights the importance of closing the gap between espoused and enacted culture in order to change from a managerialistic internal crisis communication to a process internal crisis communication approach.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 25 April 2022

Jesper Falkheimer, Mats Heide, Charlotte Simonsson and Rickard Andersson

This study aims, first, to explore and analyze if and how organizational members’ professions or occupations influence perceptions of internal crisis communication. The…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims, first, to explore and analyze if and how organizational members’ professions or occupations influence perceptions of internal crisis communication. The second, related, aim is to discuss the role of internal communication in creating a strong organizational identity during a prolonged crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is mainly conceptual but uses quantitative data from a survey conducted in a health-care organization in late 2020 to illustrate the theoretical reasoning.

Findings

The results show that the administrative groups perceive factors in the internal crisis communication more favorably than the professional groups. The study suggests that organizational members perceive internal crisis communication differently depending on which intra-organizational group they belong to. This further points to the absence of a “rally-around-the-flag” effect and highlights the importance of working proactively with professionals and in internal crisis communication.

Originality/value

This study highlights the role of professionals in crisis communication, which is an aspect that so far has been ignored. The internal professionalization processes and an intriguing power struggle between professions have obvious consequences for crisis communication. As shown in the overview of earlier research on internal communication, leadership and professional organizations, the prerequisites for creating an increased organizational unity among coworkers are challenging. The idea that a crisis may, as in certain political situations in society, create a “rally-around-the-flag” effect is still relevant, even if the case study is an example of how this did not happen.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 May 2018

Charlotte Simonsson and Mats Heide

The purpose of this paper is to gain new knowledge of how organizational errors can be used to early detect signals of impending crises and thereby develop internal crisis…

1773

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to gain new knowledge of how organizational errors can be used to early detect signals of impending crises and thereby develop internal crisis communication. Three communication processes – organizational culture, leadership and learning – that are particularly important for the development of internal crisis communication are focused. The paper also discusses what kind of learning error management supports, and suggests how crisis communication as a practice can be developed. The thesis is that intensified work of improving internal crisis communication is a vital step of becoming a communicative organization, where all coworkers are understood and act as strategic communicators.

Design/methodology/approach

This empirical study is part of a three-year research project on internal crisis communication within a Swedish university hospital. This paper is based on a sub-study with 37 qualitative semi-structured interviews with nurses, physicians, managers and crisis management specialists within the hospital.

Findings

The paper offers knowledge about how internal crisis communication can be developed by focusing on errors as resource to anticipate a crisis and as material for organizational learning. Coworkers are mainly focused in the article and are seen as important sources and strategic communicators. It is further emphasized that error management is not a matter of technological solutions, but rather a question of communicative aspects of leadership and organizational culture.

Practical implications

It is suggested that initiatives to develop internal crisis communication is an important step for organizations in becoming communicative organizations, and communication professionals have an important role to facilitate this development.

Originality/value

This paper gives a new understanding of internal crisis communication and the importance of leadership and culture.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 April 2016

Jesper Falkheimer, Mats Heide, Charlotte Simonsson, Ansgar Zerfass and Piet Verhoeven

The purpose of this paper is to examine and analyze the prevailing form of rationality that governs the challenges, goals and roles of communication professionals. The…

4390

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine and analyze the prevailing form of rationality that governs the challenges, goals and roles of communication professionals. The authors will also explore alternative forms of rationality and discuss what these would imply.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on survey results from The European Communication Monitor (ECM) and qualitative interviews with communication managers in Sweden. First, the authors present the ECM data and the Swedish interview material, i.e. the authors depict the practitioners’ perceptions of what they understand as important work tasks and roles. The interviews focus on the actual practices of linking communication goals to business goals. Second, the results are challenged from a reflexive perspective, using theories from the paradox turn and questioning the “taken-for-granted thinking” in corporate communications.

Findings

The ECM data show that the main challenge in practice is “linking business strategy and communication.” The Swedish respondents stand out when it comes to “building and maintaining trust” since this is considered to be almost as important. The qualitative interview study strengthens the results in the ECM. The interviewees seem to do their work according to the traditional management agenda – i.e. they break down overall business goals and translate these to measurable communication goals. The results are reflected upon using paradox theory. Two paradoxes are discussed: between managerialism and professionalism, and strategic generalists and operational specialists.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on survey data that have been collected through a convenience sample, and the interview study is a pilot study.

Practical implications

The paper focuses conflicts between normative practitioner ideals and reality, and helps practitioners to reflect upon mainstream thinking.

Originality/value

Based on the empirical findings in the ECM, the interviews and the theoretical framework, the authors conclude that if the idea of The Communicative Organization is to be fruitfully realized, it is necessary to depart from a multi-dimensional rationality and question ideas that are taken for granted. The use of paradox theory and concepts such as functional stupidity is rather original in corporate communication research. Additional research could further explore paradoxes in order to spark dialogue, which may undermine one-dimensional thinking and functional stupidity.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2014

Mats Heide and Charlotte Simonsson

The article has two major purposes. The first purpose is to examine the roles and practices of communication professionals in relation to internal aspects of crisis…

16034

Abstract

Purpose

The article has two major purposes. The first purpose is to examine the roles and practices of communication professionals in relation to internal aspects of crisis communication. The second is to suggest new roles and practices for communication professionals that will enable a strategic approach to internal crisis communication. This article is based on empirical material from a larger three-year research project that focuses on internal crisis communication at a university hospital (UH) in Sweden.

Design/methodology/approach

This article is based on empirical material from a larger, three-year research project that focuses on internal crisis communication at a university hospital (UH). For the purpose of this article the authors have mainly analysed transcripts of 24 semi-structured interviews that lasted 1-1.5 hours each. The authors chose to interview both communication professionals and other key persons/crisis managers in order to have the role and practices of communication professionals elucidated not only from the perspective of communication professionals themselves.

Findings

A conclusion from the case study is that communication professionals have a rather limited role in internal crisis communication. Their role is primarily focused on information distribution through the intranet, even though they are also involved in strategic managerial work during the acute stage of the crisis. The communication professionals are first and foremost called for once the crisis has already occurred, which can be seen as a “communication on demand” approach, which limits a strategic orientation. In this paper some new roles and practices for communication professionals are suggested, which involve a strategic approach and cover all the stages of crisis.

Research limitations/implications

Future research needs to go deeper into the practices and processes of these roles.

Practical implications

Important prerequisites for fulfilling a strategic role as a communication professional are membership of the board, diversified communication roles, a developed managerial role, being closer to core operations, and legitimacy.

Originality/value

The absence of a strategic crisis management thinking and discourse in organisations delimits communication professionals to a technical role rather than a managerial and strategic role. Taking internal crisis communication seriously and adopting a broader view of crises will raise new demands on communication professionals, which go beyond the operational and tactical roles in the acute phase of a crisis.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 August 2008

Catrin Johansson and Mats Heide

The purpose of the present review of communication approaches to organizational change is to identify and further develop the range of perspectives available in the…

22348

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the present review of communication approaches to organizational change is to identify and further develop the range of perspectives available in the literature and to present a framework on communication and change that could underpin future research.

Design/methodology/approach

Research on communication, narratives, stories and discourse, which have mapped new terrain in the study of organizational change, is reviewed and discussed.

Findings

The authors conclude that despite the vast academic and popular change literature, communication approaches to change still remain underdeveloped and communication scholars are, with few exceptions, remarkably absent in the field. Three challenges for the future are proposed, that researchers of communication and organizational change need to consider.

Originality/value

This paper provides a comprehensive literature review in the field of communication during organizational change. By integrating these studies in a new framework of communication as tool, process and social transformation, the authors offer a new foundation for theory building in this area. Further development and integration of these three different communication approaches is suggested, which would offer better conditions for research and practice to embrace the complex processes of organizational change.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 30 January 2009

158

Abstract

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Article
Publication date: 25 July 2019

Howard Nothhaft and Hanna Stensson

The purpose of this paper is to explain the “evaluation deadlock” or “stasis” diagnosed by many authors. The explanation relies on a thought experiment.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explain the “evaluation deadlock” or “stasis” diagnosed by many authors. The explanation relies on a thought experiment.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is conceptual and builds on a thought experiment inspired by qualitative research such as interviews with communication consultants in Sweden. It makes use of principal–agent theory and Akerlof’s theory of lemon markets.

Findings

A plausible explanation for the evaluation stasis requires consideration of practitioners’ self-interest as businesspeople. The deadlock is explained by an anomaly in practitioner populations and passive or active but covert resistance. If the long-time neglect of measurement and evaluation has led to expectation inflation and overpromising, even well-performing actors might shy away from rigorous measurement and evaluation practices in their own mandates, since they fear being measured against promotional, not realistic standards. At the same time, on the level of industry discourse, these practitioners would still advocate for measurement and evaluation in principle, so as to avoid the suspicion of underperformance.

Research limitations/implications

The paper suggests an explanation for further empirical investigation. It does not attempt to demonstrate anything else than that the suggestion is plausible and that it warrants further investigation.

Practical implications

The scientific community engaged in the measurement and evaluation debate appears puzzled by the discrepancy between practitioners’ words and actions. The authors hope that the paper contributes to a more realistic and thus more constructive dialogue between practitioners and academics in the measurement and evaluation debate.

Originality/value

Inspired by Alvesson and Spicer’s concept of functional stupidity, the paper argues that attempts to explain the evaluation stasis have been marked by circumspection and narrowness. At present, explanations for the evaluation stasis tend to focus on lack of knowledge or inadequate systems or frameworks. The paper offers a more comprehensive explanation.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Content available
357

Abstract

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

1 – 10 of 41