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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2010

Friederike Schultz and Stefan Wehmeier

The purpose of the paper is to develop a new framework depicting the incorporation of concepts such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) within corporate communication…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to develop a new framework depicting the incorporation of concepts such as corporate social responsibility (CSR) within corporate communication as a process that called “institutionalization by translation”. The paper aims to develop a micro‐meso‐macro‐perspective to analyze why and how organizations institutionalize CSR with which effects.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper brings together institutional, sensemaking and communication theories. The paper builds on neo‐institutionalism to frame the external conditions that foster or hinder the institutionalization of CSR on the macro‐ and meso‐level. And the paper uses sensemaking and communication theories to describe this process on the meso‐ and micro‐level. The paper illustrates the analysis by describing the CSR strategies of a large European energy company.

Findings

CSR can be regarded as an empty concept that is based on moral communication and filled with different meanings. The analysis describes how CSR is internally translated (moralization and amoralization), which communication strategies are developed here (symbolic, dialogic, etc.) and that CSR communications are publicly negotiated. The analysis shows that the institutionalization of CSR bears not only opportunities, but also risks for corporations and can, therefore, be described as a “downward spirale of legitimacy and upward spiral of CSR institutionalization”. Finally, alternative ways of coping with external demands are developed (“management by hypocrisis” and “defaulted communication”).

Practical implications

The paper shows risk and explains more effective ways of building organizational legitimacy.

Originality/value

The originality lays in the macro‐meso‐micro‐perspective on the institutionalization of CSR. It allows the description of this process and its effects from the background of constraints and sensemaking and offers a new perspective on organizational legitimacy building.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 August 2011

Oliver Raaz and Stefan Wehmeier

This paper seeks to compare different national PR histories in order to unfold the degree of abstract reflection in PR history writing. It aims to provide some suggestions…

3104

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to compare different national PR histories in order to unfold the degree of abstract reflection in PR history writing. It aims to provide some suggestions for a future PR historiography, based on this comparison.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper compares British, German, and US American PR historiography. The study is based on a comparison of 36 PR histories. A triple matrix of theoretization is used in order to differentiate the histories.

Findings

Within the comparison American PR historiography accounts for 24 public relations history approaches, whereas Great Britain (1) and Germany (11) offer fewer histories. However, this richness in quantity does not lead to theoretical diversification. Owing to the paradigmatic obligation to a progressivist understanding, American PR historiography actually entails only one theoretic approach, while its German equivalent includes three different theoretic approaches and British PR historiography – being at its start – at least contains one explicitly non‐progressivist, methodologically well‐informed, fact‐oriented example. Paradoxically, the prevailing American PR historiography, on the one hand, conceptualizes PR as a modern phenomenon but, on the other hand, claims even ancient beginnings.

Research limitations/implications

The corpus of analysis contains only studies that attempt to supply an encompassing overview of (national) PR history.

Practical implications

Public relations managers may use these findings to achieve a more nuanced critical understanding of the history of their occupation, and thereby reflect on its current state, which may lead to intensified ethical endeavours.

Originality/value

The paper presents a pioneer systematic comparison of the three national PR histories, which may lead to enhanced national and general PR historiography. Another value is the establishment of a theoretically informed comparative measuring instrument, which (in future) can also be applied in order to compare and improve other national PR historiographies.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 27 January 2012

322

Abstract

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Content available
Article
Publication date: 10 May 2011

Wim J.L. Elving

530

Abstract

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Content available
Article
Publication date: 2 August 2011

Tom Watson

1330

Abstract

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Article
Publication date: 13 March 2020

Thorsten Schwetje, Christiane Hauser, Stefan Böschen and Annette Leßmöllmann

The paper reports on a research project exploring the change in the organizational context of communicators and communication units in higher education and research…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper reports on a research project exploring the change in the organizational context of communicators and communication units in higher education and research institutions (HERIs), the importance of informal processes within their daily work and the great diversity of expectations communicators have to tackle.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a literature review, a mixed-methods study combining expert interviews with 54 German HERI heads of communication units, an online-survey and a document analysis of organizational characteristics was conducted. Findings were validated in four focus groups.

Findings

The study illuminates the impact of organizational and operational structures of HERIs on communicators and their boundary spanning activities. Due to varying expectations of stakeholders, communicators constantly have to switch roles. Members of HERIs' executive boards affect status and working conditions for communicators in the organization.

Research limitations/implications

Interviews with other HERI actors, especially members of the executive board, are proposed to get more thorough insights into the organizational context of HERIs and the mutual expectations of different internal stakeholders.

Practical implications

Insights from the project may help HERI actors to reflect their organizational context and to identify potentially contentious structures or processes.

Originality/value

Communicating science sometimes clashes with complex organizational and operational structures. Despite the “organizational turn” in HERI research, there is a lack of data on the relation between communicators, their communication units and the larger organizational context. The exploratory study addresses this gap.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 October 2019

Alexander Buhmann, Øyvind Ihlen and Craig Aaen-Stockdale

Meta reviews are central for mapping the state of the field, consolidating the heterogeneous public relations body of knowledge, and pointing to new potential research…

Abstract

Purpose

Meta reviews are central for mapping the state of the field, consolidating the heterogeneous public relations body of knowledge, and pointing to new potential research directions. Habermas is one of the most influential contemporary social theorists and his work has repeatedly been used in public relations scholarship. While some have maintained that his work has been most influential in the development of public relations theory, this stream of research has never been reviewed empirically.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, the authors present a bibliometric literature review of 263 public relations research articles published between 1980 and 2016 that cite and use Habermas’ work. A network analysis of these publications based on the technique of bibliographic coupling was used to identify common forms of application, research themes, as well as patterns of impact.

Findings

Results show that the use of Habermas has grown significantly, specifically in the recent decade. At the same time, researchers have a narrow focus specifically on earlier developments in the theory. Finally, we discover three main topical research clusters that have been influenced by the theory: public relations and the public sphere, dialogic stakeholder relationships, as well as public relations and communication ethics.

Originality/value

The findings map out an important stream of scholarship in the field by showing where public relations scholars have been and where the research community has not ventured yet. Based on the results of our analysis, the authors propose directions for research to advance future theory development in public relations using Habermas’ work.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 August 2020

Mike S. Schäfer and Birte Fähnrich

Research on science communication in organizational contexts is scarce – even though many cases can be found where organizations from science and beyond communicate about…

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Abstract

Purpose

Research on science communication in organizational contexts is scarce – even though many cases can be found where organizations from science and beyond communicate about science-related issues, or where organizational contexts have an impact on the communication of individual scientists and scientific organizations. Therefore, it is time for an “organizational turn” in science communication research, and for more scholarly emphasis on the specific cases that science-related communication in, from and about organizations presents. Such an approximation would benefit both science communication research and analyses of strategic and organizational communication.

Design/methodology/approach

This special issue of the “Journal of Communication Management” on “Communicating Science in Organizational Contexts” is a step in this direction: It compiles commentaries from leading scholars in the respective fields as well as research articles coming from various disciplines and conceptual as well as methodological paradigms. In the editorial, we assess overlaps between scholarship on science communication and strategic communication, respectively, based on a meta-analysis of journals in the field(s), develop a guiding heuristic for analyzing science communication in organizational settings, and introduce the contributions to the special issue.

Findings

The meta-analysis shows that overlaps between science communication research and scholarship on strategic communication are scarce. While organizations and their communication appear occasionally, and increasingly often, in science communication research, scholars of strategic communication only rarely analyze science communication.

Research limitations/implications

The meta-analysis is limited to the publications of five scholarly journals over ten years. It still demonstrates the lack of research in the intersection of scholarship on science communication and strategic communication.

Practical implications

Scientific organizations are rapidly extending and professionalizing their strategic communication, and an increasing number of organizations beyond science communicate on science or science-related issues. Understanding science communication in organizational settings, therefore, is crucial for practitioners in both areas.

Originality/value

Analyzing science communication in organizational settings is of increasing importance – yet few studies exist that have done it, and the respective research fields devote not much attention to one another. The special issue is a first foray into this new, intersectional field.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

Keywords

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