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Strategic Communication

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Abstract

The concept of strategic communication has recently gained popularity among practitioners as well as academics leading to the formulation of a new approach to the study of communicative practices of organizations. This entry presents the foundational assumptions of this new approach including some of the most important lines of development in the understanding of strategy within the field of management and organization studies. Strategic communication can learn from these lines of development.
... The ideas and practices of communication as an intentional activity are not new to organizations (Torp, 2015). The ideas of consistency of communication and the managerial outlook to plan and control communication have emerged and been established in organizations and among communicators over a hundred years ago, whereas from the mid-2000s the concept strategic communication has emerged as an approach to talk about communicative practices of organizations (c.f., Ewen, 1996;Falkheimer & Heide, 2014a;Frandsen & Johansen, 2017;Ihlen, 2013). This study started from the premise of differences and inconsistencies as part of strategic communication, a condition that challenges a conventional view on strategic communication in which integration and consistency are core assumptions. ...
... By approaching strategic communication as a depiction of its institutional conditions, we can appreciate the differences as fundamental to communication. It is also an opportunity to revisit the notion of managerial control and planning and put emphasis on the emergence of communication (c.f., Frandsen & Johansen, 2017). Communication management is the result of a complex process that includes the institutionalized pressures and demands (from the environment) and the actors´ translations (from within the organization), challenging the functional-rational managerial outlook from two sides. ...
... The results showing different interpretations of communication should not be mistaken as applicable only to the context of social media and strategic communication, but as a condition for diverse organizational activities (c.f., Kraatz & Block, 2008b;Sahlin & Wedlin, 2008). Thus, to understand strategic communication as managerial and top-down activities is reducing the approach to strategic communication as an organizational practice (c.f., Frandsen & Johansen, 2017). For example, approaching the issue of control, Linke and Zerfass (2013) suggested that social media were to be managed through what they called governance (through training, production of guidelines, and monitoring activities) to better coordinate activities with organizational goals. ...
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My PhD dissertation. Focusing on the institutionally based translations of strategic communication in Swedish universities. An ethnographical work.
... Strategy is a linear outcome, a rational-analytic process, which includes situation analysis, implementation of decision-making, strategy formulation, and evaluation. Critically there is a view that it is impossible to determine the ultimate goal of a strategy in advance (Frandsen, F. and Johansen, 2017). Pitt & Emili (2017) assert three possibilities for communication strategies: success, problems, and failure. ...
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Responsiveness to emergence is often depicted as key to successful communication. According to extant research, deliberate planning and emergence can become mutually enriching if agile strategizing is embraced. The transition towards such mindset, however, might prove more difficult to attain than extant research suggests. In this paper, I explore the perseverance of the deliberate planning model despite cases of emergence that question its usefulness. Drawing on theory of organizational reform practice, I discuss why recurrent discrepancies between deliberate models and strategizing practice might never lead practitioners to challenge such models. Specifically, the study argues that communication strategizing needs to be approached as a dialogic practice shaped not only by complementarity, but also by processes of competition and antagonism. The contribution of the paper is two-fold; it increases awareness that emergence does not necessarily lead practitioners to challenge the deliberate model and it provides a research agenda that can advance knowledge of the coexistence of the deliberate model and emergence.
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Strategic communication is becoming more relevant in communication sciences, though it needs to deepen its reflective practices, especially considering its potential in a VUCA world — volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. The capillary, holistic and result-oriented nature that portrays this scientific field has led to the imperative of expanding knowledge about the different approaches, methodologies and impacts in all kinds of organisations when strategic communication is applied. Therefore, "Strategic Communication in Context: Theoretical Debates and Applied Research" assembles several studies and essays by renowned authors who explore the topic from different angles, thus testing the elasticity of the concept. Moreover, this group of authors represents various schools of thought and geographies, making this book particularly rich and cross-disciplinary. The book has the contribution of 28 researchers belonging to 17 higher education institutions representing nine countries: Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Uruguay. With their diverse and rich contributions, it was possible to edit a comprehensive publication, acknowledging different perspectives from distinct parts of the globe. The enthusiasm for the topic and the quality of the chapters are the essence of the project: developing a scientific look on the state-of-the-art and multiplicity of contexts to which strategic communication applies, reflecting the complexity of today’s societies.
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