Strategizing Communication: Theory and Practice

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportBogForskningpeer review


With this textbook we aim to introduce students, teachers and practitioners to ways of understanding, analyzing, and managing strategic communication processes.

Strategic communication has often been equated with the formulation of a communication plan, heavily inspired by the early focus in strategic management research on organizational efficiency and planning. Here people and organizations were seen as rational actors that, with the proper amount of information, training and planning, could be guided to act in certain ways. In short: you can plan yourself to success.

But today, much of the strategic management field has abandoned this logic of economic rationality, and now conceptualizes (successful) strategy as a far more dynamic process. Not least driven by the emergence of new technologies, strategy is today, more often than not, understood as a process of interaction between people and technology over time. We have come to understand that a good strategy depends more on relations, unplanned events, and networks of actors than on rational managers and detailed plans.

In textbooks on strategic communication, however, this evolution of the concept, is far less certain and visible. Though communication research has more or less abandoned the view of communication as the transmission of a message from an active sender to a passive recipient, where the sender can control and/or influence the recipient’s reaction in a rational process, most textbooks and publications on strategic communication are still (explicitly or implicitly) based on the assumption that people are rational beings, who, through careful planning, can control a communicative process. Our aim is to challenge this notion. In doing so, we argue for a transition from seeing strategy as an intentional development from plan to product to viewing strategizing as an indeterminate and indefinite process. Influenced by, and with reference to the latest research in strategic management and organization studies, we wish to introduce this paradigm shift, to students and scholars of strategic communication.

The title says it all: Strategizing communication – the act of doing strategy. Our approach means an increased attention towards the process, to the actions that generate strategic communication. Strategic communication is not a fixed entity, but constantly negotiable and malleable. This does not mean that theories on planning should be discarded, rather we will argue that we need to put more emphasis on the process of planning; of course we make plans, but the plan in itself is not the key issue, rather, the key issue is the process of planning, and the process that follows from the planning.

The textbook’s subtitle ’theory and practice’ indicates that the book, beyond new and inspiring theory, will include case studies and assignments for students, as well as recommendations for the experienced practitioner. Hence, with the backdrop of the comprehensive changes to communication in and about organizations brought about by the past decade’s blooming digital communication technologies, paving the way for closer relationships and more collaboration between sender and recipient, we aim to give our readers better and more up to date tools to understand and manage strategic communication processes.

The contents of the book are presented in parallel tracks comprising literature on strategy and strategic management, and strategic communication. We argue that research into, and the practice of, strategic communication has fallen behind the field of strategy and strategic management, and, in some ways, the general field of communication too. Thus, the book is both a regular textbook, replete with theoretical background and practical cases and exercises, and also an argument for a particular – and particularly relevant – scientific and practical approach. The basic argument: in order to efficiently and successfully manage and implement strategic communication, it is necessary to redefine the concept of a strategic communication, and how it can be employed.
Antal sider400
ISBN (Trykt)978-87-593-2207-9
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2016

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