Strategic Communication Found in Translation : Practices, Practitioners and Perceptions

Abstract: This dissertation seeks to explore how institutional, organizational and individual factors influence the development of strategic communication. The dissertationillustrates how new institutional theory can be applied to address the development of strategic communication as a process that is produced on different interrelated institutional levels. It also shows that multiple levels need to be addressed in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of strategic communication. Further, it describes how the development of strategic communication is restricted and enabled by societal and organizational discourse in processes that are not always controlled by communication professionals. The dissertation also explores howpopular ideas or successful recipes for strategic communication are spread between organizations in the same field, but are adjusted or translated in order to fit organizational preconditions. The results also highlighthow professionalism is understood differently by communication practitioners depending on the organizational sector they work in and how the institutional embeddedness of communication practitioners influences the ways in which practitioners commit to their occupation.Moreover, it suggests that the inhabited and perceived moral taint that is associated with communication practitioners shapes the professional discourse and hampers the development of a shared occupational identity. Finally, it is suggestedthat knowledge about the development of strategic communication can be found in the translations and local adaptions of new ideas and practices. Insights about the institutionalization of strategic communication might not only be found in realized structures and routines, but in micro changes that happen as the result of local circumstances.