Talking Organizations : Corporate Media Work and Negotiations of Local Practice

University dissertation from Uppsala : Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Contemporary business organizations are becoming increasingly medialized. The present thesis builds on the assumption that the media play an important part in shaping relations between organizations and their environments, and that we need to know more about the way organizations respond to and influence the media and the production of news. Following a close examination of thirteen major Swedish corporations and their media activities it has been suggested that business organizations are actively involved not only in direct media work, i.e. activities concerned with news coverage, but also in influencing the organizational and professional settings in which the production of news occurs. This involvement on the part of the companies embraced the production of media texts, the development of various relationships with the media, organizational arrangements for their Corporate Communications departments, and the professionalization of company-media interaction.This corporate involvement has been perceived as being exercised via a set of purposeful negotiations whereby the companies contribute to the co-shaping of the short-term conditions for the coverage of news regarding their conduct, as well as other general settings consisting the routines, norms and expectations that shape their long-term interactions with the media. It has been concluded that more attention should be paid to company-media activities identified as a negotiated local practice. This practice constitutes a formal behavioural frame of reference for the interacting actors, as it allows for the possibility of mutual adjustments and professional improvisations. Thus, with its suggestion for bridging between institutional expectations and locally developed solutions, the notion of negotiated local practices gives us a more comprehensive understanding of the way individual organizations interact with and co-shape their environments.

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