Autocommunication Theory

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    Abstract

    Autocommunication takes place whenever senders act as receivers of the messages that they are conveying. This is often the case in the context of organizations because members are senders as well as receivers of messages from their own workplace. Autocommunication is therefore highly relevant in the context of corporate reputation. An organization’s reputation depends not only on the evaluations of external stakeholders but also—and perhaps increasingly so—on the perceptions and opinions of its own members. Members usually know their workplace better than other audiences and are, therefore, able to develop more sophisticated viewpoints and judgments of organizational reality than the typical external constituent. As such, members have the potential to influence how outsiders view the organization. Conversely, organizational reputations matter most to the people who actually work for or otherwise feel associated with the organization in question. People take pride in working for companies that are positively evaluated by the general public and use such reputations to boost the images they hold of themselves. Thus, for internal audiences the reputation of their organization is a mirror in which they communicate with and evaluate themselves as social beings. This latter point was clearly illustrated in Jane Dutton and Janet Dukerich’s (1991) now classic study of the New York Port Authority, in which employees used external perceptions of their workplace to judge their individual characters. This entry covers the theory of autocommunication and its implications for corporate reputation and managerial applications.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe SAGE Encyclopedia of Corporate Reputation
    EditorsCraig E. Carroll
    Place of PublicationThousand Oaks, CA
    PublisherSAGE Publications
    Publication date2016
    Pages55-58
    ISBN (Print)9781483376516
    ISBN (Electronic)9781483376493
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Cite this

    Christensen, L. T. (2016). Autocommunication Theory. In C. E. Carroll (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Corporate Reputation (pp. 55-58). SAGE Publications. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781483376493.n28