Collective Remembering of Organizations: Co-construction of Organizational Pasts in Wikipedia

Michael Etter, Finn Årup Nielsen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    – How organizations’ pasts are presented to the public is crucial, because this presentation shapes corporate reputations. Increasingly, various actors contribute to the public remembering of organizations with new information and communication technologies (ICTs). The purpose of this paper is to investigate the online encyclopedia Wikipedia as a global memory place, where the pasts of organizations are communicatively co-constructed by actors of a loosely connected community.

    – The authors analyze 1,459 edits of Wikipedia pages of ten organizations from various industries. Quantitative content analysis detects Wikipedia edits for their reputational relevance and reference to formal sources, such as corporate communication or newspapers. Furthermore, the authors investigate to which degree current corporate communication in form of 177 press releases has an influence on the remembering process in Wikipedia.

    – The analysis shows how the continuous construction of collective memories bridges past formal corporate communication, news media, and other sources with the present, exposing, and suppressing relevant information concerning corporate reputation for large audiences. The analysis of press releases shows that current frames provided by corporate communication finds only little resonance in the ongoing remembering processes in Wikipedia.

    – Conventional approaches toward remembering of organizations embrace an organization centric view, whereby corporate communication strategically leverages organizational pasts. This paper contributes to the understanding of the ongoing, networked, and collective co-construction of organizational pasts by various authors through ICTs.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCorporate Communications
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)431-447
    Number of pages17
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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