In the Wake of New Media: Connecting the Who with the How of Strategizing Communication

Ib T. Gulbrandsen, Sine Nørholm Just

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    In this article we argue that although there has been an intensified exploration of how organizations strategize within the field of strategic communication, there seems to be a key component missing, namely questioning who these organizations are and become in the process of strategizing. Strategic communication implicitly, perhaps even unintentionally, continues to rely on a classical understanding of organizations as “social units (or human groupings) deliberately constructed and reconstructed to seek specific goals” (Etzioni, 1964, p. 3). Assuming rather than exploring who the organization is, we argue, hinders a full explanation of how strategic communication works. Aiming to tackle this issue, we first present three ways in which the classical understanding of organizations is being theoretically challenged by organization studies and empirically challenged by new media, arguing that organizations are networked, sociomaterial, and contingent processes of meaning formation. Then we examine how the reconceptualization of the organization influences the concept of strategic communication, advocating that strategies should be seen as collaborative and networked flows (the how) of shared decision making by both human and nonhuman actors (the who). Finally, we discuss how this affects the notion of strategic action, and hence, strategic communication, asking what strategic action is and who performs it.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Strategic Communication
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)223-237
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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