Toplederbloggen som platform for kommunikativ ledelse - et casestudie af en intern toplederblog i Alka

Christel Nygaard Engedal & Marie-Louise Honoré Valsted

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to explore the executive blog as a new phenomenon in internal corporate communication. In particular, the thesis focuses on the possibilities and constraints of using the executive blog as a platform for communicative leadership. We present an empirical case study of an executive blog authored by the CEO of Alka, a Danish insurance company, published on the company’s intranet. The case study combines quantitative and qualitative data, including interviews with the CEO and two groups of employees, a survey amongst all employees, and quantitative and qualitative content analysis of blog posts and comments written in the course of five months. Lacking a complete theoretical framework on blogging practices in corporate settings, we combine Taylor & Van Every’s perspective on organizational communication with Yates & Orlikowski’s structuration approach to genre studies and Askehave & Nielsen’s notion of the interdependency between medium and genre. On the basis of this combined theoretical framework, we propose a new model for studying genres of organizational communication and apply it to a genre analysis of the executive blog in Alka. Furthermore, we develop the concept of communicative leadership defined as an ongoing process of sensemaking and sensegiving where the leader offers a number of interpretations to members of the organization and attempts to influence the organizational meaning construction in order to lead the organization toward a preferred direction. We conclude that the executive blog can be used as a platform for communicative leadership, in the form of a mutual sensemaking and sensegiving process between the CEO and the employees participating in the conversation on the blog. However, there are also constraints and limitations. Some employees have barriers to participating, and the conversations on the blog tend to focus on consensus that excludes critical voices and alternative contributions that could be valuable to the organization. Furthermore, it is more difficult than could be expected to bypass geographical and hierarchical boundaries within the organization. The case study bears evidence of the executive blog as an emerging genre which evolves through enactment and is not defined once and for all. The genre enactment draws on genre repertoires within and outside the organization and is a subject of negotiations and diverse interpretations between members of the organization. Furthermore, our genre analysis shows how the executive blog is not only a response to existing recurrent situations, but it also produces new recurrent situations on which to act, and thereby changes communicative practices in the organization. These conclusions call for a more dynamic understanding of emerging genres in organizations than implied by existing theoretical genre concepts.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2008
Number of pages111