From Public Relations to Strategic Communication in Sweden: The Emergence of a Transboundary Field of Knowledge

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In this conceptual article, we argue that strategic communication is a transboundary concept that captures, better than public relations does, the complex phenomenon of an organization's targeted communication processes in contemporary society. The aim of the article is twofold. First, the purpose is to describe and reflect the development and institutionalization of public relations education and research in Sweden. Second, based on the transboundary changes we see in industry, education and research, we argue that strategic communication is a conceptual and holistic framework that is more valid and relevant than public relations. Moreover, we suggest that strategic communication also integrates organizational (internal) communication as well as aspects of management theory and marketing, thus allowing us to understand, explain and criticize contemporary communication processes both inside organizations and between organizations and the surrounding society.

The article is mainly based on secondary data about the public relations industry, earlier research and a mapping of public relations education and research in Sweden.

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