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

Open access

Abstract

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.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Abdullah Z. and Treadgold T.T. (2008) ’The Professionalisation of Public Relations in Malaysia: Perception Management and Strategy Development’. Public Relations Review 34(3) 285–287.

  • Ashforth B.E. and Mael F. (1989) ‘Social identity theory and the organization’. Academy of Management Review 14(1) 20–39.

  • Axley S. R. (1984) ’Managerial and Organizational Communication in Terms of the Conduit Metaphor’. Academy of Management Review 9(3) 428–437.

  • Bentele G. and Wehmeier S. (2003) ’From “Literary Bureaus” to a Modern Profession: The Development and Current Structure of Public Relations in Germany in Sriramesh K. and Verčič D. (eds.) The Global Public Relations Handbook: Theory Research and Practice (pp. 199–221). London: Routledge.

  • Bivins T.H. (1993) ’Public Relations Professionalism and the Public Interest’. Journal of Business Ethics12(2) 117–126.

  • Bowen S.A. (2009) ’What Communication Professionals Tell Us Regarding Dominant Coalition Access and Gaining Membership’. Journal of Applied Communication Research 37(4) 418–443.

  • Broms H. and Gahmberg H. (1983) ’Communication to Self in Organizations and Cultures’. Administrative Science Quarterly 28(3) 482–495.

  • de Bussy N.M. and Wolf K. (2008) ’The State of Australian Public Relations: Professionalisation and Paradox’. Public Relations Review 35(4) 376–381.

  • Carey J. (2009) Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society (rev. ed.). New York NY: Routledge.

  • Carr P. (1971) ’Public Relations Professionalism’. Public Relations Quarterly 15(4) 6.

  • Cheney G. (2000) ’Interpreting Interpretive Research: Toward Perspectivism without Relativism in Corman S. and Poole M. S. (eds.) Perspectives on Organizational Communication: Finding Common Ground (pp. 3–45). New York NY: Guilford.

  • Cheney G. and Christensen L.T. (2001) ’Organizational Identity: Linkages between Internal and External Communication in Jablin F.M. and Putnam L.L. (eds.) Organizational Communication: Advances in Theory Research and Methods (pp. 231–269). Tousand Oaks CA: Sage.

  • Cheney G. and Lee Ashcraf K. (2007) ’Considering “the Professional” in Communication Studies: Implications for Teory and Research within and Beyond the Boundaries of Organizational Communication’. Communication Theory 17(2) 146–175.

  • Christensen L.T. and Cheney G. (2000) 'self-Absorption and Self-Seduction in the Corporate Identity Game in Schultz M. Hatch M.J. and Larsen M.H. (eds.) The Expressive Organization: Linking Identity Reputation and the Corporate Brand (pp. 246–270). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Christensen L.T. and Cornelissen J. (2011) ’Bridging Corporate and Organizational Communication: Review Development and a Look to the Future’. Management Communication Quarterly 25(3) 383–414.

  • Christensen L.T. Morsing M. and Cheney G. (2008) Corporate Communications: Convention Complexity and Critique. London: Sage.

  • Cornelissen J. (2011) Corporate Communication: A Guide to Theory and Practice. London: Sage.

  • Cutlip S.M. Center A.H. and Broom G.M. (2006) Effective Public Relations (8. ed.). Upper Saddle River NJ: Prentice Hall.

  • Czarniawska-Joerges B. (1993) The Three-Dimensional Organization: A Constructionist View. Lund: Stu-dentlitteratur.

  • Dahlen M. Lange F. and Smith T. (2010) Marketing Communications: A Brand Narrative Approach. Chichester: Wiley.

  • Davis A. (2002) Public Relations Democracy: Public Relations Politics and the Mass Media in Britain. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

  • Ewen S. (1996) PR! The Social History of Spin. New York NY: Basic Books.

  • Fairclough N. (1995) Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language. London: Longman.

  • Falkheimer J. and Heide M. (2003) Reflexiv kommunikation: Nya tankar för strategiska kommunikatörer. Malmö: Liber.

  • Falkheimer J. and Heide M. (2007) Strategisk kommunikation: En bok om organisationers relationer. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

  • Falkheimer J. and Heide M. (Eds.) (2011) Strategisk kommunikation: Forskning och praktik. Lund: Studen-tlitteratur.

  • Fill C. (2009) Marketing Communications: Interactivity Communities and Content. Harlow: Prentice Hall.

  • Giddens A. (1991) Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Cambridge: Polity press.

  • Gill R. (2011) ’Corporate Storytelling as an Efective Internal Public Relations Strategy’. International Business and Management 3(1) 17–25.

  • Grant D. (2004) The Sage Handbook of Organizational Discourse. London: Sage.

  • Grönroos C. (2006) ’On Defining Marketing: Finding a New Roadmap for Marketing’. Marketing Theory 6(4) 395–417.

  • Grönroos C. and Rubinstein D. (1986) Totalkommunikation: Analys Och Planering Av Företags Marknads-kommunikation. Malmö: Liber.

  • Grönstedt A. (2000) The Customer Century: Lessons from World Class Companies in Integrated Marketing and Communications. New York NY: Routledge.

  • Gummesson E. (2002) Relationsmarknadföring: Från 4P Till 30R (3 ed.). Malmö: Liber.

  • Habermas J. (1968/1987) Knowledge and Human Interests. Cambridge: Polity.

  • Hallahan K. Holtzhausen D. van Ruler B. Verčič D. and Sriramesh K. (2007) ’Defining Strategic Communication’. International Journal of Strategic Communication 1(1) 3–35.

  • Heath R.L. (2001) ’Defining the Discipline in Heath R.L. (ed.) Handbook of Public Relations (pp. 1–9). Tousand Oaks CA: Sage.

  • Heath R.L. (2010) ’Preface in Heath R.L. (ed.) The Sage Handbook of Public Relations (pp. xi–xv). Tousand Oaks CA: Sage.

  • Hernes T. (2008) Understanding Organization as Process: Theory for a Tangled World. London: Routledge.

  • Holm O. (2006) ’Integrated Marketing Communication: From Tactics to Strategy’. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 11(1) 23–33.

  • Holtzhausen D.R. (2008) Strategic Communication. In Donsbach W. (Ed.) The international encyclopedia of communication (Vol. X pp. 4848–4855). Malden MA: Blackwell.

  • Huang Y.H. and Su S.H. (2009) ’Public Relations Autonomy Legal Dominance and Strategic Orientation as Predictors of Crisis Communicative Strategies’. Journal of Business Ethics 86(1) 29–4 1.

  • Högskoleverket. (2001) Utvärdering av medie- och kommunikationsvetenskapliga utbildningar vid svenska universitet och högskolor. Stockholm: Högskoleverket.

  • Ihlen O. and Verhoeven P. (2012) ’A Public Relations Identity for the 2010s’. Public Relations Inquiry 1(2) 159–176.

  • Jaffe J. (2007) Join the Conversation: How to Engage Marketing-Weary Consumers with the Power of Community Dialogue and Partnership. Hoboken NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

  • Kotler P. Armstrong G. Wong V. and Saunders J. (2008) Principles of Marketing: Fifth European Edition. Harlow: Prentice Hall.

  • L’Etang J. (2002) ’Public Relations Education in Britain: A Review at the Outset of the Millennium and Toughts for a Different Research Agenda’. Journal of Communication Management 7(1) 43–53.

  • L’Etang J. (2004) Public Relations in Britain: A History of the Professional Practice in the 20th Century. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  • Larsson L. (2005) Upplysning och propaganda. Utvecklingen av svensk PR och information. Lund: Student-litteratur.

  • Linderholm I. (1997) Målgruppen och budskapet: En modell gör målgruppsanalys och utformning sv nudskap om trafiksäkerhet till unga manliga trafikanter. Lund: Lund University.

  • Mahoney J. (2011) ’Horizons in Strategic Communication: Teorising a Paradigm Shift’. International Journal of Strategic Communication 5(3) 143–153.

  • McKie D. (2001) ’Updating Public Relations: “New Science” Research Paradigms and Uneven Developments in Heath R.L. (ed.) Handbook of Public Relations (pp. 75–91). Tousand Oaks CA: Sage.

  • Monten R. (2012). Informationsindex 2011: informationsbranschens Tillväxt Och Utveckling under 2011 Stockholm: Sveriges Informationsförening och Precis.

  • Moss D. and DeSanto B. (2011) Public Relations: A Managerial Perspective. London: Sage.

  • Mumby D.K. (1988) Communication and Power in Organizations: Discourse Ideology and Domination. Noorwood NJ: Ablex.

  • Mumby D. K. (2013) Organizational Communication: An Critical Approach. Tousand Oaks CA: Sage.

  • Palm L. (1994) Övertalningsstrategier: Att Välja Budskap Efter Utgångsläge. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

  • Pelsmacker P. d. Geuens M. and Bergh J. v. d. (2010) Marketing Communications: A European Perspective. Harlow: Prentice Hall.

  • Pitman G.R. (1966) ’A Calculus of Military Stability’. Journal of Peace Research 3(4) 349.

  • Proctor T. and Kitchen P. (2002) ’Communication in Postmodern Integrated Marketing’. Corporate Communications: An International Journal 7(3) 144–154.

  • Putnam L.L. (1983) ’The Interpretive Perspective: An Alternative to Functionalism in Putnam L. L. and Pacanowsky M. E. (eds.) Communication and Organization: An Interpretive Approach (pp. 31–54). Beverly Hills CA: Sage.

  • Putnam L.L. and Nicotera A. M. (2010) ’Communicative Constitution of Organization is a Question: Critical Issues for Addressing It’. Management Communication Quarterly 24(1) 158–165.

  • Sha B.-L. (2011) ’Accredited Vs. Non-Accredited: The Polarization of Practitioners in the Public Relations Profession’. Public Relations Review 37(2) 121–128.

  • Stenberg J. (2012) On Strategic Communication. Unpublished manuscript Department of Strategic Communication Lund University.

  • Tobin N. (2004) ’Can the Professionalisation of the Uk Public Relations Industry Make It More Trustworthy?’. Journal of Communication Management 9(1) 56–64.

  • Tompkins P.K. and Wanca-Tibault M. (2001) ’Organizational Communication: Prelude and Prospects in Jablin F.M. and Putnam L.L. (eds.) The New Handbook of Organizational Communication: Advances in Theory Research and Methods (pp. xvii–xxxi). Tousand Oaks CA: Sage.

  • Varey R.J. (2000) ’A Critical Review of Conceptions of Communication Evident in Contemporary Business and Management Literature’. Journal of Communication Management 4(4) 328–340.

  • Wehmeier S. and Winkler P. (2013) ’Expanding the Bridge Minimizing the Gaps: Public Relations Organizational Communication and the Idea Tat Communication Constitutes Organization’. Management Communication Quarterly 27(2) 280–290.

  • Weick K.E. (1979) The Social Psychology of Organizing (2 ed.) Reading MA: Addison-Wesley.

  • Weick K.E. (1995) Sensemaking in Organizations. Tousand Oaks CA: Sage.

  • Weick K.E. (2009) Making Sense of the Organization: The Impermanent Organization. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.

  • Weick K.E. Sutcliffe K. M. and Obstfeld D. (2005) ‘Organizing and the Process of Sensemaking’. Organization Science 16(4) 409–422.

  • Wehmeier S. and Winkler P. (2013) ‘Expanding the Bridge Minimizing the Gaps: Public Relations Organizational Communication and the Idea Tat Communication Constitutes Organization’. Management Communication Quarterly 27(2) 280–290.

  • Windahl S. and Signitzer B. (1992) Using Communication Theory: An Introduction to Planned Communication. London: Sage.

  • Windahl S. and Signitzer B. (2009) Using Communication Theory: An Introduction to Planned Communication (2 ed.) London: Sage.

  • Zerfaβ A. Verčič D. Verhoeven P. Angeles M. and Tench R. (2012) European Communication Monitor 2012: Challenges and Competencies for Strategic.

  • Åberg L. (1990) ’Teoretical Model and Praxis of Total Communication’. International public relations review 13(2) 13–16.

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor


CiteScore 2018: 0.54

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.223
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.270


Cited By
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 732 527 39
PDF Downloads 464 349 25