"You need to trust your guts" - A study about internal crisis communication strategies of the municipally owned companies in Gothenburg

University essay from IT-universitetet i Göteborg/Tillämpad informationsteknologi

Abstract: Crisis communication is a well-covered research area focusing on how organization should, or should have communicated in crisis situations. Most of the research relates to the external dimension of communication and in contrary; this study aims to contribute in an internal communicative perspective of crisis communication research. The study is a descriptive case study of the city of Gothenburg and interviews with Communication Managers of the municipally owned companies have been conducted. The focus lies on which communication strategies the companies use for internal communication in crisis management. Using the research question of: “What are the implications of internal crisis communication?” and an inductive approach, the interviews have been analyzed with a grounded theory technique and further compared with existing crisis communication and public relation theory, in order to identify and discuss what internal crisis communication implies practically and theoretically. The findings indicate that internal crisis communication to some extent can be seen as a variation of external crisis communication, but also includes a problematic balance concerning to support and accommodate the employees, which is not identified in external crisis communication. Theoretically, the result indicates internal crisis communication to imply a different, less strategic form of crisis communication.

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