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Managing chaos through crisis communication leadership
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Media and Communication Science. (CORE@DEMICOM)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6645-2980
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

During crises, people turn to the government for leadership, including what actions to take and how to return to stability (Christensen, Laegreid, & Rykkja, 2013). Leaders are responsible for and expected to minimize the impact of crises, enhance crisis management capacity, and coordinate crisis management efforts. In essence, crisis leadership is a communicative process, in which individuals verbalize and make sense of contingencies and objectives, establish a common purpose, and take action. Leadership communication is defined as a process in which leadership actors communicate to fulfill a common goal (Johansson, 2018). Empirical studies of leaders and managers outside of crisis contexts illustrate that they spend most of their time communicating with individuals, teams and stakeholders in a variety of ways: face to face or through digital communication channels. However, existing crisis communication research focuses on organizational leaders’ communicative management of the organization’s reputation (e.g., Coombs, 2016; Littlefield & Quenette, 2007; Ngai & Falkheimer, 2017; Waymer & Heath, 

2007). Hence, the research record predominantly reduces crisis leadership to managing organizations’ images, with the notable exception of discourse of renewal research (Seeger, Ulmer, Novak, & Sellnow, 2005; Ulmer, Seeger, & Sellnow, 2007). 

Our study expands crisis leadership research using an explorative study of 40 interviews with Swedish and U.S. government officials. We address the following questions: (1) How do crisis leaders communicatively create resources that help them prepare for crisis communication? (2) How do crisis leaders develop communicative strategies for crisis management with internal and external stakeholders? (3) How do crisis leaders communicatively enable inter-organizational collaboration on crisis management in communities? 

As Wouter, Dückers, and van der Velden (2016) noted, “much remains to be clarified in terms of how actual leadership tasks are undertaken and balanced by way of crisis management” (p. 56). This study answers that call, and develops a new framework for effective crisis communication leadership.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35478OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-35478DiVA, id: diva2:1280125
Conference
104th Annual Convention, National Communication Association, Salt Lake City, USA, November 8-11, 2018.
Projects
Changing crises, changing media: Re-assessing and Extending the Knowledge Base on Effective Crisis Communication in Digital, Social and Visual Media Environments
Funder
Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, 2017-2538Available from: 2019-01-18 Created: 2019-01-18 Last updated: 2019-01-21Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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