Corporate Communication

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Researcher(s): Hannelore Crijns

Promotors: Liselot Hudders, Veroline Cauberghe and An-Sofie Claeys
Duration: October 2014 to July 2018


Nowadays, corporate communication practices are influenced by several characteristics of the current digital environment such as the interactive nature of social media and the active role that stakeholders might play in the communication process. Therefore, this dissertation argued that organizations have to move beyond a sender perspective that exclusively focuses on what they want to say to their stakeholders. Instead, a multi-vocal approach is recommended in which the voices of multiple stakeholders are taken into consideration. In particular, it is argued that organizations have to adapt their corporate communication to the sense-making processes and engagement of stakeholders, such as reacting on posts on social media, identifying with the spokesperson based on a similar gender, etc.. In six empirical chapters this topic was explored by means of a variety of research methods such as survey research, experimental designs and content analyses. Results indicated that the active sense-making processes and engagement of stakeholders indeed influences perceptions of (the communication of) organizations. Hence, this dissertation found empirical evidence for the need to adopt a multi-vocal approach in corporate communication.