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Towards a Theory of News Management in Public Sector Organizations
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4540-5373
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9457-0335
2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Management Leadership and Governance (ICMLG 2015) / [ed] Ingley, C, Lockhart, J, Reading: Academic Conferences Limited, 2015, 233-239 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper introduces a theoretical model for analyzing institutional conditions for news management in public sector organizations. In the wide body of empirical research covering public relations and news management, the distinction between private and public sector organization is seldom made. There is little theory development that explicitly takes account of the quite different contexts in public vs. private sector organizations. What are the specific circumstances that define news management practice in the public sector? How may such conditions vary between different types of public organizations?

In a first part, the paper traces the history of public relations in the public sector, acknowledging that public relations research has some of its deepest roots in political communication but that there has been less interest in the organizations that provide actual services or exercise authority. The paper continues to delineate major themes and approaches within traditional public relations theory, where researchers take the perspective of the agent who wants to promote its own interests.  We argue that there is need to discuss this topic in terms of a fundamental contradiction between two rationales: serving the public’s interest to learn about all sides of organizational activities (good and bad) on the one hand, and protecting the interest of the organization itself on the other. We propose a typology of three types of institutional conditions that are particularly vital for news management in public sector organizations:

  • Governance
  • Public interest
  • Transparency

Governance conditions relate to the involvement of politicians in executive decision-making; the role played by professionals; the degree of external competition and how organizational activities are monitored and audited. Transparency conditions relate to how clear the mission and activities appear; how visible organizational activities are to the public and the formal possibilities for management to control information. Public interest conditions relate to the general newsworthiness of organizational activities; how broadly organizational activities affect the public; the involvement of interest groups. The impact of these conditions will be illustrated by contrasting different types of public sector organizations in Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Reading: Academic Conferences Limited, 2015. 233-239 p.
, Proceedings of the International Conference on Management Leadership and Governance, ISSN 2049-6818
Keyword [en]
news management, public sector, governance, transparency, social work, school, police, public relations
Keyword [sv]
mediehantering, offentlig sektor, socialt arbete, socialförvaltningar, skola, gymnasieskola, polis, PR
National Category
Media and Communications Sociology
Research subject
medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap; Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-94522ISI: 000380588400029ISBN: 978-1-910309-86-5OAI: diva2:754655
3rd International Conference on Management Leadership and Governance (ICMLG), Massey Univ, Auckland, NEW ZEALAND, FEB 12-13, 2015.
Mellan organisatoriskt egenintresse och offentlig insyn - mediehantering i socialtjänst, polis och skola
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2014-10-10 Created: 2014-10-10 Last updated: 2016-10-11Bibliographically approved

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