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News management in the Swedish school sector
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies.
2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Management Leadership and Governance (ICMLG 2015), Reading, UK: Academic conferences and publishing international ltd , 2015, 127-133 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Within the school sector, the development towards market orientation, privatisation, managerialism and mediatisation has put issues of measurement of performance and accountability in a new context. Such reforms have placed an increased stress on performance in  school. During the last two decades, this development has been especially apparent in Sweden where substantial reforms have transformed the entire school system. Within a few years, Sweden transitioned from one of the most centralised to one of the most decentralised systems in the Western World and opened up the educational market for profit-maximising organisations and competition between schools. Based on such premises, it might be argued that impression management strategies - i.e. creating an appealing image to consumers on the educational market - become an important dimension of the management of educational organisations.

To the the best of our knowledge, empirical research that in detail investigates news management in the school sector has not been carried out before. Therefore, we consider this  paper as an important contribution to the global litterature on marketisation and public sector communication. The empirical data on which this study is based consists of survey-based interviews with persons responsible for communication/pubiic relations in upper secondary school at the municipal/administrative level and constitutes a national representative sample of local school authorities (n=91) (attrition rate=9%). Topics covered in the interviews were the purpose regarding education in media relations, problems associated with the work of news management, potential conflicts between organisational self-interest and the information displayed to the public, and future concerns regarding news management (5-10 years). The interviews were written down in a narrative form and coded according to the similarities/differences-technique.

Based on the results, we point out some inherent paradoxes associated with news management in the Swedish school sector. Firstly, there is an overarching paradox related to the ideal of openess in public sector organisations and the increasing necessity of providing a positive image of the organisation. Secondly, social media is considered an important tool to use in the future for communicating directly with clients on the educational market, but also seems to encompass the same dilemmas and problems associated with traditional news management. We conclude the paper by arguing that the introduction of market principles within the public sector in Sweden has had a great impact on the need for information control and we point to the necessity of further discussions and explorations of the relation between the marketisation and the question and ideal of organisational transparancy in a democratic society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Reading, UK: Academic conferences and publishing international ltd , 2015. 127-133 p.
, Proceedings of the International Conference on Management Leadership and Governance, ISSN 2049-6818
Keyword [en]
news management, marketisation, mediatisation, public sector organisations, Sweden, upper secondary education
National Category
Media and Communications Sociology
Research subject
medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap; Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-94755ISI: 000380588400016ISBN: 9781910309858ISBN: 978-1-910309-86-5OAI: diva2:756142
The international conference on management, leadership and governance (ICMLG-2015), Auckland, New Zealand, 12-13 February 2015.
Mellan organisatoriskt egenintresse och offentlig insyn - mediehantering i socialtjänst, polis och skola
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2014-10-16 Created: 2014-10-16 Last updated: 2016-10-05Bibliographically approved

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Isaksson, JoakimEnbom, Jesper
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Department of Social WorkDepartment of culture and media studies
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