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Inside stories: making sense of the daily lives of communication practitioners

By Nilam Ashra

Abstract

The discipline of corporate communication is relatively embryonic, and has developed into its current form largely through the amalgamation of salient theories from the public relations and management disciplines. Existing academic research focuses broadly on the role of communication practitioners, factors constituting excellent communication functions, and issues of integration. As such, these three broad research agendas have shaped the current corporate communication landscape.\ud \ud \ud This thesis contends that whilst an analysis of roles, excellence and integration are important, prior research has failed to acknowledge the importance of the lived\ud experience as encountered and interpreted by individual communication practitioners. This research therefore examines how practitioners interpret the events they experience and what this reveals about their lived experience. The research uses diaries and interviews to gather practitioners' talk and text. Through a fine-grained\ud discourse analysis of the interpretive variability of practitioners' accounts, the research reveals two important interpretative repertoires employed by communication practitioners, that reveal a sense of dislocation embedded within their working lives. The research also reveals a number of themes that are prominent in their working lives, which can be understood and contextualised through adapting\ud Dervin's (1999) Sense-Making Metaphor Model. This research also extends existing debates on practitioners roles, excellence in communication functions and issues of\ud integration. The research shows that traditional notions of boundary spanning are not exclusive to managers, that a preoccupation with personal reputations can lead to an\ud alignment of shared values with dominant coalitions, and that practitioners engage in their own form of encroachment in the form of penetrating departmental boundaries\ud to educate others as to the value of effective ommunication.\ud \ud \ud Additionally, the research makes an important contribution to existing methodological debates, particularly in relation to the use of diaries in qualitative research, The contribution of the research to policy and practice highlights the need for case studies to show the lived experience of the modem communication practitioner, as opposed to listing abstract tasks and responsibilities

Publisher: Leeds University Business School
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:610

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