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dc.contributor.authorSataøen, Hogne Lerøyeng
dc.date.accessioned2012-01-06T14:42:09Z
dc.date.available2012-01-06T14:42:09Z
dc.date.issued2011-12-09eng
dc.identifier.isbn978-82-308-1889-3 (print version)eng
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1956/5370
dc.description.abstractThis thesis focuses on information and communication practises in Norwegian hospitals in the wake of several reforms in the hospital sector. In particular, I study the introduction of reputation and brand management (“omdømmehandtering”). Rethinking how to organize communication practises has been regarded as one of today’s most important organizational trends, and it is analysed as an important aspect of managing public sector organizations in Norway. However, the trend is not studied in detail and we do not know the consequences of such organizational practices. In this thesis, I study the people who work with communication and information in the hospitals. I ask how the reputation management trend and theory inspires work practises in hospitals and how (and whether) the information and communication departments are rearranged in order to build reputation in hospitals. As an empirical starting point, I have chosen to study a certain group of people and their function in the hospitals. I argue that the information departments in the hospitals are at the forefront in implementing new communication practises and that this group will be a strategic case for studying reputation management. Through the study of the information departments, I shed light over the concrete and practical work that they do. This will gain insight in the organization of communication in hospitals and the embedding of new global ideas in an already established organization. The theoretical perspective used and developed in the study has two main components. Firstly, I argue that a pragmatic institutional perspective gives a natural interpretation framework for understanding the use of, spread and adaptation of ideas, trends and theories. My main argument is that institutional theories need to focus on how ideas, trends and theories are embedded in local practices. Methodologically the study therefore focuses on the local and practical level of work. Secondly, I engage in a theoretical understanding of professions, which I use to analyse the practical day-today work of the information workers in the hospital. The point of departure in this perspective is not a traditional definition and model based profession-concept. However, it is an open, descriptive and sensitive perspective. The combination of a pragmatic institutionalization perspective and a sensitive concept of professionalization is the basis for studying institutionalization and professionalization of reputation management in hospitals. The data stems from three main sources. Firstly, I draw upon 27 semi-structured interviews with leaders of information departments in Norwegian hospitals. Secondly, I have conducted an observation-study of two different information departments. Here I followed daily activities, participated in meetings and had discussions with the personnel of the departments. A total of three weeks of observations were conducted. Thirdly, the study relies on 14 open in-depth interviews with information workers, mainly from the two departments where I did my field-study. In addition, the arguments in the thesis are based on documents from the hospitals (e.g. work plans, media reports, communication plans, magazines produced by hospitals) and participation in seminars and annual meetings in Informasjonsforum i Sykehus. In total, I have conducted 46 interviews with 41 different information workers and - leaders. The field-data consists of approximately 140 hours of observations. Although the empirical data was collected in a relatively short period of time, I seek to understand the processes that the hospitals have undergone in the last decade, where new thinking on management, communication and reputation has been important. The different chapters of the thesis scrutinize various dimensions of institutionalization and professionalization of information work and reputation management. In chapter five, I analyze the development of perspectives and concepts that argue that an organizations’ communication is at the heart of the organizations performance. In addition to the mapping of the history of information work in Norway (chapter four), this establishes a context for the study. In chapter six, I present data detailing the formal structure of information work in hospitals. In chapter seven, I use the observation data in order to map out and understand the internal processes in the departments, and finally in chapter eight, the understandings and perspectives of the information workers are scrutinized in depth. The thesis provides insights to several aspects of information work and reputation management in the Norwegian hospital sector. It documents the actual work, tasks and competence profiles of information departments in the hospitals. The field-data also reveal how information work is conducted in a daily and practical context. Finally, the study illustrates and discusses the actor’s viewpoints and discussions of reputation management. The work practises in the information departments certainly incorporates new communicational ideas: Techniques, repertoires and ideas associated with reputation management theory are adopted by the hospitals. E.g., the department is conducting reputation surveys; they help clinical divisions publish “positive” media stories; they train clinical personnel in media behaviours, etc. Still, this is not the full picture: The departments also engage in practical down-to-earth activities like publishing, secretary work, photography etc. The information workers also take an ambivalent position toward reputation management concepts and theories. Although they engage in activities that imply defining their brand platforms, they see reputation management as something “suspect.” The practical context and the more specific institutional context of the hospital sector constrain and shape the way in which reputation management is conceptualized and exercised. Hence, theories and concepts from reputation management “flow” into the hospitals, but do not “stick” as Colyvas and Jonssons (2011) argue. The thesis therefore gives fruitful nuances to the programmatic and optimistic literature on new communication practises. The study also shows a surprisingly heterogeneity in the work and workers. A multitude of tasks, organizational structures and educational background exists in the field under scrutiny. This points to a discrepancy with the reputation management literature. This literature promotes and advocates for a situation where a more professional, homogenous and specialized group of workers engage in the effort of building, controlling and managing a hospital’s reputation. Hence, I finally explore the possibilities that this situation reflects a Norwegian way of institutionalize work practices and concepts. This particular institutionalization underscores “strategic conformity” instead of “strategic communications.”en
dc.language.isonobeng
dc.publisherThe University of Bergeneng
dc.titleFrå folkeopplysning til omdømmehandtering? Om institusjonalisering og profesjonalisering av informasjons- og kommunikasjonsarbeid i norske sjukehuseng
dc.typeDoctoral thesiseng
dc.subject.nsiVDP::Samfunnsvitenskap: 200::Sosiologi: 220nob
dc.rights.holderCopyright the author. All rights reserved


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