Legitimation as a particular mode of strategic communication in the public sector

Helle Kryger Aggerholm, Christa Thomsen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review


Within the theoretical frameworks of strategic communication and legitimation and through the use of a case study analysis, this article investigates the creation of managerial legitimation towards internal stakeholders in text and talk as a particular mode of strategic communication in a public sector organization. Following a theoretical discussion of the interconnectedness of strategic communication and managerial legitimation, we present a case study analysis of management talk at three interrelated management meetings dealing with the implementation of New Public Management-based (NPM) reforms in a public sector organization. The context of NPM in the case study is particularly relevant for our investigation, because it sets the stage for the creation of legitimation by the public sector managers. Our analysis finds that these public sector managers use the integration of ‘voices’ (voices of authorization, rationalization and moral evaluation) of different actors (e.g., the Ministry, the organizational members, competitors, and partners) as a means of establishing legitimation. Specifically, this research shows how the integration of these (strong or weaker) ‘voices’ in management talk happens at a microlevel and is used as a particular mode of strategic communication.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Strategic Communication
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)195-206
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - 2016
Udgivet eksterntJa


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