Internal crisis communication
The field of crisis communication has received very little attention within research on crisis management. This is surprising, as internal crisis communication is of fundamental importance. The response of organisations to crises is a direct result of the complex internal processes and communication between employees. If the research field is to be developed, researchers need to focus to a greater extent on the internal processes, relations and communication of organisations. The aim of this project is to contribute new important knowledge of practical use which can reduce or mitigate crises in society.
This project will combine research into crisis communication, change communication, internal communication and leadership, as they are strongly inter-related.
The case organisation in this study is Skåne University Hospitals (SUS) which was created on 1 January 2010 and is a merger of Lund University Hospital and Malmö University Hospital. SUS is an example of a societally important organisation in which it is crucial to develop the best possible crisis communication system. SUS is also an example of a “highly reliable organisation” which is characterised by the attention paid to reflecting on and averting crises, including encouraging its employees to report “near misses” – events that could lead to damage but are averted in time. This approach is very unusual in most organisations. There are great opportunities to generate lessons and strategies from such cases which could be of good use to other organisations with regard to crisis management and crisis communication.
The project was reported in articles in international scholarly journals and a book on internal crisis communication which was published in spring 2014. The project was funded by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and completed in December 2013.