An increasingly complex environment and pressure from external publics on organizations to speak consistently challenge contemporary organizations. Strategic communication has been portrayed as offering a method for organizations to handle these complexities and is characterized not only as a rational way to handle problems organization face by centralizing, planning, and controlling, but as inevitable.
Contrary to the conventional understanding of strategic communication as being a micro-level action, I recognize in this thesis that organizations’ strategic communication making is socially embedded. Thus, taken for granted ways of engaging in strategic communication play a vital role for what activities are conducted and how. Hence strategic communication is viewed to also constitute a macro-level phenomenon (a ‘strategic communication mind’) that reciprocally interacts with how participants engage in strategic communication making at the micro-level.
Using a practice theory lens and an ethnographic approach, I explore how the strategic communication mind and strategic communication making reciprocally interacted in the Swedish Green Party’s 2014 election campaign making by focusing on how the national organization and a local branch, organized for the election campaign, engaged in planning and controlling.
In generalized terms, my findings suggest that even though the national organization and the local branch’s campaign making interacted with the strategic communication mind, these interactions were not always reciprocal. Rather, many of their micro-level activities diverged from what both campaign groups’ members expected and desired to do, as well as what the strategic communication mind prescribes. I suggest that it was the organizational and election campaign contexts in which the campaign making transpired that made participants unable to follow the strategic communication mind to the letter. Hence, participants’ invocation of the strategic communication mind in campaign making led to a number of tensions: between centralization and internal democracy, planning and situational coping, strategist control and inclusion, and control and flexibility. Although these tensions challenged the strategic communication mind by hindering a reciprocal interaction, the mind was never deliberately critiqued or challenged by participants of the campaign groups or rank-and-file members, but the tensions kept lingering on.