Publication type: Conference paper
Type of review: Peer review (abstract)
Title: Effective strategies for crisis communication on social media by clinics in Austria, Germany and Switzerland : goals, theory and methods
Authors: Koinig, Isabell
Reifegerste, Doreen
Rosenberger Staub, Nicole
Schneider Stingelin, Colette
Grundisch, Julia
et. al: No
Conference details: European Conference on Health Communication, health communication dynamics in turbulent times, online, 4-5 November 2021
Issue Date: 5-Nov-2021
Language: English
Subjects: Strategisches Kommunikationsmanagement; Spitalkommunikation; Krisenkommunikation
Subject (DDC): 302.23: Media
362.11: Hospitals and related institutions
Abstract: Social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) are widely used in health communication and are increasingly also used strategically by organisations in the health sector (Schneckenleitner, 2019; Tuffs, 2014). Already in 2017, more than 95% of clinics used social media, although the communication effort varied by depending on the country, clinic size and type of services offered (Smith, 2017). In crises clinic representatives in healthcare organisations, as well as staff, patients, and other stakeholders participate in public discourses both through mass media and social media. Not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but also everyday hospital life has a high potential for crisis communication dynamics, which can concern hygiene requirements, misconduct or even deaths (Töpfer & Leffler, 2017). Although there are many studies of crisis communication, little is known about how clinics, as the largest player in the healthcare market, can strategically use dialogical forms of communication on social media for crisis communication within their country-specific structures (macro-level) and how different organisational structures can influence such strategies (meso level). With the exception of a few academic articles and studies (e.g. Fisher Liu et al., 2018; Lombardi et al., 2020), we have little knowledge about the activities, digital literacy and empowerment of clinic representatives communicating on social media (micro level). The aim of the research project presented herein is to identify the factors and strategies of effective crisis communication by clinics on social media. In order to gain a comprehensive picture, we want to focus on the micro, meso and macro levels of organisational communication: (1) the social media activities of clinics during past crisis situations with a particular focus on dialogic features (macro-level); (2) the clinics’ readiness to deal with crises and use social media as part of crisis communication (meso-level); and (3) the empowerment of individuals to post social media content on behalf of the clinic in a crisis situation (micro-level). We plan to analyse the three levels for four clinics each in Austria, Germany and Switzerland (n= 12) with a mixed method design: a content analysis of crisis communication on social media to gain information about the state of the art of crisis communication by clinics (macro level); interviews with and content analyses of documents to get insights into the organisational context (meso level), and interviews with employees to uncover the extent to which individuals are enabled to communicate on social media (micro level). We would like to present and discuss our research questions, theory and methods at the ECHC. By studying crisis communication on social media by clinics in three different countries, we aim to identify success factors and strategies on how to empower organisational members and ultimately organisations to proactively deal with crises, as only by investing in crisis preparation and training effective crisis communication can be achieved (Renner & Gamp, 2014). The findings from our study will not only provide insights into adequate crisis management clinics in the three countries, but also broaden our understanding of communication in turbulent times in other health organisations in other European countries.
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: Applied Linguistics
Organisational Unit: Institute of Applied Media Studies (IAM)
Appears in collections:Publikationen Angewandte Linguistik

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