The dark side of communication


We have seen an upsurge in research into organizational communication, PR communication, corporate communication, branding communication etc. Whereas this voluminous strand of research has delved ever deeper into the instrumental nature of organizational/corporate communication, little attention, outside organizational discourse studies, has been devoted to examining what happens when we allow organizational/corporate communication to constitute the reality in which we live. This conference explores our understanding of what dark side communication activities ‘are’ and what they ‘do’ in or with reference to organizational contexts.


Internally, i.e. when an organization communicates with its employees, communication is an instrument of management. In that capacity communication serves many different purposes; a dominant and recurring purpose, however, is that of socializing employees into the mission, vision and values of the company. Communications are pivotal in the training of new employees, basically in turning ‘outsiders’ into ‘insiders’, as well as continuously nudging all employees – new and old alike – to ‘live’ the values of the company. Internal communication understood as an instrument of management, then, is also always a form of social control. Externally, i.e. when an organization communicates to external stakeholders on which the organization is dependent – costumers, clients, policy makers, news media etc. –, then that, needless to say, is not a neutral portrayal of the company. A cornerstone of any modern-day company’s PR and / or branding communication, for instance, is the shaping of a favorable impression of the company in the minds of its stakeholders.


Keynote speakers are:

Professor Dennis Mumby, USA: (Re)Branding the Dark Side: Communicative Capitalism and Neoliberalism

Professor David Boje, USA: Water storytelling and dark side of sixth extinction denial

Assoc. Professor Charlotte Simonsson, Sweden: Managerialism – a threat to communication professionalism?

Assoc. Professor Erika Darics, UK: Coming out of the dark: critical language and discourse awareness as key soft skills


The conference is hosted by the Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University.

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Onsdag, 14. august 2019 - 8:00 til Fredag, 16. august 2019 - 17:00
Tirsdag, 13. august 2019 - 12:00
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