Community relations under pressure

Start - End 
2022 - 2024 (ongoing)
Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication
Research Focus 
Additional tags 
Crisis communication
Risk communication
Community relations



Organizations do not operate independently from their environment. Many companies affect the local communities surrounding them. Society increasingly pressures these corporations to give something back to their local community, for instance, through local sourcing or creating local jobs. In doing so, however, many companies focus rather on gaining and safeguarding their legitimacy, than on long-term efforts to establish mutually beneficial relationships. Public relations’ research on community relations has mainly focused on the value of communication efforts with local residents during untroubled times. This project focuses on community relations under pressure. Organizational crises can have direct and indirect effects on local communities. Such crises threaten the organizational legitimacy and as such the organization’s ‘license to operate’. We will investigate how organizations in crisis communicate with local residents. Are community relations in times of crisis a continuation of long-term communication efforts initiated under routine circumstances? Or do organizations initiate communication with their surrounding environment only in response to a legitimacy threat? How do crisis communication efforts affect local residents and what motives do they attribute to them? This project will help us explore how community relations are built, maintained and restored under pressure.