Tourism in Time of Epidemics
Sammanfattning: The aim of this research project is to study the role played by communication strategies on organisational reputation among the different stakeholders involved during the current COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. In doing so, this master thesis aims to understand how crisis communication aids the management of service processes and the construction of organisational image during crises. This study has been based on the following qualitative research methods: observations, document analysis, surveys and semi-structured interviews. The surveys have researched employees‟ and visitors‟ response to the communication strategies adopted by tourism organisations in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Whereas, the semi-structured interviews have analysed the responses provided by 12 high executives in charge of marketing and communication departments belonging to public and private organisations in the aforementioned countries. Stakeholders value the importance of constant, coherent and honest communication from organisations in time of crises. Hence, understanding the role played by organisational communication on the formation of reputational images is pivotal to both scholars and managers alike. The outcome of this study enables academics to understand image formation processes in light of the organisational communication strategies adopted by enterprises. Furthermore, its results equip organisations with the know-how to tackle positively future crises. Indeed, through this study I have found out that the communication strategies adopted by an organisation shall be consistent with the reputational threat level of a crisis. When the channels, frequency and strategies adopted are not in line with the threat level constituted by a crisis, the reputation of the company will be negatively affected in its stakeholders‟ eyes.
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