2019 Organisation and Management of Aid Analysis

Skandaler, opinioner och anseende: Biståndet i ett medialiserat samhälle

Maria Grafström, Karolina Windell

The aim of this report is to create an understanding of how decisionmakers within development cooperation deal with media surveillance, and what consequences their approach may have for
risk-taking and decision making.

This report build on studies that show how media’s presence and significance increase in society, and hence that organizations can be understood as mediated. This implies that the media’s working methods, formats and content requirements – here understood as the media logic  becomes an organizing principle that also applies internally within organizations.

The report was presented during the seminar Skandaler, opinion och anseende: Medialiseringen av biståndet.

Findings

  • Overall the study shows that decision makers in their working life constantly (and obviously) relate to the issues of either positive medial visibility or the risk of getting medial criticism accompanied by reputation loss.
  • The media’s presence in the daily work is not necessarily related to actual current publicity about development cooperation. It is equally linked to previous experiences and to established ideas that media images of development cooperation.
  • The media logic as an organizing principle creates extra caution about how tax money is used (a kind of control mechanism).
  • In the worst case the anxiety leads to opting out of interventions or activities that are difficult and perhaps uncomfortable to communicate – even though they are deemed relevant for the task.

Authors
Maria Grafström, Associate Professor, Business administration
Karolina Windell, Associate Professor, Business administration