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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | MSc program in Corporate Communication | 2016
Thesis number: 14401
A discursive approach to dialogic organizational communication in Yammer messages - a case study
Author: Sjölund, Emma
Title: A discursive approach to dialogic organizational communication in Yammer messages - a case study
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: MSc program in Corporate Communication
Index terms: viestintä; communication; yritysviestintä; business communication; sosiaalinen media; social media; organisaatio; organization; keskustelu; discussion; kielitiede; linguistics; mallit; models
Pages: 56
Full text:
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Key terms: corporate communication; organizational communication; dialogic communication; two-way communication; communication models; interactive model of communication; discourse; critical linguistic analysis; social network analysis; enterprise social media; Yammer
Objective of the study: The objective of this study is to contribute to a better understanding of how organisational dialogic communication is visible in enterprise social media (ESM). To reach this aim, this study will focus firstly on how dialogic communication is visible in a company's Yammer communication. Secondly, the focus is on the discourses that can be found in Yammer communication. The third emphasis is on the linguistic characteristics in Yammer messages that are apt to produce dialogue. Yammer is one of the prevalent ESM channels with over half a million organisations using it. Despite of the popularity of ESM in general and Yammer in particular, no previous research on dialogic communication in ESM is made. The theoretical framework in this study is formed mainly on dialogic communication, which becomes comprehensible by linking it to the evolution of organisational communication models. The evolution from transmission model to interactive models presents a clear switch from one-way communication to dialogic communication. In this study, communication is viewed and interpreted through a discursive lens. Consequently, communication is seen as (re)creating organisations and their realities.

Research method: This study is done as a commission for a case company and the value the results provide is thus practical in nature. As text can be seen as the material embodiment of discourse, this study will have its focus on written Yammer messages. The data set consists of 750 Yammer messages that are derived from four different groups within the case company's Yammer community. The methodology used is based on critical linguistic analysis, which is an approach to discourse analysis. Furthermore, in order to ensure a complete understanding of the social world in an ESM, this study applies social network analysis to some extent.

Findings and conclusions: Five key discourses were identified out of which two adopt dialogic communication. The first dialogic discourse, Conversation enabler, is expressive in style and personal in tone. The second dialogic discourse, Communal entity, uses also expressive language but the emphasis is more on togetherness. The tone is light and even cheerful. Even though the three remaining discourses do not initiate dialogue per se, when they are in interaction with the dialogic discourses they can be seen as allowing dialogue. Thus, dialogue, but also one-way communication, is visible in the Yammer messages of the case company. The detailed explanations of each discourse respectively provide valuable information about the current state of the case company's communication culture.
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