Social Media, Organizational Identity and Public Relations: The Challenge of Authenticity, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Social Media, Organizational Identity and Public Relations

The Challenge of Authenticity, 1st Edition

By Amy Thurlow


132 pages

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Hardback: 9781138064324
pub: 2018-11-05
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315160443
pub: 2018-10-10
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Public relations has been swift to grasp social media, yet its impact on public relations practice remains relatively unexplored. This book focusses on a way of understanding organizational identity construction in a virtual context, developing scholarship on the importance of a virtual presence in PR management, and further, to make sense of these identities as authentic, legitimate or plausible.

Through a diverse group of empirical case studies, this book explores the global perspective on organizational identities which transcend global boundaries via the internet including Volkswagen’s emissions scandal and Monsanto and organized social media protests. It also explores crowdfunding – an emerging form of capitalist development constructed through sensemaking in social media. By looking at the emergence of organization in today’s social media environment, it identifies how the interactive is created on a digitally mediated platform, sharing knowledge and engaging individuals in organizational identity construction.

Viewing the social construction of organizational identities through this lens, this innovative book locates how identities are plausible, authentic and legitimate - or not – through their ongoing communication via social media. It will be of great interest to academics teaching and researching in public relations, organisational communication and social media.

Table of Contents


Table of Contents


Chapter One: Introduction

Chapter Two: Communicatively constituted organizations, plausible?

Chapter Three: Critical Sensemaking (CSM) in a virtual environment

Chapter Four: Methodology

Chapter Five: Plausibility, authenticity and collective enactment

Chapter Six: Crowdfunding – collective organizing and virtual identities

Chapter Seven: Plausibility and legitimation

Chapter Eight: Volkswagen – truth, accuracy and plausibility

Chapter Nine: Engagement and enactment

Chapter Ten: #MarchagainstMonsanto – social movements, extracting cues, and the ongoing nature of sensemaking

Chapter Eleven: Conclusion



About the Author

Amy Thurlow is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Canada where she teaches public relations and organizational communication. Her recent publications appear in Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management , The Scandinavian Journal of Management, Journal of Change Management, and the Canadian Journal of Communication. Currently, she is a co-investigator on a 5-year, multi-institutional SSHRC funded project focused on Reassembling Canadian Management Knowledge with a special interest in dispersion, equity, identity and history. She is a member of the National Education Council of the Canadian Public Relations Society and the international Commission on Public Relations Education.

About the Series

Routledge New Directions in PR & Communication Research

Current academic thinking about public relations (PR) and related communication is a lively, expanding marketplace of ideas and many scholars believe that it’s time for its radical approach to be deepened. Routledge New Directions in PR & Communication Research is the forum of choice for this new thinking. Its key strength is its remit, publishing critical and challenging responses to continuities and fractures in contemporary PR thinking and practice, tracking its spread into new geographies and political economies. It questions its contested role in market-orientated, capitalist, liberal democracies around the world, and examines its invasion of all media spaces, old, new, and as yet unenvisaged.

The New Directions series has already published and commissioned diverse original work on topics such as:

  • PR’s influence on Israeli and Palestinian nation-building
  • PR's origins in the history of ideas
  • a Jungian approach to PR ethics and professionalism
  • global perspectives on PR professional practice;
  • PR as an everyday language for everyone
  • PR as emotional labour
  • PR as communication in conflicted societies, and
  • PR's relationships to cooperation, justice and paradox.

We actively invite new contributions and offer academics a welcoming place for the publication of their analyses of a universal, persuasive mindset that lives comfortably in old and new media around the world.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Public Relations
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Media & Communications Industries
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies