Examining Legitimacy in Government Agencies’ Crisis Communication

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Governments exercise power over the public in many ways. One clear example is during societal crises when government agencies engage in purposeful strategic communication, issue restrictions and recommendations, and rely on people’s compliance to reach response objectives and meet needs in society. Here, issues of authority and legitimacy are crucial. In this study, we are interested in how this power is configured, and we analyze different dimensions of legitimacy in the strategic communication employed by government agencies during the Covid-19 pandemic. Drawing on empirical data from Q&A sessions of daily press briefings, we examine how the pragmatic, moral, and cognitive legitimacy was challenged and defended in the interactive process between government agencies and journalists. Our analysis shows how all three dimensions of legitimacy co-exist and reinforce one another. However, considerable weight can be ascribed to the pragmatic dimension in this process of legitimation, in which government agencies rely on knowledge-based descriptions (there is) combined with imperatives regarding what needs to be done (we must). This empirical contribution improves our understanding of both the legitimacy concept and how strategic communication is central to the exercise of contemporary government power, which relies on processes of legitimation.

Sidor (från-till)54-73
Antal sidor20
TidskriftInternational Journal of Strategic Communication
StatusPublished - 2023

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Kommunikationsvetenskap


Utforska forskningsämnen för ”Examining Legitimacy in Government Agencies’ Crisis Communication”. Tillsammans bildar de ett unikt fingeravtryck.

Citera det här