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The normative imperative: Socio-political challenges of Strategic and Organisational Communication

  • 05.07.2023
  • 07.07.2023
  • Lisbon (Portugal)
For far too long, the focus of applied communication has been in proving value and getting a place at the manager’s table. We followed blind the growth imperative and an economic model centred on the financial efficiency. In the years, some academics were looking for identifying added-value of communication to the management game from a hegemonic perspective. Nevertheless, it was also a 

position of never being able to be a game changer, but rather a follower. It even charged also public sector with efficiency from a management centered perspective. 

We see then a change in the public sphere and in the social dynamics. Society intensified the game of legitimation of organisations with hashtags movements and global awareness. CSR, sustainability,  diversity, equity, inclusion are now well widespread buzzwords in the corporate realm. Organisations feel the normative imperative, taking care of societal issues and even play a role in political discussions,  as seen in corporate social advocacy and CEO activism.  On the other side, corporate hypocrisy and soft  propaganda are ongoing, and the media landscape and its watchdog role seems to be diminishing. 

For sure companies and even more public sector have always had a contract with society. A contract  that comprises not just direct stakeholders (as employees, consumers, citizens or shareholders) but also  broader publics (as the media, the nonprofit sector or the communities where the organisation  operate). Of course, there are laws and regulations, the formal part of this social contract; but there are  also semi-formal aspects, which are much more fluid and difficult to ascertain: the stakeholders’ expectations regarding companies conduct, like following environmental or labour ideals, or the fulfillment of brand promises. Violations may result in swift actions by stakeholders, fueled by social media boycotts, for example, but they can also go unnoticed. With excuses of endless use of rhetorical figures and a permissive attitude towards communication endeavours and brand communication, we let organisations preach their stories and narratives without hardly any accountability on their communication.  

We invite the community to reflect upon the scope of those thoughts and to submit critical, empirical or theoretical proposals for the interim ECREA OSC conference to take place from 5th to 7th of July 2023 in the Autonomous University of Lisbon, in a joint organisation with LabCom – Research centre. Evandro Oliveira and Gisela Gonçalves are the organisers. 

Some of the topics, can be:  

∙      Normative governance for organisational communication 

∙      Normative frameworks for strategic communication 

∙      Impact of rhetoric and brand narratives on society 

∙      Public sector implications of normative dimensions 

∙      Nonprofit and hypocrisy 

∙      Impact of communication on consumers' identity and well being 

∙      B-corps as a new relationship management approach 

∙      Accountability, integrated reporting and communication 

∙      The 4th sector communication 

∙      Greenwashing and other “image” washing. 

∙      Strategic communication and the UN sustainable development goals 

∙      Corporate social advocacy and CEO activism 

∙      Internal relationship management and well being 

Scholars and postgraduate students of Organizational and Strategic Communication. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the formal and informal mentoring opportunities afforded by participating in the conference and other Section activities. The conference provides members with valuable professional development opportunities, including networking and presentation, and learning about the latest trends in Organizational and Strategic Communication research. 


∙       We welcome submissions till March 10 (extended) 

∙       Decisions on submissions till the 31st  of  March 

∙       Early Bird registration till the end of April  

∙       Registration closes on the 10th of June 

Extended   abstract  

-       should contain 1500 and 2000 words (excluding references) 

-       the document should be sent in word format.  

-       authors should not be identified in the document. 

-       The document should be sent to   with the details of the authors. 

The conference registration costs will be around 100 euros on early Bird for members, including registration, coffee breaks and two lunch. More detailed information will follow soon. 

Full   papers   can   be   considered   (after   the   peer-reviewing   process)   for   two   publications:  

1-A special issue of the “Communication Studies” journal- Scopus, Latindex, open source (

2-    An edited book by Evandro Oliveira & Gisela Gonçalves (Publisher tbc) 



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