R E S E A R C H

RESEARCH VISION OF MARITA VOS
As a professor I am interested in multi-actor interaction in turbulent environments, related to disasters and crises, societal issues and change. This includes monitoring of public perception and sensemaking by stakeholder groups about risks and societal issues. I believe communication can play a more important role in facilitating coproductions and problem solving by an organisation together with other parties in its social environment. For this purpose research is needed on a strategic level concerning the dynamics and complexities of the organisational environment.
The research is grounded in structuralism and inspired by authors such as Weick and Berger. The dynamics of the social environment were also the topic of an international congress hosted in 2010 by my university team. The research interests described are made concrete in a number of personal research lines:
Resilience and crisis communication
Perception of issues and branding
Trends in the profession
Scorecard for communication. (Click for more info)

The last topic includes the communication scorecard and integrated communication.
All research topics are also part of courses lectured by me: monitoring public perception; innovation and change; reputation, image and crises; integrated communication. I wrote a competence profile for our education policy of the master's degree programme >>> docx
In case you are interested in my CV or publication list >>> pdf
See also: ResearchGate or Academia.edu

RESILIENCE AND CRISIS COMMUNICATION
Organizations function in a fast-changing environment. It is important that communication supports organizational resilience and continuity. How this can be done is explained in a free e-book, full pdf- text in open access linked here (not available in print).
• Vos, M. (2017), Communication in Turbulent Times: Exploring Issues and Crisis Communication to Enhance Organisational Resilience. Reports from the School of Business and Economics, No 40/2017. University of Jyväskylä (115 pages)

Communication is much needed in support of emergency management. In a crisis people try to make sense of the situation in interaction with others, and various organisations contribute to crisis management. Communication can enhance the public understanding of the situation, empower people to do what they can do themselves for their families and peers, while also strengthening cooperation among the various authorities involved in rescue operations and relief activities. Communication is not a luxury here but a necessity. When people are not included in the efforts they will be less able to do their part and feel more anxiety, or individuals may even negatively influence the events, e.g. by not cooperating with a vaccination or evacuation, sending fake emergency messages or even powder letters, which may harm other citizens. Crisis communication should be seen as a coproduction rather than as messaging. Continuous monitoring and interaction is needed. A slide presentation on crisis communication is available.

This research line mainly concerns governmental and non-profit organisations involved in disaster management and prevention. Next to disasters caused by nature or indirectly by men (e.g. climate change), there are also man-made emergencies for instance caused by terrorism threats.
This topic is investigated in international FP7 projects on crisis communication that I coordinate for my university (PEP and CrisComScore). We also participate in a Swedish project on crisis management and in an international FP7 project on terrorism-related CBRN crises (CATO). Because of these activities my university gave me the Award 2011 Active Player in the Framework Programme Projects.

Several of my doctoral students investigate risk and crisis communication. The projects delivered an open website www.crisiscommunication.fi with a scorecard consisting of quality indicators for crisis communication helping authorities to further increase crisis preparedness. Several publications are linked, including a theme-section of a journal and a reviewed e-book free to download from the above mentioned project website. There is also a 'Crisis communication WIKI for professionals'. We will continue to add results to this web page.
• Vos, M., Lund, R., Harro-Loit, H., and Reich, Z. (eds.), Developing a crisis communication scorecard. Studies in Humanities, University of Jyväskylä (Ref.)
• Hyvärinen, J. and Vos, M. (2016), Communication concerning disasters and pandemics: Co-producing community resilience and crisis response. In Schwarz, A., Seeger, M. and Auer, C. (2015), Handbook of International Crisis Communication Research. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken NJ, pp. 96-107.
• Mykkänen, M. and Vos, M. (2016), Serious games, Gaming, learning and crisis communication – insights from the literature. In Liénard, F. and Zlitni, S. (Ed.), Proceedings of the fourth International Conference Digital Media and Electronic Communication, Le Havre, France, pp 417-424.
•. Laajalahti, A., Hyvärinen, J. and Vos, M. (2016), Crisis communication competence in co-producing safety with citizen groups. Social Sciences, Vol. 5, No. 1, 13.
• Hyvärinen, J., Laajalahti, A. and Vos, M. (2015), Enhancing citizen response to crises through communication – Investigating expert views. International Journal of Emergency Management, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 302–319.
• Ruggiero, A. and Vos, M. (2015), Communication challenges in CBRN terrorism crises – expert perceptions. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Vol. 23. No. 3, pp. 138-148.
• Schmidt, S. and Vos, M. (eds, 2015), Behavior and Communication in CBRN rises - Findings and recommendations in case of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks on society. Pabst Science Publishers, Lengerich. (CBRN Communication Scorecard also available here >>>)
• Hyvärinen, J. and Vos, M. (2015), Developing a conceptual framework for investigating communication supporting community resilience. Societies, Vol. 5, No.3, pp 583-597.
• Laajalahti, A., Hyvärinen, J., and Vos, M. (2015), Perspectives on citizens’ crisis communication competence in co-producing safety. In Ordeix, E., Carayol V. and Tench, R. (Eds.), Public Relations, Values and Cultural Identity: Proceedings of the 15th EUPRERA Congress. Peter Lang Publishing, Brussels, pp. 77-92 (among the best papers selected from the congress in Barcelona 2013).
• Vos, M. and Sullivan, H.T. (2014), Community Resilience in Crises: Technology and SocialMedia Enablers – Guest-Editorial. Human Technology: An International Journal on Humans in ICT Environments, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 61–67
• Vos, M., Erve, A. van het, Gouw, N. de, Haataja, M., Hokkanen, L., Johansson, C., Linnell, M., Olofsson, A., Rantanen, H., Sullivan, H.T., Vergeer, F., Wall, E. (2014), Public Empowerment – Guidelines for engaging the public in crisis management. Report project PEP.
• Vos, M., Erve, A. van het, Gouw, N. de, Hokkanen, L., Johansson, C., Laajalahti, A., Linnell, M., Meriläinen, N., Olofsson, A., Rantanen, H., Vergeer, F., Wall, E. (2014), Roadmap ‘Public empowerment policies for crisis management’. Report project PEP.
• Romo-Murphy, E. and Vos, M. (2014), The role of broadcast media in disaster preparedness education; lessons learned in the scientific literature 2002-2012. Media Asia, Volume 41, No. 1, pp. 71-85.
• Ruggiero, A. and Vos, M. (2014), Social media monitoring for crisis communication: process, methods and trends in the scientific literature. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.103-130.
• Ruggiero, A. and Vos, M. (2013), Terrorism communication: characteristics and emerging perspectives in the scientific literature 2002–2011. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp.153-166.
• Luoma-aho, V., Tirkkonen, P. and Vos, M. (2013), Monitoring the arenas of the swine flu discussion. Journal of Communication Management, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp. 239-251.
• Palttala, P., Boano, C., Lund, R., and Vos, M. (2012), Communication gaps in disaster management: Perceptions by experts from governmental and non-governmental organizations. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp. 1-12.
• Palttala, P. and Vos, M. (2012), Quality Indicators for Crisis Communication to Support Emergency Management by Public Authorities. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp. 39-51.
• Palttala, P. and Vos, M. (2011), Testing a methodology to improve organizational learning about crisis
communication
. Journal of Communication Management, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp. 314 - 331.

• Palttala, P. and Vos, M. (2011), The crisis communication scorecard: supporting emergency management by authorities. In Vos, M., Lund, R., Harro-Loit, H., and Reich, Z. (eds.), Developing a crisis communication scorecard. Studies in Humanities, University of Jyväskylä (Ref.)

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PERCEPTION OF ISSUES AND BRANDING
Organisations need to understand public perception of issues related to their activities. This concerns the perception of e.g. consumers and shareholders. Nowadays, an organisation functions in multiple issue networks, in which the organisation is merely one of the players. The networks are dynamic and communication flows are especially fast online, in the social media. To better understand this a focus on the public debate in online and offline issue arenas is needed.
• Vos, M., Schoemaker, H. and Luoma-aho, V. (2014), Setting the agenda for research on issue arenas. Corporate Communications: an International Journal Volume18, No. 2, pp. 200-215.
• Luoma-aho, V. & Vos, M. (2010), Towards a more dynamic stakeholder model: The role of issue arenas for corporate reputation. Corporate Communication, an International Journal, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 315-331. (Highly Commended Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2011).
• Luoma-aho, V. & Vos, M. (2009), Monitoring the complexities: Nuclear power and public opinion. Public Relations Review, Volume 35, pp.120-122.

Branding of regions also gained attention.
• Vuorinen, M. and Vos, M (2013), Place branding in rural areas: a focus group study in Finland. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp. 154-163.

Also human rights issues are investigated and, in particular, agenda setting and framing of societal issues.
• Meriläinen, N. and Vos, M. (2015), Public Discourse on Human Trafficking in International Issue Arenas. Societies, Vol. 5, No. 1, 14-42.
Meriläinen, N. and Vos, M. (2014), Framing by actors in the human rights debate: the Kony 2012 campaign. Nordic Journal of Human Rights, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp. 238–257.
• Meriläinen, N. and Vos, M. (2013), Framing issues in the public debate: the case of human rights. Corporate Communications, an international journal, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp. 119-134.
• Meriläinen, N. and Vos, M. (2011), Human rights organizations and online agenda setting. Corporate Communications, an international journal, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp. 293 - 310.

Public perception is also discussed in one of my books:
• Vos, M. & H. Schoemaker (2006), Monitoring public perception of organisations, Amsterdam, Boom Onderwijs (available in print via the authors or free full text via Google Books or pdf here >>>).
• Vos, M. (2016), Reputation monitoring. In Carroll, C.E. (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Corporate Reputation, section Research, Measurement and Evaluation, pp. 657-659. Sage, Thousand Oaks, ISBN 9781483376516. (published 31.5.2016)

Earlier, the debate on the complex issue of genetically modified crops was studied from the perspective of companies:
• Vos, M. & I. Wassenaar (2003), 'Image formation about genetically modified food and the communication by the companies involved', Proceedings of BledCom 2002 in conjunction with EUPRERA. >>> pdf

For companies the importance of public perception is especially important in the case of branding. Innovative branding is discussed in a paper that involves a doctoral student. This and another open access paper are outcomes of the project ‘Added value of Intangibles for innovation’ initiated by me. This multidisciplinary project was funded by Tekes in cooperation with four companies. It also identified a series of performance indicators supporting innovation by companies as part of a measurement instrument. To be competitive in the international environment intangibles should be geared toward business goals. An innovative climate inside the organisation needs internal communication. This also includes communication with partners in the value chain, a topic investigated by another of the doctoral students.
• Luoma-aho, V., Vos, M., Lappalainen, R., Lämsä, A., Maaranen, P., Uusitalo, O. and Koski, A. (2012), Added Value of Intangibles for Organizational Innovation. Human Technology; An Interdisciplinary Journal on Humans in ICT Environments, Volume 8 (1), May 2012, pp. 7–23.
• Vuorinen, M., Uusitalo, O. and Vos, M. (2012), Defining critical areas in innovative brand management. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, Vol .3, Nr 4.

How in my vision such topics fit together is shown in the following paper: Vos, M. (2007), Communication as a management perspective, NordMedia, Helsinki.

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TRENDS IN THE PROFESSION
For the management of communication by an organisation integrated communication is an important approach adding to current practices. The concept first referred to coherence within the level of multi-media projects, then synthesis on the level of communication domains (integrating concern, internal and marketing communication) and finally embedding communication within the organisational policies. In a paper I explained that integrated communication should not emphasize internal coherence without acknowledging that external orientation is just as important and that both elements should be balanced.
Integration is not by definition a top-down process, rather the opposite, as bottom-up ways to develop coherence are probably more effective. A long slide presentation for users of the book Integrated communication is available on Slideshare.
• Zhang, B., Vos, M., Veijalainen, J., Wang, S. and Kotkov, D. (2016), The issue arena of a corporate social responsibility crisis – The Volkswagen case in Twitter. Studies in Media and Communication, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp.32-43.
• Vos, M. & H. Schoemaker (2011), Integrated Communication; concern, internal and marketing communication, Den Haag, Boom Lemma, 4rd edition. (also in Dutch ‘Geintegreerde Communicatie’)
• Vos, M. (2009), ‘Synergy and social orientation as quality dimensions for the future communication policy’. In Rogojinaru, A. & Wolstenholme, S., Current trends in international public relations; papers presented at the Euprera Congress 2009, Tritonic, Bucharest, pp. 83-94. >>> pdf


The way in which the planning of communication is accomplished changes when
communication management is implemented in a more strategic manner. This is explained in the following book.
• Vos, M., J. Otte & P. Linders (2003), Setting up a Strategic Communication Plan, Den Haag, Boom Lemma. (also in Dutch ‘Communicatie en planning’)

How communication supports decision making in organizations
Mykkänen, M. and Vos, M. (2015), The contribution of public relations to organizational decision making: Insights from the literature. Public Relations Journal, 9(2).

Online communication
and especially social media have changed the landscape in which organisations function. Several doctoral students investigate online communication.
• Zhang, B., Vos, M., Veijalainen, J., Wang, S. and Kotkov, D. (2016), The issue arena of a corporate social responsibility crisis – The Volkswagen case in Twitter. Studies in Media and Communication, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp.32-43.
• Zhang, B. and Vos, M. (2015), How and why some issues spread fast in social media. Online Journal of communication and Media Technologies. Vol. 5, Issue.
Zhang, B. and Vos, M. (2014), Social media monitoring: methods, benefits and difficulties for international companies. Corporate Communications, an International Journal, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 371–383.
• Zhang, B. and Vos, M. (2014), Social media monitoring: methods, benefits and difficulties for international companies. Corporate Communications, an International Journal, Volume 19, Issue 4, forthcoming.
Zhang, B., Semenov, A., Vos, M. and Veijlainen, J. (2014), Understanding Fast Diffusion of Information in the Social Media Environment: A Comparison of two Cases. ICC 2014 Conference Proceedings, pp. 522-533.
• Meriläinen, N. & Vos, M. (2010), Can online communication strengthen the relationship of EU with young citizens in Finland? In Valentini, C. & Nesti, G. (ed.), Public Communication in the European Union: History, Perspectives and Challenges. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


Earlier, a research report of a study on trends in governmental communication was published (Dutch publication). Also, the perceived distance between governmental organisations and publics was discussed in a paper.
• Vos, M. & Westerhoudt, E. (2008), 'Trends in government communication in The Netherlands'. Journal of Communication Management, Volume 12 - Issue 1, pp. 18-29.
• Vos, M. (2007). 'The public image of a government', International Social Capital and Networks of Trust (ISOCA) October 2007, Jyväskylä. >>> pdf
• Vos, M. (2006), 'Setting the research agenda for governmental communication', Journal of Communication Management, Volume 10 - Issue 3, pp. 250-258.


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SCORECARD FOR COMMUNICATION
Accountability may be one of the most important ethical requirements. CSR or sustainability should go together with being accountable for ones’ actions. Similarly, also the communication department should be accountable for choices made. In cooperation with others I developed various methods supporting accountability in a way that the quality of communication can be improved. Inspired by the Balanced Scorecard of Kaplan and Norton a communication scorecard was developed.

We wrote a book with a communication scorecard for companies and NGOs. For the Dutch updated version we refer to Dutch books and materials (see the Dutch part of this website). Here follow a link to the English version of the book (full free download) and a paper. This tool has been used by many organizations.
• Vos, M. & H. Schoemaker (2004), Accountability of communication management; a balanced scorecard for communication quality, Den Haag, Boom Lemma (available in print via the authors or free full text via Google Books or pdf here >>>)
• Vos, M. (2015), Communication Health Check – Measuring Corporate Communication Performance. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp 63-70.
• Vos, M. & Schoemaker, H. (2004), 'Accountability of communication policy', Proceedings of BledCom 2003 in conjunction with EUPRERA. >>> pdf

A slide presentation on the communication scorecard is available. The slides also introduce the customized version of the scorecard that I developed for municipal communication. This version has already been used by numerous Dutch municipalities. Based on our models other customized versions have also been made by others, e.g. for provinces, ministries and associations. The following papers describe the communication scorecard for municipalities.
• Vos, M. (2009), Communication quality and added value: a measurement instrument for municipalities, Journal of Communication Management, Volume 13 – Issue 4, pp.362-377.
• Vos, M. (2003), 'Communication quality measurement of councils', Proceedings of BledCom 2002 in conjunction with EUPRERA. >>> pdf


SCORECARD MATERIALS
To apply the communication scorecard for companies and NGOs described in the book Accountability of Communication management (available via Google Books, see the web page Books) service materials are available below.
1. Overview table of indicators: hand-out or poster for reflection by the communication team) >>> pdf and Word-version
2. List of indicators: >>> pdf and Word-version
3. Example format for the result graphics: >>> pdf and Powerpoint-version
- Snake diagram with the indicators per function (the left side could get a red background and the right side a green bachground),
- Cob web showing the totals of the dimensions (the inside of the figure can be coloured).
4. Calculation format: >>> pdf and Word-version

All materials are provided freely by the authors, with the friendly request to inform us of your experiences and results. These will be used anonymously for the sole purpose to further develop the method.
In Finland and the Netherlands some consultancies are trained to provide expert assistance (addresses via the authors).
A Finnish version of the tool is available here >>> pdf and Word-version. Materials for the Dutch governmental version of the tool: see the Dutch part of this website (ONDERZOEK)

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