Research in the programme group Corporate Communication focuses on the development, execution and especially the effects of communication strategies towards internal and external stakeholders of organizations. These organizations include companies in the private sector, but also civil society and public organizations. Communication strategies are directed towards mass media (public relations), government institutions (public affairs), investors, and employees. Depending on the stakeholder of communication, one can talk about external or internal communication, though this distinction has increasingly blurred.
By its focus on the whole process of communication management, research in Corporate Communication fits nicely in the broader ASCoR research programme, that focuses on production, content and effects of communication, with a special interest in the (broadly defined) consequences of communication.
As a response to population aging, many Western countries are implementing pension reforms forcing older workers to prolong their working lives and retire at a later age. Such policy reforms are contested in society, due to their high impact on large groups of citizens, and are often subject of heated public debates.
This PhD project focuses on the content and consequences of media coverage in the public debate on raising the retirement age in the Netherlands. More specifically, the focus is on the role of traditional and social media in the retirement age debate.
Methodologically, the project applies multiple approaches that complement each other. This project relies on automated content analysis and time-series analysis to explore the content of the media coverage and assess intermedia agenda-setting dynamics between the traditional and social media agenda. The more in-depth content of the retirement age debate is investigated by means of a manual content analysis, focusing on how traditional and social media frame the retirement age debate. In addition, using an experimental design, the project aims to investigate the consequences of media coverage on public support for the policy reform.
‘Nederland weer van ons’ was the slogan of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) moving into the 2017 general elections. While populist politics is a well-known phenomenon in many European democracies, the communicative aspects of populism are still underexplored. Underlying the slogan of the PVV is one of the corner stones of populist rhetoric: reference to ‘us’, ‘we’, the People. However, despite its centrality to the communication of populism, this perception of and reference to the People has received little attention in extant research.
The PhD project is thus positioned as a ‘populist as communication’ project. It zooms in on the core element of the People, linking three innovative studies of  how elites perceive and make reference to the People in their communication,  how the media construct the People in their reporting, and  what effects reference to different representations of the People have on citizens’ attitudes.