Participation as a persistent expectation in a post-modern society: How public communication gains public acceptance
Corporations are more and more demanded to legitimate their actions towards a critical civil society. The heated political and media debate around infrastructural projects underscores the relevance of legitimation and public acceptance. Corporations which are planning infrastructure projects find themselves confronted with emerging expectations of information and participation, caused by fundamental changes in society. Especially changing media landscapes produce well informed citizens who articulate their interests and use social media to mobilize support. Protests of affected persons involve a risk of delegitimation for corporations. Corporate Communication plays a boundary-spanning role in those conflicts through mediating between public interest and corporation’s decision making. From the perspective of neo-institutional thinking, the contribution focuses on changed demands of society regarding an emerging need for public participation. It can be seen that public acceptance is strongly connected to acceptable decision by the corporation. Public participation processes possess the potential of giving hints on how to modify the acceptability of corporations’ actions. The presentation shows which types of participation processes are used to gain public acceptance and how corporate communication fulfills its reflective role inside the corporation and towards society.