From servant to survivor: multimodal public service media narratives and restaurant industry identity during the COVID-19 pandemic

Frida Nyqvist*, Eva-Lena Lundgren-Henriksson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this research is to explore how an industry is represented in multimodal public media narratives and to explore how this representation subsequently affects the formation of public sense-giving space during a persisting crisis, such as a pandemic. The question asked is: how do the use of multimodality by public service media dynamically shape representations of industry identity during a persisting crisis?
Design/methodology/approach: This study made use of a multimodal approach. The verbal and visual media text on the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic that were published in Finland by the public service media distributor Yle were studied. Data published between March 2020 and March 2022 were analysed. The data consisted of 236 verbal texts, including 263 visuals.
Findings: Three narratives were identified– victim, servant and survivor – that construct power relations and depict the identity of the restaurant industry differently. It was argued that multimodal media narratives hold three meaning making functions: sentimentalizing, juxtaposing and nuancing industry characteristics. It was also argued that multimodal public service media narratives have wider implications in possibly shaping the future attractiveness of the industry and organizational members' understanding of their identity.
Originality/value: This research contributes to sensemaking literature in that it explores the role of power – explicitly or implicitly constructed through media narratives during crisis. Furthermore, this research contributes to sensemaking literature in that it shows how narratives take shape multimodally during a continuous crisis, and how this impacts the construction of industry identity.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Organizational Change Management
ISSN0953-4814
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15.12.2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 512 Business and Management
  • sensemaking
  • sense giving
  • narratives
  • public service media
  • visuals
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • multimodality
  • power
  • restaurant industry

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising
  • AoHP: Strategic and entrepreneurial praxis

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