Media Use in Organizational Contexts


Course Objective

To get acquainted with ethnographic research methods, such as keeping
fieldwork diaries, participant observation, interviews and short
To learn to observe different communicative events and routines with the
help of ethnographic research methods;
To learn how to interpret and analyze ethnographic observations;
To learn how communicative events and communicative routines in
organizations are related to different modes of communication;
To reflect on organizations' uses of different communication modes to
fulfill different tasks.

Course Content

In this course students will investigate how people in organizations use
different modes of communication to communicate internally, or
externally with stakeholder groups (for example, customers). Making use
of ethnographic research methods, students may explore what is being
formally discussed in a meeting, how the meeting is ‘extended’ at the
water cooler, and which discussions are reserved for e-mail or whatsapp.
Or else, when communicating with an external audience, students might
explore how signposting is being used to direct customers, what
communication modes customers need to use to get in touch with an
organization, such as web forms or apps, and which particular purposes
are served with these communicative modes.
Other topics for ethnographic exploration within organizations can be
mentioned, but the common denominator is that they will be studied in
actual organizations, by approaching actual participants involved, and
by making use of ethnographic research methods such as observations and
Because research topics will vary, research literature may vary as well.
Students will be encouraged to find relevant literature themselves.
General theoretical background will be provided in a variety of
approaches, but will contain introductions in ethnographic field work,
uses and gratifications theory as well as interactional approaches such
as conversation analysis.

Teaching Methods

During eight weeks, one lecture and one seminar (of 2 hours each) per
week will be scheduled. Besides classroom attendance, workplaces will be
visited to perform observations, interviews or questionnaires.

Method of Assessment

Two individual assignments (50%) and one group assignment (50%). Every
assignment should be graded with minimally 5 out of 10 points. End grade
(average of the two assignments) should be at least 5.5.

Target Audience

First-year students of Communication and Information Studies, in
particular those doing the English track or the
Dutch track .

General Information

Course Code L_AABACIW113
Credits 6 EC
Period P5+6
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator R.A.M. van den Heerik MA
Examiner R.A.M. van den Heerik MA
Teaching Staff A. Boeynaems MA
dr. J.M.W.J. Lamerichs
R.A.M. van den Heerik MA

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: