Breaking the Conduit: A Relational Approach to Communication in Management and Entrepreneurship Defended on Friday, 13 October 2023

In this dissertation, I focus on relational approaches to communication in different organizational settings, particularly under conditions of uncertainty. In three essays, I elaborate different communicative processes using different methodologies. In Chapter 2, I elaborate how organizational actors mutually manifest meaning in high reliability organizations using a conceptual approach; in Chapter 3, I experimentally investigate entrepreneurial funding pitches as an arena wherein entrepreneurs can connect on a relational level with investors, and in Chapter 4, using an integrative review approach, I take stock of and integrate all the literature on entrepreneurial pitching that has been developed over the last three decades, and take a critical perspective to how this field has evolved. Understanding the multifaceted role that relational communication plays, particularly in uncertain conditions, is important in three fundamental ways for management and entrepreneurship. First, it helps us see how linguistic variation, that is, choosing between literal codes or figurative language, can either mitigate (or exacerbate) mutual understanding, which in turn promotes (or hinders) organized action (Chapter 2). Second, it provides a perspective on how uncertainty is not always something that needs to be overcome or mitigated, but can actually be leveraged, by anticipating what might be important to stakeholders (Chapter 3). Finally, I demonstrate how conducting research at a level that bridges, situates, and embeds existing approaches to communication in entrepreneurship affords greater fidelity to the phenomenon (Chapter 4).


Communication, relational communication, entrepreneurship, pitching, sensemaking, high reliability organizations, experiments, review, resource acquisition

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