Crisis Communication in Swedish Metropolitan Suburbs: Exploring improvements for an effective and trustful crisis communication system

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Industrial design engineering (MPDES), MSc
Svensson, Signe
Wessblad, Wilhelm
Crisis communication before, during and after a crisis is central in order to influence the development of the crisis. In order to succeed with crisis communication, trust for the instances providing the information is essential and the basis for trust is laid before the crisis is even a fact. Despite a general high level of trust in Sweden, it is proven to be lower in heterogeneous, metropolitan suburbs with lower socio economic status. Therefore, the first aim of this master thesis was to identify what parameters affect the level of trust in crisis information and authorities - before crisis - amongst individuals with foreign cultural background living in Swedish metropoli tan suburbs with lower socio-economic status. The second aim was to identify how the current crisis communication system may be improved to increase the level of trust in crisis information and reach the user group more effectively. The overall methodology of the thesis had a workflow in four phases(1-4). In order to investigate the first aim, (1) an exploratory literature study and (2) multiple user studies including cultural probes and interviews with communicators, other experts and the target group was performed and summarised with six different per sonas. The second aim was explored with (3) individual idea generation activities, idea generating workshops and an elimination process, resulting in (4) a conceptual design with four slightly different variations. Lastly, the design proposals were eval uated through a survey, where the answers were qualitatively analyzed. This study shows interpersonal two-way communication to be most efficient to in crease the target group’s level of trust in crisis information and reach the user group more effectively. The study also conveys that there is an information gap between the target group living in the investigated metropolitan suburbs, and the instances communicating crisis information. However, it may be possible to reduce this gap with the help of facilitators; multilingual and multicultural individuals living in the given area. The result of the study presents a design proposal consisting of a process aimed at reducing the information gap between multiple social and cultural local target groups and the communicators via facilitators. The facilitators are individ uals who have insights into this target group and thus provide the communicators with information about the target group with the help of a data collection service. The design solution provides the communicators with accessible information about the target group, to be used to reach them more effectively and thereby provide the target group with trustful and comprehensible crisis information.
Crisis Communication, Information Gap, Trust, Socio-economic status
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