Dr. Dougall’s write-up contains definitions, concepts, tips and also insights on what study teaches us about issues management. As the paper explores selected concepts from modern-day business and communication scholars, reader are motivated to write-up comments and also to click on the web links to the author’s initial sources.

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Issues management is a seductive concept. For those who space talented and also tenacious enough to do their careers in publicly relations, the idea that “managing” contentious issues–taming them, happen them to heel and also making them execute our bidding–is illusory, but utterly compelling. Because that those who have battled for the legitimacy the public relationships as a administration function, the credibility and senior management access issues administration can supply is something that communication professionals may uncover only in the middle of crises. A 2007 inspection of CEOs revealed your expectation that interactions chiefs be fitted to “see about corners” and also anticipate how various audiences will react to various events, messages and also channels (The yes, really Enterprise, 2007, p. 44).

Issues management is all about facilitating communication leadership in organizations. In fact, the USC Annenberg 2007 gap V survey of senior public relationships practitioners revealed that those with direct budgetary responsibility for issues management (42 percent) were more likely come report higher levels of C-suite support, efficient working relationships with other departments, larger budgets, and much more access to sources for research, evaluation and strategic implementation. Therefore emphatic to be the relationship in between issues administration and crucial indicators of reliable practice, the authors included establishing an problems management strategy come the list of 13 ideal practices for public relations.

This journey starts in Module 1 with necessary definitions, concepts, tips and also insights for those looking for summary of discipline. Module 2 gives a short overview that the beginnings of the discipline and also Module 3 explores selected ideas from modern-day scholars of business and communication strategy.

Module 1–The exercise of worries Management

Issues administration defined

Issues monitoring is an anticipatory, strategic management process that helps establishments detect and respond appropriately to emerging trends or transforms in the socio-political environment. These patterns or alters may then crystallize into an “issue,” i m sorry is a situation that evokes the attention and also concern of prominent organizational publics and stakeholders. At its best, concerns management is stewardship for building, maintaining and repairing relationships with stakeholders and also stakeseekers (Heath, 2002).

Organizations interact in problems management if decision-makers are proactively looking for, anticipating, and also responding to shifting stakeholder expectations and perceptions likely to have important results for the organization. Together responses may be operational and immediately visible, such as McDonald’s anticipatory relocate from plastic to file packaging in 1990. Other common strategic responses room direct, behind-the-scenes negotiations with lawmakers and also bureaucrats, and proactive projects using paid and earned media to influence how problems are framed. Pro-life (e.g. Nationwide Right come Life) and also pro-choice organizations (e.g. Planned Parenthood) space well-established organizations that have long contended the same concern using many similar strategies and also tactics, yet with opposing and also openly antagonistic positions.

Issues must precipitate action when a collective, educated assessment demonstrates that the company is likely to be affected. Because that example, in 2007, transforms to local laws made the retrofitting of vehicle sunroofs illegal in Beijing and left a nationwide manufacturer of sunroofs scrambling come negotiate v other regional and regional governments to safeguard their profitable business. Presented in breakthrough of the 2008 Olympics, the laws were the outcome of lobbying by miscellaneous stakeholders, including health and safety agencies, and car manufacturers. The arising trend was raised attention being paid to health and safety pertains to in that city–including waiting quality, motor auto safety and also traffic reduction. The sunroof manufacturer was caught in the crossfire the stakeholder interests, can not to respond effectively. The outcome to be substantive and also negative.

In contrast, the America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, noted an example of effective problems management in activity when it operated with disabilities advocacy groups to ensure a brand-new arena would certainly not merely comply with the specifications that the Americans with Disabilities plot (ADA), yet rather, would accomplish a greater standard collection collaboratively (Matera & Artique, 2000). Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or “mad cow disease”) had actually been top top the worries management radar that the national Cattlemen’s Beef association (NCBA) because that years when, in 2003, the very first case that BSE on American floor was established in Washington State. By anticipating the event and mapping the end a goal-driven response in advance, the NCBA had the ability to respond rapidly. Assisted by the reality that just one infected pet imported indigenous Canada had actually been identified, the complying with strategic solution effectively contained consumer concerns about American beef. The solution was multi-layered, including straight consultation through regulators, consumer advocacy groups and other an essential stakeholders, and intensive national and also international news media outreach. Review measures, such as media coverage achieved, to be positive. More significantly, beef need rose by practically 8 percent in 2004 and consumer to trust in American beef enhanced from 88 percent simply prior come the BSE event in 2003 come 93 percent in 2005; customer spending ~ above beef additionally increased an approximated $8 billion in between 2003 and also 2004 (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, 2005).

So, who need to practice worries management? follow (1984) said that problems management is a organic fit because that public relations and its various disciplines including windy affairs, communications and government relations. Heath and Cousino (1990) argued that public relationships practitioners understand and can play necessary roles in increasingly facility environments, including fostering the bottom heat interests of the organization and building relationships. Issue interaction is critical strategic ingredient of issues management, but great decisions around communication strategies and also tactics are an ext likely to it is in made through practitioners who know the complete scope of issues management, have considerable knowledge that the organization and also its environment, and are skilled collaborators equipped to negotiate in ~ and across organizational boundaries.

A 2002 survey by the structure for publicly Affairs revealed that 44 percent that all service providers with one internally recognized public affairs role have employee members functioning on worries management full-time. The exact same survey showed that within providers regularly utilizing non-dedicated members to manage issues, 71 percent obtain these people from various other corporate staff functions like person resources or finance (Mahon, Heugens & Lamertz, 2004). Furthermore, Regester and Larkin (2005) contend that public relations practitioners “are well put to aid manage issues effectively, yet often absence the necessary accessibility to strategic planning functions or an suitable networking atmosphere which encourages informal and also formal contact and reporting,” (p. 44). Clearly, worries management is a process that requirements cross-functional teams and effective collaboration.


In the context of corporate worries management, worries are controversial inconsistencies resulted in by gaps in between the expectations of corporations and also those of your publics. These gaps cause a contestable suggest of difference, the resolution that which deserve to have important aftermath for an company (Heath, 1997; Wartick & Mahon, 1994). If organizations, stakeholders and other constituencies may be concerned around the same issue, their perspectives are hardly ever the same. The role of the problems management procedure is to divine and also determine the existence and likely results of these contestable clues of difference. View the worry Management Council’s clarification for more information on the subject.

Issues development

Issues are generally described as having actually a lifecycle comprising five stages–early, emerging, current, crisis and dormant. In simple terms, as the problem moves through the an initial four stages, that attracts more attention and also becomes less controlled from the organization’s allude of view. In various other words, if the organization’s issues management process detects an worry in the faster stage, an ext response choices–such together product modification, the development of brand-new conduct password or anticipatory cooperation with crucial interest groups–are obtainable to decision-makers. As the problem matures, the number of engaged stakeholders, publics and other influencers expands, location on the worry become more entrenched and the strategic choices available to the company shrink. If and also when the issue becomes a dilemm for the organization, the only accessible responses are reactive and also are sometimes implemented by outside parties, such as federal government agencies. Not all worries reach the situation stage and many crises are not the an outcome of an basic issue.

For example, an ice cream storm in November 2002 brought about extensive, multi-day strength outages in North and South Carolina. Despite steps take away by the health authorities and significant power utilities to concern standard warnings about the indoor usage of generators, gas grills and charcoal grills for short-lived heating and also cooking, numerous carbon monoxide poisoning instances were recorded across the state during the strength outages that followed. Disproportionately represented among the impacted were non-English speaking Latino immigrants. The warnings, issued just in English, had failed to reach the rapidly expanding migrant, Spanish-speaking labor force moving right into North Carolina. The utilities and many various other corporate and government organizations in the state had actually neglected to acknowledge the many implications that a growing population of non-English speakers. Although no culpable because that the deaths, the utilities known the must transform their capacities to interact effectively across language obstacles in emergencies. The worry was not the ice cream storm or the power failure, yet the truth that experienced and well-resourced utilities with sophisticated communications departments and also carefully crafted public file failed come anticipate the an altering state demographics and also to incorporate well-known variables, such as the increasing variety of energy consumers without English literacy. There was a gap between the performance stakeholders–regulators, one-of-a-kind interest groups and also citizens–expected of this companies and also their really performance.

Essential procedures in concerns management…

Heath (1997) suggests that worries management is the proactive application of 4 strategic options: (1) strategic company planning, (2) acquiring the home in order–corporate responsibility, (3) scouting the terrain–scanning, identification, monitoring, evaluation and priority setting, and also (4) strong defense and smart offence–issues communication. Occurred by and for practitioners, Palese and Crane (2002) propose a four-stage model comprising issue identification, analysis, strategy and measurement (see figure 1). Regester and also Larkin (2005) introduce a seven-step procedure including monitoring, identification, prioritization, analysis, strategy decision, implementation and also evaluation (see figure 2).

While there are plenty of models the the concerns management, most contend that the process comprises in between five and also 10 measures that autumn into three major categories: (1) problem identification and analysis, (2) strategy decision-making and also action, and also (3) evaluation. Practitioners and also scholars alike have actually tended to emphasis most on the first two categories of steps (See Anticipatory monitoring Process).

Steps in problem identification and analysis include scanning and monitoring. In ~ the strategy decision-making stage, an appointed issue action team analyzes the issues and priorities in an ext detail. This team have to include people who space closest come the issue and best fitted to direct and also implement the organization’s response. In ~ this stage, the team allocates sources to an arising or present issue and initiates the examination of assorted strategic options–including problem communication. Finally, the decision enacted are evaluated. The procedure requires ongoing teamwork of an essential internal stakeholders, assisted in by regular interaction. In various other words, concerns management requirements cross-organizational collaboration, regular teleconferences and also email communication, and face-to-face meetings. Concerns managers don’t simply plug into a database and also relinquish all obligation to info science.

Issue Identification

Scanning–The very first step in effective concerns management is the applications of informal and also formal research techniques to discover the organization environment. The presumption is the mindful scanning of the setting is a sort of insurance versus “surprise threats or missed opportunities” (Bridges & Nelson, 2000, p. 112). When the labels applied may vary, organizational settings are generally divided into sectors, including the social (i.e. Publicly opinion/reputation), economic, political/regulatory and also competitive.

Given ours information-rich time, the challenge is no sourcing information, however in mining that information for organization-relevant, intelligible and also credible insight. In basic terms, ecological scanning is the systematic, multi-method collection and also review of possibly relevant data indigenous industry, government and scholastic sources. Long laundry perform itemizing where to scan for early and emerging issues are provided in crucial texts such together Robert Heath’s “Strategic worries Management.” this lists adjust over time together information and communication modern technologies expand and also improve.

Monitoring–While often paired through scanning and used interchangeably, surveillance is conceptually and virtually a step separate from scanning. As soon as scanning systems disclose a situation or trouble with the earmarks that an arising organizational issue, the decision come monitor have to be taken. Pagan (1997) said that surveillance should take place only after the concern meets 3 criteria: The concern (1) is noted in conventional indexes, which argues growing legitimacy as signaled by journalists and other opinion leaders, (2) supplies a quantifiable hazard or opportunity in terms of the organization’s sectors or operations, (3) is championed through a group or college with yes, really or potential influence.

Strategic Decision-making

Prioritization–Determining which issues demand organizational solution and, therefore, the assignment of sources demands thorough analysis. Although there are plenty of ways come analyze issues using open accessibility and proprietary models, the 2 most an important dimensions of problems are probability of incident and organizational impact. In other words, (1) just how likely is the concern to impact the organization? and also (2) how much impact will the problem have? No two concerns are equal and should no be treated together such. Issues can be moved up top top the agenda because that action, or earlier to ongoing monitoring, relying on prioritization. Managers assigned by organizations to monitor problems should define and prioritize your publics based on the opinions world hold and also their degree of involvement through the concerns (Berkowitz & Turnmire, 1994; Vasquez, 1994). Concerns that spread swiftly through the Internet–issue contagions–present a relatively brand-new and volatile an obstacle that is specifically important in ~ the prioritization phase (Coombs, 2002). In other words, assessing the likelihood that an worry gaining inert via the web must be considered.

Strategic Options–Like any type of other administration discipline, robust worries management strategy emerges from sound data, varied viewpoints and ingenuity. Assembling the best people, sometimes dubbed an issue action team,arming them with credible information, and identifying realistic and measurable objectives provides the structure for efficient anticipatory and responsive strategy development. Anticipatory administration specialists william Ashley and James Morrison compete that scenarios room a extremely effective method to stimulate strategic thinking by helping provide maps of the alternate pathways along which concerns may develop. Ashley and Morrison imply a six-step approach to producing multiple scenarios, specifically:

Frame an issue (For example, just how is the company contributing come environmental degradation of the area and what deserve to be done to reduce the negative impact?);Specify decisions factors (What questions have to be addressed?);Identify ecological forces by scanning and monitoring; pick a logic or story line (Explain why and also how these forces can take various paths. For example, power utilities confronted with environmental pertains to are making choices between “retro-fitting” or to update existing facilities vs. Rebuilding and also repowering brand-new facilities );Develop alternate scenarios (For example, “short-term, low-cost and greater risk of failure,” or “medium-term, higher cost and more permanent”);Decide implications and recommend actions.

Action Taking–According to problems manager practitioner-expert Tony Jacques, the greatest barriers to effective concerns management room the absence of clean objectives, and unwillingness or i can not qualify to action (Jacques, 2000). Together Jacques points out, problems management is a process with completed results. The scanning, monitoring, prioritization and strategic decision-making steps have no worth unless activity is taken toward achieving details and measurable objectives. Jacques also makes the allude that issues management no longer “belongs” come corporations; in fact, community organizations, NGOs, and also other activist and also advocacy teams have enacted few of the many innovative, aggressive and successful concern management campaigns of the modern era. See, for example, Greenpeace’s role in drafting the Kyoto protocol in 1997, an global treaty come curb greenhouse gases. The covenant was subsequently ratified by nearly all countries other 보다 the joined States. One necessary ingredient because that success of initiatives like this is the they room guided through singularly clean objectives set and thrust by committed gibbs who are willing and able to take it action.

Evaluation/Measuring Outcomes

The steps connected in analyzing the success of issues management efforts will differ as much as the concerns themselves. The first and most an important step in testimonial is setting clear and measurable objectives. Note Twain’s maxim “If girlfriend don’t recognize where you going, any type of road will gain you there,” is together applicable to concerns management as it is to any type of other endeavor.

Practitioners today have access to much more measurement devices than ever before before; the challenge is to discover the tools that ideal fit the collection objectives. Because that example, measure the extent and tone of media coverage is meaningful only if one of the pursued objectives is to secure particular media attention in t erms the volume, channels, tone and so on. Various other objectives, together as influencing the drafting that legislation, placing the organization properly in relationship to an industry-wide problem, or correcting allegations about a product or business all require various metrics. While the drafting that legislation deserve to be tracked relatively easily, repositioning or correcting allegations existing more complicated measurement challenges and also require insights into the identity, perceptions and behaviors that target stakeholders before and also after the problems strategies are enacted. Devices such together surveys and also interviews, as well as behavioral actions such as purchasing decisions, might all be necessary to evaluate together a layered objective. More resources than ever before are accessible to guide practitioners through their measurement and evaluation challenges, which space comparable throughout disciplines rather than details to any type of one process. See, for example, making use of Public relations Research to Drive company Results by Katharine Delahaye Paine, Pauline Draper and also Angela Jeffrey.

Figure 1. Palese, M. & Crane, T.Y. (2002). Structure an integrated issue management process as a source of sustainable compete advantage. Journal of public Affairs, 2(4), 288.


Figure 2. Regester, M. & Larkin, J. (2005). Risk issues and also crisis management: A casebook of best practice. (pp. 125-126). London; Sterling, VA: Kogan Page.

Step 1–MonitoringAnalyze the business environment.Scan and monitor what is gift said, written and also done through public, media, interest groups, government and also other opinion leaders.Consider what may influence on the firm or that is divisions.Step 2–IdentificationAssess native the service environment those aspects that space importantLook because that a new pattern arising from what most people take for granted.Identify the worry that affect on the firm and are gaining widespread support.What is the type of issue and also where is that in that lifecycle?Step 3–PrioritizationHow far-ranging will an issue’s impact be (product sector, company, industry)?Assess what is at stake—Profit? Reputation? flexibility of action?What is the probability the occurrence?How prompt is the issue?Step 4–AnalysisAnalyze the many important issues in some detail.Determine your probable affect on the firm or its departments as precisely as possible.Establish issue support groups if appropriate.Identify/rank stakeholders.Step 5–Strategy decisionCreate a strategic solution and specify the contents of the message.Identify the target groups.What are the company’s strategy options?What resources are needed?What details actions should be taken? through whom? When? through whom?Develop issue management interaction plan and also consider timing.Step 6–ImplementationImplement the policies and also programs authorized by management.Communicate the solution effectively through each target group in a credible form.Advocate the agency position come prevent an adverse impacts and also encourage action with advantageous effects.Step 7–EvaluationAssess results.Evaluate the success of policies and programs to identify future strategies.Capture lessons from failures and successes.Best exercise tips and trends

Organizations have to account for an ever-expanding selection of issues–trans-fatty acids, the environment, genetic modification, money laundering–and your leaders room “obligated to position themselves in debates surrounding social after-effects over which they have tiny of no direct control” (Scott & Walsham, 2005, p. 308). While the need for effective concerns management is an ext acute than ever, the problem Management board of directors has established nine best practice indictors. Led by Tony Jacques, the outcomes that the ambitious issue Management Council best Practice task are detailed in his post Using finest Practice indications to Benchmark worry Management,(Public relationships Quarterly, Summer 2005). These finest practice indications are organized right into three categories–structural, implementation and also integration. A brief review follows:

Structural indicators

There is an established mechanism to determine current and also future worries through eco-friendly scanning and issue analysis.The company has embraced a formal procedure to assign and also manage issues.Responsibility because that stewardship of the problem management process is plainly assigned and also mechanisms room in ar to develop organizational specialization in the discipline.

Implementation indicators

Ownership the each major issue is plainly assigned in ~ an work level with accountability and also results linked to power reviews.Progress against key issues is formally the review with organizational owners ~ above a continuous basis and also the standing of each is monitored in ~ the highest management level.The executive, management committee/board has actually fiduciary oversight of concern management; has mechanisms in ar to report progress to director and/or exterior stakeholders; and has authority to interference in the event of non-compliance or misalignment.

Integration signs

Formal networks exist for supervisors at every levels come identify and also elevate potential issues for possible integration into broader strategic planning, including exterior stakeholder management.Management that current and future concerns is well-embedded in ~ the strategic planning and implementation procedures of organizational clients/owners.Issue monitoring is recognized and organizationally positioned together a core management duty that is not confined to a single duty or department.

For a practical description of a corporation engaged in worries management, Palese and Crane (2002) market a detailed case study indigenous DaimlerChrysler. This agency is committed to “a weekly procedure that offers several innovative tools to wake up collaborative dialogue through a team of worldwide managers who room all, technically, issue managers,” (p. 285). In brief, the procedure is as follows. (1) Monday–issue to know and analysis involving issue process stewards and also issue managers collaboratively check out intelligence (2) Monday/Tuesday–An issue strawman is produced and also circulated. This is a record proposing the worries most appropriate at the time. After gift circulated internationally to 175 people within DaimlerChrysler, the proposal is debated via email and also conference calls. (3) Tuesday/Wednesday–After this discussions, a key worry briefing is developed. This briefing includes actionable intelligence, and also provides the name and contact information for the lead concern manager (p. 287). (4) Wednesday/Thursday–The breeze is in review by an elderly management and, ~ above (5) Friday, the briefing is distributed to the plank of Directors and other senior personnel. Check out resources provided at Issue activity Publications for an ext on this, and also other prescriptive models and recommendations.

Key problems Management Insights

Most definitions of issues management space organized approximately the main point idea the it’s a strategy planning process used come detect, explore and also close gaps in between the action of one organization–specifically a corporation–and the expectation of that stakeholders (Heath, 1997). Emerging in the 1960s as an organizational solution to uncertain socio-political environments, problems management to be originally explained only in defensive terms as an early warning system or process that helps establishments avoid undesirable public policy outcomes. By the 1990s, practitioners and scholars began to provide explicit acknowledgment to the vital role that stakeholder expectations, yet the emphasis continued to be on the reactive and also defensive duty played by worry managers in relation to “closing gaps” and also avoiding problems. Today, worries management is used both opportunistically and offensively, proceeding from reactive situation prevention tool to maturing strategy management discipline (Jacques, 2002). Furthermore, modern issues management deserve to be much an ext than a defensive procedure useful only to corporations. The shared comes to of stakeholders and other interested publics–advocacy organizations, non-government organizations, federal government departments and agencies, the news media and also opinion leaders–bring problems to life and keep lock on the general public agenda. The strategies and also tactics of concerns management have long been a tool of organized labor, government and also even activists, not just corporations (Heath, 2006). No discussion of worries management would as such be finish without providing explicit acknowledgment to the affect of organizations and groups external the this firm realm.

While strategy planning is involved with the organization plans because that itself, issues management is concerned with “the ‘plans’ the sociopolitical environment–the public policy process–would do for the institution” (Ewing, 1980, p. 14). Together a practice, problems management needs research field of expertise (data gathering, analysis and interpretation), mindfulness, a rich and current expertise of the socio-political environment of the organization, the industry and perhaps many importantly, the capacity to advocate with senior management and across organizational boundaries. One person is i can not qualify to possess all these attributes, yet these space the resources that need to be marshaled in the problems management process. In sum, worries management is a facility discipline worthy of additional scrutiny, maintaining the following provisos in mind.

Process, not a promise

A well-designed worries management procedure that has authentic monitoring support can aid move the organization closer to its goals, empowering managers to anticipate and respond to alters in its outside environment. Many observe that issues management is a misnomer since the ax overstates the volume of any kind of organization come control issues that have arised in publicly opinion, windy policy and also other size of the socio-political environment. “Certainly, no corporate staff role can manage a public concern to a corporation’s wanted conclusion with any kind of regularity” (Arrington & Sawaya, 1984, p. 148).

Explicitly research-based

Most meanings of issues management will certainly specify steps and also stages in the process, consisting of (1) environmental scanning, (2) issue identification, (2) issue impact evaluate and prioritization, (3) breakthrough of objective-driven strategy, (4) activity and (5) evaluation. Identifying an issue and figuring the end if and how much it’s likely to matter to an company now and also in the future demands insight that can only emerge from formal and informal research.

Not just for corporations

Don’t be deceived. You don’t have to be a corporate interaction or windy affairs professional to be engaged in worries management. Problems management is appropriate to organizations, activists and advocacy groups. Any type of organization or team formally or informally engaged in pursuing an concern that is appropriate to its objectives can benefit from understanding problems management concepts and also processes. Indeed, the technique has lot to gain from the attention and contributions of practitioners and scholars with diverse interests beyond business goals and corporate concerns.

Issues concern everyone

While public relations and also public work practitioners and scholars have actually driven lot of the discussion around and advancement of problems management end the previous 40 year or more, worries management does no belong exclusively to simply one or two departments and also is no a heat function. It is a process come organize an organization’s “expertise and permit it come participate effectively in the shaping and also resolution of public problems that critically impinge ~ above its operations” (Arrington & Sawaya, 1984, p. 148). An ext specifically, the fee on any type of given worry should be led by “the person with the greatest personal and jae won accountability because that the concern (sic); the most to lose if the goes bad; and also the ability to do decisions and commit resources” (Jacques, 2000, p. 49).

Communication is one strategic option…

But, don’t emphasis on communication at the price of knowledge the crucial importance of other functions. Interaction specialists who space blind come operational opportunities and constraints, and also to the wider strategic goals and processes of an organization, cannot accomplish the boundary-spanning demands of any modern-day communication administration role. That consists of the role of concerns manager.

Collecting data is much easier than ever, but what does it mean?

Like so much of what compels the attention of public connections practitioners and also scholars, worries management is simple to define, renders intuitive sense and is worthy of being labeled a vital organizational function. Measure up and analyzing the success or failure of concerns management in practice, however, is conceptually and almost complicated. Articulating measurable goals at the outset of any type of issues monitoring initiative is crucial first step.

Issues administration is not the less glamorous precursor to situation management

While one of the services of effectively responding to emerging issues may be the successful aversion the a future crisis, come frame problems management just in terms of what it helps organizations to prevent is inaccurate and really limiting. Worries management is about moving the organization forward by offensively addressing strategy goals. While among the side-benefits may be the aversion that crises, the a mistake come characterize the self-control as defensive and reactive (Heath, 1997, 2006; Jacques, 2002). In fact, competitive advantage depends as much on the organization’s capability to respond efficiently to non-market forces–including issues, activists, stakeholders, public policy and public opinion–as its ability to satisfy the marketplace (Mahon, Heugens & Lamertz, 2004).

Risks and also Issues space not the same

Risks and also issues are not interchangeable concepts. The applications of issues management and also risk management processes may, however, overlap when concerns emerge in the concern environment that an outcome from contention over the risks associated with an organization such together a product, service, policy, by-product or part other aspect of the operations. A case-in-point is the debate around the effective communication of risks linked with prescription drugs. The United says pharmaceutical market is commonly criticized because that inadequately communicating the threats of plenty of popular and widely advertised drugs. The risks and communication that those dangers have precipitation the widespread attention the the public, media, advocacy groups and regulators. The worry that compels the worry of stakeholders and also publics* is around the drug companies’ perceived willingness to placed profits prior to people. Their failure to adequately connect risk is a dimension of that issue.

Useful resources

Public work Councilhttp://pac.org/

Issue activity Publicationshttp://www.issueactionpublications.com/documents/products.htm

Issue communication:

For in-depth discussions, check out Strategic problems Management, by Robert heath (1997, 2008; Sage), andToday’s public Relations: one Introduction by Robert heather & W. Timothy Coombs (2006, Sage).

USC Annenberg strategy Public Relations center Public Relations—Generally embraced Practices Study(GAP IV): http://annenberg.usc.edu/CentersandPrograms/ResearchCenters/SPRC/PrevGAP.aspx.Includes info on such topics as budgets for public connections departments within corporations, and staffing levels, reporting lines, and the usage of external public connections firms.

For vital views the corporate worries management tasks and associated topics, watch Corporate Watch, PR Watch and Greenpeace.

See the complete bibliography and also list of recommendations for an ext resources.

Module 2 – The origins of problems Management

Modern philosophies to issues management emerged in the 1960s, a time of significant social change. Public disaffection with business started to manifest in regulations and other public policy initiatives. Today, the public Affairs the supervisory board describes issues management together “the process of prioritizing and proactively addressing windy policy and reputation concerns that can affect an organization’s success.” The enhancement of the word “reputation” is critical one that pushes the discipline past the public policy boundaries of previously models of worries management. Many big companies, in particular, use problems management methods “to keep all of their exterior relations tasks focused on high-priority challenges and also opportunities” (Public affairs Council, 2008).

Issues management occurred to attend to the problem of actual and also potential federal government intervention in business. Supervisors at exclusive corporations can systematically scan for arising “problems,” in their view, to exert influence and also control in relation to the direction of publicly policy. H. Igor Ansoff, the preeminent strategic monitoring scholar, argued that the major objective of concerns management to be to provide corporations with very early warning device designed to detect weak signals that could precede potentially harmful social trends before they matured (Ansoff, 1975).

A significant voice in the early years that the discipline, W. Howard Chase identified issues management as “the volume to understand, mobilize, coordinate, and direct every strategic and policy to plan functions and also all public affairs/public connections skills, toward the achievement of one objective: meaningful participation in production of public policy that affects an individual and institutional destiny” (Chase, 1982, pp. 1-2). Elaborating this description with a armed forces metaphor, problems management strategy “…anticipates and also attempts to form the direction that public plan decisions by determining the theater of war, the tools to it is in used, and the time of the fight itself” (p. 59). Chase’s perspective to be explicitly and unapologetically pro-business, antigovernment and also asymmetrical (Grunig & Repper, 1992).

Underpinning the search for clues and also signals of hazard ahead was the reason that as soon as an company “fails come respond to the public issues process ‘voluntarily,’ commonwealth or state regulations have the right to and, in most cases, will eventually force a an answer acceptable come the general public” (Renfro, 1993, p. 27). Tucker, Broom & Caywood (1993) identified issues administration as a process that benefits both the organization and also its primary shareholders by help to maintain markets, alleviate risk, create opportunities and also manage picture as an organizational asset. In contrast, Graham Knight’s pro-social perspective contends that due to the fact that issues management developed out of the long-established service practice of lobbying federal governments with respect to fiscal, legislative and also regulatory intervention, problems management is all around “influencing, if not controlling, federal government intervention in a means that preserves and enhances corporate interests and also autonomy,” (2007, p. 313).

The corporate windy affairs function, from which issues management initiatives emerged, was many often produced as a firm’s response to situations (Griffin, 2005). Functioning with minimal resources in difficult environments and also often reporting directly to the CEO, “public to work executives worked with government legislators and also regulators, and also created strategies regularly reflecting a so late stage, resistance/reactive, or ‘firefighting’ mode.” (p. 466). By the moment public work executives stepped right into the debate, the general public policy concern was generally much along the concern life bike (Mahon, 1989). Initiatives to define the scope and responsibility of worries management in a proactive rather than reactive mode an initial emerged in the 1990s (Heath, p. 210).

Module 3 – more about Issues and also Issues Management

If you space interested in enriching your expertise of problems management by trying out further concepts and also challenges, review on!

Models of worries Management

Crable and also Vibbert (1985) emerged the catalytic design of worries management, i m sorry divides concerns management into five stages–potential, imminent, current, vital and dormant. In the potential stage, an separation, personal, instance or team recognizes a problem situation. In the imminent stage, other civilization or teams see the value and/or legitimacy that the issue and get involved. The current stage explains the point at which the issues is well-known by a huge number the stakeholders and also is frequently the allude at which extensive media fist is engaged. Decisions space made and action taken at the critical stage. The concern is considered dormant when it has actually been solved (Coombs, 2002).

Palese and also Crane (2002) complete that there are 4 evolutionary worry management models representing a continuum from the very least to many evolved–observational, communicative, coordinated and also integrated. The observational model casts issue management together a data-tracking or study function. In the communicative model, worry managers room close to key audiences like “plant managers, field sales reps, topic matter experts or relationship supervisors who deal every day with worries in their locations of expertise” (p. 289). The observational and also communicative models are “the least innovative and strategic and also the most common” (p. 289). The coordinated model introduces the issue process steward. The steward’s task is to “nurture and also develop the problem management process, wake up dialogue among issue managers and crucial constituencies, and also most importantly, to continually reinvent the process of ‘connecting the dots’, on one enterprise-wide scale, based on the intelligence listed by concern managers and also many various other sources” (p. 289). The rarest and most advanced of models is the integrated issue version in which an elderly management “…play an informed and active duty in understanding issues. They room eloquent communicators, however ensure the actions and also policies the their firm are aligned through practice and also performance” (p. 290).

Prominent worry management skilled Tony Jacques, a windy affairs veteran in the chemistry industry, suggests that the increasing emphasis on tailored models by practitioners and also scholars is helpful, but not without an adverse consequences. In enhancement to that, the boosted and more serious attention to measurement and also evaluation has actually precipitated a modeling and measurement mania, diverting the attention of both practitioners and scholars from the critical question that which are most most likely to provide the most positive outcomes (Jacques, 2005).

Issues space not objects

Jones and also Chase (1979) described issues as questions precipitated by transforms in the environment that are waiting because that decisions. J.K. Brown (1979) identified issues as conditions or press points, interior or exterior to the organization, likely to significantly impact an organization. Crable and also Vibbert contend that concerns are created when one or an ext human agents attach significance to a case or perceived difficulty (1985). In this vein, smith (1996) rejected the view that worries are objects wait to be uncovered by organizations. Instead, he argued for a more explicit focus on the function of person attention and also interest in creating and also sustaining issues. Issues appear as groups of human being organize and demand their pertains to be addressed (Grunig & Repper, 1992). The recognition and also engagement of interested teams of human being is what sustains issues and makes lock legitimate sources of concern and solution for organizations.

Wartick and Mahon (1994) said that worries are basically controversial inconsistencies resulted in by gaps between the expectation of corporations and also that of your publics. Service strategy scholars Ashley and Morrison define an problem as “an inner or external advance that could influence the organization’s performance. The concern is one to which the organization must respond in an orderly fashion and over i m sorry it may reasonably suppose to exert influence” (1995, p. 123).

Another perspective on problems versus problems

Defining issues using the benign-sounding and value-free hatchet of “expectation gaps” is no acceptable to everyone. Graham Knight suggests that transforming a difficulty into an concern is “to play under its problematic character while acknowledging the there is something–a object or question–that needs to be addressed, especially discursively” (2007, p. 313). In this conceptualization, issues are not expectation gaps, however rather “problems that have actually been neutralized to part extent,” which, knight argues, provides them matters of typical interest and concern, amenable to negotiation and reform (p. 313). Contending that the language of concerns has stronger connotations of consensus than the language the problems, “the effect of this is to depoliticize the emphasis of contention to some extent. Problems imply relationships of difference rather than antagonism,” (Knight, p. 313). Similarly, Regester and also Larkin argue the activists “deal with problems; suppliers tend to attend to issues, and also there is a difference,” (2005, p. 15). From this perspective, a trouble is bigger and an ext encompassing–pollution, labor exploitation, discrimination, poverty–while an concern is an ext contained and also specific, entailing “potential solutions–regulation to curb emissions; password of practice to boost workers’ rights…” (p. 14).

Issues and also the media

Organizations, activists and also other issue stakeholders might seek media fist to development their goals, or the attention of the media might be one unwelcome, however unavoidable, side impact of the conflict. One of two people way, the higher the level of evident conflict in organization-activist relationships, the much more likely that media attention and coverage will an outcome (L.A. Grunig, 1992; Heath, 1997; Olien et al., 1989). Increased media coverage is more likely to take place when the organization is failing to satisfy stakeholder expectations (negative expectational gaps). If the company is conference or exceeding stakeholder expectations–positive expectational gaps–pressure to change is unlikely to emerge from institutions or stakeholders (Meznar, Johnson Jr., & Mizzi, 2006, p. 60).

In an alternative description that the breakthrough of issues, Vibbert (1987) argued that worries progress through four stages–definition, legitimization, polarization and identification. The media play active roles in the last 2 stages, polarizing 2 sides of the worry so that world feel required to identify with one next or the other. As soon as organizations hold-up public connections programs till the problem stage quite than start at the stakeholder or publicly stage, “they typically are compelled to develop programs of dilemm communication–especially when polarization occurs,” (Grunig & Repper, 1992, p. 149). McCombs (1977) warned that once “an issue is highly salient and opinions are greatly shaped, public relations might be limited to a defensive posture or a redundancy ‘me-tooism’” (p. 90). Organizations have actually less capacity to influence worries when they end up being the focus of massive media coverage, law and/or lawsuit (Bridges & Nelson, 2000; Coates, Coates, Jaratt & Heinz, 1986; Heath, 1997; McCombs, 1977).

Because of the importance of problem as a news worth driving the choice and publishing of news, the media are likely to cover worries when there is a high level of publicly conflict between two next (Karlberg, 1996). Concurrently, the joining of the media in the issues of contention in between organizations and also their publics is details to increase the instance (Heath, 1997; Huang, 1997). Activists obtain credibility, resources and exposure for their positions by attracting media coverage, and also therefore, media coverage is critical to their mobilization and effectiveness (Heath, 1997; Olien, Tichenor & Donahue et al., 1989).

Media attention adds legitimacy and also longevity. Van Leuven and Slater (1991) proposed the the media have two roles in the development of issues: providing “running accounts of occurring issue dimensions and also events triggered by the issue” and providing “a description of exactly how publics space organizing roughly an issue” (p. 166). Media coverage is one indicator of windy interest and also public opinion (Price, 1992), and also continuing and intensive coverage of problems is indicative of persistent public interest. Greening and Gray (1994) found a hopeful association between firm-specific media attention and corporate source commitments come public to work management. “The corporate solution may it is in to try buffering (altering exterior expectations or standards) or bridging (altering internal practices of standards), yet as press coverage increases, most firms come under push to execute something” (Meznar, Johnson Jr., & Mizzi, 2006, p.59).

More on activists and advocates

Activist teams rely top top the attractiveness that their problems to garner and maintain members, and, as issues gain status, activist organizations gain attention, members and also resources (Hrebnar & Scott, 1982; Schlozman & Tierney, 1986). Activists today are “focusing an ext on win issues and also seeking solutions, quite than merely developing awareness of problems,” (Regester & Larkin, 2005, p. 14). Activists are therefore much more likely to seek an concern that meets particular criteria consisting of that the issue’s resolution will:

Result in real development for people.Give people a sense of their own power.Be worthwhile and winnable.Be feeling in an emotional way.Be simple to understand.Have a clean target and timeframe.Build leadership.Have a financially helpful angle.Enhance file to support subsequent campaigns.Raise money and membership.Fit v objectives and also values.

Adapted by Regester & Larkin (2005, p. 14) from Organizing because that Social Change, Midwest Academy, 2000.

Issues rise and also fall in status on the public’s agenda (Crable & Vibbert, 1985; Downs, 1972; Hainsworth, 1990; Jones & Chase, 1979), and also when issues appear to be fixed or otherwise loss from the public’s agenda, activist and advocacy institutions may shed relevance and also therefore, resources. To survive, activist establishments must evolve with alters in their worries environments (Gans, 2003; Gitlin, 2001; Jopke, 1991; Ryan, 1991; Smith, 1996; Tuchman, 1997). Smith (1996) argued that activist teams must work to stay viable through monitoring and also adjusting come the standing of the worries they advocate. That proposed that activist collectives and also social movement institutions be renamed together “issue organizations.”

Issue Pacesetters

According to Dawkins (2005), some institutions don’t wait because that their sector to collectively respond to issues, yet rather relocate deliberately or intuition to take the lead. He says that as soon as an industry is confronted with an organization that unique remedies an issue–labeled one issue pacesetter–the problem management dynamic is quite different than when industry members act together to implement change, such as the self-imposed contents ratings concern in the music industry. This is also true when an issue affects a solitary company. The problem pacesetter version comprises five steps: (a) changed stakeholder expectations, (b) problem pacesetter emergence, (c) heightened attention and also pressure, (d) decision making under pressure, and (e) sector implementation and also compliance (Dawkins, 2005).

The problems Environment

The issues setting describes the portfolio or set of problems shared throughout an market or other teams of establishments that are similar in regards to size, location, federal government regulations and other factors (Dougall, 2005). Many problems are not organization-specific and demand the fist of many organizations in addition to publics and also other stakeholders. Such worries have collective significance and are disputed by institutions individually and also collectively as an sector or various other grouping (Heath, 1997). For example, significant issues for the pharmaceutical market include access to drugs, medicine safety, and also drug pricing. This issues problem and influence most pharmaceutical service providers simultaneously. Means to measure and also even predict readjust in the issue environment are still emerging, however some essential principles are:

The ebb and also flow that issues consisting of this concerns environment deserve to be tracked by explicate the turnover of problems (stability), the variety of issues (complexity), volume of media coverage (intensity) and also favorability of that coverage (direction).The number of issues the can arise (complexity) is not infinite and also will reach saturation.While problems are unlikely to emerge and be fixed quickly, what can and does often readjust dramatically in the concerns environment is the intensity and also favorability that public attention as brand-new events and topics emerge.Activists and advocates frequently have fewer resources than companies and governments and, therefore, a more minimal voice in the worry environment. Your voices are an ext likely to attract attention when supplied to complete multiple, persistent issues. Activist and advocacy teams that deserve to sustain press on establishments over time are generally institutionalized come some level with employee to pay, devices to lease, and multiple worries to contend.The concerns that lure the most media coverage room most likely to be completed by the many influential, resource-rich organizations. Problems attracting attention an ext intermittently are those competed most intensely by activists and also resisted by organizations.

Organizations, issues and also publics

The sustainability the competitive benefits depends as much on an organization’s abilities to efficiently negotiate non-market forces–issue and stakeholders–as on the reliable satisfaction that “economically urged constituents in the marketplace,” (Mahon et al., 2004, p. 170). While that is widely embraced that stakeholder behavior and issue advancement are interdependent, very little research clearly addresses just how managers resolve issues and also stakeholders at the same time (Mahon et al., 2004). To some extent, the relationship management technique to public relations has emerged from recognition of this divide between organizations, issues and publics. This void creates both challenges and also opportunities because that those of us who desire to advancement the impact and worth of concerns management together a practice, a process and a field of scholarship.


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