Member of boards of various international institutions. Kennedy School of Government.
Issues management is a seductive concept. For those who have battled for the legitimacy of public relations as a management function, the credibility and senior management access issues management can deliver is something that communication professionals may find only in the midst of crises.
Issues management is all about facilitating communication leadership in organizations. In fact, the USC Annenberg GAP V survey of senior public relations practitioners revealed that those with direct budgetary responsibility for issues management 42 percent were more likely to report higher levels of C-suite support, effective working relationships with other departments, larger budgets, and more access to resources for research, evaluation and strategic implementation.
So emphatic was the relationship between issues management and key indicators of effective practice, the authors added establishing an issues management strategy to the list of 13 best practices for public relations.
This journey begins in Module 1 with important definitions, concepts, tips and insights for those looking for an overview of discipline. Module 2 provides a brief overview of the origins of the discipline and Module 3 explores selected concepts from contemporary scholars of business and communication strategy.
Module 1—The Practice of Issues Management Issues management defined Issues management is an anticipatory, strategic management process that helps organizations detect and respond appropriately to emerging trends or changes in the socio-political environment.
At its best, issues management is stewardship for building, maintaining and repairing relationships with stakeholders and stakeseekers Heath, Organizations engage in issues management if decision-makers are actively looking for, anticipating, and responding to shifting stakeholder expectations and perceptions likely to have important consequences for the organization.
Other common strategic responses are direct, behind-the-scenes negotiations with lawmakers and bureaucrats, and proactive campaigns using paid and earned media to influence how issues are framed. National Right to Life and pro-choice organizations e.
Planned Parenthood are well-established institutions that have long contended the same issue using many similar strategies and tactics, but with opposing and openly antagonistic positions. Issues should precipitate action when a collective, informed assessment demonstrates that the organization is likely to be affected.
For example, inchanges to local laws made the retrofitting of car sunroofs illegal in Beijing and left a national manufacturer of sunroofs scrambling to negotiate with other local and regional governments to protect their profitable business. Introduced in advance of the Olympics, the laws were the outcome of lobbying by various stakeholders, including health and safety agencies, and car manufacturers.
The emerging trend was increased attention being paid to health and safety concerns in that city—including air quality, motor vehicle safety and traffic reduction.
The sunroof manufacturer was caught in the crossfire of stakeholder interests, unable to respond effectively. The outcome was substantive and negative.
By anticipating the event and mapping out a goal-driven response in advance, the NCBA was able to respond rapidly.
Helped by the fact that only one infected animal imported from Canada had been identified, the following strategic response effectively contained consumer concerns about American beef.
The response was multi-layered, including direct consultation with regulators, consumer advocacy groups and other key stakeholders, as well as intensive national and international news media outreach.
Evaluation measures, such as media coverage achieved, were positive. So, who should practice issues management?
Chase argued that issues management is a natural fit for public relations and its various disciplines including public affairs, communications and government relations. Heath and Cousino argued that public relations practitioners understand and can play important roles in increasingly complex environments, including promoting the bottom line interests of the organization and building relationships.Latest breaking news, including politics, crime and celebrity.
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