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  1. 1. Strategic Public Relations Management and Crisis Communication James E. Grunig Wee Kim Wee Professor School of Communication and Information Nanyang Technological University Singapore
  2. 2. What is Public Relations? <ul><li>“ The management of communication between an organization and its publics.” </li></ul><ul><li>A profession with a scholarly body of knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>A management function rather than a technical communication function alone. </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic counseling rather than publicity alone. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Public Relations Professionals Worldwide Want to Be More “Strategic” <ul><li>Public relations is most effective when it has a role in strategic decision-making. </li></ul><ul><li>Rather than waiting outside for others to make strategic decisions. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Purposes of My Research <ul><li>Explain and measure the value of the communication function to organizations and to society. </li></ul><ul><li>Define the role of public relations in organizational governance. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop concepts, tools, and measures for communication professionals to use in strategic management. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Key Characteristics of Excellent Public Relations Functions <ul><li>Knowledge of a strategic managerial role as well as knowledge of administrative managerial and technician roles. </li></ul><ul><li>Access to the dominant coalition. </li></ul><ul><li>Participation in strategic management. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Public Relations Must Become Strategic <ul><li>“ Increased recognition by top management of PR’s contribution to managing corporate reputation … requires portraying PR as a strategic management function rather than a conglomeration of support activities.” (Jeffries-Fox Associates, March 3, 2000, for the U.S. Council of Public Relations Firms.) </li></ul>
  7. 7. PR Adds Stakeholder Relations to Strategic Management <ul><li>The corporation is more than “an extension of the basic human right to own property.” </li></ul><ul><li>“… organizational wealth can be created (or destroyed) through relationships with stakeholders of all kinds…—that is managing relationships with stakeholders for mutual benefit.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Corporations ARE what they DO.” </li></ul><ul><li>(James E. Post, Lee E. Preston, and Sybille Sachs [2002], Redefining the the Corporation: Stakeholder Management and Organizational Wealth, pp. 12, 1, 2.) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Reputation Cannot Be Managed … Only the Behavior of Management <ul><li>“ Our best-regarded companies achieve their reputations by … adhering rigorously to practices that consistently and reliably produce decisions that the rest of us approve and respect.” (Charles Fombrun [1996], Reputation: Realizing Value from the Corporate Image, p. 29.) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Relationships Produce Reputation <ul><li>“ To acquire a reputation that is positive, enduring, and resilient requires managers to invest heavily in building and maintaining good relationships with their company’s constituents.” ( Charles Fombrun [1996], Reputation: Realizing Value from the Corporate Image, p. 57.) </li></ul><ul><li>“ PR is responsible for building relationships with key stakeholders in a manner that cultivates positive reputations.” (Jeffries-Fox Associates, June 16, 2000, for the Council of Public Relations Firms.) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Public Relations Contributes to Strategic Management by <ul><li>Participating in management decision-making to identify consequences on publics. </li></ul><ul><li>Segmenting stakeholders and publics. </li></ul><ul><li>Using communication to cultivate relationships with strategic publics. </li></ul><ul><li>Influencing management behavior. </li></ul><ul><li>Measuring the quality of relationships. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Important Contributions of Public Relations to Strategic Management <ul><li>Environmental scanning. </li></ul><ul><li>Issues management. </li></ul><ul><li>Crisis management. </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship management. </li></ul><ul><li>Reputation management. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Organizational Reputation Management Decisions Communication Programs to cultivate relationships with publics Issues Achievement of Organizational Goals Crisis Management Relationship Outcomes Consequences Consequences Behavior of Publics Creates Model of Strategic Management of Public Relations Stakeholders Publics P1 Pi P2 No Consequences
  13. 13. Value of Good Relationships with Strategic Publics <ul><li>An upward shift in the demand curve. </li></ul><ul><li>A reduction in marketing costs and an increase in marketing costs for competitors. </li></ul><ul><li>A decrease in turnover among employees. </li></ul><ul><li>An increase in donations and other support. </li></ul><ul><li>A buffer against fallout from crises. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Costs of Poor Relationships <ul><li>Increased risk. </li></ul><ul><li>Litigation. </li></ul><ul><li>Unfavorable legislation. </li></ul><ul><li>Excessive regulation. </li></ul><ul><li>Adverse publicity. </li></ul><ul><li>Conflicts with determined, hostile activist groups. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Strategic Tools of Public Relations We Have Subjected to Systematic Research
  16. 16. Environmental Scanning <ul><li>Identify stakeholders by monitoring the consequences of management decisions on those not making the decision. </li></ul><ul><li>Go beyond the media for sources of information. </li></ul><ul><li>Segment publics out of stakeholder groups. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Issues Management <ul><li>All public relations involves issues management. It is not a specialized function. </li></ul><ul><li>Publics create issues out of consequences. </li></ul><ul><li>Issues are “managed” by managing dialogue with publics. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Scenario Building <ul><li>Learn from the past. </li></ul><ul><li>Envision possible futures. </li></ul><ul><li>Examine comprehensive future options for decision-making. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce the risk of decisions. </li></ul><ul><li>Case of an insurance company. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Crisis Communication <ul><li>Most crises are caused by management decisions. </li></ul><ul><li>Crisis planning is more important than the plan that results. </li></ul><ul><li>Surviving the crisis may depend on the relationships already in place. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Principles of Crisis Communication <ul><li>The relationship principle: </li></ul><ul><li>Organizations can withstand both issues and crises better if they have established good, long-term relationships with publics who are at risk from decisions and behaviors of the organization. </li></ul><ul><li>The accountability principle: Organizations should accept responsibility for a crisis even if it was not their fault. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Principles of Crisis Communication <ul><li>The disclosure principle: </li></ul><ul><li>At the time of a crisis, an organization must disclose all that it knows about the crisis or problem involved. </li></ul><ul><li>The symmetrical communication principle: </li></ul><ul><li>At the time of a crisis, an organization must consider the public interest to be at least as important as its own interest. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Evaluation of the Long-Term Value of Public Relations Can Be Done by Measuring the Quality of Relationships <ul><li>Trust. </li></ul><ul><li>Mutuality of control. </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction. </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Relationships and Reputation <ul><li>The concept of reputation has value when used in conjunction with relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>Open-End Questions Measure Reputations Best (“In a sentence or two, please tell me what comes to mind when you think of [organization].”) </li></ul>
  24. 24. Our Major Conclusion <ul><li>Recall of behaviors had the strongest associations with relationships. </li></ul>
  25. 25. How These Measures Have Been Applied (e.g., by Strategy One/Edelman) <ul><li>Identify key stakeholders and measure relationships with each separately. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask qualitative questions about reputation and relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>Measure relationships quantitatively. </li></ul><ul><li>Explore cultivation strategies that improve the quality of a relationship. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Case of Brookhaven National Laboratory <ul><li>Crisis over toxic waste. </li></ul><ul><li>Public relations department used symmetrical communication to consult with community stakeholders. </li></ul><ul><li>Issues management system established. </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of personal communication between employees and community. </li></ul><ul><li>Involving employees in community improved employee relations. </li></ul>
  27. 27. How Public Relations Professionals Enter Strategic Management <ul><li>Develop extensive knowledge of the organization for which they work. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop knowledge of public relations theory as it relates to strategic management. </li></ul><ul><li>Wait for a time when their expertise is needed, especially during a crisis or when facing an issue. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Complete Results of The Excellence Study <ul><li>Larissa A. Grunig, James E. Grunig, & David M. Dozier (2002). Excellent Public Relations and Effective Organizations: A Study of Communication Management in Three Countries. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Available online at http// </li></ul>
  29. 29. For More Information on Measuring Relationships, Go to the IPR Website <ul><li>Hon, L. C., & Grunig, J. E. (1999). Guidelines for measuring relationships in public relations. Gainesville, FL: The Institute for Public Relations, Commission on PR Measurement and Evaluation. </li></ul><ul><li>Available online at   </li></ul>
  30. 30. For Measuring Relationships Qualitatively <ul><li>Grunig, J. E. (2002). Qualitative methods for assessing relationships between organizations and publics. Gainesville, FL: The Institute for Public Relations, Commission on PR Measurement and Evaluation. </li></ul><ul><li>Also available online at   </li></ul>
  31. 31. For More on Evaluation at Several Levels <ul><li>Grunig, J. E., & Grunig, L. A. (2001, March). Guidelines for formative and evaluative research in public affairs: A report for the Department of Energy Office of Science. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Energy. </li></ul><ul><li>Available online at _eval_research </li></ul>
  32. 32. Public Relations and Strategic Management <ul><li>Grunig, J. E. (2001). The role of public relations in management and its contribution to organizational and societal effectiveness . Speech presented in Taipei, Taiwan. </li></ul><ul><li>Available online at management.phtml   </li></ul>