The Butterflies from Brazil: issues, contingency and strategic communication

James Mahoney

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution

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Abstract

Strategic communication and issues management are inevitably linked in what Heath and Palenchar (2009) described as an ancient business and communication practice. Strategic communication deals with how an organisation functions as a social actor to advance its mission (Hallahan et al, 2007). Issues management is a strategic process by which organisations identify, analyse and deal with issues that are important to them to help plan and manage (Heath & Palenchar, 2009, Jaques, 2009a, 2009b). Contingency theory is an aspect of general systems theory and holds that “one thing depends on something else” (Hodge, Anthony & Gales, 2003, p. 17): In a management context, this means organisational structure depends on the context the organisation faces. Applied to strategic communication, contingency theory suggests that practitioners select positions and strategies to react to internal and external factors that apply to an organisation (Kang & Cheng, 2008). Pang, Jin and Cameron (2010) argued that contingency theory “liberates” (p. 27) communication strategists to think outside the box and to engage in strategic analysis. This paper suggests how that might be done. It uses contingency theory to explore the links between strategic communication and issues management to advance the discussion beyond a focus on the realities of practice (Pang et al, 2010) to one at a strategic level. The paper uses the significant drivers of strategic communication identified in communication and management literature to argue these “contingent variables” need to be considered in the context of the three horizons approach to management proposed by Baghai et al (2000).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2011 Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference : Communication on the Edge
EditorsDr Alison Henderson
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherAustralian and New Zealand Communication Association
Pages1-15
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event2011 Australia and New Zealand Communication Association conference - Hamilton, New Zealand
Duration: 6 Jul 20118 Jul 2011

Publication series

Name ANZCA Conference
PublisherAustralian and New Zealand Communication Association
ISSN (Print)1448-4331

Conference

Conference2011 Australia and New Zealand Communication Association conference
CountryNew Zealand
CityHamilton
Period6/07/118/07/11

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Mahoney, J. (2011). The Butterflies from Brazil: issues, contingency and strategic communication. In D. A. Henderson (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2011 Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference : Communication on the Edge (pp. 1-15). ( ANZCA Conference). Australia: Australian and New Zealand Communication Association.