It implies that a corporation’s board of directors, or the elected leadership of a social or public sector organization, in the case of conflicts between contrasting stakeholder group expectancies decided which of them needs to be taken more into account, on the basis of a sound listening of those expectancies.
The shareholder model instead -even when it recognizes that other interests beyond those of the shareholders need to be taken into account- tends to privilege, in the case of conflicting expectations, the latter.
In the network society, the traditional and consolidated strategic planning process based on Michael Porter’s value chain model, which is mostly linear and material, is either replaced or at least integrated by another planning process based on value networks.
This recognizes that much of the value created by the organization stems today from fuzzy (and not linear) and immaterial (rather than material) networks that normally disintegrate the distinction between internal and external publics because their components play specific and value added roles or are expelled from the value process.
The value itself is based on the quality of the relationships which exist between the various components of each network and on the quality of the relationships which exist between the various networks.
A communicative organization recognizes that even the most empowered public relations director cannot realistically hope to govern more than 10% of its communicative behaviours.
Therefore the communication leader of the organization plays two fundamentally strategic roles:
°an ‘ideological’ role by supporting and providing the organization’s leadership with the necessary, timely and relevant information which allows it to effectively govern the value networks as well as an intelligent, constant and conscious effort to understand the relevant dynamics of society at large: °a ‘contextual’ role which implies the constant delivery of communicative skills, competencies and tools to the components of its value networks so that they improve their relationships amongst each other and with the other value networks.
To reach its conscious objectives every organization needs to constantly nurture and improve its ‘licence to operate’ by improving relationships with its stakeholder groups and society at large on whose opinions, attitudes, behaviours and decisions the achievement of organizational objectives rely on.
Beyond its direct and indirect relationships with active or potential stakeholder groups, the organization needs to identify and analyse those economic, political, social, technological issues whose dynamics impact on the achievement of its strategic and tactical objectives.
In doing this and in prioritizing those issues through a careful importance/possibility-to-influence analysis, the organization must identify those subjects who either directly or indirectly impact on those dynamics and dialogue with them to con-vince them to either reduce their hostility or increase their support for the organization’s objectives.
The value of communication for the organization can be assessed by measuring source credibility, content familiarity and content credibility -before and after the conversation with stakeholder groups; as well as by measuring -before and after the conversation with stakeholder groups- the satisfaction, commitment, trust and power balance of each relationship.
Sustainability policies and programs, even more than external consequences for the organization that are highly significant, represent a relevant leverage for its leadership to stimulate and facilitate cultural change and transformation. When these policies value risk taking and innovation, then sustainability is not an essence of organizational conservativism
Are those active publics who are aware and interested in dialogue with the organization because its activities bear consequences on them and/or whose activities bear consequences on the organization.
Potential stakeholders are instead those publics that, if made aware of the organizations strategic or tactical objectives, would be interested in dialogue with the organization.
The prevalent communicative mode with the first is pull and for the second, at least initially, is push.
With every individual potentially being a globally accessible medium and with the constant decline in credibility of institutions and authorities, traditional internal publics are increasingly being considered as the most trusted sources of information from the organization.
Vice versa, and for the same reasons, any customer or supplier or competitor opinion on the organization is immediately accessible by traditional internal publics.
What is more, border publics such as shareholders, consultants, agents and partners are considered highly credible subject by both traditional internal and external publics.
Most boundaries between publics are tumbling down.
Organizations increasingly define and attempt to implement policies and programs which imply coherent and cross functional leadership styles. This is a core and natural role for public relations professionals operating inside or working for the organization.
The sharing of knowledge inside and increasingly also outside the organization is considered one of the more precious immaterial assets in and amongst value networks.
This is enhanced by smooth and productive relationships amongst network components and the public relations professional in appropriately performing his/her ‘contextual’ role can be instrumental.
Effective and timely decision making process is essential to the success of the organization.
By professionally listening to, understanding and interpreting stakeholder expectations before decisions are made by management, the public relations professional allows leadership to improve the quality of those decisions, to accelerate the time of their implementation and, in those recurring circumstances in which decisions are not adapted to include a specific stakeholder group expectancies, allows the organization to better anticipate and prepare to deal with potentially disrupting actions by that stakeholder group.
Ever changing processes and structures inside and amongst value networks are constantly framing change management programs of the organization.
Change management, if and when it really works, mostly relies on sound and realistic objectives and effective relationships, which in turn are driven by good communication involving both internal and external partners of the organization.
These are individuals and organizations that are aware and interested in developing a relationship with the organization because the organization’s actions bear consequences on them or through their actions they bear consequences on the organization.
Not necessarily a favourable relationship.
These stakeholder groups are not chosen by the organization, but decide by themselves to be and act as stakeholders.
It is clearly up to the organization to decide on acknowledging them and to responsibly involve and/or engage with them
Stakeholder groups may also be situational as they form and dissolve according to social and organizational dynamics which need to be carefully monitored by the public relations professional.
This is an established marketing term which has grown to include the quality, the trust, the commitment and the power balance of the relationship that a specific customer or any other stakeholder group engages with the organization.
This is one of the immaterial values attributed to an organization’s overall capitalization. Often expressed in monetary terms, this value is calculated by conventions amongst peers which relate monetary value to immaterial indicators.
An organization’s stakeholder relationships may be differently segmented according to their acknowledgement, involvement, engagement, separation, divorce programs.
A relationship begins with the two subjects acknowledging each other; then proceeds when the organization stimulates its stakeholder groups to access the information they believe stakeholder groups require to keep abreast on their relationship and are enabled to provide feedback (involvement); the organization may also sometime decide that in order to more effectively achieve its objectives to engage some of its stakeholder groups in direct dialogue and conversation on specific issues in order to find mutually beneficial outcomes (engagement):
Sometimes this does not work, and there is a period of time between separation and divorce in which the organization can attempt to maintain at least their involvement.
The most important measure of success for public relations professionals – beyond the visible and tangible achievement of the organization’s specific objectives within a given time frame and a given amount of financial and human resources- is achievable by one or more evaluation or measurement tools which today are abundant and certainly no fewer than those available to other management functions. Evaluation implies the prevalent use of qualitative tools while measurement implies a prevalent use of quantitative tools.
The new frontier, as is happening in other management functions, relies on the integration of evaluation with measurement.
A communicative issue is one which implies and requires an above average focus on stakeholder relationships and effective communication.
The concepts of network society, value networks and communicative organizations imply that issues are often multifaceted (they provide different perspectives and angles according to the single stakeholder group perspective), multi stakeholder (individuals and organizations increasingly belong to parallel stakeholder groups who may even have conflicting interests, for example shareholders, employees and sometimes even suppliers…), and inter relational as members of value may in parallel belong to others and perform different roles…. which implies that relationships amongst value network members may also be in conflict.
Networks are today, in our global 24/7 connectivity, the core components of contemporary society, as well as of single public, social, private or mixed organizations.
The mission describes the organization’s identity. The vision describes the organization’s aspiration to be in a defined time frame. The values are related to the defined behaviour the organization intends to abide to in migrating from mission to vision. The strategy is the path the organization decides to pursue in its migration from mission to vision; while the business plan defines the operative steps the organization plans to implement to pursue that strategy.
Highly trusted sources (Edelman trust barometer)
For many years now, Edelman Worldwide has been conducting an annual global effort to monitor the concept of organizational trust by different stakeholder groups. The overriding ‘fil rouge’ is that official and institutional sources are decreasing in public trust while peers and friends and neighbours are increasing.
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