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Reflective Communication Management, a Public View on Public Relations
Unformatted Document Text:  10 people’s understanding of an event, whereas conversations are useful in creating alternative futures and opening the business to a wider collective learning process (Deetz et al., 2000). Zerfass (1996:31-32) calls these dialogues "arguments in which new meanings develop" (N.B.: note the plural, BvR & DV). The basis of this view of communication management is contemporary rhetorical theory, which explains discourse tactics as what players use to maneuver in communicative interactions. A key aspect of this view is the creation of as many meanings as possible, which is based more on a "battle" of interests than on harmony of interest (unlike the relationship model). Heath (2000b) developed the rhetorical enactment approach of communication management, reasoning “that all of what an organization does and says is a statement. It is a statement that is interpreted idiosyncratically by each market, audience, and public” (p.4). Quality communication management is aimed at finding deliberate and pluralistic solutions for problems. The key perspective of the dialogue model is that by facilitating interactions new meanings are continually created. This is an open-ended model; it is a learning process that never stops. Discursive communication management is, therefore, mainly dialogue management. In this model the process of meaning creation is restricted to the co-creation of ongoing learning processes of people who are related organizationally, i.e., the co-creation of new connotative meanings. As an overview we compare the four models on the following levels: organization and management theory and managerial intervention; view of organizational communication; problem, indicator, and focus of communication management; and the communication intervention strategy. Figure 4. The four models compared Model information Persuasion relationship dialogue org&man classical human relations contingency learning managerial intervention directive Directive interactive Interactive org.communi-cation mechanical Psychological system-interaction Interpretive cm problem knowledge influence trust meanings cm indicator readability image/ reputation relationships understanding of meanings cm focus of management dissemination of info promotion of plans/decisions accuracy of relationships co-creation of new meanings cm intervention informational Persuasive negotiating Discursive 2.4. The empirical value of the four models We believe that all theories of communication management can be subsumed within these four headings, but it is difficult to choose any one model as the "best." No research shows any one model will always

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke. and Vercic, Dejan.
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people’s understanding of an event, whereas conversations are useful in creating alternative futures and
opening the business to a wider collective learning process (Deetz et al., 2000). Zerfass (1996:31-32) calls
these dialogues "arguments in which new meanings develop" (N.B.: note the plural, BvR & DV). The
basis of this view of communication management is contemporary rhetorical theory, which explains
discourse tactics as what players use to maneuver in communicative interactions. A key aspect of this
view is the creation of as many meanings as possible, which is based more on a "battle" of interests than
on harmony of interest (unlike the relationship model). Heath (2000b) developed the rhetorical enactment
approach of communication management, reasoning “that all of what an organization does and says is a
statement. It is a statement that is interpreted idiosyncratically by each market, audience, and public”
(p.4). Quality communication management is aimed at finding deliberate and pluralistic solutions for
problems. The key perspective of the dialogue model is that by facilitating interactions new meanings are
continually created. This is an open-ended model; it is a learning process that never stops. Discursive
communication management is, therefore, mainly dialogue management. In this model the process of
meaning creation is restricted to the co-creation of ongoing learning processes of people who are related
organizationally, i.e., the co-creation of new connotative meanings.
As an overview we compare the four models on the following levels: organization and management
theory and managerial intervention; view of organizational communication; problem, indicator, and focus
of communication management; and the communication intervention strategy.
Figure 4. The four models compared
Model
information Persuasion
relationship
dialogue
org&man
classical human
relations
contingency learning
managerial
intervention
directive Directive interactive Interactive
org.communi-
cation
mechanical Psychological
system-
interaction
Interpretive
cm problem
knowledge
influence
trust
meanings
cm indicator
readability
image/
reputation
relationships
understanding of
meanings
cm focus of
management
dissemination
of info
promotion of
plans/decisions
accuracy of
relationships
co-creation of new
meanings
cm intervention
informational Persuasive
negotiating
Discursive
2.4. The empirical value of the four models
We believe that all theories of communication management can be subsumed within these four headings,
but it is difficult to choose any one model as the "best." No research shows any one model will always


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