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Reflective Communication Management, a Public View on Public Relations
Unformatted Document Text:  23 Regarded from this public point of view, the generic principle of communication management can become a more specific one: it is about maximizing, optimizing, or satisfying the process of meaning creation, using informational, persuasive, relational, and discursive interventions to solve managerial problems by co-producing societal (public) legitimation. This is not a specialized management function but a function of management per se. The role of the communication management specialist, however, is to advise and coach (the members of) the organization in this process. We will discuss the necessarily changing role of the communication management specialist in the final section of this paper. 4.3. The role of the specialist in communication management (the public relations professional) Viewing communication management as primarily an organizational approach and therefore as a function of general management does not explain the flourishing industry of communication management as a specialty. In this last section we plan to build a theory of specialist communication management that follows from our approach to communication management as a function of general management. What distinguishes communication managers from other managers when they sit down at the table is that they contribute special concern for broader societal issues and approaches to problems. Further, they have special concern for the implications of organizational behavior towards and in the public sphere, as well as towards certain stakeholders and target groups. This determines the roles the specialist in communication management can play. The tasks of the communication manager within an organization, or the consultant who is hired to advise on communication management, can be derived from the four characteristics that were seen as inclusive of communication management by experts on public relations in Europe (see Ruler & Vercic, 2002). The four characteristics are counseling, coaching, conceptualizing, and executing (see Figure 7). Figure 7. The four roles of reflective communication management as a specialty 1. Counseling: to analyze changing values, norms, and issues in society and discuss these with members of the organization in order to adjust values, norms, and issue-related points of view in the organization. This role is concerned with organizational guidelines, policies, and standards, and aimed at the development of vision/mission, corporate story, and organizational strategies. 2. Coaching: to educate the members of the organization to behave competently in their communications so they can respond to societal demands. This role is concerned with the mentality and behavior of the members of the organization, and aimed at internal public groups.

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke. and Vercic, Dejan.
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Regarded from this public point of view, the generic principle of communication management can
become a more specific one: it is about maximizing, optimizing, or satisfying the process of meaning
creation, using informational, persuasive, relational, and discursive interventions to solve managerial
problems by co-producing societal (public) legitimation.
This is not a specialized management function but a function of management per se. The role of the
communication management specialist, however, is to advise and coach (the members of) the
organization in this process. We will discuss the necessarily changing role of the communication
management specialist in the final section of this paper.
4.3. The role of the specialist in communication management (the public relations professional)
Viewing communication management as primarily an organizational approach and therefore as a function
of general management does not explain the flourishing industry of communication management as a
specialty. In this last section we plan to build a theory of specialist communication management that
follows from our approach to communication management as a function of general management.
What distinguishes communication managers from other managers when they sit down at the table is that
they contribute special concern for broader societal issues and approaches to problems. Further, they have
special concern for the implications of organizational behavior towards and in the public sphere, as well
as towards certain stakeholders and target groups. This determines the roles the specialist in
communication management can play.
The tasks of the communication manager within an organization, or the consultant who is hired to advise
on communication management, can be derived from the four characteristics that were seen as inclusive
of communication management by experts on public relations in Europe (see Ruler & Vercic, 2002). The
four characteristics are counseling, coaching, conceptualizing, and executing (see Figure 7).
Figure 7. The four roles of reflective communication management as a specialty
1. Counseling: to analyze changing values, norms, and issues in society and discuss these with members
of the organization in order to adjust values, norms, and issue-related points of view in the
organization. This role is concerned with organizational guidelines, policies, and standards, and
aimed at the development of vision/mission, corporate story, and organizational strategies.
2. Coaching: to educate the members of the organization to behave competently in their
communications so they can respond to societal demands. This role is concerned with the mentality
and behavior of the members of the organization, and aimed at internal public groups.


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