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Reflective Communication Management, a Public View on Public Relations
Unformatted Document Text:  24 3. Conceptualizing: to develop plans to communicate and maintain relationships with public groups to gain public trust. This role is concerned with commercial and other (internal and external) public groups and with public opinion as a whole. It is aimed at the execution of the organizational mission and strategies. 4. Executing: to prepare the means of communication for the organization (and its members) to help the organization formulate its communications. This role is concerned with services and is aimed at the execution of the communication plans. To see these roles as inclusive in reflective communication management, we can develop the following parameters of the profession: Communication management as a specialty helps organizations by counseling the deliberations on legitimacy, by coaching its members in the development of their communicative competencies, by conceptualizing communication plans, and by executing communication means, using informational, persuasive, relational, and discursive interventions. The reflective approach to communication management regards the counseling role as the fundamental one; the other roles follow from it. 4.4. Conclusion and discussion In this paper we have argued that to reflect the plural nature of its service to organizations and society, a feasible managerial concept of public relations requires more indicators than only relationships. This led us to develop a two-by-two dimensional definition of organization and management as well as communication. We derived four basic models of communication management from the definition. We argued that these models are not exclusive, but complementary, and that organizations are best advised to use these simultaneously in various combinations, i.e., as strategies. We proposed this because all models operate on the behavioral level, i.e., on (members of) organizations and their publics. If taken individually, the societal level, and consequently, the legitimacy problem of organizations, remains totally neglected. To avoid this we developed the Reflective Communication Management approach, which is related to the view of people as reflective human beings engaged in a continuous social process of constructing society. We also looked at organizations as institutes, thereby focusing on their fundamental rationality in order to develop their societal legitimation. In our approach this legitimation is not based on morality or ethics as a deontological principle, but on the empirical question of what is good and justifiable to (the members of) society. In a pre-modern social setting, values and norms are concrete and felt to be fundamental, even if they are not true in the sense of being taken for granted. In the modern

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke. and Vercic, Dejan.
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3. Conceptualizing: to develop plans to communicate and maintain relationships with public groups to
gain public trust. This role is concerned with commercial and other (internal and external) public
groups and with public opinion as a whole. It is aimed at the execution of the organizational mission
and strategies.
4. Executing: to prepare the means of communication for the organization (and its members) to help the
organization formulate its communications. This role is concerned with services and is aimed at the
execution of the communication plans.
To see these roles as inclusive in reflective communication management, we can develop the following
parameters of the profession: Communication management as a specialty helps organizations by
counseling the deliberations on legitimacy, by coaching its members in the development of their
communicative competencies, by conceptualizing communication plans, and by executing communication
means, using informational, persuasive, relational, and discursive interventions.
The reflective approach to communication management regards the counseling role as the fundamental
one; the other roles follow from it.
4.4. Conclusion and discussion
In this paper we have argued that to reflect the plural nature of its service to organizations and society, a
feasible managerial concept of public relations requires more indicators than only relationships. This led
us to develop a two-by-two dimensional definition of organization and management as well as
communication. We derived four basic models of communication management from the definition. We
argued that these models are not exclusive, but complementary, and that organizations are best advised to
use these simultaneously in various combinations, i.e., as strategies. We proposed this because all models
operate on the behavioral level, i.e., on (members of) organizations and their publics. If taken
individually, the societal level, and consequently, the legitimacy problem of organizations, remains totally
neglected. To avoid this we developed the Reflective Communication Management approach, which is
related to the view of people as reflective human beings engaged in a continuous social process of
constructing society. We also looked at organizations as institutes, thereby focusing on their fundamental
rationality in order to develop their societal legitimation. In our approach this legitimation is not based on
morality or ethics as a deontological principle, but on the empirical question of what is good and
justifiable to (the members of) society. In a pre-modern social setting, values and norms are concrete and
felt to be fundamental, even if they are not true in the sense of being taken for granted. In the modern


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