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Reflective Communication Management, a Public View on Public Relations
Unformatted Document Text:  3 public relations (as many other authors do, e.g., Dozier, et al., 1995; Grunig, 1992b; Grunig, et al., 2002; White & Mazur, 1995). 2. Dimensions of communication management Although communication management is obviously an activity of specialists, we agree with Long & Hazleton Jr (1987), defining it principally as a way to explain and describe how to manage an organization and how to communicate accordingly. Agreeing with Deetz et al. (2001) in his argument on organizational communication as a view of organization, we propose to approach the issue of communication management from a general management point of view. Mintzberg (1973: 54-99) showed that managers are almost always busy communicating: most roles of managers are communication roles, and all roles have communication aspects. Today’s “information society” (Castells, 1996) views the communication aspects of these roles as even more important than they were when Mintzberg described them, and it changes the communication strategies in use. Yet, communication and public relations handbooks seldom analyze organizational processes and structures. Managers not only play many communication roles, they also use communication with different intentions, goals, objectives, and consequences, according to their own basic organizational principles. That is, managers have to manage their communications as they have to manage their budgets, etc. Without doubt an organization needs specialists to advise and help management execute its communication management properly. We believe, however, that the demands of the managers on the specialists and the specialists’ own expectations of "good" communication management can be derived from their specific views about how to manage an organization and how to communicate accordingly (Dozier et al., 1995; Grunig et al., 2002; Grunig, 1992a; see also Ruler, 1996, 1997; Zweekhorst, 2001). Communication management as a specialty is necessarily intertwined with the communication principles and styles of management, which in turn can be derived from specific organization principles and styles. As there are many definitions of organization, management, and communication, it is impossible to choose a single normative view of communication management without taking into account the related view on organization and management. Looking over the literature on communication management, we could state that there is one generic principle about communication management: that is, it is about maximizing, optimizing, or satisfying the process of meaning creation in order to solve managerial problems. This, however, is accomplished in different ways, guided by different theories. These theories define the different approaches to communication management, as can be found in the literature of the discipline. In a two-dimensional

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke. and Vercic, Dejan.
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public relations (as many other authors do, e.g., Dozier, et al., 1995; Grunig, 1992b; Grunig, et al., 2002;
White & Mazur, 1995).
2. Dimensions of communication management
Although communication management is obviously an activity of specialists, we agree with Long &
Hazleton Jr (1987), defining it principally as a way to explain and describe how to manage an
organization and how to communicate accordingly. Agreeing with Deetz et al. (2001) in his argument on
organizational communication as a view of organization, we propose to approach the issue of
communication management from a general management point of view. Mintzberg (1973: 54-99) showed
that managers are almost always busy communicating: most roles of managers are communication roles,
and all roles have communication aspects. Today’s “information society” (Castells, 1996) views the
communication aspects of these roles as even more important than they were when Mintzberg described
them, and it changes the communication strategies in use. Yet, communication and public relations
handbooks seldom analyze organizational processes and structures. Managers not only play many
communication roles, they also use communication with different intentions, goals, objectives, and
consequences, according to their own basic organizational principles. That is, managers have to manage
their communications as they have to manage their budgets, etc. Without doubt an organization needs
specialists to advise and help management execute its communication management properly. We believe,
however, that the demands of the managers on the specialists and the specialists’ own expectations of
"good" communication management can be derived from their specific views about how to manage an
organization and how to communicate accordingly (Dozier et al., 1995; Grunig et al., 2002; Grunig,
1992a; see also Ruler, 1996, 1997; Zweekhorst, 2001).
Communication management as a specialty is necessarily intertwined with the communication principles
and styles of management, which in turn can be derived from specific organization principles and styles.
As there are many definitions of organization, management, and communication, it is impossible to
choose a single normative view of communication management without taking into account the related
view on organization and management.
Looking over the literature on communication management, we could state that there is one generic
principle about communication management: that is, it is about maximizing, optimizing, or satisfying the
process of meaning creation in order to solve managerial problems. This, however, is accomplished in
different ways, guided by different theories. These theories define the different approaches to
communication management, as can be found in the literature of the discipline. In a two-dimensional


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