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Reflective Communication Management, a Public View on Public Relations
Unformatted Document Text:  5 can be differentiated between those who argue that companies need to be "built to perform" and those who argue that companies need to be ‘"built to last" (Collings & Porras, 1998; Foster & Kaplan, 2001). This corresponds to the distinction between shareholder or value management and certain approaches of stakeholder management (Wood, 1991), and with the distinction between "hard management" and "soft management" (London, 2002), which in turn corresponds with "direction" and "interaction" (Argyris, 1994). Figure 1. Typology of organization and corresponding management theories Rationality Classical School Contingency theories Directive/closed Interactive/open Psychological theories Learning theories Limited rationality 2.2. Approaches to communication A key aspect of human communication is meaning. Meaning can be explained as the “whole way in which we understand, explain, feel about, and react towards a given phenomenon” (Rosengren 2000:59). From this point of view on communication, a crucial question is who’s meaning is created by whom, and what does this mean for interpreting the world? From this question we can derive two dimensions of communication: the direction of the communication process and the character of meaning. We will use these two dimensions to structure communication theory. The direction of the communication process is usually operationalized as one-way or two-way, which can be explicated as: is one party active in the communication process or are all parties? Regarding the character of meaning, many theorists differentiate between connotative and denotative meaning by stressing that the connotative meaning steers behavior much more than the denotative meaning does (see e.g., Berlo, 1960; Langer, 1967; Littlejohn 1992; Rosengren, 2000; Thayer, 1987). A denotative meaning of a phenomenon is the dictionary meaning. It is the literal or overt meaning that is shared by most people. The connotative meaning refers to subjective associations. Not all theories stipulate the connotative perspective of meaning, however.

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke. and Vercic, Dejan.
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5
can be differentiated between those who argue that companies need to be "built to perform" and those
who argue that companies need to be ‘"built to last" (Collings & Porras, 1998; Foster & Kaplan, 2001).
This corresponds to the distinction between shareholder or value management and certain approaches of
stakeholder management (Wood, 1991), and with the distinction between "hard management" and "soft
management" (London, 2002), which in turn corresponds with "direction" and "interaction" (Argyris,
1994).
Figure 1. Typology of organization and corresponding management theories
Rationality
Classical School
Contingency theories
Directive/closed Interactive/open
Psychological theories
Learning theories
Limited rationality
2.2. Approaches to communication
A key aspect of human communication is meaning. Meaning can be explained as the “whole way in
which we understand, explain, feel about, and react towards a given phenomenon” (Rosengren 2000:59).
From this point of view on communication, a crucial question is who’s meaning is created by whom, and
what does this mean for interpreting the world? From this question we can derive two dimensions of
communication: the direction of the communication process and the character of meaning. We will use
these two dimensions to structure communication theory.
The direction of the communication process is usually operationalized as one-way or two-way, which can
be explicated as: is one party active in the communication process or are all parties? Regarding the
character of meaning, many theorists differentiate between connotative and denotative meaning by
stressing that the connotative meaning steers behavior much more than the denotative meaning does (see
e.g., Berlo, 1960; Langer, 1967; Littlejohn 1992; Rosengren, 2000; Thayer, 1987). A denotative meaning
of a phenomenon is the dictionary meaning. It is the literal or overt meaning that is shared by most
people. The connotative meaning refers to subjective associations. Not all theories stipulate the
connotative perspective of meaning, however.


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