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A Working Theory of Cross-National Conflict Shifting as an International Public Relations Dynamic
Unformatted Document Text:  Cross-National Conflict Shifting 2 the activities of corporations operating outside their own borders, especially in developing nations and emergent economies, such as Brazil, China, and India. A national issue can become international in an instant, impacting host, home and transnational publics. Some governments are beginning to insist that powerful transnational corporations operating within their borders use their natural resources in an equitable manner and treat workers, consumers and officials fairly. For example, after an unprecedented trial, a Canadian corporation was found guilty and its director in Lesotho was sentenced to 18 years in prison for paying bribes in connection with a multi-billion pound dam project in the southern African state (Jaimet, 2002; Pallister, 2002a, 2002b; Simon, 2002; Warning on Lesotho, 2002). This story illustrates the active role some national governments of developing nations and emergent economies are beginning to play in responding to the challenges pose by globalization. Big infrastructure projects and industry operations create long audit trails with a multiplicity of players that produce a corresponding number of opportunities for conflict, crisis and vulnerability. Public relations professionals practicing in more than one country are challenged by conflicts that impact their organizations’ or clients’ activities and reputation in more than one location at the same time. Molleda and Connolly-Ahern (2002) explain how American Online’s technical, communication, and legal incidents in its Brazilian operation have affected the company financially in the U.K. and U.S. markets. The specialized media and financial analysts transferred the conflicts from South to North America and Europe, demanding public relations actions in the three main locations. The purpose of this paper is to expand and further illustrate the theory of “cross-national conflict shifting” as it relates to international public relations. This theory was first introduced in the United States by Molleda and Connolly-Ahern at the 2002 AEJMC convention. The authors

Authors: Molleda, Juan. and Quinn, Candace.
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Cross-National Conflict Shifting
2
the activities of corporations operating outside their own borders, especially in developing
nations and emergent economies, such as Brazil, China, and India. A national issue can become
international in an instant, impacting host, home and transnational publics.
Some governments are beginning to insist that powerful transnational corporations
operating within their borders use their natural resources in an equitable manner and treat
workers, consumers and officials fairly. For example, after an unprecedented trial, a Canadian
corporation was found guilty and its director in Lesotho was sentenced to 18 years in prison for
paying bribes in connection with a multi-billion pound dam project in the southern African state
(Jaimet, 2002; Pallister, 2002a, 2002b; Simon, 2002; Warning on Lesotho, 2002). This story
illustrates the active role some national governments of developing nations and emergent
economies are beginning to play in responding to the challenges pose by globalization.
Big infrastructure projects and industry operations create long audit trails with a
multiplicity of players that produce a corresponding number of opportunities for conflict, crisis
and vulnerability. Public relations professionals practicing in more than one country are
challenged by conflicts that impact their organizations’ or clients’ activities and reputation in
more than one location at the same time. Molleda and Connolly-Ahern (2002) explain how
American Online’s technical, communication, and legal incidents in its Brazilian operation have
affected the company financially in the U.K. and U.S. markets. The specialized media and
financial analysts transferred the conflicts from South to North America and Europe, demanding
public relations actions in the three main locations.
The purpose of this paper is to expand and further illustrate the theory of “cross-national
conflict shifting” as it relates to international public relations. This theory was first introduced in
the United States by Molleda and Connolly-Ahern at the 2002 AEJMC convention. The authors


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