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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 3 drew this concept from German international management scholars Welge and Holtbrügge (1998, 2001) and Berg and Holtbrügge (2001). The development of this theory is achieved by illustrating its various components with actual cases involving issues that have involved more than one country and several parties, such as transnational businesses, NGOs, host governments and global and national media outlets. In each of the cases, conflicts used for illustrations arose when competing interests and values collided. Exploitation is a common theme and the conflict becomes a problem for the stronger party only when the weaker party coalesces its power through the intervention of NGOs. Host country culture and host country government policy are key factors in both the framing of an issue and its resolution. Essentially, transnational corporations operate in countries to exploit resources – human and natural. Some corporations attempt to conduct business in a socially responsible manner; others do not. The less nationally responsive and, in general, the less socially responsible a corporation is, the more likely a conflict will occur. The magnitude of a cross-national conflict will depend on a number of host country factors–the culture, the economy, the government policies, and the media infrastructure, access and reach. It will also depend on the type and level of NGO involvement. Not all NGOs are created equal and some are far more powerful than others; some engage in direct action, others are experienced at public pressure campaigns, and some successfully practice a more conservative approach. These elements will dictate the magnitude of the conflict and its chance of crossing borders and catching the attention of a variety of publics worldwide, which activate public relations strategies and tactics at the headquarters and subsidiaries of transnational corporations and/or global public relations firms.

Authors: Molleda, Juan. and Quinn, Candace.
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Cross-National Conflict Shifting
3
drew this concept from German international management scholars Welge and Holtbrügge
(1998, 2001) and Berg and Holtbrügge (2001). The development of this theory is achieved by
illustrating its various components with actual cases involving issues that have involved more
than one country and several parties, such as transnational businesses, NGOs, host governments
and global and national media outlets.
In each of the cases, conflicts used for illustrations arose when competing interests and
values collided. Exploitation is a common theme and the conflict becomes a problem for the
stronger party only when the weaker party coalesces its power through the intervention of NGOs.
Host country culture and host country government policy are key factors in both the framing of
an issue and its resolution. Essentially, transnational corporations operate in countries to exploit
resources – human and natural. Some corporations attempt to conduct business in a socially
responsible manner; others do not. The less nationally responsive and, in general, the less
socially responsible a corporation is, the more likely a conflict will occur.
The magnitude of a cross-national conflict will depend on a number of host country
factors–the culture, the economy, the government policies, and the media infrastructure, access
and reach. It will also depend on the type and level of NGO involvement. Not all NGOs are
created equal and some are far more powerful than others; some engage in direct action, others
are experienced at public pressure campaigns, and some successfully practice a more
conservative approach. These elements will dictate the magnitude of the conflict and its chance
of crossing borders and catching the attention of a variety of publics worldwide, which activate
public relations strategies and tactics at the headquarters and subsidiaries of transnational
corporations and/or global public relations firms.


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