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Four Basic Communication Strategies, Beyond the Borders of Traditional Public Relations Practice
Unformatted Document Text:  19 and its publics to adapt mutually to each other. J. Grunig (1989) adopted Schramm’s view to theoretically underpin this definition in stating that “communication leads to understanding”. In the Dutch undergraduate handbook of public relations, which has been one of the best-selling publications in its field for many years, Groenendijk (1997:14) states that “Public relations is aimed at creating an equilibrium between an organization and its publics”. The facilitator: public relations is hosting the dialogue The view of communication as an interactive two-way process combined with a focus on the connotative side of meaning characterizes the “facilitator” type. Facilitators employ a jargon typified by catchwords such as dialogue, interaction, revealing meanings, monitoring, facilitating, process management, and communicative competence. They see communication as a dialogue. Their job is to host the dialogue. A facilitator is the type of public relations professional who creates environments in which meaningful dialogues can flourish. He selects parties, puts them together, either virtually or directly, and chairs the dialogue. He is not involved in the dialogue process itself, since this involves the free exchange of the participants’ meanings. He is responsible for the continuation of the communication process in which the parties are engaged, not for its outcome. No longer a communicator himself, he has become a manager of communications. His claim to fame is based on successfully facilitating the communicative interactions of the organization’s members, both inside and outside the organization. The facilitator typically prefers a staff position with professional autonomy, but without operational responsibilities. For the facilitator, communication management is all about mediation. More and more authors are now focusing on this view of public relations in the Netherlands. Donkervoort (1993) was the first, claiming that the public relations professional should assist the manager and administrator in the communication aspects of policy development. In the nineties, Van Woerkum radically changed his earlier definition of public relations by propagating the facilitator’s role as the solution for all the communication problems encountered by managers and administrators

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke.
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and its publics to adapt mutually to each other. J. Grunig (1989) adopted Schramm’s view to
theoretically underpin this definition in stating that “communication leads to understanding”. In the
Dutch undergraduate handbook of public relations, which has been one of the best-selling publications
in its field for many years, Groenendijk (1997:14) states that “Public relations is aimed at creating an
equilibrium between an organization and its publics”.
The facilitator: public relations is hosting the dialogue
The view of communication as an interactive two-way process combined with a focus on the
connotative side of meaning characterizes the “facilitator” type. Facilitators employ a jargon typified
by catchwords such as dialogue, interaction, revealing meanings, monitoring, facilitating, process
management, and communicative competence. They see communication as a dialogue. Their job is to
host the dialogue.
A facilitator is the type of public relations professional who creates environments in which meaningful
dialogues can flourish. He selects parties, puts them together, either virtually or directly, and chairs the
dialogue. He is not involved in the dialogue process itself, since this involves the free exchange of the
participants’ meanings. He is responsible for the continuation of the communication process in which
the parties are engaged, not for its outcome. No longer a communicator himself, he has become a
manager of communications. His claim to fame is based on successfully facilitating the
communicative interactions of the organization’s members, both inside and outside the organization.
The facilitator typically prefers a staff position with professional autonomy, but without operational
responsibilities. For the facilitator, communication management is all about mediation.
More and more authors are now focusing on this view of public relations in the Netherlands.
Donkervoort (1993) was the first, claiming that the public relations professional should assist the
manager and administrator in the communication aspects of policy development. In the nineties, Van
Woerkum radically changed his earlier definition of public relations by propagating the facilitator’s
role as the solution for all the communication problems encountered by managers and administrators


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