Community engagement: A relational perspective

Johnston, Kim A. (2008) Community engagement: A relational perspective. In Tebbutt, John & Cregan, Kate (Eds.) Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Annual Conference, 2007: Communication, Civics, Industry, 5-6 July, 2007, La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia.


Community engagement is increasingly being employed by organisations as a key strategy to incorporate representative community opinions into decision-making. Governments have recognised the benefits of engaged, participatory civic opinion to guide complex social issues and have legislated for consultation to be included in major social projects. Simultaneously community members are looking for ways to be actively involved in decisions that affect their communities and make organisations accountable for their decisions. Public relations practitioners are increasingly being called to manage these programs. Community engagement founded on a relational theory can be used to extend the discussion of community engagement and guide the context of this practice. This paper briefly reviews the major research perspectives of community engagement and proposes a typology of engagement employing a relational framework to contribute to the existing body of community engagement research. An exploratory study of 20 Australian infrastructure projects with a consultation component are analysed applying this framework. While research findings showed no evidence of discrimination between the terms engagement, consultation, and participation, a range of tactics supported both collaborative and advocacy approaches. The implications for adopting a relational framework for public relations are discussed.

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ID Code: 10582
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The contents of this conference can be freely accessed online via the conference's web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Community engagement, community consultation, relationship management
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > MARKETING (150500) > Marketing Communications (150502)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Kim A. Johnston, ANZCA and La Trobe University
Deposited On: 05 Nov 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:42

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