Engagement as dialogue : presenting a pragmatic perspective

Lane, Anne B. (2014) Engagement as dialogue : presenting a pragmatic perspective. In The Preconference of the 65th Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, 22-26 May 2014, Seattle, Washington. (Unpublished)


‘Engagement’ is one of the buzzwords of 21st century public relations theory and practice. Yet the concept of engagement remains frustratingly nebulous and intangible, lacking clear definition and consistent use. This paper suggests that the concept of dialogue can provide public relations practitioners and academics with a framework for defining engagement that allows deep insights into the range of ideas and contexts it covers. Specifically, this paper argues for the use of a pragmatic practitioner perspective on dialogue as a lens through which to study engagement. Current literature clearly articulates the normative and prescriptive perspectives on dialogue in public relations, but leaves the story of the reality of the practitioner experience of dialogue largely untold. New research tells this ‘missing’ story of the practitioner perspective on dialogue, which in turn offers some insights into the forms and functions of engagement in practice. Dialogue is seen as encompassing three different types of public relations practice: informing stakeholders of organisational decisions and receiving their feedback; consulting with stakeholders on the strategies and tactics used by organisations to achieve their chosen goals; and including stakeholder input in the making of decisions on what organisational goals should be. Adopting this pragmatic practitioner perspective on dialogue to view engagement provides scaffolding that is strong enough to encourage development of a consistent definition of its meaning; while still allowing the freedom and scope necessary to develop deep and rich understanding of the phenomenon.

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ID Code: 72797
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Engagement, Public relations, Dialogue
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagement (150303)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Author
Deposited On: 15 Jun 2014 23:01
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2014 23:01

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