Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3575-9135

Year of Publication

2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Communication and Information

Department/School/Program

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Beth Barnes

Abstract

Now more than ever, organizations utilize public relations to build, maintain, and even strengthen relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Many public relations strategies and tactics serve to bridge an organization’s interests with those of their publics, while also building, maintaining, and strengthening trust. Social issues management is one of the tools that has the potential to build long-term trust and commitment. Public relations practitioners have recognized this opportunity, and most engage in social issues management in a variety of ways to strengthen their organizations while also contributing to society (Fall, 2006). This double-edge tool can create long- lasting impact in all areas of business continuity. The existing research on social issues management, both value advocacy and CSR, showcases how PR has utilized these techniques to build upon existing relationships and create new ones. However, in examining the research on social issues management, a consensus is missing on how to label and define the process. In order to support the paradigm of social issues management, the research questions in this dissertation explore how CCOs engage in strategic decision making to develop and utilize social issues management.

This dissertation explores social issues management based on practitioner views, suggesting the integration of both corporate social responsibility and corporate social advocacy as ways to define social issues management. Through qualitative, practitioner- based research, this dissertation also proposes a conceptualization of social issues management, based on literature and data from public relations professionals. Additionally, using Rokeach’s Values Systems guidelines (1973), this research evaluates how both instrumental values and terminal values are integrated through social issues management. Finally, a best practices of social issues management is provided for practitioners.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2022.293

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