The Issue with Issues Management: An Engagement Approach to Integrate Gender and Emotion into Issues Management
MetadataShow full item record
Using sexual assault on college campuses as a context for interrogating issues management, this study offers a normative model for inclusive issues management through an engagement approach that can better account for the gendered and emotional dimensions of issues. Because public relations literature and research have offered little theoretical or practical guidance for how issues managers can most effectively deal with issues such as sexual assault, this study represents a promising step forward. Results for this study were obtained through 32 in-depth interviews with university issues managers, six focus groups with student populations, and approximately 92 hours of participant observation. By focusing on inclusion, this revised model works to have utility for an array of issues that have previously fallen outside of the dominant masculine and rationale spheres that have worked to silence marginalized publics’ experiences. Through adapting previous issues management models to focus on inclusion at the heart of a strategic process, and engagement as the strategy for achieving this, this study offers a framework for ensuring more voices are heard—which enables organizations to more effectively communicate with their publics. Additionally, findings from this research may also help practitioners at different types of organizations develop better, and proactive, communication strategies for handling emotional and gendered issues as to avoid negative media attention and work to change organizational culture.