Strategic Decision-making, Group Behavior, and Public Relations Strategies

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2005-04-15

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As a boundary spanning function in organizations, public relations can enhance strategic decision-making by introducing relevant information that addresses decision-making consequences on stakeholders to the process. The premise for the study was that effective communication that attends to certain communication aspects of decision-making through organizational strategic decision-making initiatives can enhance the likelihood of more effective decisions.

The method of investigation was active interviews. This method was considered most appropriate to acquire an understanding of senior executives' interpretation and description of four strategic decision-making events that were conducted in the U.S. Coast Guard during the 1990s.

The results of this study revealed several patterns or themes associated with more effective strategic decision-making. First, organizations that view decision-making as more continuous and connected to other important goals find their efforts to be more effective. Second, transparency is an important quality in strategic decision-making because it leads to higher levels of trust among participants. Greater participation by stakeholders also enhances the likelihood of more effective decision-making. Robust alternatives resulting from an inquiry-based approach rather than an advocacy-based approach can contribute to more effective decisions. Relationships between organizations and stakeholders that possess higher degrees of trust, familiarity, commitment, loyalty, cooperation, transparency persistence, and dispersed power contribute to more effective decision-making. Finally, organizations that seek to minimize affective conflict and maximize cognitive conflict among all decision-making participants during the process can improve the likelihood of better decision-making.

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