Issue management is an inexact science; generally speaking, it concernsthe assessment, analysis, and management of the inputs into managerialdecision making, both strategic and tactical. There are even some whoargue that some of the best outcomes are produced by approaching issuesmanagement as an intuitive art rather than a methodical science.
How-ever, the view guiding this book is that issues management is an appliedsocial science and therefore is subject to the same peculiarities as all otherbranches of the social sciences.In the social sciences, the separation of the object of study and the per-ceiver doing the studying is incomplete to varying degrees. The overlappermits all sorts of biases on the perceiver’s part to inﬂuence the descrip-tion of the perceived. The problem is especially entrenched in politically charged areas of the social sciences such as issues management. Everyonehas their political agenda whether they are aware of it or not, whetherthey admit it or not, and whether it makes a big difference or not. Thisnot only makes it difﬁcult for social scientists to escape the limitationsthat their biases put on their perceptions but also makes it difﬁcult forpracticing issues managers to resolve the controversies and conﬂicts thatthreaten to destroy whatever socially valuable institution or project they represent. Practitioners’ biases can distort their views of the views of others and therefore limit their ability to predict the reactions of others. As the ﬁeld of issues management developed, techniques and per-spectives were adapted from various social sciences to help deal with thefundamental challenges of being embedded in the very social systemone is trying to understand and modify. Many techniques and practicesdeveloped in the mid-20th century assumed that natural science methodscould be applied directly to the social sciences. We saw the rise of scien-tiﬁcally sampled public-opinion surveys and advertising practices appliedto issues. In this so-called modern age, it was assumed that humankindand society could be perfected through the application of the principlesof Western civilization’s Enlightenment period.