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Course : Strategic Issues Management (1503SIM06)

elearning.lspr.edu
Master of Arts in Communication : Corporate Communication Studies

LSPR eLearning Program

Session Topic : Issue Planning and Strategy

Course: Strategic Issues Management

By Rudi Sukandar, Ph.D

Content

Part 1

Issue Planning & Strategy

Part 2

Biggest Barriers

Part 3

Key Elements

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Part1: Issue Planning & Strategy

Issue: Planning & Strategy

Developing issue planning and strategy


At the...,
1. Organisational level
Social contract framework
Planning and decisions
Barriers to effective issue management
Issue realities
2. Individual issue level
Evolution of a public issue
Key IM decisions
Key elements of an IM plan
The content of this lecture complements the information
in:
Harrison, K. (2011) Strategic Public Relations, chapter
21. South Yarra: Palgrave Macmillan.
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Kim Harrison
President of PRIA
Western Australia
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Organisational Level: Social Contract Framework

Government

Explicit basis

Influence

Society

Business
Influence

Implicit basis
Meznar & Nigh (1993)
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Issue: Skilled Balance

Issue management requires the skilled balance of


4 functions
1. Strategic business planning
...with a close eye on public policy (government)
trends
2. Scanning, monitoring and analysing issues
...to understand the operating environment

Robert L. Heath
Emeritus Professor of
Communication, Houston
Univ.
Published many awardwinning books

3. Communicating
...to create a good offense and a tough defence
4. Being sensitive to changing standards of corporate
responsibility
...and adapting to those standards
Heath & Palenchar (2009 : 92)
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Michael J. Palenchar, Ph.D.


Mass Communication, Univ.
of Florida (2005)
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Planning Actions: Best Practice

1.
2.

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Support corporate and unit missions and goals.


Integrate issue management into,
business planning and
management.
Select and structure issues personnel matrix.
Budget for issue management.
Apply learning from monitoring to refine code of corporate responsibility.
Incorporate public policy [govt relations] issues into corporate planning.
Formulate public policy stances and implement public policy plan.
Incorporate corporate responsibility principles into organisational and business
unit reviews.
9. Reassess organisational stance,
on public policy and strategic issues and
its fit with internal and external policy issue positions as well as stakeholder/stake
seeker interests
(Heath & Palenchar, 2009, p. 40)

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Issue: Managers

Issue managers,
must also look inward within...
...the organisation to understand:
1. Organisational and political
structures
2. The organisational culture
3. Strategies in place for analysing
public policy in relation to issues
(Heath & Palenchar, 2009, p. 97)

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Issue: Realities at Organisational Level

No.

How it sometimes is

How it should be

1.

Focus mainly on,


updating issue briefs,
positioning statements,
contact lists

Focus is on specific issue strategies


to deliver planned,
positive outcomes

2.

Reactive mode getting prepared


in case the news media phone

Proactive mode willing and able


to act

3.

Business units assign issue


responsibility to the PA dept

Business units take ownership with


PA

4.

Focus is on getting the process right Focus is on making a difference

5.

Management regard issue


management as low priority
activity

Issue management is an integral


part of business planning

Source: Issue Outcomes Pty Ltd


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Part2: Biggest Barriers

Biggest Barriers: Issue Management

Biggest barriers to effective IM


1. Lack of clear,
goals and
Objectives

2. Unwillingness or inability to
take action
(Jaques, 2000)

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Issue: Evolution of an Individual Public Issue

Source: Mahon (2005)

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Issue: When Should the Firm Enter the Issue Life Cycle?

Public concerns

John F. Mahon
Chair of Intl Business Policy & Strategy,
Professor of Mgt, Univ.of Maine (2001
Present)

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Issue: Key Issue Management Decisions

Source: Jaques (2000)


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Issue: Leading to a Decision

Strategy-decision is the pivotal


stage
pivotal means
key,
essential,
crucial
(Johnson, 1983, cited in Heath &
Palenchar, 2009, p. 95)

Source: Jaques (2000)


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Issue: Killer Phrases Preventing A Decision

Cant someone else


stick their neck out?

Lets get out


of the
spotlight

Lets not make it


an issue

Its not our problem


Lets not draw
attention to
ourselves

The less we say the


sooner it will go away

Source: Jaques (2000)


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Part3: Key Elements

Key Elements: Issue Plan

1.
2.
3.
4.

Definition of issue
Key goal
Results objectives
Actions

These are important to all communication plans, but


especially to issue management

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Key Elements: Issue Plan (cont.)

Defined issue

Key goal

Results objectives

Results objectives

Actions

Actions

Actions

Actions

Actions

Actions

Results objectives

Actions

Actions
Actions

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Key Elements: Example


Defined issue

Key goal

Regulators better
understand impact
of mine closure

Proposed mining
regulations threaten our
operations

Achieve modifications to
proposed waste
disposal regulations
Env. impact of current
ops is independently
assessed and audited

Community leaders are


involved in reviewing Result
benefits, needs, options objectives

Actions

Actions

Actions

Actions

Actions

Actions

Actions

Actions
Actions

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Key Elements: Definition

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

What really is the issue?


Is it really going to impact on us?
In what way, and what is the worst case scenario?
Do all our main participants agree what the objective is?
Can we make a difference?
Are we willing to put our name on this issue?

Defining the issue in a sentence is,


essential to capture the essence of a problem,
but this step is often overlooked.
The issue,
must be defined in terms of the impact on the organisation.
This focuses attention on the real problem at the core of the issue.
Sample defined issue for electricity producer: False allegations about our
company polluting the atmosphere are endangering our business.
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Key Elements: Goal Setting

1.
2.
3.
4.

What is the key goal?


Does it clearly support the organisations business goals?
Is it attainable /realistic?
Will achieving the goal achieve a satisfactory outcome of the
issue?

It is vital,
to achieve one agreed key goal that can be...
...implemented through various action steps.
Sample key goal for the same issue:
Activate resources to disprove these allegations.

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Key Elements: Result Objectives

1. What must happen to deliver the results we want?


2. What do we plan to make happen?
3. Will achieving these intended results achieve the issue goal?
Ensure results objectives deal,
with intended results (What we plan to make happen),
...rather than desired results (What we would like to see happen).
Sample SMART result objectives for the same issue:
1. To fund scientific studies that report on the actual levels of atmospheric
pollution by 15 September.
2. To report the outcomes of consultation on the issue with nominated community
and health groups by 30 August.
3. To convince the regional government not to enact tighter regulations that
unnecessarily affect emissions from our power stations, as confirmed in writing
by the Environmental Protection Authority by 31 December.
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Key Elements: Actions

1. What actions (process objectives) must be completed to achieve


each result objective?
2. Is the organisation willing and able to commit to the actions?
3. Who will execute each action, and when?
4. Will completing these actions deliver each intended outcome?

Each result objective should have an action plan comprising


process objectives that detail:
1. The intended action
2. Who will drive it
3. When start and end date.

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References

1. Heath, R., & Palenchar, M. (2009). Strategic Issues Management:


organizations and public policy challenges (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks,
California: SAGE Publications.
2. Jaques, T. (2000). Dont Just Stand There: the Do-it Plan for Effective Issue
Management. Melbourne: Issue Outcomes.
3. Johnson, J. (1983). Issues management: what are the issues? An introduction
to issues management. Business Quarterly, 48(3), pp. 22-31.
4. Mahon, J. (2005). Issues management: moving into the 21st century.
Workshop presentation.
5. Meznar, M., & Nigh, D. (1993). Managing corporate legitimacy: public
affairs activities, strategies and effectiveness. Business and Society, 32(1),
pp. 30-40.
6. Regester, M., & Larkin, J. (2008). Risk Issues and Crisis Management in
Public Relations (4th ed.) London: Kogan Page.

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Course : Strategic Issues Management (1503SIM06)

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