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Organizational and Managerial Communication

Issues Management and Environmental Scanning Chapter 7

Peggy Simcic Brnn


Little acknowledgement of external environment Produce goods Provide employment Pay dividends Success measured in economic terms
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1960s - economic growth producing detrimental side effects Emphasis on protecting human health, not environment per se

Peggy Simcic Brnn


Public demand collective action and there is disagreement on solution
civil rights feminist movement consumer movement ecology movement

Peggy Simcic Brnn

Four Types of Issues

Universal issues: have serious and imminent effects on a large number of people. Government action is expected since the issue is beyond the scope of private organizations Advocacy issues: potential problems foremost of the population that are identified by groups claiming to represent the broad public interest. Scope of problem suggests government intervention. Selective issues: affect special interest group. Costs of dealing with them is passed on to general public. Technical issues: of little direct interest to the population and are left to experts. Note that an advocacy group may shift a technical issue to another group be redefining it.
P.N. Reeves, Issues management: The other side of strategic planning, Hospital &Health Services Administration 38(2), Summer 1993

The energy crisis

Health insurance reform

Medicaid reimbursement that results in cost shifting Hazardous waste disposal that can be characterized as creation of an environmental threat

Coined in 1977 New Type of Corporate Communications Response to Increasing Criticism of Big Business Method of Monitoring the Environment Managing New Challenges and Change Mid-1970s, Issues Became Strategic Issues Organizations Became Proactive

Peggy Simcic Brnn

Location of IM Programs
Public/Government Affairs Corporate Planning Corporate Communications

Issues Management
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Source: McGrath, G., Issues Management, IABC

Issues Management Process

The Chase-Jones Model

Issues Identification
Performance Evaluation

Theory and Research

Issues Analysis Judgement and Priority Setting

Results Program Design Implementation Policy Options Policy and Strategy Selection

The Clarity - Priority Matrix


Issue Priority

Assess impact of issue on Closely monitor issue. objectives, current strategies Actively seek additional and operational plans for information. immediate action.


Evaluate impact of issue and Monitor issue. identify nature of response, if Drop, if unimportant. any.

J.C. Camillus and D.K. Datta, Managing strategic issues in a turbulent environment, Long Range Planning 24, April 1991


Issue Clarity

Structure of an issues monitoring team

Four functions:
Sharpening planning for responsible adapting the organization Knowing and exceeding standards Monitoring issues Communicating to build beneficial relationships

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Corporate Response to Issues

Reactive - Fight Change Accommodative - Adapt to Change Proactive - Influence Change Interactive - Adjust to and Influence Change

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The Public Issues Life Cycle

Effectiveness of Integrated Planning


Education reform Global warming Day care Shorter work week Comparable worth Road congestion

Groundwater protection Acid rain Clean Air Act Amendments Energy taxes Health care reform Hazardous waste treatment

Environmental Protection Agency Motor Vehicle Safety and Health Admin. Energy Policy and Conservation Act Safety belt use laws

Emission standards Environmental permits Gas guzzler taxes Product recalls Plant inspections/fines Fuel economy standards

Social Expectation



Social Control
T.G. Marx,Strategic planning for public affairs, Long Range Planning, 23(1), 1990.

IM and Corporate Image

IM now includes fostering and maintaining corporate image Tied to behavior of organization and communication management Integrity of the organizational identity


Reactive business strategy

pursue own financial goals be forced by external agents to change

Proactive business strategy

actively seek operations that limit consequences open up dialogue with external agents
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Environmental Scanning
A methodology for collecting and analyzing information about every sector of the external environment that can help management to plan for the organizations future. Chun Wei Choo
. . . A radar-like vigilance used to spot potential or actual issues at their earliest point of development. (Heath)
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Added value of scanning

Promotes education and mindstretching experiences for management. Assists in formulating of policy and strategy. Promotes the development of operational programs and action plans. Provides a frame of reference for budgets.
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Organizational environment
Does the company accept new ideas, concepts and processes? Are there open communications channels? Is the company capturing environmental information that is readily available`?

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Organizational environment
Are the linkages of change to the companys operations properly assessed? Is environmental intelligence integrated into strategic planning?

Peggy Simcic Brnn


Environmental Scanning Dimensions

Governments Economies Control Productivity Capacity Resources

Approaches to Scanning
Scientific -- social scientific measures of stakeholders to determine whats going on out there
Tree Diagrams, Trend Impact Analysis Flow Charting, Morphological Models

Informal -- individualistic, subjective techniques, nonrepresentative samples of publics, and key contacts
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Sources of Environmental Information


External Media-related Sources Business-related Bankers General Customers Business & Financial Suppliers Trade Consultants Technical/Academic Unrelated Regular associations Other Sources Friend Purchased research reports Professional peers Technical conferences Periodic encounters Trade shows Adjoining seat occupant Educational seminars Neighbor Direct observation

Sources of Environmental Information


Line Relationships Superiors Subordinates Staff Relationships Peer Relationships Counterpart Relationships (cross-divisional) Other (motivated by personal relationships, mutual interest) Reports Progress Performance Projection Activity Meetings Scheduled Issue-motivated

Ranking of Sources of Environmental Information

Rank 1 2 Source Pct. Ranking 1st/2nd Daily Newspapers 91 Expert Organizations 59 Publications (Conferences Board, etc..) Business Periodicals 52 Futures Consultants 42 and Forecasters Government Publications 42 Seminars and Conferences 30
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3 4 5 6

Best Practices Planning and manage scanning as a strategic activity Implement scanning as a formal system Partner with domain experts and IT specialists in designing system Manage information as the core of the scanning function

Starting to think about the future

Read utopian and science fiction. Read magazines like The Futurist and Futures. Borrow the authors predictions. Monitor the writings of politicians and social scientists. Watch out for mention of areas of people who adopt innovation early.
J. D. Stoffels
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Two cases
Playtex Company and the Sippy Cup Intel