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Strategic Issues Management

Strategic Issues Management
Organizations and Public Policy Challenges

Second Edition

September 2008 | 424 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
By exploring the communication options that organizations can employ in their stewardship to address crucial public policy options and engage in collaborative decision making, Strategic Issues Management gives students practical, actionable guidance. Issues management is vital to an organization's strategic management. It entails understanding and achieving high standards of corporate responsibility by listening to the opinions of key members of the public.
1. A Foundation of Community
Vignette: British Petroleum--Enlightened Leader or Lightning Rod?

Chapter Goals

Historical Evolution

SIM: Strategic Issues Management Defined

SIM: Stakeholders/Stakeseekers

SIM: Bringing More Than Communication

SIM: Cornerstone of Strategic Business Planning

SIM: Advocacy, Dialogue, and Collaborative Decision Making


SIM Challenge: CSR and Long-Term Planning

Summary Questions

2. Historical Foundations
Vignette: Westinghouse Versus Edison

Chapter Goals

Opinions Shape Operating Environments

Argument Structure in Public Policy Debate

Robber Barons and the Making of Mass Production Society

The Great Depression and the Redemption of Capitalism

Dissent Flowers in the 1960s

The Present and the Future


SIM Challenge: Science or Sham?

Summary Questions

3. Scouting the Terrain
Vignette: The Greening of Nuclear Power

Chapter Goals

Things Go Bump in the Dark

Logics of Issues Monitoring

The Systematic Stages of Issues Monitoring

Creating an Issues Monitoring and Analysis Team

Issue Content: Basis for Issues Analysis


SIM Challenge: NAACP and Issues Monitoring

Summary Questions

4. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Vignette: Wal-Mart’s Makeover?

Chapter Goals

Mutual Interests: The Basis of Corporate Responsibility

Standards of Corporate Responsibility: A Rhetorical Rationale

Changing Organizational Policies: Getting the House in Order

Corporate Responsibility Partnerships: Communicating Ethical Performance


SIM Challenge: Global Warming

Summary Questions

5. Special Interest Activists as Foes or Allies
Vignette: Fast Food--A Lightning Rod for Big Food Protest

Chapter Goals

Moral Outrage

Power Resource Management

Strain: Nexus of Issues, Risk, and Crisis

Stages of Activism

Incremental Erosion

Fostering Mutual Interests Instead of Antagonism


SIM Challenge: Is Clean Energy an Oxymoron?

Summary Questions

6. Issues Communication
Vignettes: Activists Speak With Many Tools

Chapter Goals

The Issue of Issues Communication

Narrative Theory

The Good Organization Communicating Well

Images and Issues: Complements and Counterparts

Framing: Giving Issues Argumentative Context

Media Effects in a Multitiered Society

Communication Technology and Issues Communication

Issues Communication as Argument


SIM Challenge: Voice of a Trade Association

Summary Questions

7. Obligations and Constraints on Issues Communication
Vignette: Corporate Speech--Free, Free for Some, or Not at All?

Chapter Goals

Legislative, Judicial, and Regulatory Constraints on Issues Communication

The Rationale for Organizations Speaking as Citizens

Federal Constraint


SIM Challenge: Looking to the Future

Summary Questions

8. Issues Management and Crisis Communication
Vignette: It Takes Two to Tango

Chapter Goals

Crisis Management: The Search for Control

Prevent a Crisis From Becoming an Issue


SIM Challenge: Can a Crisis Be Prevented From Exploding Into an Issue?

Summary Questions

9. Issues Management and Risk Communication
Vignette: Risk, Risk Everywhere

Chapter Goals

Community Right to Know

The Difficulties of Risk Assessment

Risk Management and Communication Approaches

SIM's Approach to Risk Communication

Risk and Crisis Communication Working Together


SIM Challenge: Reality List

Summary Questions

10. Brand Equity and Organizational Reputation
Vignettes: Proactive Versus Reactive

Chapter Goals

Corporate Branding

Brand Equity: Many Faces and Definitions

Brand Attributes and Attitude Theory

Logics of Brand Equity

Brand Equity and Crisis

Brand Equity and Risk

SIM Challenge: Corporate Responsibility and Long-Term Planning

A Brand Equity Case Study: Coors Boycott in the 1970s

Summary Questions


The way that each chapter is presented in light of an appropriate case study is helpful

The book covers lots of ground and presents ideas from both a business and public policy perspective

Dr Sarah Ayres
School for Policy Studies, Bristol University
May 2, 2012

This text I have recommended for Spring 2011. The major reasons for the recommendation include, the content of the text is latest, the cases are easy to understand, the price of the text is affordable.

Professor Lalith De Silva
Marketing, Otemon Gakuin University, Japan
July 12, 2010

A very good overview on research and practice. The book is relevant for undergraduate students who study public relations.

Dr Andreas Schwarz
Communications , Technical University of Ilmenau
March 12, 2010

Interesting take on the processes involved in Strat decision taking. Useful as a library reference, but a little too specialised to be a core text for my learners.

Mr Nicholas Snowden
Management , Hull College of Further Education
October 29, 2009

Robert L. Heath

Robert L. Heath, professor emeritus of communication at the University of Houston, is an internationally recognized authority on public relations, crisis communication, issues management, risk communication, and business-to-business communication. He has published many award-winning books, including The SAGE Handbook of Public Relations (2010), Handbook of Risk and Crisis Communication (2009), Strategic Issues Management (2nd ed., 2009), Rhetorical and Critical Approaches to Public Relations II (2009), and Terrorism: Communication and Rhetorical Perspectives (2008). Heath has 3 decades' experience in corporate communication and positioning... More About Author

Michael J. Palenchar

Michael J. Palenchar is an assistant professor in public relations at The University of Tennessee’s School of Advertising and Public Relations, College of Communication and Information (Ph. D., University of Florida; M.A., University of Houston). Research interests include risk communication and issues management related to manufacturing, community relations and community awareness of emergency response protocols and manufacturing risks, community right to know issues, crisis communication, front groups and general public relations. He has more than a decade of professional experience working in corporate, non-profit and agency, as well as... More About Author

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