Engagement as communication pathways, possibilities, and future directions

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The Handbook of Communication Engagement, 2018, pp. 1-15
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The term “engagement” has been used to describe just about every type of interaction yet theoretically, engagement remains undeveloped. Embedded within the discourse of many disciplines and practices, the enduring use and interest in engagement signifies its importance. This chapter introduces the Handbook and overviews the beginning of a unified conceptualization of engagement as communication and provides a contemporary consideration of engagement in all its forms, functions, and frameworks across communication disciplines. It is through engagement that organizations and publics can make decisions that contribute to interpersonal, organizational, community, and civic social capital. Engagement will continue to evolve and be influenced by diverse contexts such as culture, technology and world events, and public expectations. Through its evolution, engagement offers a relevant, conceptual, and applied framework to understand and respond in meaningful ways to real-world problems. This chapter provides the conceptual foundation for the Handbook of Communication Engagement by introducing engagement theory and research to advance current thinking in engagement theory, strategy, and practice.
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