Illuminating and addressing two ‘black holes’ in public communication

Publication Type:
Journal Article
PRism Online Journal, 2016, 13 (1), pp. 1 - 15
Issue Date:
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A critical literature review followed by a two-year, three-country study of the public communication of 36 government, corporate, and non-government organisations in the UK, US, and Australia identified what this analysis calls two ‘black holes’ in public communication, as they lack illumination and can cause the implosion of organisation-public relationships. This study, which included in-depth interviews, document analysis, and field experiments, identifies this ‘dark matter’ in the organisation-public communication universe as (1) a lack of listening by organisations and (2) a narrow organisation-centric approach to strategy that focusses on serving the interests of organisations. This analysis proposes that organisations need to counter-balance the ‘architecture of speaking’ that characterises strategic communication today with an architecture of listening, which in turn will contribute to participatory, networked, or emergent strategy that realises the normative theories of two-way communication, dialogue, and engagement and which can provide tangible benefits to organisations and their stakeholders and publics.
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