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Strategic Issues Management

Strategic Issues Management
Organizations and Public Policy Challenges

Second Edition

September 2008 | 424 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Strategic Issues Management explores the strategic planning options that organizations can employ to address crucial public policy issues, engage in collaborative decision making, get the organization's "house" in order, engage in tough defense and smart offense, and monitor opinion changes that affect public policy. In this fully updated Second Edition, authors Robert L. Heath and Michael J. Palenchar offer practical, actionable guidance that readers can apply to organizations from large Fortune 500 companies to nongovernmental organizations and start-up high tech companies.


  • Includes a NEW chapter on brand equity, updated examples, theories and cases throughout, new information on activists and activism, and increased attention to the role that technology plays in issues management
  • Explores ways public relations, risk communication, and crisis communication can be used to address crucial public policy options
  • Advises managers on ways to lessen the chance of a crisis becoming an issue through an examination of crisis preparation and responses
  • Addresses the topic of reputation management by exploring the connection between issues management and brand equity using examples from McDonald's and Wal-Mart
  • Challenges managers to engage in collaborative decision making with community leaders and residents to reduce the chance that undue fear will translate into unnecessary regulation or legislation
  • Opens each chapter with case study vignettes and closes with summary questions and issues management challenges

Strategic Issues Management is appropriate for courses in Corporate/Strategic Communications, Public Relations Management, Crisis/Risk Communication, Strategic Management, Public Relations Management, Organizational Communication, and Public Policy and Administration.

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
Key features

New to this edition:

  • NEW chapter exploring the connection between issues management and brand equity (using examples from McDonald's and Walmart to address the topic of reputation management)
  • Stronger focus on the FTC in Chapter 7: Legislative, Judicial, and Regulatory Constraints on Issue Communication with a discussion of the legal case Kasy vs. Nike to illustrate key concepts
  • New information on activists and activism, including strategies such as conflict management and collaborative decision-making
  • Increased attention to the role that technology plays in issues management
  • Updated examples and theories throughout

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