PICKING PUBLICS PROPERLY: AN ARTFUL SCIENCE

Choosing appropriate publics in the life cycle of an issue is a critical component for a successful public involvement program. The research presented provides an exploratory analysis of 15 public involvement experts' experiences, attitudes, and beliefs about this critical process. What factors do experts consider when choosing publics for participation in management decisions? What characteristics of the public and outside influences should be considered? How do experts determine a public's type and level of involvement? How do experts determine what stage an issue reached in its life cycle? Do these concepts, if not addressed properly during the decision process, lead to unsuccessful public participation programs? Four generalizations were developed from this exploratory analysis: (a) experts attempt to be as inclusive as possible when choosing publics based on a public's perceived salience and interest in an issue and group composition; (b) issue development directly affects how experts choose publics for public involvement processes; (c) issue development occurs through various communication methods driven by affected values and beliefs; and (d) improper choices of publics for public involvement processes can lead to failure. A public involvement model is proposed that illustrates the effects of issue development and level of involvement on these processes. Management implications include a necessity to understand how the issue is developing; which underlying affected values and beliefs are driving current communication activities; and the various publics' perspectives regarding their level of involvement and preferred participation level.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 92-99
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00799011
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309066832
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Sep 26 2000 12:00AM