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Misuse of the term 'stakeholder' in public relations

Mackey, Steve 2006, Misuse of the term 'stakeholder' in public relations, PRism, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 1-15.

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Title Misuse of the term 'stakeholder' in public relations
Author(s) Mackey, Steve
Journal name PRism
Volume number 4
Issue number 1
Start page 1
End page 15
Publisher Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bond University
Place of publication Robina, Qld.
Publication date 2006
ISSN 1448-4404
Summary This article queries the relatively recent adoption of the term 'stakeholder', borrowed from the UK political and the US business management spheres, in public relations academic writing. The article concludes that these spheres use the term in a normative or ideological manner that has worrying implications. The term frames people as having a pre-existing relationship with the governments or business organisations which name them as such. This process of incorporation prejudges and potentially obscures the real relations of groups of people vis-à-vis governments and business organisations which they may wish to have nothing to do with. An argument is mounted for the defence of the term 'publics'. It is pointed out that a key originator of stakeholder theory opposes the notion of 'publics' as closer to a notion of an uncontrolled audience. The article argues that the notion of 'publics' is more fitting than the notion of 'stakeholders' if public relations is about acknowledging this uncontrollability, and to do with advising organisations about their positioning in the democratic milieu. On the other hand, the notion 'stakeholders' may be the right one if public relations is simply aimed at immediately shaping people's behaviour, irrespective of longer term and wider political implications.
Language eng
Field of Research 150502 Marketing Communications
190399 Journalism and Professional Writing not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, The Author
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30003870

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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