Empowerment of the Public
The essence of the Excellence theory is that effective communication helps manage an organization's interdependencies with its strategic constituencies— the publics that either support or constrain organizations through their activism, litigation, or pressuring for government regulation. This chapter explores in depth several aspects of this notion, especially the role of public relations in strategic management. To be involved in strategic management, public relations must be represented among the organization's top-level decision makers. Thus we analyze the role of public relations in the dominant coalition. As a part of that analysis, we depict the typical relationships between heads of public relations and their counterparts in other functional areas. We also differentiate between the typical reporting relationship and the ideal connection between the communication manager and his or her CEO.
Central to this chapter is the question of how the public relations function and individual practitioners become empowered to play this senior role. To answer, we delve into the history of excellent programs included in our survey of 25 cases. We also offer a prognosis for the women who increasingly are attracted to this career field. Empowerment of women in public relations may predict the centrality or the marginalization of the function for everyone in future.
More specifically, we are interested in perceptions of chief executive officers, in large part because of their role as cultural leaders within the organization and also because the power-control perspective suggests that members of the domi-