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Title: Advancing strategic thinking on the positioning of organisational relationships
Author: Koper, Eric
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 6352
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis introduces new theoretical models and concepts in support of strategic thinking about the dynamics and complexities of organisational relationship positioning that could improve public relations education and professional development linked to strategic management careers in international organisations. An exploration of public relations in the United Kingdom and Nigeria illustrates that there is a significant practice mainly concerned with communication that develops strategies and tactics in support of already established strategic organisational goals. Progress with professionalisation of the practice also shows an increasing need and want to operate at senior management levels, although it questions if the academic preparation to do so is adequate. Advances in communication technology and education approaches provide opportunities to better understand complex networks and relationships. The emphasis in this thesis is on strategic planning. Most frequently used tools and approaches are briefly discussed. They are mainly descriptive and often provide snapshots of current situations that can help with formulating a future desired situation. Most of these tools and approaches expand the brainstorming horizon providing opportunities for vertical (deeper) and horizontal (broader) thinking about organisational relationships. This thesis introduces additional models, namely the revised public relations catalyst model and the public relations lava lamp model, and concepts such as organisational personality that could be used to further the strategic thinking about the dynamics of such relationships. The new insights and perspectives on strategic planning presented here stem from qualitative explorative research based on observations and interpretations from applying strategic thinking exercises in seminars at the University of Central Lancashire, and from action research approaches by leading strategic planning and organisational change activities at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) which involved in-depth interviews, workgroup sessions and online questionnaires. Positioning of organisational relationships is an increasingly important function of strategic management in international organisations such as IITA. This is driven by pressure for more engagement, transparency and accountability by public investors and partners related to providing the essential resource base in terms of finance and implementation capacity essential for the organisation’s existence. Improving strategic planning competences relating organisational relationships not only provides opportunities for public relations practitioners to be part of senior management but also is essential for an organisation’s continuity and relevance. It was found that strategic thinking improves by stimulating both vertical and horizontal thinking about initial surface problems. Problem based learning approaches in public relations education should be considered as they can help prepare future practitioners to improve their strategic planning competences. Advances in communication technology have the potential to maintain and improve organisational relationships far beyond current organisational network boundaries and creates opportunities for advancing strategic thinking and planning. Logical framework planning and other problem-based tools can help to identify solutions for a central problem. However, they require the facilitation of planning teams with different personalities that are encouraged to think deeper and wider to ensure that alternative solutions are considered and that enough cause-effect relationships are established for strategic interventions to be successful. The use of the lava lamp metaphor also stimulates strategic thinking about the dynamics of organisational relationships aided by different perspectives that stimulate vertical and horizontal thinking. The concept of organisational personality has potential to identify which organisations would be potential collaborators in finding better solutions and help to understand potential relationship issues better.
Supervisor: Haynes, Richard; Izod, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Strategic thinking ; Public Relations ; Organisational Relationships ; Models ; Communications and culture ; Communication in management