The purpose of this paper is to assess the work of Howard Chase within the history of public relations, his role in the birth and development of issue management, and his relevance for contemporary practice.
Research for this paper draws heavily on the speeches and writings of Chase himself, both before and after the formal establishment of issue management, as well as commentary from key writers.
While Chase is widely acknowledged as the founder of issue management in 1976, his writings reveal that he saw this “new science” as only one part of a much broader restructuring of management design in which he positioned public policy and profit as corporate objectives of equal importance. Analysis confirms his work was innovative and of historical significance, but it has been increasingly outdated by evolution of the discipline he created.
Despite Chase's pioneering role, modern writing in the field usually cites little more than his definitions and his process model. This paper revisits his original concepts in their contemporary context, providing a fresh framework against which to properly assess his contribution.
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