This paper seeks to analyse the nature of the communication process involving stakeholders in a working relationship with organisations. While most research has been undertaken to identify who or what these stakeholders are and what the patterns of relationships look like, very little attention has been given to the ways in which the organisation actually engages with them.
The paper draws on qualitative research conducted into a controversial issue concerning protected area management in Victoria, Australia, which was conducted within a framework built around Habermas' concept of communicative action.
The lessons learned from what Stake would call an “instrumental” case study, provided the insight to clarify what form organisational communication with stakeholders should take if it is to result in significant and positive outcomes. It is argued that the basis of any constructive engagement between an organisation and its stakeholders should be communication that is linked to mutual understanding as the basis of agreeable action. Finally the challenges of these findings for modern organisations are addressed.
This paper provides useful information on the nature of the communication process involving stakeholders in a working relationship with organisations.
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