Has the public affairs function significantly changed the way major U.S. corporations meet the growing external challenge to traditional corporate practices? Examining in detail the actions of Exxon (Valdez) and Union Carbide (Bhopal), this paper raises some questions as to whether the difference between public affairs and traditional public relations is a real one or merely a matter of semantics. Then, utilizing an unpublished corporate public affairs survey conducted by Central Michigan University, the writer argues that the problem with the public affairs function lies not with the function itself, but in its implementation by corporations.
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