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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1999

Ian Somerville

This article offers an introduction to a theoretical approach which has recently begun to be used by organisational theorists to explain the distribution and exercise of…

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2381

Abstract

This article offers an introduction to a theoretical approach which has recently begun to be used by organisational theorists to explain the distribution and exercise of power between organisations and entities within particular spheres, or “networks”. This approach, which has been labelled “actor‐network” theory, argues that focusing on questions of “identity”, particularly questions of self‐identity, depends upon accepting and reproducing a “modern” set of presuppositions. These modern presuppositions are concerned primarily with the creation of stable boundaries and hierarchies, between subject and object, and between self and other. Actor‐network theory proposes that the notion of “agency” offers an alternative “amodern” perspective from which to explore how entities, or actors, influence other actors through the process of translation. Concludes that actor‐network theory, as a meta‐theoretical position and as a methodological approach offers an alternative to existing public relations theory which cannot easily be ignored.

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Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

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Book part
Publication date: 18 July 2013

Christine S. Bruce, Mary M. Somerville, Ian Stoodley and Helen Partridge

This article uses the idea of informed learning, an interpretation of information literacy that focuses on people’s information experiences rather than their skills or…

Abstract

This article uses the idea of informed learning, an interpretation of information literacy that focuses on people’s information experiences rather than their skills or attributes, to analyse the character of using information to learn in diverse communities and settings, including digital, faith, indigenous and ethnic communities. While researchers of information behaviour or information seeking and use have investigated people’s information worlds in diverse contexts, this work is still at its earliest stages in the information literacy domain. To date, information literacy research has largely occurred in what might be considered mainstream educational and workplace contexts, with some emerging work in community settings. These have been mostly in academic libraries, schools and government workplaces. What does information literacy look like beyond these environments? How might we understand the experience of effective information use in a range of community settings, from the perspective of empirical research and other sources? The article concludes by commenting on the significance of diversifying the range of information experience contexts, for information literacy research and professional practice.

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Developing People’s Information Capabilities: Fostering Information Literacy in Educational, Workplace and Community Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-766-5

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Book part
Publication date: 12 August 2014

Christine Bruce, Mary M. Somerville, Ian Stoodley and Helen Partridge

This chapter uses the idea of informed learning, an interpretation of information literacy that focuses on people’s information experiences rather than their skills or…

Abstract

This chapter uses the idea of informed learning, an interpretation of information literacy that focuses on people’s information experiences rather than their skills or attributes, to analyse the character of using information to learn in diverse communities and settings, including digital, faith, indigenous and ethnic communities. While researchers of information behaviour or information seeking and use have investigated people’s information worlds in diverse contexts, this work is still at its earliest stages in the information literacy domain. To date, information literacy research has largely occurred in what might be considered mainstream educational and workplace contexts, with some emerging work in community settings. These have been mostly in academic libraries, schools and government workplaces. What does information literacy look like beyond these environments? How might we understand the experience of effective information use in a range of community settings, from the perspective of empirical research and other sources? The chapter concludes by commenting on the significance of diversifying the range of information experience contexts, for information literacy research and professional practice.

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Information Experience: Approaches to Theory and Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-815-0

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Book part
Publication date: 12 August 2014

Christine Bruce, Kate Davis, Hilary Hughes, Helen Partridge and Ian Stoodley

The purpose of this book is to open a conversation on the idea of information experience, which we understand to be a complex, multidimensional engagement with…

Abstract

The purpose of this book is to open a conversation on the idea of information experience, which we understand to be a complex, multidimensional engagement with information. In developing the book we invited colleagues to propose a chapter on any aspect of information experience, for example conceptual, methodological or empirical. We invited them to express their interpretation of information experience, to contribute to the development of this concept. The book has thus become a vehicle for interested researchers and practitioners to explore their thinking around information experience, including relationships between information experience, learning experience, user experience and similar constructs. It represents a collective awareness of information experience in contemporary research and practice. Through this sharing of multiple perspectives, our insights into possible ways of interpreting information experience, and its relationship to other concepts in information research and practice, is enhanced. In this chapter, we introduce the idea of information experience. We also outline the book and its chapters, and bring together some emerging alternative views and approaches to this important idea.

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Information Experience: Approaches to Theory and Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-815-0

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Article
Publication date: 2 August 2011

Ian Somerville and Andy Purcell

The purpose of this paper is to examine the public relations strategies of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) and their political wing Sinn Féin, throughout the historical…

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1994

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the public relations strategies of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) and their political wing Sinn Féin, throughout the historical period known as the Northern Ireland “Troubles”.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses semi‐structured élite interviews as its primary data. The study structures a historical account of the development of republican public relations around three main phases: the “propaganda of the deed” phase; the development of political public relations phase; and the peace process phase.

Findings

Much previous research traces a common trajectory for terrorist organisations, where they begin with large‐scale “propaganda of the deed” activities, and then move toward more typical PR activities when their “message” begins to be heard. The findings suggest that this is only partially true for the republican movement. Previous research also claims that peace settlements virtually never acknowledge the demands of terrorist groups. However, the findings indicate that the republican movement, via the use of skilful public relations techniques and disciplined internal organisational communication, pushed itself to the forefront and remained central in the efforts to develop a peace process.

Research limitations/implications

The study draws on interview data with a small group (six) of republican strategists, all of whom where involved in some capacity in public relations activities. While it is not claimed that they represent the views of the whole republican movement on the issues discussed, they do arguably represent the views of a “dominant coalition”. Future research could usefully investigate the public relations of power sharing since the Good Friday Agreement.

Originality/value

Previous approaches to analysing the subject of public relations and terrorism have tended to regard it as an activity engaged in by psychopaths or criminals. This paper's starting‐point is to problematise this definition of “terrorism” and at the same time widen the application of the term to include State actors. In this regard, it is in opposition to much current Western media, governmental and academic usage of the term. This research also differs from most other studies of terrorism in the public relations literature, in that it uses élite interviews as its primary source of data.

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Journal of Communication Management, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Article
Publication date: 31 July 2007

Ian Somerville, Emma Wood and Mark Gillham

The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss the results of research conducted among Scottish communication professionals, which investigated their perception of…

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1936

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss the results of research conducted among Scottish communication professionals, which investigated their perception of and attitudes toward recent trends and future developments with respect to the free organisational publication.

Design/methodology/approach

The mainly qualitative data presented in this paper were gathered using an in‐depth self‐completion questionnaire.

Findings

The paper finds that first, there have been significant changes in purpose, content, design and distribution of free organisational publications in recent years, but for the foreseeable future communication professionals envisage important roles for both print and electronic organisational publications. Second, practitioners tend to adopt the rhetoric and language of “technological determinism” when discussing new media technologies. That is, they tend to see themselves as relatively powerless in the face of “technological advances” and see their role as simply adopting what is given to them. This article argues that viewing the technology/society relationship from a more “social shaping” perspective will allow practitioners to utilise new media technologies in ways which will benefit them and their stakeholders.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides a more complete picture of the “value” of free organisational publications. Future research must necessarily investigate the viewpoint of the audiences.

Practical implications

The paper draws lessons for practitioners on how best to employ print and electronic publications and how they should respond to current claims made about new media technologies.

Originality/value

This paper investigates what is, in many ways, a quite different new media environment from that analysed by previously published UK research in this area. This study also theorises practitioner discourses in a more comprehensive way than many earlier studies by examining them in the context of the theoretical debates surrounding the relationship between technology and society.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2003

Alan Smith

The last decade, and particularly the last few years, have witnessed a remarkable transformation in the construction industry. Today, this industry is one of the most…

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1097

Abstract

The last decade, and particularly the last few years, have witnessed a remarkable transformation in the construction industry. Today, this industry is one of the most dynamic, innovative and technically advanced of any sector in the UK’s economy. Unfortunately, the industry’s image and its reputation lag a long way behind its true picture. Further aggravated by the lack of a cohesive, coordinated, all‐encompassing body to bring this very disparate industry together, little has been done to address the gap between the exciting reality and the depressing perception of construction among the public. Fundamental issues such as skills shortages and a dramatic fall in students entering the construction professions are a real threat to the sustainability of an industry so critical to delivering the ongoing development of the country’s built environment. Nevertheless, the profound changes that have revolutionised the industry have, at the same time, demanded and even necessitated, an equally dramatic change in its approach to community relations. Of all the elements that comprise the corporate social responsibility concept that is being embraced by all businesses today, it is the success or failure of its community relations activities that will determine the outcome of several issues currently confronting the construction industry. This paper examines how the industry’s structural changes have impacted on the industry’s community relations and how, given the new importance of community, the industry is responding to the challenge of nurturing good relations with its public audience at site and project level. Guidance and guidelines are given for implementing a practical “best practice” community relations programme at this local level of construction operations.

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Book part
Publication date: 1 September 2014

Mark Hepworth and Geoff Walton

This chapter gives a general overview of the book, indicates the rich diversity of information literacy (IL) and information behaviour (IB) work carried out and is…

Abstract

This chapter gives a general overview of the book, indicates the rich diversity of information literacy (IL) and information behaviour (IB) work carried out and is organised into four broad areas moving from the strategic to the highly contextualised. The four areas are specifically: strategic view; delivering information literacy education; the link between university and work; beyond higher education. The approach for each chapter is summarised. This chapter also examines the inter-related nature of the concepts of information literacy and information behaviour. It shows how these ideas are contextualised, theorised and researched. The authors argue that far from being conflicting approaches to the same problem of information capability, they are, in fact, complementary. Though these are epistemologically different both have much to offer in terms of explanation and also as tools for fostering information capability. The history of information literacy and information behaviour is overviewed and their inter-relation explored. It is argued that information literacy can be viewed as the practitioners’ model for delivering information capability whilst information behaviour, being more research focussed, explains it. A diagram is presented at the end of the chapter which helps to highlight and summarise the distinctions and similarities between IB and IL research.

Details

Developing People’s Information Capabilities: Fostering Information Literacy in Educational, Workplace and Community Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-766-5

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 2 August 2011

Tom Watson

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1320

Abstract

Details

Journal of Communication Management, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Book part
Publication date: 12 August 2014

Abstract

Details

Information Experience: Approaches to Theory and Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-815-0

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