The next new thing

30 Mar

Is it an art or a science? Can it be measured? Has it achieved professional status? Can you learn it?

These questions do apply to public relations, but they equally apply to management since the study of public relations belongs in the same area of enquiry. For this reason, I hugely enjoyed Stefan Stern’s mischievous review of management fads in the current issue of Management Today.

Public relations has its excellence theory (James Grunig in place of Tom Peters); it’s been gripped by millennial visions of technological transformation; CSR is the three letter acronym (TLA) of our day. Nice is the new nasty.

And today? [writes Stern] I sense another shifting of the balance of power between the cold steel of execution and the warm fluff of Web 2.0. Suddenly, it seems acceptable again to acknowledge the human factor in business. Niceness is back in vogue, at least for some of the time. People are talking about strategy not just in visionary terms but also in emotional ones. In the era of globalisation, corporate social responsibility (another dreaded TLA) is maturing and growing into something more serious and substantial. And behind all this, the big Green question of sustainability looms large.

One Response to “The next new thing”

  1. Heather Yaxley 31/03/2007 at 6:41 pm #

    I asked a friend of mine who has worked in academia in environmental issues for 25+ years what he felt would happen when/if the media and management move onto the next big thing (NBT?) He felt environmentalism would become more of a mainstream aspect of business.
    We also discussed how instead of being pleased that your issue is now accepted, it is annoying that it has become “hot” and people jump on the bandwagon becoming instant experts (eg Al Gore) and ignoring all those who have gone before. A bit like all those working in schools affected by the Jamie Oliver effect.
    Do you feel good because your issue is now taken seriously, frustrated that it takes a “celebrity” to achieve public/media recognition or concern that it is a fad and no real remedies will result?

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