Special Issue Article

Negotiation and Conflict Management: Two Valuable Tools in the Public Relations Toolbox



This introductory essay summarizes my research and theorizing over more than 50 years about the nature of public relations, how and why it is practiced in different ways, and how it can be practiced most effectively and ethically. I have concluded that public relations will be most ethical and have the most value for publics, organizations, and society when the function is involved in the strategic management processes of organizations and is practiced with a symmetrical approach rather than a purely asymmetrical approach. Some scholars have criticized this approach, and I discuss and respond to their critiques. The essay also addresses the role of negotiation and conflict management in public relations and explains how public relations can help manage organization-public conflict by steering organizations toward a symmetrical resolution of conflicts and away from the conflicts that eventually occur when organizations engage in one-way, asymmetrical, and unethical communication strategies.

Keywords: symmetrical public relations, strategic decision-making, communication behavior of organizations, ethical public relations, behavior of publics, conflict management

How to Cite: Grunig, J. (2022) “Negotiation and Conflict Management: Two Valuable Tools in the Public Relations Toolbox”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research. 15(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.34891/20220215-542