Dialogic Communication Theory in the Age of Corporate Activism: A Postmodern Perspective

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Dennis L. Wilcox

Abstract

Dialogic Communication Theory, in the past 20 years, has become a touchstone for the use of digital communication in the fields of public relations and marketing. It’s based on the premise that organizations engage individuals in a dialogue that would be mutually beneficial and lead to consensus building. Today, however, some researchers are disrupting the theory by theorizing that corporations are also using social media to enunciate their core values and encourage public discussion, not necessarily consensus. Numerous consumer surveys show that an organization’s customers are increasingly expecting corporations to express their views and based on that view, decide to purchase a product or increase their brand loyalty. A corporate stance on current social and political issues, however, has risks. Consumers who agree with the stance may boost the corporate reputation and sales, but those who disagree may reduce their purchases or even boycott the organization. This poses challenges for chief communication officers (CCOs) and chief marketing officers (CMOs). to help Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)determine what issues are relevant to the corporation/s core values and how to best convey the corporation’s viewpoint in the marketplace of public opinion.

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References

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