Research Handbook on Public Affairs


Research Handbook on Public Affairs

Connecting Evidence and Strategy

9781803920276 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Arco Timmermans, Leiden University, the Netherlands
Publication Date: 2024 ISBN: 978 1 80392 027 6 Extent: 416 pp
In this innovative Research Handbook, Arco Timmermans brings together a diverse range of experts to scrutinise the current field of public affairs, what can be learned from it and its compatibility with democracy and open society. Through this multidisciplinary focus on knowledge and competencies, the Research Handbook aims to closely connect the spheres of research and practice within public affairs.

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In this innovative Research Handbook, Arco Timmermans brings together a diverse range of experts to scrutinise the current field of public affairs, what can be learned from it and its compatibility with democracy and open society. Through this multidisciplinary focus, the Research Handbook aims to closely connect the spheres of research and practice within public affairs.

Chapters map out the roots and foundations of public affairs, including its status as a discipline and profession, and dissect perspectives on its context, from direct organisational settings to the wider environment. Contributors analyse research for the evidence basis of public affairs, competencies in the field, and the role of ethics, especially in the relationship between lobbying and public interest. Ultimately, this Research Handbook assesses the current landscape as well as proposing future perspectives in an area where attention to further development is crucial.

Providing a nuanced exploration of an expanding field of research and practice, this Research Handbook will prove a vital reference point to scholars and students of public affairs, political science, communication, management science, public administration, and regional government. Its practical applications will also make it relevant to public affairs practitioners, as well as journalists and media professionals looking to build their knowledge of the field.
Critical Acclaim
‘This Handbook is essential reading and a guidebook for the modern senior executive or company chairperson, politician, practitioner or observer on the dynamic and multi-cultural world of modern international strategic public affairs. The work reflects a lovely, robust, and vibrant collection of chapters on the best of public affairs analysis, strategy and management. Professor Arco Timmermans and his international group of authors and researchers have put together some of the best thinking on modern public affairs and making it available to the strategic practitioner and thinker, policy maker, and researcher in the field. It reads exceptionally well and cogently, is comprehensive and will stimulate better and responsible strategy development. It is over a quarter of a century ago since a group of pioneers started teaching, researching, and writing in the public affairs area. This Handbook is a must read for everyone who wants to understand public affairs and apply the knowledge produced for responsibly influencing policy making and managing reputation in the next decade.’
– Phil Harris, University of Chester, UK

‘As a Public Affairs professional, it was a joy to read the chapters of this Research Handbook written by scholars who understand the practice of public affairs. This thoroughly up-to-date work builds on 40 years of research and settles the question of whether public affairs is a profession. It is indeed a profession and an essential organizational function in a world of increasing “velocity of information” and ''intensifying volatility of positions and preferences.'' Familiar topics are treated with a fresh look and a view to the future. A chapter on reimagining the corporate affairs function describes what remains the same and what new skillsets are needed to meet the challenges of the future. The chapter on issues management offers a new model for this workhorse of public affairs by revising it to incorporate ethical values and analysis in the development, implementation, and evaluation process. There is much in this Research Handbook that invites more research, but as the editor argues, it must take place in dialogue with practitioners in whose daily experience this profession continues to evolve. Moreover, scholars and practitioners should work together to persuade academic institutions to include it as a formal course of study in higher education. How we are able to navigate through an increasingly risky world may well depend on the quality of our public affairs professionals and the organizations who rely on them. This Handbook moves us in the right direction.’
– Fruzsina Harsanyi, Public Affairs Counselor, Chevy Chase MD, US

‘What is “public affairs?” How has the field of public affairs evolved since its inception? How is the art of public affairs practiced in the real world? What have academics learned about what separates effective practitioners from feckless ones? And finally, how are public affairs professionals assessed and evaluated by those who employ them? This superb volume, which features chapters by many of the world’s leading lobbying and public affairs experts, addresses these and many other novel and important questions about public affairs. It should be of great interest to scholars and practitioners alike and is a crucial addition to the public affairs canon.’
– Anthony J. Nownes, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, US

‘In a time when the publicization of lobbying and advocacy is on the rise, this book equips us with a compass to navigate these complex waters. This book is a must-read for professionals in public affairs and academics alike. It not only sheds light on the current state of the field but also presents a compelling vision for its future, one where the gap between academic research and practical application is effectively bridged.’
– Laura Chaquès Bonafont, University of Barcelona, Spain

‘This book is a further step in building the much needed, but badly neglected, bridge between the theory and practice of public affairs. It provides an up to date and comprehensive coverage of the major areas of the emerging function that has become integral to the performance of organisations in an increasingly challenging socio-political environment. With contributions from both scholars and practitioners, it will be of value to executives from business, government and the not-for-profit sectors as well as to scholars and students in the field.’
– Geoff Allen AM, Australian Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, Australia

‘A common stereotype is that public affairs practitioners tend to dismiss academics as esoteric, who in turn say that practitioners rely mostly on instincts. This book unpends that notion: Timmermans and other known experts artfully reframe the connection between research and practice, casting into sharp relief emerging points of fusion between the two spheres. This book makes a relevant and substantive contribution at a time where issues crest to a global tipping point: the stunning sweep of AI, the collective clamor for increased transparency and higher ethical standards, and the unyielding demand for good governance pose new challenges to old public affairs paradigms. Timmermans and other experts tackle these challenges head on, making an ironclad case that researchers can shape relevant frameworks which engineer real-time campaign success. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the now and future of global public affairs.’
– Jennifer Smits Kilgus, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands

‘Public affairs, and particularly lobbying, is still surrounded by images of mystery. This is harmful for the profession, and it is the profession itself that can improve reputation and elevate the field to more public recognition. With a more open approach to ways of influencing, goals and ethical principles and norms, public affairs can become a more socially responsible field of practice. One way to stimulate this is by bringing together scholars and practitioners to reflect on the ways and means of influencing public policy and making systematic learning more rewarding. This new Handbook written by an impressive group of scholars and practitioners addresses key topics and adds much to learning, both by students and practitioners in the field. Rather than a “how to do”-book, it is a book about ‘how to think and look’ and presents critical yet constructive perspectives on public affairs. It helps unveiling the mystery of lobbying.’
– Robbert Coops, Independent Public Affairs Consultant, the Netherlands

Contributors: Anil Yasin Ar, Joost Berkhout, Patrick Bernhagen, Paul Beijer, Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz, Alberto Bitonti, Shannon A. Bowen, Ana Cláudia Niehardt Capella, Marialessandra Carro, Claudio Di Mario, Craig S. Fleisher, Jennifer J. Griffin, John Hogan, Øyvind Ihlen, Karel Joos, Wiebke Marie Junk, Direnç Kanol, Alessandro Lovari, Christiaan Luca, Danny Moss, Helene Helboe Pedersen, Douglas G. Pinkham, Ketil Raknes, Paul Shotton, Arco Timmermans, Erik van Venetië, Marjolijn Vencken, Jean-Patrick Villeneuve, Jason Voiovich

Preface and acknowledgments xvii
Introduction: the case for connecting research and practice in public affairs 1
Arco Timmermans
1 The analytical and normative basis of public affairs 9
Arco Timmermans
2 Managing and practicing public affairs around the globe 24
Craig S. Fleisher
3 The emergence of public affairs and prospects for its existence as
a discipline in research and education 39
Danny Moss
4 The public affairs profession reinvents itself—again 50
Douglas G. Pinkham
5 Organizational settings and corporate affairs: building trust for thriving
in a polarized world 67
Jennifer J. Griffin
6 The political system and cultural conditions: a comparative perspective 85
Direnç Kanol
7 Population ecology of actors in public affairs: types of interests and
policy domains 99
Joost Berkhout
8 The rise of challengers in the arenas of lobbying and advocacy 116
Erik van Venetië and Arco Timmermans
9 Corporate social responsibility and management of reputation: a close
look at enterprise‒public relationships 131
Anil Yasin Ar
10 The dynamics of issues and agenda denial 147
Ana Cláudia Niedhardt Capella
11 Analyzing frames in public and media venues 163
Ketil Raknes and Øyvind Ihlen
12 Coalitions in public affairs 177
Wiebke Marie Junk
13 Routes of access and influence 192
Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz and Helene Helboe Pedersen
14 Measuring the effectiveness of lobbying 206
Patrick Bernhagen
15 The nature of competencies: towards a multidimensional competency
framework for public affairs 222
Paul Shotton and Arco Timmermans
16 Knowledge management and digital tools for lobbying and public affairs 240
Marialessandra Carro, Claudio Di Mario and Alberto Bitonti
17 Real or robot? Risks and benefits of Generative Artificial Intelligence:
a practical guide for public affairs 256
Jason Voiovich
18 A game of plots: storytelling, narrative competition, and stakeholder
characterization in public affairs 269
Karel Joos
19 Issues management: a new model for a key function in public affairs 282
Shannon A. Bowen, Alessandro Lovari and Arco Timmermans
20 Ethical competencies and analysis in an age of socially and digitally
influenced public affairs 299
Shannon A. Bowen and Alessandro Lovari
21 Public accountability of lobbying in democracies 314
Alberto Bitonti and Jean-Patrick Villeneuve
22 Enhancing the relationship between business and society: a public
affairs maturity model 328
Christiaan Luca, Marjolijn Vencken and Paul Beijer
23 Regulation of lobbying: comparative state of the art and developments 344
John Hogan and Alberto Bitonti
24 A behavioral perspective on the receiving end in public affairs:
a taxonomy of responses 359
Arco Timmermans and Erik van Venetië
Conclusion: the future of public affairs research and education 376
Arco Timmermans
Index 381
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