Promotion, monitoring and strategic advice: professional communication in Australian local government.

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Abstract

This survey study presents new knowledgeabout the identity and practices ofcommunicators (n=330) in Australian localgovernment (LGOV), a growing but underresearchedarea of communicationspecialisation. Respondents reported a strongsense that the intentions of theircommunication included making theirorganisations more accountable andparticipatory, and helping them achieve theirmission with and on behalf of communities.The study found similarities with previousstudies of communicators in US governmentand mainstream public relations. Activitieswere generally similar to, but less mediaorientedthan, US city and county governmentcommunicators (Horsley, Liu & Levenshus,2010). When compared with de Bussy andWolf's (2009) Australian public relationssample, LGOV communicators appearedmore focused on internal communication,while the gender balance was the same(females outnumbered males by four-to-one).Two-thirds of LGOV communicators providedstrategic advice daily or weekly to topmanagers, but only a minority consideredthemselves to be top management (McDonaldand Hebbani, 2011). Although gender did notinfluence the nature of work, males weremore often in the highest salary brackets, andmore males considered themselves to be partof the top management team. The findingshere indicate that Australian LGOVcommunicators are multi-skilled, strategicand technically oriented, and make a range ofvery important contributions to effectivegovernment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalPrism
Volume9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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