2013: Volume 6, Issue 2, pp. 81-98

Les relationnistes peuvent-ils devenir des facilitateurs et les publics se transformer en parties prenantes?

Martin David-Blais et François Miville-Deschênes



In this paper, we discuss changes concerning the way of practicing Public Relations (PR). We build on Matthieu Sauvé’s (2010) critical perspective approach, which invites the PR practitioners to stop working on behalf, and as representatives of organizations and to stand between them and their stakeholders. PR should detain an intermediary position and its role should evolve from representation to facilitation. In many ways, this proposition radicalizes the ideas of “Two-Way Symmetric” (Grunig & Hunt) and of “stakeholders” (Freeman). Our discussion questions the feasibility of this option and, more precisely, the highly constrictive conditions it implies. First, we discuss the notion of stakeholder and the broad meaning Sauvé gives to it. Second, we discuss the adhesion of PR practitioners to this project. There are several reasons to doubt that practitioners, as a professional entity, will accept to transform their practice and to position themselves not only as facilitators but also as agents for radical social change. Finally, we address the organizations’ reaction and question the possibility of their acquiescence regarding the consequences of this new role for PR if implemented.


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