Final Text

This is the final text, as agreed at the World Public Relations Forum, Stockholm, June 2010

THE STOCKHOLM ACCORDS

SECTION ONE

The Stockholm Accords[1][2] enhance and affirm the central role of Public Relations and Communication Management in organizational success,

and are a

CALL TO ACTION[3]

for Public Relations Professionals (associations, managers, consultants, educators, researchers and students) to administer its principles on a sustained basis, and to affirm them throughout the profession, as well as to management and other relevant stakeholder groups.

SECTION TWO

The Societal and Organizational Value of Public Relations and Communication Management

Sustainability

The organization’s sustainability relies on balancing today’s demands with the ability to meet future needs based on economic, social and environmental dimensions.

The communicative organization assumes leadership by interpreting sustainability as a transformational opportunity to improve its position within, and contribution to, society by pursuing and constantly reporting on the achievement of its  policies and actions across the economic, social and environmental “triple bottom line”.

Public relations and communication management professionals:

  • Involve and engage key stakeholders in the organization’s sustainability policies and programs.
  • Interpret societal expectations for sound economic, social and environmental commitments that yield a return to the organization and society.
  • Ensure stakeholder participation to identify information that should be regularly, transparently and authentically reported.
  • Promote and support efforts to reach an ongoing integrated reporting of financial, social, economic and environmental.

Governance

Organizations operating under the stakeholder governance model empower their board members, elected officials and non-profit organization leaders, to be directly responsible for deciding and implementing stakeholder relationship policies.

The communicative organization requires timely information, knowledge and understanding of economic, social, environmental and legal developments, as well as of its stakeholders’ expectations. This to promptly  identify and deal with  the opportunities and risks that can impact the organization’s direction, action and communication.

Public relations and communication management professionals:

  • Participate in defining organizational values, principles, strategies, policies and processes.
  • Apply appropriate communication and research skills to interpret stakeholders’ and society’s expectations as a basis for decision making.
  • Deliver timely analysis and recommendations for an effective governance of  stakeholder relationships by enhancing transparency, trustworthy behaviour, authentic and verifiable representation, thus sustaining the organization’s “licence to operate.
  • Create an internal listening culture, an open system that allows the organization to anticipate, adapt and respond.

Management

In today’s accelerating, globally competitive network society, the quality and effectiveness of an organization’s decisions are increasingly determined by the speed of and context within which they implement those decisions.

The communicative organization is managed on the principle that it in the organization’s interest  to be sensitive to the wider expectations of society and to the legitimate claims of all its stakeholders. This task involves complex prioritization,  decision making and requires detailed research and listening before strategic and operational decisions are made.

Public relations and communication management professionals:

  • Inform and shape the organization’s overall two-way communication processes and capabilities;
  • Act as a conduit and interpreter of intelligence about trends and developments in society;
  • Identify and help to solve issues that are generated by changes in society and specifically those that relate to stakeholder relationships and organisational reputation;
  • Communicate the value of the organisations products/services and relationships with stakeholders, thereby creating, consolidating and developing its financial, legal, social and reputational capital.

SECTION THREE

The Operational Value of Public Relations and Communication Management

Internal Communication

Organizational internal communication enhances recruitment, retention, development of common interests, and commitment to organizational goals by an increasingly diverse, extended and segmented set of “internal” publics.

For the communicative organization, internal communication is vital in the development and sustenance of the organization, fostering trust, commitment, purpose and shared goals among all internal stakeholders including all employee tiers, contractors, consultants, suppliers, volunteers and others required to fulfill the organisation’s purpose.

Public relations and communication management professionals seek constant feedback for a mutual understanding of

  • How the internal community comprehends, accepts, communicates and achieves the organization’s strategy.
  • How – and how well — organizational leaders and internal influencers collaborate and communicate with stakeholders.
  • How knowledge and policy are being shared.
  • How processes and structures are identified, developed and enhanced.
  • and, most importantly:
  • How the organization’s reputation depends largely on the actions taken by internal stakeholders.

External Communication

As the expansion of the network society accelerates, organizations must review and adjust their policies, actions and communicative behavior to improve their relationships with increasingly influential stakeholders, as well as with society at large.

The communicative organization develops skills to continually nurture its relationships with customers, investors, communities, governments, active citizen groups, industry alliances, mainstream and digital media and other situational stakeholders.

Public relations and communication management professionals:

  • Bring the organization’s “voice” and interests into stakeholder deliberations and decisions.
  • Assist all organizational functions in crafting and delivering effective communication, fostering understanding and building and sustaining relationships.
  • Contribute to the development and promotion of products, services or processes that strengthen brand loyalty and equity.
  • Advocate for stakeholder groups within the organization and sustain an appropriate dialogue in order to maintain social and reputational capital.

Alignment of Internal and External Communication

Organizational communication today is a complex, multi-dimensional, multi-stakeholder enterprise involving concurrent engagement across diverse value networks and  legal frameworks.

The communicative organization endeavours to share a consistent global story. In doing so, it must balance transparency, finite resources and time sensitive demands against rapid change plus emerging and resolving conflicts of interests within its operational environment.  This necessitates that organizational communication with all stakeholders is coherent , coordinated and aligned with its mission, vision, values, actions and behaviours.

Public relations and communication management professionals:

  • Oversee the development and implementation of internal and external communications to assure open listening, consistency of content and accurate presentation of the organization’s identity.
  • Research, develop, monitor and adjust the organization’s communicative behaviour.
  • Create and nurture a knowledge base that includes social and psychological sciences.
  • Manage and apply research to implement evaluation and measurement programs for continued improvement.

[1] and are, so far, the result of a collaborative effort of more than 1000 leaders of the global public relations profession from 42 countries.

[2] for all underlined words, please refer to the Stockholm Accords Glossary

[3] For directions related to the implementation of the Stockholm Accords, please link to Your Role or to An Example

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