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Public Relations Inquiry

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Public relations has long been preoccupied with the notion of dialogue, and the advent of social media ushered in new enthusiasm. Still, despite the technology on offer and the fact that dialogue has become a value that ‘everyone’ embraces, most research concludes that little actual dialogue takes place between corporations and their stakeholders. Scholars have pointed to a host of different factors to explain this, ranging from practitioners’ lack of time to their lack of understanding of what dialogue is. This article discusses perspectives on corporate dialogue with a focus on the constraints identified in the literature, before presenting the main argument that not enough attention has been paid to the macro limits at the systemic level. The article issues a call to locate dialogue attempts within a system where a limited economic rationality reigns, which, in turn, constrains what individual practitioners can achieve.


This is a pre-print version of this article. The version of record is available at SAGE Publications.

NOTE: this version of the article may not reflect the changes made in the final, peer-reviewed version.