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Beyond ‘The evolving discipline of public affairs’


Jean J. Boddewyn, Emeritus Professor of Marketing and International Business, Baruch College, City University of New York, 17 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010, USA.



There is much to commend about the article ‘The Evolving Discipline of Public Affairs’, but there is always room for expansion and elaboration. This article (i) associates the public affairs (PA) function with the management of firm relationships with the institutions and organizations—at once, political, social, and cultural—operating in the nonmarket environment; (ii) gives a special meaning to the concept of political behavior in terms of force and intimidation; (iii) analyzes the multiple ‘currencies’ used in PA activity; (iv) identifies the different ‘ordering systems’ that rule relationships in developed and developing countries and that can help us avoid a ‘Western’ perspective on PA; (v) associates the social responsibility element of the PA function with the unique role of business in fulfilling the ‘producer-interest role’ in society; and (vi) draws attention to various research topics so far overlooked in PA research. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.