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Corporate Public Affairs

Organizations, like people, make mistakes—these mistakes can be simple errors, arising from deliberate choices or from actions taken by the organization. They can be unanticipated or the results of poor ethical decisions and actions. Enron Corporation is an example of an organization making poor ethical and moral choices. BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 is an example of a series of poor decisions with enormous consequences. How do organizations deal with these situations? They have two structural alternatives—(1) public relations and (2) public affairs. Public relations, in general and most broadly, is that arm of the organization that attempts to put the best face on the firm’s actions, often after a situation has unfolded. Public affairs is that ...

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