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Public relations and marketing: a framework for stakeholder management in the Life Healthcare Group of hospitals - Eastern region
Van Oudenhove de St Gery, Liesel Anja
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The aim of this study is to examine the relationship of public relations and marketing and how these two functions can fuse their work without encroaching on each others fields. The strategic corporate function of stakeholder management is used as the platform to illustrate this proposed mutually beneficial relationship. The theoretical approach to the study is directed at exploring the three different fields of public relations, marketing and stakeholder management by outlining the general theory of excellence in corporate communication; marketing management theory; and stakeholder management theory. The public relations and marketing role within the Life Healthcare hospitals in the Eastern region are explored through a quantitative study aimed at gaining the incumbents' (in the public relations/marketing positions) view on their outputs within their function mapped against the outputs needed as viewed by the dominant coalition of the various hospitals. The incumbents' contribution to; and the dominant coalition's view of stakeholder management is also explored through the same dual view approach. Differentiating the roles' (public relations and marketing) contribution to stakeholder management (as subset against the theoretical background of what these roles should entail) are the outcomes of this quantitative study in the Life Healthcare group - Eastern region. This will then provide the platform for creating a framework of synthesis where public relations and marketing can collaborate in stakeholder management. Therefore, the outcome of this study, firstly, is a framework for the collaboration of public relations and marketing in stakeholder management within the Life Healthcare Group Eastern region. The framework creates a synthesis of the two corporate functions so that both can effectively contribute to the hospitals' strategic relationship building process in their own right as is necessary in excellent organisations. Secondly, it highlights insights gained (through the quantitative study and exploration of theory) into the public relations and marketing function within the region, and outlines problem areas that should be tackled by the dominant coalition if they are to elevate public relations and marketing to a function which can contribute to the broader organisational strategy.