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Coming out of the Closet

Exploring LGBT Issues in Strategic Communication with Theory and Research

Edited By Natalie T.J. Tindall and Richard D. Waters

Despite representing significant portions of the advertising, marketing, and public relations work force, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) community has largely been ignored by scholarly research in strategic communications. With the exception of case studies that document strategies that can be used to secure the LGBT consumer dollar, little has been done to understand the LGBT community’s experiences with strategic communications efforts. This edited volume fills this gap by sharing research on the impact and interaction of campaigns and programming from advertising, marketing, and public relations on internal (e.g., practitioners and employees) and external (e.g., consumers, activists) stakeholders from the LGBT community. Several chapters in this volume highlight a significant change in the focus of strategic communications that recognizes the long-term benefits of having legitimate partnerships; others, however, counter this optimistic trend by discussing the continued struggles of practitioners working in strategic communication and the LGBT community at large.
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Introduction: Coming Out of the Closet to Address Challenges With LGBT Research

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Natalie T. J. Tindall

As Ferguson (1984) concluded, public relations as well as other strategic communication fields is a paradigmatic community that is “defined by the models that tell the members of the scientific community what is an admissible problem to research or what is a legitimate problem solution” (p. 4). Many scholars would argue that public relations has never had a paradigmatic shift from the managerial, functionalist perspectives that have dominated the research trends. As Vasquez and Taylor (2000) and Sallot, Lyon, Acosta-Alzuru, and Jones (2003) revealed in their bibliographic analyses, public relations research has flourished in several areas while completely withering or nascent in others. One of those nascent areas is diversity. Diversity is most often conceptualized along gender and racial lines, and the LGBT community has largely been ignored by strategic communication scholars. This book extends the discussion of diversity beyond race and gender, and aims to include new perspectives and audiences and stakeholders.

This volume fills a large void by sharing research on the impact and interaction of advertising, marketing, and public relations campaigns and programming on internal (e.g., practitioners and employees) and external stakeholders (e.g., consumers, activists) from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The chapters address an array of topics, from workplace experiences to identity construction and stereotyping. The research represents a range of strategic communications issues that can expand theory-driven scholarly conversations about LGBT issues while touching on professional practice, such as crisis communication and campaign development...

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