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(Cover shot
© 2007 research worldwide)
Oliver Zöllner:

Dialog als kommunikative Strategie.
Öffentlichkeitsarbeit staatlicher
Stellen am Beispiel der Akademie
der Bundeswehr für Information
und Kommunikation.

Waldbröl: AIK, 1993, 166 pages

About this book:

Dialogue as a Communicative Strategy. In 1989, just before the end of the Cold War, the German Ministry of Defence decided to restructure and rename the Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) Academy for Psychological Defence and transform it into the new Academy for Information and Communication (AIK). It was eventually installed in October 1990, coinciding with the unification of Germany. It was this interesting and certainly not completely coincidental transformation and its wider context that sparked writing this thesis.

In the early 1990s, an era of new uncertainties, many of them affecting public discourse on the future and the very raison d'être of the armed forces, AIK's objectives were to search for new ways of engaging target groups in symmetrical dialogues with the military. Unlike previous military public relations (PR) concepts that basically focused on persuasion and one-way communication, AIK developed a dialogic PR model which inherently drew on thinkers such as Jürgen Habermas and his seminal work, "Theory of Communicative Action" (1981). In line with this theory, AIK's PR concept, or main strategy, was decidedly un-strategic in that it did not seek to persuade target groups but rather attempted, first and foremost, to negotiate mutual trust and understanding between dialogic partners - a key feature of discursive public sphere and democracy. From the beginning, the Academy was aware that any dialogic relationship of this kind would be fragile and demanding, including the risk of 'unsuccessful' communication - an open attitude that is remarkable for any military institution.

This book by Oliver Zoellner analyzes the Academy's PR strategy, its sources and underlying motifs. The study is based on extensive document analyses, on-site research and interviews with commanders and staff.

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