Shifting Strategy: From the Campaign Trail, to Community Engagement

Author: Dr. Virginia McKendry, PhD, and Barbra Collombin, MA
Publisher: International Journal of Instructional Cases


IJIC, Volume 4 (2020)


This case presented the challenge of transforming a partisan riding headquarters into a non-partisan hub for meaningful citizen engagement and participatory democracy. On the face of it, the challenge is like that of any organization seeking to encourage public awareness of its mission and value, and/or reshape public perception of the organization. However, a unique mandate of the newly elected official’s party is to create a shift in the meaning of civic participation itself, away from the divisive debate style of partisan politics and toward a culture of the discussion and dialogue that supports community building and shared governance. For Aldous Sperl, the Chief of Staff charged with the task, it will be important to recognize the various stakeholder groups comprising the constituency and create a strategy that is grounded in the various communication preferences and interests of each stakeholder group, with the aim of bringing everyone “into the circle.” Time is limited and stakeholder salience will be an important consideration as Aldous puts together the communication strategy for this important engagement initiative.


Stakeholder analysis, stakeholder salience, stakeholder mapping, communication strategy, change management, civic engagement

Target Audience and Usage

This case is appropriate for undergraduate and graduate-level courses dealing with any of the following topics: organizational communication, strategic communication management, public relations, public engagement, community development, stakeholder research, marketing, social marketing, government relations, business and society, and leadership studies.

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