A new state of grace?

Pope Francis seems to have turned around press coverage of the Vatican. Comparing his approach with those of his predecessors also teaches us about stakeholder governance and contemporary communication management.

The nave of St. Peter’s Basilica during the opening session of the Second Vatican Council on 11 October 1962

For centuries, political, religious and volunteer-led organisations considered the process of recruitment of individuals around ideas, values and issues as their true core business, with the ultimate aim that the recruited in turn become advocates-at-scale. Only in recent years have commercially driven corporations begun to transfer their own stakeholder relationships efforts from a ‘nice-to-have’ feature to a structural and strategic part of their core businesses. Also, traditional customer relationships efforts to increase sales are rapidly up-scaling to a wider and more sophisticated involvement of carefully-identified internal and external stakeholder groups: idea by idea, value by value, issue by issue. Organisations who intend to be sustainable are mandated to adopt a communicating-with-stakeholders approach for better achieving their licence to operate, in large part abandoning the20th twentieth century model of one-to-many communication.

Toni Muzi Falconi

Toni Muzi Falconi is adjunct professor at New York University as well as at The Libera Università Maria SS. Assunta, (LUMSA), in the Vatican, Rome. He is also senior counsel of change management company Methodos. His most recent book is Global Stakeholder Relationships Governance: An Infrastructure (2013). He was founding Chair of the Global Alliance and President of Ferpi, the Italian public relations association.