Volltext: Liechtenstein and the German tax affair:

but more precisely to the underlying (public) dispute. Processes related to an event also 
belong to the issue. Issues always refer to societal, not private, events. Where an issue refers 
to individuals, the social role of these individuals is meant (Eichhorn 2005, 9). In the tax 
affair, many people tended to interpret the matter as artificially brought about — for whatever 
reasons — in light of the effective media staging of the "Zumwinkel arrest". But according to 
Schaufler and Signitzer, "issues [...] are neither random products nor artificial constructions. 
Rather, they are consequences of sensually perceived grievances and phenomena. Issues 
always arise when a group of persons recognizes a problem and decides to do something to 
solve it." (Schaufler/Signitzer 1990, 32). 
The term issues management was coined for the first time in 1976 by the American PR 
consultant W. Howard Chase, who intended it to upgrade the discipline of public relations and 
establish it as a strategic management function. In the tradition of this approach, issues 
management emphasizes the observation of the organizational environment with respect to its 
opportunities and risks (see Lütgens 2002, 85f). 
Only fact patterns with the potential for conflict, which develop societal relevance or at least a 
societal sphere of action beyond the private sphere of the individual, can become an issue 
(Liebl 1996, 8). Issues in the sense of issues management also exhibit a clear reference to 
organization, i.e. they have actual or potential effects on the organization or on the 
organization's current or future potential for action. 
Some authors narrowly see issues as tied to existing stakeholder groups or conflict parties, 
such as Hallahan, who defines an issue as follows: "... a dispute between two or more parties 
over the allocation of resources, which might be natural, financial, political or symbolic" 
(Hallahan 2001, 28). 
Looking at the extensive literature on the topic of issues management, it becomes apparent 
that three fundamental factors underlying this concept surface again and again: 1. the nature 
of conflict topics, 2. The nature of publics, and 3. The social responsibility of enterprises (see 
Schaufler/Signitzer 1990, 32). 
Conflict issues may have very different evolutions and dramaturgical developments, 
depending on whether they are large issue fields or narrowly circumscribed and often very 
complex issue areas. Based on Downs' (1972) concept of issue cycles, Neumann (1990, 167ff, 
cited by Fichhorn 2005, 9) has suggested the following typology of issues: 
1. Crises: Concern the vital interests of a country or its population (or of a specific group); 
are limited in time, and their beginning, climax and end can be delimited relatively precisely. 
2. Symbolic crises: Are not limited in time; longer-lasting problems that can be elevated to 
crisis status for a certain time period. 
3. Problems: Cannot be delimited in time; change over time with respect to their significance, 
sometimes dramatically. Public concern is generally high. 
4. Non-problems: Likewise cannot be delimited in time; attention in the media and public 
varies, but never exceeds a certain low level.


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