The Prismatic Image of the Organization

by T. Stephenson



Recent years have seen considerable discussion of the role of the "image" in public relations and advertising. Through the use of a wide range of media, the attempt has consciously been made to project the character of a wide variety of organizations so as to provide favorable reactions to their activities and products. However, the notion of the image is one with wider implications than is currently given to it. There is more than a manufactured image to consider; there is more than one public, there are many. Here lies the prismatic nature of the image. In the first place, whether the organization attempts to project a public image of itself as a whole, or whether it simply advertises its products and leaves the organization that lies behind them blurred in the public mind, it is creating an image that will reach several publics. Image-making will go on either consciously or otherwise, nationally or locally, and there will grow the image of the company as it appears to the shareholders; as it seems to the management, to the workers, to the trade unions, to customers, and to suppliers; and so on.

California Management Review

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