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Public Policy and Administration


Mark Gordon


Public affairs professionals are responsible for monitoring the sociopolitical environment and using information strategies to respond to public policy proposals on behalf of firms and organizations. To develop, implement, and legitimize public policy, lawmakers and public administrators rely on the input from external experts and stakeholders. The purpose of this research was to explore how public affairs engage with healthcare intraorganizational stakeholders to leverage their knowledge for information strategies. Knowledge transfer served as a theoretical framework through a qualitative multiple case study of 3 healthcare delivery organizations in the upper Midwest of the United States. Primary data were collected using semistructured interviews from public affairs (n = 11) and healthcare professionals (n = 18). Organizational documents and public records were reviewed to understand the internal interaction of public affairs and the development of information strategies. Patterns and themes emerged through cross case synthesis, presented as a process-based model and theory. Public affairs functions were structured inconsistently in all case sites. Decision-making processes primarily involved nonpublic affairs stakeholders approving information products. Intraorganizational engagement and knowledge transfer was found as ad-hoc and consistent, through a blending of informal and formal methods. Practitioner strategies, tactics, and challenges were identified to facilitate internal interaction. This study provides insight to improving public affairs practice and supports linking the expertise of healthcare stakeholders to policymaking. Improving the healthcare delivery system through public policymaking is fostered through aligning policy with the knowledge of healthcare professional practice.