Professional Standards

Exercising leadership as stewards of the professional application of issue management, the Issue Management Council Board of Directors has drafted the following points of clarification regarding the practice of issue management.


An issue exists when there is a gap between stakeholder expectations and an organization’s policies, performance, products or public commitments.

Issue management is … the process used to close that gap.

Issue management is … a formal management process to anticipate and take appropriate action on emerging trends, concerns, or issues likely to affect an organization and its stakeholders.

Issue management is … an outside-in cultural mindset and linkage between an organization and its stakeholder ecosystem. This linkage enhances responsiveness to change and acknowledges and attempts to balance the myriad expectations of affected entities and individuals.

Issue management is … genuine and ethical long-term commitment by the organization to a two-way, inclusive standard of corporate responsibility toward stakeholders.

Issue management involves connectivity with, rather than control of, others. Issue managers help identify and close gaps between expectations, performance, communications, and accountability.

Issue management blends “many faces” within the entity into “one voice.” Like the issues themselves, the process is multi-faceted and is enhanced by the strategic facilitation and integration of diverse viewpoints and skills.

Issue management involves but does not solely focus on the following disciplines:

– Public relations, lobbying or government relations
– Futurism, trend tracking or media monitoring
– Strategic or financial planning
– Law

Issue management is not …

– One-way control of public policy issues
– Spin or damage control
– Defensive delay and deflection activities to crush opponents
– Reactive fire-fighting in a crisis mode
– Superficial imposition of a set of values and way of doing business on an institutional culture that neither understands nor embraces it

Learn more about Issue Management Defined, Professional Standards, Issue Management  Value, and Best Practice Indicators.

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