The 21st Century Strategic Communication Landscape and its Challenges for Policymakers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Strategic communication can be straightforwardly defined as organisational communication to purposefully advance a mission. The concept has been around for hundreds or even thousands of years. Christopher Paul notes that the Romans had educational exchange programs. Sun Tzu’s dictum that “excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting” is an example of recognition by military leaders that action has a communicative effect that influences the attitudes and behaviours of an adversary. Napoleon Bonaparte engaged in strategic communication when he “spoke as a [Muslim]” and discussed conversion with clerics while in Egypt; “to do so was essential to his success, to the safety of his army, and, consequently, to his glory. In every country he would have drawn up proclamations and delivered addresses on the same principle. In India he would have been for Ali, at Thibet for the Dalai-lama, and in China for Confucius”. The epigram suggests that strategic communication has origins as a distinct concept dating to around World War II. Indeed, efforts to influence military engagements through strategic communication first became institutionalised during the first and second World Wars, as mass communication channels flourished.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationState, Society and National Security
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Co.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9789813140127
ISBN (Print)9789813109988
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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