Public Affairs: A Field’s Maturation from 2000+ to 2030

Conor McGrath, Craig Fleisher

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This paper explores the development of the field of public affairs (PA) through the observations, research and experiences of two of its most cited scholars, deputy editors, and longtime contributors to the Journal of Public Affairs. We examine how PA and its practitioners have moved non-linearly from 2000+ PA, to Public Affairs 2.0, toward a still evolving model of practice. Three areas of practice are explored in depth, including 1) how the function is managed, 2) its communication activity, and 3) how it supports organizations in interacting and engaging with stakeholders and issues. Finally, four alternative futures are laid out as possible paths along which the function may evolve as it moves forward to its next decade’s end in 2030.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Public Affairs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Nov 2019


  • Public Affairs


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