Portraying tomorrow’s professionals: Delphi study on strategic communication capabilities in Spain

Elena Gutiérrez-García, Mónica Recalde


The concept of professional capabilities is new among scholars and practitioners in the strategic communication field where the competency concept has been the traditional scientific approach. The capability approach originated from human development theory developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum and from professional studies, such as those of Stan Lester. However, it is a theoretical challenge to apply this concept to strategic communication. This article presents a Delphi study conducted in Spain within the framework of the international global research project Global Capability Framework for Public Relations and Communication Management.

The researchers asked if there could be a global consensus on a core capability framework that reflects regional differences. Spain’s first empirical research phase involved a Delphi study with a panel of experts composed of scholars, consultants and communication managers. The result is a core framework of 14 capabilities in which the strategic dimension is given greater importance than the operative or tactical nature of communication. In this regard, the experts prioritize a profession that demands strategic capabilities in order to influence the relationship between organizations and the social environment. The findings portray a multifaceted professional, with an emphasis on the management and consultant dimension. 


capabilities; competences; strategic communication; Delphi study


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