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New Research on Public Relations as a Global Strategy Function

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New Research on Public Relations as a Global Strategy Function James E. Grunig, Professor Emeritus Department of Communication University of Maryland – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: New Research on Public Relations as a Global Strategy Function


1
New Research onPublic Relations as a Global
Strategy Function
  • James E. Grunig, Professor Emeritus
  • Department of Communication
  • University of Maryland
  • College Park, Maryland, USA

2
Types of Public Relations Research
  • Research IN public relations.
  • Used by practitioners in their work.
  • Research ON public relations.
  • Constructive, critical research by academic
    scholars on the practice of public relations.
  • Research FOR public relations.
  • Applied basic research to develop concepts and
    tools for the practice of public relations.

3
Two Paradigms of Public Relations
  • The symbolic, interpretive, paradigm.
  • The behavioral, strategic management, paradigm.

4
The Symbolic, Interpretive, Paradigm
  • Public relations manages how publics interpret
    the organizationto buffer the organization from
    its environment.
  • These interpretations include popular concepts
    such as reputation, brand, image, impressions,
    and identity.
  • This paradigm can be found in the concepts of
    reputation management in business schools,
    integrated marketing communication in advertising
    programs, and rhetoric in communication and
    public relations departments.
  • Emphasis is on publicity, media relations, and
    media effects.

5
The Behavioral, Strategic Management, Paradigm
  • Public relations participates in strategic
    decision-making to help manage the behavior of
    the organization.
  • Public relations is a bridging activity to build
    relationships with stakeholders rather than a set
    of messaging activities designed to buffer the
    organization from stakeholders.
  • Emphasis is on two-way and symmetrical
    communication of many kinds to provide publics a
    voice in management decisions and to facilitate
    dialogue between management and publics.

6
This Paradigm Adds Stakeholder Relations to
Strategic Management and Reveals the ROI of PR
  • The corporation is more than an extension of the
    basic human right to own property.
  • organizational wealth can be created (or
    destroyed) through relationships with
    stakeholders of all kindsthat is managing
    relationships with stakeholders for mutual
    benefit.
  • Corporations ARE what they DO.
  • (James E. Post, Lee E. Preston, and Sybille
    Sachs 2002, Redefining the the Corporation
    Stakeholder Management and Organizational Wealth,
    pp. 12, 1, 2.)

7
Purposes of My Research
  • Explain and measure the value of the
    communication function to organizations and to
    society (research on public relations).
  • Define the role of public relations in strategic
    decision-making and organizational governance
    (research on public relations).
  • Develop concepts, tools, and measures for
    communication professionals to use in strategic
    management (research for public relations.

8
Stages in My Intellectual Journey
  • Research on the behavior of publics and
    development of a situational theory of publics,
    beginning in the 1960s.
  • Research in the 1970s on how characteristics of
    organizations and their management affect the
    behavior of public relations practitioners and
    departments.
  • Development of a theory of symmetrical,
    dialogical, public relations, 1970s-1980s.
  • Evaluation research in public relations for ATT
    in the late 1970s.
  • The IABC excellence project in the 1980s and
    1990s, which explained the ROI of public
    relations and articulated the strategic role of
    public relations.

9
Public Relations Contributes to Strategic
Management by
  • Participating in management decision-making to
    identify consequences that create stakeholders.
  • Segmenting stakeholders and publics.
  • Using communication to cultivate relationships
    with strategic publics.
  • Influencing management behavior.
  • Measuring the quality of relationships.

10
Ongoing Research Since the Excellence Study to
Develop Strategic Tools for Public Relations
11
Environmental Scanning
  • Chang (2000) study of corporate PR executives.
  • Most did not know what environmental scanning
    was, or they relied solely on media, polls, or
    published information.
  • Personal sources most useful customers, activist
    groups, journalists, and government officials.
  • Monitor websites, blogs, and other sources of
    information from activists.
  • Develop a database of issues for issues
    management.

12
Identifying Stakeholders
  • Identify stakeholders by monitoring the
    consequences of management decisions on those not
    making the decision.
  • A stakeholder is anyone who has something at risk
    because of an organizational decision, behavior,
    or lack of behavior.
  • Most common stakeholders found in the Excellence
    study were employees, customers, investors,
    community, government, members, media, and donors.

13
Stakeholders Can Be Segmented into Publics
  • Activist, active, passive, or no communication
    behavior.
  • The more active the public, the more likely are
    communication effects.
  • For example, the probability of an effect on
    behavior can be increased from .5 to about 50
    by selecting an active public rather than a
    nonpublic.

14
Environmental Publics Found for the National
Wildlife Federation
  • General environmental public.
  • Special-issue public air pollution.
  • Special-issue public superhighways.
  • Special-issue public killing of whales.
  • Hot-issue public energy shortage.

15
Employee Publics Found in Two Utilities
  • Management publics.
  • Routine behavior older employees.
  • Upwardly mobile, younger employees.
  • Apathetic employees.

16
Scenario Building (Sung 2004)
  • Learn from the past.
  • Envision possible futures.
  • Examine comprehensive future options for
    decision-making.
  • Reduce the risk of decisions.
  • Case of two issues for an insurance company
    Credit scoring and national regulation.

17
Empowering Public Relations
  • The Excellence study showed that PR executives
    enter the dominant coalition and strategic
    management when they. . .
  • Develop extensive knowledge of their
    organization.
  • Develop knowledge of public relations and
    strategic management.
  • Respond at times when their expertise is needed,
    especially during a crisis or when facing an
    issue.
  • Berger (2005) found that coalitions change in
    corporations and that public relations is
    included when its expertise is relevant.

18
Evaluation of the Long-Term Value of Public
Relations Can Be Done by Measuring the Quality of
Relationships
  • Trust
  • Mutuality of control
  • Satisfaction
  • Commitment

19
Relationships and Reputation
  • The concept of reputation has value when used in
    conjunction with relationships.
  • Reputation is a byproduct of organizational
    performance, as evaluated by stakeholders, and of
    relationships with stakeholders.
  • Open-End Questions Measure Reputations Best (In
    a sentence or two, please tell me what comes to
    mind when you think of organization.)

20
These Measures Have Been Applied by Strategy
One/Edelman
  • Identify key stakeholders and measure
    relationships with each separately.
  • Ask qualitative questions about reputation and
    relationships.
  • Measure relationships quantitatively.
  • Explore cultivation strategies that improve the
    quality of a relationship.

21
Cultivation Strategies Are the Heir to the
Symmetrical Model
  • Access.
  • Positivity.
  • Openness.
  • Assurances of legitimacy.
  • Networking.
  • Sharing of tasks.
  • Win-win or no deal.
  • Being unconditionally constructive, even if the
    other side doesnt reciprocate.
  • Avoid contending, avoiding, or accommodating
    (asymmetrical strategies).

22
Case of Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Crisis over toxic waste.
  • Public relations department used symmetrical
    communication to consult with community
    stakeholders.
  • Issues management system established.
  • Importance of personal communication between
    employees and community.
  • Involving employees in community improved
    employee relations.

23
Expanding the Role of Public Relations in Global
Strategy
  • Research in several countries has extended the
    Excellence theory to a theory of generic
    principles and specific applications.
  • Ni (2006) found that relationships with employees
    are better for multinational corporations in
    China with a local responsiveness strategy that
    those emphasizing global integration alone.

24
Moving to the Future
  • Research is needed on the institutionalization of
    public relations as a strategic management,
    bridging, function rather than its common
    practice as a symbolic, buffering, function. (Yi,
    2005)
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