Excellent Public Relations and Effective Organizations: A Study of Communication Management in Three Countries

Excellent Public Relations and Effective Organizations: A Study of Communication Management in Three Countries

Excellent Public Relations and Effective Organizations: A Study of Communication Management in Three Countries

Excellent Public Relations and Effective Organizations: A Study of Communication Management in Three Countries

Synopsis

This book is the final product of the "excellence project"--a comprehensive research effort commissioned by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Research Foundation. Going well beyond any of the previously published reports on the Excellence study, this book contains many new statistical analyses of the survey data and more details from the case studies. Discussing theory and data related to several ongoing discussions in the communication profession, this book answers the following questions: *How can we show the value of public relations? *What is the value of relationships? *How do relationships affect reputation? *What does it mean to practice communication strategically? *How can we measure and evaluate the effects of public relations programs? *Should communication programs be integrated? *How does the new female majority in the profession affect communication Excellence? This book, as well as the research it reports, is the product of symmetrical communication and collaboration. As such, it is intended for scholars, applied researchers, students, and informed professionals who understand the value of research in developing a profession, such as public relations. Knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methods will make it easier to understand the book; however, the results are interpreted in a way that makes the analyses understandable even to those with little or no knowledge of statistics and research methods.

Excerpt

During the summer of 1984, the IABC Foundation (now the IABC Research Foundation) issued a request for proposals for a research project that gave us a chance to conduct what is probably the largest study ever of the public relations profession. The IABC Foundation wanted to know “how, why, and to what extent communication affects the achievement of organizational objectives. ” Project director James Grunig assembled a research team of both scholars and practitioners from the United Kingdom as well as the United States. The team consisted of the three of us, James Grunig and Larissa Grunig of the University of Maryland and David Dozier of San Diego State University, along with William Ehling, then of Syracuse University and now retired, Jon White, then of the Cranfield School of Management in the United Kingdom and now with City University of London, and Fred Repper, the retired vice president of public relations for Gulf States Utilities in Beaumont, Texas.

This team demonstrated what true collaboration means. Together, we put together a proposal that promised to review the literature on organizational effectiveness to develop an answer to the question of how and why public relations has value to an organization. Because we believed that not all public relations units have value to their organizations, however, we also promised to do an extensive review of the literature on public relations to isolate the characteristics that make it more likely that a communication unit will add value to an organization. We could do that because each member of the team had been heavily involved in research on different, but complementary, aspects of communication management—such as strategic management, practitioner roles, gender and diversity, models of public relations, operations research, employee communication, organizational culture, and activism.

In the summer of 1985, the IABC Foundation awarded us a grant for $400,000 to conduct the project we had outlined. The literature review started . . .

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