Academic journal article Public Relations Journal

Successful Firms Changed Style of Management before Recession

Academic journal article Public Relations Journal

Successful Firms Changed Style of Management before Recession

Article excerpt

Not all public relations firms suffered during the economic turmoil of recent years. But even those that remained relatively stable, and actually managed to grow, recognized the need to change with the times. In fact, several successful firms changed management styles ahead of the crowd before the recession of the early '90s. Ruder*Finn, Porter/Novelli and Edelman Public Relations Worldwide are three examples.

At New York City-based Ruder*Finn, for instance, annual fees increased by 350% from 1986 to 1992, according to Executive Committee Chairman Peter Finn. "We moved up dramatically during that period because we began actively recruiting senior people with talent in winning and building accounts," Finn explained. The firm's revamped organization accommodates those newly recruited senior people, he said. They are encouraged "to build their own practices within the firm," and are rewarded for doing so. A profit-sharing plan enables top performers to earn incentives that equal or even exceed their base salaries. Finn stressed that senior account executives "are rewarded for what they generate for the firm, not how the overall firm does."

A more entrepreneurial, less hierarchical mode is also the order of the day at Porter/Novelli, New York City, according to Bob Druckenmiller, president. It has "given our people a greater opportunity for leadership and development in professional tracks," he said. Druckenmiller gave two reasons for the commitment to specialty practices which took place about four years ago. "First, clients want specialists," he said. "Secondly, we have a lot of talent in our organization. Motivating them and giving them a sense of ownership is very important." The change in corporate style has addressed both needs. …

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