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

By Larissa A. Grunig; James E. Grunig et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
Models of Public Relations

If we were to choose a few keywords to describe the Excellence theory developed in this book and previously in J. Grunig (1992a) and Dozier with L. Grunig and J. Grunig (1999, we would list five: Excellent public relations is managerial, strategic, symmetrical, diverse, and ethical.

As we have seen in previous chapters, the terms managerial and strategic are linked in our theory of public relations excellence. To be excellent, the public relations function must headed by a manager who is involved in the strategic decision processes of the organization. The remaining three terms—symmetrical, diverse, and ethical—also are linked by the first term—symmetrical. If the public relations function is to contribute value both to the organization and to society, the concept of symmetry suggests, the function must be based on values that reflect a moral obligation to balance the interests of an organization with the interests of publics with which it interacts in society (J. Grunig, 2000). When public relations practice is based on symmetrical values, it also brings both diverse perspectives and ethical considerations into organizational decisions and behavior.1

We can describe excellent public relations in its simplest expression, therefore, as strategic, symmetrical communication management. To this point in this book, we have emphasized the strategic, managerial side of excellence in public relations. In this chapter we turn to symmetry as a crucial characteristic of communication Excellence.

In two chapters of the theory book that guided the Excellence study (J. Grunig & L. Grunig, 1992; J. Grunig &White, 1992), we reviewed the extensive

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1
We did not study ethics explicitly in the Excellence study, although we discussed the topic in relation to the symmetrical model inj. Grunig and White (1992). In Verčič, L. Grunig, andj. Grunig (1996), we added ethics as a principle of excellent public relations. For additional discussion of the role of symmetry in ethical public relations, see J. Grunig and L. Grunig (1996).

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