Public Relations Is a Rhetorical Experience The Integral Principle in Case Study Analysis
William N. Elwood
People do not experience organizations; I they experience the communication organizations issue and the communication about organizations. This statement may seem self-evident. We have become accustomed to corporate entities "speaking" in the public realm. Mobil often voices its opinions in the opening pages of Time magazine. Newsletters frequently contain stories or statements that have no by- line; thus, we assume the institution is speaking. We also are familiar with references to organizations' rhetoric, to news reports that begin, "IBM announced today" or "Sears said that it was selling its Discover card division and would concentrate on its retail core," as if IBM or Sears could speak and write for themselves. As public relations writing books inform present and future PR practitioners, "Public relations is, after all, communication, and the basic form of communication is still the written word" ( Bivins, 1991, p. 1; see also Newsom and Carrell, 1991; Tucker et al., 1994).
Perhaps because organizational discourse has become commonplace, books often examine public relations case studies in abstract terms, recounting that certain organizations communicate to particular publics to achieve certain objectives. Such recountals often follow with assessments of relative effectiveness. While certainly informative and pedagogical, these campaign descriptions do not provide readers with samples of this communication, nor do they inform readers as to how a campaign's communication influenced anyone. Public opinion polls