Due to its broad scope and any variables, arriving at a general, all-inclusive definition is rather complicated. In fact even those in the field that are familiar with its interlinings have difficulties defining exactly what is public relations. “Today, although a generally accepted definition of public relations still eludes practitioners, there is a clearer understanding of the field” (Stile, 2004, p. 3). So if it Is difficult for those in the profession It has to be rather complex for the layman to understand and define public relations.
In my opinion public relations Is a process of managing the legislations between an organization and Its publics. This process Is comprised of several steps that Involve research, action, communication. And evaluation or R-A-C-E. The R-A-C-E model was developed by Communications professor John Marathons and provides a structure for effectively influencing public opinion (Stile, 2004, p. 4). Now that I have provided my thoughts, let us take a look at how some other sources define public relations.
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Public Relations Society of America Definition The Public Relations Society of America or APRS is an organization with the objective f uniting public relations professionals and providing them with resources and direction. According to the APRS, “public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other. Often, It Is a term used to describe both, a way of looking at an organization’s performance and a program of activities” (APRS, 2006). Bearing the APRS definition In mind and contrasting It to my personal deflation one can easily see saltcellars.
Although stated differently, both definitions are concerned with creating and maintaining rapport amongst an organization and its publics. The latter part of the APRS definition also has a resemblance to my personal definition in that it is concerned with how an organization plans and executes. These both coincide with the research and action steps of the R-A-C-E method. Now that we’ve seen how the APRS defines public relations, let us take a look at how someone in the field defines it.
Thomas Roach Definition Thomas Roach Ph. D. Is a professor of communication with 25 years experience from both and academic and corporate perspective. Mr.. Roach defines public relations as: It is the maintaining of consensus and the avoidance of crisis. Practitioners who Ignore one public In favor of another are wrong. Textbooks that explain how public relations serves to fix problems are wrong. Companies that believe that the public relations staff Is nothing more than a group of writers are wrong.
Public relations in principle is quite simple, and in practice infinitely complex. Although stated differently, the underlying meaning of Mr.. Roach’s definition coincides with those previously discussed. The idea here is still about building and maintaining relationships with the organization’s publics, whether it be through mutually adapting” or “building consensus” the ultimate goal is still the same. Now that we have seen definitions from three sources, let us take a look at one final definition.
Del Galloway Definition Del Galloway is the former President and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America and in his article Pro’s Quandary: Branding a Profession he discussed the definition of public relations. Mr.. Galloway begins the article reinforcing what has already been discussed; that public relations is hard to explain in “clear and concise” terms. The definition for public relations that Mr.. Galloway mentions in his article is: That we work to create harmony between all stakeholders of an institution–the various publics–if you will.
But that takes more explanation. Our Job is to nurture the relationships between a company, its customers, its stockholders, its community and its government. (2004) After reading that it is obvious that Mr.. Galloway definition has a similar theme to the others that have been discussed; public relations is about creating and maintaining a relationships between an organization and its publics. In conclusion, public relations is difficult to define because of its all-encompassing tauter and the fact that are many variables that must be considered.
As we have seen in the various definitions of public relations simply stated it is all about formulating and maintaining relationships between a company and its publics. Understanding and knowing these publics or groups of people is what complicates matters relative to public relations. Moreover, each of these publics has their own personal opinions, beliefs, ethnicity, etc. , which make matters even more difficult for an organization. So not only are organizations having to deal with varied groups of people, but they must interact with the publics in many different manners and approaches.