Defining Public Relations Essay

923 words - 4 pages

When it comes to public relations there is no one definition, as people and groups vary in their understandings of the subject. A personal definition of public relations would be the duty of communicating with external offices for purposes that mainly relate to information and information exchange. It would require working with other people most of the time and may also be closely involved in selling products or services. This personal definition is based on a certain degree of experience, and the understanding is that for the most part, public relations are an important part of an overall job responsibility.If public relations were to be defined based on experience, certainly the definitions would vary from person to person. Then perhaps, the broader the experience, the more comprehensive a personal explanation may become. James Grunig sums up his extensive experience in his speech during the 45th Distinguished Lecture of the Institute for Public Relations (IPR). Although he says his instinctive response to the question is a non-technical “what public relations people do”, he formally defines public relations as a function implemented by the management department of an organization that allows influential parties to be heard in that organization. These parties are affected by the organization in a positive or negative way, and through public relations, they have a say in making decisions that affect them. In turn, the organization becomes more socially responsible (Grunig, 2006).The definition of public relations varies among different groups as well, but instead of looking at public relations from experience, these groups tend to view it from a more functional point of view. The official statement adopted by the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) basically perceives public relations as an important tool in the achievement of goals and implementation of policies. It says that institutions must use this tool to mediate between them and the parties they need to build good relationships with in order to reach their objectives (Public Relations Student Society of America [PRSSA] Chapter Handbook, 2006). On the other hand, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) claims that public relations are a tool for building and maintaining reputation. The aim of public relations is to strengthen reputation by exerting careful and constant effort to create and maintain good relationships (Chartered Institute of Public Relations [CIPR], 2006).All of the mentioned perspectives see public relations as an essential tool for building relationships, varying only in how they think the tool should be used. The PRSSA and CIPR definitions are definitely more functional and impersonal. They see public relations as a means to somewhat similar ends. CIPR stresses on a good, solid reputation to be successful. The way relationships are built and maintained is the key to success, and public relations shapes that key accordingly. PRSSA...

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