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In present day society an organization’s reputation and appeal are some of the most important aspects ensuring a competitive edge and the benefit of continuous growth. It is really important for an enterprise to make a name in its environment as it instils a sense of patronage among those it serves best.
This in turn boosts its performance in terms of increased sales or/and overwhelming profits. For this reason, organizations must depend on PR for their complete survival. (In this essay PR will be used to represent public relation). This is the basis of Public relation in any organization be it a profit or a non- profit making.
The relationships between the public and organisations should be regulated in accordance with the field of application of this or that model. At the same time, it is necessary to remembers that some features of the public relations models are not appropriate for specific areas and occasions.
As such, it is not appropriate for companies that are interested in improvement of their financial performance and popularity among the potential customers to use false advertising which is more regularly used for entertainment.
However, there are cases of companies using deceptive advertising techniques that are, nevertheless, are not considered to be deceptive unless applied to legislature and issues where knowledge of laws and regulations is essential.
The international relations should be regulated in accordance with the norms that are accepted in all countries. However, the similar tendencies in public relations sector reflect the development of the deceptive practices and their spread whereas the governments and other corresponding organisations do nothing to prevent spread of false information and other inappropriate issues.
In this respect, the application of some of the public relations models can be questioned in terms of its effectiveness. So, the use of the press agentry model can be considered the most harmful when applied with the purpose of gaining money whereas the application of a two-way symmetric model is considered to be the most difficult though the most positive in terms of the outcomes.
In fact, the concept dates way back that there is even a chance it could be as old as human interaction by way of communication (Wilcox, 2009, p. 40). It originated from the United States way back in the twentieth century.
However, activities by bodies of the government related to the concept of public relation have their roots in Britain especially when world war two was coming to a halt. Wilcox (2009) studies the transformation of the concept through three basic functions which include: press agentry, publicity, and counselling. It is worth noting that these three activities still have their way in present day society.
There are four models associated with public relation as a concept. Through the models we are able to appreciate the process through which the concept evolved to form what is now the present day PR in the society. It was observed that the theories had a tendency to succeed each other as complements rather than overrule each other (Wilcox, 2009).
Grunig and Hunt (1984) have discussed the theories precisely and elaborately basing their arguments from their knowledge on management as stated in their definition of the concept earlier (pp. 7-8).
The four models as discussed by the two principles include: press agentry/publicity; public information; two-way asymmetric; and two-way symmetric (Grunig and Hunt, 1984, p. 22). They have placed a 2-way symmetric model as the most transformed public relation theory. Here now is a summary of each individual model and its contribution to the society.
The Press Agentry/Publicist Model
The press agentry which is also referred to as publicity is one of the types of public relations as part of the public relations model that is aimed at explaining the relationships between the public and an organization. Press agents are people engaged into the process of distributing information based on this model.
Press agents are known to have no time for research of any kind on their subjects, because what matters most is how best they can manipulate personalities (Harrison, 2008). As such, the most notable feature of this model is the lack of necessity for truth.
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The similarities of this and other types of relations include the following: that it influences the attitude of public to an organization; uses one-way communication as well as the public information model; requires little research as it is not based on the feedback either is the public information model.
In this respect, it has more similarities with the public information model while it differs greatly from the two-way asymmetric model and the two-way symmetric models.
One of the greatest examples of using the press agentry model refers to the distribution of one-way communication on the Internet. Specifically, due to the fact advertising has become sophisticated with the rise of new media, Australian advertisers create new ads on YouTube to promote the Carlton Draft bee (James, n. d., p. 139).
This growing tendency to introduce advertising with the help of virtual space is, indeed, effective because the Internet users can sub-consciously receive advertising information even when they use YouTube for different purposes.
The penetration to the communication space has allowed the producers to gain a competitive edge and capture greater market segments. As defined by Richards (1990), deceptive advertising which is regulated and controlled by the Federal Trade Commission can be treated as not being deceptive “for persons operating outside the legal context” (p. 20).
In this respect, using video, audio and other media platforms that are downloaded on the Internet enables the advertisers to expand their influence on the potential customers and manipulate their demands.
The Public Information Model
The public information model is one of the four basic public relations models introduced by Grunig and Hunt (1984) to analyse and explain the relationships that occur between the public or its representatives and an organisation or a person that is influencing the public opinion or manipulates its awareness with some purposes.
However, the public information is usually used by governmental and non-profit organizations in order to make the population aware of some issues such as importance of protected sex, danger of smoking, consequences of negligence, and other issues.
In this respect, people usually perceive such information adequately without doubts because government does not want to make profits by using this strategy as well as companies do by advertising.
The key similarities between the public information and other models related to public relationships include the following: it has the same communication scheme as the press agentry approach and is consequently based on the one-way communication technique; it uses little research because dissemination of information is the basic purposes as well as for the press agentry model; truth is important for this model as well as for the two-way symmetric model.
One of the most effective examples of application of the public information model includes the information that is aimed at persuading people not to use drugs, informs about the effective rehabilitation methods issued by the health care institutions; different funds and ministries also distribute some information.
As claimed by Bongila (2003), in the late nineteenth century in the United States, “the public information model held to the belief that private gifts could be raised efficiently and with greater morality by disseminating accurate information” (p. 33).
As such, this public relation theory is characterised by a one-way form of communication where information is dispensed from one end and expected to be received in another (Ward, 1995).
The Two-Way Asymmetric Model
The two-way asymmetric model is one of the types of public relationships introduced in the framework of the four-type model by Grunig and Hunt. Grunig and Hunt (1984) refer to this as scientific persuasion.
The main similarities of this model include the key features that are also typical of the two-way symmetric model of public relations: the nature of communication includes the two ways because both the organisation and public are interested in the outcomes of the interaction; formative research and a feedback also pertain to the similarities between the two-way symmetric model and the two-way asymmetric model; the areas of application is specific for this model and does not resemble other models.
The main difference between the two-way asymmetric model and three other approaches of distributing information applied in public relations is that it is strongly based on attitudes. As such, forming the attitude and perception of an organisation by the public is one of the main purposes of this model of public relations.
One of the examples of application of the two-way asymmetric model is the company that conducts researches and surveys on the way one of its brands is perceived by consumers in order to change something or select another target audience.
For instance, as introduced by Davidson (1992), Persil Automatic’s success “has demonstrated a precise and continuing understanding of the attitudes and lifestyles of the women who own such a machine” (p. 52). In other words, the company collects information and uses it to promote its goods and improving its competitive advantage.
The Two-Way Symmetric Model
The two-way symmetric model is the fourth of the models introduced by Grunig and Hunt (1984) pertaining to the field of public relations. This model is aimed at regulating the public relations with regard to the organisation and the public being interested in solving the problems the coping with certain difficulties.
The area of application of this model is a bit similar to the one used for the public information model when the approach is applied to structured companies and regulated business. Grunig and Hunt (1984) suggest that this is the best of the public relation models as it is effective, though it is hard to come by.
Grunig puts it that “idealism is and always has been a central part of the two-way symmetric model of communication and vital to the development of excellent PR – both theoretically and practically” (Grunig, 1992, pp. 56-57; 307). The role of PR in an organization appears to be sacred (Grunig and Hunt, 1984, p.6-8).
Merging his previous agenda for the theory of two-way symmetric communication it comes out apparently, that efficient public relation was characterized by aspects of symmetry, management, idealism and its social relevance (Grunig and Grunig, 1992).
This clearly gives the public the mandate to influence the organization’s behavior which is not quite practical (Grunig, 1992, p.55-61).
A good example of application of the two-way symmetric mode is the corporate social responsibility when a company is involved into different activities that improve its image for the public and other organisations. At the same time, the company benefits via increase in the financial performance.
Corporate philanthropy and community volunteering are claimed to be methods used as parts of the corporate social responsibility (Kotler & Lee, 2005, pp. 31-32). It is possible to see the examples of corporate social responsibility practices in every large company.
For instance, environmental protection issues and charity funds as well as relations of the manufacturers with suppliers pertain to the two-way symmetric model public relations.
In the works of Grunig it is clear from the definition all the way to the four remarkable models of PR that concept of idealism stands out mostly. His two-way symmetric model brought with it a lot of reforms to the public relation department of organization to enhance a mutual form of agreement between parties involved in place of persuasion.
This is a step in the right direction because it aims at making the society a better place to live in. on that note, even with its shortcomings the model should be utilized to as far as it makes sense. In conclusion, anything aimed at making the society better than it is, is a noble course worth living for.
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