INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS

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Trends and Theories in PR
INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS
Module Leaders: Gerard Choo and Gyorgy Szondi

MA Public Relations
Student name: Uma Datye Student id: 77102166
(Word Count: 3681)
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............................. International media and PR .......................................................................................................... 6 3............... Around the world ................. Bibliography ........ 20 6........... 22 3 ............................. Future of International PR ............................... Introduction ................ 9 4............................... Infrastructure and International PR ........ 4 2............................................................INDEX 1............ 13 5......................................................

International public relations is the same as public relations except that international public relations deals more with different countries. Introduction: During the first two decades of existence. Efforts to gather empirical evidence about public relation activities from other parts of the world based on theoretical underpinning using sound methodology only began in the early 1990s (Sriramesh K. 2009). Mergers. The body of research categorized as being ¶international· or ¶global· arena is confined predominantly to a few countries of Asia and Western Europe. acquisitions and outsourcing are taking place on an international scale and resulting in new organisations.. media. corporate cultures and working practices. Consultancies with an international network as well as multinational companies in house public relations departments often communicate with consumers. mentalities and nationalities. and Vercic D. public relations scholarship was built on experiences from only a few Western countries. especially US and UK. shareholders or employees who are situated in another country or continent.Question: To what extent has public relations become a global profession? Support your answer with relevant examples and theories. International public relations practitioners need to identify and understand views. opinions and behaviours of foreign publics in order to 4 . cultures. values.

pp. Establishment of clear organisational objectives that can be measured 2. These are: 1. It is not only MNCs that engage in international public relations. Smooth communication between team members 5.communicate effectively with them and to implement public relations campaigns that cross cultural boundaries. and Yeomans. Many organisations who position themselves as global rather than being country specific invest heavily in developing their global image. Management capabilities to guarantee good reporting 4. but NGOs and governments also engage in IPR to build and maintain the their reputation or image (Tench R. From the professional point of view. Thorough budget management that makes it possible to implement strategies and tactics in time. (Public Relations Review. 274) 5 . the world of international public relations requires almost the same business expertise as any other business operating on a global level. L. 2006). Recruitment of right professionals to achieve those objectives 3.

Political ideologies and economic development go hand in hand since political conditions are affected by economic decisions and vice versa. Public relations practice thrives on public opinion. This stands true for every country. the world has been revolving rapidly and many countries have been undergoing changes on political. they offer varied opportunities and challenges to public relations practitioners. which is valued only in true democracies. its level of economic development and its level of activism are the three main infrastructural ingredients that are the key to international public relations. However. economic and societal grounds resulting in many countries moving towards democracy and market reforms. Since the beginning of the 1990s.Infrastructure and International Public Relations: A nation·s political system. each of these factors influences and are influenced by a country·s culture and media environment. Since these countries are in various stages of democratisation. Dynamics between the political and economic systems determine a nation·s 6 . In societies whose political systems do not value public opinion. the nature of public relations is not sophisticated and often tends to be one way propagandist. Political environment in these countries determines the nature of public relations that can be practised there and therefore it is essential to link various political ideologies and public relations which are yet to be explored in many countries. Political system: A country·s political system influences its social structure.

Activism: Activism. cited in Journal of Communication Management. political system and level of development are interrelated. Economic development: A country·s economic development provides public relations professionals with an opportunity and a challenge.stability and economic development since the lack of economic development often leave the society stuck with a vicious circle of illiteracy and poverty. even developed countries do not consider public relations as a core organisational function in organisations. 103-117) the poor relationship between the economic and political elites in Egypt led to a weak civil service and resulted in an inefficient state dominated economy. according to Esfahani (1994. The level of economic development affects poverty and illiteracy which have a direct impact on strategies and techniques adopted by public relations practitioners in that country. preventing strong democratic political institutions from taking root. Lack of communication infrastructure severely challenges the international public relations professional who attempted to conduct information campaigns in developing nations. Strategic public relations are favoured by developed economics than developing economies. 2001. pp. Till today. Many agree that pluralistic political philosophy favours greater economic freedom. A country·s political system has a direct influence of on the extent of activism in 7 . For example.

A thorough study of the theocracies on public relations is essential since the legal codes in Western democracies maybe explicit. If people are struggling to earn their next square meal.that country because only pluralistic societies tolerate any sort of activism. 8 . they will have no inclination whatsoever to participate in other activities. A country·s level of economic development also directly influences the level of nature of activism in the country. Legal System: With the political and economic development also comes the legal system of the country with poses many challenges to the international public relations professions. but the ones in some other regions maybe embedded more in the social and religious codes.

2009 pp. ´since most people·s scope of experience is naturally very limited.International media and public relations: The relationship between the mass media and public relations is a critical one. due to the process of news selection. 13) observed that despite the continued tension between public relations professionals and journalists. there is always a danger that.µ Mass media and images of nations: Mass media has a powerful influence on public opinion. citied in The Global Public Relations Handbook. developing nations generally get a negative portrayal. But the developing nations have a need to be 9 . and their knowledge of complex social processes in other countries comes mainly from mass media. Many authors agree that media and public relations have a symbiotic and contentious relationship. Wilcox and Nolte (1997. organisational activities in general and public relations in particular. 15) remarked. Many developing countries feel the need of fighting back against the negative feedback but are unable to do so due to the lack of resources. 2009 pp. Kunczik (1993. Media plays a powerful role in building a country·s image in the global scenario. citied in The Global Public Relations Handbook. Whereas developed countries are generally portrayed positively by the media. there are differences between ¶real reality· and ¶media reality·µ. the symbiosis in the relationship requires that they maintain ¶·a solid working relationship based on mutual respect for each other·s work.

Media control: To maintain effective media relations. in all parts of the world depends on the political system and level of economic development of the country. 15). In developed democracies. it is necessary that the public relations professionals understand who controls the media organisations in a country and whether the control extends to editorial content. the government typically owns the electronic media and often permits private entrepreneurs to their own print media. Media ownership. Only by gaining an understanding of the media environment in a particular country can the international public relations practitioners develop strategies for conducting effective media relations suitable to that environment. In most developing countries. The latest Freedom House survey of media freedom found that 75 countries had media systems that could be classified as free. 2009 pp. 2002. thus generating interesting choices in coverage.heard in the developed part of the world as a part of their public diplomacy because they desperately need a foreign aid and loans from world bodies. 50 had partly free media and 61 were not free (Sussman & Karlekar. In such democracies. In developing societies. There is minimal direct or indirect relationship fiduciary relationship between the government and media organisations in capitalist democracies. On the other hand. citied in The Global Public Relations Handbook. the capitalist entrepreneur invests in the media. media is practically owned by the political bodies or the elites in the society. media ownership does not result in 10 . news is sold as a commodity.

In most developing countries. Despite the perceived power of the media. which also results in various limitations on editorial freedom. international public relation practitioners need to understand the extent of media diffusion in countries where they operate. But. these purveyors of information may not provide an effective means for wide dissemination of organisational messages in every country. In many developing countries. even though the media is owned by private interest. In larger developing nations. etc hinders the timely 11 . merely placing a story does not have the intended effect of one·s audience. economic independence is a mirage for most media outlets. lack of infrastructure like rail electrification. In developing countries. placing a story in the media is often the most significant part of media relations activities. Media diffusion: For the savvy public relations professionals. there is always a strong vigilance on it by the governmental or political forces. For this. Media reaches homogenous and relatively small segment of the total population in most developing countries due to illiteracy and poverty. Other steps include message comprehension or changes in level of knowledge and attitude need to be traversed but he audience before changes can occur in the behaviour. This is just the first step. Editorial freedom is directly proportional to the level of economic development in the country. lack of infrastructure and economic development are the hindrances to having editorial freedom.media control. Television sets and radios are often expensive for a large section of citizens who have limited resources.

practitioners do have some hope since a lot of developing nation·s economies have been spurting resulting in an increase in television ownership. principally activists. 18) mentioned that the Japanese press clubs act as gate keepers between the media and organisations to limit access by organisations and others to the media. etc one of the only resorts for practitioners would be to adopt to the Indian way to passing information i.e. When local conditions limit the use of western-style media like televisions. the organisation will be forced to use two-way communication for conduction public relation activities with varied publics. radio. Sriramesh and Takasaki (1998. so is the media·s access to the organisations opponents. 2009 pp. Media access denotes the extent to which various segments of society can approach the media to disseminate the messages which are important. street performances. When the media is accessible to individuals or groups with different points of view. newspapers. citied in The Global Public Relations Handbook. their efforts will reach only a certain segment of population from a country. 12 . plays in rural areas. dances. folk media like docudramas. Media access: Media access is the opposite of media diffusion. But. But.distribution of print media to far flung places. Public relations practitioners must realise that no matter the sophistication of their profession. skits. just as an organisations access to media is critical.

Between 1979 and 1997. British public relations consultancies expanded nearly tenfold (Miller and Schlesinger 2001.90). pp. 2009. 2009. These differing origins can lead to differences in the level of public relations development and give rise to a issues of concern in a given country of region. spanning cultures. While government public 13 . Some countries have very well developed public relations while others are continuing to establish the profession. Public relations in Europe: According to public relations scholars David Miller and Philip Schlesinger (2001. citied in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders.4 billion pounds to the UK economy (Dickerson 2005. spanning cultures. citied in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. The trick lies in understanding the roots of the public relations professions in a given country or region.Around the world: Public relations practitioners need to understand the differing developments of public relations around the world since public relations practice from country will be different than that of the other. pp. public relations in Europe is unevenly developed. Companies are shifting advertising budgets to public relations. Public relations in Britain is the most developed in Europe. citied in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. public relations professions remains on an upward growth path and is now the second most popular professions worth 3. pp. 90). spanning cultures. 89). In the UK. Nagvi 2007. 2009.

14 . citied in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. Lithuania has become the fastest growing economies in central and Eastern Europe. pp. In Western European countries. Central and Eastern Europe has different levels of development. finance.. 2009. In Italy. and their public relations industries are being exposed to international markets and ownership. etc. These regions are historically. 2009. CSR is particularly important for public relations work. 2009. Dickerson (2005. Elsewhere in Europe. public relations as a profession develops differently according to each region. risk and crisis public relations are also growing. cited in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. spanning cultures. spanning cultures. Public relations in areas of central Europe once dominated by communism may also have some differences in development.90). spanning cultures. sports.91).90) says that to be a successful public relations practitioner in the UK. medicine. legally and politically different from Western European countries. Public relations in Poland has been developing rapidly since the 1990s. pp.1 billion Euros to social causes in 2005 (Weber and Shandwick 2003. 2003. pp. Polish public relations market saw a slowdown in the last 1990s because of an economic downturn. citied in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders.relations is on the rise. consumers are drawn to companies with social campaigns and were predicted to donate 1. Many Eastern European countries are joining the EU. with an annual growth rate of 12% (Lawniczak et al.e. one must have ¶speciality· knowledge in addition to his/her public relation skills i. law. but the industry is clearly growing in the region.

The first public relations firm opened in China in 1984. pp. In Malaysia. spanning cultures.91). By 1997. cultural values and media environment (Wu 2005. Cadbury launched its Temptations chocolate bar in an advertisement by comparing the chocolate bar to the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan stating ¶·its too good to let goµ. International public relations began 15 . Back then. Such campaigns are common both in Singapore ² where government owns the media and in India ² which has free press (Newsom 2007 cited in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. 2009. citied in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders.91). Today.Public Relations in Asia: An area as large as Asia is bound to have differences in the development of public relations. 2009. government-inspired campaigns still account for much of the current public relations activity. the public relations industry in China is experiencing a 33% growth rate (Gorney 2005. This ad was a huge PR disaster and was criticised by the PR Week saying that Cadbury·s jokes about a conflict that has killed more than 50. This promotion was handled by their marketing team. spanning cultures. Singapore public relations still has roots in nation building but has expanded greatly. Most Asian nations have used publicity and promotion for nation-building. 000 people just goes to show that they now need a PR team in place. US American assumptions about public relations cannot be applied to Asia because of differences in the political systems. citied in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. universities started offering public relation courses. For example. pp. spanning cultures.91). Cadbury did not have a PR team. 2009. pp.

Japan has a high level of national public relations development and its primary clients are business but its historical roots are quite different from those of other Asian countries. Africa is the originator and the focus of intense public relations efforts (Turk and Scanlan 2004. but there are distinct differences in regions with so many developing nations. spanning cultures. pp. Modern African public relations is modelled on European approaches. 2009. 2009.to appear in Singapore after it became independent in 1965. Relying on mass media channels alone is insufficient for African nations. pp. media were the originator of public relations (Sattler 1981 cited in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. 2009. In Kenya.92). In many African countries. The Japanese public relations industry is worth US$4 million per year (Weber Shandwick 2006 2001. 2009. spanning cultures. citied in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders.92). Ohashi 1984 2001. citied in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. pp. modern public relations developed partly out of founding of the BBC in 1992.93). All public announcements. whether from government or from individual must come through press club (Botan 1992. supporting Kenya·s foreign policya and supporting business owners. Public relations in Africa: Today. Many African nations still see publics relations as a primary tool for national development. cited in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. spanning cultures.92). pp. Public relations in Kenya focused on implementing self-government. spanning cultures. and hence the resort to traditional mediums like the 16 .

spanning cultures. but the industry is evolving t to meet new challenges of communicating across this vast region (Weber Shandwick 2005. cited in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. the public relations agencies in the region were small and mainly focused on political strategies and crisis communication. pp.93). pp.94). public affairs and government strategy. gongman. In Ghana. songs.market square. Since many public relations practitioners have a political and media background. etc (Botan 1992. 2009. many firms are automatically involved in political campaigning. foreign and domestic corporations now need to do better in promoting their employees. They also helped Western oil firms manage their presence in these countries. Unfortunately some public relations firms were involved in some violent and corrupt actions and as a result. the town crier. 17 . They were earlier associated with lobbying and events. Pratt 1985 cited in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. folk media like dance. 2009. They also helped large financial organisations like Citibank to deal with their communication challenges. and storytelling are still important channels of public relations. Public relations in Latin America: The public relations market in Latin America is one the fastest growing ones in the world today. Some ten years ago. spanning cultures.

geography. language. The public relations in the UAE have been tremendously affected by the socio-economic. politics and business (Singh and Smyth 2000 cited in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. started in 1947 and began specializing in government relations. spanning cultures. Australian public relations has been shaped by the US developments but it displays a huge difference in cultures. In some parts of the Middle East. UAE ministers and administrators established their in-house public relations departments to respond to growing depend on their publics. 200 years. 2009. 2009. the Australian 18 . The first public relations firm in Australia ² Eric White & Associates. economics. spanning cultures. They were later bought by international public relations firm. pp.Public relations in the Middle East: Public relations practice in the Middle East dates back to the early Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilization (Grunig and Hint. 1994). It extends back to almost 1.95). Today.Hill & Knowlton. pp. public relations is still considered to be all about procuring visas. arranging transports and performing hospitality functions (Ayish and Kruckeberg 2004. practitioners consider different cultures while applying public relations theory and strategies.95). Here. Public relations in Australia and New Zealand: The Australian public relations industry has grown tremendously from the establishment of professional public relations institutes in 1949 in New South Wales and in 1952 in Victoria. cited in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. educational and cultural development of the country.

corporate affairs. 2009. technology.industry features both ² corporate and agency public relations and successfully operates in business sectors like ² politics. 7 major institutions around the country offer a public relations degree and diploma courses.com/au cited in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. the industry is growing and maturing. Already. health. marketing communications and internal communications. In New Zealand the public relations industry had no formal training until the mid-1980s but now. business. government relations. The responsibilities of public relations managers from New Zealand are growing from media relations to risk management. Although the professions is really young here. finance. 19 . pp. community relations. Community and consumer relations (PRIA. spanning cultures.95). but it is gradually growing and maturing to greater heights.

many sports teams are trying to reach the Hispanic audiences. Globalisation has helped public relations become a growing industry all over the world. In order to be able to succeed in today·s competitive world. cited in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. pp. As Cook (2007. Multiculturalism is an important trend with far reaching implications for public relations. ´the world is witnessing a ¶cultural fusion·µ. Public relations has implications on increasing multiculturalism. 2009. Outside the sports arena. businesses follow a very simple policy of ¶·Go global or go home·µ. they should keep global perspectives in mind when adapting to this new cultural environment. The barriers to business might be low. 20 . spanning cultures.Future of International PR: Today. emerging democracy and rising anger at the pervasiveness of Western lifestyles and values that the globalised world offers. Corporations and institutions are trying hard to keep up to these cultural and linguistic preferences. but at the same time. but till today. companies must understand local behaviour and preferences. The increasing spread of democracy and free enterprise makes for increased competition and communication. public relations staffs for Hispanic consumer magazines are working hard to reach their target audience more effectively. For example. Public relations must become more precise in its efforts to target audiences. the global marketplace remains complex. but cultural sensitivity is high.282) puts it.

they will avoid pitfalls of not being viewed as an organisation with a lot of crisis. 21 . While country profiles will outline what is feasible for the county. spanning cultures. cultural profiles will talk about what may be effective and the communications profile to help us the practitioners know how cultural differences will affect the publics. cultural and communications profile. which will in turn affect the public relations practice. 285) describes three primary ways of describing clientpractitioner differences in international public relations: country. 2009.Public relations practitioners should be aware of public perceptions towards each type of media. pp. Discovering these types of credible communication channels is imperative in building civil society. Also. cited in Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. if organisations act responsibly and adopt a two-way pattern of communication. Zaharna (2001.

And Stokes. and Vercic. S. (1994) ¶Lessons from the political economy of privatization and public sector reform in the Middle East and Southeast Asia·. L. Sriramesh. Freitag. 6. A. T. Gracia. (2009). (2008). The global public relations handbook: theory. 6. Exploring public relations.leedsmet. 272-277 4. R.doc> [Accessed 13th May 2011]. Global Public Relations: Spanning borders. 22 . spanning culturesb.Bibliography: 1. Palgrave Macmillan. Taylor and Francis Group 8. C. framework principles and procedures for research ethics [Internet]. research. K. H. 7. D. S. California Management Review 5. The Importance of International Public Relations. 103²117 2. Taylor and Francis Group 3. Public Relations Review 36 (2010) pp. (2010) Integrating Management Practices in International Public Relations courses: A proposal contents. J. Available from: <http://www. Morris.ac. (n.d). (2009). Leeds Metropolitan University (2006) Policy.uk/research/PublishedPolicyFramework(res _Ethics). (2009). Ken. (2) June 2001 pp. and practice. Esfahani. and Goldsworthy. Tench. Journal of Communication Management. Public Relations for Asia. and Yeomans. Financial Times Prentice Hall. A.

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