People know public relations as someone who is engaging with the public, speaking in front of the public (mass audiences) and synonym with charade and spinning the fact. If i can say, public relations is more than all of that. And talking about spinning, like all other professions, PR is too has its own code of ethics.
Some definitions (I quote from several books):
- public relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationship between an organization and the publics on whom its success or failures depends. (Cutlip, Center, and Broom in Broom, 2009
- A management function that involves counselling at the highest level and being involved in strategic planning for the organisation. (Public Relations Society of America (PRSA))
- public relations is about reputation-the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. (Chartered Institute of PR)
- Public relations is a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organisation and its publics; involves the management of problems or issues; helps management to keep informed on and responsive to public opinions; defines and emphasises the responsibility of management to serve the public interest; helps management keep abreast of and effectively utilise change; serving as an early warning system to help anticipate trends; and uses research and ethical communication techniques as its principal tools. (Harlow)
Based on the definitions, there is one similarity. PR is about management of relationship. Managing relationship with the end goal of keeping a positive reputation of the corporation/organization/company. The ideal PR position is close to the highest management level, why? for obvious reasons.
- PR must know the decisions made by the management which can influence the publics of the organization. (Publics is the individual/organization/group of people who will influence and are influenced by the organization)
- PR will inform the management about anything that is happening, spoke about, any news and issues coming out from the publics
- PR keeping the balance check between what the organization wants from the publics and likewise
- PR works both ways, on behalf of the organization and the publics
Broom, G. M. (2009). Cutlip & Center’s Effective Public Relations (10th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education.
Newsom, D., Turk, J., & Kruckeberg, D. (2010). This is PR: The realities of public relations (10 ed.). Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Tench, R., & Yeomans, L. (2006). Exploring PR. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.