My thoughts on PRSA defends the candidate of “public relations”

The article, PRSA defends the candidate definitions of “public relations”, was an interesting one. When I think of how I would define the term “public relations”, a number of words pop up in my head. That being said, that is why this article was written; we have not come to a conclusion on a definition of the profession in which everyone agrees on in he last112 years. There are four reasons why:

 The first reason from the PRSA, “You hate them.” People usually have something negative to say about the modernized definitions PRSA has come up with, with responses like- they don’t, you did, you can, and they do.Only about 15 percent of PR companies have the word “public relations” or “PR” in the name of the business, which makes it confusing to come up with one solid definition when there are so many roles in the feild.

The second reason from PRSA, “You can’t stand lingo or jargon.” After results came in from a crowd-sourced approach, it seemed as if too many disliked words were found to describe the profession, such as “public”, or “audiences.” People complain about the PR field having lingo, yet the appropriate term “stakeholders” probably wouldn’t want to be used etiher.

The third reason from PRSA, “They won’t change the profession’s image.” PRSA has many improvements to look forward to, such as creating a more diverse field or work, coming up with new measurement and evaluation techniques, and so many more.

The fourth reason from the PRSA, “They aren’t particulary modernized.” Out of the many definitions that were introduced, the final three that have been selected as options, are all principles that were used by 2 of the most sought after men in the field of PR, Barnum and Bernays.

Two out of the three final definitions are-

“Public relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whom its success or failure depends.”

-Scott Cutlip, Allen Center, and Glen Broom ; “Effective Public Relations”


“Public relations is the management of communication between an organization and its publics. Its purpose is to cultivate relationships among organizations and publics.” 

                -Dr. James E. Grunig


The thing that I found was the most intriguing was at the end of the article, in which the author David C. Rickey wrote, “Finally, let’s remember that we will be judged by our performance and our results, not by how we define ourselves.” I think Rickey is absolutely right, however, it seems like people need definitions for everything these days.


8 thoughts on “My thoughts on PRSA defends the candidate of “public relations”

  1. Very interesting! I think that it is very important to remember that the goal is to manage communication effectively with the intended publics and clients. Being able to define yourself should in fact, come from the success or potential failure you as a company encounter.

  2. I feel like the definition for what public relations really means is far too subjective to actually be defined, if that makes any sense. There are so many different aspects that go into PR that I don’t believe one definitive explanation could truly capture it without leaving anything out.

  3. I agree with the author David. No matter how we define PR our work proformance and results will always be the main focus. I think because the field of PR is diverse and practitioners can do so much having multiple definitions is ok, I don’t see it as a bad thing.

  4. Effective PR had it right, or perhaps I enjoy their use of words more so than Grunig. I think it’s hard to define at this point because so many people within and outside of the industry have made their own definitions. Its such a vast field, its so perfect for an indecisive person like me, I can just go on to the next branch until I find my niche 🙂

  5. Like it or not performance has a huge impact on how the public reacts to a certain item thats being promoted. It has to be professional because you want it to benificial to the employees as well as the customers.

  6. I think it is very interesting that only 15% of companies actually call it “public relations.” For such an important aspect for any business, it is surprising that there is still such a bias today.

  7. The performance and results of public relations leave much more of a lasting impression than the many different definitions presented as “public relations.” Firms should focus on their individual results as a company rather than worry about what he or she says the definition of their business is. Those kind of thoughts can distract from the goals of the company and cause unwanted tension so I would think it would be better to not worry about them. Let everybody have their individual opinion on what public is and what it is not.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s