Why are there so many different definitions of Public Relations?
Why is Public Relations so important in organizations daily operations?
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1. Why are there so many different definitions of Public Relations?
Theories and definitions of concepts change over time, mainly because history itself changes, which demands new ways of explaining things. In fact, the formal practice of what today is called public relations is less than 100 years old. Yet during its relatively brief history, public relations has been defined in many widely differing ways. Not surprisingly, the earliest definitions emphasized the roles of press agentry and publicity since these were major elements from which modern public relations grew.
Later as public relations was recognized and employed by more organizations, definitions began to include:
? The need for research prior to initiating actions, careful planning and thorough evaluation or measurement of results.
? A continuing, systematic process instead of a one-time or single activity.
? Multiple audiences or publics.
? Its role as an essential function of management.
? Public participation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and accommodation as important tools.
? The need, in most instances, for long-term commitment. (1)
Notice that many of these definitions are quite lengthy, so much so that they tended more to describe what public relations does than what it is. In 1988, in an attempt to solve this dilemma the governing body of the Public Relations Society of America -its Assembly -formally adopted a definition of public relations which has become most accepted and widely used:
"Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other."
This definition seems to be a good one. In this definition, the essential functions of research, planning, communications dialogue and evaluation are implied. Key words are "organization" rather than the limiting implication of "company" or "business", and "publics" which recognizes that all organizations have multiple publics from which they must earn consent and support (1)
In fact, the meaning of the term Public relations (PR) is controversial. The Public Relations industry would describe it as the means and industry of influencing public opinion towards an organization and its products or services. To critics of the public relations industry it is also the means and industry used by corporations to deceive the public and to manipulate ...
This solution explains why there are so many different definitions of Public Relations and why Public Relations is so important in organizations daily operations.