Moving towards a global dashboard of local public relations infrastructure?

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If you visit the Global Alliance website and click on Landscapes; if you read the Global Public Relations Handbook (2004) edited by slovene Dejan Vercic and indian Sriramesh Krishnamurthy, or Public Relations and Communication Management in Europe (2004), edited by the dutch Betteke Van Rule and slovene Dejan Vercic, or Public Relations in Asia (2005), edited by indian Sriramesh Krishnamurthy…

you will find, at obviously different levels of introspection, the public relations scenarios of some 70 different countries (and more are coming…a recent comment to one my posts announces a similar book related to African countries, and I am aware of others ready to appear in the next few months). The thread which one can easily note in these descriptions is that a similar format has been adopted, thus facilitating comparisons as well as horizontal issues analysis. Why is this so relevant for a professional like you or me? It allows you to detect emerging trends, understand different nuances (only to cite a few examples) of the interpretation of personal influence and networking models in various parts of the world; on stakeholder relationship practices; on worldviews which are different and which strongly impact on day-to-day and medium term tactics and visions; because it gives you the opportunity to understand how our activity is at the same time -as many say to justify that it is not really a profession- very diverse, but also strikingly similar (thus confirming, at least from this point of view, that it is a profession). And while we are on this issue I believe it is also time to recognize that traditional professions (legal, medical, accounting, journalism…) have in recent years changed significantly to the point of becoming less and less recognizable and unitary in their conceptualization, and that their intrinsic diversity very much mirrors our own….

What is yet missing, in my view (and it could be possibly a profitable commercial venture..), is a well thought graphic synopsis, a typical managerial ‘dashboard’ tool, constantly updated, which indicates to those of us who have responsibility to oversee, govern or manage stakeholder relationships in different areas of the world, a rationalized ‘map’ of this glocal public relations infrastructure.

But what do I mean by a public relations infrastructure?

According to the scholars who have and are continuing to study it, a given territory may be analysed along certain indicators which give a public relations professional a birds eye view of how her/his activities are to be effectively conducted.

The so called specific applications, whose variables greatly impact on an organization’s public relations activities, are six:

° the legal system (monarchy, republic, military regime, dictatorship; common or roman law; written or oral constitution….)

°the political system (democracy, autocracy..; parliamentary, presidential….; federal centralized….; proportional, first past the post or mixed elective processes; one party, biparty or bipolar, multiparty or multipolar….)

°the economic system (managed, free market, corporative, protectionist…)

°the activist system (active citienziship, level of civil society, trade union culture, social activism, ngo’s….)

°the socio cultural system (following the Hoffstedte indicators: power distance, masculin/feminine, uncertainty avoidance, long term/short term orientation, individualism/collectivism)

°the media system (control, outreach and access).

For each of these systems it is possible to graphically illustrate a specific situation in a given time-frame, compare each graph with other territories in the same region, or territories of interest to a specific organization or horizontally see the same application in different areas… and so on.

Of course this highly ‘local’ perspective must be carefully integrated in a universal application of the so called generic principles which characterize effective public relations and have been identified as:

1.

-being two way and tendentially symmetric;

-valuing the principle of diversity based on a platform of dialogue and communication with influential publics;

-based on a solid body of knowledge;

-based on responsible communicative behaviours across the organization.

2.

a management function which assists organizations in developing relationship systems with their influential publics, to improve the quality of its decisions and to accelerate the implementation of those decisions, while the value of the function is determined by the dynamic qualities of those relationships.

3.

developing a technical, managerial and strategic role via a professional function which consciously plans, administers, implements and evaluates communication programs.

4.

contributing to an organization’s success by also enabling each managerial function to develop in the context of codetermined criteria of coherence- relationship systems with its respective influential publics5.

being directly enabled by the organization’s leadership and not subordinated to other managerial functions with whom dialogue is constant but peer.

If the described public relations infrastructure is adequately analysed int the context of this framework of generic principles then we are capable of effectively managing, governing, coordinating global public relations.

Anyone interested in picking up this challenge?

4 COMMENTS

  1. Toni,

    As i was reading the top of your post, I was devlopping in my mind a similar thought. The I read your suggestion! You and I have probably spent too much time together. I think this is a fantastic idea…ambitious but the result would be quite revealing. A sort of evergreen matrix/dashbord which would show at-a-glance how different countries line up.
    I am all for it but don’t have the energy or ressources at the moment. Maybe one of the GA partners or one of the many other organisations that we count as a regular contact- IPR, EUPRERA would be interested in this project with the GA?

  2. one more thing: why not set up a wiki for this purpose? Do we really need different tomes, formats etc. when we could have an online source of relevant, easily updateable data? (I never really understood why GA’s PR landscape was PDF only.)

  3. markus,

    markus,
    I was referring to geert hofstete who worked for IBM and developed those indicators. You can read about his work at http://www.geert-hofstede.com/
    jean,
    why don’t we take his second wiki suggestion up? of course the base needs to start from the idea of a format which could satisfy any member of top management in a hurry and adapt the format to the existing information we have available getting of course permission as well as updates from the original authors….

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