The Essential Knowledge Project

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There is a tremendous amount of research conducted over the years on all aspects of creating and sustaining public opinion, attitudes and relationships. All too many practitioners don’t have a clue where to find it.

So the Institute for Public Relations has introduced the Essential Knowledge Project, an online guide to the best research into how organizations build and manage mutually beneficial relationships with customers, communities, employees and other stakeholders.

It’s free and offers authoritative summaries of relevant research with links to the original sources for those who wish to dig deeper. Three topics are already available: “Trust and PR Practice” by Brad L. Rawlins, associate department chair, Brigham Young University; “Ethics and Public Relations” by Shannon A. Bowen, assistant professor, University of Maryland; and “Crisis Management and Communications” by W. Timothy Coombs, associate professor, Eastern Illinois University.

Topics under development include employee communications, investor relations, corporate social responsibility, corporate identity and branding, and measurement and evaluation of public relations. The guides will be supplemented by case studies to demonstrate the science in practice plus online commentary from users.

A team of communications and business school professors helped conceive the project, including: Paul Argenti, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth; Stephen Greyser, Harvard Business School; Don W. Stacks, University of Miami; and Donald K. Wright, Boston University. The website development was provided pro bono by Wieck Media, online technology partner of the Institute.

We believe this new undertaking represents an innovation as important as when our predecessor organization published its first bibliography of public relations knowledge in 1964. We are helping outstanding scholars share their knowledge to build greater appreciation of the research underlying organizational communications and relationships.

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