A case history approach to public relations education. Agree? Disagree? Useful? Waste of time?

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Every once in a while professionals, academics and students discuss (and sometime practice..) a case history approach to public relations education.
The argument goes that if we wish to

contaminate traditional pr education with business school and management education ( a recurring item in our stereotyped wish list) we should learn from the case history Harvard Business School approach, despite the fact that in these recent years this approach is under increasing fire and business schools (including Harvard of course) are no longer viewed as being capable of preparing managers for today’s business challenges.

The counter argument goes that public relations is a horizontal, corporate governance related practice which cannot be pinned down by a case history approach; in most cases cannot be entirely described because of confidentiality issues and therefore the case histories which do exist are, to say the least, banal and do not capture the true essence of public relations.

As much as the above are rushed descriptions of the poles of the discussion, one can readily see that the first argument is feeble in that, even if business schools are indeed struggling to cope with different and changing real life scenarios, this does not authorise to throw away the baby with the dirty water; the second argument is to all effects an unacceptable alibi, very similar to ‘there is no real reason to evaluate and measure the effectiveness of public relations activities’ which was so pervasive and somehow still is…

So, it is time to bring some conclusions to this debate and I suggest we definitely opt-in for a case-history approach.
As an interesting example, please take a look at case 1 two cases which Peter Walker case two has just released for us to consider.
Let’s discuss the overall principle, the formats, the length and their actual usefulness.

Maybe, post-modernists may think that we do not need to reinvent the wheel?
If so (which may be an excellent thought) what should we do?

What do you say?

2 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with you, I myself am a PR student and feel that case studies allow me to sink my teeth into something. It allows me to look at a situation, see how I would do it and then compare it with what actually happened. Its is a practice, as no company will allow you to practice with their reputation, this is the only way to do it.

  2. Every person must know his/her roots i.e his past , to arrive at a proper perspective about the Present and his/her Future. There are many things we study that is worthless as per current time’s demand but still they help us to make ourselves ALLROUNDERS rather than SPECIALISTS.

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