New Thinking to Drive the Science of Public Relations

With the announcement of the Institute for Public Relations Research Fellows to guide this organization’s overall research program, Bulldog’s Daily Dog gave me the opportunity to write an op-ed.

The entire piece is available online. Among the themes:

1. More attention to the three kinds of research as articulated by Jim Grunig.
2. Under-researched public relations models, most particularly the personal influence model.
3. The need to do a better job tapping relevant research of other disciplines.
4. Getting researchers to think more like practitioners and vice versa.

Hope you’ll check out the piece on Daily Dog.

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4 Replies to “New Thinking to Drive the Science of Public Relations

  1. Frank, Kudos from a long-time fan…starting back in our early “information superhighway” days.

  2. Frank I agree that PR hasn’t done enough to seek out the knowledge that’s already ‘out there’ – such as from social psychology.
    Perhaps it’s that the way universities reward research there’s less drive to develop ‘old hat’ material than there is to take up the third of Grunig’s themes – to develop (new) theory.
    Cetainly some research can seem a bit rarified, especially when written up in academic journals which are great for researcher reputation but rubbish for practitioner dissemination.
    To encourage research in an applied direction also requires access to the raw material of what’s going on, and that requires bravery on the part of practitioners.

  3. Thanks, Bill. The Institute is already involved in all three areas or research — standards and best practices in the first area, sponsorship and dissemination of actual research in the second two areas.

    But, how much is enough in a field with so many moving parts? I don’t see stagnation by any means. But whether the research base (and practitioners’ knowledge of it) can keep pace with the growth of public relations itself… that is truly a daunting challenge.

  4. Well done, Frank. Thanks for the link. A good summation of where things stand and some direction for the future, but where is this research to come from? Not from academe, if the papers presented at AEJMC are any indication. Nor from industry, which appears largely uninterested in research unless there is a cost-benefit ratio number associated with it. If the Institute were to sponsor a program of research in each of the three areas Grunig has identified, perhaps we would see more proof of the pudding. Otherwise, matters may stagnate for decades longer.

    Bill Huey
    Strategic Communications

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