PR resources, about or by, Canada and Canadians

In a comment to my last post, PRC reader and frequent commenter, Brandon Carlos, indicated his frustration at the apparent dearth of Canadian resources, “Another lagging area in Canadian PR, Judy, is in the educational text arena. As a recent grad, I can attest to the atrocious selection of Canadian-focused PR texts. In a country with a population base spread across such a vast land area, you would think that nowhere other than Canada would PR be such a necessity.” In a follow-up comment, I put out a call to Canadian academics to share resources with Brandon and others. So far Elizabeth Hirst (Montreal) and Fraser Likely (Ottawa) have graciously weighed in. (Thank you!) Fraser’s contributions are so extensive, that I thought this area deserved its own space. And I continue to encourage others (academic or practitioner, Canadian or “non”) to add to this list of targeted and relevant resources.

From Elizabeth Hirst:

Lack of Canadian textbooks — don’t get me started! Although I must note three recent excellent specialized texts:

– William Wray Carney’s In the News – The Practice of Media Relations in Canada
– John Cooper’s Crisis Communications in Canada
– Patricia Parsons’ Ethics in Public Relations.

There are also several good Canadian books on mass communications.

What we still lack is a basic text. There are several good American ones, but our students deserve a Canadian focus on the history of the practice, pioneers in the business, government relations, public policy issues, cultural communities, etc. There are big differences in these areas. Possibly someone could translate Danielle Maisonneuve’s text (Université du Québec à Montréal)– Les relations publiques dans une société en mouvance. (If someone would like to give me a grant . . .)

From Fraser Likely:

Here are some of the PR books and articles about Canada or by Canadians or produced in Canada. I’ve used the materials in the 4th year PR course I used to teach in the Communications Department at the University of Ottawa and in the MBA in PR Management program at Royal Roads University. I’ve recently written a chapter on the evolution and status of PR in Canada for the 2nd edition of the Global PR book edited by Krishnamurthy Sriramesh and Dejan Vercic. Out in the fall I believe.

This list is not conclusive, but it’s free to almost everyone. Betsy, I’m sure you’ll pay me a glass of Montalcino Brunello for the list. Perhaps others could add to it – and we’d all have a better indication of Canadian content:

Amyot, D. & Likely, F. “Building on Strength: Recent Changes to the Communications Function in the Federal Government.” Canadian Government Executive. August/September. 2004.

Bartha, P.F. “Key concepts of issues management.” Canadian Business Review. Summer. 1984.

Bartha, P.F. “Incorporating Public Affairs in Business Management: Problems and Opportunities.” In Murray, V.V. (ed) Theories of Business-Government Relations. Trans Canada Press. Toronto. 1985.

Bartha, P. “Issues Management: Theory and Practice.” In Baetz, M. (ed.) Readings and Canadian Cases in Business, Government and Society. Nelson Canada. Toronto. 1993.

Basen, I. “A Century of Spin.” CBC Radio (A six-part radio series called Spin Cycles: Spin, the Spinners and the Spun). Retrieved from September 15, 2007.

Bernier, M-F., Demers, F., Lavigne, A., Moumouni, C. & Watine, T. Pratiques Novatrices en Communication Publiques: Journalisme, Relations Publiques et Publicité. Les Presses de l’Université Laval. Sainte-Foy. 2005.

Brown, G.D. “A Brief History and Review of Public Relations in Canada.” In Herbert, W.B. & Jenkins, R.G. (eds.) Public Relations in Canada: Some Perspectives. Fitzhenry and Whiteside. Toronto. 1984.

Bowles, J. “Consultants at the Crossroads.” Marketing Magazine Supplement: Focus on Public Relations. January 25, 1988.

CPRS. “The Future of Public Relations.” Position Paper. National Conference Discussion. June. 1989.

Carney, W.W. In the News: the Practice of Media Relations in Canada. University of Alberta Press. Edmonton. 2002.

Cooper, J. Crisis Communications in Canada: A Practical Approach. Centennial College Press. Toronto. 2007.

Council of Canadian Public Relations Firms. Retrieved from September 15 2007.

Czarnecki, A. Crisis Communications: A Primer for Teams. iUniverse. 2007.

Dagenais, B. Le métier de la relationniste. Les Presses de l’Université Laval. Sainte-Foy. 1997.

Dagenais, B. Le Plan de Communication. Les Presses de l’Université Laval. Sainte-Foy. 1998.

Delbridge, P. “Advocacy Groups and the Act of Coalition Building.” In Wright, W.J. & DuVernet, C.J. (eds) The Canadian Public Affairs Handbook: Maximizing Markets, Protecting Bottom Lines. Carswell. Toronto. 1988.

Devereaux Ferguson, S. Mastering the Public Opinion Challenge. Irwin. New York. 1994.

Devereaux Ferguson, S., & Johansen, P. “History of Public Relations in Canada.” In Robert Heath (ed.) Encyclopedia of Public Relations (pp. 111-116). Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA. 2005.

Donoghue, J. PR: Fifty Years in the Field. Dundurn Press. Toronto. 1993.

Edgett, R. “Toward an Ethical Framework for Advocacy in Public Relations.” Journal of Public Relations Research. Vol. 14(1); 1-26. 2002.

Emms, M. “The Origins of Public Relations as an Occupation in Canada.” Unpublished Master Thesis. Department of Communication Studies. Concordia University. Montreal. 1995.

Erb, B.M. “Public Relations in Government.” In Herbert, W.B. & Jenkins, R.G. (eds.) Public Relations in Canada: Some Perspectives. Fitzhenry and Whiteside. Toronto. 1984.

Fleisher, C.S. Assessing, Managing & Maximizing Public Affairs Performance. Public Affairs Council. Washington. 1997.

Fleisher, C.S. “Global Development of Public Affairs.” In Fleisher, C.S. & Harris, P. Eds. Handbook of Public Affairs. Sage Publications. London. 2005.

Flynn, T. “A Delicate Equilibrium: Balancing Theory, Practice, and Outcomes.” Journal of Public Relations Research. Vol. 18(2); 191-201. 2006.

Forstner, G. and Bales, J. “Building Dialog into the Public Consultation Process, Part One.” Public Relations Quarterly. 37(3). Fall 1992.

Frappier, G. & Likely, F. “Defining Leadership Roles in the Canadian Government.” Strategic Communication Management. Melcrum Publishing. Vol 9(1). December/January. 2005.

Gausden, M.B. “Public Relations and Canadian Banking.” In Herbert, W.B. & Jenkins, R.G. (eds.) Public Relations in Canada: Some Perspectives. Fitzhenry and Whiteside. Toronto. 1984.

Gollner, A.B. Social Change and Corporate Strategy. Issue Action Publications. Stamford, Connecticut. 1983.

Gollner, A.B. & Shayon, D.R. Levering the Impact of Public Affairs. HRN. Philadelphia. 1984.

Government of Canada. “Managing Government Communications in the 1990s.” Discussion Paper. Federal Communications Council. November 1992.

Government of Canada. Canadian Government Job Futures. Retrieved from September 15 2007.

Grunig, J.E. & Grunig L. A. “Models of Public Relations and Communication.” In Grunig, J.E. (ed). Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah, New Jersey. 1992. (see Canadian data)

Grunig L. A., Grunig, J.E. & Dozier D.M. Excellent Public Relations and Effective Organizations: A Study of Communication Management in Three Countries. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah, New Jersey. 2002. (see Canadian data)

Guiniven, J.E. “Dealing with Activism in Canada: An Ideal Cultural Fit for the Two-Way Symmetrical Model.” Public Relation Review. Vol 28(4); 393-402. October 2002.

Hallahan, K. “W.L. Mackenzie King: Rockefeller’s other public relations counselor in Colorado.” Journal of Public Relations Research. 29(4); 410-415. 2003.

Hamilton, S. A Communications Audit Handbook: Helping Organizations Communicate. Longman. New York. 1987.

Herbert, W.B. & Jenkins, R.G. (eds.) Public Relations in Canada: Some Perspectives. Fitzhenry and Whiteside. Toronto. 1984.

Institute of Communication Agencies. Retrieved from September 15, 2007.

Johansen, P. “Professionalization and the Birth of the Canadian Public Relations Society.” Presentation to the Canadian Communication Association. Ottawa. June. 1998.

Johansen, P. “Professionalization, Building Respectability, and the Birth of the Canadian Public Relations Society.” Journalism Studies. Vol 2(1); 55-71. 2001

Johansen, P. “International Public Relations: Canadian Perspectives.” Presentation for preliminary program. International Communication Association. San Diego, California. May. 2003.

Johnson, J. “Issues Management – What are the Issues?” Business Quarterly. University of Western Ontario. Vol. 48; 22-31. Autumn. 1983.

Knott, L. Plain Talk About Public Relations. McClelland & Stewart. Toronto. 1961.

Likely, F. “Winning PR War Requires a Different Dialogue with Public.” Op Ed Page article. The Ottawa Citizen. October 22, 1992.

Likely, F. “Are You Ready to Become a Democrat: The Role of the Internal Communication Specialist.” Strategic Communication Management. Melcrum Publishing. Vol 2(2). February/March 1998.

Likely, F. “Reorganize Your Communication Function: Ten Structural Models.” Strategic Communication Management. Melcrum Publishing. Vol 2(5). August/September 1998.

Likely, F. “Communication and PR: Made to Measure.” Strategic Communication Management. Melcrum Publishing. Vol 4(1). December/January 2000.

Likely, F. “Are You a Communication Strategist?.” Strategic Communication Management. Melcrum Publishing. Vol 6(3). April/May 2002.

Likely, F. “PR/Communication: Key Player in the Strategic Management Process.” Strategic Communication Management. Melcrum Publishing. Vol 7(6). October/November 2003.

Likely, F. “Ten Things We Should Know about Communication Evaluation.” Strategic Communication Management. Melcrum Publishing. Vol 8(5). August/September 2004.

Likely, F. “Beyond the Manager and the Technician Roles: Exploring an Executive or Executive Leader Role for the Head of a PR/Communication Function.” International Public Relations Research Conference. Miami. Proceedings. 2004.

Likely, F. “The Rise of the Relationship Manager.” Strategic Communication Management. Melcrum Publishing. Vol 9(4). June/July. 2005.

Likely, F., Rockland, D. & Weiner, M. “Perspectives on the ROI of Media Publicity Efforts.” Institute for Public Relations. 2005. (

Maisonneuve, D., Lamarche, J-F & St Amand, Y. Les Relations Publiques dans une Société en Mouvance. Les Presses de l’Université du Québec. Sainte-Foy. 2003.

Martin, P. “Aligning Communication with Values at VanCity.” Strategic Communication Management. Melcrum Publishing. Vol 7(5). August/September 2003.

Mindszenthy, B, Watson, T.A.G. & Kock, W. No Surprises: The Crisis Communication Management System. Bedford House Publishing. Toronto. 1988.

Moorcroft, D. “Linking Communication Strategy with Organizational Goals.” Strategic Communication Management. Melcrum Publishing. Vol 7(6). October/November 2003.

Moorcroft, D. &Patterson, L. “Decentralizing Responsibility at the Royal Bank of Canada.” Strategic Communication Management. Melcrum Publishing. Vol 8(6). October/November 2004.

Parsons, P. “Framework for Analysis of Conflicting Loyalties.” Public Relations Review. Vol 19(1); 49-5. 1993.

Parsons, P.A. Manager’s Guide to PR Projects: A Practical Approach. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Hillsdale, NJ. 2003.

Parsons, P. Ethics in Public Relations: A Guide to Best Practice. Kogan Page. London. 2004.

Pearson, R. “Reviewing Albert J. Sullivan’s Theory of Public Relations Ethics.” Public Relations Review. Vol 15(2); 52-62. Summer. 1989.

Pearson, R. “Business Ethics as Communication Ethics: Public Relations Practice and the Idea of Dialogue.” In Botan, C & Hazleton, V. (eds) Public Relations Theory. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Hillsdale, NJ. 1989.

Pearson, R. “Ethical Values or Strategic Values? The Two Faces of Systems Theory in Public Relations. In Grunig, L.A. & Grunig, J.E (eds) Public Relations Research Annual. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Vol 2. 1990.

Pearson, R. “Perspectives on Public Relations History.” Public Relations Review. Volume 16(3): 27-38. Autumn. 1990.

Piekos, J.M. & Einsiedel, E.F. “Roles and Program Evaluation Techniques Among Canadian Public Relations Practitioners.” In Grunig, L.A. & Grunig, J.E (eds) Public Relations Research Annual. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Vol 2. 1990.

PR Canada. Retrieved from September 15, 2007.

Redmond, J. & Likely, F. “Rebuilding Communication in the Federal Government of Canada.” Strategic Communication Management. Melcrum Publising. Vol 6(6). 2002.

Redmond, J. & Likely, F. “Mission Possible: Renewing the Communications Function in the Federal Government.” Canadian Government Executive. Issue 4. 2002.

Romanow, W.I. and Soderlund, W.C. Media Canada: An Introductory Analysis. 2nd ed. Copp Clark. Toronto. 1996.

Root, M.G. “Canadian Public Relations Educational Standards.” In Herbert, W.B. & Jenkins, R.G. (eds.) Public Relations in Canada: Some Perspectives. Fitzhenry and Whiteside. Toronto. 1984.

Rose, J.W. Making “Pictures in our Head”: Government Advertising in Canada. Praeger/Greenwood. 2000.

Saykaly, M.C. Guide to Public Opinion Research. Ottawa. Optimum Consultants. 1985.

Scrimger, J. “Women in Canadian Public Relations.” Public Relations Review. Vol 11(3); 40-46. Autumn. 1985.

Scrimger, J. & Richards, T. “Public relations battles and wars: Journalistic clichés and the potential for resolution (Canada).” Journal of Public Relations Research. 29(4); 485-502. 2003.

Shaw, J. & Shaw, P. “Stakeholder Relationships in Canada: In Partnership With Community.” In Fleisher, C.S. & Harris, P. (eds) Handbook of Public Affairs. Sage Publications. London. 2005.

Shiller, E. (ed). The Canadian Guide to Managing the Media. Prentice-Hall Canada. Scarborough. Ontario. 1994.

Skinner, C., Mersham, G. & Valin, J. Global Protocol on Ethics in Public Relations. Journal of Communication Management. Vol 8(1) 2003.

Stanley, G. “Beyond Communications: Issues Managamant in the 1980s – an Introduction.” Public Issues Group. Ottawa. 1979.

Taylor, I. Mediaspeak: The Bold New Guide to Public Relations and Reputation Management. LB Pub. Services. Toronto. 1999.

Wright, W.J. & DuVernet, C.J. (eds). The Canadian Public Affairs Handbook: Maximizing Markets, Protecting Bottom Lines. Carswell. Toronto. 1988.

* * *

Update: Here’s some more resources worth checking out. JG

The Canadian Public Relations Society’s Jack Yocom Public Relations Profile Collection (scroll to the bottom of the page to see the profiles available).

Educational Resources from Lafontaine Baldwin. In particular, the 2007 symposium address by Adrienne Clarkson, “The Society of Difference,” which was also published in The Walrus magazine.

Update 09/02/08: It has come to my attention that CPRS (Vancouver) has a Professional Development web page of Recommended Readings. The following PR resources aren’t replicated anywhere else on this PRC listing:

– Canadian News Release Handbook. David Reilley. Victoria, BC: Integrate Pub., 1991
– Media Canada: An Introductory Analysis. 2nd ed. W. I. Romanow and W. C. Soderlund. Toronto: Copp Clark, 1996


A Class Act wrote: The scarcity of PR resources in Canada

“A comment by recent Centennial grad Brandon Carlos… rued the lack of a Canadian PR textbook and similar resources. The observation prompted a …hunt for materials about Canadian corporate communications and public relations. The result has been a wonderful, if sometimes frustrating, conversation about PR education and research in this country (and others, like South Africa)… .”

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27 Replies to “PR resources, about or by, Canada and Canadians

  1. I wanted to let you know about my new book on Canadian media relations, called Building Media Relationships, Second Edition, which is being launched by Oxford University Press in October, 2008. It contains Canadian content, Canadian resources, and 8 award-winning Canadian media relations case studies.
    Since 1982, I have been President of my own communications firm, Susan Sommers + Associates. I currently teach marketing and media relations through the University of Toronto and the Sprott School of Business (Carleton University). The book will be featured on my website ( in late September and will be available through Chapters and, as well as through the publisher and at selected bookstores.
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  2. I’m coming into to this conversation a bit late but found it quite fascinating.
    As many of you know I am a globalist who ahs long believed that the concept of ‘generic principles and specific applications’ is one that applies to us all wherever we live or practice PR.
    That is what we have found when the GA examined ethics, accrediation and soon curriculum standards.
    It is this last GA project that I would like to mention here. Fraser raises the very question that this project seeks to answer: What curriclum is used to teach PR?
    The GA’s preliminary research (litetrature review conducted by Leeds University on behalf of the GA) gave us very little evidence that curriculum guidelines exist. It also caustioned used -as we contemplate analysis- that culture is a key determinant in how PR is taught. Moreover, it behoved us to define PR for the purpose of this project before we seek information.
    The first part fo this prpject is active and I encourage you to comment on the wikispace that Terry Flynn created to arrive at a definition that would be used to survey GA members with a survey instrument regarding curriculum used in their country.
    see this space for the wiki
    Our next step is to send out the result of this ‘definition’ as the starting point for the survey that Elisabeth Toth and others are drafting. The survey is based on the ‘Professional Bond’ report publihsed by the Commission on Education.

    Essentially, we plan to ask GA memebers the following: Given the defintion provided-which was arrived as a common starting-point defintion for this project, we would ask you to complete the survey regarding the manner in which PR is taught in your country….etc…
    Our goal is to analyse the results and prepare a report which will go to the GA board. The objective is to determine- as we did with ethics and personnal credentials- if there is sufficient agreement or coherence in curriculum to propose global standards based on the ‘generic principles and specific applications’ concept. This si likely to take us a few years but should be well worth the effort.
    And Canadian standards, including textbooks, will be part of the questions we will ask.

  3. [Note that this strand of the conversation has also been redirected to a new and more-focused post by Benita. JG] Craig: It is very encouraging that you think the field of PR has made some progress in building bridges between academics and practitioners. As a matter of fact, this issue is so important that I already decided this afternoon to take it up in a full-blown post on PRC and extract your comments from this ‘Canadian’ conversation to it when I saw Fraser’s comment a moment ago (that pulled the whole issue back to Canada again). I still want to do a separate post on it, but for the moment let us return to Canada (and the comparable experiences from South Africa).

    Judy is right that our countries and people have much in common, but she doesn’t know that it is more than PR/PA! I first found this out many moons ago when, as diplomats, my husband and I invariably ended up with Canadians as best friends in the many overseas postings we had. This was further attested to in Bled in 2003 when Craig was spontaneously adopted by the South African team as ‘one of us’ and again in 2005 when Fraser, of his own volition and in the ‘spirit’ of the moment, joined the rowdy SA crowd.

    But having read with interest all Judy’s posts over the last year I also saw many overlaps in public relations. Your community colleges appear much the same as our technikons, where PR’s charge is to stay close to practice and deliver graduates who are employable immediately. I am quite convinced that our PR technicians are up there with the best in the world – being trained not only by technicons, but also by some research universities and the Education Centre of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA), where incidentally, I had my first PR training and heard about the PR plan and PR strategy for the first time!

    I have no idea what the situation is in Canada with regards to general communication education. In SA it is very good. There are a number of universities who have had excellent communication programmes for 2 or 3 decades already (with PR a sub-field in most of them) and I think there are at least five reputable accredited academic communication journals in SA. However, the tide for PR changed (in my opinion) when it was established as a new department in the Management Sciences (together with Marketing) at the Univ of Pretoria in 1993. The first master’s class in Communication Management (PR) started in 1995 (and the first web-based masters in 2002). We were incredibly fortunate to have Prof Gustav Puth as the Head of the Department and the Head of Communication Management. With his academic and consultancy background, he introduced the students (including Estelle de Beer, who is also active on PRC, and myself) to the field of strategic communication management. What an eye opener it was for seasoned practitioners! We all got hooked and still are—most of us having ended up in academia. (Estelle, myself and another PR academic/practitioner Retha Groenewald actually did an ‘Excellence Study’ for SA as our masters degrees, after we heard Lauri Grunig speak about it in 1996 — we didn’t replicate it, but adapted it to SA conditions).

    Univ of Pretoria is the top research university in SA and with its emphasis on research, theory and academic rigour, the new PR Dept had to follow. This was a blessing to the field of PR in SA, in my opinion. Also, being together with Marketing in the same Dept, we were gently ‘forced’ into quantitative research–certainly another blessing (although we sweated blood). With 10, or some years even 15, master’s students in the class, there has been a steady output of PR master’s and doctoral degrees over the last 13 years (and also some from other universities). When I attended the IPRRC in Miami in 2000, I was asked how many doctoral students were enrolled in my university’s PR programme. When I answered 12, nobody believed me. They said that was more or less the figures for the whole USA at that stage. (Now that one I didn’t believe)!

    To cut this story short—in my opinion, having lived the SA experience, post-graduate PR education at reputable research universities is the way to go for Canada. That is where the research output comes from. That is where the academic publications come from. That is where the strategic role of PR is taught, where the graduates start performing it — which is the start of the institutionalisation of PR).

    But to agree with Fraser, it certainly can be laid at the door of our ‘technicon’ staff (who have since changed names to ‘Universities of Technology’) to liaise strongly with practice. In SA they are doing so. However, publications are scarce from these lecturers — both practitioner and academic — because research and research knowledge is scarce. So they are well equipped to be training our PR technicians. But I see our ‘PR managers’ and ‘PR strategists’ to be mainly educated at research universities (in schools of management/business).

  4. Craig, your and Benita’s conversations has brought us to an interesting place regarding PR/PA and PR/PA education in Canada.

    Most graduates entering the PR/PA/Corporate Communication workforce graduate from community college programs. Yes, we have our four year degree granting PR programs like Laval and Mount St. Vincent or Mass Communications type programs like University of Ottawa, but the majority come from community college PR programs – usually after already having an undergraduate degree in some other discipline. Their community college program may be a two or three year diploma or a one year post graduate diploma. And to further muddy the waters, many community college PR programs are partnering with university Communications programs to offer a joint undergraduate degree.

    Our system has many benefits:
    – most graduates entering the workforce have at least four years of post secondary education, the majority of these have five or six years;
    – graduates receive a solid hands-on, technical education (and yes, with emphasis on good writing skills which is what employers want) and thus are fully employable, with graduates being snapped up quickly; and
    – there is every evidence that this system provides enough theory to allow graduates to advance in the field at least until the mid management positions in PR.

    But, our system has drawbacks;
    – we are only now developing the university graduate masters programs (Mount St. Vincent; Royal Roads; MacMaster) to allow these mid-managers the proper training to be better qualified to advance to senior management positions, since it is obvious that the community college one year post graduate programs are not adequate in this regard;
    – it is a decentralized system given provincial jurisdiction in education – with the haphazard volunteer efforts by the Canadian Public Relations Society to provide some standardization and accreditation aside (note that IABC isn’t even in the picture) – we really do not know if graduates of one program are equal to graduates in another since we have no idea if they share a common curriculum; and
    – given that the majority of our ‘professors’ teach at the community college level then there is no demand on them to do and publish research, and thus there is very limited Canadian research being done.

    But, this last point to me is an opportunity – and it goes right at your comment Craig that academics are “too distant.” I think it’s time that community college professors published more – in practitioner publications. Their students are doing internships, they run student agencies and their PR program’s raison d’etre is to be close to the practitioners who employ their graduates. Surely, their are stories to be told: case studies; reviews; experiences; etc. I find it difficult to believe that with so many great community college teachers (they must be great because their students are all finding jobs and having successful careers) there is this void in practitioner publications. It’s as if there is this wall of silence. Our university professors are being heard (you being a prime example). Where are the Canadian community college professor voices?

  5. Hi Benita: Your idea to have a conference set up in the way you have suggested is a great one. I saw it done once, about 15 years ago, and it was very successful. Unfortunately, it is so rare to have conferences where academics and practitioners are in (near) equal proportion and have (near) equal responsibilities to work together toward shared goals!

    I just returned Tuesday evening from the Academy of Management annual conference (the largest annual one for business school profs — about 10k of them attending)and I did not encounter a single practitioner in attendance in any session. My caveat is that some practitioners are doing advanced degrees –I met with about 5 or 6 part-time DBA students. This was one year after our confere4nce theme was “Connecting with Practice.” You can see how well that one was sustained as an idea — and this is in business, not public relations! For what it is worth, I find the PR field has generally made better progress (realize this is a relative comparison — based upon the nature of conferences/meetings held over the course of any typical year) in attempting to build bridges between academe and practice than we have in business management.

    Before I became a full time academic, I did several years as a corporate practitioner (I was a mortgage banking manager for a large financial institution)and also as a consultant (with the founder of the Boston Consulting Group). I often wondered as I gained more experience why academics become so distant from practitioners and vice versa. Making things stranger still, I often (i.e., > monthly) get offers to consult, which I typically turn down since my academic superiors do not value my performing this activity and actually set restrictions on how and how much of it I or any other faculty member can do. On the other hand, I often try and involve practitioners in my research, not only as participants to be observed but as active participants that can help shape and re-shape the nature of the phenomena, as well as our understanding of it, recognizing the complexity that adds in trying to maintain the integrity of the research process itself.

    Having said all these things, I know too many academics who probably are “too distant” from the practical realities of the fields they profess about, and too many practitioners who have never had the opportunity to consider the value to be gained from good research, theory/conceptualization, and instruction. At some point, all we can do is to try and be “samples of 1” in our own behaviour to try and build the bridges that we believe are absent.

  6. Yes, Craig, we are also seeing how changed approaches (towards symmetrical communication and stakeholder engagement) are influencing the careers of (especially) our post-graduate students. The student in my 1st ex above has already changed jobs–only 4 months into the programme. She is now Senior Stakeholder Mgr at our very troubled electricity utility–the one who has plunged SA in darkness on numerous occasions during the last 18 months. (All I can say is that their communication and general performance can only be improved upon–to say nothing of their planning).

    As a matter of fact, the rapid promotions of our masters students during their coursework are actually creating a problem in the programme, in the way that they are so busy with their new jobs and added responsibilities that they find no time to finish/write up their empirical research. I will probably be fired if my superiors hear this, but I find it hard to be despondent about this. After all, these students are mostly practitioners and I think the practical application of their academic learning is quite important (to them and to us). Some time or other there will be quiet moments to finish studies.

    One success story we had at the Univ of Pretoria for getting practitioners and academics/post graduate students together was our so-called ‘Discussion Forum’ once a month. It started after our master’s class ended in 1997. We all had ‘post-natal blues’ and couldn’t bear the thought of not having the intellectual stimulation anymore. So the master’s students continued getting together. At first it was open discussion, but that didn’t work well. Then we got an expert on a topic to set the scene with facts/new research on a topic for 20 min, followed by open discussion for an hour. It was absolutely wonderful. Everybody involved learned so much. Some evenings we had 50 people –fighting the 5pm traffic to attend. That was quite remarkable. Everybody does want to improve themselves and if they are learning something, they keep on coming back for more.

    I often wonder why conferences cannot work like that too. Decide on a topic and let an academic start with the latest theory/research on the matter. Then the practitioner can add best or generally accepted practice, and together they and the audience can decide how the generally accepted practice can be improved to even better practice. Wouldn’t that be a win-win? It would however mean throwing the two together.

  7. It is absolutely wonderful how this pool of resources keeps growing. Craig, thank you for adding in those public affairs resources, which I agree are part-and-parcel of the PR realm.

    Brian, I appreciate you mentioning some traditional media sources. I would add in the CBC. For a written (and searchable) respository, remains a favourite of mine.

    I am a big fan of Michael Adams and his Fire and Ice book (including hearing him speak at a town hall sponsored by my MP, Carolyn Bennett). But you have left out the second half of the title, which is [Fire and Ice]: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values. Adams does indeed talk about some of the regional variation in values, but I distinctly remember the section where he wrote (and said) that Canada’s most “conservative” province (Alberta) is still more liberal than the most liberal American state. I think that was Massachusetts, but won’t say for certain. Definitely it was one of the northeastern (i.e., Yankee) states.

    For both Canadian and international readers, you might be interested in taking the Fire and Ice “values” survey, which was the basis of a lot of the research. At the end of the survey you get a screen showing where you fall in the “values quadrant,” based on your responses. I’m very glad it remains online, today, even though the book was published in 2003. It also won the Donner Prize that same year, “which annually rewards excellence and innovation in Canadian public policy writing.”

    Fire and Ice Survey

    (And P.S. to Benita, I’m so glad you are “weighing in” on this area. Despite a huge geographical divide, I do think our countries share some cultural and values similarities, particularly in relation to being Commonwealth Nations and the idea of a country’s institutions and infrastructures working to accommodate diversity.)

  8. Hi Benita: Thanks for sharing those wonderful quotes from your students. Like you, I am so grateful for those abductive moments, when the “lights go on” and connections are made in our students’ minds. I can give you numerous examples of experienced managers (or our traditional university students) who shared how academic thinking changed their approach for the better and, often as a result, their career trajectory. In an ideal world, our research can play a mighty important role in helping students (of all levels) better understand and know the phenomena that they seek to study, learn and practice.

    We often lament the reality that academics and practitioners appear to operate on two entirely different planes in public relations; nevertheless, it doesn’t have to be and it was/is not always that way. Individuals such as Fraser Likely are very comfortable bridging the two planes, and I have also been a frequent boundary spanner able to co-exist and make contributions in both spaces for over two decades now.

    One of the larger problems we face is getting each group (i.e., practitioners and researchers/scholars) to recognize what each can offer the other, as well as getting our own superiors to recognize the value in interacting with the group to which we don’t belong. I find it remarkable that, even within our universities, we are often encouraged to publish in academic journals that no practitioners read, while receiving little to no credit (this is true at the so-called “top” research schools, at least) for presenting our research at practitioner conferences/meetings or in their publications. Even though I am a chaired, full professor at my medium-sized university here in Canada, I still find this persistent attitude on our end of the equation frustrating. Having said that, each of us in academia has a responsibility to disseminate knowledge that we must attempt to fulfill, and I will continue to try and do my little part in this meaningful and important play.

  9. Brian, I am going to agree with Craig and not with you with regards to the value of post-graduate study in public relations. I know you will say that we are both academics and have to think it is valuable. Therefore I am not going to present my arguments but provide you with the views of two of my master’s students whose work happens to be in front of me.

    Here is a quote from the first assignment: “I work in a public-private partnership. Established in 2003, the organisation is an initiative by the Western Cape Department of Economic Development & Tourism and the oil & gas services and engineering support industry. It is a special-purpose-vehicle, part of the cluster of initiatives set up by the Western Cape Provincial Government to bolster industries in distress. In my capacity as the Public Relations Manager, I liaise and work with government, media, industry and international clients in areas including, but not limited to, trade development, skills development and generic industry marketing. From the onset of starting this course, the theory encountered so far has impacted on my work to such an extent that the learning has made me relook my role in the organisation, the relationships we have with our current stakeholders and how the organisation interacts with them. I am referring specifically to three theories that were covered in the topics ‘relationships as a new paradigm for public relations’, ‘stakeholder management’ and ‘issues management’.

    Here is an email from another: “I am very happy to say that I have discovered a topic (for my master’s dissertation) that gives me the palpitations you told us about.” And then: “When I first read about this concept it was like light bulbs went off in my head”. This student is a PR and marketing manager in a bank. And not just a pretty face. She is one of those who wants to change things but her experience alone (which includes reading newspapers every day) is not enough to do so. She needs direction and this she is getting from knowledge. The latter comes from theory, which is based on research. And research is done amongst practitioners. (I don’t know any academics who use their colleagues as respondents). So new knowledge/theory is actually the collective thought of practitioners (academics are only the facilitators—they put the thoughts in boxes and write it up).

    Why are practitioners so scared of new knowledge/ theory/ research? What it does, is not to tell them what to think, but what to think about. The insights they have to find themselves.

  10. Fire and Ice, by Michael Adams, should be required reading for PR students. When, exactly, would vary by course of study.

    It’s Canadian.

    The book compares Canada and the US in a varioety of ways, making the point that there’s no such thing as a “Canadian” way or an “American” way of pretty much anythng. Texas is different from Maine, and Ontario is different from itself — Toronto ain’t North Bay and Ottawa ain’t Windsor.



  11. I note that “Newspaper” is my anti-spam word for this message.

    If anyone wants to study PR in Canada, read the Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star and the occasional copy of the Toronto edition of The National Post, and a Sun or two, every once in a while.

    Add in the daily papers in the cities where your employer or clients have major operations. No need to do this every day, but at least once a week for an overview.

    And think. I know thinking is the hard part.

    Do the above, and you’ve taken care of the after graduation need for PR texts.

    For after-graduation gossip, I’ll admit there’s a problem.

    Marketing, from Maclean-Hunter and now from Rogers, has had a PR issue year after year after year for as long as I can remember, and I’m old. But week by week, it’s weak.

    PR Conversation commentators are welcome to call the top elected or paid officials of IABC or CPRS, and ask them if they even tried to get good contgent into these annual special PR issue publications EVER IN THEIR LIVES.

    The answer is probably no, or at least no if we also ask if the content was any good.

    Go back twenty years and you can find my work there.

    The PR in Canada web publication is garbage. Go read it. More typos than I put into messages, except these characters (really, it’s one ignorant guy) sell advertising. And stories no one cares about.

    That said, the CPRS Toronto and IABC Toronto newsletters, when last I looked, were pretty good as far as appointments and some other gossip goes.

    As for a Canadian text book — one, go buy a calculator. Do the math on a text book, and see if you want the students to pay $200 a copy or the author to blow his brains out.

    Going to take the dog for a walk and think about bringing back BAK’s Report. Night, all.


  12. Hi Friends: I like Fraser’s list as well. I have done a number of bibliometric studies in the areas of public affairs (defined here to mean business interactions with public policy issues, processes and stakeholders — more externally focused than PR the way we refer to it here on the site)and Canadian research is highly under-represented globally.

    I have long questioned why we do not have more Canadian scholarship, although I recognize it is due to at least a couple of factors, among others being 1) a lack of grad level PR programs in our universities, 2) virtually no supply of PhD/doctoral trained academics concentrated in the area, 3) little support by our funding agencies (read: SSHRC) to support Canadian PR research, 4) no departments of critical mass sized (read: 3 or more tenure track faculty members) specializing in PR at the major Canadian universities, and 5) a failure to generate and keep updated a Canadian body of knowledge (note: I know of the CORA APR readings but this is an inadequate proxy of a comprehensive BOK).

    Some of you may know that I have researched and written extensively on professionalizing the field of public affairs. The following, for example, provides a sampling of my writing in one of our scholarly journals in the PA side of the world. Nearly everything written there would also resonate similarly in the corporate communication and public relations side of our practice:

    Fleisher, C.S. “Developing the public affairs body of knowledge,” Journal of Public Affairs (ISSN 1472-3891), 2007, 7(3), 281-290.

    Fleisher, C.S. “The development of competencies in international public affairs,” Journal of Public Affairs (ISSN 1472-3891), 2003, 3(1), 76-82.

    Fleisher, C.S. “Analysis and analytical tools for managing corporate public affairs,” Journal of Public Affairs (ISSN 1472-3891), 2002, 2(3), 167-172.

    Fleisher, C.S. “The evolving profile, qualification and roles of the senior public affairs officer,” Journal of Public Affairs (ISSN 1472-3891), 2002, 2(2), 90-94.

    Fleisher, C.S. “The state of North American higher education in corporate public affairs,” Journal of Public Affairs (ISSN 1472-3891), 2002, 2(1), 436-440.

    I am currently finishing writing up a couple of articles that look at the development of public affairs and issue management as a distinct field of study within management that will have some very interesting views about why fields develop as they do and whether they are likely to achieve legitimacy, growth and other forms of status. I presented my preliminary research on this just this week at our Annual Academy of Management meetings in California and am in the process of submitting it through journal review. As any tenure-track university academic will tell you, this is the tricky part of our business since 3 or more independent reviewers must assess the paper, suggest changes (or reject it outright if they choose), before it gets published.

    Although I am a fan of several quality scholarly PR journals that cross my area of business or management studies (e.g., Intl. Journal of Public Opinion Research, Journal of Communication Management, Journal of PR Research, PRism, PR Review, Asia Pacific PR Journal, etc.), many articles published in them have surprising shortcomings in pure research scholarship terms. Despite having academic and editorial review processes in most of these, I regularly see articles with any or combination of the following: factual mistakes, conceptual shortcomings, failure to site prior literature, poor methodological rigour, or a near-total lack of discussion of how/why the concepts/studies might impact practice (note: not all journals require this, but the better ones attempt to at least give it a little “play”). Last but not least, when was the last time a corporate PR practitioner (not currently enrolled in a PR grad program) read one of our scholarly issues? Other than this admittedly august and selective group who participates here, I’d guess the percentage would be close to zero.

    Having said all those things, we need a far higher quality and quantity research of Canadian PR phenomena. Progress on this item alone with greatly further the professionalization and enhanced professional stature of our field.

  13. This is an impressive resource. I wanted to add that if you’re a CPRS member, you can also access the APR reading list, which is also useful.

    I agree that we need more Canadian books/case studies. Perhaps this could happen as an online publishing endeavour that one (or more) of our academic institutions could lead.

    I do like the notion of of Canadianizing ‘Cutlip, Center and Broom’. It’s one of the PR textbooks I recommend to accreditation candidates and students.(But does that mean we’ll need to change the spelling of Center’s name?)

    Finally. there are two two Canadian authored books I feel are essential to PR/communications practitioners: Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘The Tipping Point’ and ‘Blink’.

  14. Thanks, Fraser. I’ll buy you that glass of wine ! I do agree that there’s plenty of room and a real need to research, discuss, teach, deliver effective PR and Corp Comm across borders. We need to get Canadian content, not just for ourselves as educators and professionals, but for our colleagues in other countries to build shared knowledge . I will be sending this link to others for their input and coming back to you all for your insights as the Canadian Communication Casebook takes shape.

  15. Thank you to everyone for the positive comments and additional contributions to Elizabeth and (especially) Fraser’s list! We have some stellar representation in the mix, but I’d really like it if there was even more regional input.

    And I’m trying to figure out whether to add these “comment” additions into the main post, or whether all of the information should (at some point) be repurposed into (yet) another document or format. (That is, if this organic project stays with PRC.)

    Christine, did you have any “retired communicator” in mind? 🙂

  16. Congratulations on your appointment, Chitra. Given your experience at Mount St. Vincent and Western, I hope your new employer realizes the the extensive background you bring to the position.

    Regarding reference sources, I’m certain you, Gary, Christine and others like David Turnbull, Peter Larock and other college educators can add greatly the reference list.

  17. This is a wonderfully timely and helpful discussion for me, because I will soon be joining Humber College as Professor and Program Coordinator of the Public Relations program. My most recent academic gig was teaching and researching Management Communications in the MBA and HBA programs at the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Ivey is second to Harvard in being the world’s biggest user and producer of case studies. One of my goals is to create a Canadian Communications Public Relations Casebook, using the Ivey Business School case methodology, so that the cases can be used in graduate, undergraduate and community college programs in both PR and Management

    . Three Canadian case studies I wrote are still being used at Ivey and are available for classroom use by other universities and colleges :
    Bayer Canada Inc: The SAP Challenge ( a case study about communicating major workplace and systems change to employees) Code: 9A99C008
    Canada Post: Communicating the Global Offer ( a case study about labour-management internal and external communications during a strike)
    Code: 9A98C021
    Uniroyal Chemical Ltd. ( a case study about risk communications and community relations in a regulated industry) Code: 9A98C022

  18. Thanks for the content from my fellow educators: very much rounds out my list of Canadian-based resources.

    I’ve attempted, on at least three occasions, through CPRS and IABC, to develop a book of Canadian Case Studies in PR. My idea was to use existing APR and ABC accreditation submission cases and adapt them for classroom use.

    Lots of enthusiasm from association officials but also lots of roadblocks to actually acquiring the materials. So, the project went nowhere.

    It’s still a much-needed resource in Canada’s PR programs. Perhaps a retired communicator might have the time to tackle such a project?

  19. I am bringing to the attention of Canadian PR academics an additional possibility (not instead of a uniquely Canadian PR text book) and that is to ‘personalise’ a good existing text. This was done in South Africa with the publication of ‘Essentials of Effective Public Relations’ (8th Ed.), co-authored by S.M. Cutlip; A.H. Center; G.M. Broom; and D.F. DU PLESSIS.
    Publisher: Pearson Education South Africa; ISBN: 9781868910724; Publication date: December 2003

    For half a century, ‘Effective Public Relations'(Cutlip, Center and Broom) has been the core text for students of public relations all over the world. South African academic, Danie du Plessis of the University of South Africa (UNISA), has recently revised this classic for a specifically sub-Saharan market by selecting only the sections useful to the students of this region and including a number of relevant examples and case studies that are applicable to African conditions. Apart from explaining public relations as a practical and academic discipline, this book introduces sub-Saharan students to the most advanced international public relations practices and policies.

    (I can’t resist a quick reference to game theory—now isn’t this a ‘win-win’ situation?)

  20. What a marvellous, extensive list Fraser has given us! Because there are almost no current Canadian books about PR, citings from periodicals and academic journals that tackle the subject add to what little we have.

    I thoroughly concur with Elizabeth’s three books — Brandon would have used Carney’s book as a Centennial student, and likely encountered Cooper during a college crisis communications role play.

    Surely there are enough Corporate Communications and PR programs across the country now to make a compelling business case to a publisher about creating a Canadian general text!

  21. That is why I suggested that you team up with a Canadian academic, Fraser, because such an individual should jump at the chance. As a matter of fact, I find it their job to do so. You shouldn’t have to do much more than you already did. Why don’t you talk to Terry Flynn, for ex. Maybe they have a research assistant who can gather more sources. Or Tery could possibly make it an honours (or master’s project) to find more sources. And one of them should write it up, with you as co-author.

    Any chance of a beer at Euprera in Milan, Fraser–or aren’t you going? Any other PRC readers going? Let’s meet if any of you are attending the Euprera Conference.

  22. Great idea, Benita.

    I know Craig. In fact, I realize I left out a lot of his work from that list. Just gotta find someone to buy me the beer in exchange for the effort involved!

  23. Fraser, this is wonderful information that I will pay attention to myself. I want to support Charles’ suggestion that you should make this more widely available (not everybody will read the forthcoming book) -– not only to PR associations, but consider turning it into a fully fledged academic article (in a Canadian academic journal?). It is students and academics who need this kind of info the most.

    With regards to turning it into an academic article, see below a reference to two articles published in the ‘Journal of Public Affairs’ on a Chronological Bibliography on public affairs (Craig Fleisher referred me to it). I have cut and pasted this reference directly from my master’s study guide, since it is prescribed to my students in issues management. (Maybe you can work together with a Canadian academic, who might know of even more sources).
    • Griffin, J.J., Fleisher, C.S., Brenner, S.N. & Boddewyn, J.J. 2001. Corporate public affairs research: Chronological reference list. Part 1: 1985-2000. ‘Journal of Public Affairs’, 1(1):9-32.
    • Griffin, J.J., Fleisher, C.S., Brenner, S.N. & Boddewyn, J.J. 2001. Corporate public affairs research: Chronological reference list. Part 2: 1958-1984. ‘Journal of Public Affairs’, 1(2):167-186

  24. Thanks Charles.
    Borders are more cultural than geographic. But then New Orleans is really a Canadian outpost!


  25. Nice job! I can’t recall seeing this information published elsewhere. In an era of cross border business and globalization, this is a fine resource.

    Perhaps you should submit it to CPRS or PRSA as a fully-fleshed article about working beyond borders. Those are two associations which I believe would appreciate solid PR information from you experts.

    This kind of content is valuable in the communications arena, and often times, what runs is rather general.


  26. Thanks Brandon.

    As Canadians, we need to understand what makes the Canadian version (there is!) of PR Canadian. Unfortunately, we, Americans, and most of the PR world see no or little difference in how PR is practiced in Canada as compared to the United States.

    As you can see from many of the writings above, we have a relatively heavy interest in ethics, in dialogue and in engagement and compromise in activist/community/organization relations and issues management. Could this stem from our political and social culture having a history of group accommodation, political decentralization and a lack of deference to elites (be they politicians, the overly wealthy or celebrities)? We may use some American texts, but we have a much different system for providing PR education. We may subscribe to American association and trade magazines but we subscribe to other “international” offerings at a greater per capita rate than do American practitioners.

    More and more, I’m being drawn into the work of Krishnamurthy Sriramesh and others on the relationship between culture and public relations. Sriramesh originated the conceptualization of the personal influence model in his Ph’d dissertation at the University of Maryland in the early 1990s and this, among other ideas, has sparked research into the practice of public relations in different cultures.

    Rather than a Canadian textbook, I’d like to see Canadian PR professors at the university and community college levels do more research and publish more. Not just in PR association publications, but in academic journals and education conference proceedings.

  27. That list is extensive to say the least! I suppose my critique came from the over-abundance of American stats in our PR texts. With the exception of Carney, none of our textbooks cited primarily Canadian examples. This is the case across many fields– I know during my undergrad, it was rare to see a Canadian example in any of my psych texts. But in PR, where AUDIENCE is essential to the nature of your message, assuming similarities across countries can be fatal to your campaign.
    Thanks for the list, Fraser. Likely’s texts, in particular, sound like they’re worth checking out.

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