This is a call for help. What do we mean by Global Public Relations? And why is it important?

John Doorley is my academic director at NYU’s Master in Public Relations and Corporate Communication where I teach Global Relations and Intercultural Communication, and Helio Fred Garcia is one of that program’s most respected and cherished instructors teaching two courses: ethics and strategy.

These two elightened scholars, but also and mostly, highly experienced professionals, edited and co-authored in 2006 with Routledge a Reputation Management book which has done very well, and is now being entirely revised with new co-authors and added chapters due to be published in a second edition in January 2010.

They have kindly asked me to write a chapter on Global Public Relations.

Personally, I have never been a fan of the reputation school, as much as I recognise that this school has recently made great strides to adjust to the undeniable fact that public relations is about relationships (they call it, faithful to their vision of course, reputing), while I in turn have come to recognize that the ultimate aim of relationships is the organization’s license to operate, which they of course prefer to call reputation.

I accepted at first out of kindness and gratitude to John for having dared to adapt the stiff NYU rules to allow me to teach a few years ago, and since then for always having supported and stood by my many whims and borderline academic behaviours.

But as I began writing, the idea that such an effort was well worth doing as best as I could grew on me, and I have thus gone well beyond my usual standard of filling up space with random thoughts….

I agreed with John that it would be wise (and a good idea) to post the draft of this chapter (leaving aside other minor parts) dividing it into four different parts here on in the hope that you might be stimulated to argue, to correct errors, to finetune some of themes, to add relevant points, to disagree.
I could not imagine a more qualified ‘space’ where to attract relevant and intelligent opinion.

In fact this here is a call for assistance in an effort to rationalise and conceptualise many of the thoughts which this blog often voices.

I of course pledge not only to seriously consider all the incoming comments and criticisms, but also to acknowledge them in the final and printed version.

I fully appreciate that for some, this might be interpreted as a ‘smart’ move on my part, but I do really hope that you will understand (if you make the effort to read the various parts which are here attached) the underlying objective of this exercise which I ask you to undertake:
to produce a text which truly encompasses an udpdated and acceptable version of what Global Public Relations practice is all about.

The four parts are:

introduction a general introduction arguing that today effective public relations demands a global perspective, otherwise it is is not effective…wherever it is practiced;

the global professional community a first part arguing the reasons why a new global professional framework is needed and defininng the global professional community;

generic principles and specific applications a second part illustrating the generic principles and specific applications paradigm;

stakeholder relationship governance a third and final part describing the stakeholder relationship governance process.

I ask of you to please make an effort and post your criticisms, comments and suggestions.

Thank you.

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3 Replies to “This is a call for help. What do we mean by Global Public Relations? And why is it important?

  1. Estelle,
    thank you for this stimulating comment.

    First of all, I am very happy that the King team took the time to consider the comments I had posted here and that, as you anticipate, the chapter will be called Governing Stakeholder Relationships.

    I am also sure that John Doorley and Fred Garcia will be delighted by the very good things you write about the first edition of their book and of course I am delighted by your comments on the draft of the chapter I have written on global public relations for their second edition which I believe is due to be published by the end of this year.

    As Richard Bailey commented here I tried to attract a sort of peer review procedure on the chapter draft.

    A few cherished scholars and professionals were so kind to send me privately suggestions, ideas and criticisms which I have certainly considered in writing the final draft which was due in a couple of weeks ago.

    Estelle,your suggestions are very well taken.
    The first three are really topical and I need to think, between now and the time I will be asked to read the chapter proofs, about whether to include them or not, given that they certainly require a significant amount of space.
    Maybe they could be addressed in a separate paper…

    Maybe John will give me more time and more space????

    I feel fairly comfortable in addressing the first two, although it is no easy task…; yet I am highly stimulated by the third, which I interpret as understanding and coping with the risks an organization might take by adopting a stakeholder relationships approach.
    Is this correct?

    Finally, as you certainly know, the Global Alliance has now a new leadership (John Paluszek, chair; Dan Tisch, chair elect; Amanda Succi, secretary)and intends to play a major role in what you call the ‘industry’ so I will certainly update chapter readers on its dynamics.

    Excellent suggestions, thank you

  2. I use Doorley and Garcia’s book for the course BCom (Communication Management) that is offered in the Department of Marketing and Communication Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa. I started using the book in 2007 and will be teaching it again to third year students in the subject Strategic Relationship Management during the second semester of this year (that starts on Monday, 13 July).

    When I decided to prescribe the book in 2007, I wrote to John Doorley and Fred Garcia congratulating them on an outstanding book that is a very good reflection of how theory can successfully be applied to practice. John replied by saying that the book was very well received by the corporate sector in the USA.

    I was very pleased to learn that Toni was writing a chapter for the next edition of this book. I concur with his approach to the topic of Global Public Relations and find the section on Stakeholder Relationship Governance specifically interesting. A few months ago Toni commented (as part of a public comment phase) on a new chapter on stakeholder relationships that is currently being written for the King III Report on Corporate Governance for South Africa. (Toni also refers to this in one of his footnotes.) The committee that wrote the two chapters on compliance and stakeholder relationships, took note of his and other comments on “governing stakeholder relationships” and the chapter will now be called Governing Stakeholder Relationships. The King III Report is due to appear on 1 September 2009 and if this chapter is approved with the suggested heading, one could predict that public relations and communication management practitioners would want to know what this concept means. The explanation in the book is a very good start! This will also create an opportunity for new research in this field.

    The proposed chapter “Governing Stakeholder Relationships” in the King III Report consists of Principles from which Practice Notes will be developed in co-operation with the relevant professional association(s). The section that Toni wrote on Generic Principles and Specific Applications for Doorley and Garcia’s book is therefore also interesting and can be used on a macro level as one of the points of departure for this exercise.

    The following are suggestions for additional topics that could be covered in the chapter for the book:
    1. Governance of the public relations or corporate communication function (Structure, roles and responsibilities etc.)
    2. The link between stakeholder relationship governance and corporate strategy (also taking into account corporate governance and sustainability principles)
    3. Stakeholder Relationship Risk
    4. The role of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management in the industry.


    Estelle de Beer

  3. The main claim to academic authority (over practitioners’ opinions, say) is the process of peer review.

    It’s an obscure process, hidden even to some of us teaching in universities.

    What you’re doing here (and you’re not the first) is opening up your work to review by your peers. I call that peer review, with the added advantage that the process is rather more open and transparent.

    Well done!

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