PR relations, relationships & definitions

Definition of Public Relations
1. ‘Public Relations are the management through communication of
perceptions and strategic relations between an organisation and its internal
and external stakeholders’.
2. The Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA) adopted this
definition for ‘public relations are deliberate, planned and sustained effort
to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation
and its various publics - both internally and externally’ (Skinner & Von
Essen 1998:4-6).
Most of the latest research in public relations has focused on
organisation-public relationships. The relational perspective of
Public Relations proposes that the primary purpose of Public
Relations professionals in the organisation is to build sustainable
and a long term relationships with key stakeholders in the
organisation‘s environment. These relationships should be
managed so that the public and the organisation‘s interests are
balanced and a mutual benefit is gained from this relationship.
Relationships also give organisations a competitive advantage.
Development of the Relational View of Public Relations
1. Recognition of the central role of relationship in Public Relations. A
major shift occurred in the core focus of public relations research. The
focus moved away from the organisation, the stakeholder (or public)
or the communication as the unit of analysis, to the relationships that
exist between and because of these key constructs.
2. The re-conceptualisation of Public Relations as a management
function. The notion of managing organisation-public relationships
introduced management concepts and processes to the management
of this organisation function.
3. The identification of components and types of relationship that link to
various aspects of public relations as well as relationship management.
These two constructs are linked to public attitudes, perceptions,
knowledge and behaviour and relationship measurement strategies.
These construct and the relationship between these constructs were
tested and used for predicting various aspects related to stakeholders,
organisational behaviour and performance.
4. The construction of relationship models. These models conceptualised
the formation, maintenance and outcomes of organisation-public
relationship. Relationships are distinct phenomena that are separate from
the characteristics of the relationship partners and should be measured
as such.
Characteristics of Effective Relationships
Successful relationships are characterised by
mutual benefit. It is where organisations employ
tactics to increase the awareness of stakeholders
and then in decision-making.
Relationship termination costs
Relationship benefits
 Shared values
 Communication
 Opportunistic behaviour
Organizational Communication
According to Mersham and Skinner (1999:4) organisational
communication refers to all forms of communication that
takes place among member organisations, either big or
small, and this is also referred to as internal communication.
Organisation communication forms are as follows: keeping
records, writing notices, participating in group
discussions and completing reports, to name a few.
Organisations generally implement a hierarchical structure
to facilitate effective communication. These levels of
communication include intrapersonal communication,
interpersonal communication and small group
Types of Organisational Structure
An organisation that makes use of a functional
organisational scheme classifies its activities into
functions such as purchasing management,
operational management, marketing
management and PR management. The emphasis
is on the similarity of specialised skills and
responsibilities, irrespective of particular goals.