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PR Women with Influence

Breaking Through the Ethical and Leadership Challenges


Juan Meng and Marlene S. Neill

PR Women with Influence: Breaking Through the Ethical and Leadership Challenges makes a unique and timely contribution by exploring how women in public relations navigate through attitudinal, structural and social barriers in advancing their leadership roles. The book is thoroughly grounded in rich empirical evidence gained through two phases of a funded research project conducted in the field. Phase I involves 51 in-depth interviews with current female leaders in public relations and Phase II captures women’s perceptions on gender-related barriers in leadership advancement by recruiting a national panel of female public relations professionals. 

Results presented in this book provide a compelling, current picture of women and leadership in public relations. By emphasizing our discussion on key issues and barriers as related to women in PR and their leadership advancement, the authors call for real actions and change to develop a constructive ecosystem within the organization to embrace leadership for women in PR. 

Given its sharp topic focus, wealth of empirical data, and the relevance of the topic to today’s public relations profession, this book is suitable for different audiences both nationally and globally. Such audiences include but are not limited to public relations scholars, educators and professionals, both leaders and emerging leaders, men and women, young professionals, women of color, and public relations majors. This book is appropriate for senior-level undergraduate and graduate courses in public relations and communication management to facilitate critical thinking, leadership development, and gender-related topic discussion. 

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Section III Deep Conversations



Deep Conversations

Insights and Lessons from Current Women Leaders in PR


This section is composed of three chapters based on our deep conservations with current women leaders in the field. The chapters focus on three key topics: 1) the deeper meaning of leadership and influence as interpreted by current senior female leaders in public relations and communication, 2) how they define and enact the role of an ethics counselor; and 3) the identification, recruitment and role of mentors in their leadership development. Results are based on in-depth interviews with 51 mid- to senior-level female public relations executives serving in diverse organizational settings. Consistent with the goals of qualitative research, chapters in this section address the meaning and essence of leadership based on actual experiences with specific examples provided to illustrate our findings.

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