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Public Relations, Values and Cultural Identity

Edited By Enric Ordeix, Valérie Carayol and Ralph Tench

As organisations seek legitimacy in a fast-moving, interconnected and changing world, how do public relations help them to manage their identity, responsibilities and impact on society? In a more interactive society, organisations need to align their actions with social demands and values. If the main role of public relations is to build trust and influence opinionmakers, media, the public and the political agenda, what are the constraints and limitations at play here, and what is the impact on ethical principles?
The published research shows the profession is facing crucial changes: the existence of new organisational structures better aligned with social demands; the emergence of new techniques for interacting with organisations in a more trustworthy manner; and growing pressure by social groups acting both for and against particular social values, ideas and identities.
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From Integration to Legitimacy: Values and Publics in Public Relations

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From Integration to Legitimacy

Values and Publics in Public Relations

Jorge DA SILVA

Nuno, ESCS, Portugal

João SIMÃO

ESCS, Portugal

1. Public Relations: The Organizational Political Function

Public Relations planners are in a privileged position in that they interact with organisational publics frequently: their job is to manage and facilitate the communication between the organisation and its publics, sometimes in conjunction with colleagues from elsewhere in the organisation. (Gregory, 2001: 39)

Public Relations provides a strategic role in the organization’s core business, through its influence on the decision-making process and monitoring the environment – Public Relations practitioners must therefore be permanently aware of the knowledge, dispositions and behaviours of their publics. Therefore Public Relations is not only a product-promoting function – but it can adopt that function and Public Relations can also encourage Marketing activity. Besides that, all the legitimacy that Public Relations brings to organizations also helps to promote it (Porto Simões, 1991).

Nowadays the Public Relations function cannot only be seen as a “(…) management function which identify, establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships between the organization and their publics, form whom depend their success” (Cutlip et al., 1985: 4). The emphasis should be on the strategic role that Public Relations can perform, going beyond the operational role, to occupy a more central place in the organizational core business, allowing the legitimization of the organization’s life in the society.

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