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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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New Modes of Participation in Online-PR: Understanding Texto-Material Networks

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New Modes of Participation in Online-PR

Understanding Texto-Material Networks

Peter WINKLER

FHWien University of Applied Sciences of WKW, Austria

Stefan WEHMEIER

The University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Introduction: (Mis)understandings of networks and participation in Online-PR

It’s a central assumption in Online-PR that the Web supports social networking and participation between organizations and their publics (for recent examples see Agostino, 2013; Men & Tsai, 2013; Saffer, Sommerfeldt & Taylor, 2013). However, coherent concepts of networks or participation are lacking. Rather the terms are used as vague metaphors to discuss different social phenomena. Analytically, three understandings of networks and participation can be identified in Online-PR:

First, the concept of a “networked public-sphere” (Benkler, 2005: 284 pp.) is stressed. It suggests that the Web empowers self-organized public articulation apart of mass-media coverage. Consequently, some PR-scholars suggest a radical outside-in-orientation in order to deal with such “interlinked, aggregated messages that emerge from internet mediated social networks” (Phillips & Young, 2009: 248). Participation is thus understood as deliberative necessity to come to terms with a digitally empowered public sphere.

Secondly, the concept of a “participatory culture” (Jenkins, 2006) on the Web is also stressed to address new forms of networked collaboration between organizations and stakeholders, who join together to carry out commonly shared goals.

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