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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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Participative Public Relations: An Integrative Approach to Participating in PR


Participative Public Relations

An Integrative Approach to Participating in PR


Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences (Salzgitter)

1. Introduction

When Greenpeace occupied the oil platform Brent Spar in 1995, it wanted to encourage politicians to protect the North and Baltic Seas, although the occupation was initially aimed at inducing Shell to change its corporate policy. When, 15 years later, Greenpeace denounced the use of palm oil from ecologically questionable sources in KitKat, it was likewise following the goal of inducing the company to change its course. And when people elsewhere in the world form actions groups to attempt to prevent the construction of large department stores or production facilities, then they want to influence corporate decision making. These examples show that the first stages of protest target public mobilization. However, it is easy to forget that the focus of all these endeavors is the attempt to change the decisions of a company. This is nothing other than participation. Participation is thus a central category of PR. It is all the more surprising that this has hardly been taken into account in PR research. And this is even more surprising, considering that participation has experienced a new renaissance in the context of social media (e.g. Vesnic-Alujevic, 2012).

The examples further show that the ways in which participation processes should be organized, and how far participation demands may reach, are largely dependent on the corresponding perspective. Whereas stakeholders in...

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