PR Roles and Specialties
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Public Relations is a function of management that helps to maintain an open communication between the organization and its publics. ”The PR practitioner has the responsibility to create an understanding with the public. He or she distributes information that enables the institution’s publics to understand its policies.” (Newsom, Turk, & Kruckeberg, 2010, p. 2) It role is to provide satisfaction to the organization as well to its publics, by creating understanding between the two parties. Public Relations strategically provide information to the public by using different mediums of communication. It communicates with the public so they know the organization’s standpoint. According to Lucien Matrat, the creator of public relations’ international code of ethics, “Its function is twofold: to respond to the expectations of those whose behavior, judgments and opinions can influence the operation and development of an enterprise and it turn to motivate them.” (Newsom, Turk, & Kruckeberg, 2010, p. 2) Public Relations help the organization to maintain a positive image with its publics.
Public relations has two functions in management, one is to respond to the public and two to influence the public’s perspective. PR can obtain information from the organization and its publics and then manage their responses and attitudes in a way that increases the best interest of the company. This in turn, maintains a positive reputation in the organization. According to Graeme D. Sterne, “its relationship to management functions currently varies according to two major variables. One is how public relations defined. The other is who defines it. These two factors have had a direct bearing on where the function is place in the company or organization.” (Sterne, 2008) Nevertheless, PR must be aware of current trends that affect today’s businesses. For example, technology advancement and cultural diversity had increase the role of PR in management. According to Graeme D. Sterne, PR “should be viewed as a management function, as a relationship builder, as a conscience to the organization, but the reality of the marketplace is a more powerful determinant of the role of public relations.” (Sterne, 2008) For this reason, Public Relations strategically manages the information of the organization by using different activities, such as press agentry, promotion, publicity, research, advertising, marketing, etc.
Therefore, Public Relations is a management function that helps the organization to communicate effectively with its publics and creates understanding between the organization and its publics. It uses different strategies, such as marketing, advertising, research, promotion etc, to create this understanding. This in turn, maintains a positive image, a good reputation and a strong relationship with its stakeholders and the public.
In today’s world, Public Relations have a significant role in every field. For example, in management, Public Relations help managers to develop and communicate new policies to its employees. In psychology, Public Relations help to develop and implement treatments to its clients. On each field, the role of Public Relations varies. “The way a PR person applies his or her special skills depends on the role he or she plays in an organization.” (Newsom, Turk, & Kruckeberg, 2010, p. 5) According to Newsom, Turk and Kruckeberg, PR has three basic roles – Staff Members, Firm/Agency Employees and Independent Practitioners/Counselors. In the current organization, I have the opportunity to see how each role-plays in an organization.
My organization is a private corporation that provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities. These services consist in modifying inappropriate social behavior by implementing specialized treatments. Each PR practitioner has a different role in the organization. For example, the CEO takes the role of a Firm/Agency Employees. The CEO oversees the operations and communicates with the stakeholders. He handles the organizations accounts and maintains communication at every level in the organization. The CEO main responsibility is to plan and implement strategies that will benefit the organization. These strategies are also communicate to its publics (internally and externally) in order to create a clear understanding of the company’s current position.
The middle managers are staff members. Middle managers communicate with the client, client’s family, counselors, consultants, employees, etc. “Specific needs of the organization usually determine a staff member’s job description.” (Newsom, Turk, & Kruckeberg, 2010, p. 5) Currently, that’s my position. My responsibilities include communication with the clients, clients’ interested parties (i.e. counselors, family members, other agencies, etc.), employees, consultants and other publics. My overall responsibility is to inform all publics of the policies, protocols and developments of the organization.
The organization also has consultants. These practitioners plan, develop and recommend ways to improve the organization in every area. These practitioners are independent; they receive a flat fee for their services. “The counselor studies and researches a situation, interviews the people involved, outlines recommendations and makes a formal presentation of these.” (Newsom, Turk, & Kruckeberg, 2010, p. 5) My responsibility is to evaluate the consultants’ recommendations and decide if we can implement them in the organization.
Independent practitioners is one of the jobs that most interests me. Their role is important in many organizations, and provides an extensive experience on every field. The independent practitioner has the opportunity to work in different organizations, such as non-profit organizations, educational institutions, governments, and private businesses, stores, etc. The independent practitioner has the responsibility to expand his/her knowledge by continuing education and doing research. The independent practitioner can take this knowledge to apply it in any organization. His/her becomes a mediator that shares all new information between organizations.
For example, the current consultant that we have in our organization is a professor from Fresno Pacific University. He currently consults three organizations of the same industry. His knowledge, therefore, is share in all these different organizations. He is constantly expanding with up-to-date information and he continues attending to school to expand his expertise in other industries.
In conclusion, my interest is to be an independent consultant that is able to do PR in different industries. My primarily focus is in Human Services industry, hence is where most of my experience as a PR practitioner comes from.