All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

Reflective Communication Management, a Public View on Public Relations
Unformatted Document Text:  15 twenty-first century. The societally oriented approach uses the society at large as unit of analysis, and looks at its social structure and institutions as the basis for quality communication management. This implies that the orientation is not the corporation or organization itself, but its place in society at large (i.e., in the social structure). It is not a bottom-up but a top-down view, or at least it is a macro view of public relations (cf. Signitzer, 1992). In this respect society at large is seen from the perspective of what the Germans call “Öffentlichkeit.” Öffentlichkeit does not mean “public” (as in public, audiences, etc.) – it means “public sphere”, and more specifically, “what is potentially known to and can be debated by all” (Hollander, 1988). Öffentlichkeit is an outcome, and therefore a quality of public communication in society (Ronneberger & Rühl, 1992). By equating Öffentlichkeit with the Anglo-American public relations concept of “public,” an analytic dimension is lost. An essential aspect of public relations is its concern with issues and values that are publicly relevant and publicly debated, which means relating to the “public sphere,” as Jensen (2000) argues. For this we need to see the organization in its institutional dimension. This line of public relations thinking was developed in Germany, beginning with Oeckl (1976), and in the Netherlands by Van der Meiden (1978). It is also represented in other European countries. These theorists reason that public relations is not only about relations with the public(s), but creates a platform for public debate and, consequently, a public sphere. As Ronneberger and Rühl (1992:58) argue, public relations is to be measured by the quality and quantity of the public sphere, which it co-produces through its activities. Quality and quantity in the public (sphere) relate to “öffentliche Meinung” – which can be translated as "public opinion." This public opinion is, however, not viewed as an aggregate of individual opinions, as conceived in public opinion polling (Price, 1992), which is a psychological approach to public opinion. In the sociological approach it has a qualitative as well as a quantitative dimension. The quality is intended as a benchmark for public relations, as a type of democratic political authority, and is the foundation on which democracy is built (Habermas, 1962). Its quantity is related to such questions as: who is in the debate and who is not? In this societal approach public relations serves the same kind of (democratic) function as journalism does, as they both contribute to a free flow of information and its meanings and to the development of the public sphere: in size (“How many people are involved in public life?”), in level (“What is the level at which we discuss public matters?”), and in quality (“What are the frames used in the debates?”). This echoes what Carey (1975) called a cultural approach to communication. Theory building in public relations is closely related to journalism in many European countries, not because the practitioners must deal with journalists, but because of these overlapping functions in society. Ronneberger and Rühl (1992) state that in managing the communications of an organization, management cannot avoid having an empirical function in the development of society. Ronneberger (1977:7) claimed

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke. and Vercic, Dejan.
first   previous   Page 15 of 31   next   last



background image
15
twenty-first century. The societally oriented approach uses the society at large as unit of analysis, and
looks at its social structure and institutions as the basis for quality communication management. This
implies that the orientation is not the corporation or organization itself, but its place in society at large
(i.e., in the social structure). It is not a bottom-up but a top-down view, or at least it is a macro view of
public relations (cf. Signitzer, 1992).
In this respect society at large is seen from the perspective of what the Germans call “Öffentlichkeit.”
Öffentlichkeit does not mean “public” (as in public, audiences, etc.) – it means “public sphere”, and more
specifically, “what is potentially known to and can be debated by all” (Hollander, 1988). Öffentlichkeit is
an outcome, and therefore a quality of public communication in society (Ronneberger & Rühl, 1992). By
equating Öffentlichkeit with the Anglo-American public relations concept of “public,” an analytic
dimension is lost. An essential aspect of public relations is its concern with issues and values that are
publicly relevant and publicly debated, which means relating to the “public sphere,” as Jensen (2000)
argues. For this we need to see the organization in its institutional dimension.
This line of public relations thinking was developed in Germany, beginning with Oeckl (1976), and in the
Netherlands by Van der Meiden (1978). It is also represented in other European countries. These theorists
reason that public relations is not only about relations with the public(s), but creates a platform for public
debate and, consequently, a public sphere. As Ronneberger and Rühl (1992:58) argue, public relations is
to be measured by the quality and quantity of the public sphere, which it co-produces through its
activities. Quality and quantity in the public (sphere) relate to “öffentliche Meinung” – which can be
translated as "public opinion." This public opinion is, however, not viewed as an aggregate of individual
opinions, as conceived in public opinion polling (Price, 1992), which is a psychological approach to
public opinion. In the sociological approach it has a qualitative as well as a quantitative dimension. The
quality is intended as a benchmark for public relations, as a type of democratic political authority, and is
the foundation on which democracy is built (Habermas, 1962). Its quantity is related to such questions as:
who is in the debate and who is not?
In this societal approach public relations serves the same kind of (democratic) function as journalism
does, as they both contribute to a free flow of information and its meanings and to the development of the
public sphere: in size (“How many people are involved in public life?”), in level (“What is the level at
which we discuss public matters?”), and in quality (“What are the frames used in the debates?”). This
echoes what Carey (1975) called a cultural approach to communication. Theory building in public
relations is closely related to journalism in many European countries, not because the practitioners must
deal with journalists, but because of these overlapping functions in society.
Ronneberger and Rühl (1992) state that in managing the communications of an organization, management
cannot avoid having an empirical function in the development of society. Ronneberger (1977:7) claimed


Convention
Need a solution for abstract management? All Academic can help! Contact us today to find out how our system can help your annual meeting.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 15 of 31   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.