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Four Basic Communication Strategies, Beyond the Borders of Traditional Public Relations Practice
Unformatted Document Text:  11 Meaning Direction of communication Focus on denotative meaning, information as ‘objective’ Focus on connotative meaning, information as ‘subjective’ Communication as an undirected emission process (magic bullet) Communication as an expression of information to all concerned Communication as contact with others who actively present themselves for this purpose Communication as a controlled one-way process (linear causality) Communication as transmission of meaning to target groups Communication as a one-way synchronization of meaning in target groups Communication as a two-way process (interaction) Communication as consensus building with publics Communication as diachronic co- creation of meanings with publics These six communication models reveal six potential approaches to public relations practice. A typology of public relations approaches has been constructed, in order to interpret and expand these theoretical approaches. This typology is presented in the next section. 4.Construction of the typology The second part of the research question addressed by this paper is “does the professional public relations literature contain communication models like those constructed here and, if so, what approach of public relations do they reveal?”. This implies that the communication model-in-use must be found first. It did not seem to be enough simply to look for the definition of communication or the communication model that is overtly given by an author, since earlier research showed that the communication model or definition which is explicitly presented is almost never the actual communication model-in-use (Ruler, 1996). For this reason, the following variables were used to identify the communication model-in-use: • the existence of “the other” in the description of the communication process • consideration for research and the kind of research that is seen as applicable

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke.
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11
Meaning
Direction of communication
Focus on denotative meaning,
information as ‘objective’
Focus on connotative meaning,
information as ‘subjective’
Communication as an
undirected emission process
(magic bullet)
Communication as an expression of
information to all concerned
Communication as contact with
others who actively present
themselves for this purpose
Communication as a controlled
one-way process
(linear causality)
Communication as transmission of
meaning to target groups
Communication as a one-way
synchronization of meaning in target
groups
Communication as a two-way
process (interaction)
Communication as consensus
building with publics
Communication as diachronic co-
creation of meanings with publics
These six communication models reveal six potential approaches to public relations practice. A
typology of public relations approaches has been constructed, in order to interpret and expand these
theoretical approaches. This typology is presented in the next section.
4.Construction of the typology
The second part of the research question addressed by this paper is “does the professional public
relations literature contain communication models like those constructed here and, if so, what
approach of public relations do they reveal?”. This implies that the communication model-in-use must
be found first. It did not seem to be enough simply to look for the definition of communication or the
communication model that is overtly given by an author, since earlier research showed that the
communication model or definition which is explicitly presented is almost never the actual
communication model-in-use (Ruler, 1996). For this reason, the following variables were used to
identify the communication model-in-use:
the existence of “the other” in the description of the communication process
consideration for research and the kind of research that is seen as applicable


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