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Four Basic Communication Strategies, Beyond the Borders of Traditional Public Relations Practice
Unformatted Document Text:  22 to the nineties. This type was also found in the most successful undergraduate handbook since the seventies, which is still used in most bachelor’s programs. The facilitator was introduced only recently, first by the literature on public relations in the public sector and later by the business-oriented literature. The seat-of-the-pants type spans all periods and is found in interviews, columns and biographies. The typology, therefore, produced an instrument capable of generating historical insights into the practical thinking behind public relations. The ideal type, however, is also an instrument for theory-construction. Weber was reluctant to see ideal types as a normative isolation of ‘the best’ (Eliaeson, 2002). Rather than being viewed as an instrument for developing a normative theory of what should be done, ideal typing can be seen as an means of elucidating relationships between variables and of developing an empirical theory. In 2001, J. Grunig concluded that his models should be valued as a “contingency model that includes both symmetrical and asymmetrical elements” (p.25). He described the two-way symmetrical model as a mixed-motive game in which asymmetrical and symmetrical strategies are used. He added, however, that it was “bounded by a symmetrical world-view that respects the integrity of long-term relationships”(p.26). In their empirical study on Excellence in Public Relations, L. Grunig et al. (2002:208) claim “For public relations practitioners and communication managers to serve as effective bridge builders, they must act as the eyes and the ears of organizations, as well as their spokespersons. This means that communication practitioners must supplement the traditional crafts of one-way communication (such as organizing press conferences, writing news releases, and producing public relations materials) with competencies that permit them to enact two-way communication.” Clearly, L. Grunig et al. have decided that no single model can be rated as “best” for all aspects of everyday practice. Following this reasoning, one could argue that all of the approaches developed above fit certain situations. However, from the point of view of communication theory, we have to argue that a model which views communication in a pre-scientific way, as a sort of magic bullet, cannot be classed as

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke.
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to the nineties. This type was also found in the most successful undergraduate handbook since the
seventies, which is still used in most bachelor’s programs. The facilitator was introduced only
recently, first by the literature on public relations in the public sector and later by the business-oriented
literature. The seat-of-the-pants type spans all periods and is found in interviews, columns and
biographies. The typology, therefore, produced an instrument capable of generating historical insights
into the practical thinking behind public relations.
The ideal type, however, is also an instrument for theory-construction. Weber was reluctant to see
ideal types as a normative isolation of ‘the best’ (Eliaeson, 2002). Rather than being viewed as an
instrument for developing a normative theory of what should be done, ideal typing can be seen as an
means of elucidating relationships between variables and of developing an empirical theory.
In 2001, J. Grunig concluded that his models should be valued as a “contingency model that includes
both symmetrical and asymmetrical elements” (p.25). He described the two-way symmetrical model as
a mixed-motive game in which asymmetrical and symmetrical strategies are used. He added, however,
that it was “bounded by a symmetrical world-view that respects the integrity of long-term
relationships”(p.26). In their empirical study on Excellence in Public Relations, L. Grunig et al.
(2002:208) claim “For public relations practitioners and communication managers to serve as effective
bridge builders, they must act as the eyes and the ears of organizations, as well as their spokespersons.
This means that communication practitioners must supplement the traditional crafts of one-way
communication (such as organizing press conferences, writing news releases, and producing public
relations materials) with competencies that permit them to enact two-way communication.” Clearly, L.
Grunig et al. have decided that no single model can be rated as “best” for all aspects of everyday
practice.
Following this reasoning, one could argue that all of the approaches developed above fit certain
situations. However, from the point of view of communication theory, we have to argue that a model
which views communication in a pre-scientific way, as a sort of magic bullet, cannot be classed as


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