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Four Basic Communication Strategies, Beyond the Borders of Traditional Public Relations Practice
Unformatted Document Text:  3 planning and involved in organizational decision-making make little use of data acquired from research”. In addition to doing the same kind of operational work as the communication employees, these Dutch communication managers took on a wide range of planning activities and other managerial tasks. They showed themselves to be rather overloaded “hands on managers”. No confirmation was found for Dozier’s suggestion (1992:338) that there is a relationship between evaluation activities and participation in management decision-making. The latter appeared to be related to hierarchical position rather than to evaluation activities. When “evaluation activities” were used as an indicator of managerial roles, as Dozier (1992) suggested, the result was that almost all practitioners (even those in the upper echelons) had to be classified as technicians (Ruler, 2000). On a more aggregate level, J. Grunig (Grunig 1976, 1989, 1992; Grunig & Hunt, 1984) conceptualized four public relations models: publicity, public information, two-way asymmetrical and two-way symmetrical. All models reveal accompanying roles that are typical of practitioners. In a study among the top 200 companies in the Netherlands, Van Ruler (1996, 1997) concluded that while these four models did indeed have empirical power in the Netherlands, this manifested itself in unexpected ways. A large percentage of top communication managers in these large companies overtly stated that the real power of public relations could be traced back to the two-way symmetrical model. However, in describing the everyday contributions of public relations to their organizations, and without analyzing their own responses, they demonstrated an asymmetrical view. Nevertheless, their actions were shown to be guided by the publicity and public information models. The research designs of these two Dutch studies, which followed the Dozier-dichotomy and the four Grunig-models, did not permit firm conclusions to be drawn about differences in Dutch public relations practice. However, from the accompanying interviews in the 1996 Dutch study (Ruler, 1996) it became obvious that the interviewees differed in terms of their views on the essence of their jobs. This, however, seemed more an echo of their view of how communication works and the communication model that they seemed to feel was applicable to their job. It was for this reason that

Authors: Van Ruler, A. A. Betteke.
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planning and involved in organizational decision-making make little use of data acquired from
research”. In addition to doing the same kind of operational work as the communication employees,
these Dutch communication managers took on a wide range of planning activities and other
managerial tasks. They showed themselves to be rather overloaded “hands on managers”. No
confirmation was found for Dozier’s suggestion (1992:338) that there is a relationship between
evaluation activities and participation in management decision-making. The latter appeared to be
related to hierarchical position rather than to evaluation activities. When “evaluation activities” were
used as an indicator of managerial roles, as Dozier (1992) suggested, the result was that almost all
practitioners (even those in the upper echelons) had to be classified as technicians (Ruler, 2000).
On a more aggregate level, J. Grunig (Grunig 1976, 1989, 1992; Grunig & Hunt, 1984) conceptualized
four public relations models: publicity, public information, two-way asymmetrical and two-way
symmetrical. All models reveal accompanying roles that are typical of practitioners. In a study among
the top 200 companies in the Netherlands, Van Ruler (1996, 1997) concluded that while these four
models did indeed have empirical power in the Netherlands, this manifested itself in unexpected ways.
A large percentage of top communication managers in these large companies overtly stated that the
real power of public relations could be traced back to the two-way symmetrical model. However, in
describing the everyday contributions of public relations to their organizations, and without analyzing
their own responses, they demonstrated an asymmetrical view. Nevertheless, their actions were shown
to be guided by the publicity and public information models.
The research designs of these two Dutch studies, which followed the Dozier-dichotomy and the four
Grunig-models, did not permit firm conclusions to be drawn about differences in Dutch public
relations practice. However, from the accompanying interviews in the 1996 Dutch study (Ruler, 1996)
it became obvious that the interviewees differed in terms of their views on the essence of their jobs.
This, however, seemed more an echo of their view of how communication works and the
communication model that they seemed to feel was applicable to their job. It was for this reason that


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