CO 350: Contemporary Perspectives in Public Relations: Blog Post 3: “Image”

Turney, “Image and PR” (mycampus link)

1.     What is the idea of image?

Answer: According to this link, the idea of image is something that is created to be put out for the public, to put an impression of a person or organization into the minds of the public.  In the case of an image, it is usually the person or organization trying to put a positive spin on their face or on an organization to keep and to gain publics.  Images try to bring people and/or organizations down to the level of the public to create a personal copy of their image for that individual  Images are often created or “synthetic” according to this article.  The idea of an image is to create an image that leaves an impression on its publics.

2.     Why do people think image is bad?

Answer: People think “image” is bad because most people or organizations use only the positive pieces to create an image, but this image could be the complete opposite of the truth of a person or organization.  Some organizations and people go really far to construct and project an image that may be the total opposite of the true morals and beliefs of a company.  For example, any oil company that puts out an image that they contribute or support environmental causes is only for the benefit of their image.  They create something that might not be there at all, because an oil company is out to drill in any place possible to retrieve, sell, and make profit on oil.  When the world views a negative image, the look at public relations as the band aid on a broken arm; there is the assumption that public relations is only here to cover up and make a small attempt to bring a positive, but hide something super negative underneath.  For these reasons, people see the idea of “image” as something negative in society that people try to make better.

 3. How does Turney defend the idea of image?

Answer: Turney defends the idea of image with the fact that there is a “correlation that exists between the constructed image and the underlying reality that it’s presumed to represent.”  In other words, there is not really a “good” or “bad” image, just a reality that is constructed by an organization or person that has the judgment of the general public creating what seems to be a “good” or “bad” image.  Turney really describes an image being created by a response from the public; the general public can take this as good or bad and usually the majority wins in creating an image for some idea.  Therefore, Turney defends the idea of image and puts the “blame” on the public’s response.


Gilpin “Organizational Image Construction” (pp. 265-8)

4. What is the idea of “reputation”?

Answer: The idea of “reputation” is something that is similar to an image, but it is a view that is created from both the organization/person and its publics.  Many people use the term reputation to describe a person, and like the term “image,” “reputation” also has a first negative connotation when being used in society.  The negativity of the word reputation is used about the same as the positivity for reputation.  Several of the definitions in this particular article use the terms stakeholders and organization.  Reputation is used not only to describe this organization, but it must be associated with the stakeholders, as they are a component in the structure of an organization.  For example, an adult might not be attending a local high school, but they are considered a stakeholder to that organization through property taxes.  Schools are one example of how there is a reputation; you here it all of the time with locations of high schools in Cedar Rapids, especially with Cedar Rapids Washington.  In conclusion, the idea of reputation comes from parts inside and outside an organization.

5. What is the difference between intended image and construed image

Answer: The difference between intended image and construed image has to deal with the relationship between the stakeholder and organization.  An intended image deals with an organization creating and identity and tries to give a projection of this identity out to its stakeholders.  The idea of construed image talks about the concern internal members of an organization have over the “external” stakeholders of an organization.  The real difference is one tries to project its own identity without research of the stakeholders feelings, while the construed image takes into consideration its external stakeholders opinions, responses or feelings about its organization. 

 6. What is “image construction”?

Answer: Image construction is “the self-presentation processes used to build and maintain a particular set of perceptions among stakeholders regarding the organization’s identity.” In other words, image construction deals with several strategies that an organization takes to create a strong image to its stakeholders, with several more strategies in order to keep up that strong identity.  An organization has a wall and it needs to support that wall with different strategies and tactics to keep its stakeholders “staked” into the organization.  Image construction examples include created feature pieces for the media to grab to present to the public. 

7. From what you can tell, what does she seem to think is the relationship between image and reputation?

Answer: The relationship between image and reputation is based on the social context.  An image and reputation both rely on reactions and responses from the external stakeholders of an organization.  Image and reputation are in the hands of society and how an organization is seen in society.  These are the foundations for an organization’s image and reputation.  The image and reputation are very strongly linked to one another.  Media is also another link to image and reputation and the media portrays the organization in either a good or bad way; putting out an image for stakeholders, with stakeholders returning the favor of building them a reputation. 


Image Repair Theory: an overview (mycampus link)

8. Explain the basic concept of image repair theory

Answer: The basic concept of image repair theory consists of two parts: “1. The accused is held responsible for an action,” and “2.  The act is considered offensive.” With an organization in mind, the organization must take the blame for a wrong doing that has affected society; this act must be offensive to society, or go against the norms of society.  One example of something current in American society is the image repair of Lance Armstrong.  In his interview with Oprah, Armstrong took full responsibility for his actions in using illegal performance-enhancing substances to win seven Tour de France titles and other competitions.  The reason it was offensive to society is because society sees cheating as a negative norm; it is something that conflicts with the values of several cultures.  Second, Lance Armstrong had important ties to such organizations as Nike and his Livestrong campaigns with the yellow wrist bands.  Several members in the public did not look at those wrist bands the same after his confession; yet, Armstrong came out and confessed which shows how his situation falls into that of the basic concept of image repair theory.

9. Summarize, in your own words, the five basic strategies that (according to Benoit), organizations use to restore their image; be able to indicate the different versions of these strategies

Answer: The five different strategies, used by Benoit,that organizations use to restore their image are denial, evasion of responsibility, reduce offensiveness, corrective action and mortification.  Denial refers to the idea that an organization tries to stay away or avoid the negative situation completely in order to repair its image to society.  An organization usually comes out just to put blame on someone else.  Evasion of responsibility refers to the concept of letting an excuse or lack of supportive information take the blame for a mishap by an organization.  The reduction of offensiveness states that an organization takes actions to lessen the harshness of an wrongful action to make it appear not as bad to its publics.  The concept of corrective action talks about an organization stepping in to correct the situation by trying to completely reverse the wrong doing by a company.  Mortification is in reference to an organization going to the public an asking to be forgiven by all publics. Mortification makes the company appear to be a beggar and weak to its publics. 



CO 350: Contemporary Perspectives in Public Relations: Blog Post 2

  1. Describe the four models

Answer: The first of the four models of public relations is the Press agentry/publicity model.  In this model, public relations takes a propagandistic perspective in trying to get attention from the media and media outlets.  Organizations use this model in trying to get free promotion through news releases and story ideas for newspapers, radio and television stations.  The second model is the public information model, which refers to the idea of writers and practitioners within the organization supplying the public with accurate and positive information about the company.  According to Grunig, these first two models are consider “one-way models” where practitioners give information to the public, but do not collect research from the publics.  The third model is the two-way asymmetrical model in public relations describes the idea of creating a message that brings the support of the publics of the organization without the change of the organization to fit for the publics.  This model looks to benefit the organization with support from the public.  The fourth model is the two-way symmetrical model that someone who is neutral and helps to bring a message that positively supports the publics and organizations all together. 

  1. The issue of popularity of the 4 models:
    1. Which is most popular?

Answer: According to Grunig, the most popular model used is the press-agentry model.  A personal theory is that most practioners and organizations use the press to bring a spotlight to their public relations work. 

    1. Which is most popular in corporations

Answer: The most popular in corporations is the two-way asymmetrical model, which tries to bring a message that benefits the public without change in behavior to the company.  In other words, corporations are usually set in their ways and use public relations to spread a message that brings more interest to the corporation from different publics.

    1. Which is most popular in governmental agencies?

Answer: The most popular in governmental agencies is the public-information model.  The reason behind this is that most governmental agencies offer some kind of service to the public; there is no specific audience in mind for these agencies because it effects the entire public in some way. 

  1. describe the 2 worldviews:
    1. What are the presuppositions of the asymmetrical worldview

Answer: The presuppositions of the asymmetrical worldview include internal orientation, closed system, efficiency, elitism, conservatism, tradition and central authority.  Internal orientation describes the perspective the internal persons of the organization has about the organization looking from the outside in, and how their view is different from other publics.  Closed system refers to the idea of information flow that goes from the organization to the publics, but does not have information flowing into the organization.  Efficiency is in regards to costs of operations of the flow of information are more important than innovative ways.  Elitism describes the leaders of the organizations, especially knowing what is best for the organization; what they say typically goes. Conservatism refers to the organization and how it stays in its own ways; it does not welcome change.  Tradition consists of the practices of the organization in keeping stability.  Central authority refers to the power of the company existing in the top advisors of the organization.  These are the presupposition of the asymmetrical worldview.


    1. What are the presuppositions of the symmetrical worldview?

Answer: The presuppositions of the symmetrical worldview include communication leading to understanding, which addresses the idea of using have common balance of understanding between organizations, publics, and/or cultures; Holism, which talks about the importance of parts working as a whole, and the whole is greater than the sum of parts; interdependence, which refers to the systems and the environment a system exists in, with the system being separate and a part of the environment at the same time; open system, which refers to “interpenetrating systems” and free exchange between these systems; moving equilibrium, which speaks of balance between systems; equality, which refers to the respect for one another in regards to an organization and public; autonomy, which allows for innovation and creativity in helping to bring satisfaction to human beings;  innovation, which allows for new ideas and out-of-the-box thinking; decentralization of management, which refers to the idea of having no central authority but instead having a group of people work and collaborate equally to help the organization; responsibility, which refers to people having control over their behaviors and actions, along with consequences for actions from behaviors; conflict resolution, which refers to the idea of negotiation, compromise, and communication of conflict within the organizations; and interest group liberalism, which refers to the idea of “championing interests of ordinary people against unresponsive government and corporate structures.”


    1. which of the 4 models fit into each?

Answer: Three of the four models fit into the asymmetrical worldview, where there is not a balance of information between the organization and the publics of the organizations. Public agentry/publicity, public information, and the general asymmetrical worldview fit into each other as one group where balance does not exist.  Two-way symmetrical public relations is on its own in a category, as there is equal balance between the organization and the publics of the organization. 

    1. Which is the dominant worldview?

Answer: The dominant worldview in public relations has to be the asymmetrical world view, as it encompasses three of the four models in the system.  Public information is the most practiced model in the world, which gives a lot more edge to the asymmetrical worldview.  The difficult thing about the dominant worldview is that it is hard to measure, but a majority of organizations fall into this worldview. 

  1. What worldview does Grunig advocate? Why?

Grunig advocates the worldview of the two-way symmetrical model is it can be the most universal model that “is a more moral and ethical approach to public relations.” Grunig cites that this model is more effective in practice, especially if it is used.  In conflicts, organizations have only taken the two-way asymmetrical approach in trying to resolve conflict, which in turn only benefit one side of the conflict.  If an organization applied the two-way symmetrical model it could be successful because there would be more universal values worked into the model.  The model works better amongst a larger group of human beings, but most organizations do not see this; this is why Grunig advocates this model. 

CO 350: Contemporary Perspectives in Public Relations: Blog Post 1

“Why I don’t care about defining PR”

  1. What was the basic process the PRSA used to come up with their definition of PR?

Answer: The basic process the PRSA used to come up with their definition of public relations was through crowd-sourcing.  In this crowd-sourcing, PRSA reported receiving “more than 900 submissions, 70 comments and over 16,000 page views” in seeking and presenting a new definition for public relations.  After the crowd-sourcing, a subjective reflection was taken from a Definition of Public Relations Task Force, which was followed by a public vote creating the top three definitions.  This basic process has been done before, but this time around there existed over 900 definitions versus the 472 definitions collected by Rex Harlow just around 40 years ago. 

 2.  Why does the author not care about defining PR?

Answer: The author of this blog gives four reasons as to why they do not care about defining public relations.  The first reason the author states is “the job is never done” in finding a definition for public relations.  In this statement, the field of public relations is constantly changing, which creates even more reasons to keep changing the definition of public relations to try and cover all aspects of PR.  The second reason given by the author is “the lack of clarity about what is meant by a definition of public relations.” This is another fact about how a definition limits all of the possibilities that take place in the field of public relations.  There cannot be one pharse that encompasses every part of the career.  The third reason the author presents is “PR’s reputational problem.”  In other words, the history of public relations has given it other negative areas of public acknowledgment, and must always try and distinguish itself to put it into a positive perspective for the public.  The final reason the author gives is “PR is being defined largely by PR people.”  Public relations deals with publics who are outside of the field; how do they view public relations? This could help public relations people with trying to come up with a “universal” definition if the public could give some feedback for a definition, or how they see the profession of public relations.

“The Big Question: What is public relations”

3.  First, return to homepage of “PR conversations:” what is this website all about?

Answer: The website PR conversations” is a gathering sight for those who are working out in the field of public relations, students and academia people researching and discussing the methods and ways of public relations.  The website also serves the purpose of allowing people just outside the spotlight of public relations to give their opinion, show their work and give some publicity they normally do not receive, as they are not self-publicists in themselves.  PR conversations is a website that serves as a place for online informed discussion about several ideas, opinions, and other information in modern public relations. One of these topics could also be the definition of public relations. These are just a few of many tools the website provides to any persons interested in public relations.

4.  p. 2: according to Falconi, what has been the traditional 20th century model of PR? What sort of model would he like to replace it?

Answer: The traditional 20th century model of public relations has been centered around the United States centered public relations model that follows the idea of rhetoric, persuasive, marketing oriented and asymmetric communication.  Public relations seemed to develop in the United States and this foundation was imported by all western countries in Europe and other developing countries.  Falconi says that the spread of the U.S. centered PR model has caused “collateral damage and undesirable effects we must recognize.”  Falconi suggests that a new global public relations model needs to be created with more generic principles and more-detailed applications based on major economic, cultural, and political elements.  In other words, the U.S. centered model has a lot of customs and values of an American culture, which makes it difficult to apply to countries such as Japan, Brazil, and South Africa, where cultures have different norms and rules.  There needs to be a more generic model that is able to encompass all different types of cultures and societies.

5.  p. 24: According to Yaxley, how does the fable of the blind men and the elephant relate to the issue of defining “public relations”?

Answer: In the fable of the five blind men and the elephant and its relation to public relations, the idea of the different descriptions given about the elephant show how there are several unique definitions and models of public relations and how they must co-exist in one point in time.  This describes the current situation of public relations and its definition as there are numerous definitions that are personal and unique to different cultures, societies, situations and organizations that exist with one another.  Nobody in the fable, or with their definition of public relations is wrong with the descriptions, but the problem lies in trying to bring something personal and making it the foundation for everyone else who has their own personal description.  The main idea is the idea of conflict among public relations persons and having their own definitions and trying to push others to use their own.  There will always be numerous descriptions and definitions to any object and in any profession, especially public relations.

6.  p. 26: Explain Steyn’s idea of “paradigm”

Answer: According to Steyn, paradigms are “scientific world-views– a set of shared basic beliefs about how researches view that which they study.”  In other words, paradigms have a central concept that is supported by research done by several researchers.  In the story of the five blind men and the elephant, Steyn tries to create a central concept about the elephant that takes support from each of the five blind men’s descriptions and creates a general view of the elephant that all can share.  The paradigm model tries to work the same way for public relations, especially in gathering a number of different definitions to create a central concept for a majority of public relations persons to follow.  This idea of paradigm is to have a central idea with several small and specific research points to surround the concept.

7.  p. 30: Explain Arrow’s contrasting blind men/elephant fable

Answer: In Arrow’s contrasting fable of the blind men and the elephant, the elephant took on a change to itself and went off on it’s own journey describing itself to others while the five blind men stayed put, and did not notice that elephant had changed and left them in debate.  The elephant did not have complete commonalities with other people along its journey, but it was better off than before in having some kind of foundation.  In other words, this contrasting fable describes what needs to be done to create a better definition for public relations, similar to Falconi’s argument in his comment.  Instead of debating about a new definition for public relations, the profession needs to set aside several different definitions, create one general standard definition and move on with other elements of the public relations profession. 

“50 shades of PR”

8.The author asserts: “Greater luminance will only result from embracing all shades of PR” What does the author mean by that?

Answer: In this authors post about the good and bad of public relations, the profession of public relations must embrace all sorts of public relations, from the dark side of public relations and it’s history with propaganda, to the positive practitioners that have management duties and a commercial mind.  This is similar to all professions in embracing the good and bad.  A profession cannot understand itself until it looks deep within.  In public relations, there was a rough beginning in its relation with propaganda in the early 20th century, but public relations can use this in a positive way to show how this has benefited public relations in the 21st century.  Without considering the entire history of public relations, a person in the profession cannot truly understand public relations.