“A Theoretical Framework for Global Public Relations Research and Practice”
1. What do the authors mean by “environmental variables”? (p. 1)
Answer: In the first parts of the first chapter, the author is referring to “environmental variables” as the different demographics of a country that have a direct influence on the practice and profession of public relations in that particular country. Some of these environmental variables include the type of government, economics, language, culture, education system, and the history of the country, just to name a few of these variables. The authors see a environmental variables as part of the equation to what the public relations profession looks like in that particular country to the rest of the world.
2. How does the political system influence how pr is practiced?
Answer: According to Sriramesh and Vercic, the political system has a great influence on how public relations is practiced because it has an impact on the social structure of a nation. The real link that Sriramesh and Vercic point out is the link public relations has to the strength of public opinion in a country. For example, if a country has strong government control on what the people can voice their opinion about, such as North Korea, then public relations can be considered more of a propagandistic approach. Yet, in countries claiming to be practicing a democracy, the profession is said to be at least stable or very prominent because more freedom exists to the public in public opinion.
3. What does level of economic development have to do with PR?
Answer: The level of economic development is also linked with the political system and also has a strong hold on how public relations is as a profession in that country. The economy is usually driven by the decisions of the government or the government is controlled by the conditions of economy according to Sriramesh and Vercic. For example, a poor economy in a country can lead to an governments that have political parties that cannot create a strong foundation. Countries with weak economies should not make ideal conditions for the existence of true public relations. Stability between the economy and government is the only option that can lead to successful public relations.
4. What two types of culture are indicated here?
Answer: The two types of culture mentioned in the first chapter are societal and corporate culture. Societal culture refers to the idea that family values, beliefs and morals are taken into the workplace and help to shape corporate culture in certain countries. For example, in the Middle Eastern countries, a lot of religious elements are taken in from society because a majority of the people in the workforce practice Islam and must pray during the day. Societal culture has a real impact on everyday interaction amongst people, and can really link with the political system of a country in terms of its influence on public relations. Some of the dimensions of societal culture include collectivism, which describes the values members of society; the power distance, which puts people into certain classes; masculinity-femininity is in reference to gender roles in society; uncertainty avoidance talks about the culture’s tolerance and cope with ambiguity; collectivism refers to the value of the individual over collectivity in a society; and long-term orientation talks of collectivity valuing tradition and long-term commitments. Corporate culture is influenced by the societal culture in several ways, but corporate cultures show how corporations bring their own individual culture to the table. Corporate culture talks about how people get along within the organization, outside of societal cultural differences because Sriramesh and Vercic believe the corporate culture can stand alone as its own culture.
5. What seems to be the idea of media reach and media access?
Answer: The idea of media reach refers to the way organizations utilize mass media to get their message and/or information out to the publics without having expenses. This tactic of media reach in the United States and Europe is completely different from developing countries. Developing countries only reach a certain, and small group of people who are not illiterate or stuck in poverty. For example, in some African countries, a message sent out to the public might not be worth it from the organization because most of the people are not in the media reach. If organizations cannot use the traditional media reach, they find new ways through alternate media; for example, in the article the use of Indian folk media and it use of dances, skits and other performances to spread information is very common and useful. The idea of media access refers to how people come to approach these different media to take in messages from organizations. Other ideas include the access organizations have to the mass media, especially if it is controlled by the government. Media access really talks about the organizations having the permission to utilize these different media to spread messages.
6. Speculation: how might these two concepts extend to social media? (that is, this essay was written before the advent of social media, but what do you think they would say about it?)
Answer: These two concepts can really be seen with the emergence of social media in the later part of the first decade of the 21st century. Media reach through social media has been blossoming in countries such as the United States and the European continent. In developing countries, social media reach has come across faster because of the availability of technology that houses social media, especially on smart phones. Media access is also another avenue that can be seen with social media; organizations may not be able to utilize social media to spread mass messages because it could be cause for a potential rising of some sort if the message passed through social media. Governments that are set in a collectivist society might have more control over social media platforms and messages that pass through these platforms in fear of individual uprising from individuals of society. Social media can really be seen as being affected by media reach and access because of its late coming of becoming a major media platform.
Mycampus link: “Is there such a thing as European public relations”?
7. Can we say that PR is practiced one way throughout all of Europe? Why or why not?
Answer: According to van Kalkeren, there is not one way of public relations that is practiced throughout all of Europe. The first thing van Kalkeren points out is the number of different countries, different official languages, and different cultures that make up the European continent. Because of its development in the early years, several different views of public relations have developed throughout the continent, taking customs and doing away with the name “public relations.” In referring back to the public relations handbook, public relations is influenced be several different “environmental variables” and Europe has several different variables in each of these countries, creating a unique version of public relations that is unique to that certain country.
8. Was there any sort of common heritage in the way PR developed in Europe?
Answer: According to van Kalkeren, the common heritage that existed between the countries of Europe in their development of public relations dates back to wartime. Wartime in the global public relations handbook referred to World War II, when countries associated public relations and propaganda very closely together. In order to help their country to come back from the devastation, some countries used public relations in the media to help during the wartime with the fight. This was the start of public relations on the European continent.
9. T/F: The term “public relations” is commonly used in European countries. Explain.
Answer: False. Most countries refer back to the beginnings of public relations in their countries and associate the term with propaganda. To do away with this association, most countries have found alternatives to the American term in order to help the European people trust in the profession. For example, in the Global Public Relations Handbook and this article, the Netherlands refer to public relations through the general term of communication. Countries such as Finland have three different names which translated are affiliation work, communication, and relationship activity.
10. The countries that were formerly communist tend to practice PR in terms of which of Grunig’s four models.
Answer: The countries that were formerly under communist rule tend to practice public relations in a press release approach, which falls under Grunig’s public information model. The reason for this practice could be influenced by the number of years these countries were under a communist government, which most likely used a lot of one-way communication models in passing along information to the publics. These countries are still trying to establish working governments after the fall of the communist Soviet Union, so these countries are using this one way approach to make sure the public is informed.