The role of Public Relations is misunderstood

Do employers really understand the role of PR?

Perhaps the greatest pressure for most PR practitioners comes from the management’s misunderstanding of the role of Public Relations. Most employers believe that PR is supposed to represent their company in a positive light at all times but is this the true definition of the role of Public Relations as a profession? If that’s the case then it means that lies, propaganda and manipulation become inevitable because no matter how good a company is problems do occur sometimes and it is the duty of the PR professional to handle the crisis in a way that balances their loyalty to the employer and to the public.

PR is a profession that is grossly misunderstood across board and is perhaps one of the professions with the most definitions. People often tend to define the role of PR by it's most visible techniques and tactics but what they fail to understand is that PR is a process that involves research, analysis and feedback from the public. PR thus operates on two levels:

  • Giving advise to employers or clients
  • Communicating to the public

But it is not always easy to say to your boss: I'm right. You're wrong. Bosses don't understand PR better that the PR professionals. They understand profit margins and company image. This doesn't make them unethical. It just means they think differently.


Anonymous said...

It is difficult for people to adhere to ethics in a profession whose role is misunderstood in the first place. The buck lies with us PR practitioners to be firm as to what we can and cannot do. It will mean a few people losing their jobs but I think it is important that people look at long term goals rather than short term ones. The price to pay evidently is quite huge.

Unknown said...

I'm took the PR class right now. Your article really help me a lot.:)

Anonymous said...

I am a holder of BA Degree in Media Studies i am currently doing a post graduate certificate in Strategic PR and Business Promotion with the University of Zimbabwe.
Ethics should start with you as an individual, make yourself a brand of good a PR practitioner you should be guided by the organization's values and norms.good ethics protects the reputation of the that way your organisation will have long term benefits.

PR & Public Communication Organization said...

Public Relation professionals have to face multiple challenges time to time and need to be very dynamic do manage multiple tasks at a time, an organization can misunderstood a PR professional work due to lack of communication, so what i think that management and PR individuals need to coordinate with each other to avoid the conflicts between them.

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