Ackerman, B.A. (1980): Social Justice in the Liberal State. New Haven/CNGoogle Scholar
Anderson, J.R. (1983): The Architecture of Cognition. Cambridge/MAGoogle Scholar
Bemays, E.L. (1923): Crystallizing Public Opinion. New YorkGoogle Scholar
Bemays, E.L. (1965): Biography of an Idea - Memoirs of Public Relations Counselor Edward L. Bemays. New YorkGoogle Scholar
Bohm, D. (1977): Science as Perception-Communication. In. Suppe, F. (Ed.): The Structure of Scientific Theories. Urbana/ILGoogle Scholar
Cheney, G./Tompkins, P.K. (1984, March): Toward an Ethic of Identification. Paper presented at the Burke Conference, Philadelphia/PAGoogle Scholar
Collingwood, RG. (1940): An essay on Metaphysics. LondonGoogle Scholar
Craik, F.I.M. (1979): Levels of Processing: Overview and Closing Comments. In. Cermak,L.S./Craik, F. I. M. (Eds.): Levels of Processing in Human Memory. Hillsdale/NJGoogle Scholar
Cutlip, S.M. (1987): Pioneering public relations for foreign governments. In: Public Relations Review 13 ( 1987 ) 1, pp. 13–34Google Scholar
Cutlip, S.M. (in press): The Inside Story of Public Relations Early Years. Hillsdale/NJGoogle Scholar
Cutlip, S.M./Center, A.H. (1978): Effective Public Relations. 5th Edition. Englewood Cliffs/NJGoogle Scholar
Feyerabend, P.R. (1970): Consolations for the specialist. In. Lakatos, I./Musgrave, A.(Eds. ): Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge. Cambridge/UKGoogle Scholar
Fisher, R./Ury, W. (1983): Getting to Yes. New YorkGoogle Scholar
Fishman, D. (1990): An intellectual history approach. In: Teaching public relations 19 (December 1990)Google Scholar
Gilligan, C. (1982): In a Different Voice. Cambridge/MAGoogle Scholar
Goldman, E.F. (1948): Two-Way Street - The Emergence of the Public Relations Counsel. BostonGoogle Scholar
Grunig, J.E. (1991): Public relations research–A legacy of Scott Cutlip. In: Public Relations Review 17 ( 1991 ) 4, pp. 357–376Google Scholar
Grunig. J.E. (1992): Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management. Hillsdale/NjGoogle Scholar
Grunig, J.E./Grunig, L.A. (1992): Models of Public Relations. In. Grunig, J.E. (Ed.): Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management. Hillsdale/NJGoogle Scholar
Grunig, J.E./Hunt, T. (1984): Managing Public Relations. New YorkGoogle Scholar
Grunig, J.E./Ramsey, S./Schneider (aka Grunig), L.A. (1985): An axiomatic theory of cognition and writing. In: Journal of Technical Writing and Communication 15 (1985), pp. 95–130Google Scholar
Grunig, J.E./White, J.(1992): The Role of World View in Public Relations Theory and Practice.In. Grunig. J.E. (Ed.): Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management.Hillsdale/NJGoogle Scholar
Hainsworth, B.E. (1987): Retrospective - Ivy Lee and the German dye trust. In: Public Relations Review 13 ( 1987 ) 1, pp. 35–44Google Scholar
Harris, N. (1973): Humbug - The Art of P.T. Barnum. BostonGoogle Scholar
Hiebert, R.E. (1966): Courtier to the Crowd. Ames/IAGoogle Scholar
Hill, J.W. (1963): The Making of a Public Relations Man. New YorkGoogle Scholar
Kearney, M. (1984): World View. Novato/CAGoogle Scholar
Kohlberg, L. (1981): The Philosophy of Moral Development. San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
Koten, J.A. (1986): Moving toward higher standards for American business. In: Public Relations Review 12 ( 1986 ) 3, pp. 3–11Google Scholar
Kovarik, W.J. (1993): The Ethyl Controversy - How the News Media Interpreted the 1920s Controversy over Leaded Gasoline and the Alternatives. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland. College Park/MDGoogle Scholar
Kuhn, T.S. (1970): The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. ChicagoGoogle Scholar
Laudan, L. (1977): Progress and its Problems. Berkeley/CAGoogle Scholar
Lee, A.M. (1937): The Daily Newspaper in America. New YorkGoogle Scholar
Markus, M., & Zajonc, R.B. (1985): The Cognitive Perspective in Social Psychology. In.Lindsey, G./Anderson, E. (Eds.): Handbook of Social Psychology, Vol. 1. New YorkGoogle Scholar
Marra, F. (1992): Crisis Public Relations. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Maryland. College Park/MDGoogle Scholar
McBride, G.G. (1989): No Season of Silence: Uses of Public Relations in 19th and Early 20th Century Reform Movements in Wisconsin. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin. Madison/WIGoogle Scholar
McCarthy, T. (1978): The Critical Theory of Jurgen Habermas. Cambridge/MAGoogle Scholar
Merrill, J.C./Odell, S.J. (1983): Philosophy and Journalism. New YorkGoogle Scholar
Miller, K. (1992): Smoking up a storm - Public relations and advertising in the construction of the cigarette problem, 1953–1954. In: Journalism Monographs No. 136Google Scholar
Olasky, M.N. (1987): Corporate Public Relations: A New Historical Perspective. Hillsdale/NJGoogle Scholar
Paivio, A. (1971): Imagery and Verbal Processes. New YorkGoogle Scholar
Paisley, W. (1989): Public Communication Campaigns— The American Experience. In. RiceGoogle Scholar
R.E./Atkin, C.K. (Eds.): Public Communication Campaigns. Newbury Park/CA Pavlik, J.V. (1987): Public Relations - What Research Tells Us. Newbury Park/CAGoogle Scholar
Pearson, R. (1989a): Beyond Ethical Relativism in Public Relations: Coorientation, Rules, and the Ideal of Communication Symmetry. In. Grunig, J.E./Grunig, L.A. (Eds.): Public Relations Research Annual, Vol. 1. Hillsdale/NJGoogle Scholar
Pearson, R. (1989b): A Theory of Public Relations Ethics. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Ohio University. Athens/OHGoogle Scholar
Schneider, (aka Grunig), L.A. (1985): Implications of the concept of schema for public relations. In: Public Relations Research & Education 2 ( 1985 ) 1, pp. 36–47Google Scholar
Shapere, D. (1984): Reason and the Search for Knowledge. DordrechtGoogle Scholar
Suppe, F. (1977): The Structure of Scientific Theories. 2nd Edition. Urbana/ILGoogle Scholar
Suppe, F. (1989): The Semantic Concept of Theories and Scientific Realism. Urbana/ILGoogle Scholar
Tedlow, R.S. (1979): Keeping the Corporate Image — Public Relations and Business 1900–1950. Greenwich/CNGoogle Scholar
Torrance, T.F. (1989): The Christian Frame of Mind — Reason, Order, and Openness in Theology and Natural Science. Colorado SpringsGoogle Scholar
Tuleja, T. (1985): Beyond the Bottom Line. New YorkGoogle Scholar
Vroom, H.M. (1989): Religions and the Truth. Grand Rapids/MIGoogle Scholar
Vercic, D. (1992): Modern Public Relations: Edward L. Bernays and After. Unpublished paper. Ljubljana/SloveniaGoogle Scholar
Wiebe, G.D. (1963): The Social Dynamics of Corporation-Public Relationships — A Model and a Parable. In. Riley, Jr., J.W. (Ed.): The Corporation and Its Publics — Essays on the Corporate Image. New YorkGoogle Scholar
While preparing to teach my first PR class back in ’85, I happened upon “Managing Public Relations,” by Jim Grunig and Todd Hunt. Though I lost track of my copy long ago (never loan textbooks to students — never), one element of that book influenced how I taught and practiced PR for the past 23 years.
Grunig & Hunt’s “4 Models” of public relations practice went on to became the most talked-about theory in the discipline. The “4 Models” describe distinct approaches to public relations in the context of a 130-year timeline that shows how public relations has evolved. In the process, Grunig & Hunt identify an “ideal” approach to public relations — something they call the 2-way symmetrical model — and place it at the top of the evolutionary pyramid.
For me, the 4 Models became more than a teaching tool. When Grunig & Hunt published their theory, I was a full-time PR practitioner working for marketers who saw PR as promotion and publicity, period, and with no ethics component. The 4 Models helped me see the potential of public relations and, in part, inspired me to open my own shop so I could get beyond marketing and do some serious PR.
Here’s a summary of the models. If you’re like most of us, you’ve spent a little time in each of them.
The Press Agentry Model. With roots in the 19th century, press agents worked to influence public opinion by creating news. P. T. Barnum was a master of the art form, weaving fantasy and half-truths into his messages. Press agents were liars — at least some of the time — but it got their clients into the headlines, and that’s what mattered. Press agentry is alive and well in the entertainment business to this day. I mean, how else do you explain Paris Hilton?
The press agent invests no time in research and even less in the discussion of ethics. The aim is behavior manipulation.
It’s curious, though not surprising, that Seth Godin used a form of press agentry to position his book, “All Marketers are Liars,” At least he admits it from Chapter One, so don’t be too hard on the guy. You probably bought his book. I did.
The Public Information Model. Somewhere in the early 20th century enlightened PR types shifted toward truth and accuracy in communication, but they did little more than distribute information. Acting in the role of “journalist in residence,” a PR person under the public information model used no formal research to guide his work. But the move away from pseudo events and half-truths was a significant shift toward more ethical practices.
One-way communication is the focus of the public information model. Press releases, brochures, even static Web content, are tools used by these information dispensers. They tell the story and hope someone is paying attention. I see a lot of this model in higher education, including at my own university. Government PR folks also do a lot of one-way storytelling to “get the word out.”
The 2-way asymmetrical model. The post World War II rise in consumer products created a need for targeted, scientific marketing. PR played a role. Under the 2-way asymmetrical model, practitioners used research to get inside the heads of consumers and to help fashion the sell messages. Grunig and Hunt called it “scientific persuasion,” and it remains the stock-in-trade of advertisers everywhere.
While asymmetrical communication is two way, the goal is anything but balanced. It’s all about persuasion to trigger a transaction, thus its popularity with marketers.
The 2-way symmetrical model. A handy website at the U of Florida describes it this way:
Uses communication to negotiate with publics, resolve conflict, and promote mutual understanding and respect between the organization and its public(s).
The 2-way symmetrical model casts public relations in the role of mediator versus persuader. Under that model, PR pros listen to the concerns of both clients and key publics and help them adapt to one another. A utopian model? It seems so, since the PR professional must represent the interests of ALL parties while being paid by only one. It works well with enlightened management who take a long-term view, but they’re rare birds these days.
Can we realistically serve multiple stakeholders whose needs conflict? For example, can we represent the interests of loyal employee groups while our shareholders demand layoffs in favor of low-cost offshore suppliers?
If you view yourself as a client advocate, the 2-way symmetrical model may seem nonsensical, and that’s too bad. To be successful in business — one of my old bosses used to say — ALL parties must benefit — not just customers and investors.
I’m old enough to remember when the C-suite mantra was something other than “maximize shareholder value.” Not that long ago, business leaders actually worried about the long-term impact of their decisions. They planned for sustainability before it became a buzz word for the green movement. Some even showed a sense of ethics and social responsibility — a desire to act in the public interest although it cut into dividends or executive bonuses.
Today’s amoral, profit-lusting business environment doesn’t leave much room for the 2-way symmetrical model, which, by definition, may not be self-centered. Makes it hard to justify shareholder greed and 7-figure bonuses when you have to worry about fairness, balance and the whole “relationship” thing.
Can public relations move American business toward a more balanced business model and a more ethical one? Maybe not. But someone has to try.
Special thanks to Judy Gombita for linking me to Henry Mintzberg’s paper (pdf), “Beyond Selfishness.” It reminded me why the 2-way symmetrical model should be more than a theoretical ideal. It should be standard business practice.
This entry was posted on Sunday, August 10th, 2008 at 9:19 pm and is filed under Kent State, Marketing, PR, PR Education, Public Relations, Public Relations Ethics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.