Public Relations Management – Theory and Process

In the Branch of Communication Science has briefly reviewed public relations which includes the definition, scope, characteristics, and functions of public relations . In practice, public relations has influenced all of our lives without even realizing it.

What we read, what we see, and what we hear through the mass media or the internet as a modern communication medium is a direct effect or an indirect effect as an effort made by organizations to build a reputation and build and maintain relationships with stakeholders that can determine the success or failure of an organization through communication planning and management.

In general, the public relations department of an organization is responsible for monitoring and responding to changes that occur in the organization’s external environment, including issues, expectations, relationships, and reputation. And, at the same time, public relations contributes to managing the effectiveness of the work environment in the organization through internal communication with employees (Read: Organizational Communication Patterns )

Definition of Public Relations Management

Public relations is the management of communication between an organization and its public. The definition of public relations put forward by James E. Grunig and Tedd Hunt contains several components, namely management, communication, organization and the public (The Saylor Foundation, 15).

  • Management– is the core knowledge of how to best coordinate the various activities carried out by an organization to achieve effectiveness.
  • Communication– public relations is not only the process of sending messages to the recipient of messages but also understanding the messages of others through listening and dialogue.
  • Organization– is a collection of organized groups that have the same goal, for example a business (Read: Business Communication ), a company, a government (Read: Government Communication ), or a non-profit group.
  • Public– is a collection of several groups that share the same interests.

Also read:  language as a means of communication

Public relations is also defined as a management function that uses communication to help manage relationships with the public. These management functions include research and development, finance, law, human resources, marketing and operations.

Thus, what is meant by public relations management is the process of conducting research, planning, implementing, and evaluating communication activities initiated by an organization.

Scope of Public Relations Management

The scope of public relations management includes:

  • Management of public relationsactivities carried out by organizations (Read: Organizational Communication )
  • Management of public relationsactivities more specifically

Public Relations Management Model

The historical study of the development of public relations shows that there are four basic models of public relations as identified by James E. Grunig and Todd Hunt .

These public relations models illustrate the different forms of communication between organizations and stakeholders. The four basic models of public relations are the publicity or press agency model, the public relations information model, the asymmetric persuasive model, and the two-way symmetric model.

  • Publicity model or press agency– This model uses persuasion and manipulation to influence audiences to have the same impression as the organization and generally public relations practitioners act as internal journalists.
  • Public information model– This model uses press releases and other means of one-way communication techniques to distribute information about the organization.
  • Two-way asymmetrical model– This model uses persuasion and manipulation to influence audiences to have the same impression of the organization. No research is required to find out what employees or clients feel about the organization.
  • Two-way symmetrical model– This model uses communication to negotiate with the public, solve problems, and to promote mutual understanding and respect between the organization and employees or clients (Marsh in Eadie, 2009: 717-718)


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  • Ethics in Communicating on the Internet

Public Relations Management Theory

The theories that form the basis of public relations management include:

  1. The Excellence Theory

This theory is the result of studies conducted by James E. Grunig, Larissa A. Grunig, and David M. Dozier who examine organizational practices known as public relations management and communication management, especially practices related to four kinds of models or philosophies. public relations, namely publicity or press agents, public information, two-way asymmetrical, and two-way symmetrical.

The results of the study show that the most effective public relations model is a two-way symmetrical model because of the values ​​of mutual understanding and two-way advocacy. In general, this theory states that the value of communication can be seen through four levels, namely:

  1. The programmatic level– effective organizations should reinforce public relations as a critical management function
  2. Functional level– public relations should be integrated with communication functions and separate from other management functions including marketing
  3. Levels of organization– effective organizations must base internal and external communication and build relationships on a two-way symmetrical model
  4. Social level– the organization must be aware of the organization’s impact on other organizations and the public. An organization can be said to be ineffective unless the organization is socially responsible

Read also:  learning communication

  1. Contingency Theory

This theory is a reaction from the excellence theory . This theory offers the core values ​​of a two-way symmetric model with a more situational model (Marsh in Eadie, 2009: 717-718)


  • Public Relations Theory
  • Communication Theory According to Experts
  • Communication Theory

Public Relations Management Process

Some of the things that support the running of the public relations management process include elements of the public relations management process , planning and monitoring and evaluating the public relations process . (Read: Communication Management )

  1. Elements of the Public Relations Management Process

In the public relations management process involves various elements, namely:

  • human resources who support the public relationsmanagement process .
  • equipment needed to support the public relationsmanagement process .
  • the means needed to support the public relationsmanagement process .
  • the method used in the public relationsprocess management process .
  • budget or funds used in the management process of public relations.
  • target publics in the public relationsmanagement process .
  1. Public RelationsPlanning

Public relations planning is very important for an organization. In general, public relations planning has the same pattern as the management strategy of an organization or a public relations program There are 4 (four) stages of public relations planning , namely:

  1. Caring – understanding the current situation.
  2. Formulation – choosing the right strategy.
  3. Implementation – putting strategy into action.
  4. Evaluation – the process of monitoring for correcting actions and effectiveness.

Meanwhile, Scott Cutlip , Allen Center , and Glen Broom , the planning and management of the public relations program includes the following stages:

  1. Defining public relationsproblems .
  2. Planning and programming.
  3. Action and communication.
  4. Program evaluation.
  5. Monitoring and Evaluation Process of Public Relations

As a management function, public relations can not be separated from the monitoring and evaluation process. There are several principles of evaluation that can help define a context and make the evaluation process easier to carry out. These principles are:

  • Criticizing goals. A public relationscampaign can be said to be effective if it achieves its goals within a good management framework. Hence a public relations campaign objective needs to be achievable and measurable and to ensure this requires research and pre-testing where possible.
  • Evaluation needs to be thought about early in the process.
  • Evaluation is an ongoing process. Public relationsprograms should be monitored or supervised in every development.
  • Evaluation is at every stage of the communication process. The various decisions that must be taken along the communication chain have an effect on communication output.
  • Evaluation is objective and scientific as a possibility.
  • Evaluating programs and processes. Public relationsprograms and campaigns need to evaluate the results of communication and management activities. This is useful for separating the list of achievement of program objectives and facts in the field.

There are several terms that are always used in the evaluation of the public relations process , namely:

  • Input– is what public relations embeds into communication products such as journals. When evaluating input or input, the elements attached to it must be evaluated such as the quality of the research background, writing, the effectiveness of the design, the choice of font size, paper and color. Methodologies used include the review experts, feedback, readability tests, case studies, surveys the audience, awards.
  • Output– how the product is effectively distributed and used by public targets, both direct public targets (employees) and public targets in the form of third parties in the form of a channel or opinion leader from the target public. The methodology used includes media content analysis, media surveillance, and distribution statistics.
  • Out-take– is a position that is between the output and outcome which generally describes the number of people who study the content, as well as the number of people who understand the content. The methodologies used include reader-listener-audience statistics, activities, response levels, audience analysis, and circulation.
  • Outcome– involves measuring the final effects of communication including cognitive, affective, and conative levels. The methodology used includes observation, quantitative research, and sales statistics. (Greogry, 2010: 160-161)

(Read: Effective Communication )

There are several evaluation tools that can be used as a reference in evaluating public relations, including:

  • Media monitoring– is one of the most important tasks in public relations . Public relations practitionerscarry out media monitoring by following any news in the mass media about the organization concerned and its competitors. (Read: Mass Communication )
  • Media analysis– is an in-depth study of the news to see the views or opinions of the public about the organization concerned or the organization of competitors. (Read: Mass Communication Theory )
  • Message analysis– is the process of analyzing content conveyed through various media to the public
  • Benchmarking behavior change– is a process to find out whether the communication activities carried out have experienced success or not in changing behavior.
  • Web evaluation– the influence of social media  also affects public relations so that various public relations activitiesinvolving online media including social media need to be evaluated through measuring the number of page visitors during public relations activities, the time required by the public when visiting the page, the geographical area of ​​visitors , the destination page and others. (Read: New Media Theory )
  • Advertising value equivalency– generally used as a comparison to media value with paid advertising

Also read:

  • communication barriers
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Crisis Management

Every company, organization and individual that depends on its image and reputation for success is faced with the fact that they are never separated from various stages of a crisis. A crisis has five stages, namely detection, prevention and preparation, containment, recovery and learning . The various stages of this crisis can overlap one organization or company at one time.

  • Detection– is a process that constantly monitors for signs of a crisis.
  • Prevention and preparation– Prevention are the steps that need to be taken to avoid a crisis. Meanwhile, what is meant by preparation or planning is how an organization fights the crisis that occurs.
  • Containment– is the stage after the crisis which aims to end the crisis as quickly as possible.
  • Recovery– is the desire and effort to return to normal.
  • Learning– is a process of being careful so as not to make mistakes in making decisions and other things that can lead to crises.

Also read:  introduction to communication science

If an organization has never experienced a crisis, it can be said that the organization always performs better early detection, prevention, and preparation. If an organization has recovered from a crisis, it can be said that the organization is in a period of learning, detection, prevention and preparation.

The consequence is the principles that must be followed, the policies adopted, and the tactics used are sometimes adapted to the five stages ( Banks in Eadie , 2009: 741).

Also read:

  • Da’wah Communication
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Benefits of Studying Public Relations Management

Study the management of public relations can bring several benefits such as increase knowledge and understanding of the scope of the management of public relations , theories of management, strategic planning and public relations , management of public relations , evaluation of public relations and its implications for the organization.

This is a brief overview of public relations management Hopefully this can add to our insights about public relations and its function as a management function in the organization.


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