Essay on Models of Public Relations
Describe the original four models by offering a historical perspective and chronicling how they developed since they were first described in 1976 and until about 1991.
James Grunig developed models of public relations as practiced by different organisations, using research from the field. First publishing his results in 1976, Grunig went on to propose four definitive models of public relations in 1984 (Grunig & Hunt, 1984; Grunig ,1984; Grunig et al, 1995).
These models are both descriptive, in that they encapsulate methods used by influential past practitioners; and normative, in that they introduce the notion of symmetry in public relations. Symmetry is a concept of information flow. Symmetry and the Two Way Symmetric model is put forward by Grunig as the ethical ideal (Pfau & Wan, 2006). A summary of each model and its prevalence is provided below.
Press Agentry is the oldest model and still constitutes 15% of public relations practice. It encapsulates the methods of Phineas Barnum and other colourful press agents of the past. Its aim is publicity. Its methods include propaganda. Distortion of fact and the use of hyperbole are acceptable. Little research is undertaken. A modern example is Richard Branson wearing a bridal gown to launch Virgin Bridal. (Tymson & Lazar, 2002; Wilcox & Cameron, 2006)
Public Information is assessed as constituting 50% of public relations practice, although this is often in combination with other methods. It encapsulates the methods of Ivy Lee. Lee departed from hard-line management and press agent methods prevalent at the time. His firm, the first in the US, pioneered the
dissemination of accurate information in public relations. Again there is little research employed beyond readability testing and circulation figures. Information flow is still one way. A present day example is the Ministry...