History and Development of Public Relations

History & Development of Public Relations
- Press Agentry Model
- The first model, reflects PR programs designed for the sole
purpose of getting favourable publicity for an organization in the
mass media. Often the organization does not reveal complete
information in the attempt to control or dominate the environment.
It is a common model publicists use to promote celebrities,
products, sports or organization leaders.
- Two-way Asymmetrical Model
- The third model, was described as one that uses
research &theories of persuasion to develop
messages that are likely to persuade strategic
publics to behave as the organization wants them to.
The two-way asymmetrical model achieves its
objectives more than the press agentry or public
information models since it researches the publics'
- Public Information Model
- The second model, describes PR as a function to disseminate
information, normally from the organization's perspectives,
through controlled organization media &mass media. In this model,
PR practitioners were "journalist-in-residence" disseminating
relatively truthful information but only that information the
organization chooses to release instead of the whole truth.
- Symmetrical Model
- The fourth model, J. Grunig (1997) suggested this model is the most
ethical &effective model, which describes PR programs based on
research &which uses two-way communication to manage conflict &
improve understanding with strategic publics. It negotiates rather than
forces a position between the organization &the concerned public.
According to him, this model represents an alternative to the
predominant worldview that PR is a way of manipulating publics for
the benefit of the organization.
- Mixed Motive Model
- Also known as Additional Models. This model proposed a middle ground
between the two-way asymmetrical &symmetrical models, which
represents two ends on a continuum. The model implies both
organization &publics seek to negotiate outcomes that are most
advantageous to both parties in the long term. J. Grunig (1997) said that
excellent PR dept. balance attempts to "persuade publics with the
asymmetrical model and negotiate with the symmetrical model" (p.265).
- Personal Influence Model
- This model suggests that practitioners use interpersonal communication to
build personal and long term relationship with key individuals of the
organization's strategic publics, like the media, gov, political body or among
activist groups. For example, Sriramesh (1992) said that practitioners in
India "used various techniques like hospitality, giving gifts and brokering of
influence, to build lasting friendships" (p.246) His study suggested this model
uses one-way communication &its purpose is predominantly "synchronic"
or asymmetrical.
- The British established a Dept. of Information in Singapore (1939) to keep the local media &people of
then-Malaysia abreast of the situation &the development of World War II. However, the dept. was
shut down under the Japanese occupation (Dec 1941 - Sep 1945). British return at the end of the
War, a Dept. of Publicity &Printing was established under British Military Administration (BMA). In
1946, Malaya Union was formed to replace the BMA &the dept. was renamed as the Dept. of Public
Relations. The primary roles of this dept were to return confidence in British rule, to encourage
people to be self-sufficient in agricultural produce as there were shortage of food, to counter
communist threat, and to bring back peace &order to the nation. The dept. produced leaflets &used
radio broadcast, face-to-face communication to carry out their tasks. The dept. was renamed the
Dept. of Information (1948). A branch of the dept. was then establish in each state, to counter
communist propaganda (1948-1960). The dept. establish the Malayan Film Unit to aid in its efforts.
During this time, British waged a battle to "win the hearts &minds of the people". Development of
communication infrastructure was accelerated in the early 1950s. Broadcasting facilities (radio)
were expanded, cinema projectors &public address systems were doubled to balance the earlier
reliance on targeted (leaflets) and interpersonal communication (UNESCO report, 1983). The purpose
of the dept. are to promote their interests, mainly used the press agentry / publicity, public
information (propaganda) and the two-way asymmetric models as described by Grunig &Hunt (1984).
- Government PR
- Between 1960 &the early 1980s, PR was characterized by gov run
nation-building campaigns to aid in gov efforts to build a democratic nation.
The main functions were press relations work &dissemination of
information about gov policies and monitoring feedback from the general
public on these policies. In 1970, the gov set up PR units in almost all of its
various dept. &agencies, partly to explain &partly to promote acceptance
of gov policies. However, these positions are often not filled up by trained
PR personnel, thus, PR in the gov sector is still relatively undeveloped.
- PR in the Private Sector
- PR Consultancies
- PR in the private sector grew in 1960 with the growth of multi-national organization as
well as the formation of PR agencies. The first known PR agency, Eric White
Associated started operations in 1965. As Malaysia's economy prospered &with
increased economic liberalism, it attracted more multinational companies &with them
came the international PR consultancies. Burson-Marsteller and Eric White Associated
were among two pioneering consultancies. Soon after, local consultancies also sprung
up to serve local businesses that could not afford the bigger international
consultancies. A majority of these smaller agencies specialized in graphic design,
brochures, or video production, although they billed themselves as PR firms (Van
Leuven, 1996, p.12). Several agencies also performed other limited tasks like media
relations, event promotions and product launches.
- Corporate PR Departments
- Multinational companies, especially oil companies like Esso (Exxon) &Shell, were
among the earliest corporations to set up in-house PR dept. Their PR activities
focused more on gaining acceptance of their organization in the community in
which they operated, &in assisting in increasing employee productivity. Those
multinationals supported various gov nation-building efforts by underwriting
sports, arts &educational programs (Van Leuven 1996, p.212). Even today
community relations programs are important in large Malaysian organizations like
Petronas, Malaysia Airlines and Shell. They sponsor scholarship, donate to welfare
project for examples to Old Folks Homes and victims of fire and floods.
- Setting up of a Professional Body : Institute
of Public Relations Malaysia (IPRM)
- The setting up of IPRM in 1962 gave a further boost to the industry. Gov information officers
made up most of the members of early IPRM. In fact, they initiated the establishment of the
Institute. IPRM was set up in an effort to upgrade PR practice in the country. IPRM members also
drew up &agreed on a Code of Ethics based on that of the British Institute of PR to self regulate
the practice in the country. Unfortunately, not all PR practitioners are members of IPRM.
- Persuasion
- PR in early years has referred to mostly as
using persuasive speech to spread religions,
such as Islam &Christianity. The Greeks &
Romans used public speech to win support for
their policies.
- Publicity
- The beginning of American PR is often compared to
using publicity &promotion, whether for commercial
reasons, fund-raising, or building personalities. Defensive
publicity was particularly important in the early
twentieth century to counter muckraking journalism.
- Information
- Using information to create awareness &encourage
support for &participation in campaigns become
more popular during World War I &II. It was also
important to gain independence from colonial masters
in many parts of the world. Information was key to
development &nation building efforts of newly
independence government.
- Marketing
- With the rapid growth in communication technologies,
development of infrastructure &more consumer-oriented
society, PR has become more involved in marketing
efforts. There is greater emphasis on promotions &
efforts to remain distinctive among competitors.
Practitioners help to organize exhibitions &road shows &
prepare materials like information pamphlets.
- Management
- Increasing pressures on organizations, whether gov or corporate, by
various publics including the better informed customer, employee &
activist has encouraged PR practitioners to take more managerial
approach in executing tasks. Practitioners are more concerned
about conducting public opinion polls to identify the support they may
have for their employer / client. Strategic planning &
knowledge-based counselling of senior management is growing among