Dhaka    Tuesday, 15 June 2021

By Sajeeb Sarker

Public Relations: Theoretical Definitions

Media School August 9, 2020

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One of the earliest definitions of Public Relations (PR) offered by Denny Griswold, publisher of 'Public Relations News', a pioneer newsletter of Public Relations is: "Public Relations is the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an organisation with the public interest, and executes a programme of action to earn public understanding and acceptance."

In their 1958 book 'Effective Public Relations', American PR professionals Scott M. Cutlip and Allen H. Center defined PR as: "Public Relations is the planned effort to influence opinion through good character and responsible performance, based upon mutually satisfactory two-way communication."

The Institute of Public Relations of the UK defined public relations as: "the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation and its public".

In his 1976 book 'Practical Public Relations', author Sam Black said that "...the fundamental purpose of Public Relations practice is to establish a two-way flow of mutual understanding based on truth, knowledge and full information".

Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda, and often referred to as 'the father of public relations' Edward L. Bernays defined PR as "the attempt by information, persuasion and adjustment to engineer public support for an activity, cause, movement or institution".

At an International Conference of Public Relations Institutions held in Mexico City in 1978, PR was explained as: "Public Relations practice is the art of social science of analysing trends,  predicting their consequences, counselling organisation leaders, and implementing planned programmes of action which will serve both the organisation and the public interest."

The author of 'Handbook of Public Relations in India' D. S. Mehta defines Public Relations as "...an attempt, through information, persuasion, adjustment, and contacts, to seek support for some activity, cause, movement, institution, product or service".

Useful Readings

Black, Sam (1976). Practical Public Relations. Beekman Pub.
Black, Sam (1989). Introduction to Public Relations. Modino Press Ltd.
Black, Sam (1993). The Essentials of Public Relations. Kogan Page.
Black, Sam (1995). The Practice of Public Relations. Oxford; Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann. 4th ed.
Bernays, Edward (1923). Crystallizing Public Opinion. Ig Publishing. ISBN 193543926X.
Cutlip & Center (1978). Effective PR. Prentice Hall, N.J.
Mehta, D. S. (1980). Handbook of Public Relations in India. Allied Publishers Pvt. Ltd. 1st ed.
Stephenson, Howard (1971). Handbook of Public Relations. New York, Mcgraw Hill.