Public Relations - Definition

Definition

Ivy Lee and Edward Louis Bernays established the first definition of public relations in the early 1900s as

"a management function, which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures, and interests of an organization... followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance."

In August 1978, the World Assembly of Public Relations Associations defined the field as

"the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organizational leaders, and implementing planned programs of action, which will serve both the organization and the public interest."

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defined public relations in 1982 as:

"Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other."

In 2011 and 2012, the PRSA developed a crowd-sourced definition:

"Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics."

Public relations can also be defined simply as the practice of managing communication between an organization and its publics.

The European view of public relations notes that besides a relational form of interactivity there is also a reflective paradigm that is concerned with publics and the public sphere; not only with relational, which can in principle be private, but also with public consequences of organizational behavior.

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