Reconsidering contemporary public relations: Theoretical engagement of practitioners in a communication society
Astrid Spatzier and Benno Signitzer
(University of Salzburg, Austria)
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that theory-guided public relations practice is more likely to contribute to socially responsible behaviours by organizations than public relations approaches that are based solely on the emphasis on skills and the elaboration of “techniques,” and, to be frank, solely on the mythology of “best practice.” Consequently, theory-guided public relations may be better suited to bridge the gap between service for an organization and service for society. The article sets out with a short historical overview of the relationships between public relations the- ory and practice. It then goes on developing a methodological and empirical context designed to show connections between theory and practice. Furthermore, the paper highlights different types of practitioners. Finally, a summary including prospects closes the article. Due to this, the following research question confirms these assumptions: how and why can theory-guided public relations contribute to socially responsible behaviours by practitioners?