Learning PR. Methodological and legitimation-based learning in PR — A theoretical approach and empirical findings
Olaf Hofjann and Michael Lohse
(Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences, Germany)
ABSTRACT: PR increases the refl exivity of organizations, thereby providing a central opportunity or learning. While this consideration is implicitly contained in many definitions and theories relating to PR, organizational learning has until now remained a "hidden topic" in international PR research. This is all the more surprising when we consider that learning is relevant to PR on two counts at least: first, the aforementioned role of PR as a central learning opportunity within an organization. PR identifies stakeholder demands and develops strategies to help ensure the legitimacy of the organization. This will be referred to as legitimation-based learning. Second, PR learns with respect to its own methods and skills. This will be referred to as method-based learning. This article will present a theoretical framework for legitimation-based and method-based learning. Then, the initial results of an online survey (N = 121) that examines selected issues relating to this approach will be presented.