Bulletin No. 10 | July – August 2002

Topics in this issue

REMARKS FROM THE EDITOR

In the present era of global communication, more individuals enter the international market, ethical problems are likely to increase. As organizations, their managers and staff deal with their counterparts in different countries, there is a need to understand ethical ways of conduct starting as basic as interpersonal communication skills. 

Lately, survey after survey about  the role of public relations in organizational strategy produces these things : CEOs are increasingly supportive of, and regularly identity, public relations as a vital factor in the success of the various enterprises. Too often, companies take public relations, or image-building, for granted right up until the time of a crisis, such as a drug tampering, an oil spill, labour strikes, or a tragic loss of life. 

What is the value of public relations anyway?

Find more answers and solutions to this issue on Interactive Panel Discussion on Saturday, August 24. Bring your case and discuss with our Guest Speakers : Nina Larasati Kairupan (Texmaco Group), Arief Warsito (PT Aneka Tambang Tbk), Gregoria Arum Yudarwati (FISIP Universitas Atma Jaya, Yogyakarta), Saint Chyril (Communication student of University of Indonesia) and your editor as the moderator and workshop leader. 

Is grid corporate with top down management style, with strict rules and regulations still surviving or rather a community of professionals will lead the way to success? In this issue, you will find more information on the profile of a healthy company public relations managers in 6 different countries and in the career track: strategies for job hunting.

Enjoy your reading!


TIPS OF THE MONTH

When you speak face-to-face with other human beings, their senses are taking in what you look like and how you sound. You don’t really know what the other person is feeling, his/her pasts or values. You can only guest unless you check out the facts. 

  • Pre-judgement can be a useful skill which helps you to categorize the many people you meet. Sometimes it can be accurate but it can also be very wrong. 

Here are the tips on how to improve your understanding of others:

  • When meeting someone for the first time, resist making your mind up about him/her too soon
  • Listen to the person actively and be interested in what he or she has to say
  • Don’t be too influenced by first impressions, avoid stereotyping people based on their accent and physical appearance
  • Be aware that people behave differently in different situations, just as you do
  • Avoid looking favorably on people just because they come from the same town, social class, ethnic as you do
  • Try to make more on the positive rather than the negative points
  • Judge others after you have heard what they say

In cross culture communications, it is better to be regarded as formal and more polite, rather than be regarded as unmannered.

Special tip : If you are not getting  the responses you want from others, change your approach. Mind you that communication is more than words. 

(Source : Interpersonal Skills, Astrid French)


COMMUNICATIONS

Culture can be a source of miscommunication

A problem in understanding non-verbal communication is that the meaning of many movements and gestures are culturally determined. Verbal and non-verba language differs from one culture to another. These differences can lead to quite serious misunderstanding. Research carried out by Cumpertz et al in 1979 found that the way Asian People speak English in Britain can lead to incorrect judgement of aggressiveness being made about them. People from the Mediterranean generally stand closer, touch more and engage on more eye contact than English people. In some cultures you look down as a mark of respect where a more senior person is questioning you. Just as animals stake out and guard territory, so do humans. Edward T. Hall was one of the pioneers in the study on man’s spatial needs and he described four distinct zones that people unconsciously use as when interact with others: 

Intimate zone (15-46 cm)
We allow people into our intimate zone who are close friends, lovers or children but feel embarrassed or threatened if we are forced to share this zone with people we are not familiar with. Avoiding eye contact and touch. 

Personal zone (46cm 1.2m)
This is a comfortable zone for talking to people at parties and social gatherings

Social zone (1.2m 3.6m)
This is the distance we stand with strangers, clients or service people and with work colleagues we do not know well

Public zone (over 3.6m)
When the boss is talking to the staff, or when we have to address a large group of people

If you want people to feel comfortable in your company, don’y stand to close unless you have an intimate relationship with them 

(Source : Interpersonal Skills, Astrid French)


PUBLIC RELATIONS

The Value of Public Relations

If the effectiveness of communication programs is to be measured in economic terms, public relations management must not be viewed as a technical task, but defined in terms of a mission that is socially defensible, organizationally relevant, and quantifiable.

The value of a communications program should be demonstrated by determining its contribution to the effectiveness of an organization, rather than by attempting to make an accounting of how efficient the communication program is. They explore how useful several approaches to organizational effectiveness can be in explaining the economic contribution of communication to an organization. William P. Ehling, a public relations expert who estimated the value of public relations and communications, cites the following eight step process from Mark S. Thompson’s book Benefit-Cost Analysis for Program Evaluation:

Program Efficiency
– Identify the decision-makers and their basic concerns
– Identify alternative programs of action available to the decision-makers
– Identify costs, including both direct and indirect
– Assign monetary values to the program’s effects
– Discount if effects occur at different times

Program Fairness
– Take into account, when appropriate, the distributional equity effects
– Aggregate and interpret the resultant valued effects

One way of measuring the value of effective communication is to measure the cost of poor communication. Good communication builds relationships with strategic publics, thus helping an organization manage its interdependencies with these publics. The leaders of an organization should be aware of the amounts at risk from increased government regulation, litigation or activist activity. An organization can suffer actual losses or lost opportunities when stakeholders exercise ‘countervailing power’, the ability to prevent an organization from implementing its programs. 

In reality, too many leaders are claiming their reputation, too many of them are overshadowed by the fact that their sales increase, their profit is going up. They do not even realize by the time the organization raises to its peak, the employee morale is critical. They view relationships as a matter of dominance or subjugation, they avoid taking responsibility for actions, they divide the world into ‘good guys and bad guys’, they act out of tradition or habit and view relationships as competitive and individualistic. 

  • How top management values public relations anyway? 
  • How do you strive for excellence in public relations

Find the answers and solutions in Interactive Panel Discussion on the Professionalism in Public Relations with EGA’s distinguished guest speakers: 

Nina Larasati Kairupan, Corporate Communications Director of Texmaco Group
Arief Warsito, Legal and Corporate Communication Affairs, PT Antam Tbk
Gregoria Arum Yudarwati, FISIP Universitas Atma Jaya, Yogyakarta
From the young generation, EGA invites Sint Chyril, student of Communication from the University of Indonesia

Saturday, August 24, from 09.00-12.00 in Flamboyan Room, Lt 6 Jakarta Design CentreIf you are interested in finding more in this professional issue, tips and strategy follow the Workshop from 13.30-16.00 on the same day


ORGANIZATION

The Anatomy of a Healthy Company

Imagine going to work, walking into your office or plant, and encountering a vibrant stimulating atmosphere. In talking to employees about an upcoming deadline or project, you hear only enthusiasm and commitment. They are eager to work hard, listen to your vision and strategy and graciously share ideas

As the day progresses, they are on the phone, meeting among themselves, each assignment is approached with a sense of urgency. When someone volunteers to take charge, others are quick to join in to help. They know that on another project, they may be the leader and need support. Teamwork and partnership, rather than the old rigid ladders, make up the organization hierarchy and structure

This sketch is what Robert H. Rosen, a clinical psychologist, named a new model of a healthy company

Perhaps the most remarkable about this new atmosphere is a feeling of respect.
No awkward silence when bosses pass by. No secretive scribbling of cover-your-ass memos. No sullen hostility between employees competing for bigger budgets and more attention. From the flexible schedules to the sharing of vita; information, the organization shows that it truly cares about people, and employees reciprocate this trust with loyalty.

Key values that people hold in the healthy company:

Commitment to Self-Knowledge and Development. This value is a commitment to one’s own personal growth and understanding. People with this value are introspective, principle driven and constantly learning about themselves.

Firm belief in Decency. People who naturally and instinctively treat others as would any feeling, thinking human beings, as they would like to be treated. In this healthy company, actions speak louder than words. Managers are honest with employees, sharing their knowledge and even feelings: and they are fair, apportioning reward and criticism according to accomplishments and deeds.

Respect for Individual Differences. People who respect individual differences know that an office is populated by individuals who look different cultures, but who are just as capable and worthwhile. There are no second class citizens, only human beings of equal worth with special roles and responsibilities.

Spirit of Partnership. This value is a strong belief in ‘community’, in the strength of shared effort, in the value of teamwork, in the satisfaction of partnership. This partnership’s motto is ‘Everyone is a leader, everyone is a follower’. 

High priority for Health and Well-being. Healthy employees are a company’s most valuable assets. The physical and psychological climate at work the size of the computer screen, the interior air, the level of boredom in a job, the attitudes of supervisors plays and enormous role in well-being and performance.

Appreciation for Flexibility and Resilience. The healthy company gives employees the tools to cope with change, they provide advance notice of layoffs and relocations; and they make the transition as smooth as possible.

Passion for Product and Process. With a clear mission and plan of action, people with a passion for product are active, effective doers. They set goals, benchmarks and timetables and know where they are going and why. These people care what happens to their company they feel personally involved and responsible for its successes and failures. Each employee, manager and executive must decide now to put these values to work.


LEADERSHIP

Profile of Effective Leader

Leaders maintain respect
When you think of leaders, they are the ones people respect.

Leaders work effectively with people
They understand and live by the facts that excellence happens through effective people, not through things.

Leaders are responsive to the needs and desires of others
They understand the individual needs and desires and create a conducive working environment to satisfy these needs. They understand that you manage motivational environments and that all you can do is to create an environment that motivates the individual. 

Leaders are knowledgeable
Learning is a constant and there are no experts. Leaders are the people who are constantly developing their minds and going to new depth of understanding. An individual who says that they are experts in indeed an arrogant individual.

Leaders possess superior motivation
They have an inner drive to achieve goals and to become successful, and they show it in their behaviour.

Leaders utilize and tap every every resource
They constantly reach down inside and tap the hidden potentials in themselves and others. There is no ‘my men’ and ‘his men’ all resources are ‘our men’

When your subordinates do not want to listen to you, they might lose their respect upon you, it is better to check yourself:
1. Are you a true leader to them?
2. Are you honest to them?
3. Are you the leader they really want? 

(Source : Total Quality Organization, Balance & Harmony for excellence, Thomas J. Barry) 


RESEARCH RESULT

Characteristics and Work Dissatisfaction
of Public Relations Managers

  • The average of the public relations managers surveyed was 38.2 years of age
  • The fast majority were college graduates (93.75%). This level of education appeared to be the minimum requirement for obtaining this post. Only (6.25%) of public relations managers were able to advance to this position without a college degree and only 15% have a postgraduate degree (MA, MSc, MBA, DEA, and Ph.D). There was some diversity in the type of college degree earned, as a variety of undergraduate fields appeared in the public relations managers’ educational background. The under-graduate non-business major was much more likely than the business major to pursue a graduate degree immediately after college rather than starting work and getting a degree later.
  • Public relations management is seldom an entry-level position for the recent graduate. Even the youngest, those between 24-29, are older than most graduating seniors and only 7% commenced their working careers in public relations, usually at the assistant level. The first position in the public relations managers’ career was quite varied. The most frequently cited position is in journalism, marketing or advertising and the value of advertising or communications experience was emphasized. 
  • Since public relations managers do not generally start in that position, they are definitely experienced people. Typical public relations manager will have spent at least one to four years in a variety of job acquiring experience for the position. The analysis indicated that 41% began in journalism or advertising agencies. 36% in marketing, 2% in production, 1% began in finance, 5% in personnel management and 15% in other jobs. However, 70% of the respondents stated that they expected to remain in the same company.
  • Public relations managers in product firms rated their firms in a less favourable way than their counterparts in service firms. Some 57% of public relations managers in service firms rated their firms as a good place to work, compared to 33,2% in product firms. 

    When asked about work dissatisfaction, both product and service firms stated the following : 
    • To much time spent on day-to-day matters and not enough on planning and research for new opportunities
    • Public relations managers not sufficiently entrepreneurial
    • Not enough authority over the marketing department
    • Poor communication with different departments
    • Poor understanding of the public relations manager’s role
    • In experienced public relations managers and
    • Authority responsibility mismatch

(The survey was conducted by George G. Panigyrakis of 288 senior public relations managers in six European countries : UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Greece and reported in the Journal of Promotion Management, Volume 7)


STOP PRESS

  • Are you a professional with at least 3 years working experience in managerial level?
  • Are you a business person with a variety of different hats in your organization?

    Do you wish to upgrade your knowledge, acquire new methods, strategies and skills in the communications and public relations realm?

    A 6-week program, covering 8 modules and 34 sessions, conducted three days a week after office hours will give you an insight of the public relations paradigm in the form of lecture, discussion and case study. Bring your communications problems to class, you will have chance to find solutions from the top public relations practitioners in the country.

    This Executive Program starts on August 19th, 2002 at Menara Kadin, 19th Floor conducted by Trisakti International Business School (TIBS).

    More info : Contact Jesi at 527 4525 or 57904035

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