Bulletin No. 22 | July – August 2004

Topics in this issue


There are many ways to Rome, that’s the old saying. In today’s competitive environments, we have wider opportunities to expand our career ideas. We are the ones who control our own future. Do you know how great you can be? What your potential is? Each of us creates a mental framework that holds our belief and assumptions about our capabilities. We make daily judgements about what we can do and cannot do with our skills and abilities. Thus our beliefs influence our behavior and through our beliefs, we talk ourselves into or out of what we want to do. 

Work is changing so rapidly, we should be more responsible than our previous generations for managing our career. Yet, it is getting harder to manage our career in this competitive world. Career resilience is based on self-knowledge. That knowledge provides direction in a work characterized by constant change. If we believe in our own abilities we are more able to remain in control of our careers and find direction in spite of perpetual change. 

Whatever career we are in, we need to communicate with people. Building relationship is the essence of communication. We need some experts who can convince and inspire us in removing old mythos – limitations and opening up to the world of career particularly if we choose career in public relations. You will explore the state of the art of public relations as a strategic management function, rather than a means of marketing activity as most people perceive. Deciding on the work that is most meaningful to you begins with an open mind, free from self-imposed restrictions and constraints.

Let us listen and discuss with the guru of public relations – Dr. James E. Grunig, from Maryland University College Park, USA. Dr. Grunig will be addressing the issues on : PUBLIC RELATIONS EMPOWERMENT IN NEW INDONESIA, on Thursday August 12th, Asean Room, Jakarta Hilton International – luncheon and interactive dialogue. See you there!

Elizabeth Goenawan Ananto, FIPRA


Self Confidence, Adaptability and Creativity

Why are  some able to set goals and attain them while others drift through life, tapped in dead-end jobs and get pension in an unfavorable environment? Self confidence – usually makes the difference, rather than ‘money’ as most people say.

Pessimist explain life’s events as permanent (these things always happen to me), pervasive (everything is ruined) and personal (it’s all my fault) 
Optimist respond to adverse events by explaining them as temporary setback, limited those events, and external (not necessary my fault)

  • Stop the negative thought immediately and reframe it into a positive one
  • Build on your strengths in small ways to increase your self confidence, as self confidence comes from repeating successful behaviors
  • Decide what dreams you want to turn into reality. Set realistic goals, but don’t lower your expectations because you lack self confidence to attain them 

We naturally adapt to changes in our environments. In fact, like our body which makes millions of change everyday, if our sells aren’t changing, we are not alive.

  • If the changes are monumental, we react immediately. If the changes are incremental and happen a little everyday, we often overlook the changes until it is too late
  • Don’t stay long in your comfort zone – it is easy to ignore the facts and believe that things will always be the same
  • Try new things and expand your thinking
  • Open your eyes to new possibilities

Creative people believe that failure is not a waste of time. Failures trigger new ideas.

  • Ask yourself what you think you should do and do the opposite
  • Ask good questions to explore career options
  • Develop a mind map
  • Creativity is your gift – to be opened throughout your life

(Source : Career Patterns, L.H Tuck, A. Price, M. Robertson, 2000)


JAMES E.GRUNIG, public relations expert and guru, has over 20 years experience in the field of public relations. Prior to his presentation in Indonesia (Jakarta), you had better read this to give you some insights of holistic world view of public relations that Dr. Grunig will be sharing with us.

Grunig’s Four Models of Public Relations

ModelObjectives and characteristics

Press agentry/publicity

Designed to produce favorable publicity, especially in the mass media. It uses persuasion and manipulation to influence audience to behave as the organization desires.

Public information

Disseminates relatively objective information through mass media and controlled media. It uses press release and other one-way communication technique to distribute organizational information. The PRO is often referred to as ‘journalist in residence’.

One-way asymmetrical

Designed to persuade the audience to behave as the organization desires. It uses research  to develop persuasive messages.

Two-way symmetrical

Based on research and uses communication to manage conflict and improve understanding with strategic publics.
(Grunig and Hunt, 1984)

The early days of public relations knew no theories, no thought – it was just simple idea put into communication plans, tactics, strategies or programs. There was no theoretical foundation on which the practice was based. Public relations in many cases did more harm that good because strategic communication, legal aspects as libel and fraud, we are not considered. Through the evolution of concept, public relations suffered its image, identity and performance (McNamara, 1992). Public relations can mean different thing to different people and often has a negative meaning (Cutlip, Centre and Broom, 1994). This condition has created the bad image of public relations and it has many implications that we can see in today’s practice. 

Dr. James E. Grunig, is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland College Park, USA. Grunig is best known for his research on publics, on why organization practice public relations as they do, on the strategic management of public relations, on public relations effects and on science writing.
Grunig served as project director for the US$400,000 research project funded by the IABC Research Foundation, on excellence in public relations and communication management. Grunig’s research is considered to be the greatest academic work in this century. 

Grunig’s research has added many new theories to the body of knowledge that already exists. These theories have helped to improve public relations practice in so many ways. If you are engaged in public relations in whatever level you are, you need to know the theoretical framework of public relations as proposed by the excellence team led by Prof. James E. Grunig (Maryland University) Prof. David M. Dozier (San Diego State University) Prof. William P. Ehling (Syracuse University) Prof. Larissa A. Grunig (Maryland University) Prof. Jon White (City University of London Business School) and Fred C. Repper, public relations consultant from Ingram, Texas (Lindeborg, 1994)

The pragmatic and conservative social roles, which reflect the way public relations is usually practiced, limit the effectiveness of public relations to an organization.

Frederic I. Halperin, the immediate past chair of the IABC Research Foundations, spent much of his time spreading the word about the Foundation’s landmark study Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management. Halperin listed the attributes of excellent communication in a speech titled ‘Making Excellent Communication by Managing Your CEO, Your Organizational Culture and Yourself’

Three factors have critical influence whether or not an organization will have an excellent communication program :

  1. The value placed on communication by the CEO and the organization’s ‘dominant coalition’
    a. CEOs of excellent communication programs tend to believe that communication should develop mutual understanding between the management of the organization and the public the organization affects.
    b. The research of external environment is done to communicate the organization vision and mission – what they think about the organization. They emphasis dialogue and win-win outcomes.
  2. The role and behavior of the top communicator
    In an organization with an excellent communication program, the top communicator tends to posses knowledge and behavior as the single most important factor in creating excellent communication. He or she
    i. makes communication policy decisions (does not function as a technician)
    ii. participates actively in the organization’s strategic planning and decision making
    iii. works closely with top management to solve organization problems that involve communication and relationships
    iv. facilitates two-way rather than one-way communication
    v. uses formal and informal research to monitor trends and to gain understanding of the environment outside the organization
  3.  The corporate culture of the organization
    a. A participative corporate culture fosters excellent communication, as opposed to an authoritarian corporate culture
    b. Corporate culture is not as important as originally thought. Excellent communication can work in an authoritarian culture, but it is easier to achieve in a participative culture

Symmetry and Asymmetry in Organizations

The authors of the Excellence study believe communication programs often fail because managers observe only part or the environment, based on their mind-set and organizational structure. Grunig cites his earlier work from the book Public Relations Theory (1989), listing the characteristics of organizations that hold asymmetrical and symmetrical world views. 

In organizations with a asymmetrical worldview

  • Members do not see the organization as others see it
  • Efficiency is valued more than innovation 
  • The leaders know best; wisdom is not the product of a ‘free marketplace of ideas’
  • Change is undesirable, change efforts subversive
  • Tradition provides stability and maintains culture
  • Power is concentrated in the hands of the few, with employee having little autonomy

In organizations with a symmetrical worldview

  • Publics and other organizations are not kept out by organizational boundaries
  • Information flows freely between systems
  • Systems seek a moving equilibrium with other systems through cooperation and mutual adjustment
  • The input of all people is valued
  • Employees have great autonomy
  • Innovation is valued over tradition
  • There is a commitment to eliminate the adverse consequences of organizational actions
  • Conflict is resolved through negotiation and communication 
  • The political system is viewed as a mechanism for opening negotiation among interest or issue groups

The value of Public Relations to an Organization 

  • Public relations contributes to organizational effectiveness when it helps reconcile the organization’s
  • This contribution has monetary value to the organization 
  • Public relations contribute to effectiveness by building quality, long term relationship with strategic public

(Gruning, 1996)

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.

Benefit-Cost Analysis for Program Evaluation (Thompson, 1980) cites the eight-step process

Program Efficiency

1. Identify the decision-makers and their basic concerns
2. Identify alternative programs of action available to the decision makers
3. Identify costs, including both expenses and disbenefits
4. Identify benefits, including both direct and indirect
5. Assign monetary values to the program’s effects
6. Discount if effects occur at different times

Program Fairness

7. Take into account, when appropriate, the distributional equity effects
8. Aggregate and interpret the resultant valued effects

Excellence Study

It is a study of 310 organizations in US, UK and Canada. The study involved communication heads, CEOs, 3,400 employees, resulting 1,700 questions from each organization with 24 qualitative cases. The study questions

  1. The effectiveness
    • How, why and to what extent does communication affect the achievement of organizational objectives
      • CEOs report 186% return on investment in communication function for all organizations
      • CEOs with excellent communication programs report 225% return on investment in public relations
  1. What characteristics of a communication department increase the likelihood that it will contribute to organizational effectiveness
    • Public relations unit is headed by a Manager rather than a Technician
    • Empowerment of public relations in the dominant coalition or direct reporting relationship to senior management
    • Integrated public relations function
    • Public relations a management function separate from other functions
    • Involvement of public relations in strategic management
    • Two-ways symmetrical model of public relations
    • A symmetrical system of internal communication 
    • Knowledge for managerial role and symmetrical public relations
    • Diversity embodied in all roles

Globalization of Public Relations

  • Generic principles
    • The characteristic of excellent public relations
  • Specific applications needed for
    • Culture, political system, economic system, extent of activism, level of development and media systems



University of Maryland, USA

James E. Grunig is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Maryland where he specialized in public relations, science communication, and communication theory. He holds a Ph.D in mass communication from the University of Wisconsin. Grunig is the best known for his research on publics, on why organizations practice public relations as they do, on the strategic management of public relations, on public relations effects, and on science writing.

He has published more than 215 books, book chapters, articles, reports and papers. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Public Relations Research, Journalism Quarterly, Journalism Monograph, Journalism Studies, Communication Research, Human Communication Research, Public Relations Review, Public Relations Research and Education, Public Relations Research Annual, Journal of Communication Management, Academy of Management Journal, Economic Development and Cultural Change, Journal of Communication, Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, and American Behavioral Scientist. He is the co-author of Excellent Public Relations and Effective Organizations : A Study of Communication Management in Three Countries, Managing Public Relations, Public Relations Techniques, and Manager’s Guide to Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management. He is editor of Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management. Excellent Public Relations and Effective Organizations received the 2002 PRIDE award of the Public Relations Division of the National Communication Association as the best book in public relations in the previous two years. 

Grunig was named the first winner of the Pathfinder Award for excellence in academic research on public relations by the Institute for Public Relations Research and Education. In 1989, the Public Relations Society of America gave him its Outstanding Educator Award. In 1992, the PRSA Foundation awarded him the Jackson, Jackson & Wagner award for outstanding behavioral science research on public relations. He also won the most prestigious lifetime award of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), the Paul J. Deutschmann Award for Excellence in Research. 

Grunig has worked professionally in public relations as a science writer for the National Science Foundation, International Harvester Company, the U.S Department of Agriculture, the University of Wisconsin, and Lowa State University. He also has served as a research consultant to AT&T, the Edison Electric Institute, the Maryland State Department of Education, Black and Decker, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, the Department of Energy, and many other organizations. 

Grunis is member of Arthur Page Society, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the International Association of Business Communicator (IABC), the International Public Relations Association (IPRA), the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (AEJMC), the International Communication Association (ICA), and the National Communication Association (NCA). He has been the head of the AEJMC public relations division and head of public relations interest group of ICA. He was co-editor of the Public Relations Research Annual and its successor, the Journal of Public Relations Research, from 1989 – 1994. He also serves as an advisor to Lawrence Erlbaum Publisher for its series of books on public relations. 

From 1985 – 95, Grunig served as project director for the $400,000 research project on excellence in public relations and communication management, funded by the IABC Research Foundation. In 33 years at the University of Maryland, Grunig has advised 77 Master’s theses and 17 doctoral dissertations. He has taught courses in public relations theory, techniques, campaigns, management, publics, employee communication, and specialized writing. In the las 21 years, he has presented talks and seminars to over 335 professional groups in 35 countries. 

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