Public Relations Research

The practice of public relations has undergone dramatic changes in the past few years due to the development of internet-driven technology. Globalization of worldwide markets and organizational restructuring are two major influences on the practice of public relations as a profession. Public relations practitioners are no longer merely doing technical things to disseminate information from their organizations to the public, they are demanded to be professionals who shape the relationship between an organization with its strategic constituents. 

Public relations practitioners must shift the traditional communication skills to broaden and more strategic roles. They must bring the ability to do research prior to planning the program. They must create effective messages and able to show the effectiveness of the program.

In spite of this development in the concept, the old myth of public relations still remains in the mind of some people in Indonesia. Public relations is still perceived and associated with ‘smile’ and ‘feeling’, ‘public figure’ and ‘beautiful girl’, ‘external affairs’ only, ‘dealing with journalist alone’ or even ‘photographer and envelopes’.

To have wider understanding about public relations practice in Indonesia, let us have a closer look at the following data. The reader can interpret this data, and if you need to know more detail – please come to Public Seminar on 9th October in Hotel Atlet Century Park, Senayan. Meet the researcher and discuss it with PR experts in this country. 

Respondents profile :

  1. Work status
    PR Practitioners (85%), Academia (4%), PR Consultant (6%), Entrepreneur(3%) and Observer (2%)
  2. Age
    31 – 40 years (37%), 41 – 50 years (30%), 20 – 30 years (25%), 51 – 60 years (2%)
  3. Educational background
    S1 (52%), S2 (15%), Akademi (24%), S3 (4%)
  4. Position in the Organization
    PR Officer (36%), Manager (31%), Assistant Manager (10%), Director (8%), General Manager (5%), Supervisor (5%)
  5. Where they work
    Private companies (49%), BUMN (12%), Education (11%), Government offices (8%), Consultancy (6%)
  6. Reason for entering 
    PR is challenging profession (56%)
    PR gives more opportunities for self development (23%)
    PR is a promising career (21%)
  7. How they feel about their salary
    Properly paid (43%), Not properly paid (34%), Well paid (20%)
  8. Respondents expertise
    Public relations (34%), Media relations (22%), Government Relations (10%), Strategic Planning (8%), Financial Relations (5%), Crisis Management (5%), Issue Management (3%)
  9. Most time is spent on
    Coordination (38%), Planning (35%), Negotiation (17%), Event Management (10%)
  10. Respondents perception on public relations practice
    Strategic management function (49%)
    Image building (41%)
    Strategy to increase sales (6%)
    To combat negative media coverage (4%)
  11. What level needs improvement
    Top management (23%), Specialist (20%), Middle Management (19%), Technical Expert (20%), Technician (13%)

    (Source : Ananto (1997, n=292, master thesis)
Respondents profile 
– PR Practitioner (76%), Academia (16%), Consultant (8%)
– S1 (59%), D3 (22%), S2 (11%) and S3 (3%)
Where they work 
– Private companies (37%), Government offices (32%), Non profit (23%), Consultancy (5%)
Most time is spent on
– Coordination (36%), Planning (26%), Event Organizing (25%), Negotiation (12%)
What level need improvement
– Top Management (53%), Specialist (31%), Technical Expert (12%)
Source : Ananto (1998, n=85)
Respondents profile
– PR Staff (52%), PR Manager (39%), PR Director (9%)
– In house PR (66%), Academia (18%), Observer (9%), Consultant (7%)
– Private sector (48%), Government sector (32%), Multinational (20%)
Respondents perception on public relations
– Important function in organization (89%)
– Strategic management function (82%)
– Strategic counseling to management (91%)
– Independent management function (86%)
– Should be responsible directly to CEO (84%)
– Should be active in change management (73%)
– Should be research oriented (82%) 
Respondents perception on current status of public relations practice
– PR has not developed as a real profession (68%)
– PR is developing with no direct vision (59%)
– PR practice is handicapped by closed system in organization (82%)
– PR practitioner cannot reach the top management (70%)
– Professional organization has not developed as it should (72%)
– Public relations ethics should be put into action (89%)
Source : Ananto (2001, n=144)
  • Research population and sample
    Government (31%), Private institutions (40.8%), Multinational (28.2%)
  • Line of business
    Service (49.4%), Merchandising (12.2%), Manufacturing  (6.1%), Others (25.7%)
  • Designation
    Manager (36.7%), PR officer (36.3%), Director (13.9%), Vice President (5.3%)
  • Years of experience in public relations
    < 5 years (47.8%), <10 years (23.7%), <15 years (11.4%), < 20 years (6.5%)
  • Number of personnel in PR department
    1 – 5 (29%), more than 20 (27.3%), 6 – 10 (23.7%), 11 – 15 (13.5%)
  • Number of employee in the company
    <100 (26.1%), <500 (21.6%), <5000 (16.3%), <1000 (13.9%), >10,000 (9%)

Comparative ‘mean’ of each variable in the different sectors

GovernmentPrivateMNC
Management values on public relations
– Attitude
4.1035
4.1447
4.0039
3.8750
4.2633
4.3116
Public Relations function
– Model of public relations
3.9556
3.8553
3.9951
3.9467
4.2293
4.1111
Resource allocation
– Budgeting
3.6653
3.6249
3.6322
3.6114
3.9615
3.8965
Public relations strategy
– Managerial
4.0785
4.0395
3.9936
3.9954
4.2955
4.3200
Ananto (2004, n=245, PhD thesis)

Literatur review

  • Grand theory Excellence theory (Grunig, et.al., 1992, 1995, 2001, 2002)
  • Strategic choice theory (Child, 1972)
  • Power control theory (Burrel and Morgan, 1979)
  • Cutlip, Centre and Broom (1985, 1994, 2000)
  • Four Models of public relations (Grunig and Hunt, 1984)
  • Four Role Typology (Broom and Smith, 1985)
  • Managerial and Technical Category in Public Relations (Dozier, 1986)
  • Contingency Theory (Donaldson, 1996)
  • Marketing Mix theory (Carthy, 1993; Kotler, 1994, 1996, 1998)
  • Performance measurement framework (Likely, 1997)

Conclusion 

The findings of this five and a half year study contribute more empirical evidence to excellence theory that the generic principles of excellence are mostly applicable to multinational sector. Principles of excellence is problematic to government and private sector investigated in this study.

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