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The historical development difference between British and American public relations practices

2020-06-24 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文

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下面为大家整理一篇优秀的essay代写范文 -- The historical development difference between British and American public relations practices,文章讲述公共关系是一种知识或科学,旨在实现不同个人,团体和组织之间的共同利益。 (Gruning and Hunt,1984)通过采用新闻发布,互联网信息,公共广告等传播手段,可以在不同实体之间形成合作关系,从而有可能实现某些群体的兴趣或目的。公共关系知识可用于商业公司,政府机构,社会机构和组织,公共社会等。尽管公共关系可以在综合领域中应用,但不同国家在公共关系实践的历史发展上有不同的条件。对于不同的国家,可能导致公关活动发展差异的各种原因,包括国家历史,传统文化,政治制度和经济发展。英国和美国是世界上两个大国。英美两国在文化,社会,政治制度和经济发展方面存在明显差异,在公共关系的历史发展中表现出鲜明的特征。因此,本文选择英国和美国作为两个样本,以说明文化,社会,政治和经济如何影响两国公共关系实践的历史发展。

 

The historical development difference between British and American public relations practices

Public relations is a knowledge or science with attempt to achieve the common benefits among different individuals, groups and organization. (Gruning and Hunt, 1984) By adopting communication means like news releases, internet information, public advertisement and so on, cooperative relationships among different entities could be formed, making it possible to achieve interest or purpose of certain groups. Public relations knowledge could be used in business corporations, government agencies, social institution and organization, public society and so on. Though public relations could be applied in comprehensive areas, different countries have different conditions of the historical development of public relations practices. For different countries, various reasons that may result in differences in the development of PR activites, including national history, traditional culture, political system and economic development. The United Kingdom and the United States are two big countries of the world. With obvious difference in culture, society, political system and economic development, the United Kingdom and the United States demonstrate distinctive characteristics in their historical development of public relations. Thus, this essay would choose the United Kingdom and the United States as two samples to explain how culture, society, politics and economy influence the historical development of public relations practice in the two countries.

The Origin of PR Practices in the Two Countries

Lamme and Russell demonstrated that public relations did not exist until the middle of the 19th century (2010). And the development of the two countries—Britain and America, started almost at the same time in the history (Nessmann, 1995). The first appearance of the term—public relations, or PR in short, stemmed from the 20th century in Europe. In the 1930s, German scholar, Carl Hundhausen initially used the word ‘Public Relations’ (Flieger & Ronneberger, 1993) in his article. However, in the earlier time before the 1930s, the concept of public relations was already formed in the press and journalism industry. For example, as early as the time of the 1860s, Wuttke had become a pioneer who applied public relations as a scientific theory in his literature works so as to deliver some social criticism of the European society. (Nessmann, 1995) Until the period of World War II, public relations started to develop rapidly as an academic discipline which is focused on the relationship between the press, journalism and the public opinion. During the period of World War II, public relations enjoyed a continuous development both in the fields of academic theory and practical application, making it become a systematic scientific discipline which is still thriving today. Therefore, according to the information above, we could learn that the origin of public relations started in the 1930s in Europe, or to be specific, the Germany. Due to the influence of the World War II, public relations was spurred to develop as a more systematic and practical science which would be effective applied in the journalism and the press industry.

Since the origin of public relations was started in Germany, Europe in the 1930s, as one of the superpower country at that time, the public relations also emerged and then enjoyed a great development in the United Kingdom. The start of public relations was also happened in the 1930s. According to Shirley Harrison and Kevin Moloney, John Elliot, the pioneer of public relations theory and practice in the United Kingdom, was one of the first professionals that initially specialized in public relations activities (2004). John Elliot was also a journalist when he was young. Also, he was the son of the editor of the press, the Daily Express. The background of journalism offered opportunities for him to make breakthrough in the public relations area especially for the commercial industry. In the beginning of the 1900s, John Elliot worked as a consultant in field of public relations in companies like Pennsylvania Railroad. By Providing public relations severs for companies like railroad construction companies, economic investment companies, industrial manufacturing companies and so on, John Elliot became an experienced practitioners in the public relations industry. During his work for industrial or commercial companies, John Elliot innovatively adopted the concept ‘propaganda’ to the sphere of public relations, making it become not only a theory derived from the press and journalism, but also a professional knowledge which could be applied in various kinds of commercial industries, including manufacturing industry, government agencies, social institutions and so on. (Harrison and Moloney, 2004) Died in the 1930s, John Elliot was devoted all his life to the practice and application of public relations. Though his theories and knowledge on public relations lacked concepts like crisis public relations management and media public relations compared with modern public relations area, his contribution to public relations set up the foundation of the PR development of the United Kingdom and also had significantly influence on other countries like the United States. Thus, the origin of the PR development in the UK also started in the 1930s. It is the factors like the development of industry, manufacturing, economics, and other commercial industries that resulted in the breakthrough of PR practices—the application of commercial propaganda in the UK.

Just as mentioned at the beginning of the essay, the development of PR practices in the UK and the US started almost at the same time in the history. Though the historical development of public relations originated in German, the US also enjoyed remarkable as well as independent progress in this area in the 20th century. On the one hand, the United States was greatly influenced by European PR theories. For example, Bernays, known as one of the founders of PR practices in the US, adopts lots of concepts and theories from Sigmund Freud’s theories of mass psychology. Some theories of Germany professionals like Jurgen Habermans’s Theory of Communicative Competence was widely spread in the United States in the 1970s, which brought ideas regarding ethical communication to the public relations area of the United States. (1970) On the other hand, according to Karl Nessmann, the emphasis of PR practices that the United States exhibited was quietly different from that in the Europe. For example, European professionals paid more attention to the principle and rationales of public relations, while the United States professionals were more focused on the effectiveness and consequence of the practices of public relations. (1995) Therefore, though the relationship between the public relations in Europe and the United States is so close, there are still a lot of differences in the historical development of PR.

Actually, as early as the time between 1800s to the 1900s, professionals or scholars had widely used the term ‘propaganda’ in their public relations activities. According to Cayce Myers, the father of American public relations, Edward L. Bernays, always called himself a ‘propagandist’ before the World War I. However, before the World War I, propaganda was more a religion-related activities (Myers, 2015). Aiming at promoting the influence and popularity of Catholicism, a great number of Catholics conducted propaganda programs to deliver the doctrines of Catholicism among American people. For example, from the early time of the 1800s to the 1900s, a lot of articles of the press and religious magazines were published across the United States so as to release news coverage of the Vatican or the Pope (Myers, 2015). Therefore, different from the UK, public relations in the US was more influenced by the religions. Since the origin of American public relations stemmed from religious propaganda programs, the following development of it are more focused on the effectiveness and impacts of communication, journalism as well as the public relations activities.

All in all, by exploring the origin of public relations in the two countries, it could be concluded that factors like wars, religions, commercial activities, and the condition of the journalism industry at that time may explain differences of the PR relations practice in the histories before the World War I. Backed by the solid foundation of journalism and the press, the United Kingdom in advance enhanced public relations as a scientific discipline and then applied it to the commercial activities for companies like railroad firms, investment firms and so on. However, the public relations originated from the religious propaganda programs in the United States, making it more focus on the effectiveness of propaganda. Moreover, since modern public relations initially developed in Germany in the 1930s, both the United Kingdom and the United States shared some common theories from the European schools, but after the initial phases, more differences appeared in this field of study in the two countries, especially in the areas of definitions, practices, and PR education.

The Period of Post-World War II of the Two Countries

After the World War II, the two countries—the UK and the US stepped into a new stage in the PR practices study. Due to the development of world economic, technology and culture, the public relations also enjoyed significant and comprehensive progress both in its academic theories and practical application in the two countries. Meanwhile, the differences of the two countries in the PR practices became more and more obvious.

First of all, the definitions of public relations between the two countries were different from each other. In the United Kingdom, most professionals held relatively conservative and traditional attitudes towards the definition of public relations. For example, most of them inclined to agree with definition by Gruning and Hunt, which defined public relations as “the management of communication between an organization and its public” (1984, p.1). This kind of definition regarded public relations as a means of communication management. In other world, in the United Kingdom, most professionals were inclined to consider public relations as a part of the science of communication (Nessmann, 1995). Jacquie L’Etang also mentioned this phenomenon in her book Public Relations in Britain: A history of Professional Practice in the 20th Century. She pointed out that British professionals were so conservative that they could not give a clear jurisdiction of the public relations and lacked the courage to “separate their practice from propaganda” (2005, p.440). According to Karl Nessmann, for a long time after the World War I, public relations in the United Kingdom was subject to the corporation management as a tool of marketing (1995). Therefore, one of the most important features of public relations in the United Kingdom is that no matter the British theorists or the practitioners, they all considered public relations as one means of communication management rather than an independent science which could guide the marketing or communication during the business or social activities.

However, the US definition of public relations was quiet different from that in the UK. For example, in the 1970s, American professional Harlow proposed that public relations is a science that could use communication to achieve goals (Hutton, 1999). From his standpoint, public relations was a kind of management which was able to guide the communication and then achieve benefits in communication activities. Also, according to Rex F. Harlow, public relations was defined as a distinctive management function (1976) that could facilitate the communication among the public, corporation and the social groups. Through the two definitions above, we could learn that in the United States, no matter theorists or practitioners all believed public relations was a totally independent science which could be a kind of management that influence social communication. In other word, communication, propaganda, or social media are only the tools of public relations to influence the public opinion and then achieve goals or mutual benefits among individuals, organizations and the public.

The difference in the definitions of public relations among the two countries may result from the culture and tradition difference of the two countries. According to Curtin and Gaither, culture does not have influence on public relations practices, it is the essence of public relations practice (2007). So culture is always one of the most important elements that cause the differences of public relations in different countries. In the SAGE Handbook of Public Relations, culture is everywhere (Health, 2010), which could result in certain types of communication or behaviors (Newsom et al., 2001). Thus, since the United Kingdom is a country with long history with culture featured by rigorousness, preciseness and conservativeness, British people would show less passion towards the new discipline—the public relations when compared with the traditional communication science like propaganda or journalism. As a result, British professionals always considered public relations as a part of social communication and should be subject to the marketing management. However, the United States is different. As a country with relative short history, it is featured by a more comprehensive and open culture which is willing to accept new study and concept. As a result, America accepted the new concept—public relations, more easily and rapidly developed into an independent science that involves communication, propaganda and marketing management as a part of its disciplines. Therefore, culture plays an important role that results in the PR practices in the two countries.

Secondly, the education of public relations in the UK and the US were different from each other. According to Hazleton and Cutbirth, for the public relations education in the Europe and the North America, British students were required to exhibit emphasis on theory and basics which are related to communication and journalism. European public relations programs believed that students of this major should be cultivated to management level. However, the students of the United States were required to achieve job-relating skills or occupational training (Hazleton & Cutbirth, 1993). After they graduated, they would quickly have a job which was related to the communication, the press and the journalism. In other word, public relations in Europe was related to advanced management, while in the United States, public relations was still a means that served the business.

The difference in the education of the PR practices in the UK and the US may result from the economic or business activities of the two countries. According to Ryszard Lawniczak, “information is a limiting variable in economic decisions” (2009, p. 347), which means that the decision makers would determine the information and communications styles in the public relations work. After the World War II, the United States experienced a dramatic economic development. To meet the requirements of business corporations, a great number of workers specializing in the public relations were needed by business corporations. Therefore, students were required to learn practical occupational skills in the colleges and then applied them in their works (Mackey, 2010). After the World War II, an increasing number of public relations employees were created and needed by business entrepreneurs for company news release, product marketing and advertising, company brand promotion, public relations crisis management and so on. For example, in the book Public Relations and Social Theory, public relations or communication has been greatly adopted by companies as a way to demonstrate their accountability and reliability of to the customers (Ihlen et al., 2009). Also, brands have become a means that establish interactions between enterprises and individuals of the public. (Cheney, 1992) Thus, after the World War II, the public relations became an occupation widely needed by corporations, so the education of public relations was more focused on practical occupational skills. However, after the World War II, the United Kingdom still underwent a period for economic and education recovery. Thus, the education of public relations was more focused on academic theories and basic.

Modern Times Period of PR Practices

Just as analysis of the essay shows above, culture and economic development become two important factors that may explain differences in the historical development of public relations practice in the United Kingdom and the United States. In fact, culture is always changing. Especially in the modern times, culture has been significantly influenced by the globalization and the development of new technology. Thus, factors like globalization and new technology should also be taken into consideration in today’s development of public relations.

Since globalization is an inevitable trend which has influenced the global economy, culture and politics, public relations should also be adjusted to accommodate the globalization. (Health, 2010) Faced with globalization, public relations now encounters more complex challenges including new media and new communication technology (Vercic, 2003). For example, driven by the development of Internet and smart mobile phone, traditional media like newspapers, journal and radio are now gradually being replaced by new emerging media including Social Network Sites, like Facebook, Tweet and Instagram, online blog or video, like Youtube. During the globalization, public relations in the United Kingdom is becoming opener to accept new ideas from other countries. Taking its education system for an instance, today, education system of public relations is similar to that of the United States. Also, over the last few years, public relations has developed into a more independent science which has been separated from communication and marketing management (Nessmann, 1995) Moreover, since the new media and new communication technologies were largely controlled by the United States, America now plays a dominant role in the global public relations development.

In conclusion, from the 19th century to today, both the United Kingdom and the United States experienced a great development. Factors like political conditions, especially wars spurred the development of the PR practices in the two countries. However, during the historical development, culture, economic or business activities, globalization and new communication technology are all result in the difference of public relations practice in the two countries—culture or tradition influence the custom of a country’s communication. As a conservative country with a long history, the UK had regarded PR as a part of communication management for a long time in the 20th century. The US is an opener country which encouraged the development of new knowledge. As a result, PR rapidly became an independent discipline in the US that significantly influences the structure of modern business. Economy also determined the style of PR practices. Especially for the modern business, PR now becomes indispensible for most of business corporations in terms of brand marketing, crisis PR management, media relations and so on. In the future, PR would still experience various kinds of evolvement due to the changes of the countries’ culture, economy and the emerging of new communication technology. Meanwhile, under the trend of globalization, differences of public relations in countries would be greatly eliminated, and also, countries would have more opportunities in public relations cooperation in the future.

 

References:

Cheney, G. “The Corporate Person Represents Itself.” Rhetorical and Critical Approaches to Public Relations. (Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1992), 156.

Curtin, P. A. and Gaither, T. K. International Public Relations: Negotiating Culture, Identity, and Power. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2007), 12.

Flieger, H and Ronneberger, G. Grundlpissen dffentlichkeitsarbeit: Kritische Einfuhrung in Problemfelder der Public Relations. (Bardowick: Wissenschaftler Verlag, 1992), 58.

Gruning, J.E. and Hunt T. Managing Public Relations. (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1984), 1, 46.

Habermas, J. “Toward a Theory of Communicative Competence.” Inquiry 13 (1970): 360.

Harrison, Shirley and Moloney, Kevin. “Comparing Two Public Relations Pioneers: American Ivy Lee and British John Elliot.” Public Relations Review 30 (2004): 205, 206.

Hazelton, V. and Cutbirth C. “Public Relations in Europe: An Alternative Educational Paradigm.” Public Relations Review 19 (1993): 187.

Heath, Rober L. The SAGE Handbook of Public Relations. (Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publication, Inc., 2010), 850, 854.

Hutton, G. James. “The Definition, Dimensions, and Domain of Public Relations.” Public Relations Review 25 (1999): 200.

Ihlen, Oyvind et al. Public Relations and Social Theory. (New York: Routledge, 2009), 50.

Lamme, M.O. AND Russell, K. M. “Removing the Spin: Toward a New Theory of Public Relations History.” Public Relations Reivew 37 (2011): 112.

Lawniczak, Ryszard. "Re-Examining The Economic Roots of Public Relations." Public Relations Review 35 (2009): 347.

L’Etang, Jacquie. “Public Relations in Britain: A History of Professional Practice in the 20th Century.” Public Relations Review 31 (2005): 440.

Mackey, Steve. “The Original Bailout Of US Corporations: The Public Relations Bailout.” Public Relations Reivew 36 (2010):1.

Myers, Cayce. “Reconsidering Propaganda in U.S. Public Relations History: An Analysis of Propaganda in The Popular Press 1810–1918.” Public Relations Review 41 (2015): 551, 552.

Newsom, D. et al. “International Public Relations: Focus On Pedagogy.” Handbook of public relations. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2001), 652.

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