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Rediscovering what PR managers do: rethinking the measurement of managerial behaviour in the public relations context

DeSanto, Barbara and Moss, Danny A. (2005) Rediscovering what PR managers do: rethinking the measurement of managerial behaviour in the public relations context. Journal of communication management, 9 (2). pp. 179-196. ISSN 1363-254X

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Abstract

This paper explores the nature of managerial work in the public relations context drawing comparisons with the way mainstream management research has defined the main elements and processes of management within organisations. The paper begins with a critical review of the public relations and management literatures relating to managerial work and behaviour, highlighting the distinctively different approaches taken by public relations and management scholars in defining the nature of managerial work and behaviour. The paper goes on to present the findings of a qualitative investigation into the role and work patterns of practitioners occupying senior positions in cross sections of both US and UK organisations. The study identifies a number of common elements in pattern of “managerial” work performed by both UK and US-based practitioners. The study also reveals the extent to which senior practitioners participate as members of the dominant coalition within their organisations and contribute to strategic decision making. The paper concludes by reflecting on the adequacy of existing definitions and understanding of the managerial dimension of the role played by practitioners within organisations.

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