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The forgotten sector: uncovering the role of public relations in SMEs

Moss, Danny A., Ashford, Ruth and Shani, Najani (2003) The forgotten sector: uncovering the role of public relations in SMEs. Journal of communication management, 8 (2). pp. 197-210. ISSN 1363-254X

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While the past two decades have seen marked advances in the development of public relations theory both in the USA and latterly in Europe, very little is known about the use and practice of public relations among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Theory development in public relations has focused almost exclusively on examining the role of public relations within large corporations, government and public sector organisations and, to a lesser extent, in the voluntary sector. Yet the SME sector is generally acknowledged to represent over 96 per cent of all enterprises operating in both Europe and the USA as well as in most non-Western economies. This paper reports the results of an exploratory study of public relations practices within SME businesses in the North-West of England and draws some comparisons with the initial findings of the US IABC Foundation study into public relations practices and needs of small enterprises in the USA.

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