What is the history and evolution of public relations?

What is the history and evolution of public relations?
Thomas Business and Industry Supervisor
1313.1 INTRODUCTIONThis chapter provides a perspective for the study of public relations practice and education at aglobal level. Firstly, the term public relations is conceptualised. A critical overview is thenprovided of some of the approaches to defining public relations, including reference to theevolvement of the profession and worldviews affecting the conceptualisation of the field.Primary research paradigms in public relations are set out next, followed by the selection of aworking definition and a research paradigm for this study. The conceptualisation of publicrelations selected for this study is further related to globalisation and the potential role of publicrelations to contribute towards global unity and understanding.Next, an overview is provided of the developmental history of public relations. The systems andstructural approaches are identified as examples of possible points of departure for a study of thehistorical development of public relations. The structural approach, with its focus onprofessional development, is selected, to provide an overview of the development of publicrelations practice and education at a global level.Because public relations in its modern form originated in the USA, the developmental history isfirst discussed with reference to America. Thereafter an overview of international developmentfollows. African development is discussed next, with specific reference to South Africa. In linewith the global mindset adopted for the study, an overview is provided of global connectedness,which currently exists in the field of public relations practice and education. Reference is madeto the recently established Global Alliance for Public Relations and CommunicationManagement, as well as other international organisations attempting to unite public relationspractitioners and educators around the world.This is followed by a discussion of the impact of globalisation on public relations practice andeducation, in terms of new competencies required. An attempt is made to provide insight intoCHAPTER 3: PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICE ANDEDUCATION: A DEVELOPMENTAL AND THEORETICALPERSPECTIVE132how public relations is influenced by the forces of globalisation, and the changing role of theprofession and new education needs that result.It is evident in the literature consulted, that public relations has the potential to play a role incounteracting those disintegrating forces of globalisation covered in the previous chapter.Consequently, the role of public relations in the measures outlined in Section 2.7.4 to counteractdisintegrating forces of globalisation, is discussed next. This discussion is structured under thesame headings as those in Section 2.7.4 in Chapter 2.Lastly, a theoretical perspective is provided for the study of public relations practice andeducation. Although public relations has frequently been criticised for its lack of a theoreticalbase, this does not mean that different principles and models applicable to public relations cannotbe identified (Windahl, et al., 1992:91).Although there have been attempts to link the study of public relations to theoretical approachessuch as pragmatism (Van der Meiden, 1993:8-11), social exchange theory (Kendall, 1992:17-18),rhetorical theory (Vestheim, 1992:23-30), ethnography, persuasion models, radical theory ofpressure groups, symbolic interactionalism, the excellence model, critical, situational andorganisational theory, etc. (Holtzhausen & Verwey, 1996:30-35), systems theory traditionallyseems to be the widely used framework for the study of public relations. Angelopulo (1994:41)regards the systems approach as one of the most fruitful approaches to public relationsmanagement, while Holtzhausen (quoted by Holtzhausen & Verwey, 1996:30) confirms, basedon an overview of theory application, that the systems approach is the most important theoreticalapproach to public relations.As systems theory ties in with the aim of this thesis, it is regarded as suitable also for this study.As this study deals with globalisation, systems theory is approached from the viewpoint ofcomplex, dynamic systems and its related paradigm of chaos theory. In the second part of thischapter systems theory is explained in general, and also as applied to public relations practiceand education. The network approach, which forms part of systems theory, is discussed next,followed by an outline of the concepts complex, dynamic system, chaos theory and learningorganisation. This discussion, as well as the global mindset adopted in the previous chapter,133provides the basis for the formation of a general theoretical framework in the next chapter, onwhich to develop a model for globalisation in vocationally-oriented public relations education.3.2 TOWARDS A CONCEPTUALISATION OF PUBLIC RELATIONSA large number of definitions of public relations have been formulated worldwide. In fact,Wilcox et al. (1992:5) report that a pioneer public relations educator once compiled about 500definitions from almost as many sources.3.2.1 Defining public relations in terms of its evolvementKendall (1992:13) argues that the maturity of practice in public relations is determined by thematurity of the definition accepted. The available definitions reflect a range of sophistication inthe duty owed by the function to the society at large. According to Kendall, this range ofperceptions is evident today, as well as throughout the history of the field. Hutton=s conclusion(1999:200-201) that a review of public relations= history reveals how the field has evolved interms of definitions and metaphors, confirms this viewpoint. According to Hutton (1999:200-201), public relations has evolved through history from >the public be fooled= to >the public bedamned= to >the public be manipulated= to >the public be informed= to >the public be involved oraccommodated=.Other theorists who define public relations in terms of its evolvement include Grunig and Hunt(1984:21-43), who introduced four models to explain how public relations has developed throughhistory. These models also reflect the different ways in which public relations is still practisedtoday.The first two models portray public relations as a one-way flow of communication between anorganisation and its publics. The third and fourth models portray public relations as a two-wayflow of communication between an organisation and its publics, and highlight the importance ofresearch.* press-agentry/publicity model. This model represents public relations in its earliest form,134as practised by organisations that equate public relations with publicity or promotions.Practitioners in these organisations concern themselves mostly with getting mediaattention for their organisations or clients, and their communication with publics is onesidedand rather propagandistic in nature.* public-information model. This model emphasises the information disseminationfunction of public relations by means of the mass and minor media.* two-way asymmetric model. This model describes public relations as an effort to plancommunication with the publics of an organisation to achieve maximum change inattitude and behaviour, with the emphasis on persuasion. According to Grunig and Hunt,public relations based on this model has a manipulative nature.* two-way symmetric model. This model describes public relations as an effort to attainmutual understanding between an organisation and its publics. The emphasis is on socialresponsibility and investment.Grunig and Hunt (1984:43) accept that all four models still have a place in today=s society, as adifferent model works best for different problems. However, as there are few definitions inpublic relations literature that describe the first two models, it can be assumed that these modelscan be discarded in the search for a general definition of modern public relations. Lubbe(1994a:6-7) points out that the two former models are primarily based on the >technician= role ofpublic relations, whereas the latter two models utilise both the technician and the managementrole in their application.If it is taken into account that there is general acceptance today of the importance of research inpublic relations (e.g. Mersham & Skinner, 2001b:74; Seitel, 2001:105-106; Paluszek, 2000:28;Steyn & Puth, 2000:18; Center & Jackson, 1995:3), as well as the recognition that publicrelations should be practised at the level of management (e.g. Mersham & Skinner, 2001b:67-68;Seitel, 2001:174-175; Steyn & Puth, 2000:21; Kinnick and Cameron, 1994:74) the two-wayasymmetric and symmetric models should be accepted as the most applicable and advancedmodels of public relations today.Grunig and Hunt (1984:100-101), however, regard the symmetric model as the best reflection ofpublic relations in its mature form. In addition, they argue that asymmetric models of public135relations are used by authoritarian dominant coalitions who see the symmetric model as a threatto their power (Grunig & Hunt, 1984:100-101).Although Grunig and Hunt=s notion of the asymmetric and symmetric models is widely acceptedby other theorists of public relations (e.g. Cutlip et al., 2000:409; Dozier and Ehling, 1992:177;Sriramesh & White, 1992:597; Wilcox et al., 1992:57; Windahl et al., 1992:91-93; Brownell &Niebauer, 1991:83-84), this viewpoint is not shared by all.According to Van der Meiden (1993:9), one of the main opponents of Grunig and Hunt=ssymmetric model is G. R. Miller, who denies the possibility of a symmetric concept while publicrelations is interwoven with effective persuasion and control over relevant aspects of theenvironment. Miller (1989:45) argues that there is a close correlation between effectivepersuasion and effective public relations, because both are concerned with symbolic control overthe environment. Effective, ethically defensible persuasion and effective, ethically defensiblepublic relations are virtually synonymous - in practice public relations professionals rely onpersuasive strategies frequently if not almost exclusively (Miller, 1989:45,63).Van der Meiden (1993:9) also does not share in the viewpoint of Grunig and Hunt. She arguesthat objective or neutral communication, as implied in the symmetric model, is not possible inpublic relations, as the latter is inevitably a controlling instrument. As an organisation cannotdisconnect its communication activities from its immediate or remote interests, the publicrelations function of that organisation is essentially a manipulating force. According to Van derMeiden (1993:10), the distinctive perception of asymmetric and symmetric elements is neitherrealistic nor practical, and cannot be a valid starting point for positioning public relations insociety.Other critics of the symmetric model also claim that the approach is unrealistic or idealistic.They argue that public relations professionals are appointed to advance the interests of theirorganisations, and that clients would not appoint practitioners who do not practise asymmetricpublic relations (Grunig & White, 1992:46). To this end, Grunig and Grunig (1992:312)acknowledge that, in practice, professional public relations involves both asymmetric(compliance-gaining) tactics and symmetric (problem-solving) tactics. They also acknowledge136that the symmetric model is normative and idealistic. However, they describe the two-waysymmetric model as characteristic of excellent public relations, reporting research that showsthat the symmetric model is more ethical and effective than the other models (Grunig & Grunig,1992:303-308).3.2.2 Worldviews affecting the conceptualisation of public relationsGrunig and White (1992:31-64) attribute acceptance or criticism of the symmetric model, todifferent worldviews. Broadly speaking, two worldviews have influenced practitioners andscholars of public relations. The dominant worldview in public relations is that the latter is away of getting what an organisation wants, without changing its behaviour or compromising.This dominant view in essence reflects an asymmetric worldview. Press agentry, publicinformation and two-way asymmetric models are practised from an asymmetric worldview.They all attempt to change the behaviour of publics without changing the behaviour of theorganisation (Grunig and White, 1992:39).The second worldview is, in essence, a symmetric worldview. A symmetric worldview seespublic relations as a non-zero-sum game in which competing organisations or groups can bothgain if they play the game right. Public relations is a tool by which organisations and competinggroups in a pluralistic system interact to manage conflict for the benefit of all (Grunig, 1992:9).Grunig and White (1992:51) argue that both the dominant, asymmetric and the alternative,symmetric worldview are influenced by presuppositions about the role of public relations insociety. They identify the following three worldviews on the social role of public relations,which lead to asymmetric public relations: a pragmatic social role, a conservative social role anda radical social role (Grunig & White, 1992:51-54).The view of a pragmatic social role approaches public relations as a useful practice, somethingthat can be used to meet the objectives of an organisation in a way that benefits the organisation.The pragmatic worldview sees society as composed of competing groups, target audiences andmarkets, from whom commercial advantage is to be won. This view may also underliearguments against the development of codes of conduct or ethical standards, because they mayinterfere with what can be done to achieve the client=s objectives.137Public relations based on a conservative social role is essentially aimed at maintaining power bydefending the status quo and an ideal capitalist system from attack. The view of a radical socialrole presupposes that public relations contributes to change and reform by providing power andinfluence through knowledge and information. Both the latter two worldviews see publicrelations as a tool to be used in a war among opposing social groups.Grunig and White (1992:53-54) identify the following two worldviews on the social role ofpublic relations, which lead to symmetric public relations: an idealistic social role and a criticalsocial role.The idealistic social role viewpoint assumes that a norm of reciprocity governs society and thata diversity of views and their reconciliation lead to social progress. This worldview presupposesthat public relations serves the public interest, and facilitates a dialogue to develop mutualunderstanding between organisations and their publics. The critical social role viewpoint seesorganisations and society as constructed systems which can be deconstructed and reconstructed.Scholars and practitioners who operate from this worldview, criticise public relations for poorethics, negative social consequences or ineffectiveness, and advocate more effective practices.In addition to presuppositions on the social role of public relations, Grunig and White (1992:49-50; 54-55) identify another two factors which influence worldviews in public relations. Theseinclude gender differences and technical vs managerial presuppositions about public relations.With regard to gender differences, traditionally men were regarded as better managers because oftheir inclination towards competition and toughness. The viewpoint is, however, emerging thatwomen=s preference for nurturance and relationships may be what is needed by managers in thefuture. Grunig and White (1992:50) believe that the feminine worldview approximates thesymmetric worldview better than the masculine worldview, and predicts that the female majorityin public relations in many countries could move the field toward excellence, as the symmetricworldview of most women begins to replace the more asymmetric worldview of most men.Grunig and White (1992:55) also believe that the common view that public relations is atechnical function is associated with the press agentry and public information models of public138relations and reinforces the asymmetric worldview. They argue that there is a need for both atechnical and a managerial role to move public relations to a position of excellence.Grunig (1992:10) concludes that excellent public relations embodies a worldview that defines thecommunication function in organisations as symmetric, idealistic, critical and managerial.3.2.3 Hutton=s alternative framework to conceptualise public relationsAn alternative framework to defining the field of public relations is provided by Hutton(1999:199-212). Hutton (1999:212) challenges the wide acceptance of Grunig and Hunt=s fourmodels, arguing that these models do not meet the requirements of a theory, and have failed thetest of empirical confirmation. According to Hutton (1999:199), public relations still lacks acentral organising paradigm. For this reason he introduced a three-dimensional framework withwhich to compare competing philosophies of public relations, and from which to build aparadigm for the field. These dimensions also explain the substantive differences among variousorientations or definitions of public relations. These dimensions are referred to as the >Three Is=:interest, initiative and image (Hutton, 1999:204):* interest refers to the degree to which public relations is focused on client vs the publicinterest. At one extreme lies a philosophy of >the public be damned=, while at the otherextreme lies a belief that the public=s interest should supersede the client=s interest.* initiative refers to the extent to which the public relations function is reactive vs proactive.Examples of pro-active techniques include stakeholder surveys, communicationaudits, crisis planning, issues management and strategic communication planning.* image refers to the extent to which an organisation is focused on perception vs reality, orimage vs substance. This dimension represents the general focus of an organisation=sphilosophy, thoughts and actions. A publicity stunt may represent one end of thecontinuum and an anonymous corporate gift to a charity the other extreme.Hutton (1999:205) argues that, while a given public relations function can cover a range of139territory on each dimension, it is usually possible to locate an organisation=s general orientationalong each dimension.According to Hutton (1999:205-208), the following six distinct orientations, models ormetaphors of public relations practice become apparent when the above framework is used toanalyse definitions of public relations:* Persuasion. This includes those philosophies of public relations that are pro-active andoriented towards persuading audiences to think or act in ways that benefit the client ororganisation.* Advocacy. This is similar to persuasion in its intentions, but different in that it arises outof controversy or active opposition. It is reactive in nature and is usually triggered by acrisis or other catalyst.* Public information. This refers to the style of public relations in which a client ororganisation serves primarily as an educator and information clearinghouse. Examples oforganisations practising such function include member service organisations andgovernment agencies.* Cause-related public relations. This is also called crusading, compliments advocacyinsofar as it tends to serve a broader public interest rather than any special-interest group.* Image/reputation management. This focuses on the image of the client or organisation,as measured by its popularity or value.* Relationship management. This is based on the identification of mutual interests, valuesand benefits between a client or organisation and its publics. The emphasis is on mutualtrust, compromise, cooperation and, whenever possible, win-win situations.Based on the argument that only the latter category has the power to serve as an organisingphilosophy, Hutton (1999:208,211) proposes >relationship management= as a dominant paradigmfor modern public relations, together with the short definition >managing strategic relationships=.Based on the latter definition and the framework of the >Three Is=, he formulates the followinghierarchy of public relations= primary role, functions and tactics (Hutton, 1999:211):Definition140>managingstrategic relationships=Situational rolespersuader, advocate, educator, crusader,information provider, reputation managerPrimary functions performedresearch, image making, counselling, managing,early warning, interpreting, communicating, negotiatingTactics/tools utilisedpublicity, product placement, news releases, speeches,interpersonal communication, websites, publications, tradeshows, corporate identity programmes, corporate advertising programmes, etc.Hutton (1999:211-212) suggests that the above hierarchy encourages scholars to distinguishbetween the umbrella definition and the primary purpose of public relations in a given context, aswell as between public relations roles and their functions and tactics.3.2.4 Definitions based on the symmetric model and Hutton=s paradigmBoth the definitions endorsed by IPRA and the South African national professional body forpublic relations fit the two-way symmetric model, as well as Hutton=s proposed dominantparadigm. The latter body used to be called the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa(PRISA), but was renamed in 2002 to PRISA, the Institute for Public Relations &Communication Management (Moscardi, 2002b:1). The abbreviation >PRISA= will be usedhereafter in reference to this body.IPRA endorses a definition formulated by Harlow (quoted by Windahl et al., 1992:89-90), whichreads as follows:>Public relations is a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutuallines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organisation andits publics; involves the management of problems or issues; helps management to keepinformed on and responsive to public opinions; defines and emphasises the responsibility ofmanagement to serve the public interest; helps management keep abreast of and effectivelyutilize change, serving as an early warning system to help anticipate trends; and uses research141and sound and ethical communication techniques as its principal tools.=The definition of PRISA reads as follows (Mersham & Skinner, 2001b:67):>Public relations is the management, through communication, of perceptions and strategicrelationships between an organisation and its internal and external stakeholders.=Other definitions that fit the two-way symmetric model include those adopted by many otherpublic relations societies worldwide. Two examples include the definition adopted by theInstitute of Public Relations (IPR) in Britain in 1987 (Mersham et al., 1995:10) and the oftenquoted definition accepted by the First World Assembly of Public Relations Associations held inMexico City in 1978. The former definition reads as follows:>Public relations practice is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwilland mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics= (IPR, 2002).The latter definition reads as follows:>Public relations is the art and social science of analysing trends, predicting their consequences,counselling organisational leaders and implementing planned programmes of action which willserve both the organisation and the public interest= (Steyn & Puth, 2000:4).It seems that, in spite of scepticism from authors like Van der Meiden and Miller about theapplication of a two-way symmetric model, definitions which endorse this model are widelyaccepted today by professional associations in public relations. Many of these definitions alsoendorse Hutton=s conceptualisation of public relations as >the management of strategicrelationships=.3.3 RESEARCH PARADIGMS IN PUBLIC RELATIONSRhetorical, critical and systems perspectives are three major research paradigms apparent in thebody of knowledge of public relations (Toth, 1992:3-4). According to Toth (1992:3,12), these142three perspectives are complementary, and, combined, provide for pluralistic studies that haveenriched understanding of the field of public relations.3.3.1 The rhetorical perspectiveThis paradigm in public relations is primarily concerned with the use of symbolic behaviour tocreate and influence relationships between an organisation and its publics (Toth, 1992:5). Theareas of corporate advocacy and issues management are of particular concern.According to Bredenkamp (1997:87), the rhetorical approach can be and is used to put anorganisation=s best foot forward. Heath (1992b:24), however, argues that rhetoric can be viewedas one-way, manipulative communication, but also as contested examination of issues andactions - as dialogue. It can thus be deduced that the rhetoric perspective in public relationscould include both asymmetric and symmetric models.3.3.2 The critical perspectiveThis paradigm also focuses on the symbolic processes of organisational behaviour, but with aview to being confrontational towards organisational interests, power and domination (Toth,1992:7,11). Heath (1992b:33) suggests that critical judgment is needed to improve skills and toensure that a profession is responsible and sound.According to Heath (1992a:39), the critical perspective in public relations entails not onlyexamination of public relations tactics, but also standards and judgments regarding the worth ofstatements in their service to society at large, and not merely the interest of the client ororganisation. If applied in this way, criticism is based on the norm provided by the symmetricpublic relations model.3.3.3 The systems perspectiveThe systems approach is multidisciplinary (Bredenkamp, 1997:84) and approaches organisationsas open systems consisting of subsystems and forming part of suprasystems (Grunig, 1989:38).The systems perspective in public relations is based on the premise that organisations should143concern themselves with the environment in order to survive, and seek to maintain anequilibrium with their environment through input, throughput and output (Toth, 1992:8).According to Toth (1992:11), systems theorists use criticism in search of excellence in publicrelations.Grunig and Hunt=s symmetric model approaches organisations as open systems (Grunig,1989:38). As an open systems approach, the symmetric model is based on the followingpresuppositions: equality; autonomy of people both inside and outside the organisation;innovative thinking; decentralisation of management; responsibility; conflict resolution; andinterest group liberalism (Grunig, 1989:38-39).3.4 THE DEFINITION AND PARADIGM SELECTED FOR THIS STUDYIn line with the endorsement of the symmetric model by professional public relationsassociations through the definitions they adopt, this study accepts this model as the most suitableportrayal of excellent public relations. By the same token, the study accepts the worldview thatdefines the public relations function as idealistic, critical and managerial. Being normative andidealist, the symmetric model complements the normative definition of globalisation formulatedfor this study, and the responsibility the study assigns to public relations to contribute toharmony and unity in the global community. The acceptance of the symmetric model for a studybased on the presupposition that technikons should function as learning systems in a globalenvironment, is also in line with Grunig and Grunig=s argument (1992:298) that the practice oftwo-way symmetric public relations is especially important when environments are complex andturbulent. According to Dozier and Ehling (1992:182), the concept of symmetry suggests that anorganisation should adjust to the environment on which its survival and growth depends. In theprocess, the organisation itself changes.Furthermore, it is not accepted that symmetric public relations excludes the use of rhetoric andcontrol. It is assumed that public relations can serve the well-being of society whilesimultaneously functioning as a controlling instrument. A programme aimed at socialinvestment and development is, in the opinion of the author, a case in point. While the goal ofsuch a programme is aimed at the well-being of the recipient, the communication applied to144reach this goal is of a controlling nature, as it involves changing the behaviour of both theorganisation implementing the programme and the social, economic and physical conditions ofthe community the programme is aimed at.At the same time, this study accepts Hutton=s proposal of relationship management as a dominantparadigm for public relations. In spite of Hutton=s criticism of Grunig and Hunt=s four models,the relationship paradigm fits the symmetric model of public relations.However, while Harlow=s definition endorsed by IPRA and Hutton=s hierarchy set out above, areaccepted as a summary of the most important functions of public relations for the purpose of thisinvestigation, the study needs a definition which emphasises the responsibility of public relationstowards the global community. A definition formulated by Kendall (1992:15) is suitable for thispurpose, as it focuses on the social responsibility aspect of public relations and its commitmentto the well-being of society as a whole:>Public relations is a phenomenon within societies by which advocates of a social entity managethat organisation=s performance in the public interest in order to:* nurture mutually beneficial associations with all groups interdependent with theorganisation, by means of* the responsible use of all the appropriate instruments of one- and two-waycommunication.=This definition has certain implications which are of special importance to this study. It impliesfirstly that the ethical function of public relations is social welfare, and secondly, that publicrelations activity involves the intentional advancement of a cause. It also implies that an entity=sperformance should conform to what is in the best interest of the entire society - in this case theglobal society - and that its social responsibility should be proactive rather than reactive(Kendall, 1992:15-16).Kendall=s definition reinforces the view of the public relations function as the >social conscience=(Leonard & Ströh, 2000b:36; Verwey, 2000:64) of organisations. According to Black145(2000:105), social stability and ethical behaviour are the essential underpinning of publicrelations. Leonard and Ströh (2000b:42), in turn, assign to public relations the role to operate asthe ethical and moral consciousness of an organisation, and to help guide the establishment oforganisational values, which will determine the nature of all external behaviour.Kendall=s definition also corresponds with the view that public relations strives towards harmonyin society. Seib and Fitzpatrick (1995:1) describe the moral purpose of public relations as that ofsocial harmony. Through their work, public relations professionals promote peaceful existenceamong individuals and institutions. >Serving the public interest while serving one=s own hasalways been the hallmark of good public relations work= (Seib & Fitzpartick, 1995:2). Black(2000:104) reinforces this view by arguing that public relations is conditioned by reputation,credibility, confidence, harmony and mutual understanding.Kendall=s definition is extended, for the purpose of this study, to cover the global community, tomake provision for the practice of public relations across borders and globalisation in publicrelations. Transnational public relations is known as international public relations, an area thathas grown extensively since the advent of globalisation (Black, 2000:103).Wilcox et al. (1992:409) define international public relations as >the planned and organised effortof a company, institution or government to establish mutually beneficial relations with thepublics of other nations=. They define these publics as >the various groups of people who areaffected by, or who can affect, the operations of a particular firm, institution or government.Each public is united by a common interest vis-à-vis the entity seeking acceptance of its productor programs= (Wilcox et al., 1992:410).Globalisation in public relations implies, firstly, relationships that exist across national bordersand, secondly, relationships - even in one country - which are influenced by global developments(White & Mazur, 1995:18). Globalisation in public relations furthermore implies that thefunctions of public relations as the social conscience of an organisation, striving towardsharmony in society, are extended to the global society.International public relations through globalisation necessitates an appreciation of the146sensitivities of unfamiliar organisations and individuals, that need to be harmonised (Black,2000:106). It superimposes an overall perspective on a programme executed in two or morenational markets, recognising the similarities among audiences, while necessarily adapting toregional differences (Anderson, quoted by Grunig & Grunig, 2000). International publicrelations should thus include central consideration of cultural diversity (Banks, 1995:32),planning globally, but acting locally (Black, 2000:103).Kendall=s definition - extended globally - could contribute towards recognising the full potentialof public relations on a global basis. The focus of this definition on ethical behaviour that is inthe best interest of the entire society, corresponds with the point of departure of this study,namely that public relations practice and education could contribute towards the common goodof the global society.By focusing on the relationship between public relations and global integration, the studyemphasises the potential of public relations to contribute to a move towards global consciousnessand understanding. If public relations practitioners and educators aim their public relationsactivities towards global unity, they practise public relations in its mature form, as represented bythe symmetric model. In addition, they follow the emerging paradigm of energy andconnectivity, as discussed in Chapter 1 (see Section 1.3).The research paradigm adopted for this study is the systems approach. This study, with its focuson public relations education programmes, and technikons as systems being influenced by globalchanges, needs a research paradigm which allows investigation of how these systems areinfluenced by, and need to adapt, to the global macrosystem. The systems paradigm is regardedas best suited for this purpose, as it allows for critical focus on global influences (input) andskills, knowledge and attitudes that need to be transferred (throughput and output). The systemsperspective also allows for the incorporation of a global mindset, network thinking, chaos theoryand the requirements of learning organisations into the paradigm chosen for this study. Thisparadigm makes it possible to focus on the turbulent nature of the global macrosystem as aNetwork Society, and is in line with the acceptance of Kendall=s definition, extended globally.3.5 APPROACHES TO REVIEWING THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF147PUBLIC RELATIONSAccording to Lubbe (1994a:3), the historical development of public relations can be reviewedfrom either a systems or a structural perspective. The systems approach focuses on the wideningscope of public relations in relation to the social and economic development of a society,whereas the structural approach depicts the professionalisation of public relations in terms of theestablishment of professional bodies, codes of conduct, accreditation, etc.In the available literature, the earlier history of public relations is discussed mostly from asystems perspective, whereas the state of public relations in its modern form is discussed mostlyfrom a structural perspective.According to Roodt (1988:18), the knowledge dimension can be regarded as the mostfundamental requirement in the professionalisation of any profession, and particularly of publicrelations. According to a model of professionalisation formulated by De Beer (1982:13-14), theknowledge dimension of professionalisation comprises the following attributes: knowledge,education, skills, research and subject literature.As education, the topic of this study, is one of the attributes of professionalisation, it can bededuced that a discussion of public relations development in terms of the structural approach willbe more relevant to this study. Therefore, while a brief overview is provided of the developmentof public relations according to the systems approach, the emphasis in the rest of the chapter ison the structural approach.3.6 HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN TERMS OF THESYSTEMS APPROACHA study of the available literature on public relations history from a systems approach revealstwo tendencies.The first is to focus on the changing role of public relations as it adapted to changes in theenvironment. The four models formulated by Grunig and Hunt, as discussed in Section 3.2.1, area case in point. Grunig and Hunt (1984:25) even assign certain historical periods to each148developmental model: press agentry - 1850-1900; public information - 1900-1920; two-wayasymmetric - 1920s onward; and two-way symmetric - 1960s onward.Another case in point is the identification by Aranoff and Baskin (1983:15-19) of three majorphases in the development of public relations - manipulation, information and mutual influenceand understanding. Manipulation is associated mostly with the techniques of 19th century pressagents, information with the work of the publicity officers at the beginning of the 20th centuryand mutual influence and understanding with public relations as a management function in itsmodern form.The second tendency is to link public relations to historical events and periods in the world.Such a study of public relations history reflects the social, economic, political and technologicalchanges the world went through, the influences of these changes on communication and theimpact of public opinion.The origin of public relations is, for example, linked to efforts to inform and persuade in theearliest civilisations. Seitel (2001:25-26), Cutlip et al. (2000:102), Wilcox et al. (1992:36),Moore and Kalupa (1985:24) and Grunig and Hunt (1984:15) refer to techniques used by leadersin ancient societies such as those of Egypt, Greece, India and Iraq, to inform, to persuade and toimpress. Wilcox et al. (1992:36), Truter (1991:35-37), Grunig and Hunt (1984:15) and Van derMeiden and Fauconnier (1982:121-122) refer to Biblical figures like David, Solomon, John theBaptist and Paul, who understood the art of influencing large groups of people. Reilly (1987:13)also refers to historical persons like Napoleon, Catherine the Great and Charles Dickens asexamples of public figures who used public relations techniques to promote personal image andto influence public opinion.The development of public relations is also discussed with reference to: propaganda by the earlyRoman Catholic Church (Seitel, 2001:26; Wilcox et al., 1992:36); the invention of the printingpress by Gutenberg and the development of mass communication (Truter, 1991:36; Grunig &Hunt, 1984:16-17); social changes such as the Renaissance and Reformation, the rise ofHumanism and the abolition of censorship (Grunig & Hunt, 1984:17); economic changesbrought about by industrialisation (Seitel, 2001:29; Wilcox et al., 1992:42); political changes149such as the American Revolution (Cutlip et al., 2000:102; Grunig & Hunt, 1984:17) and the riseof trade unions (Truter, 1991:37); technological development and the onrush of the globalinformation age (Cutlip et al., 2000:135-136); and the emergence of consumer rights and activistorganisations (Grunig & Hunt, 1984:13,18).Cutlip et al. (2000:106) also link the most important growth periods in public relations to someof the world=s most significant crisis periods such as World Wars I and II, the wars in Vietnamand Korea, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the invasion of Panama and the Persian GulfWar.3.7 HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN TERMS OF THESTRUCTURAL APPROACHA structural approach to the history of public relations focuses on its professional development.The discussion that follows focuses mainly on aspects of developmental history which relate toprofessional bodies and education.3.7.1 American developmentThis section provides an overview of the development of public relations practice and educationin the USA.3.7.1.1 Public relations practicePublic relations as it is known today originated in America (Seitel, 2001:30-31; Jefkins, 1992:5;Grunig & Hunt, 1984:14). Public relations in this country has in fact produced many >firsts=.The first book on public relations, Crystallizing Public Opinion, was written in 1923 by EdwardBernays, an American whom Grunig and Hunt (1984:39) regard as >the intellectual= of earlypublic relations.The oldest existing public relations society, the Religious Public Relations Council, was formed150in America in 1929 (Jackson, 1988:28). The American Council on Public Relations was formedin 1939 (Seitel, 1992:39). In 1947 this organisation merged with two others societies to form thePublic Relations Society of America (PRSA) (Grunig & Hunt, 1984:41). In 1968 the PublicRelations Student Society of America was founded by the PRSA, to facilitate communicationbetween students and professionals (Seitel, 2001:38). The PRSA adopted its Code of Conduct in1954 and in 1964 approved a voluntary accreditation scheme, whereby it accredited members bymeans of an examination (Skinner et al., 2001:20).An umbrella organisation, the North American Public Relations Council, was founded in 1980 toproduce a uniform accreditation system and code of ethics (Jackson, 1988:28). This council waslater replaced by the Universal Accreditation Board. Accreditation is still a voluntaryprogramme in America today, and is available to practitioners with at least five years ofexperience (UAB, 2001).The PRSA also formed a task force in 1986 to develop guidelines for professional development,and to codify a body of knowledge for public relations in America. This body of knowledge waspublished in 1986 (Jackson, 1988:28).Today the PRSA is the world=s largest organisation for public relations. It has nearly 20 000members, organised into over 100 chapters (PRSA, 2001).The PRSA assists with education of Russian public relations students by means of a joint PRSARussianPublic Relations Association (RPRA) programme established in 1992. This programmeenables Russian students to do an internship in America (Epley, 1993:4).The PRSA decided in 1997 to make global outreach one of its priorities. A Global InitiativesCommittee was consequently formed, to open the lines of communication with other publicrelations associations regarding the idea of global collaboration (Pelfrey, 2001:39).Another influential public relations body in America is the International Association of BusinessCommunicators (IABC), founded in 1970 (Skinner et al., 2001:20) as an international network,aiming to improve the effectiveness of organisations through strategic interactive and integrated151business communication management. This organisation has more than 13 700 members in over58 countries all over the world. The IABC has its headquarters in San Francisco, and isorganised into chapters in different districts and regions. The South African chapter of the IABCis based in Johannesburg. The IABC also has a research and development arm in the form of theIABC Research Foundation (IABC, 2001).3.7.1.2 Public relations educationThe first course in public relations was taught by Edward Bernays at the New York University in1922 (Grunig & Hunt, 1984:39). The first master=s programme in public relations wasestablished at Boston University in 1947 (Ogbondah & Pratt, 1991-1992:37). The first educationdepartment in public relations was established in 1949 at the Boston University (Jackson,1988:28). Thereafter followed a period of phenomenal growth in public relations education. By1951, twelve American universities had introduced education programmes in public relations(Seitel, 2001:38). Post-graduate courses were introduced on large scale in the late 1970s (Hesse,1984:22). Today, approximately 300 colleges and universities in America offer at least onecourse dealing with public relations. Of these, approximately 200 offer a public relationssequence or degree programme (Seitel, 2001:38).An organisation that plays a major role in public relations education in the USA is theAssociation for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). The AEJMC hasa Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, which accredits public relationssequences in schools of journalism and mass communication (IPRA, 1990:25). The AEJMC hasa membership of approximately 3 300 from more than 30 countries (AEJMC, 2001).3.7.2 International developmentThis section provides an overview of the development of public relations practice and educationat an international level.3.7.2.1 Public relations practice152Formal professional organisation of public relations came into being in Europe in the late 1940sand early 1950s. The second known public relations society in the world was formed in theNetherlands in 1948 (Van der Meiden & Fauconnier, 1982:127). A public relations society wasestablished in the same year in England (Skinner et al., 2001:21). The Public Relations Instituteof Ireland (PRII) was founded in 1953 (Carty, 1993:21).According to Josephs and Josephs (1994:14), the UK has the second biggest public relationsindustry in the world, surpassed only by America in size and dynamism. This view is reinforcedby White (1991:183), who refers to the UK as >the second most developed centre of publicrelations practice after the USA=. The Institute of Public Relations in Britain is also the largestprofessional association for public relations in Europe (Anon., 1998:29).The European Confederation of Public Relations (Confederation Europeenne des RelationsPubliques - CERP), a regional confederation, was established in 1959 (Skinner et al., 2001:21).CERP established a body charged with the development of public relations and research inEurope. It was called CEDET. In 1990 CEDET became a new body called CERP Education.Full membership is restricted to colleges and individuals concerned with public relationseducation in Europe. Colleges and persons outside Europe may, however, becomecorrespondence members (Black, 1990b:15).The 1960s and 1970s saw professional bodies for public relations emerging all over the globe.Examples include: the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), formed in 1960 (Wilcox etal., 1992:47); the Arab Public Relations Society, founded in 1966 (Borhan, 1993:19); theAdvanced Institute for Press and Public Relations, established in Iran in 1970 (Kamalipour &Rad, 1997:30); Asean, a public relations body representing the South East Asian region andformed in 1967; and the Federation of Asian Public Relations Organisations based in thePhilippines and formed in 1977 (Noeradi, 1992:39).According to Seitel (2001:476), public relations evolved more slowly in Asia than in the West,although sharp growth in this region was experienced in the 1990s. Asian countries with activepublic relations sectors include Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore (Hickson, 1998:26;Seitel, 2001:476), the Philippines (Virtusio, 1998:23), HongKong, India, Pakistan, Malaysia and153Thailand (IPRA, 2001c).Public relations developed rapidly in China after it was first introduced to the country in 1981.By 1990 nearly every Chinese city had an active public relations society. The first academicprogramme in public relations was introduced at Shenzhen University in 1985. By 1990 morethan 100 universities and colleges offered public relations education. Shenzhen University=sdistance learning programme also reaches students from HongKong and Macao (Black, 1990-1991:29-30).According to Seitel (2001:475), the public relations field in Latin America is most developed inMexico, where most corporations have public relations departments, and many employ local orAmerican public relations agencies. Tertiary institutions in this country also offer education inpublic relations. Kotcher (1998:26) foresees that, in the light of flourishing media fuelled bydemocratic reforms, and the growth of online communication in this region, public relations willplay an increasingly critical role in Latin America. Seitel (2001:475) also predicts growth in theindustry in this region, especially as far as Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Chile are concerned.Public relations started growing in the former Eastern Bloc after the collapse of communism inthis region. The Hungarian Public Relations Association (HPRA) was formed in 1990 (Tabori &Szeles, 1992:41) and has since developed an accreditation process modelled after that of thePRSA (Hiebert, 1994:364). The Soviet Public Relations Association and the Polish PublicRelations Association were also founded soon after the demise of the Iron Curtain (Anon.,1992a:14). Examples of other Eastern Bloc countries where public relations associations wereformed include Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, theUkraine (IPRA, 2001c) and Estonia (GAPR&CM, 2001). IPRA also established the EasternEuropean Task Force to deal with matters relating to these countries (Tabori & Szeles, 1992:41).Although press freedom became a reality in the former Soviet Bloc in the 1990s, Hiebert(1994:364) points out that public relations was slower than advertising to emerge fromcommunism. Guth (1998:53) adds that, in Russia, public relations in the commercial sector isstill lagging behind that of public relations in the government sector, as far as development isconcerned. Seitel (2001:477), however, suggests that the approximately 370 million consumers154in Eastern Europe and the well-established mass communication system in the region mean thatthe prospects for public relations expansion are immense. Djuric (1998:24) further points toconsiderable growth in the number of public relations practitioners in the former Yugoslavia,especially in banks and privately-owned companies.According to Seitel (2001:478), the public relations profession is less active in the Middle East,although it is growing in this region. Seitel (2001:478) mentions the admission of 20 womenstudents into the public relations major programme at the United Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain in 1995, as a sign of the growth of public relations in the Middle East, and cites SaudiArabia as an example of a country where there is an increased recognition of the significance ofpublic relations. Another example is Iran, where the first book on public relations was publishedin 1966 and the first B.A. degree in public relations was introduced in 1983 (Kamalipour & Rad,1997:31). Egypt is said to be the first country in the Middle East to look upon public relations asa profession. The Arab Public Relations Society is based in Egypt, but includes members fromother Middle Eastern countries. Since its inception this association has participated in more than50 conferences and world congresses (Borhan, 1993:19).International organisation of public relations originated in Europe. The idea came into being in1949 when two Dutch and four British public relations persons met in London to discussinternational liaison. They formed an international committee, which eventually led to theestablishment of IPRA in 1955 (IPRA, s.a.: 1,8). IPRA held its first congress in 1958 in Brussels(Oeckl, 1976:2).This body aims to bring together public relations practitioners at a global level to further theskills and ethics of the profession. The UN recognises IPRA as an NGO. IPRA also holds aconsultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, and has been awarded the right toparticipate in UNESCO-funded programmes (IPRA, 2001a).IPRA formulated its first code of conduct in 1961. In 1965 the organisation adopted the Code ofAthens, a European code of professional conduct formulated in the same year by CERP (Skinneret al., 2001:21). This is a moral code, inspired by the UN Declaration of Human Rights (IPRA,2001b). IPRA publishes a journal which was recently renamed IPRA Frontline (IPRA, 2001a:3).155Today IPRA has members in 92 countries all over the world, including Europe, the Americas,Asia, Britain, Scandinavia and Iceland, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, aswell as on various islands (IPRA, 2001c).IPRA is instrumental in assisting the growth of public relations in emerging markets such asRussia, Bulgaria and Estonia, and runs the world=s largest public relations website and Internet egroup(Sutherland, 2001).IPRA also has a student section, membership of which is open to students of public relationsworldwide. Membership entitles students to IPRA=s virtual library and publications, as well as astudent members= chat room and guestbook on IPRA=s website (IPRA, 2002a).Other regional public relations federations in the world include the Inter-AmericanConfederation of Public Relations Associations (FIARP), based in Argentina and Uruguay(IPRA, 2001c), and the Pan-Pacific Public Relations Federation (PPPRF), based in Thailand(Skinner et al., 2001:22).There are also a number of global organisations in the field of communication, examples ofwhich include: the International Communication Association (ICA); the World CommunicationAssociation (WCA) (Gibson, 1992-1993:47); the International Association for Media andCommunication Research (IAMCR); the International Society for Intercultural Education,Training and Research (SIETAR); and the International Federation of CommunicationAssociations (IFCA) (IAMCR, 2001; IFCA, 2001; SIETAR, 2001).3.7.2.2 Public relations educationA principle objective of IPRA is the encouragement of education (IPRA, 1997:5). Through itsinvolvement with the UN and UNESCO, it contributes to public relations education, particularlyin developing countries (IPRA, s.a.:7).Since the first public relations course was introduced in America in 1923, public relationseducation has been developing at educational institutions for eight decades. However, it was156only after the publication of IPRA=s Gold Paper No. 4 in 1982 that there has been majorinternational development in public relations education beyond the basic bachelor=s degree(IPRA, 1990:6).This Gold Paper was the result of work of an International Commission for Public RelationsEducation, set up in 1980 to assist the IPRA Education and Research Committee to produce amodel and recommendations for public relations education worldwide. Based on the belief thatpublic relations should have an intellectual base, and aiming to provide students with a commonbody of knowledge, it was suggested in Gold Paper No. 4, among other recommendations, thatpublic relations education should go beyond the bachelor=s degree (IPRA, 1982:4-6).Since then, major post-graduate courses in public relations have been introduced. Examplesinclude: an M.A. in European Public Relations, introduced in 1991, and offered jointly byuniversities in Britain, Belgium, France, Italy and Portugal; an M.Sc. degree in public relationsoffered by the University of Scotland; an M.Sc. degree in communication specialising in publicrelations, offered by the University of Helsinki; and an M.Sc. in public relations started by theNigerian Institute of Public Relations in association with the University of Nigeria (Okereke,1993:23; IPRA, 1990:31,34-36 ). Stirling University in Britain started an M.Sc. degree in publicrelations by distance learning in 1991. This course is also available to students outside Britain(Black, 1990b:16). India also started preparing for the introduction of public relations graduateprogrammes at various universities (Basu, 1992:10).Public relations education worldwide is also available in the form of certificate and diplomacourses offered by various kinds of institutions, including professional public relationsassociations. In some countries, such as Switzerland and the Netherlands, the latter enjoysofficial government recognition (IPRA, 1990:26). In some countries, such as Australia and NewZealand, the local public relations association formally accredits courses in public relations(Ferreira, 2000:67).Foreign individuals and organisations have been instrumental in assisting the countries of theformer Eastern Bloc to introduce education programmes in public relations. For example, aneducation model based on international standards was developed in the former Yugoslavia in the157early 1990s in collaboration with IPRA and Prof. Van der Meiden from the Netherlands (Djuric,1998:25). And in Russia, American universities, private foundations and government agencieshave assisted in the establishment of education programmes at various universities and colleges(Guth, 1998:54).3.7.3 African developmentThis section provides a brief overview of the development of public relations practice andeducation on the African continent.3.7.3.1 South African development3.7.3.1.1 Public relations practiceThe structural development of public relations on the African continent first started in SouthAfrica. Although professional organisation in the country started somewhat later than inAmerica and Western Europe, public relations saw a massive growth in the last four decades ofthe last century. South Africa has two >firsts= to its credit, being the first country to research andevolve a body of knowledge for public relations (Skinner et al., 2001:3), and the first publicrelations institute in the world to obtain certification for quality management from theInternational Standards Organisation (ISO), a body for quality assurance (PRISA, 2002a). Interms of membership, PRISA is the third largest public relations institute in the world behindPRSA and the IPR in Britain (Rowe, 2002:4).The first public relations officer in the country was appointed by the South African Railways in1943, and the first public relations consultancy was established in Johannesburg in 1948 (Skinneret al., 2001:22).The profession in this country is organised into PRISA, which was established in 1957 (Skinneret al., 2001:22). By 2002 PRISA had more than 4 400 members in sub-regions throughout SouthAfrica and neighbouring countries, as well as countries such as Canada, America, Australia andBritain (Richardson, 2002).158The PRISA Students= Association, now known as the Public Relations Student Chapter (PRSC),was launched in 1995. PRISA holds regular student conferences and publishes a newsletter formembers of the PRSC (Anon., 1995b:1). PRISA also has a chapter for consultants.PRISA established a directorate in Johannesburg in 1986 (Anon., 1986:2), and has a full-timestaff who coordinate various membership services.Members of PRISA subscribe to a code of conduct based on the international Code of Athensand the IPRA Code of Conduct (Lubbe, 1994a:5).In 1993 PRISA introduced a new system for membership registration, by which points areallocated, based on qualifications and experience, to determine an individual member=s level ofmembership. The new registration system makes provision for the following membershipcategories: Affiliate and Associate (non-voting), Public Relations Practitioner (PRP), CharteredPublic Relations Practitioner (CPRP) and Accredited in Public Relations (APR) (Skinner et al.,2001:22-23).The South African body of knowledge for public relations was completed in 1980 as part ofPRISA=s professionalisation action launched in the late 1970s (Krause, quoted by Ferreira,1990:34).PRISA appointed its first education committee in 1957, and introduced its first short course in1958 (Lean, quoted by Roodt, 1988:60). The Institute appointed a full-time director of education(now called managing director) in 1989 (Ferreira, 1990:36), and has since established the PRISAEducation & Training Centre (PE&TC) - which is registered as a separate company - at itsdirectorate in Johannesburg. Full-time staff members of the PE&TC serve on the advisorycommittees for public relations education at a number of technikons, and also act as moderatorsfor the subjects Public Relations III and IV for a number of technikons in the country. Inaddition, the managing director of the PE&TC serves on the NSB for Business, Commerce andManagement Studies, and two other staff members serve on the SGB for Public Relations andCommunication Management (Van Niekerk, 2002a).159The PE&TC is conditionally registered as a private higher educational institution by the SouthAfrican Department of Education (PE&TC, 2002:3). The Centre offers a number of publicrelations courses including introductory, specialisation and continuing education learningprogrammes; a public relations management course aimed at senior practitioners; and a threeyeartertiary diploma. In designing these courses, PRISA made provision for a non-formal careerpath as well as a formal career path in public relations, both leading to accreditation status. Theformal career path is followed by candidates who have a three-year diploma or degree, whereasthe non-formal path is followed by candidates without matric (PE&TC, 2002:3,5).PRISA has a licence agreement with several commercial colleges in South Africa andneighbouring countries, as well as a number of technikons to offer some of its courses (PE&TC,2001b).In terms of an agreement signed with Technikon Witwatersrand in 2000, graduates of the threeyearPRISA Diploma can further their studies at this technikon through higher degrees in PublicRelations Management (Anon., 2000:4). The PRISA Diploma is also recognised internationallyby the IPR in Britain. This is the first qualification outside Britain which has been recognised bythe IPR (Anon., 2001b:5).The PE&TC facilitates an annual academic conference which is attended by academics involvedwith public relations and communication education (PE&TC, 2001a:3). The first conference ofthis kind was held in 1992. In the same year PRISA introduced an educator=s award, a prizeawarded annually to a meritorious public relations educator (Anon., 1992b:5). The first awardwas presented in 1993 (Moscardi & Honiball, 1993:6). The Institute=s magazine, Communika,also has a regular section on education.PRISA introduced a voluntary accreditation examination in 1987 (Skinner & Von Essen,1995:23). Accreditation enables a practitioner to use the designation APR as a symbol ofprofessional status (Skinner et al., 2001:23). A new system for accreditation, doing away withthe written examination, was introduced in 1997 (Anon., 1997:1). The new process was basedon an oral assessment, and one of two routes could be followed to gain admission. The first wassuccessful completion of the PE&TC course in Public Relations Management, while the second160entailed presenting a proposal document. In both instances candidates first had to obtain 70points under the PRISA registration system, which means that comprehensive experience in thepractice or teaching of public relations was required (PRISA, 2001). In January 2003 theaccreditation examination process was changed again, with the new format consisting of selfstudy,a two-day workshop and both written and oral assessments (Moscardi, 2002b:1).PRISA negotiated cross-recognition of qualifications with other countries, resulting inaccreditation status of PRISA members being recognised in the USA, Canada, Britain, Australiaand New Zealand (Anon., 2002:22; PE&TC, 2001a:4).A process is also underway to register PRISA=s accreditation programme with the NationalQualifications Framework in South Africa, which will mean that APR status will be recognisedby the Government as a professional qualification (Van Niekerk, 2002a).PRISA=s contact with the rest of Africa takes place mainly through IPRA. The PRISADirectorate also occasionally receives newsletters from public relations societies in Kenya,Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Some consultants in Africa use PRISA for networking, while countriessuch as Nigeria and Mozambique send practitioners to South Africa to complete PRISA courses(Van Niekerk, 2002a).Apart from PRISA, there are a number of smaller public relations societies in South Africa.Examples include the Institute for Municipal Public Relations Officers (IMPRO); the SouthernAfrica Institute of Fundraising (SAIF); UNITECH, the organisation that unites public relationspractitioners employed by technikons and universities; and the Exhibition Association ofSouthern Africa (EXSA) (EXSA, 2000; Moscardi, 2002a; SAIF, s.a.).3.7.3.1.2 Public relations educationAccording to Roodt (1988:59), public relations education is by far the most developedknowledge attribute of the profession in South Africa. At tertiary level, public relations can bestudied at public and private universities and colleges, technikons, through the Institute ofAdministration and Commerce (IAC) and through PRISA.161At public universities in South Africa, public relations is taught as part of a degree incommunication, journalism and media studies, communication management or businesscommunication (Anon., 1995a:12-13). Students may also continue their studies and specialise inpublic relations at the honours, master=s and doctoral level. At some universities, public relationsis also taught as a separate management function, as part of business economics within abachelor of commerce degree (Moscardi & Honiball, 1993:5) or an MBA. A number ofuniversities have also recently introduced structured master=s degrees in corporatecommunication. Examples include the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), PotchefstroomUniversity for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHE) and the University of the Free State(UFS).Communication education at universities began in South Africa in 1960 when the PU for CHElaunched a degree programme in journalism. The University of South Africa (UNISA) followed,with the introduction of a post-graduate diploma in journalism in 1963 (Gerbner & Schramm,1990:17), which was replaced by a degree programme in communication in 1969 (Fourie,1990:3). After this, many other universities introduced degrees in communication, withsubdisciplines like mass communication and public relations (Fourie, 1990:2). In 1978 theSouthern African Communication Association (SACOMM) was founded, to promoteCommunication Science as an academic discipline (SACOMM, 1995:1). In 1999, SACOMMexpressed an interest in joining IFCA, and intends to do so when the envisaged restructuring ofthe former association is completed (Ströh, 1999:1-2).A three-year N Dip Public Relations was introduced in 1981 at Technikon Witwatersrand,Technikon Pretoria, Natal Technikon (now called the Durban Institute of Technology) and CapeTechnikon. By the mid-1980s, the Port Elizabeth Technikon, ML Sultan Technikon (now alsopart of the Durban Institute of Technology) and Vaal Triangle Technikon had also introducedthis programme (Ferreira, 1990:38). Technikon SA introduced this diploma, as a distancelearning programme, in 1994.In 1988 a task group was formed by the relevant technikons, to revise the existing diploma and toplan further qualifications in public relations (Ferreira, 1990:39). The revised diploma and twonew qualifications, the National Higher Diploma and the M Tech Diploma in Public Relations,162were approved by the Minister of National Education in 1991 (Garbers, 1991:1; Klopper,1991:1). In 1993 the Technikon Act (no. 125) was amended, allowing technikons to issuedegrees (SA, 1993:1-26). The Higher and M Tech diplomas have consequently been phased out,and replaced by the four-year B Tech and a five-year M Tech degree in Public RelationsManagement, approved by the Minister of Education in 1994. The D Tech degree in PublicRelations Management was approved by the Minister in the same year (Strydom, 1994:1). Thename of the three-year diploma simultaneously changed to that of N Dip in Public RelationsManagement.Eastern Cape Technikon started offering the N Dip in Public Relations Management in 2002(Ndaba, 2002).The IAC introduced a three-year course in management with specialisation in public relations in1987 (Ferreira, 1990:39). The IAC administers the examination and the course can be studiedthrough various colleges (IAC, 2001).In accordance with the Higher Education Act (1997), private higher education providers arerequired to register with the South African Department of Education. The courses that theseinstitutions offer are accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE), established in 1998(SAQA, 2002b). In accordance with a new academic policy for higher education, including adiploma/degree structure, private and foreign higher education providers can apply to the CHE tooffer degrees (CHE, 2002). PRISA has submitted an application to change its three-yeardiploma to a degree course (Van Niekerk, 2002b), while a number of private institutions, such asthe Graduate Academy of South Africa, Bond South Africa and the Midrand Graduate Institute,have conditionally registered degree courses in public relations or communication with SAQA(SAQA, 2002a).An honours degree in communication, the three-year N Dip in Public Relations Managementoffered by technikons and PRISA=s three-year diploma are all accepted by PRISA as equalqualifications for membership registration purposes (PRISA, 2002b). Private educationproviders who offer three-year diploma or degree courses in public relations still need to apply toPRISA to obtain formal recognition of those courses for registration purposes (Van Niekerk,1632002b).3.7.3.2 Development on the rest of the continentThis section provides a brief overview of the development of public relations practice andeducation on the rest of the African continent.3.7.3.2.1 Public relations practiceIn most countries in the rest of Africa, professional organisation in public relations started laterthan in South Africa (Ferreira, 1999:32). One exception is Zimbabwe, where an association forpublic relations - now called the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Relations (ZIPR) - was alsoestablished in 1957 (Dickens, 1997).According to Rhodes and Baker (1994:287), in the Southern African region, the practice ofpublic relations is most advanced in South Africa and Zimbabwe. In the other nine countries,public relations is served by few practitioners, although the industry is growing in size.Swaziland recently formed its own public relations association (IPRA, 2001c), while Botswana,Lesotho and Namibia rely on neighbouring PRISA for professional organisation and educationand development (Ferreira, 1999:36). PRISA has recently formed chapters for practitioners inNamibia and Botswana (Van Niekerk, 2002a).Examples of public relations societies established not long after PRISA include: the NigerianInstitute of Public Relations, formed in 1963 in the form of the then Public Relations Associationof Nigeria; the Public Relations Society of Kenya, established in 1971; the Sudan PublicRelations Association, formed in 1973; and the Public Relations Association of Uganda, formedin 1976 (Mutabaah, quoted by Ferreira, 1999:32; Njuguna, quoted by Ferreira, 1999:38;Borhan, 1993:19; Ogunmakin, 1993:71-73).In 1975 an organisation that attempts to unite public relations practitioners in Africa was formedin Nairobi, and named the Federation of African Public Relations Associations (FAPRA)164(Opukah, 1992:16). FAPRA was established to cover both the Francophone and Anglophoneparts of Africa, although Opukah (1993:15) regards the Anglophone sector as more active as faras public relations is concerned.3.7.3.2.2 Public relations educationEducation courses in public relations in Africa are varied, and range from in-service training byemployers and within government ministries (Mazrui, quoted by Ferreira, 1999:39) to formaltertiary diploma, degree and post-degree courses. A variety of short courses are offered indifferent countries by development agencies, professional institutes and private colleges(Ferreira, 1999:39-40,47). At tertiary level, many public relations programmes in Africa aretaught as part of a B-degree in communication, mass communication or journalism (Ferreira,1999:41). Some universities also teach public relations to complement other disciplines such asmarketing and business management (Nartey, 1988:26). A number of distance learningprogrammes in public relations are also available in Africa. Examples include degree and postdegreecourses offered by UNISA, the diplomas offered by the IAC and Technikon SA and theM.Sc. distance learning programme offered by the University of Stirling in Britain (Ferreira,1999:46-47; Pieczk, quoted by Ferreira, 1999:47).3.7.4 Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication ManagementThe latest development in the global organisation of public relations was the establishment of theGlobal Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management in 2000. This new entityis an alliance of associations worldwide, and provides a framework for collaboration in publicrelations at a global level. Twenty public relations associations from all over the world wereinvolved in the founding of this organisation.The need for an alliance of this kind came with the realisation that more and more publicrelations practitioners represent organisations that transcend national boundaries, and thateveryone is increasingly affected by global trends and issues. The Global Alliance aims toenhance networking opportunities for practitioners, and to serve as a vehicle for examiningethical standards and universal accreditation options (GAPR&CM, 2001:1). Other areas of165mutual interest being explored include education and professional development (Anon., 2001a).PRISA was one of twenty associations which founded the Global Alliance for Public Relationsand Communication Management (GAPR&CM, 2001:1). The executive director of PRISA alsocurrently serves on the board of the Global Alliance (Van Niekerk, 2002a).3.8 THE IMPACT OF GLOBALISATION ON PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICEAND EDUCATIONIt is evident in contemporary literature on public relations that this profession is no exception toincreasing exposure to the forces of globalisation covered in the previous chapter. Firstly,increased global contact in public relations practice and education is evident in the existence ofIPRA, the IABC, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management andother international associations mentioned in the previous sections. Secondly, the emergence ofglobal public relations consultancy networks is evidence of the need of organisations to practisepublic relations outside the borders of their own country. Thirdly, various authors emphasise theneed for public relations practitioners to redefine their role and acquire new competencies toadapt to emerging forces of globalisation and resulting changing paradigms in business, socialand other spheres of life. In fact, White and Mazur (1995:50) argue that nowhere is a globaloutlook more important than in communication: >Regardless of nationality, professionals whohave created cross-border public affairs/public relations networks are at the forefront of helpingtheir organisations present a coherent and consistent approach.= Verwey (2000:64), in turn,suggests that shifting geographic boundaries, and the evolution of virtual communities, imposenew demands on public relations practitioners for counselling based on improved access torelevant information from around the world. This requires new broad-based competence in anumber of fields, and a redefinition of the role of practitioners, in order to remain relevant inemerging global trends. She singles out the ability to interpret external developments and topredict future trends and formulate plans to address them, as being of particular importance topractitioners in the new global environment (Verwey, 2000:52).As was stated in the introduction to this chapter, public relations has the potential to play a rolein counteracting those disintegrating forces of globalisation covered in the previous chapter. Inthe process it could contribute towards global unity and understanding, as suggested in previous166sections. Changes needed in the role and functions of public relations practice and thecompetencies required in order to contribute to measures to counteract the disintegrating forcesof globalisation, are discussed in the rest of this section. This discussion is preceded by anoverview of how public relations is influenced by three major forces of globalisation, as outlinedin the previous chapter: the New Economy, the Communication Revolution and the NetworkSociety. Lastly, possible measures to counteract a particularly damaging disintegrating force inpublic relations brought about by the Internet, namely online sabotage, are suggested.3.8.1 The influence of global forces on public relationsThis section provides an overview of the impact of globalisation on public relations practice andeducation, in terms of new competencies required.3.8.1.1 Public relations and the New EconomyIt is suggested by various authors that the emergence of the New Economy broadens the scope ofpublic relations and calls for a redefinition of the role of the latter. According to Capozzi(2001:16), the arrival in every market of more and more international corporations is creatingdemands for public relations services in both existing and emerging markets everywhere.Geimann (2001) mentions globalisation of businesses and rapid mergers as some of the factorsnecessitating a new role for public relations practitioners. Goldman (1998:43) mentionsinternational competition as a force redefining public relations work, forcing practitioners to bemore entrepreneurial, flexible and independent, and to expand marketing and public relationsefforts. Salerno (2001:12) suggests that demands for public relations services are at an all-timehigh owing to the creation of new markets by the Internet and virtual companies. Furthermore,Verwey (2000:53) suggests that the New Economy brings about a need for businesstransformation which represents a fundamental shift in the relationships of corporations toindividuals and to society as a whole. As a result of increased competition, media relations haveto become more knowledge-based, necessitating new, imaginative forms of informationdistribution and more narrowcasting - i.e. programming customised for the individual (Verwey,2000:54).Hirigoyen (2000:40) suggests that, as a result of the blurred boundaries between economies,167together with the global 24-hour news cycle and diverse audiences, all public relationspractitioners are engaged in global public relations. According to Watson (1991:113), asignificant portion of the large volume of current communication traffic is involved inconducting business, and it is therefore not surprising that international business-to-businesspublic relations is blossoming. Wilcox et al. (1992:411) identify public relations as an essentialingredient in the global marketing megamix created as a result of the New Economy, and call formanagers as well as employees to learn to think and act in global terms.3.8.1.2 Public relations and the Communication RevolutionAccording to Wilson (1996:10), few things have more profoundly affected the practice of publicrelations than the dawn of desktop computers, followed by the advent of instantaneous globalcommunication. These two forces have converged to create a revolution in public interaction,based on digital telecommunication. Grupp (2000:34) suggests that, in the context of newtechnology, public relations practitioners have become e-communicators and managers of onlinestrategic relationships. He also assigns to practitioners the role of stewardship for the content ofthe Internet, that otherwise is just an unfiltered commodity.The Communication Revolution has brought about many benefits and new opportunities inpublic relations, but also new challenges and the need for new skills.According to Geimann (2001), the Internet has accelerated the evolution of public relations andcreated all-day news and information consumers. As a result of the Communication Revolution,being physically located in a particular centre is no longer a prerequisite for participation inglobal public relations. Advanced telecommunication, which instantly disseminates news andinformation around the globe, means that audiences today are multinational and even global(Hirigoyen, 2000:39). In this regard, Seitel (2001:474) suggests that while the new media willincreasingly capture public attention in the most creative ways, public relations professionalswill have to be equally creative to keep up with the new media and harness them for persuasivepurposes.Some of the major benefits and opportunities of the online media for the practice of public168relations, include: increased contact with publics, including opportunities for interactivecommunication and immediate feedback; ease of collecting information about competitors andother relevant topics; opportunities for global media coverage; the means to narrowcastinformation to reporters, opinion leaders, consumers, etc.; instant delivery of news - includingtext, video, sound and photographs - to reporters by means of media kits and online mediarooms; e-mail interviews and chat rooms to facilitate discussion; online promotions; ease ofarchiving documents for easy reference and ease of updating documents; communication withemployees by means on intranets, including online newsletters, questionnaires, onlinediscussions, etc.; communication with specialised external audiences by means of extranets; theopportunity for prearranged cyberconferences; the ability to respond instantly to emerging issuesand market changes; providing easy access to copies of speeches, publications, new productinformation, executive biographies, historical information, contact names and numbers, etc. byplacing these online; providing frequently-asked-questions sections; the ability to track andtrace transactions and build portfolios of customers; ease in building alliances and solicitingpartnerships; and the opportunity to use an Internet website during times of crisis, to deal withthe onslaught of customers and media requests (Mersham & Skinner, 2001b:202,205;Schenkein, 2001:31-32; Seitel, 2001:304-305,308-316; Grupp, 2000:34; Ha & Pratt,2000:30,33).While the Internet has revolutionised public relations communication, it has also brought aboutnew challenges, as new technology makes organisations more open to scrutiny by customers.Dissatisfied customers can use the Internet to tell computers around the world about their badexperiences with a company=s product or service (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:313). In thisregard, one of the major threats to public relations is that of online sabotage in the form of ethicalterrorism or >anti-sites=. This refers to the practice of critics building websites to stage attacks onan organisation=s practices (Waltz, quoted by Geimann, 2001). Fringe groups can also spreaddamaging messages across the globe in an instant by means of e-mail, organisations can receivefalsified information and organisations or individuals can be harassed (Ha & Pratt, 2000:30).Skills needed by public relations practitioners with regard to the new media and measures to dealwith the threat of online sabotage are outlined in Sections 3.8.2.9 and 3.8.2.10.3.8.1.3 Public relations and the Network Society169Globalisation in public relations brings about opportunities for the establishment of networks.Vallun (1999:28-29), who points out evidence that global communication budgets are changing,with a growing share going to public relations at the expense of advertising, argues that nonmultinationalclients can also benefit from the trend of globalisation in public relations, becauseof the sharing of intellectual property brought about by international partnerships. Nonmultinationalclients can also benefit from increased access to experience in other parts of theworld; the opportunity to network with multinational clients in pursuit of future business spinoffs;access to public relations support in other parts of the world when embarking upon export;foreign investment or foreign fundraising initiatives; and exposure to global standards ofperformance and delivery.As no one public relations practitioner, department or consultancy could possibly possess thenecessary knowledge to operate effectively in all global markets, the use of global professionalnetworks becomes essential in launching programmes across borders. Black (2000:107) suggeststhat public relations across borders can be organised by employing the services of largeinternational consultancies with offices worldwide, or public relations networks operating on aninformal basis. Alternatively, practitioners can plug into a network, but coordinate activitiesthemselves (White and Mazur, 1995:75). Other options include recruiting public relations staffin each individual country. This can be an effective solution where a proper localcommunication network is established. Yet another is to include the services of global networksof independent consultancies (Haywood, 1991:23). Black (2000:108) also argues in favour ofglobal partnerships to achieve public relations goals.Stevens (1998:18) regards the founding of the Council for Public Relations Networks in 1997 asevidence of the growing interest in using the network approach in public relations, in order toshare expertise, resources and information. This Council was the first-ever association ofinternational public relations networks, and was formed to market the advantages and benefits ofsuch an organisation.A number of authors refer to sponsorship as a tool which can be used within the globalcommunication and promotional mix of an organisation, and for the establishment of networks.170Black (2000:112) regards international sponsorships as an >international calling card= which canbe used effectively as a tool of global and international communication. According to Norman(1991:133), some of the benefits of international sponsorship include a statement of the >globalnature= of a company; the fact that sport, music and environmental sponsorships rarely needtranslation; and the opportunity for the development of global relationships, for instance withgovernments and business.Mersham and Skinner (1999:205-206) mention the Internet, intranets and extranets as networksaffecting the nature of public relations work. While an organisation=s Internet website can beregarded as the public face it presents to the world, an intranet is a structure for internalcommunication, allowing for the formation of employee networks. Extranets tend to be used forbusiness-to-business communication and transactions, allowing for communication between anorganisation and its customers and suppliers on a more >selective= basis than on the Internet.Thus, extranets allow for the creation of more specialised external networks. Verwey (2000:57)mentions that new media networks could also be used to promote dialogue between publicrelations professionals, suggesting that networking between practitioners could be particularlybeneficial during times of transformation.3.8.2 The potential role of public relations in counteracting the disintegrating forces ofglobalisationThis section provides an outline of the potential role of public relations in the measures outlinedin Section 2.7.4 to counteract disintegrating forces of globalisation.3.8.2.1 Research followed by multilateral dialogueHoward (2001:42) refers to the potential role which public relations can play in the currentbacklash against globalisation. She argues that the backlash occurs because of a breakdown incommunication. Public relations professionals can assist in resolving the resulting conflict bystepping in to offer services to those being targeted, either to play a role in developing solutions,that include establishing dialogue with those on the other side, or to work at keeping the clientout of the headlines. Vogl (2001:21) takes this view further, by assigning to public relations171professionals the responsibility to initiate research and education in the area of global corporatesocial responsibility issues, in response to the NGO criticism of aspects of global corporatebehaviour winning the attention of the world=s media.3.8.2.2 A people-centred approachAccording to Verwey (2000:55), paradigm shifts driven by new technology manifest in a newsocial complexity, to which organisations have to adapt. This implies a new relationship toindividuals and society as a whole, with major implications for public relations. One of themanifestations of this change is greater input from humanitarian groups, and pressure onorganisations to be more responsible and to accept accountability for the way in which they useresources and contribute to the environment (Verwey, 2000:55).A number of authors point out the role that public relations can play in enhancing social justicein the global environment. According to Howard (2001:43), practitioners can developprogrammes to integrate human-rights strategies into the business planning and implementationprocess. Vogl (2001:22) suggests that, in response to the anti-globalisation movement, corporatepublic relations executives should help their enterprises to strive for the highest levels of globalcorporate citizenship, by demanding a responsibility of their corporations to contribute to social,humanitarian, environmental and economic development. Delahaye Paine (2001:47), in turn,argues that the role of public relations practitioners in the 21st century should not be one ofmanaging >reality=, but of shaping the actions and deeds of their companies. This implies that, asreputation managers, practitioners should assist their organisations to new heights of socialresponsibility and institutional respect, not just craft messages.Banks (1995:25) adds to the task of public relations the responsibility to nurture positive andsupportive communities. He suggests that organisations should recognise that their long-termability to survive, depends on fostering an attitude of social responsibility that nurtures sociallyhealthy communities among their various publics (Banks, 1995:20).3.8.2.3 Global restructuring172Cole-Morgan (1991:165) suggests that public relations can make a contribution to raisingawareness of the world environment and imbalances that have been created. He argues thatindividuals, commercial organisations and governments throughout the world need to beconvinced that action is needed to restore the balance, and that no public relations programmeshould ignore this responsibility.Howard (2001:42) argues that the backlash against global capitalism is really a cry for leadershipto develop a new framework that will help narrow the divide between wealth and poverty. Inthis regard, she suggests that public relations practitioners should work with corporate leaders toidentify global trends which affect them, and play a role in developing strategy when the newframeworks for the global economy are being developed (Howard, 2001:43).Vogl (2001:21) suggests that public relations executives participate in meetings that aim to buildconsensus, and forge standards between government, NGOs and business, on key global issues.He also calls for greater involvement of practitioners in key international conferences oncorporate social responsibility, and for corporate sponsorship of new initiatives on key issues byrespected NGOs (Vogl, 2001:22).3.8.2.4 Global regulation and ethicsVogl (2001:19) assigns to public relations professionals the responsibility to assist theircompanies to agree to societal responsibilities, as called for by UN Secretary General KofiAnnan, rather than leaving global social responsibility issues to corporate lawyers or ethicsofficers. Verwey (2000:64-65) regards public relations as the change agent of an organisation,and suggests that it should challenge the dominant worldviews and practices of organisationswhen these are perceived to be unjust.Vogl (2001:20) identifies the following as some of the global issues currently on the globalpublic relations agenda: ethics and compliance with government rules, regulations and laws;human rights and labour issues; the elimination of corruption and money laundering;environmental issues; and supporting free-market systems and structures that assistgovernmental policy-making to build competitive, transparent and well-regulated markets. He173suggests that public relations professionals assist in these issues by ensuring that theircorporations are seen as meeting larger societal responsibilities.Vogl (2001:20) argues that public relations is uniquely placed to track, understand and dialoguewith organisations that are defining global social responsibility. He suggests that thepractitioners track the role of global organisations such as NGOs, religious groups, shareholdergroups, organised labour and international agencies such as the UN, WTO, etc., in order toimplement pro-active programmes which will secure images of their corporations as globalleaders in the area of social responsibility.Public relations staff should also ensure that their corporations develop a code of ethics and thatemployees know and understand this code (Vogl, 2001:22).3.8.2.5 Effective government frameworkPublic relations can contribute to effective governance in the area of social investment, byworking in partnership with government in the implementation of corporate social investmentprogrammes. Furthermore, as change agents, public relations professionals are in a position toinfluence public policy.Mersham et al. (1995:78) point out that, as change agents, public relations practitioners occupy aspecial place in the networks of decision-makers as identifiers of issues, and counsellors topolicy makers. They often have direct access to top management, and are represented on keypolicy-making committees. By definition, public relations has an advisory role, keepingmanagement informed and responsive to shifts in social needs.In this regard, it can be assumed that public relations can act as change agent also in governmentprocesses. Owing to their advisory role, public relations executives are placed in a positionwhere they can lobby and participate in the process of policy-making, to reconstruct social normsand order, to create a technological infrastructure in rural areas, to empower rural citizens byincreasing access to information, etc.1743.8.2.6 Improved regional strategiesPublic relations can play a role in preventing disintegrating forces of globalisation resulting inloss of cultural identity and community, by adapting programmes to the needs of localcommunities.Kruckeberg and Starck (quoted by Banks, 1995:19) advance the idea that public relations isuniquely positioned in contemporary society to restore and maintain the sense of community thatwas lost with the advent of mass media and high-speed transportation. They argue that publicrelations can be used to re-create the sense of community, but only if practitioners enact the roleof communication facilitators with the primary goal of altruistic community support, instead ofenacting the role of institutional advocate with the primary goal of enhancing the role of theinstitution=s reputation and gaining assent (Banks, 1995:20).Verwey (2000:54) stresses the necessity to unite local and global interests within a globalbusiness and communication strategy, and the need to understand and value diversity.According to Vogl (2001:20), local community and national cultural issues pertaining to thesocial behaviour of organisations are affecting global public relations. Public relationsprofessionals should assist their corporations towards social responsibility by implementingprogrammes which enhance respect for national customs, traditions, religions, etc. (Vogl,2001:19-20).Howard (2001:43), in turn, suggests that practitioners employed by multinational companiesoperating in developing countries, should work with country-specific teams to createprogrammes that do not upset the balance within the local cultures.3.8.2.7 Emphasis on developmentAuthors such as Mersham et al. (1995), Jefkins (1992), Mersham (1992) and Al-Enad (1990)recognise the potential of public relations to contribute towards development in Third Worldcountries. Jefkins (1992:230) states that nowhere else are public relations techniques of greater175value than in developing countries. According to Al-Enad (1990:26), this value lies in the factthat public relations can be used as a trigger for positive societal changes. Mersham et al.(1995:26) support this view by suggesting that public relations is at the cutting edge of socialchange, and is increasingly charged with communicating development messages and facilitatingthe development process in developing countries. This is culminating in a >secondary= role forpublic relations, namely that of agent for development communication and change (Mersham etal., 1995:30).Areas in which public relations professionals can contribute towards the development process inthe Third World include: the facilitation of communication between local institutions, leadersand other groups, and First World development facilitators; the employment of communicationskills to overcome negative stages of hostility, prejudice, apathy and ignorance, which oftenhamper development strategies (Mersham et al., 1995:26, 77); and the education oforganisational managers on the importance of social accountability and social investment(Mersham, 1992:54-59).3.8.2.8 Appropriate managerial paradigmsThis section provides an overview of the application to public relations of those managerialparadigms identified in Section 2.7.4.8, to counteract disintegrating forces of globalisation.3.8.2.8.1 A holistic, global perspectiveAnderson (quoted by Black, 2000:103) argues that historical developments of momentousimportance since World War II make it imperative for everyone in public relations to acquire aglobal perspective on behalf of employees and clients.Wakefield (2000:36) calls for public relations practitioners who >can see the big picture=. Hesuggests that, in the new global arena, practitioners need to be problem-solvers across borders,because, with the variety of global channels for monitoring and pressuring corporations today,those who do not show empathy for societal problems will not prosper.Hayes (1998:10) calls for a holistic approach in global public relations, to plan and bring about176true integration between in-house functions and external advisors.As has been pointed out in the previous chapter, new managerial paradigms call for flatterhierarchies and the empowerment of employees. This implies new challenges for publicrelations professionals, as employee communication becomes more important (Verwey,2000:57). In this regard, utilising an intranet as a structure for internal communication can bebeneficial. The intranet is bringing about changes in management style, which entail a moveaway from hierarchical structures, facilitating employee participation (Mersham & Skinner,1999:206).3.8.2.8.2 A global mindset in strategic communicationHaywood (1991:21) is of the opinion that few organisations today can have a totally domesticperspective, even if they are not operating outside their own national borders. This is becausethe issues that are concerning people often have a relevance around the world. Thus, nationalpublic relations is increasingly becoming part of the bigger, global public relations scene.Linscott (1991:101) supports this view by stating that the dramatic growth of informationtechnology means that public relations operates in the international arena. Even practitionerswho specialise in the home market, need an appreciation of global activities, in order to be trulysuccessful.White and Mazur (1995:71) argue that, if globalisation of business is a reality, then globalisationof communication strategy and programmes cannot be far behind. Eisenberg and Goodall(1997:6), in turn, suggest that success in global business requires global and internationalcommunication skills, and that globalisation requires organisations to communicate in ways thattranscend time and space.According to Leichsering (1998:35), globalisation necessitates that public relations professionalsfollow an integrated and global approach in communication strategies. Corporations have to beextremely fast and flexible in the ways they communicate and react, and communication shouldbe multicultural and integrated.1773.8.2.8.3 Standardisation vs adaptation: making an appropriate choiceAccording to White and Mazur (1995:(xvi)), one of the biggest challenges facing public relationsin the global context is managing programmes across borders consistently and effectively. Whatcontributes to the complexity is the multicultural aspect, but also different markets, which are atdifferent stages of development.Geimann (2001) suggests that, as national boundaries are becoming irrelevant, customising amessage based on geography is risky. However, various authors argue in favour of practisingadaptation rather than standardisation in public relations across borders. Haywood (1991:22)suggests that, though many organisations are international in operation, they have learnt thatcommunication is extremely local and very personal. While some transcontinental messagesmay be acceptable, most of those that affect people=s lives need to be presented to them from ashort range, in a language and style that they can accept.Heylin (1991:19) also argues in favour of the adage >think global, act local= in planningcommunication strategy. She argues that, as cultural, regulatory, financial media andgovernment relations vary from country to country, public relations practice should be adapted tolocal needs and conditions.3.8.2.8.4 MulticulturalismAccording to Goldman (1998:44), one of the reasons why public relations is expected to grow inthe global era, is the need to manage communication in far-flung organisations that span manycultures and languages. According to Verwey (2000:54), as a result of globalisation, the targetsof public relations programming are becoming increasingly multicultural and diverse. Thechallenge for practitioners in the increasingly multicultural context is not just a matter ofovercoming language barriers, but also of understanding the cultural nuances that can impact onthe execution of public relations strategies. Macdonald (1991:43) points out that, whenoperating across different time zones, often in different languages, timing and wording are evenmore important than when working in a single market. According to Mersham et al. (1995:182),practitioners in the global environment have to negotiate a multiplicity of languages, customs178and values, in order to create mutual understanding.The above implies a need for focus on cultural diversity in public relations. According to Banks(1995:32), who argues in favour of a multicultural perspective in public relations, people areaggregated into target groups on the basis of their perspectives on an issue. In this sense, allrelevant publics are cultural groups, and public relations communication efforts can be viewed asattempts at intercultural communication. Banks (1995:21) defines multicultural public relationsas >the management of formal communication between organisations and their relevant publics tocreate and maintain communities of interest and action that favour the organisation, taking fullaccount of the normal human variation in the systems of meaning by which groups understandand enact their everyday lives=.3.8.2.9 EducationAs the public relations profession is redefining itself in the global context, new competencies arecalled for. The literature consulted emphasises a need for knowledge of global forces, broadbasedmultidisciplinary education, multiculturalism and skills pertaining to the new media.Mersham et al. (1995:182) point out that business and government will increasingly requirepractitioners who have a substantial knowledge of international aspects of the social sciences,humanities, business law and cross-cultural communication.The Commission on Public Relations Education of the PRSA spent two years working onrecommendations for a new public relations curriculum. In its final report in 1999 itrecommended, among others, knowledge of multicultural and global issues (Geimann, 2001).With regard to multiculturalism, Capozzi (2001:16) suggests that learning the geographies,cultures and practices indigenous to different locales is a necessity in managing the increasinglyglobal practice of public relations. As the average young practitioner=s public relationsexperience is not likely to be of a global nature, Capozzi recommends that consultancies withinternational exposure provide opportunities for internships for young practitioners.Wakefield (2000:36) suggests that, in the new global context, public relations practitioners179should be skilled not only in communication, but also in global economics and politics,mediation and cultural anthropology.Grupp (2000:34) argues that the task of managing and protecting the online image of anorganisation belongs to public relations and not to information technology staff, lawyers or thesales and marketing department. This implies that public relations staff should be trained ecommunicators.Fogelman-Beyer (2001:28) suggests that public relations staff keep up withtechnological changes, and possess the latest knowledge, skills and ideas in this area, includingknowledge of software products - e.g. Vocus Public Relations - which can be used to build andmanage campaigns. Practitioners need the necessary technical competencies to facilitate mediacoverage via the Internet. They need to know how to compile e-mail media releases,accompanied by graphics, file attachments and links to websites, and how to establish an onlinemedia room complete with current media releases, fact sheets, contact information andcontinuous updates (Schenkein, 2001:31). Lissauer (2000:28) points out that practitioners needto know how to provide information in the format required by an online newsroom. Forexample, they need to know the difference between .jpeg, .gif, .eps and .tif files. They also needto know how to deliver their information in downloadable and multimedia form, includingstreaming video and audio, corporate logos and graphics, PowerPoint slide presentations,financial spreadsheets and photography (Lissauer, 2000:26-28). Mersham and Skinner(2001b:210) also suggest that practitioners possess knowledge of multimedia design. Seitel(2001:259-260), in turn, suggests knowledge of writing for the Internet, as this calls for a stylethat is different from writing for other media.Practitioners also need to be aware of their additional responsibilities with regard to Internetcommunication. Ha and Pratt (2000:30,32-33) point out that practitioners neglect to regularlyupdate websites, neglect to mention when the information was last updated, neglect the issue ofprivacy of visitors and fail to include interactive devices and some form of survey and feedbacksection on their company websites.As far as media relations across borders are concerned, a number of authors suggest, as a startingpoint, knowledge of a number of major media with a global reach. Black (2000:111) points outthat, while it is more difficult to draw up a media list when working across borders, knowledge180of international newspapers such as the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and InternationalHerald Tribune could be a starting point. Barnett (2001:30) adds the websites of global mediasuch as CNN.com, BusinessWeek.com, Newsbytes, etc. In South Africa, knowledge of onlinenews services such as News24.com, Channelafrica.org, News by Industry, 365Press.com, thenews sections of search engines such as Ananzi and Internet websites of national media such asthe Financial Times, Daily Mail & Guardian, FutureCompany and Summit, can also be helpful.Of particular importance is the South African branch of PR Newswire, a worldwidecommunication support service to public relations and industrial relations professionals. Thiswebsite specialises in the electronic delivery of breaking news releases and information directlyfrom consultancies, companies and institutions through satellite feed, fax and Internet networks(PR Newswire, 2002). SAPressRelease.com offers a similar service for regional coverage, withtracking provided to more than 1000 African newsrooms (Anon., 2002c).3.8.2.10 Counteracting online sabotage in pubic relationsGrady and Gimple (1998:24) argue that online sabotage, as discussed in Section 3.6.1.2, shouldbe of great concern to public relations staff. They point out that, since the new media lower thepoint of entry into mass publishing, virtually anyone can publish anti-company sentiments on aglobal platform via the Internet.Horton (2001:58) suggests that the best way to begin to handle activist charges, is to ascertainwhether they are true, as crisis management begins with facts. In this regard, practitioners needto establish a monitoring programme that tracks online activists . Global organisations shouldmaintain a database of criticisms that can be analysed to see how issues are advancing orretreating. One way to find the sources of criticism and to learn the extent of negative opinion, isthrough content analysis. If charges have a factual base, the organisation can make changes toresolve the issue. If charges are not true, it is best to track activists= progress without necessarilygetting involved with them. However, if rumours become serious and begin to affect theorganisation, the organisation needs to act (Horton, 2001:58-60).Grady and Gimple (1998:24-27) offer a number of methods to act on online sabotage.Organisations can firstly purchase the rights to web addresses that might otherwise become anti181sites; add megatags to their websites to push anti-sites out of view on search engines; have theirwebsites included in a search engine channel; and use media relations strategies to the onlineworld. Public relations staff can also communicate with the owner of an anti-site in an effort toidentify complaints and to try to solve them. A last option is to consider legal action.3.9 THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE FOR THE STUDYAs stated in Chapter 1, the theoretical approach selected for this study is a combination of thesystems and network approaches, and chaos theory. Systems and networks are approached fromthe perspective of complex, dynamic systems and its related paradigm of chaos theory. Inaddition to this, it was stated in Chapters 1 and 2 that the global mindset is adopted for this study.Daniels et al. (2000c:215) describe a global mindset as follows:* to be open to new experiences and change over time* to be willing to learn new skills in order to exploit a global presence* to operate on the premise that cultures can be different without being better or worse thanone another* to dedicate itself to become informed about different value systems, norms of behaviourand assumptions regarding reality* to accept diversity and heterogeneity as natural and as a source of opportunities and astrength rather than a necessary evil.The following discussion of a theoretical perspective for this study, as well as the developmentof a generic model for vocationally-oriented public relations education in the next chapter, arecompleted with the above principles in mind.3.9.1 The systems approachSeveral theorists of public relations link the latter to systems theory. Examples include Cutlip etal. (2000:228-245); Marlow & O=Connor Wilson (1997:7); Windahl et al. (1992:83-94);Fauconnier (1985:120-122); and Grunig and Hunt (1984:8-11,92-111).182Systems reasoning is also found in most definitions of public relations (Windahl et al., 1992:89).Systems thinking is also implied by Grunig and Hunt=s two-way asymmetric and symmetricmodels, and Hutton=s proposed paradigm for public relations, discussed earlier in this chapter.According to Littlejohn (1999:40), the roots of systems thinking began at least as far back as the19th century with the theory of Georg Hegel, who explained historical development in terms ofthe dynamic process of dialectical tension between opposites.A major contribution to the study of systems was made by the work of an American mathematicsprofessor, Norbert Wiener, on cybernetics (O=Connor & McDermott, 1997:236). Wiener(1954:15) introduced the term >cybernetics= in the late 1940s to embrace the wider field of theoryof messages, including the study of messages as a means of controlling machinery and society.Cybernetics focuses on how a system functions - regardless of whether the system is living,mechanical or social - and how the system controls itself by means of feedback. Wienerproposed that the same general principles that control the thermostat may also be seen ineconomic systems, market regulation and political decision-making systems (O=Connor &McDermott, 1997:236).The Austrian-American biologist, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, is generally regarded as the founderof general systems theory (Littlejohn, 1999:41; Neher, 1997:28; Fauconnier, 1985:100). VonBertalanffy (1969:3-248) applied systems theory to a wide variety of systems - natural and socialones - and disciplines. The basic idea of general systems theory as developed by VonBertalanffy, is that the whole equals more than the sum of its parts (Windahl et al., 1992:83).Von Bertalanffy (1969:37-38) defined a system as >a set of elements standing in interaction=, andproposed general systems theory as a general science of wholeness. He drew a distinctionbetween closed and open systems, defining the former as a system which is isolated from itsenvironment and the latter as a system which maintains itself in a continuous inflow from, andoutflow to, the environment (Von Bertalanffy, 1969:39).According to Von Bertalanffy (1969:91), general systems theory tries to derive, from a general183definition of >system= as a complex of interacting components, concepts characteristic oforganised wholes such as interaction, sum, mechanisation, centralisation, competition, finality,etc., and to apply them to concrete phenomena.According to Littlejohn (1992:53), general systems theory is not a singular theory, but should beseen as a broad, multidisciplinary approach to knowledge, based on systems concepts and aimingto integrate accumulated knowledge into a clear universal framework. Biological, psychologicaland socio-cultural systems follow an open model (Littlejohn, 1999:41,44). General systemstheory deals with systems primarily from this open perspective (Littlejohn, 1992:41).Present-day scholars of communication science, such as Barker, et al. (2001:24), Neher(1997:108-109) and Fauconnier (1985:100-101), assign the following characteristics to opensystems, based on the earlier work of Von Bertalanffy (1969:39-40,46,55,66,160-161,208-209,211-215):* Boundaries. Systems are defined by, and set off from, their environments by boundaries,so that one can differentiate the system from its environment.* Wholeness. In a system, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and has its owncharacteristics. Thus, systems theory is holistic.* Interdependence. The parts are dependent upon one another, and affect individualelements and the system as a whole.* Hierarchy. Systems and subsystems are connected at hierarchical levels.* Self-regulation. Systems are goal-seeking entities, and maintain their equilibrium bymeans of feedback.* Adaptability. Self-regulation implies the possibility of changing and adapting toenvironmental changes.* Input, output and throughput. A system=s survival depends upon importing inputs into thesystem, performing some operation on these inputs internally (throughput) and thenreturning some output to the environment.* Specialisation and coordination. The subsystems of a larger system perform differentfunctions, and need to be sufficiently differentiated and coordinated.* Sequences of events and life cycles. Systems go through stages, both as single systems184and as populations of similar organisations. Each individual system repeats a regularcycle of events involving input-throughput-output.* Equifinality. Systems have the capacity to achieve the desired result in various ways.A system may be composed of many smaller subsystems, or form part of a larger system(O=Connor & McDermott, 1997:5). Each of the subsystems is made up of constituent parts, or itsown subsystems. The various subsystems do not exist in isolation, but in continuous relationshipand interaction with other subsystems (Neher, 1997:106). Checkland (2000:A23) proposes thatsystems thinking covers at least three levels: those of system, subsystem and wider system.Cutlip et al. (2000:232) refer to the latter as a suprasystem. When dealing with a hierarchy ofsystems, individuals may make different judgments about which level to take as that of >thesystem=. The concepts >system=, >subsystem= and >wider system= or >suprasystem= are thus relativeterms, and dependent on the choice of the observer (Checkland, 2000:A24).According to Littlejohn (1999:56), systems theory has been a popular and influential tradition incommunication. This is probably because communication and communication processes easilylend themselves to a systems approach (Fauconnier, 1985:112). In fact, Jansen and Steinberg(1991:41) suggest that general systems theory offers the most complete description ofcommunication from a process point of view. Furthermore, the focus on interaction as thelifeblood of a system, is compatible with the view of organisations held by communicationscientists. Consequently, general systems theory was particularly welcomed in the field oforganisational communication, and has remained the dominant viewpoint in this field (Mersham& Skinner, 2001a:25).3.9.1.1 Benefits of systems theoryOne of the main benefits of systems thinking is that it provides a means to cope with verycomplex processes (Checkland, 2000:A24). As the world is becoming increasinglyinterconnected, it is also becoming increasingly complex. According to O=Connor andMcDermott (1997:(xiv-xvi)), systems thinking enables individuals to gain influence over theirlives by seeing patterns that drive events. It is a way in which some rules can be discerned, andprovides some measure of control, as it enables individuals to predict events and prepare for185them. In organisations, systems thinking assists with teams and teambuilding, as teams act assystems.The issue of complexity is of particular importance to this study, with its emphasis onglobalisation. To extend an education programme=s applicability to the global society, is to addenormous complexity.Systems theory also allows for holistic thinking. According to Checkland (2000:A3), systemsthinking in its various forms could be taken to be the very paradigm of thinking holistically.This makes systems thinking particularly suitable for this study, which is based on a holistic,global mindset (see Section 2.9).3.9.1.2 Criticism of systems theoryAs with many other theoretical approaches, there are various points of criticism of systemstheory. Littlejohn (1999:58) points out that some critics question whether the systems approachis a theory at all, claiming that it has no explanatory power. He also refers to critics questioningthe ability of systems theory to generate research. Littlejohn (1999:58-59) attributes thesecriticisms to the extreme generality of the systems approach, and suggests that actual systemstheories of communication should be evaluated on their own merit: >The many theories ofcommunication that make use of systems principles are specific, and help us understand concreteexperiences.=The criticisms mentioned above are not seen as a problem in the context of this study, as thelatter involves specific systems models (see Sections 4.4 and 4.8).According to Vorster (1985:49), the single most important disadvantage of the systems approachis its inability to make accurate and quantifiable predictions about the future of systems. As thisstudy is based on the assumption of an unpredictable environment caused by forces ofglobalisation, this point of criticism is not regarded as a problem for this study, as the latter aimsto provide a method of dealing with the said unpredictability, rather than to make predictionsabout its future.186Another point of criticism concerns the detached view offered by systems theory. According toJansen and Steinberg (1991:43), systems theory offers no insight into the peculiar characteristicsof a particular system, but concerns itself only with the maintenance of the status quo of systems,regardless of the human consequences that their operation may have. Neher (1997:115) adds thatan organisation=s overall goal is usually seen as being maintenance of homeostasis or stability.The organisation=s communication is therefore concerned with regulating information inputs andoutputs, and the flow of information through the subsystems. Organisations may thus be seen asrelatively passive processors of external information. Furthermore, Mersham et al. (1995:48)suggest that the systems approach lacks a human perspective, and ignores the complicatedprocess of exchange of meaning in human communication. Human beings are seen as machines,components or robots acting within a mechanistic system in the >interest of society=.Bormann (1980:254), however, points out that systems studies in communication focus oncollectives, rather than images of human beings. As this study involves a number of largeorganisations and extends beyond national borders, the points of criticism of Steinberg andJansen, Neher and Mersham et al. are also not seen as applicable to this study.While cognisance is taken of the limitations of systems theory, it is nevertheless accepted that thecomplex nature of this study necessitates a broad framework, such as that provided by thesystems perspective, to link the great number of variables involved. Furthermore, in order tobroaden the application of this perspective, systems theory is extended, for the purpose of thestudy, to also cover complex, dynamic systems and chaos theory.3.9.1.3 The systems approach applied to organisationsKatz and Kahn published a book in the 1960s, attempting to extend the description andexplanation of organisational processes by shifting away from earlier emphasis on traditionalconcepts of individual psychology and interpersonal relations, to systems constructs. The workof Katz and Kahn was directed at the utilisation of an open systems point of view for the study oforganisations (Katz & Kahn, 1966:(vii)). They provided a model of an organisation as anenergetic input-output system, taken from the open systems theory as promulgated by Von187Bertalanffy (Katz & Kahn, 1966:18).Katz and Kahn (1966:13,28) advanced the idea that a social organisation could be regarded as anopen system dependent on its environment. According to this viewpoint, organisations share thecharacteristics of other open systems, such as importation of energy from the environment, thethroughput or transformation of the imported energy into some product form which ischaracteristic of the system and the reenergising of the system from sources in the environment.Social organisations also share the characteristics of negative entropy, feedback, homeostasis,differentiation and equifinality, as advanced by Von Bertalanffy.In the 1970s, systems theory gained popularity in describing organisations as living, functioningsystems. Systems theory has become especially popular among scholars and theorists oforganisational communication (Neher, 1997:61,112).According to Mersham and Skinner (2001a:29), the systems approach combines the bestelements of the scientific and behavioral approaches to organisations. It viewing anorganisation as an open system, the systems approach portrays it as open to new information,responsive to the environment, dynamic and ever-changing. The systems approach alsoacknowledges the potential that new information technology and new communication mediahave in removing boundaries and allowing subsystems to interact better with each other. Interms of this approach, communication keeps the system vital and alive, relates the various partsto each other and brings in new ideas (Mersham & Skinner, 2001a:29).Organisations engage in constant input, throughput and output to attain goals. Inputs originateoutside the organisation and enter the organisation through openings in the boundary.Throughputs are the activities performed by organisational members - the passage of materials,energy and information from point to point within the organisation, to its exit. Control processesare established to govern and regulate throughput activity. Output activities describe the returnto the environment of the materials, energy and information that have been processed (Eisenberg& Goodall, 1997:105).Organisations, like biological organisms, are subject to environmental pressures to change,188adapt, mutate or die off (Neher, 1997:106). Organisations rely on information and feedback inorder to monitor themselves and adapt to environmental pressures. Turbulent informationenvironments are associated with increased information load, and organisations in suchenvironments need to give special attention to subsystems for dealing with communication load.These subsystems should consist of structures and channels capable of handling anddisseminating environmental information throughout the entire system (Neher, 1997:112).One of the contributions of Katz and Kahn - mentioned at the beginning of this section - toorganisational theory, is the identification of the following types of generic subsystems as typicalof most organisations (Katz & Kahn, 1966:39-47):* Production or technical subsystems. These are concerned with the throughput (energeticor informational transformation), i.e. the work that gets done.* Supportive subsystems. These are concerned with maintaining a favourable environmentfor the operation of the system.* Maintenance subsystems. These are aimed at maintaining good internal relations andtying people into the system as functioning parts.* Adaptive subsystems. These are concerned with organisational change, in order to adaptto changes in the environment.* Managerial subsystems. These comprise the organised activities for controlling,coordinating and directing the many subsystems of the structure.Of particular importance to this study are the supportive and adaptive subsystems, as thesehighlight the importance of interaction with the environment, while the maintenance subsystemdoes the same for the internal systemic relationships of an organisation (Neher, 1997:110).3.9.1.4 The systems approach applied to public relationsAs the unit of analysis in systems terms is a relationship (Windahl et al., 1992:85) and publicrelations by definition implies the existence of relationships, it follows logically that systemstheory could be useful for studying public relations.189Angelopulo (1994:40-41) suggests that, as an open system, an active outward orientation of anorganisation is best attained with the intervention of a facilitating agent. This facilitation is mostappropriately the function of public relations.Public relations can be regarded as one of the subsystems that make up an organisation. Publicrelations is one of several areas of planned communication with a bias towards continuous,strategic and institutionalised communication (Windahl et al., 1992:87).According to Fauconnier (1985:120-121), the public relations function of an organisation couldbe described as a policy and a totality of techniques, developed by a specific system with a viewto its continual self-regulation, by which it systematically controls, maintains or improves itsrelations with the environment and with its subsystems.As implied by the public relations definitions discussed earlier, public relations strives towardsmutually beneficial environmental and internal relationships. The systems approach in publicrelations entails proactive and reactive involvement with an organisation and its publics. Theaccumulation and distribution of information is crucial is this regard (Angelopulo, 1994:48).Relying on input from the environment and subsystems within the organisation, the practitionerplans public relations activities to maintain, strengthen or change existing knowledge, attitudes,etc. held by publics with regard to the organisation (Mersham et al., 1995:47). The value ofpublic relations in the process of strategy development in organisations is that it is a source ofintelligence regarding the social environment. This intelligence needs to be fed into the groupsor individuals responsible for strategy development (White & Mazur, 1995:25). From a systemspoint of view, public relations therefore has the role of adaptation, based on feedback and actiontaken (Angelopulo, 1994:48).Boundary spanners, individuals who maintain communication links across systems andsubsystem boundaries (Neher, 1997:114), are particularly important from a systems perspective.This boundary spanning function is assigned to public relations (Leonard and Ströh, 2000b:41).Cutlip et al. (2000:231-233) describe different ways in which levels of systems can identified inpublic relations. Firstly, an organisation and its publics can be viewed as a system. In this view190the organisation and its various publics constitute the different entities making up the system.The task of the public relations practitioner is to maintain mutually beneficial relationshipsbetween these entities. An organisation-publics system can, however, be viewed as part of alarger social system, such as the national system or even the world. Viewed in this manner, theorganisation and its publics form a subsystem within a suprasystem.3.9.2 The network approachA network consists of a system of links among components such as individuals, work groups ororganisations (Miller, 1999:84). Network theory is based on individual interactions amongnetwork members, which build up into a macrostructure (Littlejohn, 1999:324). A networkanalysis studies the maps of relationships and communication flow among network components(Miller, 1999:83-84).The network approach is related to the systems approach in that systems consist of networks.Network analysis provides a means to study the interconnections among system components, andthe arrangement of those components into systems and suprasystems (Miller, 1999:83).According to Neher (1997:114), network analysis has become a primary method ofcommunication study in the systems theory approach. Eisenberg and Goodall (1997:295)attribute the current focus on communication networks in organisations to a general acceptanceof systems theories, which emphasise the connections between people, and the relationships thatconstitute an organisation. A communication network is a structure that is built on the basis ofcommunication relationships (Monge, 1989:241). These networks are the patterns of contactbetween communication partners, which are created by transmitting and exchanging messagesthrough time and space (Monge & Contractor, 2001:440). Typical communication relations are>shares information with=, >talks to=, >receives reports from= and >discusses new ideas with=(Monge, 1989:243).Networks exist within systems, but also cross organisational boundaries in the case of opensystems (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:299). The latter type of networks are known asinterorganisational networks. Interorganisational networks demonstrate that an organisation cannever operate in isolation, but is always part of an environment that affects its operation and191culture (Littlejohn, 1999:306). Interorganisational networks are essential sites of dialogue andcooperation with other systems. Organisations can participate in interorganisational networks bymeans of strategic alliances and joint ventures (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:299-301).In recent years, the focus on networks has broadened from connections among people withinorganisations, to connections among people in the global society. Communication networkshave also been transformed by the Internet and network marketing (Eisenberg & Goodall,1997:301-302). According to Mersham and Skinner (2001b:155), the Digital Age and NewEconomy are characterised by the coming together of the technical computer network and humannetworking, which means that the goals of business, information and communicationtechnologies are converging. An extremely complex social and communication infrastructure isresulting from the rise of new communication technology and virtual communities (Van Dijk,1999:24). This is what was referred to in the previous chapter as the Network Society.Networks have certain advantages, some of which include the facilitation of communication; thesharing of new ideas and information; facilitation of cooperation and collective action; and theability to act as change agent (Windahl et al., 1992:79; Monge, 1989:243).Network analysis provides a holistic explanation of how a network is structured (Windahl et al.,1992:76). Windahl et al. (1992:76) suggest that the following properties of networks should betaken into account when studying and planning networks:* Connectedness. This is a measure of the extent to which the members of a network arelinked to the network. A highly connected network offers greater potential than a looselyconnected one for disseminating information to members.* Integration. This is a measure of the degree to which members of a network are linked toeach other. Higher integration indicates more potential communication channels.* Diversity. Greater diversity indicates that ideas may enter the system relatively easilythrough weak ties (Granovetter, quoted by Windahl et al., 1992:76).* Openness. This indicates how well a certain group, system or network communicateswith its environment. A close group will be harder to reach from the outside.192According to Littlejohn (1999:305), centrality is one of the most frequently studied aspects ofnetworks. Centrality refers to the overall closeness or reachability of networks. A networkmember who has a number of contacts has high centrality, whereas a network in which theaverage number of contacts is high, has network centrality. Density is the ratio of actual topotential contacts (Monge, 1989:244).Centrality or density can be studied by focusing on the roles that individuals play in networks. Acommunication role in a network is determined by a member=s influence on information flow(Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:297). The following types of roles are said to typically exist innetworks (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:297-298; Windahl et al., 1992:77; Monge, 1989:242):* Isolate roles. These are held by individuals to whom few are linked.* Group member roles. These members communicate mainly within an informal clique.* Bridge roles. These members have significant communication contact with at least onemember of another formal group.* Liaison roles. These are held by individuals who link together clusters in the network.* Star roles. These are held by individuals who are linked to a large number of otherindividuals.* Non-participant roles. These are held by individuals who simply perform their task withina network, without communicating with the rest of the network.The interdependent and interactive nature of all parts of a system suggests a rule for influencingsystems, in that the more connections a person or group has, the more possible influence willresult (O=Connor and McDermott, 1997:15). Networking thus brings influence. O=Connor andMcDermott (1997:15) suggest that successful managers spend four times as much timenetworking as do their less successful colleagues. Furthermore, is has been found that peoplewho are frequently involved in joint activities are likely to be well connected in networks.Denser networks increase members= likeliness to accept new ideas and to adapt to change(Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:297). Weak links thus decrease access to new information.Understanding network roles, together with the structural aspects of networks, allows forprediction of the extent to which information will move within a network. Network >stars= could193be used in communication campaigns to spread information through a network (Windahl et al.,1997:77).With regard to the global Network Society, Van Dijk (1999:26-27) advances an interdisciplinaryanalytical framework to study this system. He proposes that the Network Society be studied interms of the following aspects. These could be regarded as subsystems which constitute theNetwork Society:* technology* economy* politics and power* law* social structure* culture* psychology3.9.2.1 The use of networks in public relationsMarlow and O=Connor Wilson (1997:124) argue that networking communication competencieswill be the most highly valued skills in the organisation of the future. These competencies are aprerequisite for designing and sustaining the network organisation of the future.According to Stevens (1998:18), individual public relations firms are increasingly using thenetwork approach to share information, expertise and resources with one another. In similarfashion, international and domestic nonprofit organisations have discovered that using publicrelations networks can be highly effective in communicating non-commercial messages. Stevens(1998:19) predicts that global professional alliances in general, and public relations networks inparticular, will be a growing influence in the 21st century, and that the public relations sector canbenefit from information-sharing with global networks in other professions.Mersham et al. (1995:140) suggest that public relations practitioners make use of networks, bydiscovering or initiating them to provide feedback to management. Identifying and developing194networks of influentials is also an essential starting point in community relations.Some existing regional and global networks in public relations have already been covered inSections 3.7 and 3.8.1.3.3.9.3 Complex, dynamic systemsAccording to Eisenberg and Goodall (1997:100), the concept of dynamic systems was born withthe advent of relativity and the initiation of analogies between organic systems and humansocieties.According to Baldwin Leveque and Poole (1999:79,81), complex, dynamic systems relate to thedevelopment of higher order systems theories. The latter incorporate complex, dynamic andemergent properties in older, more static systems research, and allow for a new awareness whichthey term systems thinking. Baldwin Leveque and Poole (1999:97) note that the foundations ofsystems thinking - dynamism, complexity and emergence - counter the shortcomings offunctionalism, an older systems perspective, which emphasised equilibrium, and did not have theability to model conflict and disruption in a social system. They argue that newer systemsapproaches are highly flexible, and not only suggest the interaction of multiple forms of analysis,but actually require it.Laszlo (1987:9,20) terms the new paradigm of complex, dynamic systems the >evolutionaryparadigm=, pointing out that it is the acceptance of the divergence property of dynamic systemswhich challenges the concept of equilibrium and determinancy of older systems theory. Theevolutionary paradigm provides a framework for studying the evolvement of both natural andsocio-cultural systems. Laszlo (1987:20) notes that the science of complex, dynamic systemsshows that evolution occurs when a system is in the third state. Systems in the first state are inequilibrium and dynamically inert. Those in the second state are near equilibrium. Thesesystems are not inert, but tend to move towards equilibrium as soon as the constraints that keepthem in non-equilibrium are removed. Systems in the third state are nonlinear, occasionallyindeterminate and far from equilibrium. Such a system enters a transitory phase characterised byrandomness and some degree of chaos. The system in now in a phase of bifurcation, which195means that the smallest variation in an initial condition can give rise to widely differingoutcomes. This chaotic state is not entirely random, but is governed by chaotic attractors.Chaotic attractors are complex and subtly ordered structures that constrain the behaviour of theseemingly random and unpredictable system. The chaotic phase comes to an end when thesystem settles into a new dynamic regime (Laszlo, 1987:21,35,41-43).According to Baldwin Leveque and Poole (1999:85), the paradigm of complex, dynamic systemsimplies a concern with the role of social dynamics in theory building, and encourages theconstruction of an explanation of a phenomenon, rather than simply a description. It promptsquestions critical to systems analysis, relating to growth, decline, transition, modification andtransformation over time. It also acknowledges the need to build complexity into models oforganisation. To summarise the different ways in which complexity may be expressed, systemsor theories that are considered more complex tend to (Baldwin Leveque & Poole, 1999:88):* contain more elements* have elements that are more densely interconnected* incorporate changes over time* assume complex time-shape relationships between elements in the system* relate system elements using higher order functional forms* suggest recursive relationships between system elements.According to Laszlo (1987:41), the chaotic behaviour discovered in natural systems in the thirdstate, has resulted in an entire discipline within complex, dynamic systems theory. Thisdiscipline is devoted to the study of the properties of chaotic attractors and of the systemsgoverned by them. It became popularly known as chaos theory. This theory is discussed next.3.9.4 Chaos theoryDespite its name, chaos theory seeks to eliminate, rather than discover or create, chaos. It studiesthe processes that appear chaotic on the surface, but on detailed analysis prove to manifest subtlestrands of order (Laszlo, 1987:41).196According to Goertzel (1994:4-6), chaos theory picks up where the general systems theory of the1940s and 1950s left off. Chaos theory studies the irregular and unpredictable time evolution ofnonlinear systems (Baker & Gollub, 1996:1). It represents a paradigm shift, in teaching thatforces of disorder, nonlinearity, unpredictability and instability are controlling the universe(Elliott & Kiel, 1998:1-2).Although chaos theory originated in the fields of meteorology (Yuhas Byers, 1997:30),chemistry (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:102) and thermodynamics (Çambel, 1993:136-139), it isalso applied to the humanities in fields such as psychology, linguistics (Goertzel, 1994:43-87),politics, economics (Elliott & Kiel, 1998:3) and organisational management (Wheatley,1994:121-137). In the context of this thesis, chaos theory is especially useful as a new means tounderstand the state of the contemporary work environment, where predictability and stabilityare becoming a thing of the past (Yuhas Byers, 1997:29-30). In addition, it provides anunderstanding of the increased complexity and turmoil in the global society, brought about by theforces of globalisation.Chaos theory studies how order emerges from the interaction of parts of a whole (Yuhas Byers,1997:30). It focuses on the capacity of a system to respond to disorder or non-equilibrium withrenewed life (Wheatley, 1994:11). Chaos is the final state in a system=s movement away fromthe familiar state and often predictable environment (De Wet, 2001:70), and can be described asthe times, in an organisation, when people are confused and feel overwhelmed (Rensburg andStröh, 1998:56).As pointed out by Laszlo (1987:41), chaos theory is central to the perspective of complex,dynamic systems, in that a dynamic system lends itself to periods of chaos when entering thethird state. Goertzel (1994:3), a mathematician, however, warns against interpreting >chaos= as asynonym for >complex system science=, explaining the distinction as follows: >Chaos theory hasto do with determinism underlying apparent randomness. Complex systems science is morebroadly concerned with the emergent, synergetic behaviours of systems composed of a largenumber of interacting parts.=According to Wheatley (1994:18), chaos theory teaches that the world is inherently orderly and197that fluctuation and change are part of the very process by which order is created. Chaos theoryteaches that disorder can be a source of order, and that growth is found in disequilibrium ratherthan in balance. It shows that, when looking at a system from the perspective of time, it alwaysdemonstrates its inherent orderliness. Chaos theory, therefore, moves away from linear thinking,in viewing chaos and order, or change and stability, as two complementary aspects in the processof growth (Wheatley, 1994:20-21).Self-renewal and self-organising abilities of systems are therefore important concepts of chaostheory (Ströh, 1998:23). Self-renewing systems use their energy to recreate themselves, and tochange to new forms to deal with new information (Ströh, 1998:24). Thompson (1997:241, 247)suggests that organisations do this by making creative use of their environments.Weick introduced the idea in the 1970s that evolving organisations move through cycles ofenactment, selection and retention, to adapt to their environment. Weick=s model capitalises onthe resemblance between organising processes and the process of natural selection in speciesevolution (Weick, 1979:130). Enactment is to organising, as variation is to natural selection. Itrefers to the act of isolating and studying changes in the environment. Selection means choosinginterpretations in an effort to make sense of a confusing environment. Retention is the process ofstoring the products of successful sensemaking (referred to as >enacted environments=) to imposeon future environments (Weick, 1979:130-132,147,213). According to Weick (1995:86-88),organisational sensemaking is of particular importance in environments characterised byinformation overload, complexity and turbulence.According to Thompson (1997:241-242), the processes of enactment, selection and retention arewhat enables organisations to make creative use of their environments. According to Eisenbergand Goodall (1997:116), the concept enacted environment is especially important in thecontemporary business world, in which environmental scanning is crucial to an organisation=ssurvival. Enactment allows members of human organisations to reduce uncertainties in complexand unpredictable environments, in order to achieve self-renewal. Unlike theories of speciesevolution, in which degrees of environmental variation are determined objectively, inorganisational environments people look for clues to threats or opportunities. Organisationalsuccess therefore requires an ongoing examination of current issues (Eisenberg and Goodall,1981997:115-116).Ongoing self-renewal, based on environmental scanning, enables an organisation to becomes alearning organisation, which is discussed next.3.9.5 Learning organisationsThe concept >learning organisation= refers to the ability to learn and adapt (Eisenberg & Goodall,1997:10). According to Jordaan (1998:35), learning organisations are characterised by thecapability to sense change, to learn lessons from past failures and successes, and to utilise theselessons learned to respond creatively to increasingly turbulent and uncertain environments.Authors such as Senge et al. (1994:7) and Eisenberg and Goodall (1997:114), regard systemsthinking as a prerequisite for a learning organisation to develop. Systems thinking impliesholism and interdependence, and holds that for any one member to succeed, all members mustsucceed (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:114). Systems thinking leads to a new understanding oforganisational change as a participative process at all levels, rather than a top-down or bottom-upprocess. When systems thinking is employed, the structure of an organisation is not seen simplyas the organisational chart, but as the pattern of interrelationships among key components of thesystem, including the hierarchy and process flows, attitudes and perceptions, the way in whichdecisions are made, the quality of products, etc. Systems thinking allows organisations to seehow to change systems more effectively, and to act more in tune with the larger processes of thenatural and economic world (Senge et al., 1994:6-7,89-90).Learning organisations are akin to the complex, adaptive systems advanced by chaos theorists.Stacey (1996:284) describes a complex, adaptive system as applied to human organisations as anumber of agents interacting with one another according to rules of behaviour that require themto inspect one another=s behaviour and adjust their own in the light of the behaviour of others. Inother words, complex adaptive systems learn to evolve, and they usually interact with othercomplex adaptive systems. They survive because they learn or evolve in an adaptive way: theycompute information in order to extract regularities, building them into rules of behaviour thatare continually changed in the light of experience (Stacey,1996:284).199From a chaos theory point of view, organisations need to function as complex, adaptive systemsto create order out of a rapidly changing environment, and to cope with perpetual uncertainty(Yuhas Beyers, 1997:31). This means that they need to be capable of responding with flexibilityto external and internal change, rather than struggling against the environment because they seeit as a source of disruption and change, and focusing efforts on maintaining defensive structures(Wheatley, 1994:90-91). In this regard, learning organisations are more adaptive and generativethan traditional organisations. They seek deeper understanding, rather than quick-fix solutions.They possess a commitment to openness, and an ability to deal with complexity. As complex,adaptive systems, learning organisations are also prepared to face the anxiety associated with theunknown and unfamiliar (Yuhas Beyers, 1997:32).According to Eisenberg and Goodall (1997:114), learning organisations practise the followingdisciplines - in addition to systems thinking:* Personal mastery. Members share a personal commitment to learning and self-reflection.* Mental models. Because learning is a form of self-renewal, it must begin with selfreflection,particularly on the paradigms that shape and limit an individual=sinterpretations and actions.* A shared vision and the abolishment of tight hierarchical control. Members act in concertbecause they share a common organisational vision, and understand how their own workcontributes to that vision.* Team learning. Team members communicate in ways that lead the team towardintelligent decisions, with an emphasis on dialogue.3.9.6 Complex, dynamic systems, networks, chaos theory and learning organisationsapplied to globalisation and public relationsSystems theory provides a holistic perspective of the global society. The perspective ofcomplex, dynamic systems is particularly suitable to deal with the complexity of the world as amacro-human society. Viewed in terms of systems theory, the global society can be regarded asa macrosystem, consisting of a vast number of subsystems comprising different countries, the200global political order, global economic order, the global media system, etc. From a systemsperspective, the global society can be viewed as a integral whole, whose components are linked,and influence one another. The emphasis is on the interconnectedness of the diverse subsystemsin the world, which explains why an event on one side of the globe can have consequences forthose who live on the opposite side. Global communication can be regarded as the glue thatkeeps subsystems connected, and allows for feedback, which enables the system to change, adaptand regulate itself. Viewing the global society from a systems perspective also allows for thestudy of relationships and networks between the different subsystems, and the impact of theserelationships and networks on the world community.The paradigm of complex, dynamic systems allows for focus on the divergent nature of the worldas a globalising entity. Chaos theory, in turn, can be used to explain why chaos occurs in theglobal system. Laszlo (1987:92) regards technology as major cause of societal change, leadingto turbulence and growth. History shows that all major technological revolutions createdinstability, pushing society to new levels of organisation (Laszlo, 1987:93-101). In this regard,globalising forces and the Communication Revolution could be regarded as factors subjecting thecontemporary global community to destabilisation, pushing it in a new direction. As a result ofthe disintegrating forces of globalisation, together with the backlash of economic globalisation,the global society at times seems unstable and out of control. Ströh (1998:39-40), in fact, termsthe new millennium >the age of chaos and change=.Chaos theory, however, teaches that a system in chaos is a system which is ready to grow.Chaotic systems, in terms of chaos theory, correlate with the notion that dynamic systems have adivergence property which can lead to critically disturbed systems, which drives the evolutionaryprocess (see Section 2.6.6). Therefore, contemporary chaos in the global system should beviewed as a transitory phase, which could move the global community towards a higher orderand consciousness.Chaos theory can also be used to explain what can be done to assist the global system in selforganisationand a return to a state of stability. Human beings have free will. Therefore, unlikenatural systems, the members of a societal system have the capacity to intervene in its evolution,and to consciously influence its outcome. Laszlo (1987:128) states that it is possible to master201the evolutionary process of high-energy technological societies by purposeful action based on asound knowledge of socio-developmental dynamics. With reference to the current era, Laszlo(1987:141) suggests that a more mature and dynamically stable global society could be createdby an atmosphere of mutual trust, and the phasing out of narrow, short-term and self-centredeconomic and political strategies antithetical to long-term cooperation. He argues thatindividuals with communication skills, and in key positions, could make a crucial difference inthis regard, by creating and mobilising a critical mass of people, and exploring suitable channelsof communication with governmental and nongovernmental organisations and with businessenterprises to gain support for humanistic causes (Laszlo, 1987:147-148).It can be deduced from Laszlo=s reasoning, that public relations practitioners, as communicationagents and managers of strategic relationships, have the capacity to intervene in the evolution ofthe global community, and to assist in driving it to more mature and stable state. Chaos theoryprovides a framework to study the specific responsibilities and changing role of public relationsto reach this aim. Some responsibilities which relate to the global system at large, have alreadybeen covered in Section 3.8.2, which outlines public relations= potential role in measures tocounteract the disintegrating forces of globalisation.With regard to organisational responsibilities, the function of public relations during periods ofchaos within the organisation is to act as an integrating force. This is done throughcommunication and the management of relationships within the organisational system.Communication defines an organisation. It is the means through which the subsystems organisethemselves and work together. Communication can therefore be seen as the glue holding thesystem and subsystems together, allowing for units to function in sync with one another (YuhasByers, 1997:28-29). Furthermore, healthy relationships within organisation are necessary for theachievement of goals. Communication thus becomes the basic requirement for a system toreorganise itself, and communication management becomes the strategic tool to manageinteractions (Ströh, 1998:30-31).As boundary spanners and environmental scanners, public relations practitioners also play asignificant role in assisting their organisations to function as learning systems in rapidlychanging environments. Wheatley (1994:91) states that an organisation can respond to change202with flexibility only if it has access to new information, both about external factors and internalresources. It is the task of public relations practitioners to provide their organisation with thisinformation. In the words of Vogl (2001:22), it is the task of public relations to keep topmanagement informed of the full range of groups around the world which can threaten thecorporation=s reputation in environments that are becoming more complex because of greaterinput by the public at large.As environmental scanners, public relations practitioners therefore assist organisations to movethrough the cycles of enactment, selection and retention, as advanced by Weick (1979:130), toachieve organisational sensemaking in turbulent environments. Mersham et al. (1995:47)explain the role of public relations in organisational sensemaking as a response to turbulentsocial, economic and political changes, by directing the organisation=s behaviour towardsattaining balance and symmetry with the global system or attempts to influence and control it.When applied to public relations policy, it means that the organisation has to carefully considerthe stable or unstable behaviour of the environment and that belonging to each of the externaland internal stakeholders. In times of rapid social change, the public relations practitioner=s taskis to convert the information received into a concrete diagnosis which shapes public relationsprogrammes (Mersham et al., 1995:47-48).Marlow and O=Connor Wilson (1997:72) support this view by assigning to communicationmanagers in the current age of chaos and rapidly changing business environments, theresponsibility to help their corporations to adjust to this change by creating understanding, andmaking knowledge more productive. This implies that communication professionals shouldoperate from a holistic understanding of communication dynamics; become networkers andintegrators of information from both inside and outside the organisation; possessmultidisciplinary expertise and insight; support diversity in communication practices; harnessthe power of electronic communication technology; and synergise employee actions towardsprioritised issues and values (Marlow & O=Connor Wilson, 1997:58,62,68,71,87,121).3.9.7. Systems and networks, chaos theory and learning organisations applied to publicrelations education203The open systems approach is particularly suitable, perhaps essential, for a study of publicrelations education, as a course in public relations can never be designed in isolation from theenvironment in which future graduates will be operating. From a systems perspective, a publicrelations education programme, consisting of a public relations course and input from thedepartment in which it is offered, should be seen as a core interdependent subsystem within aframework of larger interdependent systems and suprasystems. The larger systems constitute theapplicable education institute, applicable professional association/s for public relations at localand national levels, the public relations industry of the applicable country, the country at large,the continent in which the applicable country is situated, IPRA, the global public relationsindustry and the world.The multidisciplinary nature of public relations education implies that public relations coursesand departments are systems and networks consisting of interrelated units. However, publicrelations courses and departments also function as subsystems and networks within greatersystems - the educational institutions in which they operate. Each different type of educationalinstitution has its own mission and its own education philosophy.The tertiary institutions relevant to this study are technikons. These institutions have adistinctive mission and distinctive education prescriptions, which are elaborated on in the nextchapter. These prescriptions have to be taken into account when designing and reviewingeducation programmes.Public relations courses and departments also function as subsystems and networks within thepublic relations industry. The quality of the industry is to a large extent determined by the outputof the educational institutions which offer education in public relations. The quality of theeducation of those educational institutions is, in turn, determined by their ability to obtain inputfrom the industry through networking, and to adjust their curricula accordingly. As the interestof the public relations industry is usually looked after by a public relations association,recommendations and input from this association should be taken into account when studyingand planning public relations courses. In South Africa in particular, public relations educationcourses should be designed in collaboration with PRISA.204Public relations courses and departments also function as subsystems and networks within acountry and continent. Public relations education programmes should prepare students for thetotal milieu in which they will be operating - including the political, social, economic and otherpatterns. In the context of complex, dynamic systems they need to be equipped with thenecessary knowledge of socio-developmental dynamics to provide them with the capacity tointervene as communication agents in the evolution of societal systems, as suggested by Laszlo(1987:147-148). In Africa, for example, students need to be equipped for the development needsof their continent. This will prepare them to steer their future organisations towards socialresponsibility and global integration without shutting out unequal partners.In South Africa, tertiary education programmes have to be planned within the new structure forhigher education introduced in the 1990s when NQF, SAQA, the CHE and NSBs and SGBs wereformed. The requirements set by this new structure are also elaborated on in the next chapter.The largest suprasystem within which public relations courses and departments operate, is theworld. Public relations curriculum planners can never divorce themselves from the global sceneand remain blind to international development. As IPRA is the official representative of theglobal public relations industry, its recommendations pertaining to education should be takeninto account.By enabling the identification of all the sub- and suprasystems and networks that influencepublic relations courses, the systems and network approaches offer a holistic perspective for theplanning of public relations education programmes. The macrosystems approach is particularlysuitable for the global nature of this study. South Africa is not a closed system in the world.Since the country=s release from relative isolation in 1994, and in view of increasing forces ofglobalisation, it should operate as a subsystem within a larger system and network, the world,also in the area of public relations education.With regard to subsystems, systems and suprasystems, education programmes in public relationsat technikons, which is the core system focused on by this study, can be viewed from differentangles. It can be viewed as a subsystem or network which operates within a hierarchy of largersystems or networks, namely technikons, the South African tertiary education system, the public205relations industry, the South African society, the African continent and the global society.Different levels of systems influencing such education programmes can thus be identified.Systems thinking also enables an analyst to study the education programme as a systemcomprising subsystems such as different aspects of the education programme. All systems in thishierarchy of systems are open systems. Technikon departments which offer educationprogrammes are open systems cooperating with other departments operating within technikons,which in turn are open systems heavily dependent on their environment, for which theyconstantly have to produce an appropriately qualified work force. The hierarchy of systems ofwhich a public relations education programme at technikons in South Africa forms part, can beillustrated as in Figure 3.1:The above hierarchy of systems within which education programmes in public relations attechnikons operate, should be viewed as complex, dynamic and chaotic systems in transition,subject to constant change because of the forces of globalisation. In this regard, public relations206education programmes at technikons should be viewed as systems subjected to the requirementsof a learning organisation. The existence of intra- and interorganisational networks with a highdegree of centrality, including the formation of strategic alliances, could assist technikondepartments to offer public relations programmes that function as learning systems.In Chapter 4, a model for globalisation of vocationally-oriented public relations education isdeveloped with the above implications in mind. For this purpose, a general, prescriptive opensystems framework, approaching education programmes as complex, dynamic systems andlearning organisations operating in a chaotic global suprasystem, is included in the next chapter,to be used as a basis for the development of firstly, a generic, vocationally-oriented globalisationmodel, and secondly, to apply this model to technikon public relations education.3.10 SUMMARYThis chapter provided a developmental and theoretical perspective for the study of publicrelations practice and education. In the first part of the chapter the term public relations wasdefined by providing a critical review of different approaches to defining the term and byselecting an approach for this study. Harlow=s definition adopted by IPRA and Hutton=sframework to conceptualise public relations were accepted as a summary of the most importantfunctions of public relations for the purpose of this investigation, while Kendall=s socialresponsibility definition of public relations was accepted as a working definition, and extendedfor the purpose of this study to cover global public relations.Next, an overview was provided of the developmental history of public relations. The systemsand structural approaches were identified as points of departure to study public relations history.American, international, African and South African development of public relations practice andeducation were reviewed in terms of the structural approach. This discussion provided insightinto the global connectedness that currently exits in the field of public relations, and also into thecurrent state of public relations practice and education in South Africa, as compared to the rest ofthe world.The impact of globalisation on public relations practice and education was discussed next in207terms of new competencies required. An overview was provided of how the profession isinfluenced by three major forces of globalisation: the New Economy, the CommunicationRevolution and the Network Society. This was followed by a discussion of the potential role ofpublic relations in counteracting disintegrating forces of globalisation. This discussion providedinsight into the changing needs in the role of, and education for, the profession, in order to adaptto the forces of globalisation.The systems and network approaches and chaos theory were identified as a theoreticalframework for this study. The systems and network approaches were outlined first, and relatedto globalisation and public relations. Complex, dynamic systems, chaos theory and learningorganisations were discussed next, as part of systems thinking. These concepts were also relatedto globalisation and public relations. Lastly, the selected theoretical perspective was applied topublic relations education, pointing out the hierarchy of systems and suprasystems in which suchprogrammes operate, in general and at technikons in particular. This hierarchy was portrayed asconsisting of complex, dynamic and chaotic systems subjected to fast-changing suprasystems,with each layer in need of functioning as a learning system.1313.1 INTRODUCTIONThis chapter provides a perspective for the study of public relations practice and education at aglobal level. Firstly, the term public relations is conceptualised. A critical overview is thenprovided of some of the approaches to defining public relations, including reference to theevolvement of the profession and worldviews affecting the conceptualisation of the field.Primary research paradigms in public relations are set out next, followed by the selection of aworking definition and a research paradigm for this study. The conceptualisation of publicrelations selected for this study is further related to globalisation and the potential role of publicrelations to contribute towards global unity and understanding.Next, an overview is provided of the developmental history of public relations. The systems andstructural approaches are identified as examples of possible points of departure for a study of thehistorical development of public relations. The structural approach, with its focus onprofessional development, is selected, to provide an overview of the development of publicrelations practice and education at a global level.Because public relations in its modern form originated in the USA, the developmental history isfirst discussed with reference to America. Thereafter an overview of international developmentfollows. African development is discussed next, with specific reference to South Africa. In linewith the global mindset adopted for the study, an overview is provided of global connectedness,which currently exists in the field of public relations practice and education. Reference is madeto the recently established Global Alliance for Public Relations and CommunicationManagement, as well as other international organisations attempting to unite public relationspractitioners and educators around the world.This is followed by a discussion of the impact of globalisation on public relations practice andeducation, in terms of new competencies required. An attempt is made to provide insight intoCHAPTER 3: PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICE ANDEDUCATION: A DEVELOPMENTAL AND THEORETICALPERSPECTIVE132how public relations is influenced by the forces of globalisation, and the changing role of theprofession and new education needs that result.It is evident in the literature consulted, that public relations has the potential to play a role incounteracting those disintegrating forces of globalisation covered in the previous chapter.Consequently, the role of public relations in the measures outlined in Section 2.7.4 to counteractdisintegrating forces of globalisation, is discussed next. This discussion is structured under thesame headings as those in Section 2.7.4 in Chapter 2.Lastly, a theoretical perspective is provided for the study of public relations practice andeducation. Although public relations has frequently been criticised for its lack of a theoreticalbase, this does not mean that different principles and models applicable to public relations cannotbe identified (Windahl, et al., 1992:91).Although there have been attempts to link the study of public relations to theoretical approachessuch as pragmatism (Van der Meiden, 1993:8-11), social exchange theory (Kendall, 1992:17-18),rhetorical theory (Vestheim, 1992:23-30), ethnography, persuasion models, radical theory ofpressure groups, symbolic interactionalism, the excellence model, critical, situational andorganisational theory, etc. (Holtzhausen & Verwey, 1996:30-35), systems theory traditionallyseems to be the widely used framework for the study of public relations. Angelopulo (1994:41)regards the systems approach as one of the most fruitful approaches to public relationsmanagement, while Holtzhausen (quoted by Holtzhausen & Verwey, 1996:30) confirms, basedon an overview of theory application, that the systems approach is the most important theoreticalapproach to public relations.As systems theory ties in with the aim of this thesis, it is regarded as suitable also for this study.As this study deals with globalisation, systems theory is approached from the viewpoint ofcomplex, dynamic systems and its related paradigm of chaos theory. In the second part of thischapter systems theory is explained in general, and also as applied to public relations practiceand education. The network approach, which forms part of systems theory, is discussed next,followed by an outline of the concepts complex, dynamic system, chaos theory and learningorganisation. This discussion, as well as the global mindset adopted in the previous chapter,133provides the basis for the formation of a general theoretical framework in the next chapter, onwhich to develop a model for globalisation in vocationally-oriented public relations education.3.2 TOWARDS A CONCEPTUALISATION OF PUBLIC RELATIONSA large number of definitions of public relations have been formulated worldwide. In fact,Wilcox et al. (1992:5) report that a pioneer public relations educator once compiled about 500definitions from almost as many sources.3.2.1 Defining public relations in terms of its evolvementKendall (1992:13) argues that the maturity of practice in public relations is determined by thematurity of the definition accepted. The available definitions reflect a range of sophistication inthe duty owed by the function to the society at large. According to Kendall, this range ofperceptions is evident today, as well as throughout the history of the field. Hutton=s conclusion(1999:200-201) that a review of public relations= history reveals how the field has evolved interms of definitions and metaphors, confirms this viewpoint. According to Hutton (1999:200-201), public relations has evolved through history from >the public be fooled= to >the public bedamned= to >the public be manipulated= to >the public be informed= to >the public be involved oraccommodated=.Other theorists who define public relations in terms of its evolvement include Grunig and Hunt(1984:21-43), who introduced four models to explain how public relations has developed throughhistory. These models also reflect the different ways in which public relations is still practisedtoday.The first two models portray public relations as a one-way flow of communication between anorganisation and its publics. The third and fourth models portray public relations as a two-wayflow of communication between an organisation and its publics, and highlight the importance ofresearch.* press-agentry/publicity model. This model represents public relations in its earliest form,134as practised by organisations that equate public relations with publicity or promotions.Practitioners in these organisations concern themselves mostly with getting mediaattention for their organisations or clients, and their communication with publics is onesidedand rather propagandistic in nature.* public-information model. This model emphasises the information disseminationfunction of public relations by means of the mass and minor media.* two-way asymmetric model. This model describes public relations as an effort to plancommunication with the publics of an organisation to achieve maximum change inattitude and behaviour, with the emphasis on persuasion. According to Grunig and Hunt,public relations based on this model has a manipulative nature.* two-way symmetric model. This model describes public relations as an effort to attainmutual understanding between an organisation and its publics. The emphasis is on socialresponsibility and investment.Grunig and Hunt (1984:43) accept that all four models still have a place in today=s society, as adifferent model works best for different problems. However, as there are few definitions inpublic relations literature that describe the first two models, it can be assumed that these modelscan be discarded in the search for a general definition of modern public relations. Lubbe(1994a:6-7) points out that the two former models are primarily based on the >technician= role ofpublic relations, whereas the latter two models utilise both the technician and the managementrole in their application.If it is taken into account that there is general acceptance today of the importance of research inpublic relations (e.g. Mersham & Skinner, 2001b:74; Seitel, 2001:105-106; Paluszek, 2000:28;Steyn & Puth, 2000:18; Center & Jackson, 1995:3), as well as the recognition that publicrelations should be practised at the level of management (e.g. Mersham & Skinner, 2001b:67-68;Seitel, 2001:174-175; Steyn & Puth, 2000:21; Kinnick and Cameron, 1994:74) the two-wayasymmetric and symmetric models should be accepted as the most applicable and advancedmodels of public relations today.Grunig and Hunt (1984:100-101), however, regard the symmetric model as the best reflection ofpublic relations in its mature form. In addition, they argue that asymmetric models of public135relations are used by authoritarian dominant coalitions who see the symmetric model as a threatto their power (Grunig & Hunt, 1984:100-101).Although Grunig and Hunt=s notion of the asymmetric and symmetric models is widely acceptedby other theorists of public relations (e.g. Cutlip et al., 2000:409; Dozier and Ehling, 1992:177;Sriramesh & White, 1992:597; Wilcox et al., 1992:57; Windahl et al., 1992:91-93; Brownell &Niebauer, 1991:83-84), this viewpoint is not shared by all.According to Van der Meiden (1993:9), one of the main opponents of Grunig and Hunt=ssymmetric model is G. R. Miller, who denies the possibility of a symmetric concept while publicrelations is interwoven with effective persuasion and control over relevant aspects of theenvironment. Miller (1989:45) argues that there is a close correlation between effectivepersuasion and effective public relations, because both are concerned with symbolic control overthe environment. Effective, ethically defensible persuasion and effective, ethically defensiblepublic relations are virtually synonymous - in practice public relations professionals rely onpersuasive strategies frequently if not almost exclusively (Miller, 1989:45,63).Van der Meiden (1993:9) also does not share in the viewpoint of Grunig and Hunt. She arguesthat objective or neutral communication, as implied in the symmetric model, is not possible inpublic relations, as the latter is inevitably a controlling instrument. As an organisation cannotdisconnect its communication activities from its immediate or remote interests, the publicrelations function of that organisation is essentially a manipulating force. According to Van derMeiden (1993:10), the distinctive perception of asymmetric and symmetric elements is neitherrealistic nor practical, and cannot be a valid starting point for positioning public relations insociety.Other critics of the symmetric model also claim that the approach is unrealistic or idealistic.They argue that public relations professionals are appointed to advance the interests of theirorganisations, and that clients would not appoint practitioners who do not practise asymmetricpublic relations (Grunig & White, 1992:46). To this end, Grunig and Grunig (1992:312)acknowledge that, in practice, professional public relations involves both asymmetric(compliance-gaining) tactics and symmetric (problem-solving) tactics. They also acknowledge136that the symmetric model is normative and idealistic. However, they describe the two-waysymmetric model as characteristic of excellent public relations, reporting research that showsthat the symmetric model is more ethical and effective than the other models (Grunig & Grunig,1992:303-308).3.2.2 Worldviews affecting the conceptualisation of public relationsGrunig and White (1992:31-64) attribute acceptance or criticism of the symmetric model, todifferent worldviews. Broadly speaking, two worldviews have influenced practitioners andscholars of public relations. The dominant worldview in public relations is that the latter is away of getting what an organisation wants, without changing its behaviour or compromising.This dominant view in essence reflects an asymmetric worldview. Press agentry, publicinformation and two-way asymmetric models are practised from an asymmetric worldview.They all attempt to change the behaviour of publics without changing the behaviour of theorganisation (Grunig and White, 1992:39).The second worldview is, in essence, a symmetric worldview. A symmetric worldview seespublic relations as a non-zero-sum game in which competing organisations or groups can bothgain if they play the game right. Public relations is a tool by which organisations and competinggroups in a pluralistic system interact to manage conflict for the benefit of all (Grunig, 1992:9).Grunig and White (1992:51) argue that both the dominant, asymmetric and the alternative,symmetric worldview are influenced by presuppositions about the role of public relations insociety. They identify the following three worldviews on the social role of public relations,which lead to asymmetric public relations: a pragmatic social role, a conservative social role anda radical social role (Grunig & White, 1992:51-54).The view of a pragmatic social role approaches public relations as a useful practice, somethingthat can be used to meet the objectives of an organisation in a way that benefits the organisation.The pragmatic worldview sees society as composed of competing groups, target audiences andmarkets, from whom commercial advantage is to be won. This view may also underliearguments against the development of codes of conduct or ethical standards, because they mayinterfere with what can be done to achieve the client=s objectives.137Public relations based on a conservative social role is essentially aimed at maintaining power bydefending the status quo and an ideal capitalist system from attack. The view of a radical socialrole presupposes that public relations contributes to change and reform by providing power andinfluence through knowledge and information. Both the latter two worldviews see publicrelations as a tool to be used in a war among opposing social groups.Grunig and White (1992:53-54) identify the following two worldviews on the social role ofpublic relations, which lead to symmetric public relations: an idealistic social role and a criticalsocial role.The idealistic social role viewpoint assumes that a norm of reciprocity governs society and thata diversity of views and their reconciliation lead to social progress. This worldview presupposesthat public relations serves the public interest, and facilitates a dialogue to develop mutualunderstanding between organisations and their publics. The critical social role viewpoint seesorganisations and society as constructed systems which can be deconstructed and reconstructed.Scholars and practitioners who operate from this worldview, criticise public relations for poorethics, negative social consequences or ineffectiveness, and advocate more effective practices.In addition to presuppositions on the social role of public relations, Grunig and White (1992:49-50; 54-55) identify another two factors which influence worldviews in public relations. Theseinclude gender differences and technical vs managerial presuppositions about public relations.With regard to gender differences, traditionally men were regarded as better managers because oftheir inclination towards competition and toughness. The viewpoint is, however, emerging thatwomen=s preference for nurturance and relationships may be what is needed by managers in thefuture. Grunig and White (1992:50) believe that the feminine worldview approximates thesymmetric worldview better than the masculine worldview, and predicts that the female majorityin public relations in many countries could move the field toward excellence, as the symmetricworldview of most women begins to replace the more asymmetric worldview of most men.Grunig and White (1992:55) also believe that the common view that public relations is atechnical function is associated with the press agentry and public information models of public138relations and reinforces the asymmetric worldview. They argue that there is a need for both atechnical and a managerial role to move public relations to a position of excellence.Grunig (1992:10) concludes that excellent public relations embodies a worldview that defines thecommunication function in organisations as symmetric, idealistic, critical and managerial.3.2.3 Hutton=s alternative framework to conceptualise public relationsAn alternative framework to defining the field of public relations is provided by Hutton(1999:199-212). Hutton (1999:212) challenges the wide acceptance of Grunig and Hunt=s fourmodels, arguing that these models do not meet the requirements of a theory, and have failed thetest of empirical confirmation. According to Hutton (1999:199), public relations still lacks acentral organising paradigm. For this reason he introduced a three-dimensional framework withwhich to compare competing philosophies of public relations, and from which to build aparadigm for the field. These dimensions also explain the substantive differences among variousorientations or definitions of public relations. These dimensions are referred to as the >Three Is=:interest, initiative and image (Hutton, 1999:204):* interest refers to the degree to which public relations is focused on client vs the publicinterest. At one extreme lies a philosophy of >the public be damned=, while at the otherextreme lies a belief that the public=s interest should supersede the client=s interest.* initiative refers to the extent to which the public relations function is reactive vs proactive.Examples of pro-active techniques include stakeholder surveys, communicationaudits, crisis planning, issues management and strategic communication planning.* image refers to the extent to which an organisation is focused on perception vs reality, orimage vs substance. This dimension represents the general focus of an organisation=sphilosophy, thoughts and actions. A publicity stunt may represent one end of thecontinuum and an anonymous corporate gift to a charity the other extreme.Hutton (1999:205) argues that, while a given public relations function can cover a range of139territory on each dimension, it is usually possible to locate an organisation=s general orientationalong each dimension.According to Hutton (1999:205-208), the following six distinct orientations, models ormetaphors of public relations practice become apparent when the above framework is used toanalyse definitions of public relations:* Persuasion. This includes those philosophies of public relations that are pro-active andoriented towards persuading audiences to think or act in ways that benefit the client ororganisation.* Advocacy. This is similar to persuasion in its intentions, but different in that it arises outof controversy or active opposition. It is reactive in nature and is usually triggered by acrisis or other catalyst.* Public information. This refers to the style of public relations in which a client ororganisation serves primarily as an educator and information clearinghouse. Examples oforganisations practising such function include member service organisations andgovernment agencies.* Cause-related public relations. This is also called crusading, compliments advocacyinsofar as it tends to serve a broader public interest rather than any special-interest group.* Image/reputation management. This focuses on the image of the client or organisation,as measured by its popularity or value.* Relationship management. This is based on the identification of mutual interests, valuesand benefits between a client or organisation and its publics. The emphasis is on mutualtrust, compromise, cooperation and, whenever possible, win-win situations.Based on the argument that only the latter category has the power to serve as an organisingphilosophy, Hutton (1999:208,211) proposes >relationship management= as a dominant paradigmfor modern public relations, together with the short definition >managing strategic relationships=.Based on the latter definition and the framework of the >Three Is=, he formulates the followinghierarchy of public relations= primary role, functions and tactics (Hutton, 1999:211):Definition140>managingstrategic relationships=Situational rolespersuader, advocate, educator, crusader,information provider, reputation managerPrimary functions performedresearch, image making, counselling, managing,early warning, interpreting, communicating, negotiatingTactics/tools utilisedpublicity, product placement, news releases, speeches,interpersonal communication, websites, publications, tradeshows, corporate identity programmes, corporate advertising programmes, etc.Hutton (1999:211-212) suggests that the above hierarchy encourages scholars to distinguishbetween the umbrella definition and the primary purpose of public relations in a given context, aswell as between public relations roles and their functions and tactics.3.2.4 Definitions based on the symmetric model and Hutton=s paradigmBoth the definitions endorsed by IPRA and the South African national professional body forpublic relations fit the two-way symmetric model, as well as Hutton=s proposed dominantparadigm. The latter body used to be called the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa(PRISA), but was renamed in 2002 to PRISA, the Institute for Public Relations &Communication Management (Moscardi, 2002b:1). The abbreviation >PRISA= will be usedhereafter in reference to this body.IPRA endorses a definition formulated by Harlow (quoted by Windahl et al., 1992:89-90), whichreads as follows:>Public relations is a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutuallines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organisation andits publics; involves the management of problems or issues; helps management to keepinformed on and responsive to public opinions; defines and emphasises the responsibility ofmanagement to serve the public interest; helps management keep abreast of and effectivelyutilize change, serving as an early warning system to help anticipate trends; and uses research141and sound and ethical communication techniques as its principal tools.=The definition of PRISA reads as follows (Mersham & Skinner, 2001b:67):>Public relations is the management, through communication, of perceptions and strategicrelationships between an organisation and its internal and external stakeholders.=Other definitions that fit the two-way symmetric model include those adopted by many otherpublic relations societies worldwide. Two examples include the definition adopted by theInstitute of Public Relations (IPR) in Britain in 1987 (Mersham et al., 1995:10) and the oftenquoted definition accepted by the First World Assembly of Public Relations Associations held inMexico City in 1978. The former definition reads as follows:>Public relations practice is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwilland mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics= (IPR, 2002).The latter definition reads as follows:>Public relations is the art and social science of analysing trends, predicting their consequences,counselling organisational leaders and implementing planned programmes of action which willserve both the organisation and the public interest= (Steyn & Puth, 2000:4).It seems that, in spite of scepticism from authors like Van der Meiden and Miller about theapplication of a two-way symmetric model, definitions which endorse this model are widelyaccepted today by professional associations in public relations. Many of these definitions alsoendorse Hutton=s conceptualisation of public relations as >the management of strategicrelationships=.3.3 RESEARCH PARADIGMS IN PUBLIC RELATIONSRhetorical, critical and systems perspectives are three major research paradigms apparent in thebody of knowledge of public relations (Toth, 1992:3-4). According to Toth (1992:3,12), these142three perspectives are complementary, and, combined, provide for pluralistic studies that haveenriched understanding of the field of public relations.3.3.1 The rhetorical perspectiveThis paradigm in public relations is primarily concerned with the use of symbolic behaviour tocreate and influence relationships between an organisation and its publics (Toth, 1992:5). Theareas of corporate advocacy and issues management are of particular concern.According to Bredenkamp (1997:87), the rhetorical approach can be and is used to put anorganisation=s best foot forward. Heath (1992b:24), however, argues that rhetoric can be viewedas one-way, manipulative communication, but also as contested examination of issues andactions - as dialogue. It can thus be deduced that the rhetoric perspective in public relationscould include both asymmetric and symmetric models.3.3.2 The critical perspectiveThis paradigm also focuses on the symbolic processes of organisational behaviour, but with aview to being confrontational towards organisational interests, power and domination (Toth,1992:7,11). Heath (1992b:33) suggests that critical judgment is needed to improve skills and toensure that a profession is responsible and sound.According to Heath (1992a:39), the critical perspective in public relations entails not onlyexamination of public relations tactics, but also standards and judgments regarding the worth ofstatements in their service to society at large, and not merely the interest of the client ororganisation. If applied in this way, criticism is based on the norm provided by the symmetricpublic relations model.3.3.3 The systems perspectiveThe systems approach is multidisciplinary (Bredenkamp, 1997:84) and approaches organisationsas open systems consisting of subsystems and forming part of suprasystems (Grunig, 1989:38).The systems perspective in public relations is based on the premise that organisations should143concern themselves with the environment in order to survive, and seek to maintain anequilibrium with their environment through input, throughput and output (Toth, 1992:8).According to Toth (1992:11), systems theorists use criticism in search of excellence in publicrelations.Grunig and Hunt=s symmetric model approaches organisations as open systems (Grunig,1989:38). As an open systems approach, the symmetric model is based on the followingpresuppositions: equality; autonomy of people both inside and outside the organisation;innovative thinking; decentralisation of management; responsibility; conflict resolution; andinterest group liberalism (Grunig, 1989:38-39).3.4 THE DEFINITION AND PARADIGM SELECTED FOR THIS STUDYIn line with the endorsement of the symmetric model by professional public relationsassociations through the definitions they adopt, this study accepts this model as the most suitableportrayal of excellent public relations. By the same token, the study accepts the worldview thatdefines the public relations function as idealistic, critical and managerial. Being normative andidealist, the symmetric model complements the normative definition of globalisation formulatedfor this study, and the responsibility the study assigns to public relations to contribute toharmony and unity in the global community. The acceptance of the symmetric model for a studybased on the presupposition that technikons should function as learning systems in a globalenvironment, is also in line with Grunig and Grunig=s argument (1992:298) that the practice oftwo-way symmetric public relations is especially important when environments are complex andturbulent. According to Dozier and Ehling (1992:182), the concept of symmetry suggests that anorganisation should adjust to the environment on which its survival and growth depends. In theprocess, the organisation itself changes.Furthermore, it is not accepted that symmetric public relations excludes the use of rhetoric andcontrol. It is assumed that public relations can serve the well-being of society whilesimultaneously functioning as a controlling instrument. A programme aimed at socialinvestment and development is, in the opinion of the author, a case in point. While the goal ofsuch a programme is aimed at the well-being of the recipient, the communication applied to144reach this goal is of a controlling nature, as it involves changing the behaviour of both theorganisation implementing the programme and the social, economic and physical conditions ofthe community the programme is aimed at.At the same time, this study accepts Hutton=s proposal of relationship management as a dominantparadigm for public relations. In spite of Hutton=s criticism of Grunig and Hunt=s four models,the relationship paradigm fits the symmetric model of public relations.However, while Harlow=s definition endorsed by IPRA and Hutton=s hierarchy set out above, areaccepted as a summary of the most important functions of public relations for the purpose of thisinvestigation, the study needs a definition which emphasises the responsibility of public relationstowards the global community. A definition formulated by Kendall (1992:15) is suitable for thispurpose, as it focuses on the social responsibility aspect of public relations and its commitmentto the well-being of society as a whole:>Public relations is a phenomenon within societies by which advocates of a social entity managethat organisation=s performance in the public interest in order to:* nurture mutually beneficial associations with all groups interdependent with theorganisation, by means of* the responsible use of all the appropriate instruments of one- and two-waycommunication.=This definition has certain implications which are of special importance to this study. It impliesfirstly that the ethical function of public relations is social welfare, and secondly, that publicrelations activity involves the intentional advancement of a cause. It also implies that an entity=sperformance should conform to what is in the best interest of the entire society - in this case theglobal society - and that its social responsibility should be proactive rather than reactive(Kendall, 1992:15-16).Kendall=s definition reinforces the view of the public relations function as the >social conscience=(Leonard & Ströh, 2000b:36; Verwey, 2000:64) of organisations. According to Black145(2000:105), social stability and ethical behaviour are the essential underpinning of publicrelations. Leonard and Ströh (2000b:42), in turn, assign to public relations the role to operate asthe ethical and moral consciousness of an organisation, and to help guide the establishment oforganisational values, which will determine the nature of all external behaviour.Kendall=s definition also corresponds with the view that public relations strives towards harmonyin society. Seib and Fitzpatrick (1995:1) describe the moral purpose of public relations as that ofsocial harmony. Through their work, public relations professionals promote peaceful existenceamong individuals and institutions. >Serving the public interest while serving one=s own hasalways been the hallmark of good public relations work= (Seib & Fitzpartick, 1995:2). Black(2000:104) reinforces this view by arguing that public relations is conditioned by reputation,credibility, confidence, harmony and mutual understanding.Kendall=s definition is extended, for the purpose of this study, to cover the global community, tomake provision for the practice of public relations across borders and globalisation in publicrelations. Transnational public relations is known as international public relations, an area thathas grown extensively since the advent of globalisation (Black, 2000:103).Wilcox et al. (1992:409) define international public relations as >the planned and organised effortof a company, institution or government to establish mutually beneficial relations with thepublics of other nations=. They define these publics as >the various groups of people who areaffected by, or who can affect, the operations of a particular firm, institution or government.Each public is united by a common interest vis-à-vis the entity seeking acceptance of its productor programs= (Wilcox et al., 1992:410).Globalisation in public relations implies, firstly, relationships that exist across national bordersand, secondly, relationships - even in one country - which are influenced by global developments(White & Mazur, 1995:18). Globalisation in public relations furthermore implies that thefunctions of public relations as the social conscience of an organisation, striving towardsharmony in society, are extended to the global society.International public relations through globalisation necessitates an appreciation of the146sensitivities of unfamiliar organisations and individuals, that need to be harmonised (Black,2000:106). It superimposes an overall perspective on a programme executed in two or morenational markets, recognising the similarities among audiences, while necessarily adapting toregional differences (Anderson, quoted by Grunig & Grunig, 2000). International publicrelations should thus include central consideration of cultural diversity (Banks, 1995:32),planning globally, but acting locally (Black, 2000:103).Kendall=s definition - extended globally - could contribute towards recognising the full potentialof public relations on a global basis. The focus of this definition on ethical behaviour that is inthe best interest of the entire society, corresponds with the point of departure of this study,namely that public relations practice and education could contribute towards the common goodof the global society.By focusing on the relationship between public relations and global integration, the studyemphasises the potential of public relations to contribute to a move towards global consciousnessand understanding. If public relations practitioners and educators aim their public relationsactivities towards global unity, they practise public relations in its mature form, as represented bythe symmetric model. In addition, they follow the emerging paradigm of energy andconnectivity, as discussed in Chapter 1 (see Section 1.3).The research paradigm adopted for this study is the systems approach. This study, with its focuson public relations education programmes, and technikons as systems being influenced by globalchanges, needs a research paradigm which allows investigation of how these systems areinfluenced by, and need to adapt, to the global macrosystem. The systems paradigm is regardedas best suited for this purpose, as it allows for critical focus on global influences (input) andskills, knowledge and attitudes that need to be transferred (throughput and output). The systemsperspective also allows for the incorporation of a global mindset, network thinking, chaos theoryand the requirements of learning organisations into the paradigm chosen for this study. Thisparadigm makes it possible to focus on the turbulent nature of the global macrosystem as aNetwork Society, and is in line with the acceptance of Kendall=s definition, extended globally.3.5 APPROACHES TO REVIEWING THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF147PUBLIC RELATIONSAccording to Lubbe (1994a:3), the historical development of public relations can be reviewedfrom either a systems or a structural perspective. The systems approach focuses on the wideningscope of public relations in relation to the social and economic development of a society,whereas the structural approach depicts the professionalisation of public relations in terms of theestablishment of professional bodies, codes of conduct, accreditation, etc.In the available literature, the earlier history of public relations is discussed mostly from asystems perspective, whereas the state of public relations in its modern form is discussed mostlyfrom a structural perspective.According to Roodt (1988:18), the knowledge dimension can be regarded as the mostfundamental requirement in the professionalisation of any profession, and particularly of publicrelations. According to a model of professionalisation formulated by De Beer (1982:13-14), theknowledge dimension of professionalisation comprises the following attributes: knowledge,education, skills, research and subject literature.As education, the topic of this study, is one of the attributes of professionalisation, it can bededuced that a discussion of public relations development in terms of the structural approach willbe more relevant to this study. Therefore, while a brief overview is provided of the developmentof public relations according to the systems approach, the emphasis in the rest of the chapter ison the structural approach.3.6 HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN TERMS OF THESYSTEMS APPROACHA study of the available literature on public relations history from a systems approach revealstwo tendencies.The first is to focus on the changing role of public relations as it adapted to changes in theenvironment. The four models formulated by Grunig and Hunt, as discussed in Section 3.2.1, area case in point. Grunig and Hunt (1984:25) even assign certain historical periods to each148developmental model: press agentry - 1850-1900; public information - 1900-1920; two-wayasymmetric - 1920s onward; and two-way symmetric - 1960s onward.Another case in point is the identification by Aranoff and Baskin (1983:15-19) of three majorphases in the development of public relations - manipulation, information and mutual influenceand understanding. Manipulation is associated mostly with the techniques of 19th century pressagents, information with the work of the publicity officers at the beginning of the 20th centuryand mutual influence and understanding with public relations as a management function in itsmodern form.The second tendency is to link public relations to historical events and periods in the world.Such a study of public relations history reflects the social, economic, political and technologicalchanges the world went through, the influences of these changes on communication and theimpact of public opinion.The origin of public relations is, for example, linked to efforts to inform and persuade in theearliest civilisations. Seitel (2001:25-26), Cutlip et al. (2000:102), Wilcox et al. (1992:36),Moore and Kalupa (1985:24) and Grunig and Hunt (1984:15) refer to techniques used by leadersin ancient societies such as those of Egypt, Greece, India and Iraq, to inform, to persuade and toimpress. Wilcox et al. (1992:36), Truter (1991:35-37), Grunig and Hunt (1984:15) and Van derMeiden and Fauconnier (1982:121-122) refer to Biblical figures like David, Solomon, John theBaptist and Paul, who understood the art of influencing large groups of people. Reilly (1987:13)also refers to historical persons like Napoleon, Catherine the Great and Charles Dickens asexamples of public figures who used public relations techniques to promote personal image andto influence public opinion.The development of public relations is also discussed with reference to: propaganda by the earlyRoman Catholic Church (Seitel, 2001:26; Wilcox et al., 1992:36); the invention of the printingpress by Gutenberg and the development of mass communication (Truter, 1991:36; Grunig &Hunt, 1984:16-17); social changes such as the Renaissance and Reformation, the rise ofHumanism and the abolition of censorship (Grunig & Hunt, 1984:17); economic changesbrought about by industrialisation (Seitel, 2001:29; Wilcox et al., 1992:42); political changes149such as the American Revolution (Cutlip et al., 2000:102; Grunig & Hunt, 1984:17) and the riseof trade unions (Truter, 1991:37); technological development and the onrush of the globalinformation age (Cutlip et al., 2000:135-136); and the emergence of consumer rights and activistorganisations (Grunig & Hunt, 1984:13,18).Cutlip et al. (2000:106) also link the most important growth periods in public relations to someof the world=s most significant crisis periods such as World Wars I and II, the wars in Vietnamand Korea, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the invasion of Panama and the Persian GulfWar.3.7 HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN TERMS OF THESTRUCTURAL APPROACHA structural approach to the history of public relations focuses on its professional development.The discussion that follows focuses mainly on aspects of developmental history which relate toprofessional bodies and education.3.7.1 American developmentThis section provides an overview of the development of public relations practice and educationin the USA.3.7.1.1 Public relations practicePublic relations as it is known today originated in America (Seitel, 2001:30-31; Jefkins, 1992:5;Grunig & Hunt, 1984:14). Public relations in this country has in fact produced many >firsts=.The first book on public relations, Crystallizing Public Opinion, was written in 1923 by EdwardBernays, an American whom Grunig and Hunt (1984:39) regard as >the intellectual= of earlypublic relations.The oldest existing public relations society, the Religious Public Relations Council, was formed150in America in 1929 (Jackson, 1988:28). The American Council on Public Relations was formedin 1939 (Seitel, 1992:39). In 1947 this organisation merged with two others societies to form thePublic Relations Society of America (PRSA) (Grunig & Hunt, 1984:41). In 1968 the PublicRelations Student Society of America was founded by the PRSA, to facilitate communicationbetween students and professionals (Seitel, 2001:38). The PRSA adopted its Code of Conduct in1954 and in 1964 approved a voluntary accreditation scheme, whereby it accredited members bymeans of an examination (Skinner et al., 2001:20).An umbrella organisation, the North American Public Relations Council, was founded in 1980 toproduce a uniform accreditation system and code of ethics (Jackson, 1988:28). This council waslater replaced by the Universal Accreditation Board. Accreditation is still a voluntaryprogramme in America today, and is available to practitioners with at least five years ofexperience (UAB, 2001).The PRSA also formed a task force in 1986 to develop guidelines for professional development,and to codify a body of knowledge for public relations in America. This body of knowledge waspublished in 1986 (Jackson, 1988:28).Today the PRSA is the world=s largest organisation for public relations. It has nearly 20 000members, organised into over 100 chapters (PRSA, 2001).The PRSA assists with education of Russian public relations students by means of a joint PRSARussianPublic Relations Association (RPRA) programme established in 1992. This programmeenables Russian students to do an internship in America (Epley, 1993:4).The PRSA decided in 1997 to make global outreach one of its priorities. A Global InitiativesCommittee was consequently formed, to open the lines of communication with other publicrelations associations regarding the idea of global collaboration (Pelfrey, 2001:39).Another influential public relations body in America is the International Association of BusinessCommunicators (IABC), founded in 1970 (Skinner et al., 2001:20) as an international network,aiming to improve the effectiveness of organisations through strategic interactive and integrated151business communication management. This organisation has more than 13 700 members in over58 countries all over the world. The IABC has its headquarters in San Francisco, and isorganised into chapters in different districts and regions. The South African chapter of the IABCis based in Johannesburg. The IABC also has a research and development arm in the form of theIABC Research Foundation (IABC, 2001).3.7.1.2 Public relations educationThe first course in public relations was taught by Edward Bernays at the New York University in1922 (Grunig & Hunt, 1984:39). The first master=s programme in public relations wasestablished at Boston University in 1947 (Ogbondah & Pratt, 1991-1992:37). The first educationdepartment in public relations was established in 1949 at the Boston University (Jackson,1988:28). Thereafter followed a period of phenomenal growth in public relations education. By1951, twelve American universities had introduced education programmes in public relations(Seitel, 2001:38). Post-graduate courses were introduced on large scale in the late 1970s (Hesse,1984:22). Today, approximately 300 colleges and universities in America offer at least onecourse dealing with public relations. Of these, approximately 200 offer a public relationssequence or degree programme (Seitel, 2001:38).An organisation that plays a major role in public relations education in the USA is theAssociation for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). The AEJMC hasa Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, which accredits public relationssequences in schools of journalism and mass communication (IPRA, 1990:25). The AEJMC hasa membership of approximately 3 300 from more than 30 countries (AEJMC, 2001).3.7.2 International developmentThis section provides an overview of the development of public relations practice and educationat an international level.3.7.2.1 Public relations practice152Formal professional organisation of public relations came into being in Europe in the late 1940sand early 1950s. The second known public relations society in the world was formed in theNetherlands in 1948 (Van der Meiden & Fauconnier, 1982:127). A public relations society wasestablished in the same year in England (Skinner et al., 2001:21). The Public Relations Instituteof Ireland (PRII) was founded in 1953 (Carty, 1993:21).According to Josephs and Josephs (1994:14), the UK has the second biggest public relationsindustry in the world, surpassed only by America in size and dynamism. This view is reinforcedby White (1991:183), who refers to the UK as >the second most developed centre of publicrelations practice after the USA=. The Institute of Public Relations in Britain is also the largestprofessional association for public relations in Europe (Anon., 1998:29).The European Confederation of Public Relations (Confederation Europeenne des RelationsPubliques - CERP), a regional confederation, was established in 1959 (Skinner et al., 2001:21).CERP established a body charged with the development of public relations and research inEurope. It was called CEDET. In 1990 CEDET became a new body called CERP Education.Full membership is restricted to colleges and individuals concerned with public relationseducation in Europe. Colleges and persons outside Europe may, however, becomecorrespondence members (Black, 1990b:15).The 1960s and 1970s saw professional bodies for public relations emerging all over the globe.Examples include: the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), formed in 1960 (Wilcox etal., 1992:47); the Arab Public Relations Society, founded in 1966 (Borhan, 1993:19); theAdvanced Institute for Press and Public Relations, established in Iran in 1970 (Kamalipour &Rad, 1997:30); Asean, a public relations body representing the South East Asian region andformed in 1967; and the Federation of Asian Public Relations Organisations based in thePhilippines and formed in 1977 (Noeradi, 1992:39).According to Seitel (2001:476), public relations evolved more slowly in Asia than in the West,although sharp growth in this region was experienced in the 1990s. Asian countries with activepublic relations sectors include Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore (Hickson, 1998:26;Seitel, 2001:476), the Philippines (Virtusio, 1998:23), HongKong, India, Pakistan, Malaysia and153Thailand (IPRA, 2001c).Public relations developed rapidly in China after it was first introduced to the country in 1981.By 1990 nearly every Chinese city had an active public relations society. The first academicprogramme in public relations was introduced at Shenzhen University in 1985. By 1990 morethan 100 universities and colleges offered public relations education. Shenzhen University=sdistance learning programme also reaches students from HongKong and Macao (Black, 1990-1991:29-30).According to Seitel (2001:475), the public relations field in Latin America is most developed inMexico, where most corporations have public relations departments, and many employ local orAmerican public relations agencies. Tertiary institutions in this country also offer education inpublic relations. Kotcher (1998:26) foresees that, in the light of flourishing media fuelled bydemocratic reforms, and the growth of online communication in this region, public relations willplay an increasingly critical role in Latin America. Seitel (2001:475) also predicts growth in theindustry in this region, especially as far as Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Chile are concerned.Public relations started growing in the former Eastern Bloc after the collapse of communism inthis region. The Hungarian Public Relations Association (HPRA) was formed in 1990 (Tabori &Szeles, 1992:41) and has since developed an accreditation process modelled after that of thePRSA (Hiebert, 1994:364). The Soviet Public Relations Association and the Polish PublicRelations Association were also founded soon after the demise of the Iron Curtain (Anon.,1992a:14). Examples of other Eastern Bloc countries where public relations associations wereformed include Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, theUkraine (IPRA, 2001c) and Estonia (GAPR&CM, 2001). IPRA also established the EasternEuropean Task Force to deal with matters relating to these countries (Tabori & Szeles, 1992:41).Although press freedom became a reality in the former Soviet Bloc in the 1990s, Hiebert(1994:364) points out that public relations was slower than advertising to emerge fromcommunism. Guth (1998:53) adds that, in Russia, public relations in the commercial sector isstill lagging behind that of public relations in the government sector, as far as development isconcerned. Seitel (2001:477), however, suggests that the approximately 370 million consumers154in Eastern Europe and the well-established mass communication system in the region mean thatthe prospects for public relations expansion are immense. Djuric (1998:24) further points toconsiderable growth in the number of public relations practitioners in the former Yugoslavia,especially in banks and privately-owned companies.According to Seitel (2001:478), the public relations profession is less active in the Middle East,although it is growing in this region. Seitel (2001:478) mentions the admission of 20 womenstudents into the public relations major programme at the United Arab Emirates University in Al-Ain in 1995, as a sign of the growth of public relations in the Middle East, and cites SaudiArabia as an example of a country where there is an increased recognition of the significance ofpublic relations. Another example is Iran, where the first book on public relations was publishedin 1966 and the first B.A. degree in public relations was introduced in 1983 (Kamalipour & Rad,1997:31). Egypt is said to be the first country in the Middle East to look upon public relations asa profession. The Arab Public Relations Society is based in Egypt, but includes members fromother Middle Eastern countries. Since its inception this association has participated in more than50 conferences and world congresses (Borhan, 1993:19).International organisation of public relations originated in Europe. The idea came into being in1949 when two Dutch and four British public relations persons met in London to discussinternational liaison. They formed an international committee, which eventually led to theestablishment of IPRA in 1955 (IPRA, s.a.: 1,8). IPRA held its first congress in 1958 in Brussels(Oeckl, 1976:2).This body aims to bring together public relations practitioners at a global level to further theskills and ethics of the profession. The UN recognises IPRA as an NGO. IPRA also holds aconsultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, and has been awarded the right toparticipate in UNESCO-funded programmes (IPRA, 2001a).IPRA formulated its first code of conduct in 1961. In 1965 the organisation adopted the Code ofAthens, a European code of professional conduct formulated in the same year by CERP (Skinneret al., 2001:21). This is a moral code, inspired by the UN Declaration of Human Rights (IPRA,2001b). IPRA publishes a journal which was recently renamed IPRA Frontline (IPRA, 2001a:3).155Today IPRA has members in 92 countries all over the world, including Europe, the Americas,Asia, Britain, Scandinavia and Iceland, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, aswell as on various islands (IPRA, 2001c).IPRA is instrumental in assisting the growth of public relations in emerging markets such asRussia, Bulgaria and Estonia, and runs the world=s largest public relations website and Internet egroup(Sutherland, 2001).IPRA also has a student section, membership of which is open to students of public relationsworldwide. Membership entitles students to IPRA=s virtual library and publications, as well as astudent members= chat room and guestbook on IPRA=s website (IPRA, 2002a).Other regional public relations federations in the world include the Inter-AmericanConfederation of Public Relations Associations (FIARP), based in Argentina and Uruguay(IPRA, 2001c), and the Pan-Pacific Public Relations Federation (PPPRF), based in Thailand(Skinner et al., 2001:22).There are also a number of global organisations in the field of communication, examples ofwhich include: the International Communication Association (ICA); the World CommunicationAssociation (WCA) (Gibson, 1992-1993:47); the International Association for Media andCommunication Research (IAMCR); the International Society for Intercultural Education,Training and Research (SIETAR); and the International Federation of CommunicationAssociations (IFCA) (IAMCR, 2001; IFCA, 2001; SIETAR, 2001).3.7.2.2 Public relations educationA principle objective of IPRA is the encouragement of education (IPRA, 1997:5). Through itsinvolvement with the UN and UNESCO, it contributes to public relations education, particularlyin developing countries (IPRA, s.a.:7).Since the first public relations course was introduced in America in 1923, public relationseducation has been developing at educational institutions for eight decades. However, it was156only after the publication of IPRA=s Gold Paper No. 4 in 1982 that there has been majorinternational development in public relations education beyond the basic bachelor=s degree(IPRA, 1990:6).This Gold Paper was the result of work of an International Commission for Public RelationsEducation, set up in 1980 to assist the IPRA Education and Research Committee to produce amodel and recommendations for public relations education worldwide. Based on the belief thatpublic relations should have an intellectual base, and aiming to provide students with a commonbody of knowledge, it was suggested in Gold Paper No. 4, among other recommendations, thatpublic relations education should go beyond the bachelor=s degree (IPRA, 1982:4-6).Since then, major post-graduate courses in public relations have been introduced. Examplesinclude: an M.A. in European Public Relations, introduced in 1991, and offered jointly byuniversities in Britain, Belgium, France, Italy and Portugal; an M.Sc. degree in public relationsoffered by the University of Scotland; an M.Sc. degree in communication specialising in publicrelations, offered by the University of Helsinki; and an M.Sc. in public relations started by theNigerian Institute of Public Relations in association with the University of Nigeria (Okereke,1993:23; IPRA, 1990:31,34-36 ). Stirling University in Britain started an M.Sc. degree in publicrelations by distance learning in 1991. This course is also available to students outside Britain(Black, 1990b:16). India also started preparing for the introduction of public relations graduateprogrammes at various universities (Basu, 1992:10).Public relations education worldwide is also available in the form of certificate and diplomacourses offered by various kinds of institutions, including professional public relationsassociations. In some countries, such as Switzerland and the Netherlands, the latter enjoysofficial government recognition (IPRA, 1990:26). In some countries, such as Australia and NewZealand, the local public relations association formally accredits courses in public relations(Ferreira, 2000:67).Foreign individuals and organisations have been instrumental in assisting the countries of theformer Eastern Bloc to introduce education programmes in public relations. For example, aneducation model based on international standards was developed in the former Yugoslavia in the157early 1990s in collaboration with IPRA and Prof. Van der Meiden from the Netherlands (Djuric,1998:25). And in Russia, American universities, private foundations and government agencieshave assisted in the establishment of education programmes at various universities and colleges(Guth, 1998:54).3.7.3 African developmentThis section provides a brief overview of the development of public relations practice andeducation on the African continent.3.7.3.1 South African development3.7.3.1.1 Public relations practiceThe structural development of public relations on the African continent first started in SouthAfrica. Although professional organisation in the country started somewhat later than inAmerica and Western Europe, public relations saw a massive growth in the last four decades ofthe last century. South Africa has two >firsts= to its credit, being the first country to research andevolve a body of knowledge for public relations (Skinner et al., 2001:3), and the first publicrelations institute in the world to obtain certification for quality management from theInternational Standards Organisation (ISO), a body for quality assurance (PRISA, 2002a). Interms of membership, PRISA is the third largest public relations institute in the world behindPRSA and the IPR in Britain (Rowe, 2002:4).The first public relations officer in the country was appointed by the South African Railways in1943, and the first public relations consultancy was established in Johannesburg in 1948 (Skinneret al., 2001:22).The profession in this country is organised into PRISA, which was established in 1957 (Skinneret al., 2001:22). By 2002 PRISA had more than 4 400 members in sub-regions throughout SouthAfrica and neighbouring countries, as well as countries such as Canada, America, Australia andBritain (Richardson, 2002).158The PRISA Students= Association, now known as the Public Relations Student Chapter (PRSC),was launched in 1995. PRISA holds regular student conferences and publishes a newsletter formembers of the PRSC (Anon., 1995b:1). PRISA also has a chapter for consultants.PRISA established a directorate in Johannesburg in 1986 (Anon., 1986:2), and has a full-timestaff who coordinate various membership services.Members of PRISA subscribe to a code of conduct based on the international Code of Athensand the IPRA Code of Conduct (Lubbe, 1994a:5).In 1993 PRISA introduced a new system for membership registration, by which points areallocated, based on qualifications and experience, to determine an individual member=s level ofmembership. The new registration system makes provision for the following membershipcategories: Affiliate and Associate (non-voting), Public Relations Practitioner (PRP), CharteredPublic Relations Practitioner (CPRP) and Accredited in Public Relations (APR) (Skinner et al.,2001:22-23).The South African body of knowledge for public relations was completed in 1980 as part ofPRISA=s professionalisation action launched in the late 1970s (Krause, quoted by Ferreira,1990:34).PRISA appointed its first education committee in 1957, and introduced its first short course in1958 (Lean, quoted by Roodt, 1988:60). The Institute appointed a full-time director of education(now called managing director) in 1989 (Ferreira, 1990:36), and has since established the PRISAEducation & Training Centre (PE&TC) - which is registered as a separate company - at itsdirectorate in Johannesburg. Full-time staff members of the PE&TC serve on the advisorycommittees for public relations education at a number of technikons, and also act as moderatorsfor the subjects Public Relations III and IV for a number of technikons in the country. Inaddition, the managing director of the PE&TC serves on the NSB for Business, Commerce andManagement Studies, and two other staff members serve on the SGB for Public Relations andCommunication Management (Van Niekerk, 2002a).159The PE&TC is conditionally registered as a private higher educational institution by the SouthAfrican Department of Education (PE&TC, 2002:3). The Centre offers a number of publicrelations courses including introductory, specialisation and continuing education learningprogrammes; a public relations management course aimed at senior practitioners; and a threeyeartertiary diploma. In designing these courses, PRISA made provision for a non-formal careerpath as well as a formal career path in public relations, both leading to accreditation status. Theformal career path is followed by candidates who have a three-year diploma or degree, whereasthe non-formal path is followed by candidates without matric (PE&TC, 2002:3,5).PRISA has a licence agreement with several commercial colleges in South Africa andneighbouring countries, as well as a number of technikons to offer some of its courses (PE&TC,2001b).In terms of an agreement signed with Technikon Witwatersrand in 2000, graduates of the threeyearPRISA Diploma can further their studies at this technikon through higher degrees in PublicRelations Management (Anon., 2000:4). The PRISA Diploma is also recognised internationallyby the IPR in Britain. This is the first qualification outside Britain which has been recognised bythe IPR (Anon., 2001b:5).The PE&TC facilitates an annual academic conference which is attended by academics involvedwith public relations and communication education (PE&TC, 2001a:3). The first conference ofthis kind was held in 1992. In the same year PRISA introduced an educator=s award, a prizeawarded annually to a meritorious public relations educator (Anon., 1992b:5). The first awardwas presented in 1993 (Moscardi & Honiball, 1993:6). The Institute=s magazine, Communika,also has a regular section on education.PRISA introduced a voluntary accreditation examination in 1987 (Skinner & Von Essen,1995:23). Accreditation enables a practitioner to use the designation APR as a symbol ofprofessional status (Skinner et al., 2001:23). A new system for accreditation, doing away withthe written examination, was introduced in 1997 (Anon., 1997:1). The new process was basedon an oral assessment, and one of two routes could be followed to gain admission. The first wassuccessful completion of the PE&TC course in Public Relations Management, while the second160entailed presenting a proposal document. In both instances candidates first had to obtain 70points under the PRISA registration system, which means that comprehensive experience in thepractice or teaching of public relations was required (PRISA, 2001). In January 2003 theaccreditation examination process was changed again, with the new format consisting of selfstudy,a two-day workshop and both written and oral assessments (Moscardi, 2002b:1).PRISA negotiated cross-recognition of qualifications with other countries, resulting inaccreditation status of PRISA members being recognised in the USA, Canada, Britain, Australiaand New Zealand (Anon., 2002:22; PE&TC, 2001a:4).A process is also underway to register PRISA=s accreditation programme with the NationalQualifications Framework in South Africa, which will mean that APR status will be recognisedby the Government as a professional qualification (Van Niekerk, 2002a).PRISA=s contact with the rest of Africa takes place mainly through IPRA. The PRISADirectorate also occasionally receives newsletters from public relations societies in Kenya,Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Some consultants in Africa use PRISA for networking, while countriessuch as Nigeria and Mozambique send practitioners to South Africa to complete PRISA courses(Van Niekerk, 2002a).Apart from PRISA, there are a number of smaller public relations societies in South Africa.Examples include the Institute for Municipal Public Relations Officers (IMPRO); the SouthernAfrica Institute of Fundraising (SAIF); UNITECH, the organisation that unites public relationspractitioners employed by technikons and universities; and the Exhibition Association ofSouthern Africa (EXSA) (EXSA, 2000; Moscardi, 2002a; SAIF, s.a.).3.7.3.1.2 Public relations educationAccording to Roodt (1988:59), public relations education is by far the most developedknowledge attribute of the profession in South Africa. At tertiary level, public relations can bestudied at public and private universities and colleges, technikons, through the Institute ofAdministration and Commerce (IAC) and through PRISA.161At public universities in South Africa, public relations is taught as part of a degree incommunication, journalism and media studies, communication management or businesscommunication (Anon., 1995a:12-13). Students may also continue their studies and specialise inpublic relations at the honours, master=s and doctoral level. At some universities, public relationsis also taught as a separate management function, as part of business economics within abachelor of commerce degree (Moscardi & Honiball, 1993:5) or an MBA. A number ofuniversities have also recently introduced structured master=s degrees in corporatecommunication. Examples include the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), PotchefstroomUniversity for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHE) and the University of the Free State(UFS).Communication education at universities began in South Africa in 1960 when the PU for CHElaunched a degree programme in journalism. The University of South Africa (UNISA) followed,with the introduction of a post-graduate diploma in journalism in 1963 (Gerbner & Schramm,1990:17), which was replaced by a degree programme in communication in 1969 (Fourie,1990:3). After this, many other universities introduced degrees in communication, withsubdisciplines like mass communication and public relations (Fourie, 1990:2). In 1978 theSouthern African Communication Association (SACOMM) was founded, to promoteCommunication Science as an academic discipline (SACOMM, 1995:1). In 1999, SACOMMexpressed an interest in joining IFCA, and intends to do so when the envisaged restructuring ofthe former association is completed (Ströh, 1999:1-2).A three-year N Dip Public Relations was introduced in 1981 at Technikon Witwatersrand,Technikon Pretoria, Natal Technikon (now called the Durban Institute of Technology) and CapeTechnikon. By the mid-1980s, the Port Elizabeth Technikon, ML Sultan Technikon (now alsopart of the Durban Institute of Technology) and Vaal Triangle Technikon had also introducedthis programme (Ferreira, 1990:38). Technikon SA introduced this diploma, as a distancelearning programme, in 1994.In 1988 a task group was formed by the relevant technikons, to revise the existing diploma and toplan further qualifications in public relations (Ferreira, 1990:39). The revised diploma and twonew qualifications, the National Higher Diploma and the M Tech Diploma in Public Relations,162were approved by the Minister of National Education in 1991 (Garbers, 1991:1; Klopper,1991:1). In 1993 the Technikon Act (no. 125) was amended, allowing technikons to issuedegrees (SA, 1993:1-26). The Higher and M Tech diplomas have consequently been phased out,and replaced by the four-year B Tech and a five-year M Tech degree in Public RelationsManagement, approved by the Minister of Education in 1994. The D Tech degree in PublicRelations Management was approved by the Minister in the same year (Strydom, 1994:1). Thename of the three-year diploma simultaneously changed to that of N Dip in Public RelationsManagement.Eastern Cape Technikon started offering the N Dip in Public Relations Management in 2002(Ndaba, 2002).The IAC introduced a three-year course in management with specialisation in public relations in1987 (Ferreira, 1990:39). The IAC administers the examination and the course can be studiedthrough various colleges (IAC, 2001).In accordance with the Higher Education Act (1997), private higher education providers arerequired to register with the South African Department of Education. The courses that theseinstitutions offer are accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE), established in 1998(SAQA, 2002b). In accordance with a new academic policy for higher education, including adiploma/degree structure, private and foreign higher education providers can apply to the CHE tooffer degrees (CHE, 2002). PRISA has submitted an application to change its three-yeardiploma to a degree course (Van Niekerk, 2002b), while a number of private institutions, such asthe Graduate Academy of South Africa, Bond South Africa and the Midrand Graduate Institute,have conditionally registered degree courses in public relations or communication with SAQA(SAQA, 2002a).An honours degree in communication, the three-year N Dip in Public Relations Managementoffered by technikons and PRISA=s three-year diploma are all accepted by PRISA as equalqualifications for membership registration purposes (PRISA, 2002b). Private educationproviders who offer three-year diploma or degree courses in public relations still need to apply toPRISA to obtain formal recognition of those courses for registration purposes (Van Niekerk,1632002b).3.7.3.2 Development on the rest of the continentThis section provides a brief overview of the development of public relations practice andeducation on the rest of the African continent.3.7.3.2.1 Public relations practiceIn most countries in the rest of Africa, professional organisation in public relations started laterthan in South Africa (Ferreira, 1999:32). One exception is Zimbabwe, where an association forpublic relations - now called the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Relations (ZIPR) - was alsoestablished in 1957 (Dickens, 1997).According to Rhodes and Baker (1994:287), in the Southern African region, the practice ofpublic relations is most advanced in South Africa and Zimbabwe. In the other nine countries,public relations is served by few practitioners, although the industry is growing in size.Swaziland recently formed its own public relations association (IPRA, 2001c), while Botswana,Lesotho and Namibia rely on neighbouring PRISA for professional organisation and educationand development (Ferreira, 1999:36). PRISA has recently formed chapters for practitioners inNamibia and Botswana (Van Niekerk, 2002a).Examples of public relations societies established not long after PRISA include: the NigerianInstitute of Public Relations, formed in 1963 in the form of the then Public Relations Associationof Nigeria; the Public Relations Society of Kenya, established in 1971; the Sudan PublicRelations Association, formed in 1973; and the Public Relations Association of Uganda, formedin 1976 (Mutabaah, quoted by Ferreira, 1999:32; Njuguna, quoted by Ferreira, 1999:38;Borhan, 1993:19; Ogunmakin, 1993:71-73).In 1975 an organisation that attempts to unite public relations practitioners in Africa was formedin Nairobi, and named the Federation of African Public Relations Associations (FAPRA)164(Opukah, 1992:16). FAPRA was established to cover both the Francophone and Anglophoneparts of Africa, although Opukah (1993:15) regards the Anglophone sector as more active as faras public relations is concerned.3.7.3.2.2 Public relations educationEducation courses in public relations in Africa are varied, and range from in-service training byemployers and within government ministries (Mazrui, quoted by Ferreira, 1999:39) to formaltertiary diploma, degree and post-degree courses. A variety of short courses are offered indifferent countries by development agencies, professional institutes and private colleges(Ferreira, 1999:39-40,47). At tertiary level, many public relations programmes in Africa aretaught as part of a B-degree in communication, mass communication or journalism (Ferreira,1999:41). Some universities also teach public relations to complement other disciplines such asmarketing and business management (Nartey, 1988:26). A number of distance learningprogrammes in public relations are also available in Africa. Examples include degree and postdegreecourses offered by UNISA, the diplomas offered by the IAC and Technikon SA and theM.Sc. distance learning programme offered by the University of Stirling in Britain (Ferreira,1999:46-47; Pieczk, quoted by Ferreira, 1999:47).3.7.4 Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication ManagementThe latest development in the global organisation of public relations was the establishment of theGlobal Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management in 2000. This new entityis an alliance of associations worldwide, and provides a framework for collaboration in publicrelations at a global level. Twenty public relations associations from all over the world wereinvolved in the founding of this organisation.The need for an alliance of this kind came with the realisation that more and more publicrelations practitioners represent organisations that transcend national boundaries, and thateveryone is increasingly affected by global trends and issues. The Global Alliance aims toenhance networking opportunities for practitioners, and to serve as a vehicle for examiningethical standards and universal accreditation options (GAPR&CM, 2001:1). Other areas of165mutual interest being explored include education and professional development (Anon., 2001a).PRISA was one of twenty associations which founded the Global Alliance for Public Relationsand Communication Management (GAPR&CM, 2001:1). The executive director of PRISA alsocurrently serves on the board of the Global Alliance (Van Niekerk, 2002a).3.8 THE IMPACT OF GLOBALISATION ON PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICEAND EDUCATIONIt is evident in contemporary literature on public relations that this profession is no exception toincreasing exposure to the forces of globalisation covered in the previous chapter. Firstly,increased global contact in public relations practice and education is evident in the existence ofIPRA, the IABC, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management andother international associations mentioned in the previous sections. Secondly, the emergence ofglobal public relations consultancy networks is evidence of the need of organisations to practisepublic relations outside the borders of their own country. Thirdly, various authors emphasise theneed for public relations practitioners to redefine their role and acquire new competencies toadapt to emerging forces of globalisation and resulting changing paradigms in business, socialand other spheres of life. In fact, White and Mazur (1995:50) argue that nowhere is a globaloutlook more important than in communication: >Regardless of nationality, professionals whohave created cross-border public affairs/public relations networks are at the forefront of helpingtheir organisations present a coherent and consistent approach.= Verwey (2000:64), in turn,suggests that shifting geographic boundaries, and the evolution of virtual communities, imposenew demands on public relations practitioners for counselling based on improved access torelevant information from around the world. This requires new broad-based competence in anumber of fields, and a redefinition of the role of practitioners, in order to remain relevant inemerging global trends. She singles out the ability to interpret external developments and topredict future trends and formulate plans to address them, as being of particular importance topractitioners in the new global environment (Verwey, 2000:52).As was stated in the introduction to this chapter, public relations has the potential to play a rolein counteracting those disintegrating forces of globalisation covered in the previous chapter. Inthe process it could contribute towards global unity and understanding, as suggested in previous166sections. Changes needed in the role and functions of public relations practice and thecompetencies required in order to contribute to measures to counteract the disintegrating forcesof globalisation, are discussed in the rest of this section. This discussion is preceded by anoverview of how public relations is influenced by three major forces of globalisation, as outlinedin the previous chapter: the New Economy, the Communication Revolution and the NetworkSociety. Lastly, possible measures to counteract a particularly damaging disintegrating force inpublic relations brought about by the Internet, namely online sabotage, are suggested.3.8.1 The influence of global forces on public relationsThis section provides an overview of the impact of globalisation on public relations practice andeducation, in terms of new competencies required.3.8.1.1 Public relations and the New EconomyIt is suggested by various authors that the emergence of the New Economy broadens the scope ofpublic relations and calls for a redefinition of the role of the latter. According to Capozzi(2001:16), the arrival in every market of more and more international corporations is creatingdemands for public relations services in both existing and emerging markets everywhere.Geimann (2001) mentions globalisation of businesses and rapid mergers as some of the factorsnecessitating a new role for public relations practitioners. Goldman (1998:43) mentionsinternational competition as a force redefining public relations work, forcing practitioners to bemore entrepreneurial, flexible and independent, and to expand marketing and public relationsefforts. Salerno (2001:12) suggests that demands for public relations services are at an all-timehigh owing to the creation of new markets by the Internet and virtual companies. Furthermore,Verwey (2000:53) suggests that the New Economy brings about a need for businesstransformation which represents a fundamental shift in the relationships of corporations toindividuals and to society as a whole. As a result of increased competition, media relations haveto become more knowledge-based, necessitating new, imaginative forms of informationdistribution and more narrowcasting - i.e. programming customised for the individual (Verwey,2000:54).Hirigoyen (2000:40) suggests that, as a result of the blurred boundaries between economies,167together with the global 24-hour news cycle and diverse audiences, all public relationspractitioners are engaged in global public relations. According to Watson (1991:113), asignificant portion of the large volume of current communication traffic is involved inconducting business, and it is therefore not surprising that international business-to-businesspublic relations is blossoming. Wilcox et al. (1992:411) identify public relations as an essentialingredient in the global marketing megamix created as a result of the New Economy, and call formanagers as well as employees to learn to think and act in global terms.3.8.1.2 Public relations and the Communication RevolutionAccording to Wilson (1996:10), few things have more profoundly affected the practice of publicrelations than the dawn of desktop computers, followed by the advent of instantaneous globalcommunication. These two forces have converged to create a revolution in public interaction,based on digital telecommunication. Grupp (2000:34) suggests that, in the context of newtechnology, public relations practitioners have become e-communicators and managers of onlinestrategic relationships. He also assigns to practitioners the role of stewardship for the content ofthe Internet, that otherwise is just an unfiltered commodity.The Communication Revolution has brought about many benefits and new opportunities inpublic relations, but also new challenges and the need for new skills.According to Geimann (2001), the Internet has accelerated the evolution of public relations andcreated all-day news and information consumers. As a result of the Communication Revolution,being physically located in a particular centre is no longer a prerequisite for participation inglobal public relations. Advanced telecommunication, which instantly disseminates news andinformation around the globe, means that audiences today are multinational and even global(Hirigoyen, 2000:39). In this regard, Seitel (2001:474) suggests that while the new media willincreasingly capture public attention in the most creative ways, public relations professionalswill have to be equally creative to keep up with the new media and harness them for persuasivepurposes.Some of the major benefits and opportunities of the online media for the practice of public168relations, include: increased contact with publics, including opportunities for interactivecommunication and immediate feedback; ease of collecting information about competitors andother relevant topics; opportunities for global media coverage; the means to narrowcastinformation to reporters, opinion leaders, consumers, etc.; instant delivery of news - includingtext, video, sound and photographs - to reporters by means of media kits and online mediarooms; e-mail interviews and chat rooms to facilitate discussion; online promotions; ease ofarchiving documents for easy reference and ease of updating documents; communication withemployees by means on intranets, including online newsletters, questionnaires, onlinediscussions, etc.; communication with specialised external audiences by means of extranets; theopportunity for prearranged cyberconferences; the ability to respond instantly to emerging issuesand market changes; providing easy access to copies of speeches, publications, new productinformation, executive biographies, historical information, contact names and numbers, etc. byplacing these online; providing frequently-asked-questions sections; the ability to track andtrace transactions and build portfolios of customers; ease in building alliances and solicitingpartnerships; and the opportunity to use an Internet website during times of crisis, to deal withthe onslaught of customers and media requests (Mersham & Skinner, 2001b:202,205;Schenkein, 2001:31-32; Seitel, 2001:304-305,308-316; Grupp, 2000:34; Ha & Pratt,2000:30,33).While the Internet has revolutionised public relations communication, it has also brought aboutnew challenges, as new technology makes organisations more open to scrutiny by customers.Dissatisfied customers can use the Internet to tell computers around the world about their badexperiences with a company=s product or service (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:313). In thisregard, one of the major threats to public relations is that of online sabotage in the form of ethicalterrorism or >anti-sites=. This refers to the practice of critics building websites to stage attacks onan organisation=s practices (Waltz, quoted by Geimann, 2001). Fringe groups can also spreaddamaging messages across the globe in an instant by means of e-mail, organisations can receivefalsified information and organisations or individuals can be harassed (Ha & Pratt, 2000:30).Skills needed by public relations practitioners with regard to the new media and measures to dealwith the threat of online sabotage are outlined in Sections 3.8.2.9 and 3.8.2.10.3.8.1.3 Public relations and the Network Society169Globalisation in public relations brings about opportunities for the establishment of networks.Vallun (1999:28-29), who points out evidence that global communication budgets are changing,with a growing share going to public relations at the expense of advertising, argues that nonmultinationalclients can also benefit from the trend of globalisation in public relations, becauseof the sharing of intellectual property brought about by international partnerships. Nonmultinationalclients can also benefit from increased access to experience in other parts of theworld; the opportunity to network with multinational clients in pursuit of future business spinoffs;access to public relations support in other parts of the world when embarking upon export;foreign investment or foreign fundraising initiatives; and exposure to global standards ofperformance and delivery.As no one public relations practitioner, department or consultancy could possibly possess thenecessary knowledge to operate effectively in all global markets, the use of global professionalnetworks becomes essential in launching programmes across borders. Black (2000:107) suggeststhat public relations across borders can be organised by employing the services of largeinternational consultancies with offices worldwide, or public relations networks operating on aninformal basis. Alternatively, practitioners can plug into a network, but coordinate activitiesthemselves (White and Mazur, 1995:75). Other options include recruiting public relations staffin each individual country. This can be an effective solution where a proper localcommunication network is established. Yet another is to include the services of global networksof independent consultancies (Haywood, 1991:23). Black (2000:108) also argues in favour ofglobal partnerships to achieve public relations goals.Stevens (1998:18) regards the founding of the Council for Public Relations Networks in 1997 asevidence of the growing interest in using the network approach in public relations, in order toshare expertise, resources and information. This Council was the first-ever association ofinternational public relations networks, and was formed to market the advantages and benefits ofsuch an organisation.A number of authors refer to sponsorship as a tool which can be used within the globalcommunication and promotional mix of an organisation, and for the establishment of networks.170Black (2000:112) regards international sponsorships as an >international calling card= which canbe used effectively as a tool of global and international communication. According to Norman(1991:133), some of the benefits of international sponsorship include a statement of the >globalnature= of a company; the fact that sport, music and environmental sponsorships rarely needtranslation; and the opportunity for the development of global relationships, for instance withgovernments and business.Mersham and Skinner (1999:205-206) mention the Internet, intranets and extranets as networksaffecting the nature of public relations work. While an organisation=s Internet website can beregarded as the public face it presents to the world, an intranet is a structure for internalcommunication, allowing for the formation of employee networks. Extranets tend to be used forbusiness-to-business communication and transactions, allowing for communication between anorganisation and its customers and suppliers on a more >selective= basis than on the Internet.Thus, extranets allow for the creation of more specialised external networks. Verwey (2000:57)mentions that new media networks could also be used to promote dialogue between publicrelations professionals, suggesting that networking between practitioners could be particularlybeneficial during times of transformation.3.8.2 The potential role of public relations in counteracting the disintegrating forces ofglobalisationThis section provides an outline of the potential role of public relations in the measures outlinedin Section 2.7.4 to counteract disintegrating forces of globalisation.3.8.2.1 Research followed by multilateral dialogueHoward (2001:42) refers to the potential role which public relations can play in the currentbacklash against globalisation. She argues that the backlash occurs because of a breakdown incommunication. Public relations professionals can assist in resolving the resulting conflict bystepping in to offer services to those being targeted, either to play a role in developing solutions,that include establishing dialogue with those on the other side, or to work at keeping the clientout of the headlines. Vogl (2001:21) takes this view further, by assigning to public relations171professionals the responsibility to initiate research and education in the area of global corporatesocial responsibility issues, in response to the NGO criticism of aspects of global corporatebehaviour winning the attention of the world=s media.3.8.2.2 A people-centred approachAccording to Verwey (2000:55), paradigm shifts driven by new technology manifest in a newsocial complexity, to which organisations have to adapt. This implies a new relationship toindividuals and society as a whole, with major implications for public relations. One of themanifestations of this change is greater input from humanitarian groups, and pressure onorganisations to be more responsible and to accept accountability for the way in which they useresources and contribute to the environment (Verwey, 2000:55).A number of authors point out the role that public relations can play in enhancing social justicein the global environment. According to Howard (2001:43), practitioners can developprogrammes to integrate human-rights strategies into the business planning and implementationprocess. Vogl (2001:22) suggests that, in response to the anti-globalisation movement, corporatepublic relations executives should help their enterprises to strive for the highest levels of globalcorporate citizenship, by demanding a responsibility of their corporations to contribute to social,humanitarian, environmental and economic development. Delahaye Paine (2001:47), in turn,argues that the role of public relations practitioners in the 21st century should not be one ofmanaging >reality=, but of shaping the actions and deeds of their companies. This implies that, asreputation managers, practitioners should assist their organisations to new heights of socialresponsibility and institutional respect, not just craft messages.Banks (1995:25) adds to the task of public relations the responsibility to nurture positive andsupportive communities. He suggests that organisations should recognise that their long-termability to survive, depends on fostering an attitude of social responsibility that nurtures sociallyhealthy communities among their various publics (Banks, 1995:20).3.8.2.3 Global restructuring172Cole-Morgan (1991:165) suggests that public relations can make a contribution to raisingawareness of the world environment and imbalances that have been created. He argues thatindividuals, commercial organisations and governments throughout the world need to beconvinced that action is needed to restore the balance, and that no public relations programmeshould ignore this responsibility.Howard (2001:42) argues that the backlash against global capitalism is really a cry for leadershipto develop a new framework that will help narrow the divide between wealth and poverty. Inthis regard, she suggests that public relations practitioners should work with corporate leaders toidentify global trends which affect them, and play a role in developing strategy when the newframeworks for the global economy are being developed (Howard, 2001:43).Vogl (2001:21) suggests that public relations executives participate in meetings that aim to buildconsensus, and forge standards between government, NGOs and business, on key global issues.He also calls for greater involvement of practitioners in key international conferences oncorporate social responsibility, and for corporate sponsorship of new initiatives on key issues byrespected NGOs (Vogl, 2001:22).3.8.2.4 Global regulation and ethicsVogl (2001:19) assigns to public relations professionals the responsibility to assist theircompanies to agree to societal responsibilities, as called for by UN Secretary General KofiAnnan, rather than leaving global social responsibility issues to corporate lawyers or ethicsofficers. Verwey (2000:64-65) regards public relations as the change agent of an organisation,and suggests that it should challenge the dominant worldviews and practices of organisationswhen these are perceived to be unjust.Vogl (2001:20) identifies the following as some of the global issues currently on the globalpublic relations agenda: ethics and compliance with government rules, regulations and laws;human rights and labour issues; the elimination of corruption and money laundering;environmental issues; and supporting free-market systems and structures that assistgovernmental policy-making to build competitive, transparent and well-regulated markets. He173suggests that public relations professionals assist in these issues by ensuring that theircorporations are seen as meeting larger societal responsibilities.Vogl (2001:20) argues that public relations is uniquely placed to track, understand and dialoguewith organisations that are defining global social responsibility. He suggests that thepractitioners track the role of global organisations such as NGOs, religious groups, shareholdergroups, organised labour and international agencies such as the UN, WTO, etc., in order toimplement pro-active programmes which will secure images of their corporations as globalleaders in the area of social responsibility.Public relations staff should also ensure that their corporations develop a code of ethics and thatemployees know and understand this code (Vogl, 2001:22).3.8.2.5 Effective government frameworkPublic relations can contribute to effective governance in the area of social investment, byworking in partnership with government in the implementation of corporate social investmentprogrammes. Furthermore, as change agents, public relations professionals are in a position toinfluence public policy.Mersham et al. (1995:78) point out that, as change agents, public relations practitioners occupy aspecial place in the networks of decision-makers as identifiers of issues, and counsellors topolicy makers. They often have direct access to top management, and are represented on keypolicy-making committees. By definition, public relations has an advisory role, keepingmanagement informed and responsive to shifts in social needs.In this regard, it can be assumed that public relations can act as change agent also in governmentprocesses. Owing to their advisory role, public relations executives are placed in a positionwhere they can lobby and participate in the process of policy-making, to reconstruct social normsand order, to create a technological infrastructure in rural areas, to empower rural citizens byincreasing access to information, etc.1743.8.2.6 Improved regional strategiesPublic relations can play a role in preventing disintegrating forces of globalisation resulting inloss of cultural identity and community, by adapting programmes to the needs of localcommunities.Kruckeberg and Starck (quoted by Banks, 1995:19) advance the idea that public relations isuniquely positioned in contemporary society to restore and maintain the sense of community thatwas lost with the advent of mass media and high-speed transportation. They argue that publicrelations can be used to re-create the sense of community, but only if practitioners enact the roleof communication facilitators with the primary goal of altruistic community support, instead ofenacting the role of institutional advocate with the primary goal of enhancing the role of theinstitution=s reputation and gaining assent (Banks, 1995:20).Verwey (2000:54) stresses the necessity to unite local and global interests within a globalbusiness and communication strategy, and the need to understand and value diversity.According to Vogl (2001:20), local community and national cultural issues pertaining to thesocial behaviour of organisations are affecting global public relations. Public relationsprofessionals should assist their corporations towards social responsibility by implementingprogrammes which enhance respect for national customs, traditions, religions, etc. (Vogl,2001:19-20).Howard (2001:43), in turn, suggests that practitioners employed by multinational companiesoperating in developing countries, should work with country-specific teams to createprogrammes that do not upset the balance within the local cultures.3.8.2.7 Emphasis on developmentAuthors such as Mersham et al. (1995), Jefkins (1992), Mersham (1992) and Al-Enad (1990)recognise the potential of public relations to contribute towards development in Third Worldcountries. Jefkins (1992:230) states that nowhere else are public relations techniques of greater175value than in developing countries. According to Al-Enad (1990:26), this value lies in the factthat public relations can be used as a trigger for positive societal changes. Mersham et al.(1995:26) support this view by suggesting that public relations is at the cutting edge of socialchange, and is increasingly charged with communicating development messages and facilitatingthe development process in developing countries. This is culminating in a >secondary= role forpublic relations, namely that of agent for development communication and change (Mersham etal., 1995:30).Areas in which public relations professionals can contribute towards the development process inthe Third World include: the facilitation of communication between local institutions, leadersand other groups, and First World development facilitators; the employment of communicationskills to overcome negative stages of hostility, prejudice, apathy and ignorance, which oftenhamper development strategies (Mersham et al., 1995:26, 77); and the education oforganisational managers on the importance of social accountability and social investment(Mersham, 1992:54-59).3.8.2.8 Appropriate managerial paradigmsThis section provides an overview of the application to public relations of those managerialparadigms identified in Section 2.7.4.8, to counteract disintegrating forces of globalisation.3.8.2.8.1 A holistic, global perspectiveAnderson (quoted by Black, 2000:103) argues that historical developments of momentousimportance since World War II make it imperative for everyone in public relations to acquire aglobal perspective on behalf of employees and clients.Wakefield (2000:36) calls for public relations practitioners who >can see the big picture=. Hesuggests that, in the new global arena, practitioners need to be problem-solvers across borders,because, with the variety of global channels for monitoring and pressuring corporations today,those who do not show empathy for societal problems will not prosper.Hayes (1998:10) calls for a holistic approach in global public relations, to plan and bring about176true integration between in-house functions and external advisors.As has been pointed out in the previous chapter, new managerial paradigms call for flatterhierarchies and the empowerment of employees. This implies new challenges for publicrelations professionals, as employee communication becomes more important (Verwey,2000:57). In this regard, utilising an intranet as a structure for internal communication can bebeneficial. The intranet is bringing about changes in management style, which entail a moveaway from hierarchical structures, facilitating employee participation (Mersham & Skinner,1999:206).3.8.2.8.2 A global mindset in strategic communicationHaywood (1991:21) is of the opinion that few organisations today can have a totally domesticperspective, even if they are not operating outside their own national borders. This is becausethe issues that are concerning people often have a relevance around the world. Thus, nationalpublic relations is increasingly becoming part of the bigger, global public relations scene.Linscott (1991:101) supports this view by stating that the dramatic growth of informationtechnology means that public relations operates in the international arena. Even practitionerswho specialise in the home market, need an appreciation of global activities, in order to be trulysuccessful.White and Mazur (1995:71) argue that, if globalisation of business is a reality, then globalisationof communication strategy and programmes cannot be far behind. Eisenberg and Goodall(1997:6), in turn, suggest that success in global business requires global and internationalcommunication skills, and that globalisation requires organisations to communicate in ways thattranscend time and space.According to Leichsering (1998:35), globalisation necessitates that public relations professionalsfollow an integrated and global approach in communication strategies. Corporations have to beextremely fast and flexible in the ways they communicate and react, and communication shouldbe multicultural and integrated.1773.8.2.8.3 Standardisation vs adaptation: making an appropriate choiceAccording to White and Mazur (1995:(xvi)), one of the biggest challenges facing public relationsin the global context is managing programmes across borders consistently and effectively. Whatcontributes to the complexity is the multicultural aspect, but also different markets, which are atdifferent stages of development.Geimann (2001) suggests that, as national boundaries are becoming irrelevant, customising amessage based on geography is risky. However, various authors argue in favour of practisingadaptation rather than standardisation in public relations across borders. Haywood (1991:22)suggests that, though many organisations are international in operation, they have learnt thatcommunication is extremely local and very personal. While some transcontinental messagesmay be acceptable, most of those that affect people=s lives need to be presented to them from ashort range, in a language and style that they can accept.Heylin (1991:19) also argues in favour of the adage >think global, act local= in planningcommunication strategy. She argues that, as cultural, regulatory, financial media andgovernment relations vary from country to country, public relations practice should be adapted tolocal needs and conditions.3.8.2.8.4 MulticulturalismAccording to Goldman (1998:44), one of the reasons why public relations is expected to grow inthe global era, is the need to manage communication in far-flung organisations that span manycultures and languages. According to Verwey (2000:54), as a result of globalisation, the targetsof public relations programming are becoming increasingly multicultural and diverse. Thechallenge for practitioners in the increasingly multicultural context is not just a matter ofovercoming language barriers, but also of understanding the cultural nuances that can impact onthe execution of public relations strategies. Macdonald (1991:43) points out that, whenoperating across different time zones, often in different languages, timing and wording are evenmore important than when working in a single market. According to Mersham et al. (1995:182),practitioners in the global environment have to negotiate a multiplicity of languages, customs178and values, in order to create mutual understanding.The above implies a need for focus on cultural diversity in public relations. According to Banks(1995:32), who argues in favour of a multicultural perspective in public relations, people areaggregated into target groups on the basis of their perspectives on an issue. In this sense, allrelevant publics are cultural groups, and public relations communication efforts can be viewed asattempts at intercultural communication. Banks (1995:21) defines multicultural public relationsas >the management of formal communication between organisations and their relevant publics tocreate and maintain communities of interest and action that favour the organisation, taking fullaccount of the normal human variation in the systems of meaning by which groups understandand enact their everyday lives=.3.8.2.9 EducationAs the public relations profession is redefining itself in the global context, new competencies arecalled for. The literature consulted emphasises a need for knowledge of global forces, broadbasedmultidisciplinary education, multiculturalism and skills pertaining to the new media.Mersham et al. (1995:182) point out that business and government will increasingly requirepractitioners who have a substantial knowledge of international aspects of the social sciences,humanities, business law and cross-cultural communication.The Commission on Public Relations Education of the PRSA spent two years working onrecommendations for a new public relations curriculum. In its final report in 1999 itrecommended, among others, knowledge of multicultural and global issues (Geimann, 2001).With regard to multiculturalism, Capozzi (2001:16) suggests that learning the geographies,cultures and practices indigenous to different locales is a necessity in managing the increasinglyglobal practice of public relations. As the average young practitioner=s public relationsexperience is not likely to be of a global nature, Capozzi recommends that consultancies withinternational exposure provide opportunities for internships for young practitioners.Wakefield (2000:36) suggests that, in the new global context, public relations practitioners179should be skilled not only in communication, but also in global economics and politics,mediation and cultural anthropology.Grupp (2000:34) argues that the task of managing and protecting the online image of anorganisation belongs to public relations and not to information technology staff, lawyers or thesales and marketing department. This implies that public relations staff should be trained ecommunicators.Fogelman-Beyer (2001:28) suggests that public relations staff keep up withtechnological changes, and possess the latest knowledge, skills and ideas in this area, includingknowledge of software products - e.g. Vocus Public Relations - which can be used to build andmanage campaigns. Practitioners need the necessary technical competencies to facilitate mediacoverage via the Internet. They need to know how to compile e-mail media releases,accompanied by graphics, file attachments and links to websites, and how to establish an onlinemedia room complete with current media releases, fact sheets, contact information andcontinuous updates (Schenkein, 2001:31). Lissauer (2000:28) points out that practitioners needto know how to provide information in the format required by an online newsroom. Forexample, they need to know the difference between .jpeg, .gif, .eps and .tif files. They also needto know how to deliver their information in downloadable and multimedia form, includingstreaming video and audio, corporate logos and graphics, PowerPoint slide presentations,financial spreadsheets and photography (Lissauer, 2000:26-28). Mersham and Skinner(2001b:210) also suggest that practitioners possess knowledge of multimedia design. Seitel(2001:259-260), in turn, suggests knowledge of writing for the Internet, as this calls for a stylethat is different from writing for other media.Practitioners also need to be aware of their additional responsibilities with regard to Internetcommunication. Ha and Pratt (2000:30,32-33) point out that practitioners neglect to regularlyupdate websites, neglect to mention when the information was last updated, neglect the issue ofprivacy of visitors and fail to include interactive devices and some form of survey and feedbacksection on their company websites.As far as media relations across borders are concerned, a number of authors suggest, as a startingpoint, knowledge of a number of major media with a global reach. Black (2000:111) points outthat, while it is more difficult to draw up a media list when working across borders, knowledge180of international newspapers such as the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and InternationalHerald Tribune could be a starting point. Barnett (2001:30) adds the websites of global mediasuch as CNN.com, BusinessWeek.com, Newsbytes, etc. In South Africa, knowledge of onlinenews services such as News24.com, Channelafrica.org, News by Industry, 365Press.com, thenews sections of search engines such as Ananzi and Internet websites of national media such asthe Financial Times, Daily Mail & Guardian, FutureCompany and Summit, can also be helpful.Of particular importance is the South African branch of PR Newswire, a worldwidecommunication support service to public relations and industrial relations professionals. Thiswebsite specialises in the electronic delivery of breaking news releases and information directlyfrom consultancies, companies and institutions through satellite feed, fax and Internet networks(PR Newswire, 2002). SAPressRelease.com offers a similar service for regional coverage, withtracking provided to more than 1000 African newsrooms (Anon., 2002c).3.8.2.10 Counteracting online sabotage in pubic relationsGrady and Gimple (1998:24) argue that online sabotage, as discussed in Section 3.6.1.2, shouldbe of great concern to public relations staff. They point out that, since the new media lower thepoint of entry into mass publishing, virtually anyone can publish anti-company sentiments on aglobal platform via the Internet.Horton (2001:58) suggests that the best way to begin to handle activist charges, is to ascertainwhether they are true, as crisis management begins with facts. In this regard, practitioners needto establish a monitoring programme that tracks online activists . Global organisations shouldmaintain a database of criticisms that can be analysed to see how issues are advancing orretreating. One way to find the sources of criticism and to learn the extent of negative opinion, isthrough content analysis. If charges have a factual base, the organisation can make changes toresolve the issue. If charges are not true, it is best to track activists= progress without necessarilygetting involved with them. However, if rumours become serious and begin to affect theorganisation, the organisation needs to act (Horton, 2001:58-60).Grady and Gimple (1998:24-27) offer a number of methods to act on online sabotage.Organisations can firstly purchase the rights to web addresses that might otherwise become anti181sites; add megatags to their websites to push anti-sites out of view on search engines; have theirwebsites included in a search engine channel; and use media relations strategies to the onlineworld. Public relations staff can also communicate with the owner of an anti-site in an effort toidentify complaints and to try to solve them. A last option is to consider legal action.3.9 THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE FOR THE STUDYAs stated in Chapter 1, the theoretical approach selected for this study is a combination of thesystems and network approaches, and chaos theory. Systems and networks are approached fromthe perspective of complex, dynamic systems and its related paradigm of chaos theory. Inaddition to this, it was stated in Chapters 1 and 2 that the global mindset is adopted for this study.Daniels et al. (2000c:215) describe a global mindset as follows:* to be open to new experiences and change over time* to be willing to learn new skills in order to exploit a global presence* to operate on the premise that cultures can be different without being better or worse thanone another* to dedicate itself to become informed about different value systems, norms of behaviourand assumptions regarding reality* to accept diversity and heterogeneity as natural and as a source of opportunities and astrength rather than a necessary evil.The following discussion of a theoretical perspective for this study, as well as the developmentof a generic model for vocationally-oriented public relations education in the next chapter, arecompleted with the above principles in mind.3.9.1 The systems approachSeveral theorists of public relations link the latter to systems theory. Examples include Cutlip etal. (2000:228-245); Marlow & O=Connor Wilson (1997:7); Windahl et al. (1992:83-94);Fauconnier (1985:120-122); and Grunig and Hunt (1984:8-11,92-111).182Systems reasoning is also found in most definitions of public relations (Windahl et al., 1992:89).Systems thinking is also implied by Grunig and Hunt=s two-way asymmetric and symmetricmodels, and Hutton=s proposed paradigm for public relations, discussed earlier in this chapter.According to Littlejohn (1999:40), the roots of systems thinking began at least as far back as the19th century with the theory of Georg Hegel, who explained historical development in terms ofthe dynamic process of dialectical tension between opposites.A major contribution to the study of systems was made by the work of an American mathematicsprofessor, Norbert Wiener, on cybernetics (O=Connor & McDermott, 1997:236). Wiener(1954:15) introduced the term >cybernetics= in the late 1940s to embrace the wider field of theoryof messages, including the study of messages as a means of controlling machinery and society.Cybernetics focuses on how a system functions - regardless of whether the system is living,mechanical or social - and how the system controls itself by means of feedback. Wienerproposed that the same general principles that control the thermostat may also be seen ineconomic systems, market regulation and political decision-making systems (O=Connor &McDermott, 1997:236).The Austrian-American biologist, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, is generally regarded as the founderof general systems theory (Littlejohn, 1999:41; Neher, 1997:28; Fauconnier, 1985:100). VonBertalanffy (1969:3-248) applied systems theory to a wide variety of systems - natural and socialones - and disciplines. The basic idea of general systems theory as developed by VonBertalanffy, is that the whole equals more than the sum of its parts (Windahl et al., 1992:83).Von Bertalanffy (1969:37-38) defined a system as >a set of elements standing in interaction=, andproposed general systems theory as a general science of wholeness. He drew a distinctionbetween closed and open systems, defining the former as a system which is isolated from itsenvironment and the latter as a system which maintains itself in a continuous inflow from, andoutflow to, the environment (Von Bertalanffy, 1969:39).According to Von Bertalanffy (1969:91), general systems theory tries to derive, from a general183definition of >system= as a complex of interacting components, concepts characteristic oforganised wholes such as interaction, sum, mechanisation, centralisation, competition, finality,etc., and to apply them to concrete phenomena.According to Littlejohn (1992:53), general systems theory is not a singular theory, but should beseen as a broad, multidisciplinary approach to knowledge, based on systems concepts and aimingto integrate accumulated knowledge into a clear universal framework. Biological, psychologicaland socio-cultural systems follow an open model (Littlejohn, 1999:41,44). General systemstheory deals with systems primarily from this open perspective (Littlejohn, 1992:41).Present-day scholars of communication science, such as Barker, et al. (2001:24), Neher(1997:108-109) and Fauconnier (1985:100-101), assign the following characteristics to opensystems, based on the earlier work of Von Bertalanffy (1969:39-40,46,55,66,160-161,208-209,211-215):* Boundaries. Systems are defined by, and set off from, their environments by boundaries,so that one can differentiate the system from its environment.* Wholeness. In a system, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and has its owncharacteristics. Thus, systems theory is holistic.* Interdependence. The parts are dependent upon one another, and affect individualelements and the system as a whole.* Hierarchy. Systems and subsystems are connected at hierarchical levels.* Self-regulation. Systems are goal-seeking entities, and maintain their equilibrium bymeans of feedback.* Adaptability. Self-regulation implies the possibility of changing and adapting toenvironmental changes.* Input, output and throughput. A system=s survival depends upon importing inputs into thesystem, performing some operation on these inputs internally (throughput) and thenreturning some output to the environment.* Specialisation and coordination. The subsystems of a larger system perform differentfunctions, and need to be sufficiently differentiated and coordinated.* Sequences of events and life cycles. Systems go through stages, both as single systems184and as populations of similar organisations. Each individual system repeats a regularcycle of events involving input-throughput-output.* Equifinality. Systems have the capacity to achieve the desired result in various ways.A system may be composed of many smaller subsystems, or form part of a larger system(O=Connor & McDermott, 1997:5). Each of the subsystems is made up of constituent parts, or itsown subsystems. The various subsystems do not exist in isolation, but in continuous relationshipand interaction with other subsystems (Neher, 1997:106). Checkland (2000:A23) proposes thatsystems thinking covers at least three levels: those of system, subsystem and wider system.Cutlip et al. (2000:232) refer to the latter as a suprasystem. When dealing with a hierarchy ofsystems, individuals may make different judgments about which level to take as that of >thesystem=. The concepts >system=, >subsystem= and >wider system= or >suprasystem= are thus relativeterms, and dependent on the choice of the observer (Checkland, 2000:A24).According to Littlejohn (1999:56), systems theory has been a popular and influential tradition incommunication. This is probably because communication and communication processes easilylend themselves to a systems approach (Fauconnier, 1985:112). In fact, Jansen and Steinberg(1991:41) suggest that general systems theory offers the most complete description ofcommunication from a process point of view. Furthermore, the focus on interaction as thelifeblood of a system, is compatible with the view of organisations held by communicationscientists. Consequently, general systems theory was particularly welcomed in the field oforganisational communication, and has remained the dominant viewpoint in this field (Mersham& Skinner, 2001a:25).3.9.1.1 Benefits of systems theoryOne of the main benefits of systems thinking is that it provides a means to cope with verycomplex processes (Checkland, 2000:A24). As the world is becoming increasinglyinterconnected, it is also becoming increasingly complex. According to O=Connor andMcDermott (1997:(xiv-xvi)), systems thinking enables individuals to gain influence over theirlives by seeing patterns that drive events. It is a way in which some rules can be discerned, andprovides some measure of control, as it enables individuals to predict events and prepare for185them. In organisations, systems thinking assists with teams and teambuilding, as teams act assystems.The issue of complexity is of particular importance to this study, with its emphasis onglobalisation. To extend an education programme=s applicability to the global society, is to addenormous complexity.Systems theory also allows for holistic thinking. According to Checkland (2000:A3), systemsthinking in its various forms could be taken to be the very paradigm of thinking holistically.This makes systems thinking particularly suitable for this study, which is based on a holistic,global mindset (see Section 2.9).3.9.1.2 Criticism of systems theoryAs with many other theoretical approaches, there are various points of criticism of systemstheory. Littlejohn (1999:58) points out that some critics question whether the systems approachis a theory at all, claiming that it has no explanatory power. He also refers to critics questioningthe ability of systems theory to generate research. Littlejohn (1999:58-59) attributes thesecriticisms to the extreme generality of the systems approach, and suggests that actual systemstheories of communication should be evaluated on their own merit: >The many theories ofcommunication that make use of systems principles are specific, and help us understand concreteexperiences.=The criticisms mentioned above are not seen as a problem in the context of this study, as thelatter involves specific systems models (see Sections 4.4 and 4.8).According to Vorster (1985:49), the single most important disadvantage of the systems approachis its inability to make accurate and quantifiable predictions about the future of systems. As thisstudy is based on the assumption of an unpredictable environment caused by forces ofglobalisation, this point of criticism is not regarded as a problem for this study, as the latter aimsto provide a method of dealing with the said unpredictability, rather than to make predictionsabout its future.186Another point of criticism concerns the detached view offered by systems theory. According toJansen and Steinberg (1991:43), systems theory offers no insight into the peculiar characteristicsof a particular system, but concerns itself only with the maintenance of the status quo of systems,regardless of the human consequences that their operation may have. Neher (1997:115) adds thatan organisation=s overall goal is usually seen as being maintenance of homeostasis or stability.The organisation=s communication is therefore concerned with regulating information inputs andoutputs, and the flow of information through the subsystems. Organisations may thus be seen asrelatively passive processors of external information. Furthermore, Mersham et al. (1995:48)suggest that the systems approach lacks a human perspective, and ignores the complicatedprocess of exchange of meaning in human communication. Human beings are seen as machines,components or robots acting within a mechanistic system in the >interest of society=.Bormann (1980:254), however, points out that systems studies in communication focus oncollectives, rather than images of human beings. As this study involves a number of largeorganisations and extends beyond national borders, the points of criticism of Steinberg andJansen, Neher and Mersham et al. are also not seen as applicable to this study.While cognisance is taken of the limitations of systems theory, it is nevertheless accepted that thecomplex nature of this study necessitates a broad framework, such as that provided by thesystems perspective, to link the great number of variables involved. Furthermore, in order tobroaden the application of this perspective, systems theory is extended, for the purpose of thestudy, to also cover complex, dynamic systems and chaos theory.3.9.1.3 The systems approach applied to organisationsKatz and Kahn published a book in the 1960s, attempting to extend the description andexplanation of organisational processes by shifting away from earlier emphasis on traditionalconcepts of individual psychology and interpersonal relations, to systems constructs. The workof Katz and Kahn was directed at the utilisation of an open systems point of view for the study oforganisations (Katz & Kahn, 1966:(vii)). They provided a model of an organisation as anenergetic input-output system, taken from the open systems theory as promulgated by Von187Bertalanffy (Katz & Kahn, 1966:18).Katz and Kahn (1966:13,28) advanced the idea that a social organisation could be regarded as anopen system dependent on its environment. According to this viewpoint, organisations share thecharacteristics of other open systems, such as importation of energy from the environment, thethroughput or transformation of the imported energy into some product form which ischaracteristic of the system and the reenergising of the system from sources in the environment.Social organisations also share the characteristics of negative entropy, feedback, homeostasis,differentiation and equifinality, as advanced by Von Bertalanffy.In the 1970s, systems theory gained popularity in describing organisations as living, functioningsystems. Systems theory has become especially popular among scholars and theorists oforganisational communication (Neher, 1997:61,112).According to Mersham and Skinner (2001a:29), the systems approach combines the bestelements of the scientific and behavioral approaches to organisations. It viewing anorganisation as an open system, the systems approach portrays it as open to new information,responsive to the environment, dynamic and ever-changing. The systems approach alsoacknowledges the potential that new information technology and new communication mediahave in removing boundaries and allowing subsystems to interact better with each other. Interms of this approach, communication keeps the system vital and alive, relates the various partsto each other and brings in new ideas (Mersham & Skinner, 2001a:29).Organisations engage in constant input, throughput and output to attain goals. Inputs originateoutside the organisation and enter the organisation through openings in the boundary.Throughputs are the activities performed by organisational members - the passage of materials,energy and information from point to point within the organisation, to its exit. Control processesare established to govern and regulate throughput activity. Output activities describe the returnto the environment of the materials, energy and information that have been processed (Eisenberg& Goodall, 1997:105).Organisations, like biological organisms, are subject to environmental pressures to change,188adapt, mutate or die off (Neher, 1997:106). Organisations rely on information and feedback inorder to monitor themselves and adapt to environmental pressures. Turbulent informationenvironments are associated with increased information load, and organisations in suchenvironments need to give special attention to subsystems for dealing with communication load.These subsystems should consist of structures and channels capable of handling anddisseminating environmental information throughout the entire system (Neher, 1997:112).One of the contributions of Katz and Kahn - mentioned at the beginning of this section - toorganisational theory, is the identification of the following types of generic subsystems as typicalof most organisations (Katz & Kahn, 1966:39-47):* Production or technical subsystems. These are concerned with the throughput (energeticor informational transformation), i.e. the work that gets done.* Supportive subsystems. These are concerned with maintaining a favourable environmentfor the operation of the system.* Maintenance subsystems. These are aimed at maintaining good internal relations andtying people into the system as functioning parts.* Adaptive subsystems. These are concerned with organisational change, in order to adaptto changes in the environment.* Managerial subsystems. These comprise the organised activities for controlling,coordinating and directing the many subsystems of the structure.Of particular importance to this study are the supportive and adaptive subsystems, as thesehighlight the importance of interaction with the environment, while the maintenance subsystemdoes the same for the internal systemic relationships of an organisation (Neher, 1997:110).3.9.1.4 The systems approach applied to public relationsAs the unit of analysis in systems terms is a relationship (Windahl et al., 1992:85) and publicrelations by definition implies the existence of relationships, it follows logically that systemstheory could be useful for studying public relations.189Angelopulo (1994:40-41) suggests that, as an open system, an active outward orientation of anorganisation is best attained with the intervention of a facilitating agent. This facilitation is mostappropriately the function of public relations.Public relations can be regarded as one of the subsystems that make up an organisation. Publicrelations is one of several areas of planned communication with a bias towards continuous,strategic and institutionalised communication (Windahl et al., 1992:87).According to Fauconnier (1985:120-121), the public relations function of an organisation couldbe described as a policy and a totality of techniques, developed by a specific system with a viewto its continual self-regulation, by which it systematically controls, maintains or improves itsrelations with the environment and with its subsystems.As implied by the public relations definitions discussed earlier, public relations strives towardsmutually beneficial environmental and internal relationships. The systems approach in publicrelations entails proactive and reactive involvement with an organisation and its publics. Theaccumulation and distribution of information is crucial is this regard (Angelopulo, 1994:48).Relying on input from the environment and subsystems within the organisation, the practitionerplans public relations activities to maintain, strengthen or change existing knowledge, attitudes,etc. held by publics with regard to the organisation (Mersham et al., 1995:47). The value ofpublic relations in the process of strategy development in organisations is that it is a source ofintelligence regarding the social environment. This intelligence needs to be fed into the groupsor individuals responsible for strategy development (White & Mazur, 1995:25). From a systemspoint of view, public relations therefore has the role of adaptation, based on feedback and actiontaken (Angelopulo, 1994:48).Boundary spanners, individuals who maintain communication links across systems andsubsystem boundaries (Neher, 1997:114), are particularly important from a systems perspective.This boundary spanning function is assigned to public relations (Leonard and Ströh, 2000b:41).Cutlip et al. (2000:231-233) describe different ways in which levels of systems can identified inpublic relations. Firstly, an organisation and its publics can be viewed as a system. In this view190the organisation and its various publics constitute the different entities making up the system.The task of the public relations practitioner is to maintain mutually beneficial relationshipsbetween these entities. An organisation-publics system can, however, be viewed as part of alarger social system, such as the national system or even the world. Viewed in this manner, theorganisation and its publics form a subsystem within a suprasystem.3.9.2 The network approachA network consists of a system of links among components such as individuals, work groups ororganisations (Miller, 1999:84). Network theory is based on individual interactions amongnetwork members, which build up into a macrostructure (Littlejohn, 1999:324). A networkanalysis studies the maps of relationships and communication flow among network components(Miller, 1999:83-84).The network approach is related to the systems approach in that systems consist of networks.Network analysis provides a means to study the interconnections among system components, andthe arrangement of those components into systems and suprasystems (Miller, 1999:83).According to Neher (1997:114), network analysis has become a primary method ofcommunication study in the systems theory approach. Eisenberg and Goodall (1997:295)attribute the current focus on communication networks in organisations to a general acceptanceof systems theories, which emphasise the connections between people, and the relationships thatconstitute an organisation. A communication network is a structure that is built on the basis ofcommunication relationships (Monge, 1989:241). These networks are the patterns of contactbetween communication partners, which are created by transmitting and exchanging messagesthrough time and space (Monge & Contractor, 2001:440). Typical communication relations are>shares information with=, >talks to=, >receives reports from= and >discusses new ideas with=(Monge, 1989:243).Networks exist within systems, but also cross organisational boundaries in the case of opensystems (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:299). The latter type of networks are known asinterorganisational networks. Interorganisational networks demonstrate that an organisation cannever operate in isolation, but is always part of an environment that affects its operation and191culture (Littlejohn, 1999:306). Interorganisational networks are essential sites of dialogue andcooperation with other systems. Organisations can participate in interorganisational networks bymeans of strategic alliances and joint ventures (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:299-301).In recent years, the focus on networks has broadened from connections among people withinorganisations, to connections among people in the global society. Communication networkshave also been transformed by the Internet and network marketing (Eisenberg & Goodall,1997:301-302). According to Mersham and Skinner (2001b:155), the Digital Age and NewEconomy are characterised by the coming together of the technical computer network and humannetworking, which means that the goals of business, information and communicationtechnologies are converging. An extremely complex social and communication infrastructure isresulting from the rise of new communication technology and virtual communities (Van Dijk,1999:24). This is what was referred to in the previous chapter as the Network Society.Networks have certain advantages, some of which include the facilitation of communication; thesharing of new ideas and information; facilitation of cooperation and collective action; and theability to act as change agent (Windahl et al., 1992:79; Monge, 1989:243).Network analysis provides a holistic explanation of how a network is structured (Windahl et al.,1992:76). Windahl et al. (1992:76) suggest that the following properties of networks should betaken into account when studying and planning networks:* Connectedness. This is a measure of the extent to which the members of a network arelinked to the network. A highly connected network offers greater potential than a looselyconnected one for disseminating information to members.* Integration. This is a measure of the degree to which members of a network are linked toeach other. Higher integration indicates more potential communication channels.* Diversity. Greater diversity indicates that ideas may enter the system relatively easilythrough weak ties (Granovetter, quoted by Windahl et al., 1992:76).* Openness. This indicates how well a certain group, system or network communicateswith its environment. A close group will be harder to reach from the outside.192According to Littlejohn (1999:305), centrality is one of the most frequently studied aspects ofnetworks. Centrality refers to the overall closeness or reachability of networks. A networkmember who has a number of contacts has high centrality, whereas a network in which theaverage number of contacts is high, has network centrality. Density is the ratio of actual topotential contacts (Monge, 1989:244).Centrality or density can be studied by focusing on the roles that individuals play in networks. Acommunication role in a network is determined by a member=s influence on information flow(Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:297). The following types of roles are said to typically exist innetworks (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:297-298; Windahl et al., 1992:77; Monge, 1989:242):* Isolate roles. These are held by individuals to whom few are linked.* Group member roles. These members communicate mainly within an informal clique.* Bridge roles. These members have significant communication contact with at least onemember of another formal group.* Liaison roles. These are held by individuals who link together clusters in the network.* Star roles. These are held by individuals who are linked to a large number of otherindividuals.* Non-participant roles. These are held by individuals who simply perform their task withina network, without communicating with the rest of the network.The interdependent and interactive nature of all parts of a system suggests a rule for influencingsystems, in that the more connections a person or group has, the more possible influence willresult (O=Connor and McDermott, 1997:15). Networking thus brings influence. O=Connor andMcDermott (1997:15) suggest that successful managers spend four times as much timenetworking as do their less successful colleagues. Furthermore, is has been found that peoplewho are frequently involved in joint activities are likely to be well connected in networks.Denser networks increase members= likeliness to accept new ideas and to adapt to change(Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:297). Weak links thus decrease access to new information.Understanding network roles, together with the structural aspects of networks, allows forprediction of the extent to which information will move within a network. Network >stars= could193be used in communication campaigns to spread information through a network (Windahl et al.,1997:77).With regard to the global Network Society, Van Dijk (1999:26-27) advances an interdisciplinaryanalytical framework to study this system. He proposes that the Network Society be studied interms of the following aspects. These could be regarded as subsystems which constitute theNetwork Society:* technology* economy* politics and power* law* social structure* culture* psychology3.9.2.1 The use of networks in public relationsMarlow and O=Connor Wilson (1997:124) argue that networking communication competencieswill be the most highly valued skills in the organisation of the future. These competencies are aprerequisite for designing and sustaining the network organisation of the future.According to Stevens (1998:18), individual public relations firms are increasingly using thenetwork approach to share information, expertise and resources with one another. In similarfashion, international and domestic nonprofit organisations have discovered that using publicrelations networks can be highly effective in communicating non-commercial messages. Stevens(1998:19) predicts that global professional alliances in general, and public relations networks inparticular, will be a growing influence in the 21st century, and that the public relations sector canbenefit from information-sharing with global networks in other professions.Mersham et al. (1995:140) suggest that public relations practitioners make use of networks, bydiscovering or initiating them to provide feedback to management. Identifying and developing194networks of influentials is also an essential starting point in community relations.Some existing regional and global networks in public relations have already been covered inSections 3.7 and 3.8.1.3.3.9.3 Complex, dynamic systemsAccording to Eisenberg and Goodall (1997:100), the concept of dynamic systems was born withthe advent of relativity and the initiation of analogies between organic systems and humansocieties.According to Baldwin Leveque and Poole (1999:79,81), complex, dynamic systems relate to thedevelopment of higher order systems theories. The latter incorporate complex, dynamic andemergent properties in older, more static systems research, and allow for a new awareness whichthey term systems thinking. Baldwin Leveque and Poole (1999:97) note that the foundations ofsystems thinking - dynamism, complexity and emergence - counter the shortcomings offunctionalism, an older systems perspective, which emphasised equilibrium, and did not have theability to model conflict and disruption in a social system. They argue that newer systemsapproaches are highly flexible, and not only suggest the interaction of multiple forms of analysis,but actually require it.Laszlo (1987:9,20) terms the new paradigm of complex, dynamic systems the >evolutionaryparadigm=, pointing out that it is the acceptance of the divergence property of dynamic systemswhich challenges the concept of equilibrium and determinancy of older systems theory. Theevolutionary paradigm provides a framework for studying the evolvement of both natural andsocio-cultural systems. Laszlo (1987:20) notes that the science of complex, dynamic systemsshows that evolution occurs when a system is in the third state. Systems in the first state are inequilibrium and dynamically inert. Those in the second state are near equilibrium. Thesesystems are not inert, but tend to move towards equilibrium as soon as the constraints that keepthem in non-equilibrium are removed. Systems in the third state are nonlinear, occasionallyindeterminate and far from equilibrium. Such a system enters a transitory phase characterised byrandomness and some degree of chaos. The system in now in a phase of bifurcation, which195means that the smallest variation in an initial condition can give rise to widely differingoutcomes. This chaotic state is not entirely random, but is governed by chaotic attractors.Chaotic attractors are complex and subtly ordered structures that constrain the behaviour of theseemingly random and unpredictable system. The chaotic phase comes to an end when thesystem settles into a new dynamic regime (Laszlo, 1987:21,35,41-43).According to Baldwin Leveque and Poole (1999:85), the paradigm of complex, dynamic systemsimplies a concern with the role of social dynamics in theory building, and encourages theconstruction of an explanation of a phenomenon, rather than simply a description. It promptsquestions critical to systems analysis, relating to growth, decline, transition, modification andtransformation over time. It also acknowledges the need to build complexity into models oforganisation. To summarise the different ways in which complexity may be expressed, systemsor theories that are considered more complex tend to (Baldwin Leveque & Poole, 1999:88):* contain more elements* have elements that are more densely interconnected* incorporate changes over time* assume complex time-shape relationships between elements in the system* relate system elements using higher order functional forms* suggest recursive relationships between system elements.According to Laszlo (1987:41), the chaotic behaviour discovered in natural systems in the thirdstate, has resulted in an entire discipline within complex, dynamic systems theory. Thisdiscipline is devoted to the study of the properties of chaotic attractors and of the systemsgoverned by them. It became popularly known as chaos theory. This theory is discussed next.3.9.4 Chaos theoryDespite its name, chaos theory seeks to eliminate, rather than discover or create, chaos. It studiesthe processes that appear chaotic on the surface, but on detailed analysis prove to manifest subtlestrands of order (Laszlo, 1987:41).196According to Goertzel (1994:4-6), chaos theory picks up where the general systems theory of the1940s and 1950s left off. Chaos theory studies the irregular and unpredictable time evolution ofnonlinear systems (Baker & Gollub, 1996:1). It represents a paradigm shift, in teaching thatforces of disorder, nonlinearity, unpredictability and instability are controlling the universe(Elliott & Kiel, 1998:1-2).Although chaos theory originated in the fields of meteorology (Yuhas Byers, 1997:30),chemistry (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:102) and thermodynamics (Çambel, 1993:136-139), it isalso applied to the humanities in fields such as psychology, linguistics (Goertzel, 1994:43-87),politics, economics (Elliott & Kiel, 1998:3) and organisational management (Wheatley,1994:121-137). In the context of this thesis, chaos theory is especially useful as a new means tounderstand the state of the contemporary work environment, where predictability and stabilityare becoming a thing of the past (Yuhas Byers, 1997:29-30). In addition, it provides anunderstanding of the increased complexity and turmoil in the global society, brought about by theforces of globalisation.Chaos theory studies how order emerges from the interaction of parts of a whole (Yuhas Byers,1997:30). It focuses on the capacity of a system to respond to disorder or non-equilibrium withrenewed life (Wheatley, 1994:11). Chaos is the final state in a system=s movement away fromthe familiar state and often predictable environment (De Wet, 2001:70), and can be described asthe times, in an organisation, when people are confused and feel overwhelmed (Rensburg andStröh, 1998:56).As pointed out by Laszlo (1987:41), chaos theory is central to the perspective of complex,dynamic systems, in that a dynamic system lends itself to periods of chaos when entering thethird state. Goertzel (1994:3), a mathematician, however, warns against interpreting >chaos= as asynonym for >complex system science=, explaining the distinction as follows: >Chaos theory hasto do with determinism underlying apparent randomness. Complex systems science is morebroadly concerned with the emergent, synergetic behaviours of systems composed of a largenumber of interacting parts.=According to Wheatley (1994:18), chaos theory teaches that the world is inherently orderly and197that fluctuation and change are part of the very process by which order is created. Chaos theoryteaches that disorder can be a source of order, and that growth is found in disequilibrium ratherthan in balance. It shows that, when looking at a system from the perspective of time, it alwaysdemonstrates its inherent orderliness. Chaos theory, therefore, moves away from linear thinking,in viewing chaos and order, or change and stability, as two complementary aspects in the processof growth (Wheatley, 1994:20-21).Self-renewal and self-organising abilities of systems are therefore important concepts of chaostheory (Ströh, 1998:23). Self-renewing systems use their energy to recreate themselves, and tochange to new forms to deal with new information (Ströh, 1998:24). Thompson (1997:241, 247)suggests that organisations do this by making creative use of their environments.Weick introduced the idea in the 1970s that evolving organisations move through cycles ofenactment, selection and retention, to adapt to their environment. Weick=s model capitalises onthe resemblance between organising processes and the process of natural selection in speciesevolution (Weick, 1979:130). Enactment is to organising, as variation is to natural selection. Itrefers to the act of isolating and studying changes in the environment. Selection means choosinginterpretations in an effort to make sense of a confusing environment. Retention is the process ofstoring the products of successful sensemaking (referred to as >enacted environments=) to imposeon future environments (Weick, 1979:130-132,147,213). According to Weick (1995:86-88),organisational sensemaking is of particular importance in environments characterised byinformation overload, complexity and turbulence.According to Thompson (1997:241-242), the processes of enactment, selection and retention arewhat enables organisations to make creative use of their environments. According to Eisenbergand Goodall (1997:116), the concept enacted environment is especially important in thecontemporary business world, in which environmental scanning is crucial to an organisation=ssurvival. Enactment allows members of human organisations to reduce uncertainties in complexand unpredictable environments, in order to achieve self-renewal. Unlike theories of speciesevolution, in which degrees of environmental variation are determined objectively, inorganisational environments people look for clues to threats or opportunities. Organisationalsuccess therefore requires an ongoing examination of current issues (Eisenberg and Goodall,1981997:115-116).Ongoing self-renewal, based on environmental scanning, enables an organisation to becomes alearning organisation, which is discussed next.3.9.5 Learning organisationsThe concept >learning organisation= refers to the ability to learn and adapt (Eisenberg & Goodall,1997:10). According to Jordaan (1998:35), learning organisations are characterised by thecapability to sense change, to learn lessons from past failures and successes, and to utilise theselessons learned to respond creatively to increasingly turbulent and uncertain environments.Authors such as Senge et al. (1994:7) and Eisenberg and Goodall (1997:114), regard systemsthinking as a prerequisite for a learning organisation to develop. Systems thinking impliesholism and interdependence, and holds that for any one member to succeed, all members mustsucceed (Eisenberg & Goodall, 1997:114). Systems thinking leads to a new understanding oforganisational change as a participative process at all levels, rather than a top-down or bottom-upprocess. When systems thinking is employed, the structure of an organisation is not seen simplyas the organisational chart, but as the pattern of interrelationships among key components of thesystem, including the hierarchy and process flows, attitudes and perceptions, the way in whichdecisions are made, the quality of products, etc. Systems thinking allows organisations to seehow to change systems more effectively, and to act more in tune with the larger processes of thenatural and economic world (Senge et al., 1994:6-7,89-90).Learning organisations are akin to the complex, adaptive systems advanced by chaos theorists.Stacey (1996:284) describes a complex, adaptive system as applied to human organisations as anumber of agents interacting with one another according to rules of behaviour that require themto inspect one another=s behaviour and adjust their own in the light of the behaviour of others. Inother words, complex adaptive systems learn to evolve, and they usually interact with othercomplex adaptive systems. They survive because they learn or evolve in an adaptive way: theycompute information in order to extract regularities, building them into rules of behaviour thatare continually changed in the light of experience (Stacey,1996:284).199From a chaos theory point of view, organisations need to function as complex, adaptive systemsto create order out of a rapidly changing environment, and to cope with perpetual uncertainty(Yuhas Beyers, 1997:31). This means that they need to be capable of responding with flexibilityto external and internal change, rather than struggling against the environment because they seeit as a source of disruption and change, and focusing efforts on maintaining defensive structures(Wheatley, 1994:90-91). In this regard, learning organisations are more adaptive and generativethan traditional organisations. They seek deeper understanding, rather than quick-fix solutions.They possess a commitment to openness, and an ability to deal with complexity. As complex,adaptive systems, learning organisations are also prepared to face the anxiety associated with theunknown and unfamiliar (Yuhas Beyers, 1997:32).According to Eisenberg and Goodall (1997:114), learning organisations practise the followingdisciplines - in addition to systems thinking:* Personal mastery. Members share a personal commitment to learning and self-reflection.* Mental models. Because learning is a form of self-renewal, it must begin with selfreflection,particularly on the paradigms that shape and limit an individual=sinterpretations and actions.* A shared vision and the abolishment of tight hierarchical control. Members act in concertbecause they share a common organisational vision, and understand how their own workcontributes to that vision.* Team learning. Team members communicate in ways that lead the team towardintelligent decisions, with an emphasis on dialogue.3.9.6 Complex, dynamic systems, networks, chaos theory and learning organisationsapplied to globalisation and public relationsSystems theory provides a holistic perspective of the global society. The perspective ofcomplex, dynamic systems is particularly suitable to deal with the complexity of the world as amacro-human society. Viewed in terms of systems theory, the global society can be regarded asa macrosystem, consisting of a vast number of subsystems comprising different countries, the200global political order, global economic order, the global media system, etc. From a systemsperspective, the global society can be viewed as a integral whole, whose components are linked,and influence one another. The emphasis is on the interconnectedness of the diverse subsystemsin the world, which explains why an event on one side of the globe can have consequences forthose who live on the opposite side. Global communication can be regarded as the glue thatkeeps subsystems connected, and allows for feedback, which enables the system to change, adaptand regulate itself. Viewing the global society from a systems perspective also allows for thestudy of relationships and networks between the different subsystems, and the impact of theserelationships and networks on the world community.The paradigm of complex, dynamic systems allows for focus on the divergent nature of the worldas a globalising entity. Chaos theory, in turn, can be used to explain why chaos occurs in theglobal system. Laszlo (1987:92) regards technology as major cause of societal change, leadingto turbulence and growth. History shows that all major technological revolutions createdinstability, pushing society to new levels of organisation (Laszlo, 1987:93-101). In this regard,globalising forces and the Communication Revolution could be regarded as factors subjecting thecontemporary global community to destabilisation, pushing it in a new direction. As a result ofthe disintegrating forces of globalisation, together with the backlash of economic globalisation,the global society at times seems unstable and out of control. Ströh (1998:39-40), in fact, termsthe new millennium >the age of chaos and change=.Chaos theory, however, teaches that a system in chaos is a system which is ready to grow.Chaotic systems, in terms of chaos theory, correlate with the notion that dynamic systems have adivergence property which can lead to critically disturbed systems, which drives the evolutionaryprocess (see Section 2.6.6). Therefore, contemporary chaos in the global system should beviewed as a transitory phase, which could move the global community towards a higher orderand consciousness.Chaos theory can also be used to explain what can be done to assist the global system in selforganisationand a return to a state of stability. Human beings have free will. Therefore, unlikenatural systems, the members of a societal system have the capacity to intervene in its evolution,and to consciously influence its outcome. Laszlo (1987:128) states that it is possible to master201the evolutionary process of high-energy technological societies by purposeful action based on asound knowledge of socio-developmental dynamics. With reference to the current era, Laszlo(1987:141) suggests that a more mature and dynamically stable global society could be createdby an atmosphere of mutual trust, and the phasing out of narrow, short-term and self-centredeconomic and political strategies antithetical to long-term cooperation. He argues thatindividuals with communication skills, and in key positions, could make a crucial difference inthis regard, by creating and mobilising a critical mass of people, and exploring suitable channelsof communication with governmental and nongovernmental organisations and with businessenterprises to gain support for humanistic causes (Laszlo, 1987:147-148).It can be deduced from Laszlo=s reasoning, that public relations practitioners, as communicationagents and managers of strategic relationships, have the capacity to intervene in the evolution ofthe global community, and to assist in driving it to more mature and stable state. Chaos theoryprovides a framework to study the specific responsibilities and changing role of public relationsto reach this aim. Some responsibilities which relate to the global system at large, have alreadybeen covered in Section 3.8.2, which outlines public relations= potential role in measures tocounteract the disintegrating forces of globalisation.With regard to organisational responsibilities, the function of public relations during periods ofchaos within the organisation is to act as an integrating force. This is done throughcommunication and the management of relationships within the organisational system.Communication defines an organisation. It is the means through which the subsystems organisethemselves and work together. Communication can therefore be seen as the glue holding thesystem and subsystems together, allowing for units to function in sync with one another (YuhasByers, 1997:28-29). Furthermore, healthy relationships within organisation are necessary for theachievement of goals. Communication thus becomes the basic requirement for a system toreorganise itself, and communication management becomes the strategic tool to manageinteractions (Ströh, 1998:30-31).As boundary spanners and environmental scanners, public relations practitioners also play asignificant role in assisting their organisations to function as learning systems in rapidlychanging environments. Wheatley (1994:91) states that an organisation can respond to change202with flexibility only if it has access to new information, both about external factors and internalresources. It is the task of public relations practitioners to provide their organisation with thisinformation. In the words of Vogl (2001:22), it is the task of public relations to keep topmanagement informed of the full range of groups around the world which can threaten thecorporation=s reputation in environments that are becoming more complex because of greaterinput by the public at large.As environmental scanners, public relations practitioners therefore assist organisations to movethrough the cycles of enactment, selection and retention, as advanced by Weick (1979:130), toachieve organisational sensemaking in turbulent environments. Mersham et al. (1995:47)explain the role of public relations in organisational sensemaking as a response to turbulentsocial, economic and political changes, by directing the organisation=s behaviour towardsattaining balance and symmetry with the global system or attempts to influence and control it.When applied to public relations policy, it means that the organisation has to carefully considerthe stable or unstable behaviour of the environment and that belonging to each of the externaland internal stakeholders. In times of rapid social change, the public relations practitioner=s taskis to convert the information received into a concrete diagnosis which shapes public relationsprogrammes (Mersham et al., 1995:47-48).Marlow and O=Connor Wilson (1997:72) support this view by assigning to communicationmanagers in the current age of chaos and rapidly changing business environments, theresponsibility to help their corporations to adjust to this change by creating understanding, andmaking knowledge more productive. This implies that communication professionals shouldoperate from a holistic understanding of communication dynamics; become networkers andintegrators of information from both inside and outside the organisation; possessmultidisciplinary expertise and insight; support diversity in communication practices; harnessthe power of electronic communication technology; and synergise employee actions towardsprioritised issues and values (Marlow & O=Connor Wilson, 1997:58,62,68,71,87,121).3.9.7. Systems and networks, chaos theory and learning organisations applied to publicrelations education203The open systems approach is particularly suitable, perhaps essential, for a study of publicrelations education, as a course in public relations can never be designed in isolation from theenvironment in which future graduates will be operating. From a systems perspective, a publicrelations education programme, consisting of a public relations course and input from thedepartment in which it is offered, should be seen as a core interdependent subsystem within aframework of larger interdependent systems and suprasystems. The larger systems constitute theapplicable education institute, applicable professional association/s for public relations at localand national levels, the public relations industry of the applicable country, the country at large,the continent in which the applicable country is situated, IPRA, the global public relationsindustry and the world.The multidisciplinary nature of public relations education implies that public relations coursesand departments are systems and networks consisting of interrelated units. However, publicrelations courses and departments also function as subsystems and networks within greatersystems - the educational institutions in which they operate. Each different type of educationalinstitution has its own mission and its own education philosophy.The tertiary institutions relevant to this study are technikons. These institutions have adistinctive mission and distinctive education prescriptions, which are elaborated on in the nextchapter. These prescriptions have to be taken into account when designing and reviewingeducation programmes.Public relations courses and departments also function as subsystems and networks within thepublic relations industry. The quality of the industry is to a large extent determined by the outputof the educational institutions which offer education in public relations. The quality of theeducation of those educational institutions is, in turn, determined by their ability to obtain inputfrom the industry through networking, and to adjust their curricula accordingly. As the interestof the public relations industry is usually looked after by a public relations association,recommendations and input from this association should be taken into account when studyingand planning public relations courses. In South Africa in particular, public relations educationcourses should be designed in collaboration with PRISA.204Public relations courses and departments also function as subsystems and networks within acountry and continent. Public relations education programmes should prepare students for thetotal milieu in which they will be operating - including the political, social, economic and otherpatterns. In the context of complex, dynamic systems they need to be equipped with thenecessary knowledge of socio-developmental dynamics to provide them with the capacity tointervene as communication agents in the evolution of societal systems, as suggested by Laszlo(1987:147-148). In Africa, for example, students need to be equipped for the development needsof their continent. This will prepare them to steer their future organisations towards socialresponsibility and global integration without shutting out unequal partners.In South Africa, tertiary education programmes have to be planned within the new structure forhigher education introduced in the 1990s when NQF, SAQA, the CHE and NSBs and SGBs wereformed. The requirements set by this new structure are also elaborated on in the next chapter.The largest suprasystem within which public relations courses and departments operate, is theworld. Public relations curriculum planners can never divorce themselves from the global sceneand remain blind to international development. As IPRA is the official representative of theglobal public relations industry, its recommendations pertaining to education should be takeninto account.By enabling the identification of all the sub- and suprasystems and networks that influencepublic relations courses, the systems and network approaches offer a holistic perspective for theplanning of public relations education programmes. The macrosystems approach is particularlysuitable for the global nature of this study. South Africa is not a closed system in the world.Since the country=s release from relative isolation in 1994, and in view of increasing forces ofglobalisation, it should operate as a subsystem within a larger system and network, the world,also in the area of public relations education.With regard to subsystems, systems and suprasystems, education programmes in public relationsat technikons, which is the core system focused on by this study, can be viewed from differentangles. It can be viewed as a subsystem or network which operates within a hierarchy of largersystems or networks, namely technikons, the South African tertiary education system, the public205relations industry, the South African society, the African continent and the global society.Different levels of systems influencing such education programmes can thus be identified.Systems thinking also enables an analyst to study the education programme as a systemcomprising subsystems such as different aspects of the education programme. All systems in thishierarchy of systems are open systems. Technikon departments which offer educationprogrammes are open systems cooperating with other departments operating within technikons,which in turn are open systems heavily dependent on their environment, for which theyconstantly have to produce an appropriately qualified work force. The hierarchy of systems ofwhich a public relations education programme at technikons in South Africa forms part, can beillustrated as in Figure 3.1:The above hierarchy of systems within which education programmes in public relations attechnikons operate, should be viewed as complex, dynamic and chaotic systems in transition,subject to constant change because of the forces of globalisation. In this regard, public relations206education programmes at technikons should be viewed as systems subjected to the requirementsof a learning organisation. The existence of intra- and interorganisational networks with a highdegree of centrality, including the formation of strategic alliances, could assist technikondepartments to offer public relations programmes that function as learning systems.In Chapter 4, a model for globalisation of vocationally-oriented public relations education isdeveloped with the above implications in mind. For this purpose, a general, prescriptive opensystems framework, approaching education programmes as complex, dynamic systems andlearning organisations operating in a chaotic global suprasystem, is included in the next chapter,to be used as a basis for the development of firstly, a generic, vocationally-oriented globalisationmodel, and secondly, to apply this model to technikon public relations education.3.10 SUMMARYThis chapter provided a developmental and theoretical perspective for the study of publicrelations practice and education. In the first part of the chapter the term public relations wasdefined by providing a critical review of different approaches to defining the term and byselecting an approach for this study. Harlow=s definition adopted by IPRA and Hutton=sframework to conceptualise public relations were accepted as a summary of the most importantfunctions of public relations for the purpose of this investigation, while Kendall=s socialresponsibility definition of public relations was accepted as a working definition, and extendedfor the purpose of this study to cover global public relations.Next, an overview was provided of the developmental history of public relations. The systemsand structural approaches were identified as points of departure to study public relations history.American, international, African and South African development of public relations practice andeducation were reviewed in terms of the structural approach. This discussion provided insightinto the global connectedness that currently exits in the field of public relations, and also into thecurrent state of public relations practice and education in South Africa, as compared to the rest ofthe world.The impact of globalisation on public relations practice and education was discussed next in207terms of new competencies required. An overview was provided of how the profession isinfluenced by three major forces of globalisation: the New Economy, the CommunicationRevolution and the Network Society. This was followed by a discussion of the potential role ofpublic relations in counteracting disintegrating forces of globalisation. This discussion providedinsight into the changing needs in the role of, and education for, the profession, in order to adaptto the forces of globalisation.The systems and network approaches and chaos theory were identified as a theoreticalframework for this study. The systems and network approaches were outlined first, and relatedto globalisation and public relations. Complex, dynamic systems, chaos theory and learningorganisations were discussed next, as part of systems thinking. These concepts were also relatedto globalisation and public relations. Lastly, the selected theoretical perspective was applied topublic relations education, pointing out the hierarchy of systems and suprasystems in which suchprogrammes operate, in general and at technikons in particular. This hierarchy was portrayed asconsisting of complex, dynamic and chaotic systems subjected to fast-changing suprasystems,with each layer in need of functioning as a learning system.