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A Theoretical Basis for

Public Relations
Theories of Relationships
 System Theory
 Situational Theory
System Theory

Media Government

United PR works

Neighbors Institutions


System Model of an Organization and Its Environment

 Bothsystem theory and situational theory
are considered theories of relationships.
Situational Theory
 Crucial distinction for segmenting a
population into publics:
 The extent to which they passively or actively
communicate about an issue
 The extent to which they actively behave in a way

that supports or constraints the organization’s

pursuit of its mission
 Public are more likely to active when:
 Problem recognition
 Constraint recognition

 Level of involvement
 Active communication – information seeking

 Passivecommunication – information
Grunig identified 4 types of public:
a) All-issue publics
b) Apathetic publics
c) Single-issue publics
d) Hot-issue publics
Theories Of Persuasion and Social
 Social Exchange Theory
 Diffusion Theory
 Social Learning Theory
 Elaborate Likelihood Model
Social Exchange Theory
 Uses the economic metaphor of costs and
benefits to predict bahavior.
 Based on perceived rewards and costs.
 People want to keep their costs low and
their rewards high .
Diffusion Theory
 People process and accept information.
 Diffusion Theory says that people adopt an idea
only after going through these five steps:
- Awareness
- Interest
- Evaluation
- Trial
- Adoption
Social Learning Theory
 Attemptsto explain and predict behavior
by looking at another way individuals
process information.

 Albert
Bandura “ we can learn new
behaviors merely by observing others”.
Elaborated Likelihood Model
 Proposes a “peripheral route” in which
people are influenced by such things as
 PR should have a credibility as spoke
person or even tangible rewards.
Theories of Mass Communication
 Usesand Gratification Theory
 Agenda Setting Theory
Uses and Gratification Theory
 People are active users of media and selective in the media
they use.
 People use media in the following ways:
- As entertainment.
- To scan environment for items important to them personally.
- As a diversion.
- As substitute for personal relationships.
- As a check on personal identity and values.
Agenda Setting Theory
 The media can’t tell people what to think,
they are stunningly in telling them what to
think about.
 PR practitioners attempt to influence the
media agenda by providing news items for
public consumption.
 Communication  Expert prescriber
technician  Define the problem
 Communication &  Develop the program
journalist skills  Take full responsibility
 Write & edit employee for its implementation
 Write news releases &
feature stories
 Develop website content
 To deal with media
 Communication  Problem-solving
facilitator facilitator
 Sensitive listener  Collaborate with other
 Information brokers managerial functions to
identify & solve the
 Serve as liaisons,
interpreters & problems.
mediators between &  Part of strategic
organization & its planning team
Approaches to Conflict Resolution
 It
involves an individual or group actively opposing
another’s values or goals.
 There are nine types of conflict resolution:
- Contention
- Cooperation
- Accommodation
- Avoidance
- Unconditional Constructive
- Compromise
- Principled
- Win/Win or no deal
- Mediated