The Four Models of Public Relations

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Public relations have been regarded as an important tool in maintaining and enhancing the relationships between an organisation and its publics. There are different models of public relations that organisation adopt to reach mutual understandings between their publics or to demonstrate its organisational desire to its publics. Grunig and Hunt (1984) define the communication theory as a fundamental tool of enhancing and maintaining the relationship between an organisation and its publics, which can assist an organisation to address different issues efficiently and effectively. Grunig and Hunt have developed four theoretical communication models of public relations which are press agentry, public information, two-way symmetric and two-way asymmetric (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). This essay will focus on the Grunig and Hunt’s four communication models and give examples of each model to identify different applications in different business practices.

Press agentry model has been regarded as the focus of the one-way communication model since practitioners adopt this model to obtain publicity and acceptance through different media channels. The main concept of this model is to function as propaganda to deliver an organisation’s faith to publics in order to draw attentions and interests from the publics (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). Recently Apple launched their new application of Apple Maps in competing with Google’s android Maps through a press conference in March. The updated iOS system contains the latest application of Apple map that is claimed to be “an entire new mapping solution from the group up” (Apple unveils ‘next generation’ Macbook Pro and Apple Maps, 2012). The new launch of Apple maps has caused consumers’ attention and interests and it may further bring Apple more market shares after the new launch of Apple Maps (Apple has revealed plans to drop Google Maps from its smartphone in favour of its own virtual street directory, 2012). It can be seen that Apple has adopted press agentry approach in promoting the new application, since Apple released the information through press conference and it can be regarded as a tool in disseminating information of their new product and further generating publicity and positive media coverage. Moreover, press agentry model has been regarded as an approach to persuade and manipulate consumers to behave in a way that the organisation desires (Grunig & Hunt, 1984). It indicates that Apple brought up their latest map application against Google’s android Maps. And this can be seen as a persuasion not only to consumers who are using iPhones to choose Apple Maps as their only choice but also encourage other potential smartphone users to purchase Apple’s products in order to increase its market shares and brand reputation.

The second communication model of public information has been regarded as a tool of disseminating information and this model is to be considered to be a journalist-in-residence role, thus accurate information provided by this model is required. Organisations adopt this model to attract attentions from the publics and disseminate accurate and objective facts through the mass media (Seletzky & Lehman-Wilzig, 2010). There was a huge issue on the scandal of Brumby’s Bakeries. The director of Brumby’s, Deane Priest, suggested the franchisees to increase their price and make the carbon tax take the blame in its internal newsletter sent to franchisees (Brumby’s ‘reprehensible’ for advising stores to ‘let carbon tax take blame for price rises’, 2012). Brumby’s parent company, Retail Food Group, later issued a statement in the through the media apologising that the comments in the internal newsletter were” innocent albeit foolish and inconsiderated remarks” (Brumby’s Bakeries slammed over carbon tax ‘blame’ for price rises, 2012). In this case, it can be seen that Retail Food Group has adopted public information model in resolving the issue since Brumby’s made a media release to the...
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