History & Development of Public Relations

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History & Development of Public Relations by Mind Map: History & Development of Public Relations


1.1. Persuasion

1.1.1. PR in early years has referred to mostly as using persuasive speech to spread religions, such as Islam & Christianity. The Greeks & Romans used public speech to win support for their policies.

1.2. Publicity

1.2.1. The beginning of American PR is often compared to using publicity & promotion, whether for commercial reasons, fund-raising, or building personalities. Defensive publicity was particularly important in the early twentieth century to counter muckraking journalism.

1.3. Information

1.3.1. Using information to create awareness & encourage support for & participation in campaigns become more popular during World War I & II. It was also important to gain independence from colonial masters in many parts of the world. Information was key to development & nation building efforts of newly independence government.

1.4. Marketing

1.4.1. With the rapid growth in communication technologies, development of infrastructure & more consumer-oriented society, PR has become more involved in marketing efforts. There is greater emphasis on promotions & efforts to remain distinctive among competitors. Practitioners help to organize exhibitions & road shows & prepare materials like information pamphlets.

1.5. Management

1.5.1. Increasing pressures on organizations, whether gov or corporate, by various publics including the better informed customer, employee & activist has encouraged PR practitioners to take more managerial approach in executing tasks. Practitioners are more concerned about conducting public opinion polls to identify the support they may have for their employer / client. Strategic planning & knowledge-based counselling of senior management is growing among practitioners.



2.2. The British established a Dept. of Information in Singapore (1939) to keep the local media & people of then-Malaysia abreast of the situation & the development of World War II. However, the dept. was shut down under the Japanese occupation (Dec 1941 - Sep 1945). British return at the end of the War, a Dept. of Publicity & Printing was established under British Military Administration (BMA). In 1946, Malaya Union was formed to replace the BMA & the dept. was renamed as the Dept. of Public Relations. The primary roles of this dept were to return confidence in British rule, to encourage people to be self-sufficient in agricultural produce as there were shortage of food, to counter communist threat, and to bring back peace & order to the nation. The dept. produced leaflets & used radio broadcast, face-to-face communication to carry out their tasks. The dept. was renamed the Dept. of Information (1948). A branch of the dept. was then establish in each state, to counter communist propaganda (1948-1960). The dept. establish the Malayan Film Unit to aid in its efforts. During this time, British waged a battle to "win the hearts & minds of the people". Development of communication infrastructure was accelerated in the early 1950s. Broadcasting facilities (radio) were expanded, cinema projectors & public address systems were doubled to balance the earlier reliance on targeted (leaflets) and interpersonal communication (UNESCO report, 1983). The purpose of the dept. are to promote their interests, mainly used the press agentry / publicity, public information (propaganda) and the two-way asymmetric models as described by Grunig & Hunt (1984).


2.3.1. Government PR Between 1960 & the early 1980s, PR was characterized by gov run nation-building campaigns to aid in gov efforts to build a democratic nation. The main functions were press relations work & dissemination of information about gov policies and monitoring feedback from the general public on these policies. In 1970, the gov set up PR units in almost all of its various dept. & agencies, partly to explain & partly to promote acceptance of gov policies. However, these positions are often not filled up by trained PR personnel, thus, PR in the gov sector is still relatively undeveloped.

2.3.2. PR in the Private Sector PR Consultancies PR in the private sector grew in 1960 with the growth of multi-national organization as well as the formation of PR agencies. The first known PR agency, Eric White Associated started operations in 1965. As Malaysia's economy prospered & with increased economic liberalism, it attracted more multinational companies & with them came the international PR consultancies. Burson-Marsteller and Eric White Associated were among two pioneering consultancies. Soon after, local consultancies also sprung up to serve local businesses that could not afford the bigger international consultancies. A majority of these smaller agencies specialized in graphic design, brochures, or video production, although they billed themselves as PR firms (Van Leuven, 1996, p.12). Several agencies also performed other limited tasks like media relations, event promotions and product launches. Corporate PR Departments Multinational companies, especially oil companies like Esso (Exxon) & Shell, were among the earliest corporations to set up in-house PR dept. Their PR activities focused more on gaining acceptance of their organization in the community in which they operated, & in assisting in increasing employee productivity. Those multinationals supported various gov nation-building efforts by underwriting sports, arts & educational programs (Van Leuven 1996, p.212). Even today community relations programs are important in large Malaysian organizations like Petronas, Malaysia Airlines and Shell. They sponsor scholarship, donate to welfare project for examples to Old Folks Homes and victims of fire and floods.

2.3.3. Setting up of a Professional Body : Institute of Public Relations Malaysia (IPRM) The setting up of IPRM in 1962 gave a further boost to the industry. Gov information officers made up most of the members of early IPRM. In fact, they initiated the establishment of the Institute. IPRM was set up in an effort to upgrade PR practice in the country. IPRM members also drew up & agreed on a Code of Ethics based on that of the British Institute of PR to self regulate the practice in the country. Unfortunately, not all PR practitioners are members of IPRM.


3.1. Press Agentry Model

3.1.1. The first model, reflects PR programs designed for the sole purpose of getting favourable publicity for an organization in the mass media. Often the organization does not reveal complete information in the attempt to control or dominate the environment. It is a common model publicists use to promote celebrities, products, sports or organization leaders.

3.2. Two-way Asymmetrical Model

3.2.1. The third model, was described as one that uses research & theories of persuasion to develop messages that are likely to persuade strategic publics to behave as the organization wants them to. The two-way asymmetrical model achieves its objectives more than the press agentry or public information models since it researches the publics' attitudes.

3.3. Public Information Model

3.3.1. The second model, describes PR as a function to disseminate information, normally from the organization's perspectives, through controlled organization media & mass media. In this model, PR practitioners were "journalist-in-residence" disseminating relatively truthful information but only that information the organization chooses to release instead of the whole truth.

3.4. Symmetrical Model

3.4.1. The fourth model, J. Grunig (1997) suggested this model is the most ethical & effective model, which describes PR programs based on research & which uses two-way communication to manage conflict & improve understanding with strategic publics. It negotiates rather than forces a position between the organization & the concerned public. According to him, this model represents an alternative to the predominant worldview that PR is a way of manipulating publics for the benefit of the organization.

3.5. Mixed Motive Model

3.5.1. Also known as Additional Models. This model proposed a middle ground between the two-way asymmetrical & symmetrical models, which represents two ends on a continuum. The model implies both organization & publics seek to negotiate outcomes that are most advantageous to both parties in the long term. J. Grunig (1997) said that excellent PR dept. balance attempts to "persuade publics with the asymmetrical model and negotiate with the symmetrical model" (p.265).

3.6. Personal Influence Model

3.6.1. This model suggests that practitioners use interpersonal communication to build personal and long term relationship with key individuals of the organization's strategic publics, like the media, gov, political body or among activist groups. For example, Sriramesh (1992) said that practitioners in India "used various techniques like hospitality, giving gifts and brokering of influence, to build lasting friendships" (p.246) His study suggested this model uses one-way communication & its purpose is predominantly "synchronic" or asymmetrical.