Monday, January 26, 2004

Who knew this about PR?
I have spent a few years NOT reading anything written by Grunig, but now, as I am back to teaching the information students, I am back refreshing my knowledge of the four models of PR and the "excellence in public relations." For once though, I was really refreshed! Page 302 of the monster book concerns Gender and the PRactitioner - and the practitioner here is the PR practitioner. The ideal of excellent PR work is according to Grunig two-way symmetrical communication, and before this paragraph we have learned that only organisations where the dominant coalition is not afraid that new ideas should threaten their power use this model. Anyway, this is the passage that caught me:

Although feminine characteristics enhance the ability of the practitioner to practice the two-way symmetrical model, women - and perhaps men with feminine characteristics - often do not get into the managerial role where they can practice that model. Thus, Wtherell's study suggests that is crucial for women to develop strategies for overcoming the discrimination and socialization that keeps them out of the managerial role if organizations are to use their feminine characteristics to enhance the excellence of their public relations program.

Now of course I was quite annoyed at the idea that women have to develop those strategies. It's really the organisations that should do that, if they want to be better at PR, not the women, who already have more than enough to cope with developing strategies for getting into a position where they can start developing other strategies. But I was quite refreshed by a few other things. First, the writer was very clear that feminine characteristics is not exclusively something women has. Second, that the reason why organisations did not get the advantage of their women practitioners is that they don't give them the power they need to develop eutopia (now, we all knew that already, didn't we...). Third, that it's the men at the top who is the dominant coalition and who keeps the rest of the organisation in line and thus avoiding excellence.

I never was a big James Grunig fan. His work is much used and quoted though, and it is thorough to a degree that is quite impressive. But I may become a Larissa Grunig fan, as she is introducing PR practitioners to the existance of women in their midst, and even from a position right in the middle of one of the more massive bibles of PR. Yay!

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