Guest post: Time to challenge Grunig

Guest post: Time to challenge Grunig


I’m in the middle of writing a paper for my CIPR Chartered Practitioner qualification on Grunig’s Excellence model and Four Model of Public Relations and so was pleased when University of Gloucestershire student Nawal Leon Kurson offered to write a guest blog on the subject. By Nawal Leon Kurson

Its not that long ago, that public relations students, academics and practitioners thought James Grunig had all the answers to best practice in public relations.

The Grunig two-way symmetrical communication model is often referred to as the Excellence Model.

This model suggested that communication can be used to promote mutual understanding and respect between the organisation and its stakeholders.

However, with the development of social media this theoretical concept is under scrutiny like never before.

Markets talk The reality is that the significant discourse made evident by the social web is not between an organisation and its audience, but amongst the audience itself.

The audience is having conversations amongst itself organisations day-in day-out. It always has done of course, but now these conversations are public and anyone can access them.

Audiences are now part of an ecosystem of brand values that are not necessarily influenced by organisations, but are nonetheless influential.

If brands can no longer influence what people are saying about them how can they survive?

Organisations need to find where consumers and opinion formers are by researching their values. The views of audiences are evident in the information they seek and, notably the keywords they use in search queries on the web.

It is here that they expose their values.

Issues, stakeholders, values In the past, audience segmentation was about issues as described by Grunig or stakeholders as described by Richard Freedman, now audiences are organised by their values.

At least that’s the view of my public relations lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire, David Phillips.

They only form segments when they share a nexus of values with each other or a common community perspective.

Tools are available to identify the values attached to a brand and its reputation by listening to the conversations taking place on social media platforms.

Grunig’s dominance as the standard model for public relations is being challenged.

About Nawal Leon Kurson Nawal is a final year student at the University of Gloucestershire and expect to be graduating this coming summer 2013 with a BA(Hons) Public Relations and a year placement as a Public Affairs Intern at the British Red Cross. Connect with Nawal on Twitter @NawalLeonPR.

Social media for sceptics

Social media for sceptics

Guest post: Studying public relations as a mature student

Guest post: Studying public relations as a mature student