Video: James Grunig on Excellence Theory

Video: James Grunig on Excellence Theory

In this interview recorded in 2015, scholar James Grunig explains his theories of PR and makes the case that they have never been more applicable in practice.

I discovered this interview on YouTube. In it James Grunig reflects on his work over the previous 30 years and describes the ongoing tension between PR as a strategic management function versus as means of presentation or delivery function.

In 1984 Grunig and Todd Hunt published the Four Models of Public Relations as part of their book Managing Public Relations. The model describes the different forms of communication between an organisation and its stakeholders.

Grunig's Excellence Theory developed over the next decade as a result of a research programme commissioned by the Research Foundation of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in 1984. It sought to explore how PR could evolve from a tactical activity focused on publicity to become a management discipline.

Every PR practitioner should have a working knowledge of Grunig's theories although he acknowledges that his work is more widely taught and discussed in academia than it is in practice.

I wrote a paper in 2013 as part of my CIPR Chartered assessment exploring Grunig's theories and their relevance to digital and social forms of organisational communication

I've yet to find an example of an organisation that practices excellence or two-way symmetrical communication, but that's not the point. Whether or not you subscribe to Grunig's theory, it provides a robust framework for exploring organisational communication.

The interview posted on YouTube was produced as part of a series by the Arthur W Page Centre for Integrity in Public Communication.

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