Week 5 – Theory

So firstly, I’m not sure that I expected so many theories from PR. It was interesting to read about some of the core communication theories I learnt last semester through a PR lens. I found the breadth of theories quite overwhelming at first, and the interconnectedness sometimes confusing. Most of the theories seemed inherently common sense to me, and after I wrapped my head around the different categories and terms, it pretty much all fell into place. 


It has been interesting to apply theory to something that I am genuinely very interested in. I had never really thought about the PR aspect of politics.. Given PRs reputation as ‘spin doctoring’ I’m not surprised that the term is seldom used in this field. Political parties are organisations however, and for these particular organisations reputation is critical – the sole purpose – so it makes sense that PR theory and strategy would be embedded in the practice. 


Systems theories make a lot of sense to me. The focus on the structure of the entity and its capacity to receive, negotiate and evolve encapsulates a key lesson for me so far, which is also reflected in the ideal two-way symmetric model and excellence theory – that PR is not just about framing the practises of an organisation in a favourable way even if they may not be, but about absorbing the feedback from publics and using it to improved the organisation to be truly favourable. 


I find media effects theories and persuasion theories interesting from an ethical point of view. I feel as though the ethical boundaries of persuasive communication aren’t entirely clear, as understanding theories such as hierarchy of needs and social learning could enable exploitative communication. Perhaps as each practitioner gains awareness and experience in communication we develop our own ethical integrity and boundaries. 




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