Defining Public Relations

Essay by rrrichvbA+, February 2007

download word file, 3 pages 4.3

What is public relations? Simply doing a search on the internet of what the term "public relations" means will land an individual in a dizzying spell of complex defintions, each with its own variances. In order to fully understand what the role and purpose of public relations is, it is important to define public relations. In this paper, I will give my own personal definition of public relations and those of three other sources, and, furthermore, I will include a comparison of the definitions and explain why public relations has a variety of meanings.

What is Public Relations?

Some might think that public relations is simply communicating to the public to sell an organization, however I believe that public relations is much more involved than that. In addition to selling an organization's image, public relations is also promoting an organization to generate a favorable image and reception among the general public.

In other words, public relations is about influencing the opinions of others about an organization.

According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) website (2002), "Public relations helps an organization and its public adapt mutually to each other" ( Though this definition may be short and concise, the PRSA is aware of the other definitions of public relations that are much more complex, including the the functions that make up public relations' responsibilities.

Another textbook offers a working definition of public relations as "a leadership and management function that help acheive organizational objectives, define philosophy, and facilitate organizational change" (Lattimore, Baskin, Heiman, Toth, & Van, 2004, p. 5). The authors dub it as a working definition because they understand that the the public relation concept is rather broad to simply narrow down to a few words.

Lastly, in 1975 the Foundation for Public Relations Research and Education concocted...