GROUP CONCEPTION FROM PR’s PERSPECTIVE

 

Shapkina Anastasiya, a bachelor,

Sukhenko Inna,  PhD

Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University

GROUP CONCEPTION FROM PR’s PERSPECTIVE

Due to V. Korolko’s statement, Public Relations Studies as a newly applied science is "…an interdisciplinary phenomenon that bases on the theory of many different areas of human knowledge" [1, p. 190]. Thereby there are many approaches to the definition of the term PR as well as the determination of the methodological and theoretical foundations of this branch of knowledge.

Everyone dealing with the Public Relations’ sphere has their personal opinion on the content of this phenomenon. The main factor impacts the usage of the theoretical framework within its cross-scientific views (psychology, social psychology, sociology, management, marketing etc.).

In the context of the aforementioned we would like to make an example of the definition of the PR conception while conveying the personal opinion on PR’ content. "Public Relations is a function of management which seeks to establish and maintain mutually advantageous relations between an organization and its public which its success or on the contrary the failure depends on from", as the group of scholars define  [2, p. 135]. Despite defining this concept brilliantly, it would be good to take into account the following facts: G. Broom writes that PR is an intermediary of the communication between two parties: an organization and its public [2, p. 223]. We believe that definitions of these parties should be integrated in connection with the fact that Public Relations have a quite broad scope. To begin with, let`s appeal to the concept which was defined as "the public".

V. Korolko in his works uses the concept of "the social environment", which was borrowed from the terminology of systems` theory, in order to name one of the parties of bidirectional symmetrical communication which "organization" directs its efforts on for the successful functioning and competitiveness in their sector of business activity.

It can be possibly supposed that the usage of the aforementioned concept very felicitous for a single supplement. Using the adjective "environmental" we limit the concept under study only with individuals who are outside our organization but individuals who belong to it are out of our attention, and they are known to have no less importance for the successful functioning of the organization .

We are sure that the concept of "organization" should be quoted because of the fact that the significance of the word used by Public Relations has a different meaning than the origin one.

It is a well-known fact that an organization can be defined as "a company, institution, their departments or associations that perform separate functions and have administratively centered". We use the term "organization" for defining the central subject of the many-sided symmetrical communication which is interested in the usage of PR methods in order to establish and maintain mutually advantageous relations with its social environment.

Taking into consideration the aforementioned information, it is possible to define the phenomenon PR in the following way: "Public Relations is a management function the principal goal of which is to establish and maintain mutually advantageous relations between an "organization" and its social environment".

Approaching to the subject of our scholar research closely it is better to distinguished the terms used to refer to the public itself.

As mentioned above, in order to define the direction of PR communication which "organization" tries to develop symmetrical communication with in the most complete and comprehensive, the given research put emphasis on the usage of  borrowed slightly modified definition from the theory of systems – the social environment of the organization.

In this view the concept of “external social environment” is under special study here. This term was used to denote all that "...creates the external influences on the system - information, energy and material effect" [2, p. 168].

The subject matter of our scholar activity is the social environment of the organization which is located inside (customers, dealers, investors, stakeholders, trade unions, media etc.) as well as the social environment which fills the organization (employees, management).

Theorists and practitioners of PR contradict each other and, moreover, contradict themselves while defining concepts that form the social environment of the organization. According to the prominent Ukrainian theoretician and practitioner of PR, V. Korolko, "PR is an interdisciplinary phenomenon that bases on the theory of many different areas of liberal knowledge" [1, p. 190]. This resulted into understanding the fact that the same phenomena are called differently depending on the approach used for the practice of PR.

Taking into the consideration the aforementioned commentary we would like to turn to the more detailed discussion of every statement that is used to describe persons who influence the way an "organization" functionates in any way. We are going to examine existing definitions in the context of their classification in order to reveal the matter as full as it is possible.

Due to the theoretical approaches to Public Relations’ typology – "...the classification of concepts according to common features», the place of residence, person`s psychological qualities, their social status, lifestyle, the peculiarities of their behavior and "stimuli" responses etc. can be regarded as common features.

Basing on the researches of Grunig E. J., Hunt T., Blumer G. J. and V. Korolko we are sure that making systematization on the basis of a problem or a problem situation presence is the most expedient way.

E. Grunig originated the typology that has already become a classic due to basing on this very feature. This scholar distinguishes its four groups: "nonpublic", "latent public", "aware public" and "active public" [3].

Basing on this classification, processed sources of social psychology and the studies of foreign and Ukrainian PR-experts, as well as  taking into consideration the concept the most of PR-specialists called the passive public, the factor of an "organization" should be out of scholar attention here.

We consider defining the organization`s social environment as an inert one rather reasonable. Despite having borrowed this term from physics studies, we still believe that it can convey the essence of explainable concept quite well. Defining "being inert" as "... maintaining a state of rest or uniform rectilinear motion prior to the influence of external forces» [4], this definition describes the social environment of the organization very well, because from the beginning persons who constitute the social environment of the organization have only some features some psychological conditions in order to acquire direct activity against the organization later.

We believe that in order to make certain sector of the organization`s social develop into "latent-active" and then into "active" state we need to give some impetus to it. Specially made by a PR-practitioner situation or problem which will group certain part of social environment must become such an impulse under ideal conditions. The word "certain" should be stressed here, according to the systematic approach different system boundaries should be determined in accordance with the objectives of each particular situation.

Thus, within PR studies the social environment of the organization consists of a great number of potential groups, that is theoretically possible small unions of people which can be created on the basis of psychological traits, attitudes, which causes the same or similar reaction to the stimulus when is activated. The task of "organizing" in the person of PR-practitioner is to determine the limits of potential groups which are required in the particular unique case and begin to mend "cooperation" with them.

It is worth remarking that the above-mentioned psychological conditions within the entire social environment is heterogeneous but within potential groups, "quasigroups" (from the prefix "quasi-" (Latin "quasi" – ostensibly, as if), which means "false", "almost ") which belongs to it, they are homogeneous.

Then, as it has already been noted, due to being specially created situation or a problem, the part of an organization`s social environment that has similar psychological traits and conditions for the formation of an identical response to the stimulus becomes latent-active, so-called "quasigroups" have been created. Those individuals, who form them, are aware of being involved into "organization`s" vital activity at this stage because of the fact that "the proposed" situation by PR-professionals has a direct affect on their interests but they have not mend communication with other individuals that form the same quasigroup yet. The third type in our classification was called properly active. Latent-active quasigroups turn into a state of active groups under the terms of participation of their members in joint activities which will make for the formation of the psychological unity between them and, consequently, the predictability of their reactions to the PR-specialist`s actions.

Thus, the given attemp of the research be under discussion, but is gives a chance to reconsider the specificity of some aspects in studying "organization`s" public within PR-audience.

References:

1. Королько В. Основы паблик рилейшенз. – К.: Ваклер, 2000. – 528 с.

2. Broom G. M. Cutlip and Center's Effective Public Relations. – Pearson, 2009. – 502 p.

3. Grunig E. J., Hunt T. A. Managing Public Relations. –  NY., 1984. – 268 p.

4. Williams K. Using cultivation strategies to manage public relationships // http://www.prismjournal.org/fileadmin/Praxis/Journal_Files/Williams_Brunner.pdf