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Philosophies of Public Relations
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Introduction:

 

          Public Relations is about man, its fundamental function is to enlighten, educate, emancipate, energize, empower, elevate and enrich man. It can empower an individual through the dissemination of relevant information (education). Therefore the philosophy of PR is the philosophy about human kind. To enlight human beings, a correct concept of man must be possessed. It is important to know the nature of man; this will help in knowing the means of educating man. Because man is not just a biological organism but an animal endowed with reason whose highest dignity is in the intellect.

Objectives:

 

1.     To discuss the nature of philosophy and public relations.

2.     To tackle the inter-relation between public relations and philosophy and the essence of philosophy.

 

 

PHILOSOPHY OF PUBLIC RELATIONS

(Nature of Philosophy)

 

          Philosophy has a vital role to play in human condition and human enterprise. This is because it provides comprehensive interpretation of fundamental issues and the events pertinent to them. It probes into various forms of meaningful language, the shades and differentiations in human communication as well as the analysis and synthesis thereof, it attempts to ensure clarity and understanding in human dialogue and assumptions. It seeks to satisfy man’s curiosity regarding life, existence the beginning and end of things.

 

          Philosophy deals with the issues such as the basic nature of man, so as to determine the rights and privileges, as well as the responsibilities concomitant with man’s nature, the privileges of assessment of right and wrong in human actions and reactions, the nature of society and the place of the individual within the society, the principles of literary criticism, the under girding assumptions and methods of natural sciences, the attainment by natural reason of the existence of the Supreme Being. It attempts to establish a coherence throughout the whole domain of experience and the whole realm of thought. And also provides an avenue for thinking systematically about realities of and inexistence. It uses data and attempts to establish standards for assessing values and judging conduct as well as inquiring into the accuracy of meaning and the logic. It is speculative, prescriptive and analytic; it can be applied to differing branches of human knowledge and human endeavor.

 

 

(The Nature of Public Relations)

         

          Public relations as a management func5tion helps in defining and achieving organizational objectives and philosophy, adapts to a changing environment and facilitate organizational change. PR practitioners communicate with all relevant internal and external publics in the effort to create consistency between organizational goals and societal expectations.

 

          They develop, execute, and evaluate organizational programmes. With the goal of promoting the exchange of influence and understanding among an organization’s constituent parts and publics. PR nature makes it to constantly adapt to the needs of society. It is practiced in organizations that range in type from giant, multinational companies to small, human service agencies.

 

          It is the specific operating philosophy by which management sets up policies designed to serve both in the companies and the public’s interest and a carefully nurtured effort to develop and maintain a strong, resilient and positive concensus from all the publics upon whom the activities of the organization impinge PR professionals are basically responsible for assimilating and communicating information between an organization and it’s environment. Their duties go far beyond the skills of communicating like their counterparts in other functions areas of their organization, must be able to influence policy decision and developing strategies to implement them. PR informs, creates ideas, persuades people and makes things happen. It is the organizations actions taken to promote a favourable relationship with the public and efforts to win the cooperation of group of people. It helps a organization and it’s publics to adapt mutually to each other. It is the deliberate planned and sustained efforts to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics. It establishes and maintains  mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and it’s public.

 

 

THE INTER-RELATION BETWEEN PUBLIC RELATIONS AND PHILOSOPHY

 

          PR is human centric, it is based on some philosophy or outlook of life. PR is in Philosophy, Philosophy is in PR, through communication the accomplishments of past civilization are preserved, the social heritage of language, culture and philosophies could be transmitted. Although the same fundamental sources of wisdom are opened to all, PR theorists might not have homogeneity of opinion regarding the modus operandi of different spectrums of PR.

 

The differences of opinion perceptible in PR theories and practices stem in part from differing interpretations and emphases given to life and to life’s ultimate purpose. Any philosophy that rejects or ignores the dualistic nature of man and portrays him as a mere biological entity or economic animal is deficient.

 

It is in reference to the nature of PR, namely, the human being, that the necessary dependence of PR, it is important to distinguish between those elements that change either in course of their development or through social emphasis. The constant elements are the fundamental truths or principles about man’s nature, origin, destiny, and his acknowledgement of the Supreme Being. The variable elements include some theoretical factors, practices, organization, techniques of administration, etc. Even these variable elements might not be completely open-ended, and could be based on certain fundamentals.

THE ESSENCE OF PHILOSOPHY

 

          Comparing philosophy in general, the nature of public relations and the inter-relation between public relations and philosophy, it becomes easier to conceptualize the essence of philosophy of public relations.

 

          Pr philosophy should be speculative or theoretical, prescriptive and analytic. PR philosophy can be said to be speculative when it seeks to establish theories of the nature of man, society and the world. It is prescriptive when it specifies the ends that are PR ought to follow and the general means it should use to attain them. It is analytical when it clarifies speculative and prescriptive statements. Analysts examine the rationality of PR ideas, their consistency with other ideas, and the ways which they are distorted by loose thinking. He tests the logic of our concepts and their inadequacy to the facts that they seek to explain.

 

          Objectivity is essential in PR philosophy; this would make the practitioner to be able to subject his biases, prejudices, and convictions to impartial evaluation. As SENECA said, “When a man does not know to what port he saileth, then no wind is favorable”. S practitioner, we need to set functional, effective and evaluative goals for every PR programme. As BOYD said, “there is little comfort, when we don’t know where we are going; in being assured that we are traveling so fast”. Clarity of objectives is important in PR while we try to perfect the means.

 

          The necessity of PR is essential in putting PR in its right position among the committee of professions. The following questions may arise, Should philosophy of PR be taken separately or should it be incorporated into, or inter-related with different sectors of PR disciplines?