Intercultural Pr Studies Paper

1401 words - 6 pages

Intercultural Public Relations"If we are to attempt to understand the world in the new century, we cannot but come to grips with the concept of globalization."(Appelbaum & Robinson, 2005, p. xi)Culture is central to public relations as a communications profession, and to quote Edward Hall's (1959) often cited statement: "Culture is communication and Communication is culture". Culture is not something that is exotic or "out there" but is a part of everyday life and social interaction, and a public relations practitioner does not have to be practicing across national borders to encounter cultural differences and diversity (Sha, 2006).Practitioners communicate with publics that belong to specific cultural groups, especially in multicultural societies and transnational settings (Banks, 1995,2000; Sha, 2006); they are involved in the production of culture as cultural intermediaries (Curtin & Gaither, 2007) who mediate between producers of culturally coded messages; the organizations of clients that practitioners represent have cultural identities that espouse certain values that are usually reflective of the larger societies and ideologies they are embedded in. (Sriramesh & White, 1992); practioners have their own cultural identities ; and, the profession itself has developed certain dominant cultural values over time (Hodges, 2006).Culture is a multifaceted concept that has often been used to refer to a group of people who share similar views and interpretations of their world. These interpretations might include national identity, race, religion, geographic location, interpersonal relationships. Speaking of "a culture", however, is misleading. People identify many cultures simultaneously, and not every member of a particular culture shares all the same cultural beliefs (Martin & Nakayama , 1999). From a communication perspective, culture consists of shared experiences and negotiated meaning and provides a way to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty (Samovar & Porter, 2001).As globalization and new communication technologies bring the world closer together, there is a greater need for public relations practitioners to help organizations navigate cultural terrains. Communication in the 21st century will be marked by efforts to reduce ambiguity and uncertainty in an even smaller, yet more tightly networked world. It is this ambiguity and uncertainty that has allowed the practice of public relations to emerge as a valuable organizational communication function. Globalization and new communication technologies have brought individuals, groups, and organizations closer together. What happens in one country now can have an immediate effect on people, organizations and relationships in many other countries.A central part of many public relations professionals jobs is to communicate with multiple stakeholders and stateseekers. Communicating with diverse publics is a difficult enough task in a nation or region when the public relations practioners shares the same overarching cultural background with the public. Communication becomes an even more complex task when organizations seek to engage in relationships with global publics that live and work across many real and perceived boundaries. Relationships are a central goal of Public Relations communication, and many factors influence an organization's relationships with its publics. Organization- PR are influenced by organizational actions, existing and evolving reputations. Public relations professionals also need to consider that culture, as a fluid phenomenon, influences how organizations enact relationships with domestic and international publics. Central to intercultural competence is understanding that, like interpersonal relationships with our friends and family, effective intercultural communications is based on the shared patterns of experience and interaction as well as general and a specific understanding of individual cultures.In the past, some public relations scholars have argued that a single theory might be able to account for understanding international practices of public relations (J. Grunig, 1992). Just as our relationships with our friends, family and coworkers, teachers, mentors are different, cultures are also different.Intercultural communication is an interpretative activity. Over the years, public relations scholars have drawn upon only a limited number of cultural theories and concepts and have constructed even fewer intercultural public relations theories. When one thinks of culture and public relations, the work of Geert Hofstede comes to mind. Hofstede identified five cultural variables that influence communication and relationships in organizational settings: power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity/femininity, individualism/collectivism and Confucianism. Hofstede's work has been considered a good start for understanding the dynamics of international and organizational communication, and public relations.The personal influence model of public relations (Sriramesh,1992) provides a valuable framework for understanding how culture may influence the development of public relations in a nation. The model is common in countries and organizations that are tightly controlled by the government.Public Relations professionals engage in intercultural communication for a variety of reasons, but all of these reasons involve meaning making. Practioners might interview or survey members of a coculture in order to learn about their beliefs , values, and attitudes. If a professional works in a global organization, he or she might collaborate with colleagues in another nation or region as part of a communication campaign or marketing initiative. Even if a practitioner never leaves his or her own country, they may be asked to develop prosocial messages aimed at a diverse culture groups as part of public health or governmental services initiative within his or her own nation.Ultimately understanding how individuals and groups from other nations, regions, or culture see the world is essential for effective intercultural communication. Organizations, no matter where they are from or their motive for existence, seek to project an image or reputation that is positive. The public relations function helps organizations to communicate this constructed image. Every communication tactic in a public relations program or campaign seeks to create or reinforce a certain image.Public Relations is about building, changing, and maintaining relationships. Building a relationship is not an easy task, and it is even more complicated when the public and the organization have different cultural frameworks that guide their understanding of the situation. The concept of third culture building may help us to develop a relational and dialogic approach to intercultural public relations. The public relations profession, like most other professions, is caught up in the simultaneously converging and diverging forces of globalization. In a globalized world, the public relations industry services many diverse international diplomacy and the skills of inter-cultural communication. Such work used to be referred to as "international public relations", although this term has now been partly supplanted by the terms cross-cultural or global public relations. International public relations is necessarily inter-cultural and of course includes diplomacy (L'Etang, 2010).The challenge here is to reflect upon the potential multiplicity of public relations practice cultures and micro-cultures as well as the roles that public relations plays 'between the hyphens' in culture or enacting culture.The bulk of literature that reflects on public relations and culture has taken a cross-cultural approach to the subject, making comparisons between cultures generally employing frameworks of cultural determinants, particularly those of Hofstede, in order to improve the effectiveness of international public relations practice (Sriramesh & Vercic, 2009:11). A better approach to understanding intercultural Public relations is to understand that a practitioner should start by learning the answer to certain "generic" cultural questions (Kent & Taylor, 2007). Just as laying the foundation for an interpersonal relationships requires that one learn a number of general and specific facts about the other person, laying the foundation of intercultural interactions requires both specific and general knowledge.Relational approach to intercultural communication provide a framework for understanding relationships that are created by and changed by public relations. People from different cultures come together when a problem emerges that requires communication (Bitzer, 1968). This communication is intercultural and involves an imperative for shared meaning that seeks to build understanding and relationships. Thus, intercultural public relations is an interpretative communication activity that requires multiple, framework for creating and changing relationships.Therefore I think Intercultural research is very important for international public relations. I can easily say Culture is seen as a large umbrella under which communication is covered. Culture influences and is influenced by every fact of human activity.


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