We've now closed off our Vox Pop survey on'Where should public relations be taught? Business? Humanities? Both? Other?' But for your interest, here are the results we got up to March 2008, from 837 replies. Keep scrolling down to see more data, including some of the interesting qualitative responses we received.
Respondents were predominantly educators (37%) followed bystudents (33% each), with 20% practitioners, 4% employers, and 6% not identifying their source of involvement with PR. Responsescame from far and wide, not only New Zealand andAustralia,but also Singapore,India, the USA, Turkey, Canada,Norway, Portugal, and more. As you can see, the largest response was in favour of PR being taught in both Humanities and Business contexts, followed by Business, then Humanities. The votes for 'both' came from all maincategories of respondent (educator, student, and practitioner).
Read on for qualitative data..... Some of the comments provided to illustrate answers included:
Humanities:"Humanities better allows us to explore critical perspectives on PR practice." (Educator, New Zealand)
Humanities: "I always think public relations is an art--even when you consider it as being in the business of developing relationships. The context of building and developing relationships maybe in business but as we know, the practice of public relations extends far beyond the realms of the business environment. Furthermore, public relations is about engaging people--human beings and how they think, feel and act--whether they are investors, journalists, activists, or corporate sponsors. Recently I read that business people are employing liberal arts people, even with a philosophy background to help business trained employees make sense of trends and people's attitudes and other issues." (Educator, Victoria)
Other: "Need there be one unified answer to this question? Perhaps it is better to examine what is public relations and for whom does it speak? Historically the answer has been big business and government - if this is the case then logically 'Business' should probably house the disclipline. However if we accept public relations is in the process of reinvention in line more sophisticated social and political expectations then the domain is recast and lends itself to a range of further interpretations from a variety of areas. My answer is that it doesn't matter which context it is taught from - this won't change whether or not it is taught well or badly - and surely that is the point." (Educator, Victoria)
Humanities: "A business perspective often excludes - or at least does not address satisfactorily - many areas that are of increasing significance in PR such as operations in the not-for-profit and government sectors." (Educator, Australia)
Both: "The business of public relations is about practitioners carrying out their business through effective relationships with key publics, clients, online etc = you need to understand the business and personal context. Humanities departments do not have a good understanding of business models so they do not exemplify good business practice." (Educator, South Australia)
Both: "pr is often used in business settings but there are always social, cultural etc issues that come into play" (Student, Adelaide)
Both: "Graduates of public relations need to understand the business world if they are to be employable. A purely theoretical or critical qualification is not justifiable if none of its graduates can get jobs. And if none of the university graduates are employable, because they don't have the business understanding and skills, the profession will simply continue to fill its ranks with unqualified ex-journalists who have no idea about communication theory, ethics, or the wider social repercussions of what they do. On the other hand, the development of critical thinking is important to drive change within the industry and make the public relations profession more socially responsive and ethical. Graduates of PR absolutely have to have both practical skills and highly-developed critical thinking." (Educator, New Zealand)
Business:"I feel today working in the FMCG industry we have taken down the barriers that were once between both Marketing and Public relations/communication departments and as a result we are intergating both practices to form one centralised communication system which in turn produces less conflict within organisations. Therefore I feel public relations should be taught within a business context." (Student, Melbourne)
Both: "Because the profession needs to be integrated into both areas of education." (Educator, Australia)
Both: "pr is a business, but it needs humanities slant, the spin dr media release has a huge impact on society." (Student, Adelaide)
Other: "I don't know if communication fits under the head of humanities. Humanities is however more of an arts disipline to me. I do believe that public relations is part business and communication orientated." (Student, Australia)
Business: "Professionalism and the need to learn the realities of the business environment." (Student, Auckland)
Both: "Since pr is an interdisciplinary field."Rajneesh b sharma,doctoral student, pr,India firstname.lastname@example.org