Hendrix, J. (2004). Public relations cases (6th edition, with Infotrac).Belmont, California:Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
Reviewed by: Jennifer Bartlett
Lovely! The 6th edition of Hendrixs Public Relations Cases brings a much needed injection of new and relevant material to the public relations teaching resource list. Beginning with an overview of the public relations function and its contribution to a pluralistic society, the book then reveals chapters covering ten core aspects of the practice with multiple cases for each.
The books two great strengths are in providing public relations cases (as opposed to cases with a marketing/management/HR focus), and as a teaching resource that provides focus on specific aspects of the practice. The depth of content is not targeted at the researcher or theoretical development. Its value is as a teaching resource that meets a market demand as evidenced by this being the sixth edition of the original concept. Hendrix himself notes the integration of the internet and other e-technology into the case communication programs presented which brings current teaching literature up-to-date.
A big positive of this book is the common format of the cases that include a focus on research, objectives, strategies, and evaluation. While standard practice in the strategic public relations model, nevertheless they are sometimes absent from cases that focus almost solely on execution. This aspect though is not forgotten either. The cases are supplemented with examples of campaign output. For students these provide a good range of examples of various public relations devices and how they bring to life the strategic planning process. For teaching purposes, the examples expand the students exposure to a range of implementation devices and writing styles for different audiences. Of course, most are print examples and therefore reflect a one-way communication model. They can be used as a base for broader discussion of the other appropriate tactics previewed in the cases and supplemented by the instructors examples.
The book is divided into four main sections. The first provides two chapters which overview the public relations practice and process. This process framework underpins the format of the cases presented through the remainder of the book. Ethics are also dealt with in this section as an integral part of the discussion on developing and implementing public relations programs, and fits nicely into the case for the importance of public relations in a pluralist society.
The second section deals with campaigns targeted at the seven major audience groups: media, employees, customers, investors, and international audiences. Each is structured around the process elements established earlier in the book, with a brief description of the key attributes, concerns, or issues for that audience. A list of related readings is provided in each of the chapters providing a strong resource for further investigation by both students and instructors. Two or three contemporary cases for each audience, with a sample of production material illuminate the broader discussion.
Sections three and four of the book seek to provide examples of contemporary public relations issues that students will face as practitioners ? security/emergency programs and integrated marketing communications (IMC). Section threes cases on 9/11 and the subsequent anthrax health scares provide insights to major campaigns in recent history that unfortunately practitioners need to be prepared to deal with in our current social environment. The section on IMC likewise is required exposure for students.
For those of us teaching in Australia and New Zealand, one shortfall is the inevitable and understandable focus on cases from the United States. However the logical segmentation of the book provides a framework on which to build with local cases to supplement Hendrixs offerings. This allows for a healthy discussion of comparative analysis between the US and Australian/New Zealand perspectives, especially in terms of business practice, government frameworks and cultural conditions.
The text therefore is best used as a teaching resource for undergraduate courses and as a supplement for introductory post graduate courses. The book concludes with suggested frames for topics and questions that will challenge students to explore each of the process components as they relate to each situation or audience. There is also an accompanying Instructors Manual and Video available from the publisher.
Purchase information: This book is available from all good booksellers, or can be purchased direct from Thomson Learning.
About the reviewer:
Jennifer Bartlett is a Lecturer in Public Relations in the School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations at the Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Her teaching focuses on public relations management, corporate communication, media relations and public relations campaigns at both postgraduate and undergraduate levels.
Jennifers research interests are in public relations, reputation management, corporate social responsibility, employee advocacy and media effects within a theme of legitimacy and with particular interest in the corporate sector. Her work in these areas has been published and presented internationally and in Australia. She is finalising her PhD on legitimacy and social responsibility in the Australian banking industry. She is the recipient of Top Student Paper Award from the International Communication Association, an APA scholarship and the John Howes Founders Scholarship from industry. She is on the editorial board of PRism.
Jennifer holds a Master of Business (Research) and a Bachelor of Business majoring in Public Relations and is also a Member of the PRIA having been active on the Queensland council for a number of years. Her industry experience is in public affairs chiefly in the banking and energy sectors.
Back to: PRism home page
Back to: PRism this issue contents page