The Excellence Theory of Public Relations is a fundamental and defining statement about what effective public relations is. The excellence theory is the result of a 15-year comprehensive study to determine the characteristics of exceptional communications and the companies that do outstanding public relations. This study was done in several phases by Jim and Lauri Grunig and David Dozier, and funded by the IABC.
The study gathered its results from surveys completed by CEOs, directors of PR, and employees from 327 organizations. Following these surveys, qualitative interviews were conducted with PR directors and employees and CEOs from the 25 organizations that scored highest and lowest on the survey’s scale of excellence. The theory summarizes four main categorizes for how organizations should be structured to optimize their value, including combination managerial and administrative roles, integrated PR functions, strong internal communications practices, and empowerment of diverse employees into managerial roles.
I wrote to Jim Grunig to ask for a definitive summary and bibliography for the excellence study and theory. Jim pointed me to “Excellence Theory in Public Relations,” a three-page article from the Encyclopedia of Communication, published by the International Communication Association. This article summarizes the project and details those four main categories of effective PR. Click here to download “Excellence Theory in Public Relations” from the Encyclopedia of Communication.
This post was updated to remove outdated links in March 2018.
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