The big issues

58 questions, developed, pretested, and administered in nine languages in 23 countries by a 27-member international research team, and featuring the participation of nearly 4,500  public relations professionals, “more than 70 per cent of whom hold the #1 or #2 position in communication management in their organization, or in a communication unit in that organization”: it is no surprise that the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at The University of Alabama, USA, describes their Cross Cultural Study of Leadership in Public Relations and Communication Management as “the largest, most comprehensive study of leadership in public relations and communication management ever conducted.” The results of this huge undertaking were presented in November last year and provides plenty of food for thought to take into the New Year.


While noting that “Digitization, globalization, and new stakeholder activation are so often cited as drivers of change in public relations they are almost clichés”, the survey’s report nevertheless manages to shed new light onto these issues through the thoroughness of its approach and the ambition of the undertaking (a second phase of the survey is promised for this year). The survey begins by listing in importance issues previously identified in other reports and studies: we've extracted the top five above, alongside the placing of the issues on a scale of one to seven, where one equals unimportant and seven indicates very important. “For comparative purposes,” says the detailed survey report (click on ‘read more’for the full report) ratings of 5.0 or higher mean the issue is important. Ratings approaching 6.0, or higher, mean the issue is very important.” The top three results point to a global concern with the way that technologies are transforming practice: by speeding up the news flow in all directions, communicators are left scrambling to catch up with breaking crises. Taken from The Cross Cultural Study of Leadership in Public Relations and Communication Management, Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations

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