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Some effective strategies that have been used to good effect to improve the employee relations function include an effective management infrastructure including use of tracking reports to monitor progress, and the creation of linkages between individual effort and the bottom line (Denton, 1992).
From a public relations perspective, community relations assumes the form of a societal function. The value and importance of good community relations for a public relations company and its clientele cannot be overstated. In this regard, Berkowitz and Turnmire (1994) note that, "In order for an organization is to be effective in its relations with the local community, it must develop a program of regular environmental monitoring and proactively communicate with key publics about local issues that involve the organization. Community relations is an important aspect of public relations because of an organization's close links with the immediate social environment" (p. 105).
Similarities and Differences in Societal and Organizational Functions.
While there will be some inevitable overlap between the management of communications, and media, employee and community relations, required to accomplish organizational objectives, all of these efforts are being played out within the larger society in which they take place. The very nature of the public relations enterprise means that there will be some impact on the larger society by virtue of the organizational functions that take place within a public relations company. Therefore, these features of public relations must be considered to be an integral part of a public relations company's organizational efforts, but these efforts are affected by and likewise affect societal relationships as well, as noted above concerning the employee relations function.
In this regard, Dozier and his colleagues (2002) point out that, "Public relations / communication management is broader than communication technique and broader than specialized public relations programs such as media relations or publicity. Public relations and communication management describe the overall planning, execution, and evaluation of an organization's communication with both external and internal publics -- groups that affect the ability of an organization to meet its goals" (p. 2). This overlap of functions is also described by Dozier et al. (2002), who note that, "Public relations contributes to four strategic functions: strategic planning, response to major social issues, major initiatives such as acquisitions or new products and programs, and routine operations such as employee communication or media relations" (p. 58).
The research showed that, like other types of industries, public relations companies typically engage in a wide range of activities that have an impact on their external and internal customers alike. Furthermore, the research also showed that the selected public relations functions discussed above can be regarded as being either societal or organizational functions, but there is an inexorable connection between the two. For example, when a public relations company ensure that its employee relations function is effective and providing its employees with the support they require, these employees will communicate their perception of the company to the community at large. In the final analysis, most public relations functions could be said to have a significant amount of overlap in this regard because these companies operate in the larger society in which they must compete.
Balmer, J.M., & Greyser, S.A. (2003). Revealing the corporation: Perspectives on identity, image, reputation, corporate branding, and corporate-level marketing. New York: Routledge.
Berkowitz, D., & Turnmire, K. (1994). Community relations and issues management: An issue orientation approach to segmenting publics. Journal of Public Relations Research, 6(2) 105.
Cutlip, S.M. (1994). The unseen power: Public relations, a history. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Denton, D.K. (1992). Recruitment, retention, and employee relations: Field-tested strategies Westport, CT: Quorum Books.
Dozier, D.M., Grunig, J.E., & Grunig, L.A. (2002). Excellent public relations and effective organizations: A study of communication management in three countries. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Elwood, W.N. (1995). Public relations inquiry as rhetorical criticism: Case studies of corporate discourse and social influence. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.
Mogel, L. (2002). Making it in public relations: An insider's guide to career opportunities. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Somerick, N.M. (1993). Strategies for improving employee relations by using performance appraisals more effectively. Public Relations Quarterly, 38(3), 37.
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