Theoretical underpinnings - Adjustment & Adaptation (Chapter 7).docx

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Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
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Dr.Anne Lane

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THEORETICAL UNDERPINNINGS: ADJUSTMENT AND ADAPTATION BROOM & SHA - Chapter 7 PR = management function building and maintaining relationships between the org and its publics/stakeholders. These relationships are subject to change pressures through the environment (socially, economically, technologically or politically speaking). Careful assessment + tracking of those forces => org steer a safe and steady territory in the community. THE ECOLOGICAL APPROACH SOCIAL SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE : interdependence org/environment. PR’s job = helping the org to adjust and adapt to their environments.  PR counsellors monitor public opinion, social change, political movements, cultural shifts, and technological developments.  Then they interpret these environmental factors and work with management to develop strategic plans of organizational changes and responsiveness. ALVIN TOFFLER: TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN INFORMATION AGE . Revolution of info & communication = as the social consequence of new communication systems.  PR must anticipate + monitor those changes in an org’s environment + help interpret them to management.  CONSTANT environmental scanning required (extending vision, present & future realities) time to pla.  Opportunity to bPROACTIVE instead of reactive to environmental changes.  Situational settings: Specific changes & forces: to be identified, studied, understood for particular situations + organizational settings. TRACKING THE TRENDS The role of PR is to track and analyse the specific trends and forces at play in particular situations that affect org-stakeholders//public relationships.  E.g.: the growing animal rights movement: prove how change pressures affect the org’s ability to accomplish their missions. Cosmetics manufactures, medial research laboratories, universities, meat packers, have to factor the view of this new activist force into their decision-making. Tis activist is also winning the battle of PO, overwhelming majority supporting animals rights and think it should be illegal to kill animals for fur or in cosmetic research.  E.g.: education reform, as another change pressures. Deficiency of skills within the job market => programs developed by companies (like Shell) to promote education among the future employees. 1  E.g.: Global Warming concerns. “Protecting the environment”: major concern of consumers. “Tappening campaign” of bottled-water.  Kerry TUCKER, Chairman of Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Inc. (consulting company in PR): “as issues affecting your org arise, it is best to have a radar system in place that will help management anticipate trends and issues likely to affect your org and its publics, rather then waiting until it’s too late to do anything except react defensively”. A SYSTEM PERSPECTIVE A system = a set of interacting units (org + stakeholderthat endures throughtime within an established boundary, by responding & adjusting to change pressures from the environment to achieve & maintain goal states. An org-public system= org + the people involved with it, affected by it: in interaction with it.  Publics here = abstractions defined by the PR manager applying the systems approach.  Situational: different public for different situations, with different system boundary.  Mutually beneficial relationships. PR: purposive & managed behaviour.  In some cases, goals can be achieved by simply maintaining existing relationships n the face of changing conditions. More generally, org have to adapt to change to maintain the relationships. Dynamic settings. ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE PRESSURES Changes pressures on org- publics systems <= many environmental sources. The relationships change around those. If they don’t, the relationship becomes dysfunctional, because inappropriate reaction of the org’s. If responses to environmental changes = unmanaged & nonpurposive => systems degenerate => ENTROPY . Coordinated behaviour to attain mutually beneficial goals: no longer possible => system breaks up. SUBSYSTEMS AND SUPRASYSTEMS The org itself is also a system with interacting units. Org exist in dynamic social settings. They must modify internal processes & restructure themselves to respond to changing environments. PR staff has to keep the org sensitive to envir. changes, anticipating + reacting to change pressures. The system perspective suggests that the definition of a system must be appropriate to the concern to the problem-situation. A component – a subsystem – in one system may be analysed itself in another context => a system defined as such for one purpose = component or SUBSYSTEM in a higher-orderSUPRASYSTEM when the reason for he analysis changes. 2 James G. MILLER: immediate environment = suprasystem – system itself. To survive, the system must interact with and adjust to its environment, the other parts of the suprasystem. ORGANIZATIONS AS SYSTEMS MILLER: “living systems” engage in exchange with their environments, producing changes in both. PR is part of the adaptive subsystems, as distinct from the production, supportive-disposal, maintenance and managerial subsystems. Adaptive subsystems vary in their sensitivity to their environment: some org actively monitor their social environments and make adjustments based on what they’ve learnt. Several factors determine the amount of resources, time & effort an org devotes to monitoring its environment: 1. Degree of conflict or competition with the external environment, 2. Degree on dependence on internal support & unity. 3. Degree to which internal operations and external environment are believed to be rationalized (characterized by predictable uniformities). 4. Size and structure of the org, heterogeneity of its members, diversity of goals. OPEN & CLOSED SYSTEMS  CLOSED SYSTEMS have impermeable boundaries, so they can’t exchange matter o
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