Case Studies Blog #4 – What aspects interest you most?

As your studies in PR come to a close, what aspect of Public Relations interested you the most? How do you think your career will be informed by your new knowledge of Public Relations?

The aspect that interests me most are the differences and similarities between public relations in business and government.

Business Public Relations

We learned that in business, an organization’s relationship with the public is the most important factor to an organization’s survival, even more so than profit.  We learned that if an business does not have the support of the public, it will have the most difficult time operating and doing the necessary work that needs to be done.    Businesses invest in public relations to improve their reputation with their publics or to avert a crisis.

In the realm of public relations, we learned of hundreds of unethical organizations that have lied and cheated in an attempt to cover the truth, only to take even greater and unrecoverable hits to their reputation.


Government Public Relations

On the other hand, I learned that government public relations in some ways are similar, but in other ways are completely different than business public relations.  Government public relations is similar because in democratic societies, political parties need support of the public in terms of votes to get elected into office.  However, once in office, governments have the capacity to enact public policy, even if that policy is against the will of the people.

In response to unpopular government decisions, public outcry may result in letters to government officials, unfavourable newspaper articles, or in some instances, violence.  Since government survival depends on votes, it is assumed that a governing party will not get re-elected after a series of unpopular public policy.  One can see that clearly when the Liberal Party of Canada lost three elections in a row to the Conservative party in 2006, 2008, and 2011.


Two different worlds of Public Relations

My career will be informed by my new knowledge because I have a better understanding of the differences between the two worlds of public relations. On the one hand, I know that businesses need to think of their publics by thinking about the ways their actions will affect their bottom line.  Businesses have to ask themselves if their actions will play well in the realm of public opinion.  Business must be ethical and socially responsible, while maintaining profit.

Governments on the other hand have a greater responsibility by protecting the society from those who do harm to others.  In many cases, government officials have a greater responsibility than businesses, because those hard decisions will be unpopular.

Final thoughts

In what way do you think that governments are like businesses in terms of public relations?  Please let me know in the comments below.


2 thoughts on “Case Studies Blog #4 – What aspects interest you most?

  1. I personally feel that there’s not much of a difference between how businesses use PR vis-a-vis govt. It’s just that government has more control on what goes out. At the same time most communications are a ‘mouth-piece’ tom-toming govt’s achievements. So, at times it is worse than the PR practices or malpractices used by business houses because by the end of the day business houses still use their own money, whereas govt. uses public money to take credit for things which are some of the basic requirements of governance…


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