«13TH INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS RESEARCH CONFERENCE “Ethical Issues for Public Relations Practice in a Multicultural World” Holiday Inn ...»
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European public relations is appearing on a world scene with its own identity that is emerging out of a decade long research endeavor in empirical transnational research in public relations.
This started as a European Public Relations Body of Knowledge project in 1998 (van Ruler, Verčič, Buetschi, & Flodin, 2004; Verčič, van Ruler, Buetschi, & Flodin, 2001), and was supplemented by an annual survey starting in 2007 as a European Communication Monitor (ECM) (Zerfass, van Ruler, Rogojinaru, Verčič, & Hamrefors, 2007). The third ECM survey that was completed in May of 2009 and consisted of a questionnaire with 17 sections based on hypotheses and instruments derived from previous research and literature. Over 20,000 practitioners all over Europe were invited to participate in an on-line survey and 1,863 completed questionnaires from 34 European countries were received on time to be included in analysis (Zerfass, Moreno, Tench, Verčič, & Verhoeven, 2009).
Although public relations in Europe exists at least as long as it does in the USA, its character and identity are still ill-defined and obscure. This is partly because public relations in Europe is embodied in practices of different European countries with different traditions, cultures and languages, but partly also because of insufficient research in commonalities and common differences from public relations traditions of other continents, like e.g. the Americas and Asia.
The paper reviews what has been learned about European public relations in the past decade and presents the results of the 2009 ECM.
IntroductionOn 10 December 2009, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management posted a notice on its website that Centre Européen des Relations Publiques (CERP), that is in English the European Public Relations Confederation, an association of European national public relations associations, on its Extraordinary General Assembly on 12 November 2009 in Catania, Italy, dissolved itself and fully integrated its assets and resources into the Global Alliance (http://www.globalalliancepr.org/content/1/434/centre-europeen-desrelations-publiques-cerp-dissolution/). One could easily understand that massage as an obituary for European public relations melted in a globalised practice. But following Mark Twain we should note that the report of European public relations’ death was an exaggeration. As the 2009 European Communication Monitor, based on a sample of 1,850 professionals from 34 European countries, one of the most comprehensive transnational studies ever conducted in the field of public relations worldwide, shows: public relations is very well in Europe.
In this paper we report a decade long string of transnational research in European public relations. We review the European Public Relations Body of Knowledge (EBOK) project and its successor, the European Communication Monitor (ECM) project. We present the key results of the 2009 ECM, and conclude with limitations of the current projects and its future prospects. In the final section we will also give our views on why Europe is currently without a proper public relations practitioners association and where may the seeds for its rebirth germinate.
The European Public Relations Body of Knowledge project (EBOK), 1998-2004
The European Public Relations Body of Knowledge (EBOK) project ran from 1998 to