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Much ado about media: Public relations in public agencies in the wake of managerialism

Journal article
Authors Magnus Fredriksson
J. Pallas
Published in Public Relations Review
Volume 42
Issue 4
Pages 600-606
ISSN 0363-8111
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Pages 600-606
Language en
Keywords Management structure, Media, Mediatization, Public agencies, Public relations, mediatization, leadership, business, press, news, Business & Economics, Communication
Subject categories Economics and Business, Media and Communications


This paper rests on an assumption that media is much more than a communication channel or type of organization and that we have to take media under consideration if we want to understand the conditions for public agencies and their public relations activities. This is very much due to the processes of mediatization; that is to say, the double-sided process through which media (a) emerge as an autonomous institution with its own set of rationalities that other institutions adapt to; and (b) become an integrated part of other institutions'. A second assumption is that the extent to which public agencies adapt to media varies between different types of organizations, mostly as a consequence of an organization's management structure. Public agencies governed by career managers are more eager to get media attention and control the media image of their organizations compared to agencies governed by field professionals. Circumstances that position public relations at the centre within agencies governed by career managers, but with limited freedom of action. This raises a number of questions concerning circumstances, motives and consequences for public relations and in this paper we suggest three propositions for how we can understand the interplay between media in its institutional form, public agencies and public relations (1) public relations professionals have limited control to what degree public agencies adapt to the media logic (2) public relations professionals have limited control over public agencies media activities due to their high level of formalization and standardization (3) public relations in public agencies is to an extensive degree limited to media activities. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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