oa Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa - Towards a general theory of public relations

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-0069



The existence of a general theory of public relations is pivotal to the argumentation about public relations as science. A general theory can be expected to supply a framework which includes all the theoretical applications within a scientific domain. This article sets out to cover the theoretical applications made to the field of public relations to determine what the domain parameters of public relations are and whether this can lead to a general theory of public relations. It proposes that public relations is an applied science, governed by theory application at the meta theoretical, organisational and communication levels of public relations practice, and that public relations practice takes place at three strategic levels in the organisation, namely the macro, meso and micro level. The article further suggested that two normative and one positive model of public relations practice exist and that the heuristic value of the general theory is one of its most positive aspects.

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