Date of Award

2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Communications Honours

School

School of Communications & Multimedia

Faculty

Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

Lelia Green

Abstract

This research thesis explores the question "how can public relations counteract growing public scepticism, maximising trust and goodwill between an organisation, its target publics and the wider community?" Public scepticism of large corporations is not a new phenomenon, but it is gaining great momentum. Subsequently, it has been suggested that the practice of corporate public relations must focus on fostering an organisational culture that adopts a 'social conscience', that is necessary to counteract consumer distrust. This includes organisations practicing attributes of 'excellence' such as open communication, corporate transparency and honesty. They must also be aware of, and sensitive to, the interests of their publics, the community and the environment. To achieve this, researchers have indicated that the role of the public relations practitioner must go through a process of change. This study intends to portray how the practice of socially conscious public relations can counteract increasing public scepticism in order to restore consumer trust, and mutually benefit both the public and the organisation.

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